Selecting the best pool heater for me

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,586
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Allen,

That's a great gas price compared to mine. I pay $1.29 per therm all in. I believe it was a lot less back when we lived in Texas. Congrats, there is something that's priced great in NJ!

Chris

Finally! Something that is a bargain in NJ.

I think because we have gas heat and get the "volume discount" compared to Southern states.

My gas bill is all heating October through April. Mixed house heating and pool in May and September. And all pool heating June, July, and August.
 
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skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
400
Long Island, NY
My natural gas cost for the pool fluctuates between $1.20 and $1.70 per therm. My Raypak 330k BTU heater heats my 33k gal pool about 2 degrees per hour depending on the sun, with an average cost to run about $4 to $5 per hour. A natural gas heater will give you more control and options on how best to manage your pool temperature and use throughout the year. It's not inexpensive to run, at least in my neck of the woods. Getting the pool from 70 F to 87 F could take 10-12 hours and cost $75.
 
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mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
257
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
That's the closest comparison I've found yet, even though you're in NY. Once you initially knock out that first heating period, once it is covered, how much do you have to run it to maintain, until summer is in full swing?

The data you have me doesn't sound terrible.
 

Homebrewale

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
396
Apex, NC
I looked up your location. You are just across the NC/SC line so your climate is close to mine. Once my pool is up to temperature, it generally runs only a few hours in the morning if needed. I limit the heat pump to running between around 9:00am to 7:00pm when it is the warmest outside so the air contains more heat to extract. Often on bright sunny days, my pool doesn't even need to run the next morning. That is because the pool temperature will often reach 92F by late afternoon from the sun. The pool doesn't often drop that 5F overnight. So the next day temperature has not fallen to where the heat pump comes on (87F)and the sun is starting to heat the pool again.
 
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HeyEng

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
686
Oklahoma City, OK
I've had a gas heater for years and most of my friends do as well. I'd go with the biggest gas heater you can. Should be 400k Btu. Make sure the gas company knows the gas consumption.

Good point. Last February, I got a call from the gas company about our excessive usage. They noted the account that we have a pool heater and we haven't gotten that "courtesy" call since. ;)
 
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mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
257
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I looked up your location. You are just across the NC/SC line so your climate is close to mine. Once my pool is up to temperature, it generally runs only a few hours in the morning if needed. I limit the heat pump to running between around 9:00am to 7:00pm when it is the warmest outside so the air contains more heat to extract. Often on bright sunny days, my pool doesn't even need to run the next morning. That is because the pool temperature will often reach 92F by late afternoon from the sun. The pool doesn't often drop that 5F overnight. So the next day temperature has not fallen to where the heat pump comes on (87F)and the sun is starting to heat the pool again.


You have me reaaaaallly tempted to go HP. Thank you for giving me your experiences!

I know you're only 2/3 the size pool as I have, but you said a few pages back you heat your pool in a few days. Doyve a rough figure as to how much that spikes your energy bill? Or rather the first month.
 

setsailsoon

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LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,836
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
One to realize when you do your analysis is that fuel prices vary wildly by state. Here's an example of residential propane prices from the EIA website. You can get more information than you could every imagine from EIA.

1613761646102.png
 

mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
257
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Just 5 or 10 miles down the road is the place that would bring my propane. I also go to them to have my 20 and 30 lb bottles filled. I'm going to give them a call and see what it is. I have one bottle that needs to be filled, I may just take it and talk to them. Then run figures on propane vs NG.

Apparently my monthly min would only be about $11. I'm okay with that anyway.
 

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skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
400
Long Island, NY
That's the closest comparison I've found yet, even though you're in NY. Once you initially knock out that first heating period, once it is covered, how much do you have to run it to maintain, until summer is in full swing?

The data you have me doesn't sound terrible.

I don't have a solar cover and will lose 3-4 degrees overnight, so getting the pool back up to temp on cooler nights may cost $10-15. During the hot summer months, we try not to use the heater as much and will swim even though the water temp isn't ideal. A water temp of 80-82 F is about our lower comfort limit unless it's really hot and humid outside. On cooler nights with company, 87-88 F is heaven. Most days 84-86 F does it for us. Most seasons, we spend between $700 and $1000 on gas for the pool heater. We could use it more, perhaps twice as much...but we like to stay within our mental "budget".
 
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mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
257
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Once the pool got to temp in, say, June, we've been in the water almost every day until the end of Sept with no cover and no heater. I think we'll be fine with just a cover once the exterior temps are up.
 

Homebrewale

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
396
Apex, NC
You have me reaaaaallly tempted to go HP. Thank you for giving me your experiences!

I know you're only 2/3 the size pool as I have, but you said a few pages back you heat your pool in a few days. Doyve a rough figure as to how much that spikes your energy bill? Or rather the first month.

That is a very difficult question to answer without tracking individual electricity usage. At the same time I start using the heat pump, I also start using the pool pump and my house's two AC systems. We never open the windows for ventilation due to allergies so our AC will start running during this time. You don't know how frustrating it is to watch the heat pump running next to the house AC. One is extracting heat from the air while the other is dumping heat into the air. There are some people that take advantage of this but the system they design to do this seems overcomplicated to me. I can provide you with some of my electricity bills for a few months. My house is 3500 square feet so it does take some electricity to cool it. Below will be the service periods and electricity cost in 2020.

