Heated swimming pools are an incredible luxury to have, but the enormous energy bills that they can rack up aren’t nearly as pleasant. As a pool owner, finding ways to make your pool more energy efficient can help you save money and protect the environment -- and the process starts with picking the right heat pump.
What is a Heat Pump for Swimming Pool?
Heat pumps are the component responsible for warming up swimming pools. While it might seem surprising, they don’t produce heat -- instead, they pull warm air from outside into an air coil to warm up a liquid refrigerant.
Once the highly conductive liquid refrigerant is warmed up, it turns into a gas and passes through a compressor and heat-exchanging condenser alongside a coil containing pool water. The water absorbs heat from the gas and pours back into the pool at a much warmer water temperature.
Usually, swimming pool heat pumps work very efficiently as long as the temperature outside is warm. And there are plenty of benefits to using them: they don’t produce any emissions, are durable, and are much more effective and affordable than other heating solutions.
You can choose from a few different types of heat pumps as you look for the best one for your swimming pool. Higher BTU heat pumps heat a swimming pool faster than lower BTU models. Some heat pumps use inverter variable speed technology to improve efficiency.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Heat Pump for Swimming Pool
There are a few factors you should keep in mind as you look for the best pool heat pump. The size of your pool and the climate where you live are both important because they determine how much power you’ll need. You may also find energy efficiency ratings and heating costs essential to consider.
You should start by determining how much power you’ll need from your heat pump. Generally, you should purchase a heat pump with 1 BTU per litre of water if you live in an area that averages 70°F and 1.5 BTUs per litre of water if temperatures average below 60°F. It doesn’t hurt to choose a more powerful option when in doubt.
You can use alternative formulas to calculate your swimming pool heater size needs. Pool area X temperature rise X 12 BTU is an excellent calculation you can use. You will need to determine your pool surface area in square feet. You will then need to determine the largest temperature rise by subtracting the intended temperature from the average temperature of the coolest month you intend to use the pool.
If you want to save money on your electric bill or just want to protect the environment, you should also consider energy efficiency ratings. Energy efficiency is typically measured by a coefficient of performance (COP). COPs usually range between 3 and 7 units - and the higher the number, the better.
Finally, you should consider all of the costs associated with each pool pump that you’re considering. Aside from the initial purchase cost, you should also research how much it will cost to install and maintain over time. Some heat pumps are known to have high maintenance costs due to the price of their components.
How to Install and Maintain Your Heat Pump for Swimming Pool
Once you’ve purchased the perfect heat pump for your swimming pool, all left to do is install and maintain it. Heat pumps are a significant investment, so you should ensure they are correctly installed. You should call a licensed professional in the pool industry to help you install your heat pump.
The heat pump installation can take anywhere from one to four days, depending on the complexity of the pump itself. You should ask the pool professionals you’re working with in advance if you’re worried about the cost or duration of the installation process.
After installing the heat pump, you can keep up with a few maintenance tasks to ensure it doesn’t run into any issues. You should always ensure that the heat pump's airflow is unimpeded. Remove any leaves or debris that fall near the heat pump as soon as you notice them.
You should also clean the coils of the heat pump regularly. After shutting the heat pump off with the circuit breaker, you should use an air-spraying tool to remove debris from the coils. If dirt or grease is stuck on the coils, carefully wipe it away using a gentle tool and clean, fresh water.
Remember that some common heat pump issues can be troubleshot and resolved at home. Here are a few problems you might encounter with your heat pump and how you can attempt to address them before calling a technician.
- No power: Verify that the breaker is not tripped.
- Leaking heat pump: Turn off and verify that the “leak” isn’t condensation. The water will disappear if it is just condensation.
- Failure to heat: Consider whether the surrounding air temperature is warm enough to heat the pool. It will be slower on cold days.
- Low water flow: Verify that the filter is clean and that the valves of the heat pump are entirely open and unimpeded.
Tips for Improving the Energy Efficiency of Your Heat Pump for Swimming Pool
Simple steps can save money and make your heat pump more eco-friendly. Using a pool cover, keeping the air filter clean, and programming the pool temperature properly are steps to improve your heat pump's energy efficiency.
Using a pool cover is an excellent idea because your swimming pool will stay warmer without as much effort from the heat pump. The pool cover insulates the pool from the surrounding air and prevents heat from evaporating.
Keeping the air filter clean is also a great idea because it will ensure your heat pump is always running efficiently. One of the most common reasons that heat pumps become expensive is that they aren’t adequately maintained - and cleaning it just once or twice a month can completely resolve this issue.
Finally, you should program the temperature for your swimming pool heat pump to something climate-appropriate. Rather than using your swimming pool at the absolute highest temperatures, consider programming the heat pump to warm it enough to be comfortable.
Swim Comfortably With A New Heat Pump
There are tons of benefits to using heat pumps. Compared to a conventional pool heater, they’re much more eco-friendly and inexpensive. They’re perfect for keeping inground swimming pools at a comfortable temperature and making summer parties much more fun.
You don’t have to navigate the process of finding the best heat pump for your swimming pool alone. If you want to know more about heat pumps or need help selecting the right one for your budget, consider contacting one of our experts today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size Heat Pump Do I Need for My Swimming Pool?
The size of the heat pump you’ll need for your swimming pool varies depending on a few factors. As a rule of thumb, you should purchase a heat pump with 1 BTU per litre of water in climates averaging 70°F or as much as 1.5 BTU per litre of water in climates averaging below 60°F.
How Long Does a Heat Pump for Swimming Pool Last?
You can expect the heat pump for your swimming pool to last between 8 and 15 years. The lifespan of your pool heat pump is likely to be much longer if you have it installed by a licensed technician and ensure that it receives regular maintenance.
Can I Install a Heat Pump for Swimming Pool Myself?
You shouldn’t install a heat pump for your swimming pool unless you are a licensed professional. If you decide to install it yourself, you risk failing to comply with local and provincial codes. You also risk voiding the warranty that your heat pump manufacturer offers.
How Much Does Running a Heat Pump for a Swimming Pool Cost?
How much it costs to run a heat pump for a swimming pool can vary depending on a few factors. It will be cheaper in a warmer climate because the heat pump won’t need to work as hard to pull heat from the surrounding air. You will also save money if you have a particularly efficient heat pump.
You should expect running your heat pump to cost around $1.36 to $2.52 per hour. The average pool heat pump will consume 5 kW of electricity per hour per 100,000 BTUs. The cost per kW of electricity per hour ranges between 10 and 20 cents depending on where you live.