How Do Swimming Pool Heat Pumps Work?

by Pool Builders on 05-03-2010 in Articles

You bought your pool for many reasons...exercise, entertaining, family fun and maybe even for therapeutic reasons. But even in warm climates, you've probably discovered that some days, your pool is just too cold! Swimming pool heat pumps let you use your pool no matter what the weather is like outside, so you can get the best return on your investment.

So how do they work?

Heat pumps operate from electricity, but they do not generate heat. They use electricity as well as air that has been warmed by the sun. Basically, they are a form of solar heater. The heat from the air is extracted, made warmer with a compressor, and then transferred into the pool water.

The pool pump you already have circulates the water through the heater, and warms the entire pool. The fan moves the air through the outer evaporator air coil, which acts as a heat collector. The air coil absorbs the heat from the air, and transforms it into a gas. This gas gets pumped into the compressor, which concentrates the heat and intensifies it. This now super-heated gas goes into the heat exchanger condenser, where the actual transfer of heat happens. As the water from the pool is pumped through the heat exchanger, the super-hot gas transmits its heat to the cooler pool water. Then, the process starts all over again.

Heat pumps tend to work most efficiently when the outside ambient air is at or above 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler the air, then the more energy it takes for the heat pump to heat the air and, then, the pool water.

However, pool heat pumps are more efficient than gas pool heaters. Although electric models cost more, they have much lower yearly operating costs...about a dollar's worth of heat for every 20 cents of electrical input.

They also last much longer, which saves you more money in the long run. When they are installed and maintained properly, they will last you at least 10-15 years or more. They do require service every now and then by a professional A/C technician, to make sure everything is running smoothly and to perform general maintenance. The typical warranty on a heat pump is between 5-15 years, so if there is a problem you are covered.

Swimming pool heat pumps are the preferred method of pool heating for athletic training as well as for therapeutic treatments. This is because a heat pump will maintain any temperature between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter what the weather is like outside.

Your heater will work even better when you also use a thermal pool cover. This ensures that the heat you are pumping into your pool is staying in your pool...not escaping into the air! Think of the pool cover much like the roof on your house...without a roof, all of your heat or air conditioning would just go right out the top of your house. A thermal pool cover will increase the efficiency, and therefore lower the operating costs, of your swimming pool heat pump.

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