How to Choose the Best Swimming Pool Heat Pump
The average cost that homeowners in the U.S. spend when installing a swimming pool is $22,000.
Many homeowners spend much less, with options like inflatable pools or above-ground swimming pool kits cost anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars.
Others spend far more, with concrete swimming pools costing upwards of $100,000.
No matter how much you plan to spend or have already spent on a pool, you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Which means optimizing how many months out of the year you can use your pool.
That makes a swimming pool heat pump a must.
If you live in a colder region, a heat pump can greatly extend how much of the year you can swim. Even if you live in a sunny region that’s warm year-round, you may still face chilly night or cooler days when a swimming pool heat pump will come in handy.
But not all heat pumps are created equal.
That’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you choose the best swimming pool heat pump for your backyard oasis.
Start By Considering the Size of Your Pool
Before you can choose the perfect swimming pool heat pump, you need to take into consideration the size of your pool.
Opting for a heat pump that is too small for your larger pool means that your water won’t get as warm as you’d like. In fact, if the pump is way too small, you may not notice a change in the water temperature at all.
On the other hand, if you choose a heat pump that is designed for a pool that is much larger than yours, you’ll end up wasting your money. A less expensive, smaller model would be a much better choice.
Use the length and width of your pool or the circumference to determine the surface area of your pool. If you have a pool that is exceptionally deep compared to the average backyard pool (deeper than five or six feet at the deepest point), you’ll need to take the depth into consideration as well.
Knowing the size of your pool will help you determine the BTU, or British Thermal Unit, output that you’ll need to heat your pool water to the temperature you desire.
Having an in-ground or above ground pool will also affect what type of heater you need.
Once you’ve determined the size of your pool, it’s time to start shopping for a heat pump.
Set a Budget
As you start shopping around, you’ll need to determine a budget.
Swimming pool heat pumps vary widely in price. With a large budget, you’ll be able to get a stronger heat pump that will keep your pool water warm even when it starts getting cold outside.
But a lower budget model can still help keep your pool comfortable as the temperatures begin to drop if you make sure to choose the right size and power for your pool.
Knowing how much you’d like to spend right from the start means that you won’t end up wasting a lot of time researching heat pump units that are out of your price range.
Consider the Climate in Your Region, and How Warm You Want Your Water
Besides knowing the size of your pool and the amount you’d like to spend, you’ll also need to take the climate of your region and how warm you’d like your pool to get before you can choose a swimming pool heat pump.
Different heat pumps are rated to heat a certain amount of water to different temperatures.
If you live in a warm, sunny region that doesn’t often drop below 70 degrees, you won’t need as strong of a heat pump as someone who lives in a region that experiences all four seasons.
But even those who live in different regions that each experience four seasons may have different heat pump needs.
For instance, if you only plan to use your pool during warmer summer months, you’ll need a heat pump more for emergencies, on days when the outside temperature and water temperature is unseasonably cool.
But even in cooler regions, a stronger heat pump can be used to extend the number of months that you are able to enjoy your pool. If you get a heat pump capable of warming the temperature of the water by 10 or 20 degrees, you’ll be able to done your swimming suit a month or two earlier than you could if you didn’t use a heat pump.
How warm you like your water to be is also something to take into consideration.
If you need a swimming pool heat pump to just take the edge off of the water temperature in your pool, efficiency and the strength of the pump may be less important.
But if you’d prefer to warm cooler water up to 80 or 90 degrees Fahrenheit and live in a cooler region or one that doesn’t get many hours of sunlight, you’ll need a stronger pump, and you’ll want to consider the pump’s efficiency.
Choose Between Gas and Electric
Swimming pool heating pumps come in both gas and electric models.
Gas models tend to be more affordable. They cost less to run than electric models, and can also be used even when the outside temperature is very cold.
Electric models are slightly more expensive to run, and won’t operate effectively if the air temperature around them is under 55 degree Celsius.
Deciding which option is best for you depends on the conditions around your pool.
If you don’t have direct access to a gas line, then installing an independent one in order to put in a gas-powered swimming pool heat pump will be very expensive. If you do have access, then a gas pump could save you some money, though it isn’t as environmentally friendly as an electric model.
Decide Whether You Want to Go Green
If you’re worried about the environmental impact that your swimming pool heat pump could have, there are ways to offset it.
Solar powered heating options are a great way to reduce the amount of electricity or gas that you’ll use.
