Pool Heat Pumps

Pool Heat pumps are not new to the swimming pool market, however the technology used in their operation has been used in air conditioning and refrigeration for many years and has been evolving with technology.

Heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse, using the air nearby in order to collect heat for transfer.

Heat is collected from air then sucked through the unit, and transferred to the refrigerant carried by pipes through the Heat Pump, then the temperature increases by compressing the refrigerant. The heat by product is passed to the pool water contained in adjacent piping circulating the water.

A huge advantage of electric heat pumps is that they are energy efficient. Think carefully about this statement, they can use a lot of energy to heat up a pool to temperature, but if you cover your pool and manage expectations on temperature, they can be efficient.  This means be prepared and do your research on potential running costs to ensure you get the all the information to select the most appropriate product.

For example, if a heat pump takes 3 KW of electricity it may produce 7 to 11 KW of heat energy. This efficiency ratio is known as a C.O.P (co-efficient of performance).

Heat pumps can be found in a number of sizes from 2 KW to 200 KW output. The one to best fit your application will depend on close consideration of these factors:

  • Location- local climatic conditions large effect selection.
  • Temperature- your choice, however as a guide, exercise/fun pool- 24 to 28 C, therapeutic 28 to 25 C, spa pool- 34 to 38 C.
  • Size of pool- calculate the pool volume by multiplying the surface area in sq. meters by the average depth (including wading area and spa). Select the suitable unit for the volume of the pool.
  • Shading and exposure to wind- these can impact the heat losses and gains of heated water.
  • Pool position- outdoor or indoor
  • Swimming season- do you want to use the pool all year or just extend the season?


Pool with heated pool pump

Heat pumps can be installed both indoors or outdoors. However, before choosing on the heater’s placement, consideration should be taken to air flow and ventilation. The heat pump uses a fan to suck in air across a coil then ejects it. If placed indoors, allow for this ventilation and to dispel any chilled air created.

For outdoor installation, the heater can be placed at ground level (50mm plinth preferred), mounted on a wall or even sat on a roof. Check location for any noise issues that may arise with your closest neighbours.

Units can be included as part of the pump/filter network or plumbed as a separate heating circuit.

Average size domestic installations usually require a single phase electrical connection. Larger pools might need three phase power.

Where available, an off-peak connection is beneficial to further reduce running cost.

All heat Pumps should have some form of flow control device to prevent the unit operating without passable water flow.

All heat pumps are thermostatically controlled. However, these controllers might vary from analogue dial type units to micro-processed digital devices. To the operator, all these controllers make the same result, and that is to control the pool heat at your favourite setting. A benefit of the digital type is that the settings are shown clearly.

Naturally not all heat pumps are the same, some have settings and features that others do not. Some manufacturers give you additional controls including time clock and/or pump interlock to guarantee the most economical operation of the heat pump/pool pump.

The choice is all yours, make sure you deal with a Jim’s Pool Care technician  when the time comes to choose your swimming pool heat pump.