Heat Pump vs Gas Heater in Southern Ohio?

wgipe

Active member
Jul 4, 2020
26
Fletcher, OH
Hi everyone. We're building a new 18x36 (20k gallons) sport pool, and I'm waffling back and forth between a heat pump and gas heater. We are on propane, and already have a 500-gal buried LP tank, so getting propane to the heater wouldn't be an issue. In either case, we will have an automatic cover to control heat/evap loss.

My goal is to be able to swim from May - October, and I am concerned that a heat pump will not be able to accomplish that. I know it would be far less costly to operate, so I'm in a bit of a quandary. I don't want to spend the money each year on LP if not required, but also don't want to cheap out and regret it. Is anyone using a heat pump in southern Ohio or a similar climate? If so, are you happy with it? Does it allow you to extend the season at all? Has anyone tried one of the newer hybrid gas/heat pump units? I'd love any input you have!

Thanks in advance,
Wes
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,379
NY
Hey W and welcome !!
I know it would be far less costly to operate, so I'm in a bit of a quandary
The heat pump is only cheaper to operate when it’s the warm part of the season. Early and late it runs more often to keep up (1/3 the BTUs equals 3X the run time) and costs that much more to do so. It needs to remain on throughout the cool part because if it drops too far it can’t catch up. The gas heater can heat the pool fast enough that you can shut it off for a week depending on your schedule and the weather. It really shines as an on demand heater. If you need it you need it and then you pay for what you use. The heat pump will cost you whether you get to swim or not.

During the summer you won’t need all those gas heater BTUs so the heat pump translates into savings when you make an already warm pool even warmer.

Another part of the equation is if either gas or electric happens to be particularly cheap by you, you will care less if you are wasting it.

Either way the auto cover will help alot.
 

Awilli8203

Active member
Sep 7, 2012
44
Pittsburgh
I live in pittsburgh. And had a heat pump for 4 years. It takes way too long to heat the water and does not work well when the nights get cool. I switched to a gas heater and there is a world of difference. The gas heater can raise the tempeture 2 to 3 degree per hour and I can start it the day i need it for a pool party.
 

wgipe

Active member
Jul 4, 2020
26
Fletcher, OH
I live in pittsburgh. And had a heat pump for 4 years. It takes way too long to heat the water and does not work well when the nights get cool. I switched to a gas heater and there is a world of difference. The gas heater can raise the tempeture 2 to 3 degree per hour and I can start it the day i need it for a pool party.
Thanks! That's exactly my concern. Do yo mind if I ask the heater size, pool size in gallons, and what you would estimate you pay for gas per year? I know there are lots of variables; just trying to get some sort of idea.

Thanks!

Wes
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,379
NY
While you wait for Awillie, I am due East of you with the same climate. I have a 35k gallon pool and a 120k heat pump. The weather really dictates how long it works, but on mild years it did work better/longer. The cooler months used between $300 and $500 in electricity depending on how cool it was. Those rough costs were with the pool covered. It was almost double that without the cover, which made us promptly get a cover. :)
 

wgipe

Active member
Jul 4, 2020
26
Fletcher, OH
While you wait for Awillie, I am due East of you with the same climate. I have a 35k gallon pool and a 120k heat pump. The weather really dictates how long it works, but on mild years it did work better/longer. The cooler months used between $300 and $500 in electricity depending on how cool it was. Those rough costs were with the pool covered. It was almost double that without the cover, which made us promptly get a cover. :)
Ouch! Yeah - we went directly to a cover for sure. Seems like it's a no-brainer in our climate. Thanks for the input!
 
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Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
9,942
Eastern Ohio
I’m on the West Virginia/Ohio border and have used a heat pump for roughly 5 years now. If I had to select I’d go the following,
  1. Natural Gas
  2. Heat Pump
  3. Solar
  4. Propane
By far natural gas offers the best of both worlds, it’s cheap and quick. That said, it’s not an option here. While it’s true heat pumps do in fact struggle in colder weather like in early May the savings IMHO far outweigh the convince. I would greatly suspect the cost for propane would be so high to initially heat up the pool you’re not gonna want to use it, but that is just an opinion. I used to have a formula to determine exact costs but for the life of me I cannot find it now.

That said, take a look at my logs in PoolMath. You’ll see early May this year we were in the 80°’s. Right now, almost 90° 😅
 

Awilli8203

Active member
Sep 7, 2012
44
Pittsburgh
Thanks! That's exactly my concern. Do yo mind if I ask the heater size, pool size in gallons, and what you would estimate you pay for gas per year? I know there are lots of variables; just trying to get some sort of idea.

Thanks!

Wes
Hi. My Heater is a Jandy Pro Series JXI 260,000 BTU. I believe it is over sized for my pool of about 13,500 gallons which is what I wanted. I couldn’t break out the gas cost of the heater from everything on my bill.