Revamp Your Swim Season With An Air Source Heat Pump!

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By Debarghya Roy


Air source heat pumps are an energy-efficient and cost effective way to keep swimming pools at a comfortable temperature. Heat pumps allow you to maintain the perfect pool temperature for use during hot summer days or cooler weather, without consuming too much energy. Offering reliable heating as well as cooling capabilities, they’re an increasingly popular choice amongst residential and commercial pool owners. Read on to learn more about air source heat pump for swimming pools from what it is, how it works, benefits of using one, choosing the right size, installation process and necessary maintenance steps.

Air Source Heat Pump For Swimming Pool

An image depicting the air source heat pump for pools

Key Takeaways

  • Air source heat pumps for swimming pools are an energy efficient and cost effective way to keep your pool at a suitable temperature throughout the year.
  • Heat pumps can offer reliable cooling as well as heating capabilities, making them ideal for residential and commercial applications.
  • With air source heat pump, users are able to maintain comfortable temperatures in their pool all year round while reducing their environmental footprint due to less consumption of electricity and refrigerant gases than conventional methods.
  • Air source heat pump systems come in different types, sizes and brands so it is important to take into account factors such as size relative to the volume of water in the pool, desired optimal temperature settings, monthly usage frequency and brand reputation before selecting one for installation use requirements amongst home owners or facilities public areas alike.

What Is An Air Source Heat Pump For A Swimming Pool?

An air source heat pump for swimming pools is a refrigeration-type system designed to capture environmental heat from the air and use it to warm up the water in your pool.

It works by taking in outdoor air through a filter, converting its own energy into high temperature thermal energy, and subsequently transferring this heat to your pool’s body of water.

The components generally involve an evaporator coil, compressor valve, cooling fan motor and expansion valve working together to first draw in cold ambient air as well as absorb moisture from outside that’s then converted into hot or cool temperatures using stored warmth or refrigerant already inside the unit.

This process then continues until reaching maximum output temperature before releasing the heated or cooled air back outdoors after exchange with the existing body of swimmer’s water.

How Does It Work To Heat A Pool?

An air source heat pump for a swimming pool utilises a compressor and refrigerant to draw heat from the surrounding ambient air. 

This heated air is then passed through an evaporator coil within the pump, where it warms up the refrigerant liquid inside before further expanding into a gas-like state.

The now warmer gas-state refrigerant passes through into the heat exchanger. This component transfers all of its warmth to metal tubes fed by cold water returning back to your pool.

As this is circulated around a closed system, in which hot and cold are swapped over repeatedly, they keep increasing or decreasing in temperature until optimal conditions are met upon exiting back to the pool.

Can It Be Used For Cooling The Pool?

Air-source heat pumps can be used for both heating and cooling, which is a huge asset compared to other options available. This ability to switch modes between heating and cooling is referred to as reverse-cycling.

When in cooling mode, the heat pump extracts warmth from the pool water using refrigerant and releases it back into the air outside of the pool area.

Are Air Source Heat Pumps Suitable For All Pool Types?

Air source heat pumps can be used to efficiently and cost-effectively heat many types of swimming pools, providing a suitable alternative to more traditional heating methods such as gas or electric pool heaters.

Air source heat pumps are capable of heating in ground, above ground, outdoor and indoor pools equally well when the right model is chosen. 

Factors that determine the suitability of an air source heat pump for a particular type of swimming pool include the size and shape of the pool, the climate in the area where it is located, how frequently it will be used during colder months and what temperature you wish to maintain in your pool water.

The efficiency levels achievable by air source heat pumps vary according to their use environment but are generally higher than other forms of heating systems due to their low operating costs.

This makes them highly sought after for both residential and commercial applications. Additionally, they help reduce energy costs significantly over time which further improves their user appeal compared with other forms of heating sources available for swimming pools today.

Benefits Of Using An Air Source Heat Pump For Pool Heating

Air source heat pumps provide numerous advantages for swimming pool owners.


Air source heat pumps for swimming pools are a cost-effective option compared to more traditional pool heating systems. This is due to their high energy efficiency and lower operating costs, which can save pool owners up to six times less in electricity expenses compared to gas pool heaters.

Heat pumps also offer additional convenience since they do not require installation of new pipework and can be placed anywhere close enough to the pool area.

