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Thread: Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

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    Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

    First off hello, newly joined up, but have been reading the site for awhile.

    My question is regarding using a heat pump in a cooler climate, specifically near Toronto, Canada. I have been reading extensively about this, and it seems like there is a great deal of conflicting information about using a heat pump in these parts.

    I purchased a house with a pool last year, and this year want to install a heater. The pool had an electrical heater already that doesn't work. Now I am looking at a heat pump as I can simply replace the unit that is already there with a new unit. I have had an electrician by already so I am confident that the set up is fine. To install a gas heater, I will have to run a gas line 35 feet as the meter and the pool equipment are on opposite ends of the house and if going through the house, will have to rip out a fair bit of finished drywall ceiling.

    I am siding on the heat pump as the option. I also plan on setting the temperature and leaving it from mid May until mid September, with a solar blanket.

    So does anyone else have experience running a heat pump in Canada, or the northern states? Will it work given these conditions?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    I have got my doubts ... once the air temp is below 60 degrees of so, they just do not add very much heat to the water. They are also slow to heat (although looks like you would leave it on all the time).

    As long as you have reasonable expectations and not trying to heat the water quickly in the spring/fall it might work.

    Hopefully, people with some experience will chime in.

    If you are only looking at increasing the water temp a bit in the summer, have you considered just getting solar panels?
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    Re: Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

    Thanks, it seems like there is a wealth of knowledge here.

    I am not interested in solar, if for no other reason then I am dead set against putting holes in the roof. So, based on that premise, solar is out.

    I am looking for a little bump during the summer when there is an extended cold period, but I am interested in using the pool in the early and late parts of summer (late may, early September). We tend to use the pool throughout the week and weekend, so I like the idea of setting it at one temperature and leaving it.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

    I think you will be fine raising the pool temperature in the summer with a heat pump, but extending the swimming season into September is going to be rather weather dependent.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

    I will preface my comment with the fact I can only give you my experience with Pentairs heat pumps and the fact I am south of your location. I have one customer that opens his pool in mid March and turns his heat pump on and can't figure out why it doesn't warm up. When ambient air temps drop below 60 degrees F at some point the compressor will safety out as the unit can not pull heat and transfer it to the water. When this happens the cooling fan for the unit remains running so any heat transferred is lost to cool air being pulled across a non heating heat exchanger. You will want some sort of cover over the pool to help keep what heat you can gain in the pool. I am glad to answer your questions if you have any others.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
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    Re: Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

    So, if I can understand this correctly, a heat pump is not effective unless it is 60 F or above? Many of the information manuals i have been reading of various manufacturers indicated that if it has a defroster, it can heat down to 42-45 F (although less efficiently than when it is a higher temperature). You can see my confusion then.

    There seems to be a number of Canadians using heat pumps when I searched the forums (from older posts mind you), but i would think that if these limitations are at 60F, then the heat pump isn't a viable option in this climate.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pumps in Cooler Climates (Canada)

    There is no specific cutoff. The colder the air temperature the less heat you get out of a heat pump, while spending a constant amount of electricity regardless. The theoretical limit is quite low, you can get just a little heat out of heat pump even if the air is quite cold (at least as long as the heat pump doesn't get covered with frost). However in practice you don't get useful amounts of heat out below about 60 degrees. You still get some heat, but not enough to justify the electricity you are spending to keep the unit running.

    There exist super high efficiency heat pumps that are still somewhat useful down to 40 degrees or so, but I have only seen them sold for home heating and not swimming pool use.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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