Pool Heat Pump Installation: A Step-By-Step Complete Guide!

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By Debarghya Roy

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Are you considering installing a pool heat pump to extend your swimming season and enjoy the comfort of warm water? This blog post will provide you with essential information on pool heat pumps, including their benefits, types, and installation tips.

We will also discuss best practices based on manufacturer’s recommendations and how to ensure that your investment runs efficiently for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Installing a pool heat pump can provide energy-efficient heating, extend the swimming season, and increase comfort and enjoyment.
  • There are four main types of pool heaters: gas, electric, solar, and heat pumps. Heat pumps offer excellent energy efficiency and cost savings compared to other options.
  • Proper preparation is key before installing a pool heat pump. This includes checking the plumbing flow rate, lining up necessary professionals and permits, choosing the right location with proper clearance requirements, and following manufacturer recommendations for installation procedures and maintenance tips.

What is a pool heat pump?

A pool heat pump is a device that is used to heat the water of a swimming pool or a spa. It is an energy-efficient alternative to traditional electric or gas pool heaters.

What is a swimming pool heat pump?

A swimming pool heat pump is a device that extracts heat from the air outside the pool and uses it to heat the water in the pool.

Pool Heat Pump Installation

How do I install the heat pump?

The installation process may vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer. It’s essential to follow the heat pump installation guide provided by the manufacturer. It’s important to space the unit at least 2 feet from any walls, allowing for proper circulation of the air.

Why Install A Pool Heat Pump?

Installing a pool heat pump has many benefits, including energy efficiency, extending the swimming season, and better comfort and enjoyment.

Energy Efficiency

One of the significant advantages of pool heat pumps is their energy efficiency, making them a popular choice among pool owners who want to save on utility costs.

Unlike gas heaters that burn fuel or electric resistance heaters that use electricity for heating, heat pumps work by extracting and transferring warmth from the surrounding air.

For example, 

A well-maintained heat pump may have a Coefficient of Performance (COP) between 3 and 7, which means it can generate up to seven times more heat per unit of electricity consumed than other types of heaters.

Extend The Swimming Season

Installing a pool heat pump greatly extends your swimming season by maintaining consistently comfortable water temperatures

This allows you to enjoy more quality time with friends and family, taking advantage of your investment for a longer portion of the year.

An extended swimming season not only improves the overall value of owning a pool but also enhances its usability and versatility. 

Children can practice their swim skills throughout most of the year while adults can benefit from low-impact aquatic exercises or simply unwind after a long day’s work.

Better Comfort And Enjoyment

A pool heat pump can greatly enhance your overall experience by maintaining a pleasant water temperature throughout the swimming season. 

With optimal water temperatures, you and your family can enjoy extended periods of relaxation and recreation in the pool without worrying about cold water spoiling the fun.

Moreover, owning a heated spa or hot tub adds an extra layer of luxury to your home. 

By utilizing energy-efficient technology such as pool heat pumps, you can indulge in warm, soothing soaks without excessive running costs often associated with traditional electric heaters.

Types Of Pool Heaters

Pool heaters come in four main types: gas, electric, solar, and heat pumps.

Gas Heaters

Gas heaters are an affordable option for heating your pool. They work by igniting natural gas or propane to heat water as it passes through a combustion chamber.

Although they’re more expensive to run than other types of pool heaters, gas heaters can heat up the water very quickly, making them ideal for sporadic use in colder weather.

However, without proper maintenance and upkeep, they can become expensive to repair due to issues such as corrosion and faulty gas lines. Make sure you have sufficient ventilation around the heater area to avoid dangerous fumes from building up.

Electric Heaters

Electric pool heaters use electricity to heat the water in your pool. They work by using an electric current to warm a heating element, which then transfers the heat to the water as it flows through the heater.

Electric heaters are ideal for smaller pools or spas that don’t need to be heated all year round, and they’re generally less expensive than other types of heaters.

One important thing to keep in mind when considering an electric pool heater is that you’ll need access to a dedicated electrical circuit with enough power capacity to handle the load required by the heater.

This means you may need to have an electrician install a new circuit just for your pool heater.

Solar Heaters

If you’re interested in energy-efficient and eco-friendly pool heating options, then solar heaters are worth considering. Solar heaters use the sun’s energy to heat your pool water, so they don’t require electricity or gas.

They can be an excellent option if you live in a sunny area with a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day. However, they tend to be more expensive than other types of pool heaters and may not work as well on cloudy or overcast days.