Energy Efficiency

Air source heat pumps for swimming pools are one of the most energy-efficient pool heating solutions. 

The high coefficient of performance (COP) allows more effective use of every unit of electricity consumed with them producing up to 3 times more heat than other heating options.

By using outside air as a renewable energy source, they generate an efficient means of converting energy into heat reducing both running costs and environmental impact.

Heat pumps are designed to deliver reliable heating when needed while being very cost-effective in comparison with gas or electric systems, resulting in long-term savings and increased pool usage without worrying about higher utility bills.

Increased Pool Usage

Air source heat pumps can be a great addition to any swimming pool, allowing you to maintain an ideal night and day time temperature consistently. 

This is made even easier when combined with a cover, as it reduces the amount of heat lost during the cooler days or nights.

Not only does this create comfortable swimming conditions for user throughout entire season but also increase potential energy cost savings by not having to reach full temperature every time after its been unused for sometime.

Additionally, many people are now considering air source heat pumps more than traditional alternatives because they offer up to four times higher efficiency rate than gas powered one and significantly lesser costs on operation due their added longevity which translates into less frequent replacing and maintenance needs in long run.

Improved Control Over Pool Temperature

Air source heat pumps are an energy-efficient and eco-friendly way to provide precise control over pool temperatures. With air source heat pumps, water is pumped from the pool before being passed through a compact evaporation coil, which is heated by the ambient air temperature.

The warmer air then transfers its thermal energy into the evaporator coils and warms up the liquid inside them before passing back out into the pool. This means that with these systems, you can maintain a consistent temperature even during cold winter months, or reduce it in summer for greater comfort in hot weather.

This allows users to swim year round without needing to adjust their pools manually and this leading to increased usage of their swimmingpools and reduced costs associated with manually adjusting temperatures.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Using an air source heat pump for pool heating can not only help to reduce energy costs but also contribute to emissions reductions. Heat pumps are considered more efficient than traditional gas or electric heating methods as they rely on less electricity, run more quietly and offer consistent temperatures year-round.

Since they extract warm air from the atmosphere, they require very little energy for cooling or heating making them highly energy-efficient compared to alternative options such as electric boiler systems.

On top of that, heat pumps use fewer refrigerants than traditional gas equipment which increases their environmental appeal.

Factors To Consider While Choosing The Right Size Air Source Heat Pump For Your Pool

To maximize on energy efficiency and best heating results, it is important to choose the right size air source heat pump for your pool.

Factors To Consider

  • Size of the pool

Size of both its surface area and volume, as well as how much heating increase is needed from the heat pump model has to be considered. For example, a small above ground pool requires significantly less BTUs than an Olympic-sized in-ground pool does. 

  • Season of the year

It will also play a role in determining what kind and size of equipment is needed for optimal efficiency. Larger units are generally required during winter months when increased levels of heating demand occur. Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that there’s 

  • Adequate airflow around the unit 

Adequate airflow around the unit should perform efficiently, otherwise obstructions such as landscaping can occure. 

  • Proximity to other buildings or trees 

It can reduce airflow as previously mentioned. Heat pumps need all sides exposed unobstructed so they’re properly ventilated. Installing them near hard surfaces like fences might create wind drifts that can negatively affect performance. 

  • Price range 

Price range should be another factor addressed before purchasing while heat pumps provide energy savings over time which helps offset their high initial cost. Certain models may not fit within budget constraints even after factoring in these long term benefits. 

Calculation Process To Determine Size

Sizing a heat pump pool heater involves many factors, such as the surface area of the pool, desired temperature and season of the year. To make it easier to calculate these measurements for different sized pools, there is a table that can be used to compare the dimension of a pool against BTUs needed for certain heating rates and seasons.

When calculating the size air source heat pump required for your swimming pool, one must consider not only its dimensions but also find out its volume in order to choose a model with an adequate heating increase rate, usually 0.25 or above.

For instance, let’s say you have an outdoor rectangular shaped swimming pool measuring 16 ft x 30ft x 3-4 ft deep. Firstly multiply 16×30 which will give you 480 sq. feet, secondly multiply 480×3/4 which represents how deep it is (in this case three fourths), thus resulting in 360 cubic feet. Now divide that by 12 (as 1 cubic foot equals 12 cubic inches) obtaining 30 cubes. So we know our pools holds approximately 30 cubes.

