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Heat Pumps 101: Things You Should Know

Anyone who lives in a cooler northern climate knows that a heat pump is a necessity. Oddly enough, heat pumps don’t actually generate heat – they draw it from the air. Once the heat has been captured, it can be used to warm anything - in this case, it’s the water in your pool.

How Do They Work?

The heat from the outside air is converted into a gas by the heat pump heater. A compressor heats the gas further and this heat is transferred to the cold water passing through the heater. The warm water then circulates back into the pool. Once the hot gas hits the cold water, it reverts back into a liquid and the process repeats itself. Between spring and fall, heat pump pool heaters function well because the ambient temperature is normally above 10C. Fortunately, cool weather is a rarity at this time of the year, making heat pumps ideal for most northern pools. Of course, if temperatures do drop, the heater must work harder to get the same results. The cooler the outside air, the longer it takes to form a gas and the harder the compressor has to work to make the gas even hotter.

How Long Until the Water is Warm?

If you consider that you’re heating all of the water in your pool with one heater, it’s easy to see why it takes some time to warm it up. Your heat pump has to work non-stop just to start to take the chill off, never mind get it warm. Different pools have different volumes and different heaters work at different rates, so it’s almost impossible to predict how long it will take for your individual pool to get warm. However, many pool owners agree that you can expect an elevation in temperature of 2 to 3 degrees per day. If you really dislike waiting, consider purchasing a high-efficiency unit for quicker results.

How Can A Heat Pump Save Me Money?

If you own a pool, you may be curious about the difference between an electric pool heater and a heat pump. They both run on electricity and they both heat the water. The big difference is that a heat pump doesn’t require an element to heat the water. Instead, the heat pump draws warm air into the unit, and transfers the air’s heat to the water, a process that requires much less energy compared to an electric pool heater. Heat pumps are extremely efficient, using only a small amount of electricity to run their compressors and other components. They cost 4 or 5 times less than a simple electric element heater, have a lower annual operating cost, and typically outlast them too. You can expect to save between 65-80% of your heating costs when you choose a heat pump over an electric pool heater.

heat pump

Additional Benefits

In addition to the obvious financial benefits, using a heat pump can extend your pool season. Heat pumps also have an advantage when compared to solar collectors, because they can heat your pool even when the weather is overcast. Living in a northern climate like Canada, you probably realize that many cloudy days, although less than ideal, can still be warm. As long as the air is warm, the heat pump will heat the water. Heat pumps are also easier to install and maintain when compared to heat exchangers or solar cells. All you need to do is keep the unit clean, and winterize it as you would any other piece of pool equipment. All in all, heat pumps offer the best all-round value if you want to keep your pool water comfortable throughout the season. Have a question about choosing the right heat pump for your swimming pool?  Call us today or contact us here to speak to one of our pool heating specialists!

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