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Thread: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

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    Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    We're considering adding a heat/cool heat pump to our pool this year, and I'm wondering if the Pentair unit is reliable or not?

    As I might upgrade to the Intellitouch system as well, I'm thinking it makes sense to use Pentair equipment, as they'd know how to "talk" to each other....but if the Pentair heat pumps don't have a good track record, I may go with a different brand.

    Any experience with these here?
    16 x 31, Approx. 12,000 Gal Freeform IG pool; Flagstone coping; Quartzscapes Super Blue plaster finish; Tanning ledge w/2 bubblers; 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo pump, Pentair sand filter; (2) Pentair Intellibrite LEDs w/controller; Easytouch8 w/IC-40 SWG; Salt finish concrete decking.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Pentair is a verry reliable brand when it comes to pool equipment. All of your pool equipment is allready pentair if it is working well for you then you should stay with it.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Thanks....I'll probably go with Pentair, then, unless I hear otherwise here.
    16 x 31, Approx. 12,000 Gal Freeform IG pool; Flagstone coping; Quartzscapes Super Blue plaster finish; Tanning ledge w/2 bubblers; 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo pump, Pentair sand filter; (2) Pentair Intellibrite LEDs w/controller; Easytouch8 w/IC-40 SWG; Salt finish concrete decking.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    I installed mine just a few months ago - my general comments:
    - understand that pentair automation treats heat pumps in general as a second class citizen, if you have solar heating also - pentair will not allow you to use the standard com cable/port to connect to intellitouch. If you have a heater, you may have to tell intellitouch to pretend your heatpump is really a solar heating system. It's nuts.
    - The newest pentair heat pumps themselves seem very reliable....I really like it, but realize they are electricity hogs...if you're fine with your heater using 5000 watts, go for it...
    - Wherever you install the heat pump, make sure that the ground is slightly tilted and that there is a drain nearby....the heat pumps generate a ton of water
    - Look at the specs, and pay attention to the COP ratings at the temp/humidity you think you'll have it operating at
    - If you go with automation, the screenlogic upgrade is quite useful as it allows you set heating and non heating times, and/or change heat mode based on schedules (invaluable)
    - Two somewhat annoyances with the pentair heat pump - a) if your heat pump is far from the main pump, and if the automation starts the heat pump at same time as the pump...the default 1 minute timer for water to reach the heat pump may not be enough...pentair provides no way to change this, and the system must be powered on/off to reset -- so in my automated schedule, I have the pump run for 1hr before I turn on heating...without that, I'd be in trouble.
    - Don't be surprised to be warning about no water flow on main led screen where pump is off, this is normal....as long as the automation is turning off heating before shutting down the pump, you're good. The auto flow thing is important for heat pump safety otherwise and will generally be OK..but I'd rather not trust it and just shut the unit off completely at night, automation doesn't really have a way to do this.
    - But if you live in a good area for the heat pump and don't mind the electric cost, it makes an excellent backup to solar heating and we find it very efficient. We had contractors upgrading our solar today so heat pump was running and we gained a good 6 degrees today on our 24K gallon pool during the 10hr runtime (from 70 in morning to 76 in evening)
    - The pentair heat pumps seem relatively well built....I think it may be the last thing out of all the other pool equipment to go, although the water bypass built into it at the bottom can make some noises here and there
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Check your natural gas rates. While I like my heat pump, it's twice as expensive on a $/btu basis to run as a ng heater. And 4 times slower.

    To address your original question, I have run mine for about 5 months with zero problems.

    They do produce a LOT of runoff water from condensation, more than you would think! They are also very weather dependent. When it's raining, I don't get very much btu output from mine at all. I look forward to see how well it does cooling my pool (what I really bought mine for).
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Thanks for the advice, guys (especially you, Matt....very detailed!).

    I'll have to see what our natural gas rate is here. I'm pretty sure it's expensive, as one guy I was talking to who has a gas heater on his spool (very small swimming pool/spa combo) told me it cost him around $400 to heat it for a period of 3 days last winter.

    I was always under the impression that a heat pump was, in the long run, a more economical way to heat/cool a pool. I know the units cost is well over 2x that of a gas heater. And, actually, I want it for its ability to cool the pool here in our hot Tulsa summers as well as extending the swim season a bit. I've no intention of running it when it's 50 degrees outside, for example. But it sure would come in handy on those 100+ degree days so the pool doesn't feel like bath water.

    From what I can see, a the Pentair heat pump will cost me around $4500 once installation is factored in. Our pool builder told me I can buy it online for less than his cost, and that he'd charge $550 for the installation. He said that $250-$300 of that install charge is for his electrician.