Installation Process Of An Air Source Heat Pump For Pool Heating

Proper installation of an air source heat pump for pool heating is essential to ensure that the system operates optimally and efficiently.

Preparation And Planning

  1. The installation of an air source heat pump for pool heating requires careful planning for safe, efficient operation.
  2. The capacity of the heat pump system should match the specific heating requirements of your pool and its environment.
  3. Choosing a unit that fulfills the calculated capacity requirements is crucial for optimal performance.
  4. Proper site selection for installation is important, which includes ensuring sufficient space around the area for unimpeded daily operations and adequate airflow.
  5. The installation process involves careful plumbing considerations for directing water connections to and from the heat pump.
  6. Detailed attention must be given to pipe measures during the setup phase.
  7. It’s necessary to make power arrangements for energy to reach all components of the system.
  8. Most electricians recommend connecting circuit breakers with their own dedicated line straight from the mainboard for better performance, efficiency, and safety.

Specific Requirements For Installation

  1. Installation must be carried out by a trained professional with expertise in electrical wiring and pool heating systems.
  2. An outdoor installation must maintain at least 2 feet of clearance all around the pump unit.
  3. At least 4 feet of space should be provided in front of the unit for easy access during maintenance operations.
  4. Electrical wiring must adhere to local codes and meet specific voltage supply levels.
  5. The use of dedicated circuits is recommended when possible, over shared supplies or long runs.
  6. Proper ventilation is critical, requiring at least 50% unobstructed airflow from below the unit’s cooling fins for efficient operation.
  7. Additional components recommended by the manufacturer, such as protective covers, might require special considerations, including appropriate fitment and structural integrity.

Maintenance Tips To Maximize The Lifespan Of Your Air Source Heat Pump

Regular cleaning, inspection and repair as well as professional servicing are important tips for the maintenance of an air source heat pump to ensure it functions properly and lasts longer.

Regular Cleaning

  1. The outdoor unit of the air-source heat pump should be cleaned regularly, especially if it’s located in a dusty or dirty area. This aids in the optimal functioning of components such as fans, coils, and filters.
  2. The evaporator coil (indoor unit) of the heat pump should be vacuumed once a year. This practice helps remove dust particles that can accumulate and cause clogs over time.
  3. Regular cleaning of these parts of the heat pump is an important part of routine maintenance. Lack of regular cleaning can lead to frequent breakdowns and may increase associated repair costs as well as electric bills.

Inspection And Repair

  1. Regular inspection and repair of air source heat pumps are essential to ensure safe and efficient operation.
  2. The system consists of multiple components that require regular inspection and maintenance to prevent issues such as insufficient heating, noisy operation, and freezing up.
  3. Blockages can form within the system and impede airflow or reduce performance. These need to be addressed promptly by a professional.
  4. Regular inspection should include cleaning of internal components such as fan blades, coils, grills, and electrical connections.
  5. The water flow in the system should be checked regularly as clogging could cause damage due to pressure overloads or inadequate water circulation in the pool.
  6. Proper temperature setting for the heat pump is crucial to avoid potential burnouts of components, indicating the need for regular inspections to ensure correct settings.
  7. Neglecting regular inspection and maintenance can result in costly damages either through eventual breakdowns or ineffective energy savings due to poor efficiency ratings.

Professional Servicing

  1. Professional servicing of air source heat pumps is critical for ensuring optimal performance and longevity of the unit.
  2. During professional servicing, an HVAC technician performs several maintenance tasks, including:
    • Inspection of the unit for potential issues.
    • Cleaning of internal components.
    • Checking of electrical connections.
    • Verification of water flow.
    • Ensuring proper operation of controls.
  3. Regular professional servicing helps maximize the lifespan of the heat pump by preventing issues before they occur, or detecting them early when they can be easily fixed.
  4. Without regular professional servicing, common problems such as insufficient heating or noisy operation may arise, leading to increased energy costs due to inefficiency.

Comparing Air Source Heat Pumps Vs Other Pool Heating Options

Comparing air source heat pumps to other pool heating options can help determine the best type for a specific pool, so it is important to understand what each provides and which one may work best.

