Getting warmer - pool heating options for year-round warmth


By Rebecca Brennan
Wednesday, 21 May, 2014


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There are some instances, in both domestic and commercial circumstances, when solar pool heating is unsuitable. While gas and electric heating are options, it seems that heat pumps are the popular choice in warmer regions. Pool+Spa looks at three recently completed projects and how pool heating was integrated to provide suitable swimming temperatures, all year round.

Heat pumps the choice for Mexican-inspired Noosa resort

Noosa Blue, located in the Noosa Hills, just metres from Noosa Main Beach, is a unique resort built with inspiration from Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.

The resort required a heating solution for its main pool, small pool and spa as the existing LPG heaters were non-operational. The heating system was required to maintain a 28° water temperature most of the year, with no covers used on the pools. The system also needed to be the most cost-effective option to operate and maintain without disturbing the ambience of the resort.

Tony Mills from EVO Industries Australia replaced the existing LPG gas heaters, which were non-operational and had proven to be costly to run and service, with EVO Heat Pumps.

“Resorts of a certain standard want to be able to offer guests a heated pool for 12 months of the year. Solar will not achieve 12 months at desired temperatures and electric element and gas heaters have much higher running costs and some reliability and longevity issues,” said Mills.

“Noosa Blue’s main goal was to achieve the most cost-effective option to operate and maintain their pools at the desired temperature of 28° for 12 months of the year.

“It was also imperative to ensure the pool heating equipment was neither seen nor heard by the resort guests, so as not to disturb the serenity of the resort environment.

“To achieve these requirements it was necessary to install the EVO Heat Pumps in an area adjoining the resort’s underground car park - a difficult but not impossible task.

“EVO was able to review the possible heating options via computer modelling and confirm that the EVO CS135 and DHP 603-R model options were by far the most reliable and cost-effective solution. The existing LPG heating systems were operating at a cost to the resort of $81,529 per year, whereas the EVO Heat Pumps would operate at an estimated annual cost of $19,747, offering savings of approximately $61,700 pa and projected savings exceeding $571,000 over a 10-year period.

“Simply put, heat pumps use energy taken from the air and transfer it to the pool via a heat exchanger. EVO Heat Pumps offer industry-leading efficiencies exceeding 500% with substantially lower operating costs than any other on-demand pool heating system. With every EVOHEAT installation, a complete staff training session is provided in the operation of the heater together with a comprehensive 7-days-a-week support program,” said Mills.

Noosa Blue Resort achieved dramatic reductions in its heating costs by removing the costly LPG heating systems and refitting the resort with energy-efficient heat pumps. The return on investment was such that the supply and installation cost was repaid in less than 12 months. In the meantime, guests can enjoy a warm dip in the pool at any time of year.

“The life expectancy of an EVO Heat Pump exceeds 15 years. An annual programmed maintenance schedule contract provides a complete check of all components and settings to ensure the heaters operate at maximum efficiencies.

“There is no doubt that a resort pool that is not heated is not offering the services demanded by the travelling public. A resort pool that can be used for 12 months of the year offers clients a major part of the full suite of facilities demanded by today’s discerning traveller and adds value to the resorts offer, which is eventually reflected in the booking numbers,” added Mills.

Night-swimming executives

Wahoo Pool Construction, based in Brisbane, was constructing a large, formal, outdoor pool measuring 4 x 8.5 m, with a 2 x 2 m wet edge spa for an executive couple. As the couple spent long hours in the office, they wanted reliable pool heating so that they could swim all year, particularly at night.

John Dillon from Wahoo Pool construction said, “The owners wanted the most energy-efficient solution that would allow them to use the pool and spa all year round. We had to consider which heating solution would be able to meet their requirements with the pool size and location in mind.

“The clients also wanted to be able to control and regulate their heater(s) remotely. We did this by installing an Aqualink control system and iAqualink web interface plus a Zodiac variable speed pool pump.”

For this project a Zodiac PowerFirst 15 in combination with a solar heating system was deemed to be the most energy-efficient and practical solution for their needs. The system was installed along with a Zodiac Aqualink digital pool and spa controller.

