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Thread: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

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    heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    Would a regular home water heater from home depot 50gal work to heat my above ground pool about 4000gallon pool? The water heater would be set up just for the pool. I live in south Texas and would like to use the pool year round. winter is not very cold but cold enough to be unpleasant if the water is not heated somewhat. Swimming pool water heaters are out of my price range.
    28K gal???? (Differing #'s from the water guy and what our blueprints say, so not sure what to believe)
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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    I don't know, traditional pool heaters give you "on demand" heat and cycles the water in real time, whereas a traditional hot water tank generally stores water and heats it for dispersed use over time, a traditional tank isn't meant to generate on demand heat in the same way a pool heater does, once you use all the hot water you have to give the tank time to heat another "X" many gallons.

    What about solar heat panels and a solar blanket, that's made a big difference on my pool.
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    No a water heater won't work. It won't heat fast enough to combat the loss in the pool.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    A resistive electric heater will also cost a fortune to operate. Swimming pools require a tremendous amount of heat, spring and fall pool heating can easily use more energy to heat than your entire home uses in the middle of the winter.

    If you have somewhere to put the panels, solar panels are the most cost effective kind of pool heating.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    What about a tankless water heater? on the issue of heat panels and solar blanket: how much of a difference will it make? say the water temp is naturally 60 degrees?
    28K gal???? (Differing #'s from the water guy and what our blueprints say, so not sure what to believe)
    Inground vinyl
    1HP Hayward pump
    525 sqft 150 GPM Hayward cartridge filter
    Up and running July 30/2012

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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    A water heater, tankless or not, will require a second or perhaps third source of income.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    A water heater, tankless or not, will require a second or perhaps third source of income.
    Not to mention some serious amperage to run. You are talking some expensive electrical work (unless you put it near a panel)

    Tankless are rated on how both volume (gal / min) and temperature rise (delta T). Tankless are also becomming very complicated - as in you need to plug in a laptop with diagnostic software in order to optimize the unit.

    I am going to convert from electric hot water to gas (for my house) when my current water heater dies. I has looked into tankless, but they can be very expensive.

    Solar cover, solar panels - a lot cheaper for a pool


    -dave
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    If you have access to natural gas, a gas pool heater for the size of your pool would be realtively cheap and very effective.
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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    My best day of heat this year is + 10 degrees in one day, without the panels I'd max out at 5 and even that was hard to reach and I have good sun exposure and use the solar cover every night.
    Last year it was agony trying to reach the low 80's and this year it's been no problem, there's been days where I've turned the panels off because it was getting too warm so we could have probably gotten in low 90's and that's pretty good for northern Ontario.
    Granted, we've had an exceptionally hot summer and you do need sufficient sun exposure. We get full sun until 7-8pm, although our panels face west so it's less than optimum in that regard.

    Not sure of your pool size but if it's 12' a 2'X20' panel should get you some bang for you buck. There's upfront costs but after that it's all free heat, plus you can add additional panels, 4'X20' should be lots.
    Seriously, my install was 2X4'X20' panels, hard plumbed on my garage with around 50-60 feet of PVC, it was a fair sized job and I don't regret one big, there's been no complaining of a cold pool and I don't feel the stress of people not enjoying their swim time.

    Just a suggestion.
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    I think some math is called for.

    Adding one BTU will heat one pound of water one degree F.
    One gallon weighs about 8 pounds.
    About 95% of the heat lost in a vessel of water is lost off the surface due to evaporative losses. Heat rises, remember.

    My pool is about 25,000 gallons. That puts its weight at about 200,000 pounds. To raise the temperature on degree Fahrenheit, I would need 200,000 BTUs plus however much the loss is.

    A hot water heater is about 20,000 BTUs.

    A gas fired pool heater is a big tankless heater.

    A heat pump is essentially a reverse cycle air conditioner. It draws heat from the air and injects the heat into the pool water. The air it exhausts is cooler than what it took in. They take about 40 amps to start and run using about 30 once they get going. Residential units are typically limited to 150,000 BTUs. It would take well over an hour to heat my pool one degree. While the can be very efficient, they cost more and if you don't have the available amps, you'll need a service upgrade, a rather large expense.

