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  /  Swimming Pools   /  What do you need to know before installing Electric Pool heating?
What do you need to know before installing Electric Pool heating?

What do you need to know before installing Electric Pool heating?

We are fortunate to enjoy a fantastic climate on the Costa Blanca, with most months of the year providing warmth and sunshine. This means that even outside the summer swimming season, it can be positively hot in the garden or whilst soaking up the sun on your terrace. 

On these occasions, it might be tempting to take a dip in the pool until you discover the lower water temperature makes this an unpleasant and unrepeatable experience!

It doesn´t have to be this way, though, which brings us to consider the question of pool heating, its accessibility, efficiency, and the cost to run and maintain a swimming pool heater.

Is a swimming pool heat pump a good investment?

A heat pump installation can require a considerable investment. There are many different units available with prices that can vary enormously. So which heat pump should you choose? Is cheaper always best? What are the benefits of a swimming pool heater? And will you really get the most from your heat pump?

Cost considerations and how to make comparisons between one pool heater and another.

An important consideration when comparing the cost of different models is their KW output. Always try to compare apples with apples, and not apples with pears!

Size is measured in KW output, i.e., capacity.

Manufacturers do not always make it easy to compare their products because the output of a heat pump is measured based on it running during specific climatic conditions. This start point may not always be the same from one manufacturer’s unit to the next. 

For example, a heat pump operating at an exterior ambient temperature of 15 degrees will provide a different output to the same unit operating at a higher exterior ambient temperature of 25 degrees. 

This is because the pool heat pump units work on an airflow system using heat in the surrounding ambient air, which is then turned to energy. 

Rule number one.

Always check KW output between the different units when functioning at the same ambient temperature.

Rule number two.

  • Where possible and budget allows, choose Branded units.
  • Well-known brands are often more expensive but have the advantage of local, on-hand technical assistance if the heat pump goes wrong. With cheaper Chinese imports, it is often difficult to get technical assistance or spare parts once they break down.
  • Rule number three.
  • Do not be tempted to undersize your pool heater.
  • Some less experienced or less scrupulous installers may offer low output units with a cheap price tag. It may sound like you are being offered a bargain, but an underpowered unit will not provide sufficient heat to maintain the correct swimming temperature during the colder months.

What are the benefits of a swimming pool heater?

The health and emotional benefits of swimming cannot be understated. 

  • A pool provides an opportunity for safe and gentle exercise. 
  • Swimming can aid rehabilitation after a period of ill-health or injury.
  • Swimming provides emotional well-being and encourages stress release, reducing tension.
  • A warm pool will keep the grandchildren occupied for hours, providing plenty of healthy fun without them turning blue in the process!
  • A longer swimming period means a greater return against the annual cost of your pool maintenance and upkeep.
  • An increase in rental income if you rent your home. The added feature of a heated pool can help to make your property very much more desirable. Often a surcharge can be applied to offset running costs.

Can I swim all year with a Swimming pool heat pump? 

The simple answer to this is Yes, as long as you ensure that you size the heat pump correctly to meet your individual requirements. A smaller output unit can extend the swimming season from May until October. A larger output can provide heating all year.

What affects the functionality and efficiency of my swimming pool heat pump?

  • Location is an important factor when sizing your pool heater. A sunny orientation, sheltered from the wind, would mean a smaller capacity pool heater would be needed to heat the pool, compared to a pool located in a shaded space or north-facing situation unprotected from the elements.
  • Ambient temperature is the key factor that decides how much work your pool heater does and how long it works. During the warmer months, your pool heater will only turn on when the water temperature drops below the programmed temperature. This will generally be at night time when the ambient temperature is at its lowest. Less run time means lower running costs. 
  • It is preferable to use a pool blanket in conjunction with your pool heater, which will help maintain the temperature set and prevent heat loss during the night or when the ambient temperature drops.

What is the optimum heating temperature for a swimming pool?  

The standard temperature considered for a heated pool for comfortable swimming is between 27-28 degrees. 

