Most people that don't live in the coldest parts of the earth are familiar with heat pumps that are used on the majority of houses today. While not suitable for everyone, there are many benefits to using heat pumps to heat your pool versus traditional methods such as propane and natural gas. The biggest benefit is cost savings. The biggest disadvantage is the amount of time it can take to put heat into the pool. This is why they are not suitable for everyone. But keep in mind, that whether you put heat into your pool using heat pumps or propane, they still loose heat overnight at the same rate. So if you can put heat in more economically, I say heat pumps win. Unless you are only heating up the pool for one day and don't mind paying a premium for quick shot of heat, then keep reading. The quick shot of heat is only scenario where I give natural gas or propane an advantage.
If you use heat pumps correctly they are very inexpensive to operate. In order to do this efficiently it is best to understand how they work. Rather than heating up your pool, they are actually just moving heat from the air into your pool water, and taking the cold out of the pool water and venting it to the atmosphere. This method is why you can typically get 10 to 16 times or more efficiency then using electric to heat water. What I mean by this is that electric heaters are by definition 100% efficient. Put 1 unit of electric in, and get 1 unit of heat out. So using a heat pump, you put 1 unit of electric in and get 10 - 16 units of heat out. Again this is because you are moving heat, not creating it. While propane may be cheaper per unit of heat, it can never get to 10-16 times as efficient. Propane and natural gas can only do 1 unit in and 1 unit out, no overunity possible.
So in order to use your heat pump effectively, you must run it during the hottest part of the day. Running it at night is not a good idea. I recommend running heat pumps between 10am and 4pm to get the best bang for the buck. On average you will get about 1 degree per hour. So plan accordingly.
The most common part that fails on heat pumps is the capacitor. This small inexpensive device simply wears out over time. It gives the heat pump compressor a boost at startup which takes a lot of electricity for an extremely short amount of time, typically only a couple of seconds. When they burn out your heat pump stops working. We have capacitors for most common heat pumps available and ship same day in most situations. You can find our capacitors at the link below.
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