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Thread: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

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    Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    I'm looking for advice on heating my pool and am considering a heat pump or a solar panel system. We live in southwest Connecticut, and do not have natural gas, and propane seems like it will cost too much.

    The pool is 40x20 rectangle, roughly 33,000 gallons.

    There are some tall trees near the pool which keep it about 50% shaded, especially in the late summer. We do not use a solar cover, as we feel it is a safety hazard with young children, but we do use Solar Sun Rings, which cover about 60-75% of the surface area. The rings tend to do a pretty nice job, and get the temp up to about 78 (80 if its been really sunny and hot). My wife would like it closer to 85 though.

    We open the pool in mid to late May, with a swimming season from mid-June through August. We would like to a) get the temp up during these 3 months and b) extend the season (ie, start in late May or first week of June and last through 2nd week of Sept).

    We have a large garage/barn not too far from the pool where we could install solar heating panels. The roof is north facing and gets plenty of sun in the summer time. The area where we would put a heat pump is heavily shaded - gets little to no sunlight.

    Also, I likely need to replace my pump. It is old and getting pretty rusty and has a leak. The motor says it is 1.5hp and the AMPS says SF 8.7-7.8/15.6 Volts 208-23/115. I'm pretty sure the plug we go into is 220. Any advice on what to replace it with is welcome.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    This seems to be a case of there are no good options, a north facing roof will cause solar to take a major performance hit (on the order of 50% or worse) even if it does get sunlight the angle is going to be shallow. You really need a southish facing roof to make solar practical, even a west facing roof can be practical with a performance hit, but north generally puts solar out of consideration.
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    Agreed, north facing roof and solar is not a good combo, especially that far north. This looks like a job for a heat pump. Agree that propane will cost quite a bit more.
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    Thanks. So assuming I go with a heat pump, what are my best options for a pump replacement. As I wrote earlier, I currently have an old 1.5 hp single speed pump that is need of replacing. Does a variable speed make sense or should I go with 2 speed.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    What is your electric cost per kW? If it is not pretty high, then the 2-speed make more financial sense.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    Don't even consider a heater until you invest in a solar pool cover. The numbers are absurd unless you cover the pool at night to prevent evaporation cooling. That's the biggest problem with pool heating.


    Inground vinyl pool w/ sand filter, 28000 gallons
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    Either a 2 speed or a variable speed pump will let you run the pump on low while the heat pump is running and save you $$ on pump running cost. Variable speed will give you more control over water flow. My pump is overkill for my pool but I love having full control over the waterflow.
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    Having grown up in CT a solar system alone will not help you much unfortunately.
    Nathan
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    I'm getting closer to going with a heat pump. On the regular pool pump, it looks like a 2 speed, 1.5 hp is the way to go (electrical costs are .15/kwh all in). I use solar discs which cover 70-80 % of the pool, so that will at least help with heat loss. (Also, my wife if pregnant with twins, and she will get what she wants this summer...).

    Any advice on what size heat pump I need and what brand to go with?

    During mid-June, July, and early August, the temp with the solar discs gets up to 78-80, so I need it for about 5 degrees of boost. Prior to mid-June, it will be mostly the other (already existing 3) kids swimming, and they don't care how cold it is - so i'm not too worried about heating it then. I've seen posts saying that the best option is to get as many BTU's as you can afford - my thought process is a bit different - get enough to suit my needs but not more.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    Your pool is big, get a 125k to 140k btu.

    Please update your signature with your pool info as shown here.
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    Ukie's Avatar
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    Re: Heat Pump vs. Solar Heating Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by igraham View Post
    I'm getting closer to going with a heat pump. On the regular pool pump, it looks like a 2 speed, 1.5 hp is the way to go (electrical costs are .15/kwh all in). I use solar discs which cover 70-80 % of the pool, so that will at least help with heat loss. (Also, my wife if pregnant with twins, and she will get what she wants this summer...).

    Any advice on what size heat pump I need and what brand to go with?

    During mid-June, July, and early August, the temp with the solar discs gets up to 78-80, so I need it for about 5 degrees of boost. Prior to mid-June, it will be mostly the other (already existing 3) kids swimming, and they don't care how cold it is - so i'm not too worried about heating it then. I've seen posts saying that the best option is to get as many BTU's as you can afford - my thought process is a bit different - get enough to suit my needs but not more.
    The bigger the better!

    When I was building my pool one of the pool builders told me that BTU doesn't matter, you can run heat pump longer. Now, in two years, after going with another builder and getting properly sized heat bump, I would tell that BTUs really matter. You want to heat your pool in reasonable amount of time. I was able to raise temperature from 66F to 90F in two days (yeah, air temp was at 90th as well)!!! Also solar cover is a must if you want to save on your electric bill.

    Looking at the chart of my heat pump manufacturer, http://www.heatsiphon.com/2006websit.../mainpick.html, you need the largest pump they have, 7HP/135,000 BTU.
    Lagoon shape, 23,600 Gal, steel walls by International Swimming Pools, "ultra-seam" liner by Latham, Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo 3HP Variable Speed Pump, PentAir CCP420 filter, Heat Siphon Z575HP, PentAir IC40 SWG, 2 LED Lights (Pentair Intellibrite 5G, 110V). 4 x 1.5’’return lines, 2 x 2’’skimmer lines, 1.5’’ waterfall line. All plumbing is "TigerFlex" pipe, all lines plumbed individually. Deck: travertine glued over concrete.

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