It’s also essential to make sure that your roof or another location where solar panels can be installed is free from obstructions that block the sun’s rays.

Heat Pumps

  • Heat pumps are a popular choice for pool heating as they offer excellent energy efficiency and cost savings compared to electric or gas heaters.
  • They work by extracting heat from the air outside and transferring it to the water in the pool, thus prolonging your swimming season and enhancing your comfort.
  • Heat pumps come in both vertical fan and horizontal fan models, each with different clearance requirements for installation. 
  • The water flow rate through the heat pump is critical, as too low a flow can cause overheating and result in damage to the unit.
  • Proper electrical connections should also be made by hiring a licensed electrician if necessary to ensure safety and performance of the unit.

Preparing For Pool Heat Pump Installation

Before installing a pool heat pump, it is important to check the flow rate of your pool plumbing and line up necessary professionals as well as obtain necessary permits.

Check The Flow Rate Of Your Pool Plumbing

  • It is vital to check the flow rate of your pool plumbing before installing a heat pump. 
  • This can be done by consulting the specifications table provided by the manufacturer or contacting them for advice.
  • If the pipes in your existing pool piping system are too small, it may cause reduced water flow and damage to the heat pump
  • To avoid this problem, customers should consider upgrading their pipes to ensure sufficient water flow for optimum efficiency.

Line Up The Necessary Professionals

Before beginning the installation of your pool heat pump, it’s important to determine what professionals you may need to assist with the process. 

Depending on your level of expertise and knowledge, you may require a licensed plumber for certain plumbing connections or an electrician for proper electrical connections.

Additionally, manufacturers often recommend specific installation procedures and requirements that should be followed to avoid voiding the warranty. 

Therefore, consulting with a professional installer who is experienced in working with pool heat pumps can be highly beneficial in ensuring compliance with such guidelines and codes.

Obtain Necessary Permits

Before installing a pool heat pump, it is crucial to obtain the necessary permits from your state and local authorities. 

These permits ensure that the installation meets safety and code requirements, protecting both you and your investment.

Failing to obtain proper permits may lead to fines or even removal of the system. 

Permits are typically obtained through your city or county building department, and fees vary depending on the location and type of permit required.

Factors To Consider When Making Your Decision To Install A Pool Heat Pump

When considering whether to install a pool heat pump, there are several factors to keep in mind. Firstly, you need to consider the type of heater that is best for your needs.

Gas heaters are often the most common choice because they can quickly warm up a pool, but electric and solar heaters also have their benefits.

Another factor you’ll want to consider is whether or not you should hire a professional for installation.

While DIY projects can save money, improperly installed equipment might be more expensive down the line if something goes wrong.

It’s crucial that any installation be it professional or DIY  adheres closely with state and local codes and manufacturer recommendations so as not to void warranty terms or cause improper functioning later on.

Choosing The Right Location To Install Pool Heat Pumps

Choosing the right location for your pool heat pump is crucial to ensure optimum performance and longevity of the unit, taking into account clearance requirements, accessibility for maintenance, and minimum air circulation needed.

Minimum Clearance Requirements

Installing a pool heat pump requires proper clearance to ensure its optimum efficiency and longevity. 

The clearance requirements will depend on the type of unit you have, with vertical fan models requiring at least two feet of clearance around the sides and no obstructions above, while horizontal fan models should allow 300mm behind the unit and 2 meters in front of it.

Proper air circulation is essential for your pool heat pump’s performance, so it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when determining where to install the unit.

Heat Pump Clearances

It’s essential to choose the right location for your pool heat pump. This includes making sure that you have enough clearance around the unit for optimal airflow and maintenance access.

For example, a typical horizontal fan heat pump requires at least three feet of clearance on each side and five feet of overhead space. Meanwhile, a vertical fan heat pump may require up to ten feet of overhead clearance.

It’s important to measure your available space carefully before investing in a pool heater to ensure that you can accommodate the necessary clearances without compromising safety or efficiency.

Accessibility For Maintenance

Another important factor to consider when installing a pool heat pump is accessibility for maintenance. Your chosen location should have enough space around the unit for easy access and regular cleaning.

The heat exchanger, which is responsible for transferring heat from the air to the water, can accumulate debris and dirt that will need to be cleaned out regularly to maintain proper function.

In addition, your installer should ensure that there are no obstructions blocking access to critical components or areas of the unit that require periodic inspection.

