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What Is The Difference Between A Pool Pump And A Heat Pump?

Electric Pool Heaters, also known as Resistance Pool Heaters, are entirely powered by electricity, making them more expensive to operate compared to Electric Heat Pumps. Both Electric Pool Heaters and Electric Heat Pumps are powered by electricity, but that’s where their similarities end. If you want to open your swimming pool earlier in the spring and keep it open later in the fall and winter, then Pool Heaters and Heat Pumps are crucial for extending your swimming plans.


But what are the differences between Pool Heaters and Heat Pumps? How much does a Pool Heater cost? Which option is more effective for certain ownership situations? To help you make an informed decision before purchasing, we will guide you through the main features of Pool Heaters and Heat Pumps.


Pool Heaters:

Pool Heaters are the most popular choice for pool heating. They use natural gas, propane, or electricity to heat the water returning to the pool. They have a lower upfront cost and can quickly raise the water temperature. However, while the initial cost of a Heater may be lower than a Heat Pump, they require continuous consumption of propane, natural gas, or electricity. The ongoing operational cost of a Pool Heater typically exceeds that of running a Heat Pump.


Depending on the type of fuel used (propane or natural gas) and the geographic location of the pool, the cost of heating a pool with a Pool Heater ranges from $3.00 to $9.00 per hour. Natural gas heaters usually have lower hourly costs compared to propane heaters, with natural gas being around 85% cheaper than propane, depending on where you live. On the other hand, propane may be the most readily available fuel source in your area.


Electric Pool Heaters feature a simple design with heating elements, similar to what you would find in an electric stove or space heater, that heat the water as it flows through the heater, pump, and filtration system. They use resistance to overheat the heating elements, making them easy to install, set up, and operate, but they are not as energy-efficient as gas heaters or electric heat pumps. Electric heaters are more suitable for small above-ground pools, spa centers, or small underground pools with less than 15,000 gallons of water.


If propane or natural gas is not suitable for your pool, an Electric Pool Heater is another viable option. One unique aspect of electric heaters is that they have 100% efficiency compared to the roughly 84% efficiency of propane or gas heaters. However, these electric devices are typically smaller and may produce lower BTU outputs compared to traditional gas or propane units. Consequently, they may not be able to heat a pool as quickly as larger heaters, so they are generally only used for smaller indoor and outdoor pools or spa centers and hot tubs. Electric heaters are a reliable way to heat any pool, but they can significantly increase your monthly electricity bill, especially for larger outdoor equipment. Electric heaters consume a significant amount of electricity, usually requiring at least a 60-amp breaker and a 240-volt capable wiring.

Air sour heat pump cost

Heat Pumps:

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular among pool owners. They use the ambient air surrounding the equipment to heat the pool. The air passes over evaporator coils, heating the refrigerant, which then transfers the heat to the water and returns it to the pool. This process does not require natural gas or propane resources, reducing utility costs. The electrical operating cost of a heat pump is approximately $0.63 per hour, a fraction of the cost of a propane or natural gas pool heater.


Though the operating cost is lower, heat pumps do have a small drawback. As heat pumps rely on the ambient air, they only work efficiently when the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature drops below 50 degrees, heat pumps lose their ability to effectively heat the pool water.


To know more about how heat pumps work, be sure to read our detailed article on “How do Pool Heat Pumps Work?”


Differences Between Electric Pool Heaters and Heat Pumps:

Electric Pool Heaters use heating elements, while Electric Heat Pumps do not use heating elements but generate heat from the external air. The cost of Electric Pool Heaters is generally lower than Heat Pumps, but their operational cost may be up to five times higher than Heat Pumps.


While Heat Pumps can provide higher efficiency and lower annual operating costs to maintain a constant temperature, Electric Pool Heaters are compact and easy to operate. Since Electric Heat Pumps utilize external air, their operational cost is much cheaper than fully electric-powered heaters, and electric heaters are among the most expensive types of heaters to run.


Electric Heat Pumps operate most efficiently in warm weather with temperatures of at least 50°F or above. The heating efficiency of a pool heat pump decreases as the temperature drops. Electric heaters with heating coils can operate at any temperature, making them well-suited for quick, intermittent heating of small pools and spa centers.


Electric Pool Heaters are ideal for providing rapid heating, but they are not designed for maintaining a constant heat. Electric heaters can quickly heat pool water, though gas pool heaters tend to heat a bit faster under the same conditions.


Consulting on Pool Heat Pumps:

At Shenling, we provide consulting on pool heat pumps to help pool owners evaluate the most important factors for choosing the best pool heat pump for them. Essential considerations include the climate of your location, the amount of sunlight, and whether you want rapid, intermittent heating or constant temperature. Regardless of the type of pool heating technology that best suits your needs, most pool owners should always use a solar cover. Using a solar cover helps prevent evaporation and maintains the pool water warm.


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Shenling will be the best solution of how to use a heat pump in winter

Related Articles on Swimming Pool Heat Pumps:

If you are unsure about what size of pool heat pump you need, please read:


What Size Pool Heat Pump Do I Need?

Heat pumps are one of the most economically effective ways of heating a pool! Their energy efficiency is unmatched, and the benefits of using a heat pump are numerous.


At Shenling, to ensure that you choose the right product for your pool, we have compiled this guide to help you invest in the perfect size pool heat pump.


How long does an air source heat pump take to heat a swimming pool?

We frequently receive a common question, “How long does it take for a heat pump to heat my pool/spa?” It’s a good question, but not an easy one to answer. The answer depends on how your pool system is set up. In some cases, running a pool heater overnight may be possible, while in other cases, it may not be advisable.


Can a pool heat pump run continuously?

If you have a swimming pool heat pump, you might wonder how long it should run. This is certainly understandable, as many Shanling customers face the same question. So, to address this question and help others, we explain how often you should run your heat pump to benefit from it. You might be surprised!


What is the ideal temperature for a pool?

Keeping your swimming pool at an ideal temperature throughout the year can be challenging, and though there are many methods claiming to help solve this issue, it may not be as harmful as initially thought. In fact, there are benefits to having a pool slightly too warm or slightly too cool. But what are those benefits? Does the type of pool affect the pool water temperature? Shanling is here to help you out.


Are pool heat pumps noisy?

The dB rating of small air-source swimming pool heat pumps will be between 60-70, while larger air-source pool heat pumps will have a dBA of around 70. In practical application, the hum of a standard refrigerator is about 45 dBA, and the noise of an air conditioner is around 60 dBA. So, when the heat pump operates at 70 dBA at 1 meter away, the noise can be quite noticeable. However, this can vary depending on the manufacturer and the presence of sound barriers.


Moreover, there may be some noise during the startup phase, which also depends on the sound enclosure. Let’s take a closer look.


What are the three types of pool pumps?

There are three types of pool pumps to choose from: single-speed, dual-speed, and variable-speed pumps. Let’s look at some essential differences.

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