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Thread: Heater recommendations for our situation

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    Heater recommendations for our situation

    We are in the NW FLorida Panhandle (Destin), and are planning to replace our Tropical/Aquacal T-115B-A Scroll Compressor Heat Pump bought in 1999. Overall, this has been a very good and largely trouble-free unit, but we do like to swim in 90 - 94 degree water and this heat pump generally achieves that from about mid-March until late October. Ideally, I'd like to squeeze out another month on each end and get up to a 9 1/2 to 10 month swim season. During those 4 1/2 shoulder months, average highs drop from approx 70 - 75 to approx 55 - 60 and average lows are generally low 60s down to the 40s and sometimes 30s.

    I've read about icebreaker technology on the Aquacals and have wondered if those or similar units would provide the additional power and/or operability in the cooler seasons to heat our 7800 gallon pool (12 x 24 kidney shape, 3 to 6 feet deep) at temps of at least 90. We shut it off for the season when the pool can no longer maintain a temp in the low 90s as the air cools.

    Does anyone have recommendations that would best fit? An oversized heater is fine as well, assuming it will heat more quickly and/or supply additional power versus other models as the air cools.

    Optionally, we can also use natural gas, but I have always presumed this would be too expensive. Is this correct? We do NOT usually use a pool cover from April/May - September, but generally use one during the early and latter portions of the season to assist the heater and reduce excessive costs.

    Thanks,
    Ross

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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: Heater recommendations for our situation

    Greatly depends on your natural gas prices. Do you know what you pay for natural gas?

    Would you be prepared to spend what it would take to bring gas at the pressure/supply size needed to your pool pad? (this can be a couple of thousand on top of the heater costs).

    I am not sure ANY heat pump is going to work very well at the lower ambient temperatures you gave us, but buy the bigest if you are buying a heat pump.

    EDIT: One thought... if the old heat pump still works... BUY ANOTHER and run em in tandem. That will certainly help.
    (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: Heater recommendations for our situation

    In your situation, a dual heater setup might be a good idea. If you had a heat pump, and a natural gas heater, then you could use the heat pump during the warmer times and then switch to natural gas as needed.

    Alternatively, a geothermal heat pump might be a worthwhile investment.

    A dual-fuel heat pump is an electric heat pump that uses an integrated gas heater as a backup.

    I think that there are heat pumps that can pull heat from the air or the ground depending on which is warmer.

    Your HVAC contractor should be able to evaluate your situation to give you the best options.

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    Re: Heater recommendations for our situation

    Our cost for gas + distribution per therm in dollars is:
    COST OF GAS 0.4500 EA
    DISTRIB CHG 0.4898 EA
    Total: 0.9398 per therm

    Our cost for electric per kWh in dollars is:
    Energy Charge 0.06207
    Fuel Charge 0.04969
    Total 0.11176 per kWh

    Both of these omit the fixed fee for service.

    I hadn't considered a dual unit. Our current heat pump operates, but not consistently...both thermostat controls (pool/spa (we don't have a spa)) operate sporadically, sometimes too long and sometimes too short, regardless of temp setting, and we haven't been able to find someone who can fix it. Given the age and that it is beginning to corrode considerably, we figure it is time for replacement. As we are about half a mile from the gulf, a/c and heater units outdoors tend to corrode quicker than normal...7 - 10 years on average. This one is actually 13 years old now.

    We do have a tap for gas that's used for a grill...no doubt if we did use natural gas, that would have to be extended...probably about 30 - 40 feet depending on how they would run it. If that pipe did not deliver enough, I'd have to see if it would be worth using natural gas, but I had thought it was prohibitively expensive. Running our A/C and pool in the spring and summer usually add about $250/mo to our average winter utilities, but I don't know what proportion of the increase is A/C to pool.

