Swimming Pool Heat Pumps And Pool Heat Pump Cover

Heat Pumps For Swimming Pools: All Season Swimming

There has never been a time when swimming pools have been more popular than they are right now. Celebrities set the example by insisting on homes with pools. Following suit, everyone with a home wants a pool of their own. The resurgence of pool popularity is a healthful trend. Swimming enhances cardiac function, helps control weight, and increases overall health. It also provides opportunities to relax with some good reading material and a floating lounge.

We all know how refreshing a swimming pool can feel during extremely hot summer weather, but did you know that you can also swim in your outdoor pool during winter? By installing a heat pump, you can. Many people are unfamiliar with the heat pumps. A heat pump works on the principal of taking heat from one area and transferring it to a cooler area.

Heat can also be pulled from water as well as the air. If you are thinking about taking a swim during the winter months, you need to think about a heat pump for your swimming pool. This can mean many more months of the year of happily swimming in your pool.

Many models of heat pumps for swimming pools are available for purchase. These heat pumps warm the water in your swimming pool in winter. It is especially nice to know that heat pumps for swimming pools are economical to run due to their efficiency. Heat pumps are less costly to operate because they move heat from one source to another rather than creating heat.

In ground pool heaters can be of many types but heat pump technology presents an environmentally friendly option. Heat pumps for swimming pools give you comfortable warm swimming water while saving energy. Highly efficient heat pumps deliver more heat for less energy. Above ground pool heat pumps can also be utilized.

A lot of energy is necessary to heat the large amount of water in a swimming pool, and most conventional pool heaters are quite inefficient. Heat pumps are very efficient with operating costs about 20% to 25% less than most other heating options such as electric or gas heaters. A heat pump’s efficiency is dependent on the location and climate. They will work best in humid climates, but extreme humidity is not a requirement. Ask a pool professional if a heat pump is appropriate in your region.

While a standard water heater uses a fuel source such as gas or electricity to generate heat, a heat pump captures heat from the air and transfers it to the water. It utilizes the same process as an air conditioner only in reverse and with a great deal more efficiency.

Heat pump technology takes advantage of the fact that heat flows naturally from higher to a lower temperatures. They require only small amount of electrical energy to pump the refrigerant. This refrigerant transfers the heat from the air to your swimming pool. Even cold winter air over about 45 degrees can provide the heat. Heat pumps use one unit of electrical to provide several units of heat for your pool.

How Does Geothermal Work – What Are Some Advantages Of Using Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy and Its Advantages

Geothermal energy essentially means the heat from inside the earth. Here is an account of generating geothermal power and heating from it, and the advantages of geothermal energy.

The earth’s core is just 1000 degrees C less hot than the sun. Hence, all of the planet’s geothermal energy can be tapped for generating geothermal power, which can provide electricity in the large amounts required by a power-hungry world.

What Exactly Is Geothermal Energy?

The term ‘geothermal’ has been derived from two Greek words, ‘geo’, which means the earth and ‘therme’, which means heat. Hence, geothermal energy basically means the heat from the inside of the earth. The hot water and steam that are produced within the earth can be used for generating electricity and heating buildings. Therefore, geothermal energy is a renewable source of energy since the heat is produced continuously within the earth and the rainfall replenishes the water.

Geothermal Heating From Inside The Earth

The core of the earth, which is about 4000 miles below the surface, is where geothermal energy is generated. Temperatures that can sometimes be even hotter than the surface of the sun are produced incessantly within the earth by radioactive particles decaying slowly, a process that occurs in all rocks. The earth is made up of a number of layers: the core; the mantle; and the crust.

  • The Core: The core of the earth itself comprises of two layers – an outer layer which is made up of extremely hot molten rock, known as magma, and an inner core made of solid iron.
  • The Mantle: This layer, which comprises of rock and magma, envelopes the core and has a thickness of around 1800 miles.
  • The Crust: The earth’s outermost layer is called the crust, which basically comprises of all the land that makes up the floor of the oceans and the continents. The crust is about 15-35 miles in thickness on the continents and of about 3-5 miles in thickness beneath the oceans.

The crust of the earth is made up of several broken pieces, which are known as plates. The hot magma from deep down below rises up close to the surface of the earth at the junctures of these plates. These are the places where volcanoes are formed. The lava that spews from volcanoes is made up partly of magma. The heat from this magma is absorbed by the water and rocks that occur deep beneath the earth’s surface. The temperature of the water and the rocks get increasingly hotter the deeper down you go below the earth’s surface.

People all over the world have been using geothermal energy to heat their homes by digging wells that go down very deep and pumping up the hot steam or water to the surface.

Generating Geothermal Power

As has been explained above, superheated substances in the form of magma, that contains enormous energy and power, which is quite evident every time a volcano erupts, can be tapped for creating geothermal power. Some of these substances also rise to the surface in the form of hot water and steam, which spew out from natural vents. Therefore, we can make artificial vents as well as create containment chambers where the magma can be kept, and turn all this geothermal energy into electricity, which can be used to heat and light our homes. In order to set up a geothermal power plant, a well will have to be dug where there is a good source of superheated fluid or magma. Pipes would then be fitted, which would go down into the source, and then the fluids would be forced up to the surface in order to produce the required steam. This steam would then be used to rotate a turbine engine, thus generating electricity, or geothermal power.