    In most areas, natural gas is far less expensive than propane. In Southern California where power is expensive, it can even be more cost effective than a heat pump.

    Gas fired heaters need to be supplied gas. Natural gas meters are not normally big enough for new installs. Some gas companies charge for the upgraded meter and some don't. Propane tanks are usually rented. They need to be no more 150' from where the truck that fills them is. Fortunately, my driveway is concrete and the truck can drive up to within range.

    Scott
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    id like to add an electric hot water heater. all i need to do is heat the water 5 or 6 degrees F. i have 7,500 gall pool.
    or 60,000 BTU's to heat it 1 F.
    it only gets cold down to 65 F but 85 during the day ... so the water ends up around 70 F mean ave.
    id like to get it up to 80 F.
    if i put an ordinary hot water heater ( used with solar panels)
    Would it eventually get it to 80 F ?
    would an ordinary hot water heater corrode too quickly ?

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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    so to get to 80 F., you would need 600,000 btu's. That is not within the capability of a residential hot water heater.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    1.5 kilowatts = 5,000 btu's more or less . so to raise it 1 degree, could it do it in 6 hours one day and then by the weeks end 30 hours later, 5 degrees and then hold it to that, could it do it without killing it?
    or is heat evaporation faster than it can generate?

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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    depends on some variables but likely you could not raise the temp significantly and would need a gov't loan to pay the electric bill.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    Since I am about the only one stupid enough to heat an AGP with resistive heat, let me add my two cents......insulation.

    Everyone is correct that any type of ordinary domestic water heater will not heat any sized AGP worth a **** unless the sides are insulated and then and only then if foam insulation is floating on top of the water...mainly to prevent heat loss through the top of the pool. How do you say I know this? Well been there done that......started with a small Intex kiddie pool, used separate pump and point of use water heater. As soon as you uncovered the pool, the heat loss would start to show within 10 minutes. Could not and would not keep up with the heat loss. Used non-contact thermometers all around the pool trying to cut heat losses.

    I now have a 14 foot Intex Ultra Frame pool with one inch of the rigid blue foam I got from lowes. Bottom, top and sides all have one inch on them. I take the top insulation off and store the pieces in a handly PVC storage rack I built so it won't blow around. Basically the pool is covered unless I am using it. It takes very, very little energy to keep the pool heated this way. I have the Little Giant 11KW pool heater. Yes you can see from the usage diagram the electric company sends out when the pool is open and used, particularly when it's warm to cool outside and heating is needed. This year I went from 24/7 pump operation to around 8 hours a day. Since I am covered, I could do even less than that.

    Now that it's very, VERY cold down here I did notice as I finally decided to lower the temp on the pool (no fun to get out of a nice warm pool only to step on a frozen patio) that I lost 16 degrees of temp from last wed night at 7pm to friday night at 7pm. It was below freezing most if not all that time. Insulation works.

    And for the record, the regular solar cover or 1/2 inch of blue insulation will still allow a great amount of heat to leave your pool. Only when I went to 1" did the heat loss basically go to nothing. Use a non contact thermometer and you can see what I mean.

    So if you are not going to go to the extremes like I did to cut heat loss, you HAVE to use a natural gas/lp pool heater or heat pump pool heater to do any good. There is just not enough BTU's with an ordinary hot water heater or point of use heater. I went resistive because I didn't think I would have a pool much over a year or two (which is now 4), and if I go bigger, then I will dig the trench and install the gas line for the big natural gas heater. To keep myself from going broke, I insulated the pool, something some if not all of you wouldn't undertake.

    Finally, we were out in the pool a couple of weeks ago, but here in Oklahoma, wind is our biggest enemy. The pool was nice, everything was great except for the cooling effect of the wind. It can be cold or cool here and getting out of the pool with no wind is tolerable. My pool is more like a giant hot tub more than a swimming pool.

    Bob E.

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    Re: heating pool with Home Depot electric water heater?

    Great post, safetybob. Real world experience beats everything else!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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