Do you feel frustrated by how little you manage to use your pool, despite having one in your own backyard? Installing a heat pump pool heater can significantly extend the period of time during which you feel comfortable taking a dip. Not only that, but it is also one of the most long term and cost efficient solutions that is available to you when compared to the other options on the market.
We have compiled here for you a list of the best pool heat pumps you can buy today, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. There are quite a few variables to consider before making your decision, so pay close attention to our reviews to detect the features that might be more useful. The best heat pump for pool may seem a little expensive when you see the price online, but rest assured it will pay abundant dividends over the years.
How To Choose A Pool Heat Pump – Buying guide
Choosing the correctly sized heat pumps for pools is not a simple task, since there are many variables to take into consideration when doing so. As a rule of thumb, you should always overestimate things a little instead of underestimating them, because if you end up with more heat then you need you can always scale it down but the same cannot be said for the opposite. The pieces of information that you absolutely have to have, for which there is no replacement, when sizing up a pool heat pump are the surface area of your pool, the desired water temperature you would like to achieve and the outside air temperature. Once you have these numbers, multiplying the surface area of the pool by the difference between the air and desired water temperatures, measured in Fahrenheit, and multiplying the whole result by 12 will give you a good indication of the amount of BTUs you’ll need. Given the changeability of these amounts, except the width and length of the pool of course, and you can easily understand why there is no straightforward answer to the question of how big your pool heat pump should be.
This is a topic for which we recommend consulting a technician since the electrical requirements of pool heat pumps are often convoluted and confusing. The size of the wire gauge and the electrical disconnect does not follow the usual rules, so be sure to find a qualified professional who really knows what he/she is doing, since it can be confusing even for experts. One common thing, luckily, is that all heat pumps will indicate what is the maximum current load they can sustain without damage, so at least you know what is the upper limit to avoid. Unfortunately, however, if problems do arise with the installation of the pump they might only do so some time after you have put it in place, effectively tricking you into believing that everything was in order. For this reason, we recommend once again to consult a technician, since given the price to pay to bring home one of these items you want to be very careful not to damage it.
Pool heat pumps are divided into three large families. On one side you will find the electric ones, to which we have dedicated these reviews, while on the market you might also find gas pumps or solar pumps. While the final result is the same, the techniques used to get there vastly differ. An electric pump, like the ones we have reviewed, works like an air conditioner in reverse, with a liquid refrigerator that is heated when in contact with air and passed through a compressor and then transfers its heat to the cool pool water. This system is not so cheap to get into in the beginning, but over time proves to be the most efficient and eco friendly. Gas heaters, on the other hand, directly heat the water by burning gas and are, for now, the most popular pool heating system around. They work best for quickly heating pools for short periods or for pools that are not so frequently used but are not as energy efficient as electric ones. Lastly, solar pumps combine pumps and solar panels to heat the water and make for a very good combination. By using renewable energy they will significantly reduce the electricity cost of a pump and may even generate enough excess power to light up your home for a while. The obvious drawback is that with this system you are completely dependent on the weather, and it also provides the less amount of BTU of the three and also requires a nice, wide roof to be installed, something that is not available to everybody.
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A good indication of the energy efficiency of your pool heat pump will be its coefficient of performance, shortened into CPO. What this tells you is the correlation between the power that the machine draws and the amount of heat it spits out. A higher number indicated a higher efficiency, therefore indicating that the pump will cost less to run than one with a lower number. Another way to understand the COP is to read it like a multiplier of the amount of power that goes in. This means that, for example, a machine with a COP of will pump out 4 times the heat for every unit of energy it receives. This coefficient might give you a good estimate of the efficiency of a pump, but it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, since not all manufacturers measure it in the same way and results may vary across brands.
The effectiveness of a pool heat pump will depend greatly on the outside temperature since it will be harder to reach a certain level of warmth if the machine has to battle with frost. More energy will be required to do the job, which means that for the same input your COP will be lower and it will take more time and effort to achieve the result you want. One very good way to improve the effectiveness of a pool heat pump is to use a pool cover while you are heating the water. This prevents heat from escaping and can reduce the amount of power needed by up to 50%, which translates into enormous savings of time and money.
