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Everything You Need To Know About A Pool Heat Pump

If you’re reading this post then you likely fall into one of three categories:

  • You’re a pool owner who’s thinking about switching from gas or solar to heat pumps
  • You’re a first-time pool owner looking for a reliable pool heating system
  • You’re an ambitious web surfer aching to discover just how much you really need to know about heat pump pool heaters

If any of these describe you, there is good news. This page contains the answers to all of your queries and more. And if you’re trying to decide which pool heater is ideal for you, the information provided here will make your selection much easier. Of course, you could always look at the pool heater comparison we developed specifically for this purpose.

With it being winter in South Africa, you are already dreading the moment that you are no longer be able to dip even a toe into your pool? Have you dreamed of installing a heat pump to extend your swimming season? All you need is a pool heat pump. Here we’ll cover everything from pool heat pumps, how they work and why you should buy them.  let’s get right into it!

What is a pool heat pump?

A pool heat pump is a special device that moves heat from one location to another with a small amount of energy. It works like an air conditioning unit in reverse. Thanks to the use of thermodynamics, the costs are kept within limits. Heat your pool water with a heat pump and delay the end of the bathing season a little longer!

In fact, a pool heat pump has the advantage of transforming the heat present in the air and reusing it to heat the water in the pool. Water at 28 °C in winter, does that tempt you?

The Difference Between a Pool Heater and a Heat Pump

A pool heater uses electricity, natural gas, or propane gas to heat the water in your pool.

A heat pump works on a heat transfer principle. The air around us contains a certain amount of heat, even in winter. The unit draws heat from the air and uses a heat exchanger to warm the water as it flows through the heat pump and returns the warmed water to the pool.

Because pool heat pumps use fewer resources to generate heat, they’re a more energy-efficient way of heating a swimming pool.

Advantages of swimming pool heat pumps

Do you want to feel more comfortable while swimming in a pool that’s heated? The pool heating pump can provide both advantages by converting the free warm air into heat and transferring this to the pool water.

Water heating on cloudy days and night

The main advantage of a heat pump is that it can independently heat the water instead of relying on the Sun’s rays to provide heat. On days when the sun’s rays are not able to provide sufficient heat, a pool heater will still provide the required heat to the water.

When it comes to night, the pump will effectively insulate the pool’s surface from the heat that’s being transported by the system. This eliminates the need for additional electricity to operate the system. And you can put a solar pool cover on your pool to reduce heat loss and speed up the healing process.

Extension of the bathing season

Aside from being able to endure the hot weather, pool heat pumps can also help extend the bathing season due to their ability to regulate the water temperature. During times when the Sun’s rays are not as strong, solar pool heaters may experience a disadvantage in providing heat to the water.

Energy efficiency as an advantage: the COP value

Modern air/water heat pumps can produce a multiple of their power consumption. COP stands for “Coefficient of Performance”. The COP value is the ratio between their input and output power. The following applies here: the higher the COP value, the better the energy efficiency of the model.

This aspect is further enhanced by a new generation of devices, the so-called inverter or full inverter heat pumps . These are generally characterized by even higher energy efficiency and thus a higher COP value compared to previous models. Due to the special nature of this technology, we list inverter heat pumps in a separate product category.

Economic Gas R32

R32 gas is used to heat or cool the pool water.

R32 gas is a revolutionary type of refrigerant that has a positive ecological balance. It exhibits low greenhouse gas emissions and is more energy-efficient than other conventional refrigerants. Due to its green credentials, R32 gas is commonly used in cooling and heating applications.

R32 is a safe refrigerant. It does not ignite if the concentration in the room remains below the lower ignition limit – that is, values ​​of 0.306 kg per m3. The gas is flame-retardant and can only be ignited by sparks that are generated by electrical equipment such as switches and relays.

High flexibility and low space requirements

Aside from being able to regulate the temperature of the water, a pool heating pump can also be used to provide additional heat to the body of the pool. This feature is also advantageous for the space-saving aspect of a pool heater. Having a pool heating pump near the pool is also beneficial since it allows the system to work more effectively and minimize the possible loss of heat from outside.

How does the pool heat pump work?