When considering accessibility for maintenance, it’s also worth noting that some installations may require more frequent attention than others based on factors like local climate or water quality.

Site Preparation And Base Installation Of Pool Heat Pumps

Before installing a pool heat pump, it’s important to ensure the site is level and stable with proper drainage for rainwater runoff. 

The base can be made of various materials such as concrete, paving slabs, or timber decking, but mounting feet and lightweight slabs are also available to reduce noise and vibrations.

Level And Stable Surface

Before installing a pool heat pump, it’s crucial to make sure the base is level and stable. 

A solid base will not only prevent the unit from tilting or sinking but also help reduce vibrations and noise.

The base can be made of concrete, paving slabs, or timber decking depending on your preference and budget. 

For instance, if you opt for a concrete base, it should be at least 4 inches thick with reinforced mesh wire.

If you choose timber decking as the base material, ensure you use treated lumber that won’t rot or decay quickly due to exposure to water and chemicals used in pool maintenance.

When considering the location of your pool heat pump installation site, keep in mind that evaporation can cause a reduced water level in your swimming pool over time; therefore condensation water may drip from the unit during operation onto its surrounding area.

Proper Drainage

Proper drainage is crucial for the longevity and efficiency of your pool heat pump. 

During site preparation and base installation, it’s important to assess the slope of the ground and the size of drainage pipes needed.

It’s essential that you direct water away from the equipment pad where the heat pump will be installed to avoid any unnecessary pooling or standing water.

Additionally, when designing your base for a pool heat pump installation, consider how much condensation is likely to drip from your unit as this can cause an issue if not planned for accordingly.

A professional installer or plumber can help ensure that drainage requirements are met during your pool heat pump installation process so that you don’t run into any unexpected problems down the line.

Plumbing Connections Of Pool Heat Pumps

Ensure your pool pump and filter are sized appropriately to provide adequate water flow rate, add a bypass setup with a non-return valve before the heat exchanger inlet/outlet.

Use insulated pipes for better efficiency, and include a chlorination unit or chemical feeder after the heater outlet.

Water Flow Rate

The water flow rate through your pool heat pump is an essential factor in determining its performance and efficiency

Different heat pump models come with specified water flow rates, which should be followed for optimal results.

To ensure proper water flow through the pool heat pump, you must check the plumbing system’s compatibility before installing it. 

Investing in properly sized pipes and a bypass arrangement with three valves can help adjust and optimize the water flow rate to achieve peak performance.

Properly Sized Pipes

Properly sizing pipes is crucial when installing your pool heat pump. Small pipes may not provide sufficient water flow for larger heat pumps, leading to overheating and shutdowns.

Pool Heat Pump Installation

On the other hand, oversized pipes can reduce water velocity and cause inefficient heating. It’s important to consult with the manufacturer or a professional installer to determine the correct pipe size for your specific situation.

Additionally, existing pool pipework system pipe sizes should be checked before adding a heat pump to ensure compatibility and optimal performance.

Bypass Valves For Easy Maintenance

A bypass valve system is a crucial component of pool heat pump installation. 

It allows for easy maintenance and servicing of the unit by isolating the heater and adjusting water flow rate to optimize its efficiency.

This setup can make repairs or cleaning work on the filter or pump much simpler, while also preventing potential damage to other equipment during maintenance. 

Additionally, proper bypass valve installation and maintenance can prolong the life of your heat pump and save you repair costs in the long run.

Electrical Connections Of Pool Heat Pumps

Hiring a licensed electrician is crucial for ensuring proper electrical connections for your pool heat pump installation.

Hiring A Licensed Electrician

  • Hiring a licensed electrician is an essential part of installing a pool heat pump
  • Electrical supply is critical for the pump’s running and start-up currents, which means it requires the proper installation to avoid accidents or damages.
  • Soft-start options are available for large single-phase heat pumps with limited electrical support.
  • It’s best to work with qualified professionals who can ensure compliance with codes and warranty terms while handling your pool heater installation. 
  • Also, check that they’re certified by the National Pool Equipment Network or another industry authority for peace of mind.

Ensuring Adequate Power Supply

It’s important to make sure your electrical supply can handle the power requirements of a pool heat pump before installation. 

Check the running and peak currents required for the specific model you choose, and ensure there is an adequate dedicated circuit with a type “D” circuit breaker.

It’s recommended to hire a licensed electrician who can assess your current electrical system and make any necessary upgrades or changes to bring it up to code.

