I have an older 35K in-ground concrete pool in Bethesda, Maryland, and *all* of the pool equipment is in our main utility room in the lower level of the house. While this is very convenient when the weather is bad, I have nightmares involving 35,000 gallons of water in the rec room. We're often away on travel, which makes this more worrisome... so we have decided to move everything up and out to an area behind the pool, and modernize a few things while we're at it.
The pool heater is an old Lochinvar oil burner hot water heater that was converted from home hot water -- it was part of the original pool installation, and still works perfectly even though quite old. It's rated at 100,000 BTU and has a recovery rating of 125 gallons/hour (temperature raised 100F).
This is the very last oil burning device remaining in the home, and I would like to get rid of the oil tank entirely. We do not have a gas line and we are in the middle of 6 acres, so don't have that as an option. I could have a propane tank installed (big pain) or I could convert to a heat pump.
I like to keep the pool open well into November, and when the nights get cold I bring the pool up to 90 F -- which means the heater is running most of the time. However, it does manage to keep up and I've proven that it can maintain the temp up to 95 or so even when there is snowfall.
So here's my question: given that I am satisfied with the heating performance of my current ancient and obviously inefficient oil heater, will I be equally satisfied with the performance of a heat pump with the same BTU rating? Will I be switching the heat pump to "emergency heat" mode as soon as the weather gets cold, and if so, will that be a problem? The BTU rating on an oil burner heater is a deterministic indicator of exactly how much heat the thing will add to the water flowing through it, 24x7 x365, as long as I give it oil -- but a BTU rating on a heat pump can't possibly have the same meaning, because there have to be environmental dependencies. Basically I'd like to keep swimming in a toasty pool in the snow
Can anybody help me think about this and make a good choice of equipment? Thanks in advance!!