When the pool heat pump is in hot operation, the low-pressure and low-temperature  refrigerant at the suction port of the compressor becomes high-pressure and high-temperature gaseous refrigerant after being compressed and pressurized by the compressor;

The high-temperature and high-pressure gaseous refrigerants are cooled by the titanium exchanger to be high-pressure and high-temperature liquid. Refrigerant and the water in the titanium exchanger are heated;

The high-pressure, high-temperature liquid refrigerant is throttled and reduced by the throttling mechanism (capillary thermal expansion valve, electronic expansion valve), and becomes a low-pressure and low-temperature liquid refrigerant, which is absorbed in the copper tube of the evaporator The heat in the air flowing through the copper tube of the evaporator vaporizes into a low-pressure and low-temperature gaseous refrigerant, and the air is driven by a fan outside the copper tube is cooled;

the low-pressure and low-temperature gaseous refrigerant is sent to the suction port of the compressor. At this point, a heating cycle is completed. In this way, the refrigerant circulates back and forth, continuously transferring the heat in the ambient air and the electric energy consumed by the compressor to the swimming pool water.

Pool heat pumps usually use scroll compressors instead of the standard reciprocal compressors to achieve higher efficiency. The pool heat pump works efficiently on the outside temperature range -7℃~43℃. The cooler the outside, the less efficient they are and the higher energy bills they result. However, most people use them for outdoor pools during mild weather, this usually isn’t an issue.


Heat Pump VS. Gas Pool Heaters

Since the gas pool heaters must generate heat rather than transmit it, they consume more energy than pool heat pumps. If you reside in a colder area, a heat pump will require more energy because it must extract heat from the outside air. Heat pumps may be great for those that utilize their pool during the warmer months and do not reside in a cooler environment.

Another fantastic question that arises more frequently in the pool industry than unexpected algae right before a summer pool party.

Actually what we talk about here is energy efficiency vs. rapid heating. While heat pumps provide an affordable heating solution that is suitable for most regions, their heating speed is slower than that of gas heaters.

Gas heaters provide far quicker heating speeds at the expense of, well, money—gas is more expensive.

In most cases, gas heaters are found in tiny spas or utilized as backup warmers to heat pumps on cold days.

Heat Pump VS. Solar Pool Heaters

In the duel of “heat pump against solar pool heating,” solar pool heating wins for homeowners who live in a sunny area. Solar pool heaters outperform their competitors in terms of overall cost efficiency, environmental effect, and lifespan.

It’s worth noting that heat pumps can help you enjoy warmer water sooner, as long as the temperature outdoors is over 45-50 degrees when you wish to swim. However, given a favorable climate, you’re more likely to recoup your investment in solar pool heaters, making solar a viable option for many residential pool owners.

Anyway, to keep things simple, solar pool heaters are among of the most economical pool warmers available, but they cannot be used on demand owing to the nature of their heat source (the sun).

Heat pumps provide on-demand, energy-efficient heating whether the sun is shining or not.

See more about the differences among pool heat pumps, gas pool heaters, and solar pool heaters.

How to select a pool heat pump?


The noise emissions from heat pumps have now almost become the most important decision criterion. The plots of land are relatively small, especially in metropolitan areas, and one does not want to impair the good relationship with the neighbors with a noisy heat pump on the property line.

Since middle-class heat pumps are often close to each other in terms of efficiency, the price differences are mainly noticeable in the noise reduction measures. Heat pumps with plastic housing (ABS) are often quieter than heat pumps with metal housing.

If you’re planning on placing one near the pool basin, then go for a silent model. Here I would like to recommend the full-inverter pool heat pump with silence function.

In SILENCE mode, modern inverter heat pumps are considerably quieter than “normal” heat pumps about half volume. In regulation mode, these pumps make no more sound than a puff of air: only 20 dB!

Active defrosting

Depending on which region you live in, the active defrost function will be your best friend and will allow optimal operation at low temperatures.

Ice begins to form on the heat exchanger of the outdoor unit when outside temperatures reach freezing levels.

When this happens, your heat pump enters defrost mode to thaw the ice.

This keeps the unit operating at maximum efficiency and prevents damage to the equipment.


The coefficient of performance(COP), which is a measure of how much heat a pool heater uses, typically the ON / OFF model ranges from 3.0 to 7.0 and generates an efficiency of around 500%.


Normal heat pumps work with a constant compressor speed. Good heat pumps of this type achieve a COP of approx. 4.5-5.0 at 15°C and 5.0-7.0 at 26°C. An Electronically Controlled Expansion Valve (EEV) on the more efficient models ensures that good efficiency is achieved more evenly over a wider temperature range.