    I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do. I may elect to simply go with an Easytouch system this year, and upgrade to the heat pump next year if we think we'll want one. (Our pool was just completed a month ago, so we don't have any experience yet to know for sure that a heat pump is needed).
    16 x 31, Approx. 12,000 Gal Freeform IG pool; Flagstone coping; Quartzscapes Super Blue plaster finish; Tanning ledge w/2 bubblers; 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo pump, Pentair sand filter; (2) Pentair Intellibrite LEDs w/controller; Easytouch8 w/IC-40 SWG; Salt finish concrete decking.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    If you are in a high temperature area and are primarily concerned with cooling the pool during the summer, why not go with solar? Solar has the cheapest running cost and also supports running water through panels at night to cool the pool. I'm not sure if you can get by without automation though...maybe the VF pump can do it.
    24K gallon inground gunite/pebble sheen pool, 34'x16' 4-7.5ft deep, 750sq ft solar, pentair ultratemp, intelliflow vs+, ic60, intellichem w/ acid pump, quad de 100, intellibright 5g, intellitouch i5-3s with Screenlogic2, 3" primary piping - 2.5" at equip pad, auto switched deep heating and main returns, automatic safety cover w/ electronic lock and embedded recessed undertrack, sealed stamped concrete deck, dolphin deluxe 5, started up December 2011.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    I haven't looked at solar, Matt, but it might be worth investigating....the operating costs would definitely be lower than either a heat pump or chiller. Any suggestions where to look for this type of system?
    16 x 31, Approx. 12,000 Gal Freeform IG pool; Flagstone coping; Quartzscapes Super Blue plaster finish; Tanning ledge w/2 bubblers; 1 HP Pentair Whisperflo pump, Pentair sand filter; (2) Pentair Intellibrite LEDs w/controller; Easytouch8 w/IC-40 SWG; Salt finish concrete decking.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    There has not been any objective quantifiable measurement of the cooling power of nighttime solar (that I could find). This kept me away from it, as how can you design a properly sized system, if you cannot quantify its effects?

    I stuck with things I could calculate with, and control. Cheaper is nice, but I want it to WORK, when I want it to, and nighttime solar is a little too passive for that!
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    We use alot of Pentair heat/cool pumps, imo on pools less than 20,000 gal you will have good luck cooling anything over that is questionable. The drawback is if you don't have a auto cover or a solar blanket the heat side won't warm the pool early or late season.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    Check your natural gas rates. While I like my heat pump, it's twice as expensive on a $/btu basis to run as a ng heater. And 4 times slower.
    What are your calculations on that? When you take into account the COP of the heat pump, it usually comes out cheaper unless your electricity rates are very high.

    For example, if electricity costs $.085/kwh, and a Therm of gas costs $0.80, and 1 Therm = 29.3 kWh, then the electricity cost 2.49 X as much as the gas on a Btu basis.

    However, heat pumps deliver more energy than they use. Under good conditions, a heat pump can deliver about 5 to 6 times as much energy as is consumes. If we assume a COP of 5.0, then the cost to run the heat pump is about half (per delivered Btu).

    Heat pumps are not good for use in colder temperatures. And, they are not good for people who want to heat quickly on demand.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    Check your natural gas rates. While I like my heat pump, it's twice as expensive on a $/btu basis to run as a ng heater. And 4 times slower.
    What are your calculations on that? When you take into account the COP of the heat pump, it usually comes out cheaper unless your electricity rates are very high.

    For example, if electricity costs $.085/kwh, and a Therm of gas costs $0.80, and 1 Therm = 29.3 kWh, then the electricity cost 2.49 X as much as the gas on a Btu basis.

    However, heat pumps deliver more energy than they use. Under good conditions, a heat pump can deliver about 5 to 6 times as much energy as is consumes. If we assume a COP of 5.0, then the cost to run the heat pump is about half (per delivered Btu).

    Heat pumps are not good for use in colder temperatures. And, they are not good for people who want to heat quickly on demand.

    That is my elec rate, though the price of a therm of gas is .45.

    Calculations aside, I have a meter that monitors my electricity consumption electronically and displays it.

    When that heat pump comes on, it costs me a buck an hour to run and takes days to heat the pool.

    With a blanket.

    A gas heater will do it in 8-10 hrs and cost roughly half as much.

    Those heat pump statistics are published as sales materials and only reflect absolutely best case scenarios... And who wants to heat the pool when it's already 85 outside?