Comparing with Solar Panels

CategoryAir Source Heat PumpsSolar Panels
EfficiencyCan effectively raise water temperatures up to 28 degrees Celsius, extending swimming sessions.Solar panels can also aid in heating pools but their efficiency is dependent on factors such as sunlight hours and orientation of the house.
Cost-effectivenessA cost-effective solution for maintaining an ideal pool temperature year-round when maintained properly.When paired with air source heat pumps, can provide a cost-effective solution for pool heating. However, the initial installation cost might be high.
Energy efficiencyHighly energy-efficient for heating pools.Highly energy-efficient and can provide additional energy for other household needs.
Weather dependencyPerformance of air source heat pumps can be affected by the outside temperature.Solar panels are weather-dependent and their performance can be affected by heavy rainfalls or reduced sunlight. Extra panels may be needed to maintain output.
InstallationInstallation factors include the location and orientation of the unit, as well as the home’s insulation requirements.Installation factors include the orientation of the house or pool area, sunlight hours throughout the day, daily temperature range, peak usage times of electrical appliances, and the type of roofing tiles that allow maximum sun exposure.
MaintenanceRegular cleaning and maintenance are required to maximize efficiency and longevity.Requires occasional cleaning and inspection to ensure optimal operation.

Comparing with Gas Heaters

CategoryAir Source Heat PumpsGas Heaters
EfficiencyHighly efficient, particularly in mild climates. Can effectively raise water temperatures, extending swimming sessions.Generally works faster than air source heat pumps. Efficiency rating around 84%. Seen as a good option for quick heating or maintaining high temperatures.
Cost-effectivenessGenerally lower operating costs than gas heaters, though higher initial investment.Can have higher fuel costs over time, but typically have lower upfront costs compared to air source heat pumps.
Energy efficiencyHighly energy-efficient for heating pools, especially when well-maintained.High energy efficiency ratings, but requires constant burning of natural gas or propane, which can lead to higher fuel consumption over time.
Installation & MaintenanceInstallation factors include the location and orientation of the unit, as well as the home’s insulation requirements. Regular maintenance is required to maximize efficiency and longevity.Installation must be performed professionally, with component parts including pipes and tanks adhering to local regulations. Regular professional inspections are necessary for safety and efficiency.
Safety ConcernsMinimal safety concerns. Proper installation and maintenance can mitigate most potential issues.Gas heaters require more safety considerations due to the risk of gas leaks. Regular professional inspections are needed to detect and prevent potential issues.

Comparing With Electric Heaters

CategoryAir Source Heat PumpsElectric Heaters
EfficiencyHighly efficient, particularly in mild climates. Can effectively raise water temperatures, extending swimming sessions.Extremely efficient as they use 100% of the electrical energy consumed to directly generate heat.
Cost-effectivenessGenerally lower operating costs than traditional electric heaters, though higher initial investment.They have low operating costs and are generally cost-effective, but the overall cost-effectiveness can depend on local electricity prices.
Energy efficiencyHighly energy-efficient for heating pools, especially when well-maintained.Extremely energy-efficient as there is no energy loss due to combustion, unlike gas or propane heaters.
Installation & MaintenanceInstallation factors include the location and orientation of the unit, as well as the home’s insulation requirements. Regular maintenance is required to maximize efficiency and longevity.Installation is generally simpler than for air source heat pumps. Maintenance needs are typically lower than for air source heat pumps, but depend on the specific model.
Safety ConcernsMinimal safety concerns. Proper installation and maintenance can mitigate most potential issues.Electric heaters also have minimal safety concerns when installed and maintained properly.

With so many air source heat pump options available, it is important to choose one that suits your particular needs, budget and preferences.

Factors To Consider

  • Pool size and surface area: The size of the heat pump needed to efficiently heat a swimming pool depends on the pool’s surface area, as larger pools require more energy to be heated.
  • Desired temperature: The desired temperature of the water is also important when selecting a heat pump, as higher temperatures will require a more powerful unit.
  • Energy efficiency: Heat pumps come in various levels of energy efficiency, ranging from low-power models to high-end, super-efficient units. Selecting an energy efficient heat pump based on the needs of your pool can significantly reduce operating costs over time.
  • Cost effectiveness: Heat pumps are typically more cost-effective than other pool heating options due to their long lifespan and energy efficiency. However, it is important to consider the upfront and ongoing costs associated with installing and operating the unit before making a commitment.
  • Climate zone: The climate in which you live should also be taken into account when selecting a heat pump for your pool. For example, if you live in an extremely hot or cold region, you may need to choose a higher capacity or lower powered unit accordingly.

