Heat pump vs gas heater

Ihillman

New member
Jun 3, 2012
2
#1
I would like to know how much money I will save using a heat pump vs gas considering the outlay of 3000 for the heat pimp. Thanks
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
#2
Welcome to TFP!

That depends on a number of things, including your cost for natural gas, your cost for electricity, and how you will use the heater. Heat pumps are good at maintaining a constant water temperature when the day time air temperature is reasonably high. They are not so good at warming up a pool for a swimming on an unusually warm spring or fall weekend when the water temperature is not otherwise being maintained at swimming temperature.
 

Ihillman

New member
Jun 3, 2012
2
#3
Thanks i live in Vancouver where gas is reasonably priced and electricity is getting more expensive. I would use the heat pump from April to October during the day when the weather is 60 degress in April September and October and warmer during June July August
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#4
With 60 weather, I am not sure a heat pump can increase the temp by more than you loose at night in the cooler temps. It could help warm the water on the summer, but I think you will be disappointed with the performance in the shoulder seasons.

Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone :)
 

Poolsean

TFP Expert
Apr 15, 2007
1,462
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
#5
Based on the average air temperatures of Vancouver, you're within the normal operating range for some heat pumps. It is critical for you to use a solar blanket to prevent heat loss overnight. 60 degrees average air temperature is fine. In Washington State (along Puget Sound), with 50 degrees air temps, we were able to maintain 82 degrees water temperature of an indoor 25,000 pool.
http://www.aquacal.com/oce.html here's a sizing link that allows you to enter the operating parameters of your pool to determine how many btus you need. If you know the cost of electricity and gas, you can produce a cost comparison too.
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
3,954
FL
#6
I recently read an article that states electricity is going up in price everywhere. This opens the door for natural gas to be a better energy solution, that is until they decide to raise the cost of it. Keep in mind that a gas pool heater doesn't rely upon the atmosphere conditions in order to operate, heat pumps do and so does solar.

No matter which energy source you use, you will want to make sure you use a solar blanket nightly to keep your heat loss down.
 

Poolsean

TFP Expert
Apr 15, 2007
1,462
Ft Lauderdale, Florida
#7
It's all relative though. The Pacific Northwest uses alot of hydroelectric power, which can drop their electrical rates to $0.045/kw! That's 4 and 1/2 cents per kilowatt! Florida is on average at $0.11/kw. Areas of California can be around $0.28/kw, and UP, depending on a sliding scale usage!
For most of the country, heat pumps will show a significant cost of operation savings, during the normal swim seasons.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
#9
Poolsean said:
In Washington State (along Puget Sound), with 50 degrees air temps, we were able to maintain 82 degrees water temperature of an indoor 25,000 pool.
.
The bolded, underlined word above is key to the results stated.

At 50 degrees ambient, even with a cover, an outdoor pool would not heat much if at all. You would lose more heat than you put in. June-august they work fine, cooler months, not so much. Sure, they can pull heat out of the air, but the BTU output goes so low and the heat loss from the pool negates the effectiveness.
 
Jun 18, 2012
6
#10
I live in Northern Indiana with a 15' pool. 4000 gallons. I have a Hayward 50,000 BTU Heat Pump and a solar cover. I love swimming in 60 degree weather with the pool above 80 degrees. During late spring to early fall, I only run the heat pump 4 hours from 8 am to noon to maintain a pool temp above 85 degrees (into 92 degrees with 90 degree weather). The solar cover holds the heat in throughout the cool nights pretty well. Rarely is the water below 80 degrees even after a 50 degree night when the heat pump starts up in the morning. With the heat pump/solar cover combo, I'm very satisfied. I like the water ideally around 87 degrees.
 

GreatCanadian

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 28, 2011
844
St. John's, Newfoundland
#12
bk406 said:
WaterWiggler said:
I live in Northern Indiana with a 15' pool. 4000 gallons. .

