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New Pool, heater?

Old 05-10-2010, 07:45 AM
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Default New Pool, heater?

Well we're finally 'taking the plunge' and getting a pool, semi-inground
15 x 30 oval and being that we live in the northeast we do want to extend the use so we want to get a heater.

We have natural gas at our home but I am told that the heat pump, while more expensive to buy, is cheaper to use than gas in the long run. I figure I would need at 150,000btu natural gas heater for my size pool.

I know there are alot of pool experts here and I just wanted to get some feedback as to best/cheapest way to heat.

thanks.

Jim
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:08 AM
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The only thing I have heard is they use a lot of natural gas, which may mean expensive to run each month.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:16 AM
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I spend countless hours researching this when faced with the same issue. I looked at propane, natural gas, and heat pump. I went with a heat pump + solar cover for a number of reasons. It makes the most sense in the northeast.

Heat pumps are basically nothing more than a reverse cycle air conditioner. They are expensive to buy and slower to heat the pool, but they are far cheaper to operate than natural gas. Propane is even more than natural gas, and resistive electric heat would be insanely expensive.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:23 AM
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Job,
Has the solar blanket helped?
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:49 AM
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Yes. The solar blanket slows down evaporation, which is where most of the cooling happens in your pool. If you have a propane or gas heater that was sized properly, it's based on the size of the pool and whether or not you use a solar blanket. Without one, you need to double the size of the heater, so they are definitely worth the hassle of taking it off and putting it on each day.

It's nothing more than a giant piece of UV resistant blue bubble wrap. We have an above ground pool which makes the blanket more of a pain. Basically I just grab it in the middle and start twisting it, so it starts rolling up in the middle and pulling the sides in. Once that's done I have a long roll in the middle of the pool stretching from one end to another. Then I simple pull the long roll out of the pool and fold it in half. The rolling isn't perfect, but I needed some way where I could take in off or redeploy it in 5 minutes or less, so it works for me.

I can't believe how much it helps retain the heat. Before using the heater, my pool and a neighbor's were within 1-2 degrees of each other on a warm day. We then had 4 days during the week that were very windy. The following weekend, there was a ten degree difference between my pool and his. A side benefit is that I generally don't add water during the summer anymore, where in past years I would add water at least 2 or 3 times during the summer. Adding more water generally meant adding more chemicals as well to rebalance the water.

We keep the heat pump set at 82 degrees, and since heat pumps work in conjunction with your pool filter, the heat pump won't run unless the filter is running. I run the pool filter for 4 hrs/day, and it's on a timer. If the pool water is less than 82 degrees and the filter is running, the heat pump will kick on. I have it set to run the filter in the early afternoon, since that's when the heat pump would be the most efficient. By limiting the hours that the heat pump can run, I don't have to worry about killing my electric bill. I can let it run all day if I override it, but by default I don't want to forget out it and have it running all day on a day like today when it's 53 degrees outside.
My daughter and her friends were in the pool last week when we had a couple of nice days in a row. We never had that opportunity prior to the pool heater.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:55 AM
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How 'bout a coupla solar panels w/ the attitude set for best performance in spring and fall?
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:56 AM
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When I looked at payback vs price I went with Ntl Gas. The $1500 to $2000 more you are going to have a payback that might not last the life span of the heater. 150,000 btus will be huge for that pool. !5x30 with no deep end maybe 15,000 gallons.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for all the good info. The ng heater I am looking at is the hayward h150 and they show heater selection based on square footage of pool. H150 is based on max 450sqft and our pool is about 355sqft so that's how I figured that. Actually it's only about 10600 gallons Mr. Paul, what size should I use for that pool? Maybe I'm figuring wong.

I do realize how much savings there is with a solar cover but I also know what a pita they are. Our pool will have a deck on one side with a 2foot walkaround and railing so I'm not sure how we would store a solar cover.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:50 AM
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I have a dumb heat pump question. Is the air coming out of the top actually air-conditioner cool? (just like an A/C expells hot air?)
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
I have a dumb heat pump question. Is the air coming out of the top actually air-conditioner cool? (just like an A/C expells hot air?)
No dumb questions...

A heat pump, an A/C or a 'fridge don't make heat / cool, they move heat.

The evaporator coils accepts heat and the condenser coil delivers heat.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:27 AM
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My neighbor got tired of paying for gas so he made his own. It actually works pretty good. What he did was construct a surface piping system. He used 2 inch dia. 500 ft of pvc cut to 25 foot lengths. The whole thing sits up on his porch roof (you don't even see it). The water pickup is on the bottom of the pool (8ft deep). The pump is 12 volt solar powered. I think he spent about a day building it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
I have a dumb heat pump question. Is the air coming out of the top actually air-conditioner cool? (just like an A/C expells hot air?)
Yes. I have a deck off my kitchen, and the above ground pool is at the end of the deck. If I lean over the railing, I can feel the cold air blasting out of the heat pump.

In terms of storage, they also make a roller that you can use, and when rolled up you can unhook one side of the roll and swing it out of the way. I am horrible at describing it, but it does work.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:34 AM
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Here in Florida heat pumps work great and will pay for themselves quickly. The downfall of a heat pump is that they need ''heat'' to make ''cool''.

This becomes a problem at lower air temps. When the temp drops into the 50's, which it will quite often in the northeast, you lose the efficiancy of the heat pump. It will have to run longer to produce enough heat to warm the water.

I would seek out others in your area that have a heat pump and inquire with them about thier experience.

And yes, cool air does come out of the top. If I could harness that I would be in great shape!
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jobowker View Post
Yes. I have a deck off my kitchen, and the above ground pool is at the end of the deck. If I lean over the railing, I can feel the cold air blasting out of the heat pump.
Jobowker, If I may ask, how big a pool and what type/btu heater do you have? Are you happy with it?

thanks.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Paul View Post
When I looked at payback vs price I went with Ntl Gas. The $1500 to $2000 more you are going to have a payback that might not last the life span of the heater. 150,000 btus will be huge for that pool. !5x30 with no deep end maybe 15,000 gallons.
I forget the specifcs now, but I thought the ROI for me, based on average usage, was about three years. It also has the advantage of setting at a certain temp and it will hold it right at that temp, usually within one degree. If I want to limit the amount of energy I spend on heating, I can just limit the number of hours it runs or the temp, whichever makes more sense.

Obviously the more you use it, the quicker the ROI, but if you barely use it, the ROI may be ten years, in which case it doesn't make much sense. Also, the frequency of pool use is a big factor. If you only use the pool on the weekends, and fire up the heater on Saturday and let the pool cool back down on Sunday, I'd lean towards a natural gas heater. If your wife works from home and the kid goes in the pool every day, and you decide to maintain a constant temp, then the heat pump really shines.

My neighbor will burn through $300 of propane in a weekend, so she seldom uses the heater. If it was natural gas, it would be maybe $200.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by JEVLACH View Post
Jobowker, If I may ask, how big a pool and what type/btu heater do you have? Are you happy with it?

thanks.
The pool isn't that big - a 24' round above ground. I forget the rating of the heat pump - I'll look it up tonight at home if I remember. In the same way that our boat usage went up dramatically when switching from a trailer to a slip, the pool usage went way up as well. Since I leave the thermostat set at 82 degrees, the season starts earlier and my wife doesn't have to worry on a sunny day if the water is warm enough. As a result she not only uses it more at the beginning and end of the season, but takes the temp for granted even in the middle of the season. When we heard that the weather was going to be nice for a whole week, she planned on using the pool all week, and the water temp never factored into the decision.
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