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Thread: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

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    Unhappy Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    First time poster! Thanks for all of the great information on the sight, Ive been lurking for a while. I recently had a 18x28x37 L shape, 3.5 - 8 FT, vinyl lined pool installed at my house. Great install, and great company to deal with. Now that things are a little more settled, we are looking to purchase a heater. I live in NY and we are looking to extend the season, not drastically, but more so to this time of year. We had a night of rain a few evenings ago and the kids weren't interested in swimming the next day. My options are to put in a heat pump or propane heater. I have researched a ton on this sight but I am still undecided. Looking for advantages/disadvantages of both. Upfront cost is not my concern as I already know that the heat pump will cost me more. For those of you that have propane, how much propane are you using a season? Also, if you are like me and don't already have propane, how large of a tank(s) do you recommend?

    Thanks for all of the great help and advice this sight has to offer!

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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    Good question, let me piggy-back on your's somewhat....I'm planning on a pool and spa, one PB recommends the heat pump but I fear it won't work for the spa very well outside of the dead summer. Anyone have experiance here? If I were to use propane, just realisticlly how much propane would I use if I were heating the spa only a few days a week?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    If you plan to maintain the heat in the pool then a heat pump will be a lot cheaper to operate. If you only plant to spot heat for special occasions then a gas/propane heater is much faster. A solar cover will reduce the cost to heat by a factor of 3 to 5 because it will stop most of the heat loss overnight and to wind. A thin, cheap 8 mil cover is all you need.


    ATLDIVER, you are welcome to read along in the thread. But please do not hijack another member's thread. It is best to ask your questions in your own new thread. It is confusing for all trying to answer multiple questions to multiple members in the same thread.
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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    Keep one thing in mind, you had an evening of rain which cooled off the pool and if you had solar now you have to wait a few days or longer to get that heat loss back in the pool. With a gas heater, you can do it sooner. However, get your costs lined up on the propane as it is not as cheap as natural gas.
    Paul
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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    I second pools advice if you are planning to maintain temp and extend your season a heat pump with a solar cover is the way to go. I'm biased because this is how I'm heating my pool. It's been 85F all summer and I haven't really noticed the cost in my electric bill all summer.

    A propane heater is good for a quick boost in temp for a late season weekend use. Each gallon of propane contains 97,000 BTU of energy if I remember correctly. So the means a 250kBTU propane heater with consume about 2.5 gallons per hour of propane. These are very rough numbers but it might give you picture of consumption.
    Chuck-
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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    Thanks for for the advice poolv, I didn't want to thread-jack anyone and certianlly didn't want to 'spam' the board. I'm at a point where I've got to decide what I want to do and don't want to make a costly mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    If you plan to maintain the heat in the pool then a heat pump will be a lot cheaper to operate. If you only plant to spot heat for special occasions then a gas/propane heater is much faster. A solar cover will reduce the cost to heat by a factor of 3 to 5 because it will stop most of the heat loss overnight and to wind. A thin, cheap 8 mil cover is all you need.


    ATLDIVER, you are welcome to read along in the thread. But please do not hijack another member's thread. It is best to ask your questions in your own new thread. It is confusing for all trying to answer multiple questions to multiple members in the same thread.

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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    A heat pump will not most likely extend your season. Once ambient air temps reach a certain point the heat pump can't pull heat out of the air and will basically stop heating until ambient temps come back up.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    Just my .02. I prefer the propane or natural gas to the heat pump. I'm in southern Rockland county so not sure where that is in relation to you but I never need to use my heater the last 2 weeks of July and all of August as the pool stays at 85 or warmer. Now that Sept is here we want to swim on the weekend (same with May/June) and I don't have confidence that the heat pump will allow me that if we catch a cold spell. If money isn't that big of an issue then get what your preference is for. Mine is for "on demand" heating (kids like the warm returns too when it's breezy out). But with the propane you now have a tank in your yard. If you can keep it by the pool equipment then it might not be a big deal anyway but for some they don't like the look. I don't use a solar cover and the cost is reasonable each season (nat gas though).
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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    How about getting both? That's what I'm thinking of as they seem to serve two purposes: heat pump to maintain temp during season and propane for rapid heating during shoulder seasons. Propane alone would get pretty expensive I imagine if used for everything

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    Re: Propane Vs. Heat Pump

    The answer requires calculations to compare your actual electric cost against the cost of propane and to take into account your local conditions. Manufacturers actually make this pretty easy with online sizing tools. If you have any problems with this I'm sure people will be able to help on this site but you really do need to do this to get the right answer to your specific situation. When you do this you need to consider the efficiency. In very cold conditions heat-pumps lose a lot of their benefit... but I'm guessing since you're really just trying to extend a month or two this may not have a huge impact. Also, propane is a very volatile market and prices can move quickly so call around to suppliers and ask them for last year's pricing and/or check from neighbors on the typical range during a year.

    I'm guessing you don't have natural gas but if you do you should consider this option. You're looking at a tank 300 gal min and probably larger. I know several people here in FL that use propane and they all have 300 gal. I know some people that have 500 gal tanks for heating.

    I hope this helps.

    Chris
    -Chris-
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