Swimming pools rank high among the greatest home luxuries, especially for those who live in parts of the country with hot summertime temperatures. Those with heated pools can even continue to enjoy swimming once cooler weather has arrived. Yet many homeowners shy away from traditional pool heaters due to their high operating costs.
Fortunately, an effective alternative to expensive heaters exists in the form of heat pump pool heaters. Unfortunately, many people hesitate to invest in a heat pump due to a lack of understanding about how such pool heaters work. This article takes a closer look at four key things to know about heat pump pool heaters.
1. Heat Pumps Don't Generate Heat
Traditional pool heaters use either electricity or natural gas to generate heat, which they then pass on to the water in your pool. Such heaters tend to have high energy demands, as they consume a lot of fuel to alter the temperature of a pool by even a single degree.
Heat pumps work by a fundamentally different principle. Instead of generating heat, a heat pump simply transfers it from one place to another. Pool heat pumps use the ambient outdoor air as their heat source.
Provided the air temperatures remain above 50 degrees - not a huge problem for pool owners in the Orlando area - a heat pump can easily keep your pool water at a comfortable temperature. Better still, a heat pump can achieve such results while costing as little as 63 cents an hour to run.
2. Heat Pumps Transfer Heat Using Refrigerant
A pool heat pump works in the following way. First, the heater uses a fan to draw air into the pump, through a filter, and over an evaporator coil containing liquid refrigerant. As the refrigerant absorbs heat, it gradually converts to its gaseous state. This gas then flows into the compressor, which packs it into a tighter configuration, further increasing its temperature.
From there, the gas flows into the condenser, where its heat transfers to the relatively cool pool water circulating through the heat pump. This heat transfer causes the refrigerant to turn back into its liquid state and return to the evaporator. As long as the pump continues drawing in more outside air, the cycle repeats continuously.
3. Heat Pumps Must Be Correctly Sized
Just like with traditional pool heaters, not all heat pumps work for all size pools. An undersized heat pump simply cannot process enough outside air in order to alter the temperature of the pool. Instead, the pump will run constantly without generating any appreciable results.
In order to select the best size, you'll need to know two things: the capacity of your pool, and the heat pumps' power. Manufacturers express a heat pump's capacity in terms of British thermal units, or BTUs for short. You'll need at least 50,000 BTUs for every 10,000 gallons of water in your pool.
4. Heat Pumps Require Maintenance
The main part of a pool heat pump looks a lot like an air conditioner's boxy outdoor condensing unit. And just like a condensing unit, a pool heat pump requires periodic maintenance to keep it running strong. Schedule technician inspections at least once a year. In between, practice a few simple tactics to promote proper functioning.
First, know that a heat pump requires sufficient airflow. Keep the unit free from encroaching vegetation and debris. If airflow becomes blocked, the unit has to work much harder, which increases operating costs and risks a burnout. Use a vacuum to remove any dirt and debris from the air intakes of the heat pump.
Heat pumps increase the comfort of a home pool at a fraction of the cost of traditional heaters. For more information about installing a heat pump for your pool, contact our pros at Matthew Roberts Incorporated.