A pool heat pump is a refrigeration device that works just like your home air conditioning but in reverse. During the summer when your air conditioning is set for cooling it takes heat and moisture from the inside of the conditioned space and pumps it outside. Now, your pool heat pump does the same exact thing, but in reverse. It takes the heat that is present in the outside air and through conduction transfers it to your pool water to raise the pool temperature.
A basic knowledge of how a refrigeration system works would be beneficial at this point. Refrigeration is defined as the process of taking heat from some place where it isn’t wanted and disposing of it some place where it’s acceptable. This is one of the few situations when the heat is actually desired. The laws of heat transfer dictate that heat will only move from a warmer medium to a cooler one. This heat transfer occurs through the use of refrigerant that many of you know as Freon. Heat is absorbed from the outside air into the Freon because the temperature of the Freon is cooler then the outside, ambient air. The heat that was absorbed from the outside air is then transferred into your pool water and helps raise its temperature.
There are several factors that need to be considered when your pool heat pump is in operation. This heating process occurs a little at a time, you can not expect to raise the temperature in your pool considerably in an hours run. Another factor that should be considered is the outside temperature. If there is more heat present in the outside air to be absorbed then the heating process will go much faster; if it’s cool outside the opposite is true.
The best way to expedite the process is to use a pool blanket. I know that it’s not the most convenient method, but during extremely cool weather like we’ve experienced last winter, you could lose up to eight degrees overnight. By using a pool blanket, you can also reduce your energy bills by as much as a third for the operation of your pool heat pump.
One last point I’d like to make is on the use of chlorine, and how improper use of this chemical can do serious, irreparable damage. Major consideration should be given to how the chlorine is introduced into your pool. Chlorine must be introduced downstream of your pool’s heat pump. It should never be introduced into the skimmers. If it is, the damage that will result in a short amount of time will cost a tremendous amount of money to repair. What’s even worse is that this failure will surely happen when you have everyone you know coming to Florida to swim in your warm pool for the holidays.
As always, thanks for reading,
Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also own and operate an island-based electrical service company Sanctuary Island Electric, Inc. Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com