The bolded part above is the key to your success :wink:

You appear to underestimate the effectiveness of a heat pump. He could reasonably use it into September. Late August is a definite. In response to your statement above, if his pool is bigger than 4000 gallons, a 50,000 BTU heat pump will still heat it. And a bigger heat pump is always an option. Noone will argue that a gas heater is a quicker heat, but you can't condemn a heat pump when so many have had great success with them.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
#13
At 50,000 BTU and a pool of say 20,000 gallons, you cant put enough heat in one that size to overcome the heat loss late, or early in the season. Even if you have a 120,000 BTU heat pump, at 40 degrees ambient, you wont get anywhere near 120,000 BTU (or even a fraction of the 50,000 BTU for that matter. So, you still cant put enough heat in to compensate for the loss. If you like your water at 85 plus like me, its going to be tough to make that happen on a normal size pool (>14000-15000 gallons) with 45-50 degree nights and short days. Even if you could, you would need to run the HP and the filter pump 24/7 to try and maintain that temp. At 0.09-10 cents per k/w hour or greater, the savings a heat pump might give you over gas are now negated.
 
Jun 18, 2012
6
#15
bk406 said:
At 50,000 BTU and a pool of say 20,000 gallons, you cant put enough heat in one that size to overcome the heat loss late, or early in the season. Even if you have a 120,000 BTU heat pump, at 40 degrees ambient, you wont get anywhere near 120,000 BTU (or even a fraction of the 50,000 BTU for that matter. So, you still cant put enough heat in to compensate for the loss. If you like your water at 85 plus like me, its going to be tough to make that happen on a normal size pool (>14000-15000 gallons) with 45-50 degree nights and short days. Even if you could, you would need to run the HP and the filter pump 24/7 to try and maintain that temp. At 0.09-10 cents per k/w hour or greater, the savings a heat pump might give you over gas are now negated.
I agree with you both. Bigger isn't always better on the maintenance side of pools and autos. In automobiles, a Ford Fusion will get you from point A to point B much cheaper than an SUV. With the cost of heating the water to a preferable 87 degrees, I sacrificed the size for comfort. So a NG heater in my case was NOT cheaper to run. I can hardly tell a difference in my electric bill during the summer months. They stay right around $90-100 all year round. With that said, Heat Pumps tend to be much more efficient than NG. I've had my heat pump run 2 days straight in late March, with little difference in my electric bill.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
#16
WaterWiggler said:
I've had my heat pump run 2 days straight in late March, with little difference in my electric bill.
I'm sure thats true.

But, if you have to run it 24/7 for a week, it would make a big difference. Which is what you really have to do to even try to keep an 84-85+ pool when the nights get into the high forties to 50's. Typical 100,000 BTU heat pump will pull about 5000 watts per hour. To run that 24/7 at 0.15 cents/kW (thats my rate with tax and delivery charges), thats $18 per day. NG runs about $1.50 a therm including tax, delivery, etc. For a 10,000 gallon pool, it would take 2 hours to put in 10 degrees in with a 400k heater. So it would take 8 therms at $1.50 per therm or $12 to put in that 10 degrees. I could heat that pool with NG 10 degrees every day for a week for $84. If you ran the heat pump even 16 hours a day for a week, it would run you at least $94. In the shoulder seasons, you might well have to run the heat pump close to 24/7 to keep the temp where you want it even if you dont use the pool but 2 times a week. Remember, with a heat pump, it has to run to maintain the temp.

Say you need to heat the pool twice in one week in september. You need to raise the temp 2 times. Each time you raise it 18 degrees. Thats 36 degrees total. With gas at $1.50 per therm, thats ~$45 for that 36 degrees for your 2 swims that week. Compare that to the $94 to run the heat pump.

