The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and the temperature has started to drop; winter is coming. But your pool has only just been installed, and nobody wants to wait eight months before they can start swimming. Unfortunately, you don’t know much about a heat pump beyond a firm tick of approval from your mate that recommended you get one.
Is a heat pump even capable of operating throughout winter? This article contains the answer to that question and anything else you might be wondering about electric pool heating in Sydney’s context.
Can I swim throughout winter with a heat pump?
The short answer to this is yes, mostly. Heat pumps use a similar technology to your household fridge but in reverse. The heat pump sucks in the surrounding air via a fan and steals the heat from it. The heat pump then transfers into the water, warming it up.
The mechanism of heat transfer is quite intuitive. After sucking the heat in, it is transferred to a refrigerant that quickly evaporates into a gas. The gas is then super-heated through compression and fed into a heat exchanger.
As its name suggests, the heat exchanger is where the heat is exchanged. This occurs between the refrigerant gas and the pool water. This is a process governed by the second law of thermodynamics. In this context, the second law means that heat will move from a place with high heat to a region with lower relative heat.
The now cooler refrigerant gas is then transported through a condenser coil, where it’s returned to a liquid state. It is then moved back to the outer ring to reheat.
Given this system relies upon there being some warmth in the air, it is intuitive to think that it wouldn’t work during winter. However, they are surprisingly capable and work pretty well down to temperatures of around 7°C. Our range of Madimak heat pumps have been specifically designed to work within an Australian context. They are even rated to operate in temperatures as low as -10°C.
The long term seasonal temperature average for Sydney, as described by the bureau of meteorology reveals an average winter low of about 8.5°C. As such, on most days of the year pool heat pumps within Sydney will heat the pool effectively.
Heat pumps perform this task with surprising efficiency. For every unit of energy they use, the output is around 3-7 units of heat. Put into percentages, that’s 300-700% efficiency. That’s very impressive relative to other heating units on the market, such as pool gas heaters.
It is worth mentioning that while the heat pump will be operational through winter, it will be functioning at a lower efficiency than it is in summer. Given there is a greater propensity for the pool to lose heat faster throughout winter, the heat pump will have to work longer and harder to maintain the temperature. Obviously, this will cost more money.
One way to circumvent this issue is by combining a heat pump with a pool blanket. Pool blankets create a barrier between the atmosphere and the pool’s water. This means that less heat is lost to the outside air. It works in the same way as when you put on a jumper on cold days.
Another option is to purchase a larger heat pump unit. Imagine it like a motorcar going up a steep hill. A Lamborghini is going to have no trouble, but a tiny 3-cylinder hatch might take a little longer to get to the top. A larger heat pump has more power and a larger capacity, meaning it can heat more water at any given time than a smaller unit.
If you have questions about heat pumps please, contact our Sydney pool heating experts or peruse our heat pump range here.
An Alternative: Pool Gas Heaters
A heat pump will be effective most of the time throughout winter. However, for those that want one hundred percent reliably warm water on even the coldest mornings, a gas heater might be a better option.
They have no reliance upon the external temperature, which is perfect for use in cold conditions. However, they’re substantially less efficient than a heat pump, operating at around seventy per cent efficiency. Despite this, they arguably provide a more consistent option for winter swimmers.
They work the same as a regular gas hot water service but understand that running costs are high due to a large amount of water that needs to be heated. To browse our range of cutting-edge gas pool heaters for Sydney residents please click here.
Ultimately, all types of pool heater installations in Sydney will provide some level of increased warmth throughout winter. It is up to you to decide what you want out of your heater. Heat pumps are a great option for efficient year-round heating. However, they may struggle a little on colder winter days with decreased efficiency, reduced heat output and longer run times.
To work around this, you should invest in a pool blanket or purchase a larger heat pump. This way, you can heat more water at any given time. If these options don’t suffice, consider trying a different heating method, such as a pool gas heater.
At Eclipse Pool Heating, our friendly and experienced team members are happy to discuss any pool heating query you have. If you have any questions about what type or sized unit will be best for you, please call us on 0481 162 519 or submit an online request today.
Thanks to Riviera pools for the images.