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Thread: Pool Heater - Gas vs Solar vs Heat Pump Southern California

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Riverside, CA
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    352

    Pool Heater - Gas vs Solar vs Heat Pump Southern California

    I currently have a big concrete hole in the ground and a Jandy LXi400 Heater on the patio (ie not installed yet).
    I've only owned one other pool, it was older, smaller and had no heater.

    At this point I don't really know how often we will use the pool. There are just 3 of us here at the house (me, wife and 3 yo daughter), but we have lots of family in town. People end up over here at least every other weekend.

    We have a Spa, so skipping the Gas heater doesn't seem like an option. The thought of a $1,000 gas bill scares me. I've been researching on the Internet and I found Heat Pumps. I've know about solar, but I've heard the "It will extend the swim season a month of two" many times.

    I know there are a hundred variables in heating the pool and I'm going to download one of the calculators. I'd like some Real World feedback on these three systems from pool owners in the So-Cal, IE area.

    Here are the pool specs (once it's finished)

    40x20 Free Form pool (aprox 25,000 Gal, 140 Perimeter, depth 3-7', with 8x8 Free Form Spa)
    Gunite Shell, Pebble Plaster Finish (probably a dark color), Poured Concrete Cantilevered Coping
    3 Deep Heat Returns, Solar Bubblewrap Cover for the pool and spa
    Jandy LXi400 Gas Heater (400,000 Btu)
    Jandy Variable Speed Pump JEP 2.0
    Jandy CL 600

    Here is my 1 line feeling on each heat system:

    Gas - On Demand heat, not too expensive to heat up the spa, can be used to heat the entire pool
    Solar - Very cheap to operate, I have no control over the weather, but it's So Cal, Expensive ($5k), takes up lots of room
    Pump - Cheap to operate, I can maintain the pool temp as long as I want, if we ever get PV Solar it will be free to operate

    I'm leaning towards starting out with the Gas Heater and then maybe adding a Heat Pump once we have a better idea how warm the pool will be and how much we use it during the year. I can have the PB increase the size of the equipment pad to leave room to add the Pump and it shouldn't cost much more than installing it now.

    Thanks
    40x20 Free Form IG Pool (aprox 29,000 Gal, 140 Perimeter, depth 3'6"-7', Baja Shelf, 8x8 Free Form Spa) - Gunite Shell, Pebble Plaster Finish, Poured Concrete Coping - 3 Deep Heat Returns - Jandy LXi400 Gas Heater (400,000 Btu) - Jandy Variable Speed Pump JEP 2.0 - Jandy CL 600 Filter - HASA Liquidator - Jandy PDA 6 w/ Remote - 4x Jandy WaterColors Pool LEDs - 48" Gas Fire Pit - 6x Gas Tiki Torches - 12'x15' U-shaped BBQ Island (Firemagic Equipment)
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/new-p...ca-t28413.html

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
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    37,879

    Re: Pool Heater - Gas vs Solar vs Heat Pump Southern California

    Most of California has very high electric rates, $0.25/kwh or higher (sometimes much higher). If you are in one of those areas, then heat pumps are usually more expensive than gas heaters.

    Solar doesn't need to be expensive, especially in warmer climates. Even a small solar system (2 to 4 panels) will make a noticeable difference. You only need to pay for solar once, and then it just keeps on heating for years. If there is somewhere to put the panels, you definitely want solar.

    Gas is pretty much mandatory for a spa. The gas bill can get very high if you keep the pool heated for months at a time, but isn't too bad if you just want to heat the pool occasionally (say when a warmer than normal weekend comes along in the spring or fall). Swimming when the air is cold isn't nearly as much fun for most people, so most people don't swim all that much in the spring/fall.

    One way to go is to get a gas heater for now, since you will want it for the spa, and then see how much you actually want to swim in the spring/fall. If you do swim a lot, get a solar system.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central Massachusetts
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    Re: Pool Heater - Gas vs Solar vs Heat Pump Southern California

    +1
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Riverside, CA
    Posts
    352

    Re: Pool Heater - Gas vs Solar vs Heat Pump Southern California

    Can I assume that is a +1 on the Solar ?

    We have The Gas Company for our gas. The last bill is the highest I will ever see without the pool ($115). Normal bill is about $40

    Baseline Charges - $.83649 / Therm
    Over Baseline - $1.01982 / Therm > I'll be over baseline for sure with the whole new backyard

    We have So Cal Edison for Electricity. They just replaced our old analog meter with a digital one. They may change us to time of use billing (which would suck). Right now I am firmly in the middle of Tier 3, my highest summer bill is $150.

    Tier 1 - $.13 kWh Range appears to be 0-336 Kwh
    Tier 2 - $.15 kWh Range 337-436
    Tier 3 - $.24 kWh Range 437-about 636 ? (based on the size of the graph)
    Tier 4 - $.27 kWh Tier 4 is bigger than Tier 3, I should never exceed T4
    Tier 5 - $.31 kWh
    40x20 Free Form IG Pool (aprox 29,000 Gal, 140 Perimeter, depth 3'6"-7', Baja Shelf, 8x8 Free Form Spa) - Gunite Shell, Pebble Plaster Finish, Poured Concrete Coping - 3 Deep Heat Returns - Jandy LXi400 Gas Heater (400,000 Btu) - Jandy Variable Speed Pump JEP 2.0 - Jandy CL 600 Filter - HASA Liquidator - Jandy PDA 6 w/ Remote - 4x Jandy WaterColors Pool LEDs - 48" Gas Fire Pit - 6x Gas Tiki Torches - 12'x15' U-shaped BBQ Island (Firemagic Equipment)
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/new-p...ca-t28413.html

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
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    Re: Pool Heater - Gas vs Solar vs Heat Pump Southern California

    +1 on all jason said actually.

    At $1.00 per therm and 0.27 cents/kw/hr (you will be in tier 4 with a heat pump) you can heat as efficiently and cheaply with gas as compared to a heat pump. You could supplement with solr if you want, but a heat pump would not be a big savings like it would elsewhere with cheaper electric rates.

    A heat pump would run you around $1.50 per 100,000 BTU and gas would run closer to $1.00. California electric rates really are not heat pump friendly at all.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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