    Dollar for dollar in real world conditions, it's much cheaper for me to heat the pool with gas.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    That is my elec rate, though the price of a therm of gas is .45.
    $0.45 per Therm is pretty low; does that include all charges, such as distribution costs? Can you provide a link to the supplier that shows the rates?

    Tulsa, OK averages about 60 degrees in April (72 F Average High, 49 F Average Low). At 60 degrees, the Pentair UltraTemp 120 will deliver about 96,000 Btu per hour and will have a COP of about 4.4. Even if the air temperature was as low as 50 F, the Pentair UltraTemp 120 will deliver 82,000 Btu and will have a COP of 4.0.

    http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/ultratempDS.pdf

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac


    Those heat pump statistics are published as sales materials and only reflect absolutely best case scenarios... And who wants to heat the pool when it's already 85 outside?

    Dollar for dollar in real world conditions, it's much cheaper for me to heat the pool with gas.
    +1000!
    Thats what I've been saying to anybody that will listen. I dont care what the book says or any salesman says, at 60 degrees, a heat pump is good for one thing, a boat anchor. Only reaason I have one is becaseu i have no NG on my street. Im stuck with propane and heating oil
    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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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Massachusetts is about 12 degrees colder than Oklahoma during April. The Pentair brochure shows the performance at 60 F, but the humidity also plays an important part in the performance, so that could be part of the difference from the brochure to the real world experiences.

    There will be more heat loss during warm up because the heat pump is quite a bit slower. Gas heaters are not 100 % efficient, so that has to be accounted for. If 1 Therm of gas costs $1.00, and the heater is 85 % efficient, then the real cost is closer to $1.18 per Therm.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    And at 82000 btu/hr, with no losses (HAH!) it will take 48 hours to heat the pool. The NG heater will do it 4 times as fast ( reducing the losses). Heat pumps are great, but are not cheaper to operate

    Last month my gas was .39 per therm, with distribution costs it was about .49. From my bill. Calculate all you want, why not try some real world measurements? You keep bringing out the literature, which ain't real world... They assume a static (and low) humidity which drastically affects performance. Do you HAVE a heat pump? Have you clamped some ammeter leads across their elec supply leads to take readings? I have and do... Constantly, as it's built into my electrical system in my house. (TED, The energy detective google that up).
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    Massachusetts is about 12 degrees colder than Oklahoma during April. The Pentair brochure shows the performance at 60 F, but the humidity also plays an important part in the performance, so that could be part of the difference from the brochure to the real world experiences.

    There will be more heat loss during warm up because the heat pump is quite a bit slower. Gas heaters are not 100 % efficient, so that has to be accounted for. If 1 Therm of gas costs $1.00, and the heater is 85 % efficient, then the real cost is closer to $1.18 per Therm.

    I've had high humidity, and low humidity. 60 degrees and 85 degrees. Real world experience over 4 years shows me that they do well above 67 degrees or so. If it's raining, eve at 70 degrees, you might as well turn it off.


    FWIW, my Lo nox hayward propane heater is over 90% efficient that I can tell. New heaters are more efficient than they used to be. All that said, i like my heat pump ok. Since I have propane, it does save me money. But, they are not the panecia the sale people make them out to be, no way. Maybe in south florida And if i had NG, I wouldnt have one at all.

    Like Lershac said, check you gas rates. I lived in OKC for nearly 30 years, gas is cheap as heck.
    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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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Just for you JamesW...
    entergy nat gas rates.

    Careful next time you imply someone is not being truthful.

    The way I calculate my actual rate is to just take the amount I PAY, and divide that by the # of therms delivered. That gives me a better idea of what I am actually paying, because of all the govt fees and taxes. It better reflects reality...

    And the heat losses during the (long) heat up with a HP are significant in relation to the amount of heat you are pumping into the pool.

    I think heat pumps have their place, obviously since I bought one, and use it, and am happy with it... but for me its better to use the NG to get the temp where I want it quick, use the heat pump to maintain it, and of course use the cooling properties of the HP in the heat of the summer.

    My message to anyone considering purchasing one is to discount anything a salesman tells you, and take into account the real-world inefficiencies. Talk to real owners, and look at their power bills.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Solution - Dual heaters! One for early/late season, one for mid season if needed. I have Pentair Mastertemp 400HD that I got a steal on and a Summit 8TA. Best of both worlds.

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    Re: Pentair Heat Pumps - Reliable?

    Quote Originally Posted by thadius65
    Solution - Dual heaters! One for early/late season, one for mid season if needed. I have Pentair Mastertemp 400HD that I got a steal on and a Summit 8TA. Best of both worlds.
    I have both LP and a heat pump. Lot of expense up front, but really nice to have.
    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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