Adding a pool cover that focuses the heat of the sun on your pool, warming the water as a result, is one great option.
There are a variety of types of pool covers that can do this. These include inexpensive options that feature dark, thick fabrics designed to get hot in the sun, as well as so-called solar blankets that are specifically designed to harness heat from the sun’s rays, even on days when the sun isn’t shining brightly.
Another green option for those looking for an alternative to traditional swimming pool heat pumps are solar pumps.
A solar-powered swimming pool heat pump operates entirely by solar panels, so it means no money spent on electricity or gas. These highly efficient heat pumps can be a great option for those who live in an area that gets plenty of sunshine.
Otherwise, you may end up needing to use other methods to warm the water in your pool, like an additional heat pump, a cover, or solar blankets.
Other Features to Look for in a Swimming Pool Heat Pump
The features and considerations listed above are the major factors that will help you figure out which swimming pool heat pumps will work–or won’t work–for you.
But there are many other features that may be included with a heat pump that can make one or more options stand out from the rest. Here are just a few that you should be on the lookout for.
Unless you live somewhere that only sees cool days once or twice a year, your swimming pool heat pump is going to be getting a lot of use.
Like any appliance, if it has to be constantly running, working to keep the water in your pool warm, things are bound to break from time to time. This is true even for more expensive, high-end models.
A warranty can be a great way to ensure that you’re protected if something goes wrong with your heat pump a year or two (or more) after you install it.
Some heat pumps even come with warranties that protect against problems five to seven years after it is installed.
A well-cared for heat pump could last between 10 and 15 years. A warranty can go a long way towards helping with that.
But before you assume that the warranty that comes with you swimming pool heat pump will protect your purchase, make sure that you read the fine print. You may find that only certain problems are covered, and not more regular issues like those arising from normal wear and tear over time.
There are dozens of companies in the U.S. and even more around the world that produce swimming pool heat pumps.
While some of them may produce very similar types of heat pumps, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the heat pumps are of the same quality.
Before you spend less money on a unit that you think offers the same power as a similar one by a different manufacturer, do your homework.
Online reviews of heat pump manufacturers and their units can be a great way to find out what real owners of heat pumps think of their units. Read as many reviews as you can before you buy. Look out for complaints repeated by many different users.
It may sound odd to for a swimming pool heat pump to have a cooling feature. But if you live in a hot climate and long for a cool dip in the middle of the day, then you can see why this could be such a popular feature.
That’s why some high-end heat pump manufacturers have made cooling features an option. This feature certainly isn’t standard, you’ll have to pay extra for it, and you’ll have to shop around to find different units that offer this as an option.
But if you’re already making the investment in a heat pump to make the most of the investment you made by installing your pool, this can be a great option.
Digital Displays and Electronic Controls
Most swimming pool heat pumps are fairly simple to use.
Once you get them programmed and running, you won’t need to do much unless you decide that you’d like your pool set at a different temperature.
But the added bonus of choosing a unit that features a digital display and electronic controls makes the process even easier. You won’t have to worry about getting the instruction manual out each time you decide to change your pool’s temperature.
All you have to do is turn click the digital display and choose from the easy options listed there.
Choosing the Right Heat Pump for Your Swimming Pool
Choosing to upgrade your pool by adding a swimming pool heat pump can be a great decision, both now and in the future.
For now, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable pool temperature. This will allow you to enjoy your pool during times when you would otherwise be avoiding the water, such as during cool evenings or colder months.
A heat pump can even be a benefit in warmer regions, to make your pool warmer on the occasional chilly day or even cooler when it’s too hot out and your pool begins to feel like a hot tub.
But a heat pump can also be a great investment for the future.
Since most units, if cared for correctly, can last up to 10 or even 15 years, if you choose to sell your home, the heat pump could become an extra selling point.
If you live in an area where nearly every home has a swimming pool, a heat pump could help yours stand out. If you live in a colder region where most homes don’t have a pool, a swimming pool with a heat pump could be a major selling point.
Or the heat pump could help encourage buyers new to the area who are wary about whether they would actually get to use the pool.
No matter your reasons for buying a swimming pool heat pump, our helpful guide can ensure that you know what to look for when it comes to choosing one!
While a heat pump can make your swimming pool more comfortable, it’s tough to beat a hot tub when the temperatures get cool! Whether you’re just starting to consider buying a hot tub or already shopping for one, check out this guide on how to choose the perfect one!