Soft-start options can also be helpful in easing startup currents and preventing power spikes, especially for larger single-phase heat pumps. 

Using armored cables for electrical connections is also recommended to prevent accidental damage, while RCDs provide protection against electrical faults when using outdoor circuits.

Safety Precautions

Safety is crucial during pool heat pump installation to avoid accidents and injuries. 

You must ensure that the electrical connections are made by a licensed electrician and comply with codes and warranty terms.

Also, avoid touching the hot surfaces of the unit during operation as they can cause severe burns. 

Ensure proper ventilation around the unit to prevent restricted airflow that could lead to exhaust fumes accumulation and carbon monoxide poisoning in indoor installations.

Pool Heat Pump Maintenance And Troubleshooting

Regular cleaning is crucial to maintaining the efficiency of your pool heat pump, and it’s important to inspect for leaks or damage as well.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is crucial for maintaining the efficiency of your pool heat pump. Neglecting to clean the unit can cause it to malfunction or even shut down completely.

To ensure that your heat pump runs smoothly, be sure to remove any debris from the coils, clean the filter regularly and clear out any drain blocks.

By keeping up with regular cleaning and maintenance, you’ll not only extend its lifespan but also save money on repair costs in the long run.

Inspecting For Leaks Or Damage

One important aspect of maintaining a pool heat pump is inspecting it regularly for leaks or damage. 

A leak can cause the refrigerant to escape, which could lead to decreased efficiency and increased energy costs.

Additionally, a damaged unit may not function properly or be safe for use. 

Checking for leaks or physical damage should involve a visual inspection of the exterior and interior components of the heat pump.

It’s essential to follow manufacturers’ guidelines and instructions carefully when performing maintenance on your pool heater to avoid reducing airflow or extending pipe length outside their perimeters.

When To Call A Professional To Inspect Pool Heat Pump

It is important to call a professional for regular maintenance and troubleshooting of pool heat pumps. 

A trained technician can easily identify any problems related to the heater’s performance, including leaks, clogs or malfunctions in the electrical system.

Attempting to fix these issues without proper training could result in further damage to the unit or even create hazards around your pool area. 

It is also essential to hire licensed professionals who have specific technical knowledge about installing pool heaters as well as adhering to local codes and regulations.

Benefits Of DIY Pool Heat Pump Installation

By choosing to DIY install your pool heat pump, you can experience the following benefits:

Cost savingsHiring a professional for installation can be expensive, but with DIY installation, you can save money by eliminating labor fees.
CustomizationDIY installation gives you more control over the plumbing design, allowing you to customize it to the specific needs of your pool and property.
ConvenienceDIY allows you to complete the installation at your own pace and convenience, without having to wait for a professional installer’s schedule.
Sense of accomplishmentCompleting a home improvement project like installing a pool heat pump offers a sense of satisfaction and pride in achieving something challenging.
Fulfillment of regulatory complianceBy understanding local codes and regulations related to pool heat pump installation, you can ensure that your pool is compliant with all necessary requirements.
Increased knowledge baseThrough the process of DIY installation, homeowners gain valuable knowledge on how their new equipment works, proper maintenance procedures, and troubleshooting techniques.
Familiarity with equipmentBy completing the installation process on their own, homeowners become more familiar with their equipment and are more comfortable handling maintenance or repairs in the future.
Time-savingWith some basic plumbing and electrical knowledge, installing a pool heat pump may only take a few hours to complete versus several days when hiring professionals depending on availability and scheduling conflicts.

Benefits Of Hiring A Professional

Hiring a professional for pool heat pump installation ensures adherence to the manufacturer’s recommendations and prevents invalidation of warranty. Here are some benefits of hiring a pro:

Compliance with state and local codes

A professional installer will ensure that your pool heat pump complies with all required state and local codes, as well as safety regulations.

Knowledge and Experience

Professional installers have the necessary training and experience to properly install, repair or maintain your pool heat pump.

Avoid DIY Mistakes

Improper installation can lead to damage or malfunction of the pool heat pump, which can be costly to repair or replace.

Ensure optimum performance

Professional installers know how to properly locate your pool heat pump for optimal airflow, moisture control, clearance, the water flow rate through the heater and more to maximize its performance.

Future servicing opportunities

Establishing a relationship with a professional installer ensures that you have access to future servicing of your pool heat pump.

Warranty compliance and future upgrades

Pool heat pumps come with different types of warranties covering certain parts for specific periods of time. Hiring a professional installer ensures that you comply with warranty terms on maintenance schedules required by the manufacturer, thus protecting yourself in case an issue arises.