Full- inverter:

Full-inverter heat pumps are known to provide excellent swimming pool heating. They can operate in either ECO or SILENCE mode. With a high level of efficiency, they can reach a COP of up to 16.

These heat pumps are extremely quiet. The heat pump series Alliance Inverter or ITS Inverter is therefore ideal for customers who primarily need a very quiet heat pump that also works very efficiently. Approx. 30-50% savings in operating costs can be achieved with inverter heat pumps compared to “normal” heat pumps.

Inverter technology

The new Inverter technology adjusts the energy consumption of heat pumps thanks to a rapid rise in temperature and maintenance at a setpoint temperature using reduced power. This regulation as a function of outdoor conditions results in savings of up to 30 %.

In SILENCE mode, inverter heat pumps are significantly more efficient than “normal” heat pumps because they reduce the speed continuously or step by step as the desired target temperature is approached. As a result, the heat pump runs longer than a normal heat pump, but due to the much lower power requirement with reduced output and higher efficiency, significant electricity cost savings are achieved overall.

The volume of your pool

The size of the pool and the season are also important factors to consider when choosing a heat pump. Basically, a heater is sized according to the surface area of the pool and the difference between the pool and the average air temperatures.

If you use your heat pump directly through your filter system, you should adjust the kW output to be slightly higher for lower run times but as an example here is a guide.

Pool size – kW power heat pump

  • 30 – 40m³ – min 9 kW power
  • 40 – 60m³ – min 12 kW power
  • 50 – 80m³ – min 16 kW power


It’s the last factor when you consider taking a pool heat pump home and it’s pretty crucial. A lot of people may be overly concerned with its quality, price, and how much technology is required, yet lifetime service is necessary.

When installed correctly, heat pumps might work very reliably. Besides, a titanium heat exchanger is essential for long service life. Since they are always outdoors, sturdy, weatherproof housing is also important. Housings made of ABS plastic or aluminum have proven their worth here.

Installing a Swimming Pool Heat Pump

If you properly install and maintain your heat pump pool heater, it can easily last five to ten years or longer and maximize energy efficiency.

We recommend having a accredited Aircon Hyper qualified pool professional or electrician to install the pool heat pump. Especially for electrical wiring and hookups.

Heat pumps need plenty of air circulation and work best outside with plenty of clearance surrounding the unit with no obstructions. Take care in selecting the location for your heater; on level ground near a pool pump or filter and ensure that airflow is restricted. Your owner’s manual will specify in detail the proper clearance, where the heat pump goes in conjunction with your equipment, and the ideal location of the unit.

Here’s an example of a heat pump project progression. The 3 steps are phases of a swimming pool heat pump installation, and they are Purchase, delivery, and Placement,


Buying a heat pump is not overly complicated, but you want to size your heat pump correctly. If you are looking for a 20-degree temperature rise, go with the largest models for an average size pool. Smaller models may only give you a 10-15 degree rise during cooler weather.

Decide if you want any of the high-end features, such as the chill feature, which removes excess heat from the water, or want the extra low-temperature operation.

When you consider the wide array of heat pump models available, from over a dozen manufacturers, choosing just one can be difficult. Features such as digital display and self-diagnostics are common, as are Scroll compressors, titanium heat exchangers, or the ability to heat or cool the water.

Heat Pump Delivery

Heat pumps are delivered FREE of charge by our preferred delivery company or you can collect. Inspect the unit by looking for any damage to the fins or cabinet, or any oily stains on the box that may indicate leaking refrigerant.

Be prepared for how heavy these are. Large pool heat pumps can weigh 40ks or more and are best moved by a palette jack. Two strong people can carry it with two two-by-fours inserted through the palette, and another person to help steady it while moving. Heat pumps need to be kept upright at all times and could be damaged if dropped.


Heat pumps are easy to plumb, just one pipe going in and one pipe coming out. You will need some basic PVC plumbing fittings.

  • To prepare a location for placing the heat pump, consider this:
  • Give air clearance of 18 inches on the sides and back, and 36″ in front.
  • Give vertical clearance of at least 60″ to prevent recycling air.
  • Level an outdoor A/C pad or a concrete pad of 3-5 feet in size.
  • Place the unit and rotate for easy plumbing and control access.



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