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Pool Heating in Watertown, Minnesota

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AquaCal Super Quiet 225 Pool Heat Pump

Posted August 10, 2017 by Jennifer Minnesota  

I live 30 miles west of Minneapolis in Minnesota (very cold winters) and purchased a new Aqua Cal $Q225 pool heat pump in May 2017 to replace a 5 year old Raypak propane pool heater. The heat pump is used to heat a 15 year old, 30,000 gallon, 20'x 40' in ground, vinyl lined pool.

Until l found, I found the process of purchasing a heat pump in Minnesota to be unbelievably difficult. I talked to my pool service company in addition to two others during my research phase and not one of them told me that a heat pump would work for my purposes. In fact, I was told it would not work and that I would need a gas heater in addition to the heat pump. I knew this was not accurate and contacted Asa Strong at Asa was very patient, helpful and continued to assure me that a heat pump was a good option for Minnesota/cold weather pools.

I understood that the drawbacks of a heat pump included:

- higher initial price,

- inability to heat water during extreme cold periods (temps below 45 or 50)

- slower heating of pool water

The advantages included:

- Lower operating cost (based on my calculations of what a gallon of propane costs, compared to a KW of electricity, this is a huge savings),

- Longer heater life (about twice as long on average)

- Titanium Heat Exchanger is guaranteed and more resilient to water chemistry problems.

 The first drawback wasn't really a drawback when compared to the heat pumps avg life span and the fact the heat exchanger is guaranteed (this was the reason I needed to replace the RayPak propane heater). And, because I do not really begin using the pool until late May or early June, and typically do not swim much past labor day, I was not concerned about the second drawback on the list. Finally, because I planned to set the temp to a certain temperature and leave it (usually 87 degrees), I wasn't all that concerned about the time it took to move the pool water temperature. The Pros far outweighed the Cons and I ordered the heat pump.

Delivery was a very quick and was a breeze. Installation was a bit trickier, as I did not have a clear idea who to use. I ended up hiring my very negative pool service company (they did a fine job, all the while questioning my decision) and a local electrician. One thing that did surprise me was the amps needed for the heat pump. I assumed I was perfectly fine for electrical needs because I have a stand-alone panel at the equipment pad that had room for a220v circuit. However, l was initially told that I would need to bring more amps out to the panel. Luckily, that did not end up being necessary for me, however, l do suggest other buyers look into this, as it is something to consider when figuring out the costs.

Once everything was hooked up and running, I started taking notes. Following are dates, times and temps as the heat pump brought my pool from 59 degrees to 87 degrees in just under 3 days:

6/1/17 Water Temp Outside Temp
4pm 59 80
10pm 62 71
8am 65 70
noon 68 85
5pm 72 88
9pm 74 83
8am 78 73
noon 80 86
5pm 82 87
8am 85 69
noon 87 78

The continuous running of the pool heater cost approximately $40 during that 3-day period to run, assuming my math is correct. Once the heater reached 87 it turned off and only runs a bit in the morning to bring it back up to the set temperature. We have an aquamatic pool cover and that helps retain overnight. My pool pump and heater are set on timers to run 9am - 7pm.

The only other thing I would mention is that the pool heat pump drains water as it runs. I had not run across that information in my earlier research and it surprised me. I thought I had a pool leak. It's worth noting for people who have their equipment near their house or where it is visible because I would imagine that over time it might have an impact.

I could not be happier with my heat pump. I can't understand why pool service companies in Minnesota are so misinformed and ignorant. But if you are worried about using a heat pump in a place like Minnesota, don't be. They are awesome.

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