Installing a pool heat pump requires time-consuming preparation work such as measuring water flow rate through pipes, checking electrical supply requirements, proper location determination etc., but delegated to professionals you don’t have to worry about all these details on your own.


Can I run the heat pump all year round?

You can run the heat pump all year round, regardless of the outside air temperature. However, heat pumps need to operate more efficiently in warmer temperatures as the heating capacity decreases in colder temperatures.

What is the best choice for a space to install the heat pump?

It’s best to install the heat pump wherever there is enough space all around it to ensure sufficient airflow. It’s also recommended to place it away from any foliage, tall shrubs, or trees that may restrict airflow, and so there is enough clearance to allow for maintenance.

How do I make sure that the air flows correctly through the heat pump?

The airflow direction is indicated by an arrow on the top of the unit, and it’s important to ensure that the flow of air matches the direction of the arrow specified.

Should I allow water to flow continuously through the heat pump?

It’s not necessary to allow water to flow continuously through the heat pump. The heat pump is designed with an automatic flow switch that will start and stop the flow of water as needed.

How can I prevent water from freezing inside the heat pump during the winter?

The heat pump should be equipped with a freeze protection system that will prevent water from freezing inside the unit. If the outside air temperature reaches a certain point, the heat pump will automatically turn on to heat the water slightly, preventing it from freezing.

What are some installation tips for a swimming pool heat pump?

It’s important to select the right size of the heat pump based on the size of the pool and that it is installed in a location that is easily accessible for maintenance. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the electrical wiring and plumbing connections are made correctly, and that the heat pump is grounded properly.

Who should I contact for assistance with the installation of my swimming pool heat pump?

If you’re having difficulty installing the heat pump, you should contact a qualified and licensed HVAC professional or a licensed electrician. You can also contact the manufacturer for further assistance.

Should I use a wall-mounted bracket to install my heat pump?

A: Most heat pumps come with a bracket to allow for wall mounting. However, it’s important to consult the installation guide provided by the manufacturer to be sure that the bracket is installed correctly and that it’s safe to use.

What should I do if my heat pump is not performing well?

First, check the heat pump’s manual to see if there are any troubleshooting tips or if there are any specific indicators that may help you identify the issue. If you’re still experiencing poor performance, you should contact the manufacturer or an HVAC professional for further assistance.

How do I install a swimming pool heat pump?

A: You can install the heat pump yourself or hire a professional to install it for you. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes when installing the unit. You will need to place it in an area that has good airflow and plenty of space around it.

How do I run the heat pump?

To run the pool heat pump, you need to turn on the switch or circuit breaker that controls the unit. Then, allow water to flow into the unit to start the heating process. You can adjust the temperature using the controls on the device.

What do I do if I need help with my heat pump installation?

If you need assistance with your heat pump installation, you can refer to the manufacturer’s installation guide or contact the manufacturer’s customer service department for support.

Is there a diagram available for heat pump installation?

Most manufacturers provide a detailed diagram in the installation manual. This will help guide you through the installation process and ensure that you are installing the unit correctly.

What do the inlet and outlet on the heat pump connect to?

The inlet and outlet on the heat pump connected to the plumbing system of your pool or spa. Make sure that the air intake is located at least 2 feet away from any obstacles and that the top of the unit is at least 4 feet away from any electrical lines or equipment.

How is water flow important?

Water flow is crucial to the performance of your heat pump. It is important to ensure that the water flow is sufficient to circulate the water through the unit and back into the pool or spa. Poor water flow can cause problems such as low efficiency and poor performance.

How can I prevent water from freezing in my pool heat pump during winter?

It is important to correctly winterize your pool heat pump when the temperature drops below freezing. This includes draining the water from the unit, disconnecting the power supply and covering the unit so that no water can enter it.

What is the best choice when it comes to a pool heat pump?

The best choice for a pool heat pump depends on various factors such as the size of your pool or spa, the climate you live in, and your budget. It is important to do research and compare different models and brands before making a purchase.

Can a pool heat pump be wall-mounted?

Some pool heat pumps are designed to be wall-mounted. This can be a great option if you have limited space around your pool or spa.


In conclusion, a pool heat pump can be an excellent addition to your swimming pool, providing energy-efficient and comfortable heating for extended swimming seasons. Proper preparation is essential before installation to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage or invalidation of warranties.

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