Anyone have both a gas heater and a heat pump?

voltrons_head

Active member
Aug 2, 2015
25
Philadelphia, PA
I have a 30K+ gallon pool with a poolside spa. As such, I have a propane heater for quickly heating my spa. The propane heater works well for the pool too adding about 2 degrees per hour so I can get it to 85 or so degrees where we like it.

This method does require a bit of planning ahead since the pool isn't always warm especially early and late in the season. Has anyone tried having both a heat pump and gas heater? I'd really like to keep my pool heated all the time so I didn't have to plan ahead to swim. Would be nice to get home from work and know the pool is already heated.

Has anyone here done this before? Thoughts?
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,185
Bangor Maine
A heat pump will only work well when the ambient air temperature is above 60 degrees, while they can try to maintain a set temperature they are always hindered by wind and the type of day. Are you using a solar blanket religiously?
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,408
FL panhandle
We had solar panels, heat pump and a solar cover for our Texas pool and a gas heater for our Florida pool. Solar did most of the work to keep the pool warm all the time and the heat pump helped out on rainy, cloudy or colder days. Even though it is warmer in Florida and the pool is about half as big it costs quite a bit more to heat with gas and no solar cover than it cost in texas to heat with solar, heat pump and a cover. When we get settled in Florida we will get a solar cover and install solar panels. Would definitely consider adding a small heat pump if solar isnt able to keep the pool warm enough but I expect we will be able to instal enough solar panels to keep up.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,851
Northern NJ
A heat pump will only work well when the ambient air temperature is above 60 degrees, while they can try to maintain a set temperature they are always hindered by wind and the type of day. Are you using a solar blanket religiously?
Heat pumps work ok down to 50 degrees.


A few folks here have recently discussed using a Pentair Mastertemp gas heater and a HP together.

@MyAZPool do you remember the thread where you figured out how two heaters would work with the Intellicenter?
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
988
Arizona

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
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Aug 10, 2012
25,408
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I felt the same way about solar covers until I got one. We went from starting swimming in mid-may to mid-march. It will eliminate most heat loss from the pool. We cut ours in half to make It easier to handle and ultimately cut one half in half again for quick and easy dips in the pool.
 
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PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,083
Connecticut
Easy to spend somebody else’s money!!

I have several of these new units in the field.
I also have many HP & Gas tandem systems.

These are “deep pocket” pools, but one two punch performance is excellent.
 
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CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
Having two different types of heaters will almost always allow you to keep the pool warmer in a most cost effective manner.

More often than not you see people combine either a gas heater or heat pump with solar panels. Its always cheaper in the long run to use all the free solar heat you can get to keep your pool warm. Solar is also very good at maintaining the pool at a warmer than ambient temp. You can than use your heat pump or gas heater to add more heat when needed.

As poolguy said a gas heater in tandem with a heat pump can be a great way to heat a pool and keep it there but it is not cheap in either equipment cost or utility costs.

While I understand your distaste for solar covers I don't think its a wise thing to do to try and maintain your pool at a warm temp for a long time without using one. The warmer you keep the pool the more money and water you will be wasting every night when the pool cools off though evaporation. The higher the temperature difference between the outside air and the water the faster your heat and water just float away into the air.

Simply using a solar cover will cut your heating bill by 40-70% because the solar cover stops the water from evaporating. I dunno what your financial situation is like and what you consider expensive or extravagant but I could never waste hundreds of dollars a month on a heating bill because I didn't like the way a cover looks. It takes me about 5 minutes to take my cover on and off my pool. Last year my pool was 80F or higher from May 1 to Oct 1 averaged over the season between my heat pump and solar panels it was less than $100 per month to run my pool and that includes chemicals, running the pump, and heating the water.
 
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CountyBumkin

Bronze Supporter
Apr 3, 2016
64
Orlando FL
I had a heat pump and gas heater on my pool. The heat pump was to keep the pool water warm and the gas was for quick heating of the spa.
The heat pump (RayPac) worked well, although I really didn't need to heat the water as much as I needed to cool it and my heat pump did not have a cool mode.

The problem with heating the water is that you have to leave to heat pump and pool pump on continuously (all night). If you shut the pump off at the end of the day your water is cold again by morning and it takes 4 or 5 hours for it to heat up again. In the end the heat pump didn't get used much and the unit eventually rusted out - so I did not replace it.