Having a lot of parts that turn and spin, pool heat pumps are susceptible to generating large amounts of noise. If left unchecked, this can rise to the level of a vacuum left turned out at its higher power setting, proving to be very annoying. Manufacturers are luckily aware of this potential issue and have not been sparing any effort to keep this under control. The best pool heat pumps, such as the ones we have reviewed, all come with extra thick layers designed especially to keep noise well contained, with some even installing aerodynamically shaped fan blades to reduce friction. This enables the top heat pumps for pools to run at only around 55db of noise intensity, which roughly translates to the volume of a normal conversation between two people.
The heat exchanger you will find in the best heat pump for pool is nothing other than two coaxial tubes that swirl in close contact with one another. The cold pool water is made to run in one while the heated liquid refrigerant, which has become a gas, runs in the other. The swirling gives the most contact surface of any configuration, allowing heat to flow between the two and be transferred to the pool. The best heat exchangers are made of titanium since this material guarantees the best heat transfer and is also extremely resistant to corrosion. This last feature is particularly important since the heat exchanger will come into contact with high amounts of chlorine or even salty water, if this is what fills the pool, so you have to be sure that any damage to this delicate part is prevented.
The compressor’s job is to push the heated liquid refrigerator though the system, for it to come in contact with the cold pool water. This added pressurization contributes to increasing the temperature of the liquid even further, thus transferring more heat to the water. There are two types of compressors available, reciprocating and scroll. Reciprocating compressors use a simple piston and used to be the more widely used method because of their less expensive cost and reduced size, but their efficiency is not top notch. To solve this problem, manufacturers have started using compressors that feature metal scrolls instead of pistons. These have less moving parts and are therefore easier to operate and maintain, quieter and more durable and are gradually replacing all the reciprocating compressors on the market.
Q: What Size Heat Pump Do I Need For My Pool?
As we have explained earlier, there is a relatively simple formula you can use to calculate, more or less, the amount of power you need to heat your pool and thus have a clearer idea of what pool pump you need. As an example, let's assume your pool is 12 feet wide and 24 feet long, and you would like to heat it up to 80 degrees on a brisk autumn day with a temperature of 60 F. Developing the calculations we have detailed above in the buying guide, we see we have to multiply 288 x 20 x 12 which gives us a required power output of around 70.000 BTUs per hour.
Q: Are Pool Heat Pumps Worth It?
For users looking to get the maximum amount of use from their pool, a heat pump is surely worth the investment. An electric one, in particular, is the most environmentally friendly and cost efficient options and will allow you to use your pool for most of the winter, if you follow our instructions. If you're planning long term, then this is the best and most versatile way to go, avoiding gas operated pumps. Pool heat pumps are very durable items that are built to last, so even if they might seem a bit expensive on paper they will have many years to prove their worth.
Q: Do Pool Heat Pumps Really Work?
Yes, whatever type you choose you can rest assured that it will deliver. Heat pumps are a very effective way to manage the temperature of your pool and keep it exactly at the level you want it to be. They might be a little cumbersome to install but once you've passed the initial step you'll have a machine you can rely on.
Q: Should I Leave My Pool Heat Pump On All The Time?
A heat pump is more energy efficient if it is left on for prolonged periods of time. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is easy to understand why. More energy is needed to heat a whole mass of water rather than keep an already warm one at the right temperature, so for maximum efficiency try to minimize the gaps between heat pump use. This will prevent the water from cooling too much and forcing the pump to work harder to get it back up to where it was, also reducing the amount of electricity needed for the operation.
Q: How Long Do Pool Heat Pumps Last?
Thanks to their durable build, pool heat pumps can last from 10 to 20 years even without any maintenance whatsoever. You'll be hard pressed to find any other item that can boast such numbers. If you do take good care of them from time to time, you might even be able to avoid replacing one over the course of your lifetime.
Q: Is A Heat Pump Suitable For Every Pool?
There are no limitations to the kind of pool you can heat with a pool heat pump. Your decision will depend on the size of the pool, its placement (if it is out in the sun or in the shade) and finally on your budget. These three factors will allow you to estimate the amount of heat you need and which type of heat pump for pools, between the three that we have presented earlier, will best suit your needs.
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In our best heat pump for pool reviews we have strived to present you the pros and cons of every model, so you can get a complete and well-rounded picture of the options available to you. This is especially important given the extremely long lifespan these machines can have. Read carefully and reflect before making your choice, but we’re confident that by following our instructions you’ll end up being satisfied of your purchase.
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