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Heat pumps: The ultimate solution for efficient outdoor pool heating

6 min read
Insights Swimming Pool Heat Pumps

Keeping outdoor pools at the optimal temperature is paramount to the wellbeing and safety of swimmers, and one of the greatest challenges pool operators face.

Evaporation is a constant threat to pool comfort, continuously absorbing moisture from the pool’s surface, which allows substantial amounts of heat energy to escape and water temperature to plummet.

How up to 90% of heat energy is lost to evaporation in pools

This is a considerable amount of energy, and if delivered inefficiently, it can send bills soaring.

In this article, we discuss the challenges associated with keeping pool water warm, how swimming pool heat pumps work, and the sustainability and economy this technology can offer your outdoor pool.

Heating outdoor pools vs. indoor pools

The rate at which evaporation absorbs moisture and heat from a pool fluctuates, depending on the following factors:

3 factors that affect the rate of evaporation in a swimming pool

Because there is no way to control the surrounding temperature and humidity, or prevent wind from stealing water vapour from the surface of the water, the burden of heating an outdoor pool is significantly greater than an indoor pool.

Air temperature and humidity within indoor pool halls can be more precisely controlled, and the water is protected from the wind – three factors that dramatically reduce the rate of evaporation, and the amount of heat that needs to be replaced.

To keep outdoor pools at comfortable temperatures, without sending running costs and energy bills soaring, swimming pool heat pumps are the optimal solution.

What is a swimming pool heat pump?

Unlike conventional swimming pool heaters that use fuel to generate their own warmth, heat pumps are a key element of efficient climate control for swimming pools, able to regulate water temperatures by transferring energy from the surrounding air into the water.

To do this, heat is first extracted from the atmosphere around the pool and transferred into the refrigerant inside the heat pump. This is then compressed, causing temperatures to rise.

With the coolant now hot, the system can effectively transmit its energy into the swimming pool as water flows over the pipes, in turn heating the pool.

The heat pump cycle - showing how swimming pool heat pumps work

How do heat pumps provide sustainable heating for outdoor pools?

What sets these types of outdoor pool heaters apart as the most sustainable option is their ability to achieve outstanding levels of energy efficiency.

More specifically, heat pumps can transform 1kW of electricity into 4-5kW of heat energy, delivering a Coefficient of Performance (CoP) of between 4 and 5. In comparison, more traditional gas-fired boilers produce just 1kW of heat energy with 1kW of gas energy, equating to a CoP of 1.

This makes swimming pool heat pumps one of the most efficient water heating systems available. With energy bills around the world continuing to rise, operators can reduce their running costs by as much as 75% when compared to more conventional heaters.

Further benefits of using a swimming pool heat pump

Extend swimming season

The unique way heat pumps work allows outdoor pools to remain open from early spring to late autumn – great for both commercial and private operators.

Traditional pool heaters, on the other hand, are only able to operate well during the warmer spring and summer months.

Minimise maintenance costs

Swimming pool heat pumps also only require the expertise of a qualified electrician to maintain – a fact that can help make the process of servicing equipment fast and affordable.

This differs from conventional gas-fired boilers, which require specialist gas-safe engineers to install and maintain. And as there are fewer gas-safe engineers than electricians, their services will typically be more costly.

Maximise eco-friendliness

These systems can also be paired with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, allowing operators to heat their pools at no financial or environmental cost.

For a closer look at the benefits the ideal swimming pool heat pumps can offer, read our article.

Selecting the ideal swimming pool heat pump for your outdoor pool

Not every heat pump is built the same. There are two prevalent types of systems available – on/off systems and inverter systems. Understanding the differences and advantages of both is key to securing the best balance of performance and energy savings for your outdoor pool.

An introduction to on/off heat pumps

On/off heat pumps, such as the C-PAC+ 6, operate on the same core principle as discussed earlier, repurposing heat from the surrounding air to heat pool water. What makes this type of heat pump unique is the way it regulates water temperature.

The compressor within the system runs at a constant speed under a fixed frequency. So, to keep pool temperatures at the ideal level, the compressor is either turned on or off depending on the needs of the facility, running at the maximum noise level or not at all.

Although this is an effective way of regulating the temperature within outdoor pools, these types of solutions are not as efficient as inverter heat pumps.

What is an on off pool heat pump - Infographic

An introduction to inverter heat pumps

Inverter heat pumps operate on a similar basis to on/off models. But, where solutions like the I-PAC+ 12 differ is in their ability to operate continuously at different speeds to meet the precise demands of an outdoor pool.

In practice, this means that once the pool reaches the right temperature, these heat pumps can reduce their power usage by as much as 50% – using only the energy it needs to, when required, to keep the pool at its optimal warmth.

As well as being able to deliver a CoP as high as 13, professional systems such as the I-PAC run on an eco-friendly refrigerant, maintaining comfortable average temperatures while minimising both running costs and emissions.

Showing how inverter swimming pool heat pumps work - Infographic image

In addition to choosing the appropriate type of swimming pool heat pump, it is essential to select the right size and model for your facility. There are many aspects to consider, which include:

  • The surface area of your pool

  • The climate your facility is located in

  • The volume of water that must be heated

  • The target conditions to be achieved

  • The number of expected guests in the water

For more information on how to select the ideal sized swimming pool heat pump, check out our useful guide.

Efficiently and sustainably heat your outdoor pool

Outdoor pools are at the mercy of the weather. To keep these facilities suitably warm, swimming pool heat pumps are a highly capable and sustainable option for both private owners and commercial facilities.

However, to secure the very best performance and economy, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

As the European experts in pool climate control, Dantherm Group can guide you through this important process, ensuring you select only the most fitting technology for your facility.

With over 40 years of specialist expertise at our disposal, we design, manufacture and deliver a professional range of swimming pool heat pumps that prioritise efficiency, sustainability, reliability and ease of use above all else.

Product showcase comparing 2 swimming pool heat pump models and features

It is more than our commitment to quality that makes us the go-to manufacturer for pool owners worldwide. Buying through Dantherm Group gives you access to our extensive range of support and spares:

  • Extending the lifespan of your equipment

  • Reducing the downtime of solutions

  • Maximising efficiency and saving you money

  • All while preserving safety and comfort

The value of our professional after sales support cannot be overstated. With it, you can rest assured that your swimming pool heat pumps will enjoy excellent efficiency and industry-leading performance for years to come.

With offices, servicing partners and spare parts suppliers distributed across Europe, we are perfectly positioned to respond to any request or issue – total peace of mind, at all times.

To learn more about heating your swimming pool, or for advice on selecting the right swimming pool heat pumps across Dantherm Group, get in touch with our team, or fill out the form below.

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