1/7 - 2/7 $80.91
5/6 - 6/3 $227.35
7/6 - 8/5 $261.70

The first bill listed would represent no AC or pool equipment running. The second bill would represent the heat pump running every day while the AC is running on some warm days. The third bill would represent mid-summer where the AC would run every day and the heat pump would not run at all. Now if I really wanted to do the analysis, I could remove the electricity used by the pool pump since it is variable speed and gives the electricity usage at each speed. I would just have to add up a day of running and multiply by days of the month.
 
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mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
257
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
My pool has an entirely separate meter and bill. If I go HP, I can post here about my exact energy usage from the heater. The pool and pool house have a very predictable energy usage typically.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,149
NY
1/7 - 2/7 $80.91
5/6 - 6/3 $227.35
7/6 - 8/5 $261.70
We have since gotten much better thanks to all the folks who put solar panels on their homes. When we buy a lot less out of state KW at a premium, the monthly costs come down greatly.

At the time that I was using my heater, those 3 months would have been my itemized bill for one month. $227 in actual usage, $261 in power and delivery surcharges and $80 in taxes. It was not fun times.
 

mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
257
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
The more I mull it over, the more I think I will get a natural gas heater, and supplement it with solar instead of a heat pump. I've been looking at the solar panels available on Amazon and reading some diy builds using solar panels individuals bought and installed themselves.

I may actually do the solar first and then add gas later. We'll see. I have 520 square feet of roof on the pool house @ 20 feet long, one side south facing one side north facing, in good sun all day. I may also be able to add a panel on the awning that is over our grill area, if I can find the right sized panel. The awning has a steel frame, and the fabric is ripped that I've been planning to replace with a piece of corrugated steel. It's just below the roof so it wouldn't take much to tie it into the roof panels.

I also have some roof space on our lawnmower garage (12x12 building with a lean-to on one side) that's about 20' from the pool in a different direction. Using it might get more complicated and not be worth the hassle.

Anyway I am starting to think solar may be a better option for me to supplement the gas heat as far as maintaining good temperatures vs a heat pump. Nearly free heat sounds good to me!
 

PoolBrews

Well-known member
Oct 16, 2019
291
The Villages, Florida
I always hear folks tell me they are heating their pool for free with a solar panel... they conveniently forget that there is a sizable upfront cost, and you still need another heat source to actually maintain a reasonable pool temp.

Make sure you do a thorough analysis of your area before adding a solar system. Upfront cost is normally in the $4K-$5K range. I would imagine DIY will still be $2K-$3K. Solar will not provide any heat when you need it most (winter), and will only provide a little help during the fall and spring. It will provide great heat when you least need it - the middle of summer.

You're already putting in a gas heater. You need to understand how much the solar might lower your heating bill. For me, it would take about 15 years for solar to provide a pay back. (My heat pump does not add that much cost on a yearly basis - about $200-$300.) I'm fairly certain that something will have to be replaced in that time, extending that payback time. In addition, you need to run your pump at a minimum speed to supply the solar panel, so there is additional cost there as well.

If you have any roofing issues, you'll need to pay to have the panel removed, and then reinstalled after work is completed.

This was based on an analysis I did for Central Florida - and my experience over the past year.
 
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mwemaxxowner

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2020
257
Pageland SC
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I've already considered most of that. For 2-3k$ to supplement a gas heater vs the cost of a heat pump (and the costs I see calculated to use the heat pump), I like it. I understood there is an up front cost and have already roughly calculated the panels cost and some of the plumbing.


I do my own roofing, no need to pay someone to remove and reinstall 🙂. That's a non issue and sort of an obvious factor imo.

I have zero desire to use or heat my pool in the winter with anything. I don't want to be in even warm water when it's cold outside, and my wife definitely won't.

It sounds to me like, in warmer weather, if you have a sufficient number of panels, solar does well helping to maintain a temp? Hopefully meaning that other sources might be used early on and maybe at the end of the season, but solar just helping keep it at a more comfortable level.

Once the pool warms up and we open it, sometimes my wife will complain about the water being too cool, even in the warm weather. A small boost from solar sounds like it could help, no?

I've never had a thermometer in the pool but I'd imagine it's only a matter of a few degrees to take it from "feels a little chilly" to nice and comfortable.
 

CHBC

Member
Jun 7, 2018
10
SC
I am about 45 miles south of you. I chose a HP mainly for use in the shoulder season although it gets used some in the deep summer in the evening. If it is cooler than 55 we are not heating the pool anyway. I cover it and run the pump/heater during the hottest part of the day to gain efficiency during the shoulder season. We were swimming very comfortably the week of 03/28 last year based on pics my wife took and it looks like the last swim was around 10/13. My pool has a fair amount of shade. When I considered that it would be $4-$5 an hour to run the NG heater for me based on my rates (Dominion) it made my decision pretty easy.
 
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