Reviews And Ratings

  • Choosing the right air source heat pump for your swimming pool is an important decision, so it’s essential to gather reliable reviews and ratings before making a purchase.
  • Professional magazines such as Pool Magazine are great resources for finding honest and objective reviews of powerful, energy-efficient systems from top manufacturers such as Hayward, PentAir, Ecosmart, FibroPool and Aquacal.
  • When evaluating reviews or ratings online however care should be taken considering factors such as who wrote them (anonymous sources do not have much credibility), what specific criteria was used to rate each one, when the review or rating was written (tech specifications change frequently).
  • Additionally other non-technical elements can affect how well a heat pump will perform on any given location – such as budgeting concerns or current pool size/layout issues.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Air Source Heat Pumps For Pools

Inspecting and troubleshooting potential problems with components such as the compressor or evaporator coil can help to identify and quickly resolve any common issues with an air source heat pump for a pool.

Insufficient Heating

When it comes to air source heat pumps for swimming pools, insufficient heating is a common issue. This can be due to various factors, such as inadequate run time of the pump and insufficient water flow through the pump.

Insufficient run time of the heat pump can cause pool water not reaching or maintaining your desired temperature. It’s important to determine how long you need your pump running in order to achieve good heating results given your particular setup and climate variables.

Inadequate water flow through the heat pump is another possible cause of poor performance in terms of heating capability. 

Proper plumbing installation involving valves needs additional thought when setting up a pool heating system since there are often multiple components which can restrict/limit outflow from any one element unless all points have maximum passage openings cross-linked between each other based on what unit used along with size pipes utilized within entire process flow loop & variable load rating stipulated by exchanger manufacturer specs.

Noisy Operation

Air source heat pumps for swimming pools operate at relatively high levels of noise. Circulating pool water through the unit takes energy, which is reflected in the sound produced by that activity.

While a certain amount of noise is expected from a working heat pump, it should not be excessive or disruptive to an acceptable degree. Common causes of loud operation include worn bearings and shafts, loose turbine blades, incorrect fan speeds and size mismatches between components such as motors or fans., Therefore reducing this noise can improve the overall experience with your pool installation for both you and your guests.

Regular maintenance can help reduce moving parts’ wear-and-tear that may contribute to louder operations over time by taking corrective measures like replacing worn out components, recalibrating motor speed settings and checking if parts fit together correctly.

In addition to maintaining optimal conditions consistently is also vital in maximizing tools’ lifespan as well as reducing their associated noises while running.

Freezing Up

Air source heat pumps can be particularly susceptible to freezing up and damage, especially if ambient temperatures are too low. If the thermostat of an air source heat pump senses that outdoor temperatures are below 50°F or 10°C, it will stop running to avoid potential damage from extreme cold.

In some cases, this could lead to a gradual buildup of frost on the evaporator coil which can then freeze and cause further malfunctioning or breakdowns of the pump’s inner components.

To prevent freezing up, pool professionals should ensure that they keep an eye on outdoor temperature fluctuations and regularly check their system for any signs of condensation (indicative of a refrigerant leak).

Proper maintenance activities such as cleaning filters regularly also play a key role in avoiding breakdowns; clogged up filters increase pressure thereby affecting airflow within the heat pump leading to improper warming/cooling functions.


Using air source heat pumps for swimming pool heating is an efficient and effective way to keep your pool heated throughout the year while significantly reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs. Air source heat pumps are available in a range of sizes and brands that offer both energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. When selecting an air source heat pump, it is important to consider factors such as size relative to the volume of water in the pool, seasonal temperature changes, desired water temperature, monthly usage, brand reputation etc. Furthermore proper installation by following safety guidelines set by manufacturers is necessary for optimal performance. Regular cleaning, maintenance service checkups from professionals help ensure good hygiene control over time as well as reduce breakdowns due to wear or dirt buildup.


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