Heat pump in North Texas and other equipment questions

goofygrinSeptember 2, 2010

I'm getting bids for pools now and I had a couple questions about some of the equipment that I've been quoted.

One vendor heard me ask about heat pumps and actually put one into the quote. He spec'ed the Jandy EE3000-R. I don't find anything on this list (which I've read back a couple years history and do lots of searches on :), but I saw where Kelly has the older version (AE3000) in his mega-pool.

What I'm wondering is

a) how much does a heat pump extend the season realistically? A $6k upfront and $200 a month increase in utilities ($0.09/kwh here) seems like a fairly good trade off if I'm swimming 10-12 months a year (using a solar cover of course). North Texas has fairly mild winters, but we do get a couple cold snaps a year normally (or abnormally this year with a foot of snow)

b) how much does one of these guys *really* cost to operate? When pressed, he said that he really didn't install many, but he was looking at putting one in in order to *chill* his pool since his gets full sun and is in the upper 90s in August (when we are ~105* for a few weeks).

Our pool will be on the north side of the house and the second story over the garage will shade the pool/back yard most of the afternoon. I'm not sure the cooler will be super important for us?

Also he uses/recommends the Jandy Stealth pump. Others are recommending either a variable pump or a standard pump with upgrade to variable options. Any recommendations there? ePump is something I've seen mentioned here various times.

Thanks for the help and as I get further in the process I'll be back :)

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I'd feel certain that my 2 heat pumps could keep my pool warm (78-82 my winter water temps) during the entire winter in SE Texas, I'd bet that the 3000 would easily get you 10 months of swim time and perhaps all year long on an average size pool in a moderate winter.
What these units don't like is really cold weather. Although they're gas defrosting to make heat when the temps are in the 30's the amount of btu's drop drastically.
The one thing I don't like about mine is I must run my filter pumps for those two appliances on high speed and don't get to take advantage of the electrical savings of my 2-speed pumps on low. I've never done an amp load calculation on the pump and heater combined but I'm sure it's pulling major watts.
For the heat pump I'd guess amps in the mid 40's for the start up and mid 30's running, and for the filter pump 14-16 start up and 10-12 for running.

On the filter pumps I like the PHPM 2-speed pumps, it has the same internals as the stealth but uses a smaller strainer and costs less.
I've only placed a few e-pumps into srevice since they came out and I don't have enough time with them to make a determination as to how good they are.
One thing on them that's for sure is that you can run up the rpm's to the point of a water pressure high enough to engage the heat pump and I'd feel certain that it's well below 3450 rpm.
If Jandy would comp 2 for me at my home like I've asked I'd be able to assist you more.
I hope this helps.

See ya,

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 4:09PM
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Thanks for the response.

Another builder that is building quite a few pools here lately also uses Jandy equipment and recommended the epump and *not* to get a heatpump for the reasons you specified (pump life, electric costs, doesn't work well in the cold). Since we'd likely be getting a spa with the 400kbtu heater to just use that the few times we really want to heat the pool (ie. for a "July in Christmas" birthday party for my son) and just use the spa most of the cooler months.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 5:50PM
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I disagree with your builder, heat pumps generate the most heat for the least amount of money. But to do this they need a warmish, dampish air to extract the maximum amount of heat out of the air.
I always place a gas fired heater, for quick heating, on my applications even if they have a heat pump.
My pool has 2 400k propane fired heaters and 2 heat pumps too.
I use the heat pumps when I'm willing to wait a spell for the spa to heat up and in the Fall to extend my swim season from late October to Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas depending on how many Northers we've had come through. Right before Spring Break I use the propane heaters to initially warm the pool and the heat pumps to maintain it until it'll hold on it's own.
If you can afford both you will most certainly not be disappointed.

See ya,

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 1:30PM
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goofygrin...Kelly is right...geothermal heat pumps are more efficient than gas. As a result, this industy is growing significantly in HVAC applications worldwide over fossil fuel technology. Same with these units for swimming pools, $/BTU, they can not be beat. The downside is they are slower to heat regarding BTU/Hr delivery...normally 120KBTU/HR vs. 400KBTU/HR for gas.

Kelly...chances are your heat pumps have compressors in them that are manufactured by the company I work for. If so, they're pulling around 130A during starting for about .5 sec then run around 27A steady state.

I'm surprised your 2 speeds do not have enough flow in low speed to satisfy your heaters (both gas and heat pump). By chance, do you have bypasses installed prior to each heater. If so, I bet the bypasses stay open during low speed operation which is robbing precious flow from the heaters. The bypass lines should close automatically whenever the pump is switched to low speed. This allows the heaters to be satisfied even at low speed operation saving lots of pump energy. I'm accomplishing this using the JVA sockets on the automation system and assigning them accordingly to the low speed relay. Although, instead of using mechanical JVA's, I'm using 1.5" irrigation valves to open and close the bypass lines. You probably have ready access to JVA's so probably won't have to resort to the low tech solution I implemented.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 8:47PM
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