Is a swimming pool heat pump expensive to run?

Heat pumps work with the latest Airflow technology in a similar way as with air conditioning. The heat from the ambient air passes over ecological refrigeration gas, where it is turned into energy and hot water via a titanium heat exchanger. Your swimming pool heat pump will source 80% of its energy from the air around it! It is therefore incredibly energy-efficient working in this way in conjunction with an electric power supply. An inverter model will automatically regulate its consumption to meet demand and not work at full capacity unless this is necessary. This makes an inverter unit will be significantly more efficient and cheaper to run than its conventional counterpart which doesn´t benefit from this technology.

What are the best pool heaters on the market?

We tend to recommend branded makes. Zodiac, Astral, Technopool. A robust machine with long operating life and professional technical backup if at any time it fails will ultimately give more peace of mind.

What will I need for a heat pump installation?

  • Sufficient exterior space for siting the heat pump unit, preferably close to your pool filtration equipment.
  • A convenient space where the machine’s noise in operation will not upset neighbours or cause a nuisance.
  • A concrete pad to mount the exterior compressor or smaller units will be mounted on an exterior wall.
  • Large enough supply of power to your property.
  • A sufficient large cabled supply to your new heat pump unit.

What are the disadvantages of a swimming pool heat pump?

Disadvantages include. 

  • Size of the machine. Heat pumps can be large, bulky units. Check the dimension before placing your order.
  • Noise. Although machines are generally quite quiet, it is important to check the Dbd rating and consider positioning your machine where it will not disturb you or your neighbours.
  • Nuisance friends and neighbours who keep popping by with their swimming gear!

Are swimming pool heat pumps environmentally friendly?

Your swimming pool heat pump will source 80% of its energy from the air around it, making it incredibly energy-efficient and helping to lessen the environmental impact of heating your swimming pool. Apart from a solar pool heating system using hot water, this is the most energy-saving form of heating for a swimming pool.

How can I get the most benefit from my swimming pool heat pump and keep running costs down?

If possible, use a swimming pool blanket. It is preferable to use a pool blanket in conjunction with your pool heater as this will help to insulate your pool when not in use and prevent heat loss, especially at night. Several different pool cover options are providing various degrees of protection.

Which pool cover is best?

The most appropriate pool cover will depend on the shape of your swimming pool, how that might affect the installation and operation of a pool blanket. 

A big factor is also your budget.

An electric pool blanket that operates remotely is one of the most desirable options that can be installed but can be prohibitively expensive. Electric pool blankets are best installed when building your swimming pool so that provision can be made in the pool’s structure to receive the blanket when it is rolled up, and the pool is in use.

Retrofitted electric covers are also available, with the pool blanket collected into a box mounted at one end of the pool or the pool’s base. These are also excellent and aesthetically pleasing option. 

Mousse covers and Bubble covers.

A more attainable option for most is a thermal mousse cover or a bubble cover. These are made to measure to fit your pool shape and operate in conjunction with a stainless steel roller mounted at one end of the pool. In the summer months, when not in use, the blanket and roller can easily be taken away and stored.

With certain shaped pools, it can be impossible to install or operate a blanket normally with a pool roller. On these occasions, the only option is to make use of a chemical blanket. A dosifier is used to inject a chemical into the pool water. This chemical is harmless and invisible and creates a film on the water’s surface, which prevents heat loss by evaporation. It can help to reduce heating costs by up to 20%.

What are the alternatives to a swimming pool heat pump?

Alternatives to an electric swimming pool heat pump include.

  1. Solar pool heating with water. Large black solar panels absorb the heat from the sun, and the swimming pool water is then circulated through them within coils of pipes.
  2. Disadvantages include the lack of controllability and the length of time it can take to raise a swimming pool water to the desired temperature due to climatic conditions.
  3. Gas-fired pool heating. This was once an option for pool heating but considering the poor use of the earth’s natural resources, and the resulting emissions and is now forbidden by EU directives.

For further information and a free technical assessment, Contact us at poolheating@100percentconstruction.com