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    Brentr's Avatar
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    Re: Heater recommendations for our situation

    Your present unit is 13 years old. The newer heat pumps are much more energy efficient so by replacing it with the biggest unit you can afford will definitely save you on electricity and heat your pool faster. Aquacal sq175 puts out 143,000 btu and our Heat Siphon puts out 109,000 btu. I added solar and use it as the primary heating source. I use my heat pump to supplement heat when needed. I am happy to see other people liking a warm pool. We keep ours between 88 - 92 degrees, however I have never tried to attain those temps in December and January as the outside air is generally too cool for the heat pump. Our pool will get to 86 degrees today just using solar. My heat pump will increase 1 degree every 28mins so in one hour it should be 88 degrees. I also have a solar cover. Hope this helps
    6,000 gal, IG free form,Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish,Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues,Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump,Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15,Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers,Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Pentair IntelliBrite, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer Our New Poolbuild, Jacksonville, FL yr 2009 Solar install Outdoor kitchen upgrade

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    Re: Heater recommendations for our situation

    Thanks for your reply, Brentr. Yes, sometimes we get flack for the warm pool temperatures, but as you know, what many people don't realize is how quickly the body loses heat in water as compared to air...given that we swim in the evening rather frequently, it has proven over the years to be an optimal temperature range...sometimes a bit warm in the dead of summer, but we just tweak it down a bit. In the last two years though, since the thermostats became unreliable, it will sometimes go up to 98 - 100 or just shut off in the mid-80s regardless of temp setting. We haven't been able to find service people that can FIX parts on a heat pump, but given the age we decided we should replace it and try to further extend the swim season a bit more.

    I'll look at the sq175...we haven't looked at solar panels due to HOA approvals and a less-than-optimal directional facing for solar, or so I believe.

    Ross

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    Brentr's Avatar
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    Re: Heater recommendations for our situation

    Ross, I would also look at this site http://www.poolheatpumps.com/Heatsiphon.htm
    Ask for Marc Miller, he was very helpful and I feel as if he steered me in the right direction. I also think if you become a Lifetime TFP member you will be eligible for further discounting. Hope this helps
    6,000 gal, IG free form,Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish,Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues,Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump,Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15,Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers,Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Pentair IntelliBrite, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer Our New Poolbuild, Jacksonville, FL yr 2009 Solar install Outdoor kitchen upgrade

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    Re: Heater recommendations for our situation

    Ross, the Ice Breaker will work down to cooler air tempertures (down into the mid 20's ambient air temperature). The SQ175 will work down into the low 40's ambient air temperature.

    Needless to ask, are you using a solar cover on your pool overnight? It greatly helps reduce heat loss overnight.
    Sean Assam - Sean@teamhorner.com
    National Accounts and Commercial Products Manager
    AquaCal Heat Pumps www.aquacal.com
    AutoPilot Salt Chlorine Generators www.autopilot.com

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    Re: Heater recommendations for our situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Poolsean
    Ross, the Ice Breaker will work down to cooler air tempertures (down into the mid 20's ambient air temperature). The SQ175 will work down into the low 40's ambient air temperature.

    Needless to ask, are you using a solar cover on your pool overnight? It greatly helps reduce heat loss overnight.
    Admittedly, we only use a solar cover during the shoulder seasons. Even though it saves money as well during the hotter months, we use the pool frequently enough that the cover just doesn't get used regularly, particularly by the kids. Thus, we usually wheel away the cover after the first month or two and bring it back for the last month of our current 7 1/2 month season.

    Not economical...but realistic.

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    phipsi1237's Avatar
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    Heater recommendations for our situation

    Quote Originally Posted by mindsignals
    We do have a tap for gas that's used for a grill...no doubt if we did use natural gas, that would have to be extended...probably about 30 - 40 feet depending on how they would run it. If that pipe did not deliver enough, I'd have to see if it would be worth using natural gas, but I had thought it was prohibitively expensive .
    I'm going to guess that the pipe for the grill isn't large enough. I would think you would need a 2" pipe to have enough volume for the heater. By no means an expert though though.
    14.5K gal Plaster IGP, Intelliflo VS, EasyTouch 8, SWG, IntellipH, Clear and Clean 420 Cartridge Filter, Attached Spa, H400IDL2 NG Heater

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