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Thread: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

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    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Lawrence, KS

    Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    We are getting ready to start construction in Kansas and am torn on which heater to use. Realistically, I see us opening the pool in May and closing in late September or early October. I just don't see us using the pool if the air temperature is less than 70 degrees. With that said, I am leaning towards a heat pump since the air temperature needs to be at least 50 degrees to work. I'm guessing it barely gets the job done at 50 degree weather but I'm sure it will be better as the temps get in the 60s and 70s. We will have an automatic cover so that will help with keeping the heat in. The other option is the natural gas and I just can't see spending a lot of money on my gas bill to heat the pool each weekend in May, Sept and maybe October. I have heard that the heat pump is much more efficient and I should be better off since I have the automatic cover to help maintain temps. If I went with the heat pump, would I be able to use it like a home thermostat and just "set it and forget it" assuming the daytime temps are at least 60-65 degrees? Any advice is welcome

  2. Back To Top    #2
    lefty51's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    East of Royals country western MO

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    Hello Jayhawk country, from tiger country,

    Welcome to TFP. I don't have any experience with heat pump for pools, but I know how great my ground source has been for my home.

    There are others on here that can probably give you a wealth of info. I am going to assume the heat pump for the pool is an air exchange heat pump. I am curious if there is a ground source unit for pools.

    A lot of extra expense to do that and maybe not worth it in the long run, but I wonder how effective it would be at keeping the pool "warm" in our part of the country.

    They are efficient and eco friendly and I would imagine it would be a set and forget system.

    I have more than once thought of burying more loops in my yard and trying geo source, but like you said, with our cooler air temps, I don't see it extending our swim season significantly.

    Anyway, welcome and please post your progress on your pool build as these folks love watching new pools being built
    Si -central Mo. 32' x 16' -- 3'4" to 6' deep Vinyl liner - 16,500 Gals : Triton II filter -Duraglass 2 hp pump - 1 speed : SI-30 salt generator
    TF-100 with speedstir

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Clearwater, FL

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    We have a natural gas heater mostly because we have a spa with the pool The gas heater can bring the spa up to temp in around 30 minutes, and using it just for the spa a few times a month has not been outrageously expensive, but after heating the pool a few times then getting the gas bill, we decided that pool heating would be a rare thing. That said, if the pool starts out at 74 degrees, the heater can bring it up to 84 degrees in about two hours.
    16K gallon IG exposed aggregate pool with Aquarite SWG T15 cell, Hayward C1750 filter, EcoStar SP3400VSP pump, H400FD pool/spa heater, Polaris PB4-60 booster pump, 280 pressure cleaner, Hayward Super II spa pump and Air Supply Silencer spa blower

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    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    Hi dkite22;

    We use a gas heater in May, September and October. We're not far away in KC and it costs about an extra $100 a month in those months. We use the pool daily unless it's in the 50s. Our solar cover keep the temps steady only dropping 2 or 3 degrees overnight depending on temps. We only heat as needed usually about 4-6 hours per day.


    Gary R.
    18 X 32 Oval Inground Gunite Pool 20,000 Gallons Epoxy Painted in 2012
    Tagelus Sand Filter TA 60 D/TA 60-Hayward Super Pumps 1 H.P.
    Ray-Pac Heater 266,000 BTU, KLeen Machine Pool Cleaner
    Solar Cover-Rocky's Pool Cover Reel-Intermatic T104R Timer
    TF-100 Test Kit-PoolSkim Skimmer

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    In the Industry
    ps0303's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    I guess it depends on ones location but natural gas really isn't as expensive as people think. Plus it gives you the quicker heat up times over a heat pump. Propane is a different story.

    A word of caution: When working with gas and electrical you might want to consider a licensed contractor. Consider the value of your life and others around you.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Tucson, AZ

    Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    The key to heating your pool water is how well you can control evaporative heat loss as that is the most important factor. Is your automatic cover clear or opaque? And opaque pool cover cuts down both the evaporative loss [EDIT] and the radiative heat loss radiative heat loss is not reduced except when using specially designed covers and not as important [END-EDIT] so both a gas heater and a heat pump should do equally well at maintaining your water temperatures in the elbow months. You need to do a comparison of your gas rates and your electric rates to see which is cheaper. Where I live, if you compare utility costs using a consistent energy unit (convert electrical kilowatts into BTUs or vice versa), then my gas costs 1/3rd of what my electric costs on a per unit-energy basis. However, I do not have a cover on my pool (future plans there) so heating with gas is out of the question as it requires an astronomical amount of gas to heat it up a few degrees only to see it all evaporate away.

    Is solar an option where you are?
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    In central Indiana and went with a heat pump a couple of years ago. We are very happy with the choice. Electricity is pretty cheap in our state and the heat pump seems pretty economical. We keep the pool covered when we aren't swimming, so the it all works out really well for us. Without a cover, it might be a little more challenging.

    Sent from my SM-P607T using Tapatalk
    ............................................................ ........................
    Kayak Pool - 12 ft. x 24 ft. rectangular, 5˝ ft. deep end
    Frog System, Sta-Rite-Modular Media Cartridge Filter, Pentair 1 H.P. pump
    AquaPRO Pro500 heat pump & Automatic AutoGuard™ Pool safety cover
    ............................................................ ........................

