Swimming pool heating can require as much or more than the energy used by a central air conditioning system for providing conditioned air for indoor comfort. Swimming pool heating requires a quantity of BTU heating capacity that cannot be affordably produced with electric heating elements like those used in domestic electric water heaters. Electric water heaters up to 10 KW for small spas and certain indoor hot tubs are the only exceptions. These cost $1.30 per hour for each hour of operation and energy cost can add up quickly. Gas pool heaters or electric heat pumps are the only practical options for larger spas, hot tubs and all swimming pools.
The amount of energy required to maintain a set-point water temperature for a pool or spa depends less about how many gallons of water it contains and is more about the surface area of the pool and its exposure to wind. Open pools and spas located away from buildings and enclosures are subject to greater rates of heat loss due to wind speeds. Those located adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, Naples Bay or the Gordon River have the highest wind speeds and require much more heating capacities than inland pools or those shielded from wind by structures and fences.
Heat losses can be exponentially reduced during periods when the pool or spa is not in use by covering the surface with a pool blanket. Energy costs during unoccupied periods are greatly reduced when a pool or spa heated continuously during a season is covered with a pool blanket when not it is being used. When a pool or spa is not extended periods of time such as for seasonal occupancy it is most cost effective to shut down the pool heating equipment completely until the next time it is needed.
There is no more efficient way to heat and pool or spa using an electrically powered appliance than with a swimming pool heat pump. It is not affordable to use electric resistance heating as is used for domestic water heaters. Heat pumps maintain warm pool and spa temperatures with a fraction of the energy required. Florida’s mild winter season makes it possible to utilize heat pumps all year around for pool and spa heating.
Your heat pump pool heater heats a chilled outdoor coil of circulating refrigerant to absorb heat directly from the outdoor air. The outdoor fan pulls outside air across a heat exchanger coil ; as it passes through the coil it gives up heat to the chilled refrigerant inside the outdoor coil. The refrigerant compressor pumps hot refrigerant vapor through another heat exchanger in contact with the pool water. The pool water is heated by the hot refrigerant as it passes through the heat exchanger. The cycle continues absorbing heat from the air and rejecting it into the pool water. The pool or spa heat pump is a refrigeration system very similar to water source heat pump products that also transfer heat to water. Both the outside air coil and pool water heat exchanger are subject to fouling or corrosion and maintenance is required. The fan and refrigerant compressor in your swimming pool or spa heat pump is exactly like those used for central air conditioning systems and have similar maintenance and service needs. Proper electrical grounding of all pool or spa related components is essential to assuring electrical safety.
Johnson’s favors heat pump pool heating systems that utilize titanium heat exchangers that are suitable for use with corrosive chemicals used to maintain pool sanitation and water quality. Chlorine used in pools is very corrosive to most metal heat exchangers but is compatible with titanium heat exchangers and used by the highest quality swimming pool heat pump brands.