I am trying to choose a pool heater for next year (live on Long Island NY). My pool is quite shaded, I want it to be 80 degrees from mid april to end September. It ranged only from 55-70 degrees all season .
There is obvious choice of propane gas (i wish natural gas was an option for me) or heat pump, this boils down to cost/benefit. This one is easy to see I don't need more advice on that.
What is out there about choosing pool heaters boils down to these two primary considerations:
The primary complaints about Heat pumps: 1 Heat pumps don't cool well as temps go below 70 degrees outside, 2 they take time to heat up and 3 require a solar cover to really keep temp properly.
The primary complaint about Propane gas heaters: They cost a whole heck of lot more. I did the Aquacal calculator and no question that would be VERY true for me ($3.30 per gal vs $0.09 per kwH).
There is more info I want but haven't been able to find through my searches. It has been really difficult to find info on the more practical aspects running of pool heaters. I'm hoping the wonderful people at TFP can fill in my blanks (you guys really are wonderful!):
The money has me seriously thinking heat pump but it sounds like it would be of limited use exactly when i want it most. However it seems that the first complaint was about "standard" heat pumps and there are newer generation low temp heat pumps that have a defrost cycle to decrease the outside temp at which they work. How much better do these low temp heat pumps work? Will they solve the first problem with heat pumps or are they marginally better so as to not really be worth the added expense (it seems they are a lot more expensive)?
I invested in a programmable energy efficient pump last summer to save electricity (and $$) and run the pump less. When i add the heater will i need to run the pump all day or can heaters circulate the water on their own? How do i integrate heating time and pump running? This feeds into the second problem with heat pumps.
There are different btu outputs of pool heater, how do i figure out what size of heater i shold be looking at? Should i be aiming for a heater that puts out as much heat in as short a timeframe possible to reduce pump run time, or look for lower heat output over longer time frame since i'll need to run the pump anyway? This gets back to the pump run time issue. I haven't found anyone addressing these issues in their heater choices, it would be nice to know if it is something should think about.
I would value any viewpoints or help in finding the info i haven't been able to find.