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Thread: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

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    Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Hello all...I am in the design and planning phase for a 20x40 in ground vinyl liner pool in the New Jersey area. I currently have a 79 solar panel system on my roof with a yearly output of 26,000 kwh. I have about 4500kwh banked as well. My home is being converted as we speak from propane (very expensive) to natural gas. My thought is that since I am running everything solar, would it make financial sense (long and short term) to get an electric heat pump or go with the natural gas heater? Thank you.

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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    A heat pump will work for maintaining temp but is a poor choice for increasing temp.
    Geebot
    Chicago, IL
    30K gal, InGround Plaster Finish, 3.5'-9.5', Maytronics S300 Cleaner

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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    There are also solar water heating options that are different than PV solar panels and even heat exchangers that use the heat from your AC to heat your pool. That is something that makes a lot of sense to me but it is very rare.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Do you have any info on that? I'd have to ask my pool builder if he's familiar with that and the install. Thanks

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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Here is the heat exchanger: Titanium Pool Heat Exchangers | Swimming Pool Heat Exchanger | HotSpot Energy LLC

    Here is a video that shows installation and how it works: Free Pool Heater - YouTube

    It makes tons of sense - why pay money to suck heat of your house and then also pay money for natgas to heat your pool. Why not move the heat from your house to pool? There are also attic heat exchangers that work on a similar process. It helps if your pool is not too far from your AC as you need to pipe your pool water to your AC condenser.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doozy8 View Post
    Do you have any info on that? I'd have to ask my pool builder if he's familiar with that and the install. Thanks
    See here - Heat Recovery Pool Heater | Compare To Solar Pool Heater | HotSpot Energy LLC

    Several forum members have tried this so you can search TFP as well for real world info. PM those members to get unbiased feedback.

    The answer to your original question is - it all depends. If you have excess solar PV capacity, then a heat pump paired to only work when the PV panels are generating is a great way to say gas costs. There's a company here in Tucson that does exactly that - rather than use tradition black water coils on your roof, they install PVs and a heat pump. The up-front cost is higher but it saves having to run your pool pumps at high speeds and long hours to get heat from the roof top.

    Gas is great for fast heating so if you have an attached spa to the pool, gas is really a must have. If not, then a PV-powered heat pump is a great investment. Given your colder climate though, heat pump efficiency is very limited when the air temps are low, so having a heat pump does not necessarily mean it will generate heat.

    And a solar bubble cover is a MUST no matter what heater you choose.
    Matt
    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 Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    And a solar bubble cover is a MUST no matter what heater you choose.
    There are downsides to this as they can take up room on your deck when taken off and it can be a chore to take them off if you don't have an automated system. I have heard someone call solar covers a pool condom - by the time you put one on (or off in this case) you lose the desire.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayner View Post
    There are downsides to this as they can take up room on your deck when taken off and it can be a chore to take them off if you don't have an automated system. I have heard someone call solar covers a pool condom - by the time you put one on (or off in this case) you lose the desire.
    That may or may not be true for every pool owner, but it does not negate the necessity of having one. The OP lives in a cold northeast climate. When springtime comes and the pool is first opened, an uncovered pool will evaporatively cool every night to the point where any heat added during the day will be completely lost. So, an uncovered pool will cost a huge amount of money (in gas) to run in that state. Covering a pool completely (or almost completely) eliminates evaporative water loss and thus holds most of the heat in through the overnight hours.

    Many forum members have devised ingenious ways to create DIY bubble cover rollers and storage devices. If one uses the simplest type of cover - 8-mil blue or clear bubble cover, and if it is cut into manageable pieces (usually two pieces is sufficient), then taking the cover off or deploying it is not really all that much work especially if the OP is planning on a rectangular shaped pool. Obviously an automatic cover would be better but they typically add anywhere from $8k-$12k to a build, you can't automate a cover with a freeform shaped pool and there's the additional maintenance needed to keep cover motors and coping tracks in good shape.

    I used a cover on my pool this past spring (and will do so in the fall) and it was a complete success in terms of saving water (a big deal for people like me that live in dry climates), saving chemicals (pH, TA and FC were all very well conserved with minimal loss) and retaining heat (I accidentally left it on too long and shot my water temp up to 96F one day). It's certainly not easy to take on and off, but it is well worth the hassle as it will help to extend my swimming season well into November.
    Matt
    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 Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    That may or may not be true for every pool owner, but it does not negate the necessity of having one. The OP lives in a cold northeast climate.
    I live in a farther north (although less east) climate than the OP so I know what you mean but I have chosen to deal with this in other ways, like a solar heating system. But there is no question that I pay a penalty in terms of cost of natgas by not having a cover.
    Vinyl 18'x36' in-ground 100,000 L, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, Jandy Lite2 heater, StaRite System3 filter, Evac tube solar heating panels

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    +1 for solar pool heat
    COMPLETED BUILD THREAD - 15'x29' rectangular offset shotcrete pool; 14,100 gal; 5'x7' raised spa with 400k btu fire feature; 7' spillover; 25' leuder stone raised bond wall w/waterfall; Pentair SWG; Pentair VS (pool); Pentair 3/4hp feature pump; 1hp spa blower; Pentair Cartridge filter; Pentair “Easy Touch 8” wireless; Dolphin Oasis Z5 robot; Solar Hydronics iSwim solar panels; Mansard Screen Enclosure; walnut travertine deck; 1 very happy kiddo.

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    Re: Noobie - Gas Heater or Electric Heat Pump?

    Where I live in California's central valley, a cover is not really all that important with solar from June to late September if you don't mind running the solar all day every day. But in April, may and October its a must.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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