YMMV with pricing for energy, but NG is that cheap in most places, and unless the electric rates are substantially lower than 0.15 cents (remember to add in the distribution charges, taxes, etc) NG compared to a heat pump is really about the same price or even less in some cases.
I got nothing against a heat pump, i have one. But the only gas i have is propane, which its expensive. So i have a HP too. They do work quite well, but on the ends of the season, not so much. My only gripe with them really is how they are sold as a panecia to all your heating cost issues and none of the downside is presented. As far as those calculators for heating cost go, notice they all are put out, for the most part, by the heat pump folks. And, they do a lousy job, IMO taking into account how one uses the pool.
 
Jun 18, 2012
6
#17
bk406 said:
I got nothing against a heat pump, i have one. But the only gas i have is propane, which its expensive. So i have a HP too. They do work quite well, but on the ends of the season, not so much. My only gripe with them really is how they are sold as a panecia to all your heating cost issues and none of the downside is presented. As far as those calculators for heating cost go, notice they all are put out, for the most part, by the heat pump folks. And, they do a lousy job, IMO taking into account how one uses the pool.
A heat pump "maintains" the pool temperature more efficiently. To allow the water temperature to drop well below 80 degrees will force the heat pump to work much longer. I agree with you that heat pump manufacturers are selling their products with an overblown "efficiency" rating then transferring it over to "savings" for the consumer. You make some very valid points. Not all consumers need their water temps "maintained" throughout the day.
 
#18
I am in New York and I have a Haywood 104 BTU heat pump. I get sun only from 10:30am to 2:30pm. The pool is 24' round 54" walls AG pool... about 15,200 gallons. We opened the pool May 21st as a brand new fill. On May 24th I started the Heat Pump, Temp at night dropped down to 55 degrees and went up to 70 ish in the day time. Pool temp was about 60 degrees at the start. We ran the Heat Pump for 8 hours a day and by May 26th the temp was 75 degrees. I used a solar cover at night and any time the pool was not in use.

We use the pool every day and it is now anywhere between 78 and 84 degrees. It all depends on how long we run the Heat Pump. I set it at the temp I want and for get it, just like your home AC. Last night the temp in NY was about 63 degrees and is going up to high 90's today. I called the kids from work and thy said the pool is at 80 degrees. A heat pump works well with a solar cover. We were able to start our pool season at least a week or 2 before the 2 inground and 1 above ground pools that are around us. I am hoping we will close the pool a few weeks after they do as well.

If you need fast heat for a day or 2 a heat pump is not the best answer. If you want to set the temp and forget about it and want a constant temp then it can work. Keep in mind that you have to run a gas pipe for natural gas and that is a cost as well.

Best advice, price it out and see which one works for you... all you can go off of is what the prices are now... they will change sometimes for the better sometime for the worse... as long as you are happy with your decision who cares.... LOL
 
Jun 18, 2012
6
#19
ericjr7210 said:
Best advice, price it out and see which one works for you... all you can go off of is what the prices are now... they will change sometimes for the better sometime for the worse... as long as you are happy with your decision who cares.... LOL
Sounds like it's working out great for you as well. For me, I get sun from sunup to an hour before sundown. This was never the case last summer before 6 backyard trees were cut down. 4 by the electric company and 2 by a man I hired. I had shade almost 24/7 then. During this week with Indiana temps in the mid 90's, I haven't used the heat pump at all. The solar cover has kept the water temp very warm. I always set the heat pump to 90 degrees. When the heat pump runs on a timer (from 8am to noon)it was consistently at or about 86-87-88 degree range when it shut off. During one 90 degree day, the water temp reached 90 at 10am (2 hour heat pump run) With all the sun and 80 to 90 degree days, the pool maintained that temp throughout the entire day without any other heat source. On 70-80 degree days with 50 degree nights, I may have to run the heat pump an extra 2 hours to reach 87 degrees (6 hours total) I will swim in 85 degree water with my 5 year old daughter, but below 85 is a bit chilly for us unless the outside temp is in the 60's. (then it becomes too chilly to get out! (-: