Heatpump Vs. Gas Pool Heater

A swimming pool is a luxury that more and more people are enjoying in their own backyards. Many factors go into maintaining a pool, however, including the cost of keeping it at a warm temperature. A pool is nice to cool off in, but a freezing pool is not exactly inviting. Two methods of heating a pool are a gas heater or a heat pump. Knowing each system's benefits can make choosing between them much easier.

  1. Function

    • A gas heater produces a flame on a gas burner that heats up metal heat exchanger tubes. The water from your pool is transferred through the heater and pumped back into the pool. Eventually, the entire pool feels warmer. A heat pump, rather than producing heat to warm a pool, transfers heat. Heat from outside air warms a refrigerant in the heat pump, is further heated by a compressor, and then transfers heat to the pool.

    Efficiency

    • The efficiencies of gas heaters and heat pumps are rated differently. A gas heater is rated by a percentage with most of them rating at 83 percent efficiency. This means that 83 percent of the energy goes into heating the pool while the other 17 percent is the energy the heater uses to produce the heat. A heat pump is rated by coefficient of performance (COP) with a range of 4 to 7. The higher the number, the more efficient it is.

    Benefits

    • Gas heaters work best when used to heat a pool for a short period of time. It is also a faster way of heating a pool than using a heat pump. It is able to keep a constant temperature in the water because it doesn't rely on the weather. Heat pumps are better as long as the temperature stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be more efficient because people tend to use their pool in warmer weather.

    Considerations

    • Gas heaters typically use more energy than heat pumps because they produce heat rather than just transfer it. Also, a portion of the energy used to create the heat with a gas heater gets wasted because it is used to make the heater work rather than heat the pool. In areas with a cooler climate, however, a heat pump would need to use more energy than in a warmer climate.

    Comparing Prices

    • Because heat pumps can produce more heat than the energy is consumes, those who purchase them can save a lot of money. A heat pump with a COP of 5.0 produces five dollars of heat for every dollar spent on electricity. The annual spending for a gas heater, even with a 95 percent efficiency rating, is greater than the annual spending for a heat pump with a COP of 5.0 by over $100.

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References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Paul Sapiano

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