Zodiac heat pumps use the same principle as reverse cycle air conditioners. They extract heat from the air (even down to sub zero temperatures) and, through a series of compression and transference technology, heat the pool water. They work in almost any temperature, with some catering to sub zero temperatures, as well as indoor installations.
The great benefit of this technology is the low running cost. In a side-by-side comparison, a heat pump will cost around 60% less to run than a gas heater, making pumps perfect for anyone who wants to have their pool available 24/7, 365 days a year.
What are heat pumps and how do they work?
Our heat pumps work similar to reverse cycle air conditioners. They extract ambient heat from the air outside the unit to the pool water stored inside the heater through a heat exchanger system.
The external air is drawn into the heater via a fan into an evaporator containing a special type of refrigerant, which is stored in piping. The refrigerant Zodiac uses is called R410a, which isn't a CFC, so it doesn't negatively affect the earth's ozone layer.
The air that has been drawn into the system, turns the refrigerant from a liquid into a gas inside the heat pump's piping. The gaseous refrigerant is then compressed through a series of tubes within the heat pump; a process which generates a great deal of heat. A heat exchanger then transfers the heat from the heated refrigerant gas pipes to a tank where water is stored.
One of the heat pumps key advantages over solar systems, is that they still work in cold or overcast conditions with some models available to cater even for sub zero temperatures, as well as indoor installations. The other great benefit of this technology is the relatively low running cost. When used in conjunction with a solar blanket a small heat pump can cost as little as a few dollars per day to run. They are considerable cheaper to run than gas heaters and don't require the sun to be shining to generate heat, making them the perfect solution for anyone that wants to use their pool for more than a few months of the year.
Understanding the technical jargon to make better comparisons
The key performance measure used to compare heat pumps is something called COP (co-efficient of performance), a heating efficiency measure. In simple terms, the COP describes how much energy it takes to produce a certain amount of heat. The higher the COP, the more efficient the heater is at generating heat.
For example, say a heater uses 2kW of electricity to deliver 10kW of heat into the pool, the COP is 5.0 (2kW used ÷ 10kW delivered = COP 5). Any COP around 5 in real world conditions is considered the benchmark.
When making brand comparisons it is important to ensure that you are comparing apples with apples. Some companies overinflate their performance by measuring the COP under favourable conditions (ie. higher air temperatures). COP should be measured when the outside temperature is low, which is exactly when you need the best from your heat pump. COP reported for all Zodiac heat pumps and most of the other leading manufacturers is determined when the temperature is around 15°C.
Selecting the right pool heater for your needs
The easiest way to find out the best heating solution for your pool is to use our easy calculation system. With just a few details about your pool and the way you would like to enjoy it, our Customer Service Team can provide a list of the most suitable systems and their approximate associated running costs. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a sizing recommendation. You can then compare and make an informed decision about what is right for you.
One of the key factors to consider are what temperature you’d like your pool to be. Most people find 28°C to be the ideal temperature, but you can experiment and find the temperature that best suits you. Will you use a pool cover of some kind? Using a pool blanket or thermal cover is the most effective way to retain heat within the pool water. Not using a pool cover will mean that you need to use a bigger pump model to achieve the same heat.
How long do you want to be able to swim?
Depending on where you live, if you want to swim all-year-round you will need one of our larger (more expensive) heat pumps. If you are looking for a season extender, then the smaller entry level products are usually a great option.
Who can install pool heaters?
Solar, gas and electric heating systems all require a licensed tradesperson for correct installation. An electrician will always be required to install the larger 3 phase models. In some cases, where suitable electrical outlets already exist when you heat pump will be installed, the single phase models may not require a professional. In any case, you should seek advice from your local Zodiac pool care professional, or call us at Zodiac on 1300 763 021.