If I ever replace it, it will be with a cool-only pump or a heat/cool unit.
I'm in FL.
 

jeremycrook

Gold Supporter
Sep 26, 2016
149
OKLAHOMA CITY / OK
I now want to add a NG heater, for the reasons stated above. It works, but I run the pumps 24/7 and I don't use much of the cooling part of the HP. I just doubt I will fork out the money for one, live and learn.
 

scdaren

Bronze Supporter
May 20, 2018
343
Clovis, CA
I'm not using a solar cover. I'd rather not have the hassle or the eyesore of it though Id consider it if I had to.

I totally understand that the heat pump also has limitations.
I have a heat pump on our pool to extend the season. I DID NOT want a solar cover. I RESISTED all advice to get one for almost all of our first season. Until I got tired of paying the electric costs for recouping the night time temperature loss, as it really added up. Especially for us, there are southside trees in my neighbor's yard that started really shading our pool later in the season, and by August we were running the heat pump.

So now I have a solar cover. I hate it. It's annoying. It's ugly. But money is money, and I hate wasting it even more than I hate my solar cover. The cover saves about 3 degrees of heat loss each and every night, which translates to saving 3 hours of heat pump time every day, at about 7.5 kwh per hour (for me that's like $5 per day, or $150 per month). So the solar cover and reel it sits on pays for itself pretty quick.
 
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Tiger275

Gold Supporter
Apr 12, 2015
33
Knoxville, TN
Easy to spend somebody else’s money!!

I have several of these new units in the field.
I also have many HP & Gas tandem systems.

These are “deep pocket” pools, but one two punch performance is excellent.
So can you elaborate on the approximate cost of one of these? How does it compare to the equivalent capacity HP and heater? Seems like it is has a hifher efficiency rating then the other similar sized units at Pentair?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,851
Northern NJ
So can you elaborate on the approximate cost of one of these? How does it compare to the equivalent capacity HP and heater? Seems like it is has a hifher efficiency rating then the other similar sized units at Pentair?
Gas heaters max up to 400K BTU output.

Heat pumps max at 140K BTU output and BTU decline with air temperature and turn off at 50F. See chart below.

So a 400K gas heater can raise water temperature 3X or more faster then a 120K HP. Haps give heat slowly very efficiently.

Heat pumps are more expensive then gas heaters.

 

Tiger275

Gold Supporter
Apr 12, 2015
33
Knoxville, TN
Gas heaters max up to 400K BTU output.
Heat pumps max at 140K BTU output and BTU decline with air temperature and turn off at 50F. See chart below.
So a 400K gas heater can raise water temperature 3X or more faster then a 120K HP. Haps give heat slowly very efficiently.
Heat pumps are more expensive then gas heaters.
Thanks for sharing the info. It is informative and helpful.

tbh, I was already aware of the upper bounds of each type based on research I had already done. I have been researching the topic for a while because I need to do a complete pad redo and one of the areas that continues to throw me into a loop is the heater vs HP debate. I want to extend the season but live in an area where propane is the only gas option and electric is relatively cheap (.11/kwh). So I naturally lean toward a HP. But the idea of being able to use the propane "on occasion" when a quicker heat is needed is very appealing. I have considered a dual device install but obviously the $$ gets stout.

So really, at the end of the day, what I am really interested to know, is how the real world pricing on this combined unit compares to the pricing on similarly sized "separate units". Just to have a basis for comparison.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,851
Northern NJ
.So really, at the end of the day, what I am really interested to know, is how the real world pricing on this combined unit compares to the pricing on similarly sized "separate units". Just to have a basis for comparison.
With just a bit of searching on the net you can find relative pricing for the different units.
 

Tiger275

Gold Supporter
Apr 12, 2015
33
Knoxville, TN
With just a bit of searching on the net you can find relative pricing for the different units.
Thanks for the advice to search the internet...I guess I will have to up my google game because I am not having a lot of luck when looking for the Ultratemp ETI information. But I accept your challenge to try.

Most sites seem to have "call for pricing" or "trade pricing" or similar. I was finally able to locate a site or two with some MSRP style prices so I guess I have a basis to work from. A few phone calls tomorrow and I can get better data. Like I said, I already had a good sense for the normal equipment since those prices are easy to find. I just wasn't having the same luck for the ETI version so I thought I would ask the guy who has done multiple installs and made the "These are “deep pocket” pools" comment.