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Thread: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

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    yellow12's Avatar
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    Red face What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    My husband and I have not agreed on what type and size of heat pump to install on our pool built last year. We live in Vail, AZ and the pool only receives morning to 3pm sun, then it is shaded as the sun hits the front of our house. I was cold last summer swimming and would really like it to be warmer and extend the season to at least March thru October. Temps in March can be in the 40's at night and up to 90 in day. I did get a solar cover. The builder plumbed the equipment to receive a heat pump and also a solar panel. The size pool is partially free form. my measurements 24 max size including the large 1 ft lagoonx38. My husband measures 18x34 (swimming area) and the depth goes from 3.5 to 7ft, but my husband says 6 ft. The builder said 25,000 gallons, but my husband says more like 20,000 gallons. I do think it is not "really" 25,000 either, but maybe 23,000? I was looking at an icebreaker unit BTU150,000 gulfstream, but he says a 90,000 BTU unit is more like what we need. He says I am overdoing it, but I am afraid to under do it. Do we need an icebreaker in AZ? I really don't see us having the cool the pool off during use. We did have to living in Phoenix. We also have 3 bubblers, 4 deck jets and 3 sheer descents that cool it off just fine. It's just too chilly for me to enjoy. I am afraid to pull the trigger on this part. We had a heat pump in Pa and loved it. I shy away from gas even though the line needed is within feet of the meter. I heard that operational cost is extreme and my husband would flip over $$$ monthly bills vs spending a little more on a heat pump in the beginning. I got a quote once on a solar panel and they wanted 6K which seemed like a lot for what it does and how long it works in a season. Would like a little more control over it. Any advice or comments are welcome. positive or negative. Thank you!
    22x38 with 3 sheer descents, 18" back wall, 4 deck jets, 3 bubblers in lagoon
    25,000 gallons, Standard White Plaster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge Filter Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair Intellibrite LED light
    Circupool Salt System, Polaris-Caretaker 8-port Ultra Flex In-floor Cleaning System
    (Tucson AZ area:Vail)

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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    Frankly, I would start with the solar. I would go get at least three bids and see what you get.

    I'm not the heat pump vs gas heat expert but you need to understand heat pumps are not something you just have on for a little while to bump it up. Thats what a gas heater does. Heat pumps slowly get it up and hold it. That probably would work for you.

    Just hang on someone who knows this will come along and be more helpful
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    I'm not an expert so one will correct me here if I am wrong, but in AZ I would think a heat pump would be less efficient due to low humidity, while the number of sunny days would work in favor of solar.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    Only indoor humidity is a factor for HVAC efficiency. I agree that solar is probably a good option. For heat pumps or for gas heaters it will take the same amount of of energy to heat a pool from xx temp to xx temp no matter the size of the heater. A bigger heater will just heat it to that point faster.
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    yellow12's Avatar
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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    Thank you all😀 I have a bid coming in a week for solar. I do have an ideal flat roof one story that gets a good Amt of sun. So if i did get a heat pump that was a little smaller, it would just take longer to reach ideal temp. I am ok with that. What is your opinions on used solar heat panels? I see some on Craigslist for a thousand or so. On guy is getting solar for his house and removing the pool one. Yes, we do have low humidity. I was surprised our pool ended up being so cool. I should have set it back from the house more. All that are using it all year are our 🐕 's.

    22x38 with 3 sheer descents, 18" back wall, 4 deck jets, 3 bubblers in lagoon
    25,000 gallons, Standard White Plaster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge Filter Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair Intellibrite LED light
    Circupool Salt System, Polaris-Caretaker 8-port Ultra Flex In-floor Cleaning System
    (Tucson AZ area:Vail)

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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    Some here have done great with used solar panels. You really need a controller like sun touch.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    A couple of thoughts..

    I'm thinking the OP is looking at a HP vs Gas because where they live they are on Propane, which is not as cost effective as NG.


    As far as the solar goes, the best thing is to have the panels at an angle somewhat equal to your latitude, which is probably around 32 degrees, and to have them facing due south if at all possible. It sounds like the rear of your house faces east or southeast if the pool is blocked from the sun by 3pm. You're not only missing out on some pretty decent solar radiation in the afternoon, you live where it is hot and dry which evaporates your pool, cooling it down in the afternoon as it gets heat removed due to evaporation but doesn't get solar radiation to replace the lost heat. I too recommend starting with solar if you'r already plumbed for it but keep in mind this will most likely keep your pool at a more stable temperature in the summer months but not really extend your swim season by too much, IMHO. You'll need an auxiliary HP to do that I think.

    That said, the best production out of our Solar Photo Voltaic system is in March through May, mostly April. I'm not sure if it matters as much on heating water but the issue is that the panels and micro-inverters get too hot in the summer to work at maximum efficiency. In the Spring on the other hand, there's adequate solar radiation but not quite as much heat so they run at full capacity. As a matter of fact, some days in April it'll hit transformer capacity and flatten the production curve for about 90 minutes. Cost-wise this is fine as the value of the lost power is much less than the cost of going to a larger micro-inverter.

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    yellow12's Avatar
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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    Wow, thank you. It does explain my pool issues. I never though it would be too cool in the desert, but loosing that afternoon sun makes a huge difference. What is a good range on solar costs? 6K seems high. Thanks, wendy
    22x38 with 3 sheer descents, 18" back wall, 4 deck jets, 3 bubblers in lagoon
    25,000 gallons, Standard White Plaster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge Filter Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair Intellibrite LED light
    Circupool Salt System, Polaris-Caretaker 8-port Ultra Flex In-floor Cleaning System
    (Tucson AZ area:Vail)

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    Re: What kind of Heat pump do I get near Tucson, AZ at 3,500 elevation in Vail?

    6K for a professionally installed solar pool system doesn't seem too far off. The higher end panels can be 3-500 dollars for each panel. For a pool your size they would probably be installing quite a few panels. Then when you tack on all the plumbing, valves, and control system it starts to add up. Solar is often the most expensive in up front cost but you don't have any utility bills down the road.

    A heat pump is generally the second most expensive option for installation costs. You get the honor of having a higher electric bill also.

    Gas generally is the least expensive upfront cost. Cost to operate gas especially if its propane can be very high depending on how the heater is used.

    Keep that solar cover on your pool as much as you can when you aren't using it. In your location with the dry air you have I'd bet you can see some pretty high evaporation rates from your pool.
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