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    we live in pittsburgh pa . i have had a heat pump for 4 years and am changing to natural gas. heat pumps are expensive, noisy and don't do much even at 60 to 65 . thsy take all day to raise the water afew degrees and we have had 3 services calls on the unit .

  9. Back To Top    #9
    banditig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    Gas is cheap here for now, but that could change anytime. They seem to make electricity more from gas than coal, for environmental reasons I hear.
    15x54 swim & play vinyl metal wall AG
    Hayward S210T sand filter 1.5 HP Pentair Superflo vs
    Rheem raypak 130,000 BTU mv ng
    TF-100 test kit, HM digital com100 Wanda the Whale

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Casa Grande

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    Here in the desert, near Phoenix, AZ, I have a 9 year old Jandy heat/chiller heat pump. At the time of pool install, I decided on an HP vs propane. No natural gas option was available in my subdivision. I did some research and a propane heater or NG was extremely expensive.

    I have been pleased with the heat pump for heating the pool. It will heat up about 1 to 1.5 degrees F per hour. I have heated it from 65 degrees F to 92 degrees in about 40 hours. At start the ambient air temp was about 65 degrees. Cost of electricity was minimal, and my electric bill only went up about 1 dollar per day. The concerns with a heat pump are the meantime to failure. I have had 3 service calls in the 9 years since the install. Just recently there is a gushing leak at the bottom of the metal canister that sits over the heat exchanger. According the Jandy tech, although the heat pump manufacturers tout titanium heat exchangers for reducing corrosion, the stainless canister is not titanium. I am about to open up my heat pump and see what is leaking pool water when the filter pump is on.

    Here's what I know so far and didn't know when the pool was installed in 2007!!...

    -- If you are thinking about installing a heat pump, do some research on the popular brands (AquaCal, etc), especially for manufacturers that will have replacement parts available into the future and not change the design so often that spare parts become scarce. Talk to the certified repair dealers. Find out how many certified repair dealers are in your area for any given brand.

    -- Absolutely install a bypass system. If the heat pump fails and it leaks, you will want to be able to bypass it so you can continue to run the filter pump. This bypass becomes extremely important for another reason. The most common cause of catastrophic failure of the HP is the pool chemistry. The chemicals, chlorine, salt, and radical pH changes will corrode the components. You can bypass the heat pump and NOT be pumping pool water through it when it's not being used to heat the pool.

    If the heat exchanger fails, it appears that the average cost to repair could be over half the cost of a brand new heat pump.

    -- Buy a heat pump cover. Acid rain will corrode and can cause premature failure. Cover the heat pump when not in use.

    -- A cover on the pool to reduce heat loss is a big plus. Here in the desert we can have ambient air temp swings of 30 or 40 degrees.

    Overall, I have been happy with the Jandy HP, and main plus is I can extend the calendar use of the pool. For example, I can heat the pool up in the beginning of May, and have in fact, heated up over a Thanksgiving week end. Here in AZ, the summers gets hot, so the pool will get up to 93 to 95 degrees. I did turn on the chiller function one July 4th week end to cool it down from 94 to 88 because it was about 112 degrees F ambient. I have calculated my cost to run the heat pump and when my electric bill only goes up by $30 to $40 for the that month, I feel it's definitely worth it.

    We have a Trane heat pump for our AC and heating the house. Although heat pumps become less efficient at around 40 degree F ambient temps, it works very well, even when we get down to below 32 degrees F ambient.

    As mentioned, I would definitely do some cost calculations, potential repair options, parts availability, etc. Also, the newer heat pumps are quieter, but you will want to consider where you locate the heat pump, so it's location will reduce any potential fan noise issues.
    2007 Pool - 10K Gals, Pebbletec, Roll Beamed & Cool Decked, Water Feature, Caretaker 99 5 port 1.5” w/Polaris Bayonet Cleaning Heads Style 3-9-500, Jandy SHPF 1.5HP 230V Pump, Jandy AE2500T-R 115K BTU/HR Heat Pump/Chiller, Jandy 4-filter CL460 Canister, UltraPure UPP/SPP15 Ozone Generator.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Cary, NC (Raleigh)

    Re: Heat Pump or Natural Gas Heater

    Two comments and experiences.
    My parents, who live in K.C., have a gas heater for their pool. Myself in NC we have a heat-pump.

    They use their gas heater to heat the pool on those days in the spring/fall when you get a nice warmer weekend and want to jump in the pool. Thats not going to be as easy to do with a heat pump. They do comment that their gas bill definitely spikes a fair amount when they choose to run it over a weekend. Otherwise they don't run it non-stop unless anticipate pool usage.
    They don't have a cover and won't bother with the hassle of a solar cover so heat pumps weren't the best option.

    In our pool we went with the heat pump. I don't mind doing a solar cover when not in use. It is a set-it and forget it situation. I set the temp I want, and so long as the pumps are running it will run until it hits that temp or the pumps shut off. There are those days where it will run the full time the pumps are going in the spring/fall. I've never tracked electrical costs but suspect its minimal impact, its probably offset by the fact that during those times of years when my heat pump is running for the pool, my 2 house heat pumps typically aren't running much.
    18x30 Freeform In-ground Vinyl Lined. 11,500 gallons.
    4 returns, 2 skimmers, 2 main drains.
    Hayward TriStar 1hp 2-Speed Pump. Hayward S244T Filter.Hayward Goldline Panel + SWG.
    Polaris 280 cleaner. AquaComfort 75k BTU Heatpump

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