The Zodiac Aqualink system controls all equipment installed on the pool pad including both the heat pump and the solar heating system. The Zodiac Aqualink will activate the heat pump when the solar heater is not able to achieve the desired swimming temperature in the pool. The Aqualink receives regular data from temperature sensors installed in both the heat pump and rooftop solar system to determine when the heat pump is required to operate. At the click of a button, the Aqualink can also turn on the heat pump to heat the spa to its desired temperature.

The owners also chose to add the Zodiac iAqualink web-enabled device to their system, which now enables them to access the pool pad equipment from the iAqualink app anywhere, anytime.

“The pool owners will now benefit from the most energy-efficient and easy-to-operate, all-year-round swimming experience.

“The PowerFirst 15 comes with a lifetime anti-corrosion warranty on the heat exchangers with the heat pump. Heat pumps do not require a lot of regular maintenance. The key is to keep the area around the heat pump clear and free of debris,” said Dillon.

The project was completed in December 2013.

Warm water for tiny tots at recreation club

The Casuarina Rec Club, in far NSW, is a state-of-the-art recreation and training facility including a recreation centre, gym, tennis court and two heated pools.

There is an outdoor 300,000 L, 25 m training pool and an indoor 100,000 L learn-to-swim pool. The club’s previous heat pump had failed and rusted out, so they needed a new, better heat pump. The club requested assistance from Waterco to identify and install a suitable pool heating system.

Waterco had to assess the existing plumbing to see if it was sufficient to do the job, which fortunately it was. It also looked at the accessibility of the site, and in this circumstance, a crane was required to install the heat pumps.

The management at the Casuarina Rec Club required the temperature of the indoor pool to be maintained at 28°, suitable for the learn-to-swim clientele. The outdoor pool needed to maintain a constant 26°, suitable for squad and ‘serious’ swim training.

Waterco Electroheat Pro was selected for this project as it has a 96 kW heat output, which is ample to provide the desired pool temperatures. Two systems were installed - one for each pool.

The pools are used throughout the year from early in the morning to late at night, so the heating system had to be able to support this requirement.

During the colder months, the heat pumps operate 10-12 hours a day, but in summer they are not required as much due to warmer air temperatures. The Electroheat Pro can be easily adjusted to the desired water temperatures and thus saves the user in heating costs as it heats on demand, not just at an ongoing temperature.

The Electroheat PRO 96 has been designed to heat commercial pools with a maximum flow rate of 680 litres/minute and COP of 6.2. Operating with R410A refrigerant, the PRO 96’s dual high-performance hermetic scroll compressors run at increased efficiency, with less noise and vibration compared with products using other refrigerant types.

“The new-generation Electroheat PRO heat pump is the latest advancement in commercial-size swimming pool heating,” said Zane Solar and Pool Heating Manager Adam Shelley. “The Electroheat PRO 96 has been designed to deliver efficient, cost-effective large pool heating in an easy-to-operate and -install package.”

The Electroheat PRO 96 features electronically controlled temperature management, continuous digital temperature display, fault diagnostic system and in-built protection devices like auto defrost control, flow switch, refrigerant pressure monitoring and compressor protection timer. Additionally, its powder-coated steel cabinet is designed for easy access to major components for scheduled maintenance.

Upon installation of the system, the staff were taught how it worked and how to operate the digital touchpad panel, which provides a simple, easy-to-use, visual way to check the temperature.

With its new heating system installed, the Casuarina Rec Club can expect to have no issues with pool water temperature control. It can keep the pool open whenever needed with no limitations of opening hours as the heat pump will automatically control the pool water temperature. This positively affects the club’s bottom line as there is no impediment to opening hours, allowing it to maximise its return on investment.

Prior to the winter season when the system is constantly used, the pool maintenance supervisor needs to check the gas in the compressors and the evaporators are clear of debris for superior airflow.

“If you are contemplating installing a pool heater, use a heat pump as it will save you a fortune in running costs. Gas heaters are great for getting pool water warm fast, but they are very expensive to run continuously,” added Shelley.

“A pool heat pump is the most efficient way to heat a large body of water using conventional heating. Although they take longer than gas heaters to warm the water, once the desired temperature is achieved, it is easy to maintain.”

See the Pool+Spa product pavilion for the latest pool heating solutions for your client’s pool.

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