The Advantages Of Geothermal Energy

These days, there is an increasing concern as well as awareness of the necessity of using sources of power that are not carbon-based. This is quite evident by Al Gore and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) winning the Nobel Peace Prize recently. Here are some of the advantages of geothermal energy:

  • Geothermal energy does not create any pollution because it is the earth’s energy that is used.
  • Geothermal energy is also very efficient, because after a site is located and a geothermal power plant is built, the efforts required to channel it are negligible.
  • Moreover, there is no necessity of geothermal power plants to be as large in sized as atomic power plants, huge dams, and electrical plants, thus there is less impact on the environment.
  • Plus, it is an alternative source of energy, which means that by using it we get less dependent on coal and oil.
  • Perhaps the most important advantage of geothermal energy is that, unlike energy derived from carbon-based sources, geothermal energy will never run out. And because it is ubiquitous, its cost will never continue to rise with time. Hence, after the costs of the investigation to seek out the source and building the power plant are recouped, in the end, geothermal energy will be very cheap.

All Environment Heat Pumps

Two of the bigger energy uses are cooling and heating. Green heating systems are designed to minimize such energy use during cooler periods.
There are several heating systems used in green homes. One type uses geothermal energy for heat. Geothermal refers to using the natural heat of the earth. Most systems work by running water from under the earth through a series of pipes called a loop. The loop takes the water to a heat exchanger where the heat is removed from the water and used for heating purposes. The most simple is the open loop. Since ground water generally maintains a constant temperature, water is pumped from one well through a heat exchange device, and deposited into a second well, usually at a distance from the first.

A closed loop geothermal system circulates the water through a series of pipes. The pipes are buried in the ground and the water picks up heat and the heat exchanger removes it. There are several arrangements of piping, but the general idea is the same. Although geothermal heat is very inexpensive, a system has to be fairly extensive to provide all of a homes heating requirements, and most systems are intended to supplement other heating sources.

A much better source of heat is sunlight. Solar power systems convert sunlight to heat for use in space heating and domestic water heating. Most solar power systems have a very high initial cost, but a very low operating cost. This low operating cost is often overlooked in the planning stages when more attention is being paid to the initial costs. In order to maximize the advantages of the low operating cost, it is important to make sure that the home is well insulated. In the case of water heating systems, all pipes must be heavily insulated.

Solar water heating systems can be either passive or active. Passive systems use natural convection to move water from the heat source to the heat exchange point. An active system uses pumps and controllers. The water is collected in a tank fitted with solar panels or heat absorbing materials where it is warmed by sunlight. The pumps move it to a heat exchanger where the heat is removed and circulated through the home. In the case of a water heater, the water can be used directly, and it is replaced by cold water from the existing water supply.

Geothermal and Solar heating systems are two examples of green construction types of alternative sources for heat and energy. The advantage is the reducing of the reliance on fossil fuel generated heat or energy. The technology for utilizing these sources of heat is still in its infancy. It is expected that the rise in green construction philosophy will encourage further experimentation in this area.

Alternative Heat Pumps

Alternative Heating – All Environment Heat Pumps

Tip O’Neill, former Speaker of the House, was fond of saying; ‘All politics is local’.
The same can be said of alternative heating. WHERE you live is the most important factor in determining which alternative heating or cooling option is most cost effective for your home.

Even if you owned a million dollar townhouse in Boston’s Back Bay, there just isn’t enough room on a 25′ x 100′ lot for a townhouse, small deck, a couple of parking spaces AND a closed loop geothermal heating system.

However, a roof top solar system for hot water would be doable if you could get the idea past the Historical Preservation groups.

If you live in high humidity Alabama, the environmentally friendly swamp cooler will never be a viable substitute for more expensive air conditioning.

Only when you narrow down the choices for alternative heating based on where you live, can you begin to focus your time and energy on the most relevant, cost effective heating solution.

Urban Alternative Heating
Geothermal, outdoor furnaces and most wind power are not suitable for urban or small-lot suburban homes. Except for very small wind turbines (i.e., with rotors one meter or less in diameter) on very small towers, a property size of one acre or more is desirable.

Wood burning stoves have been used in urban areas for as long as I can remember. I bought my first air tight stove in 1976. Corn and wood pellet stoves are quickly gaining acceptance as new installations or replacements for existing wood stoves.

One Connecticut pellet stove dealer I spoke with said he sold so many wood pellet and corn stoves last winter he was forced to temporarily close one of his two stores for lack of product.

An adaptation of the wood or pellet stove is the fully vented fireplace insert. They are comparably priced to freestanding stoves and offer a simple way to turn an otherwise inefficient fireplace into a source of heat for multiple rooms.

Unvented gas log fireplaces or propane space heaters are less expensive to purchase and install but are controversial with respect to health risks and are prohibited in some localities. Make sure the unit you purchase has an ODS (Oxygen Depletion Sensor). This safety device turns off the heater when the oxygen in the room drops below 18%. (Normal is around 21%)

Decorative gel fireplaces are nice to look at, but aren’t considered legitimate heating devices.

Electric and hydronic (hot water) radiant heat are extremely versatile and can be installed anywhere. The hydronic application of radiant heat can be fueled by anything from corn to gas and can be adapted to heat driveways, hot tubs and of course, your home.

Solar for hot water is on the rise in urban areas. A neighbor of mine in the Port Norfolk section of Boston recently installed a solar array on the roof of his two family home. His contractor did a first rate job and it doesn’t detract from the visual appeal of his house at all. He also says his hot water bill now costs him ‘chump change’.

Let’s not forget the lowly space heater. For many homeowners who spend most of their time in only one room of an eight room house, an inexpensive space heater is often the first choice to supplement their conventional heating system.

Suburban Alternative Heating
Suburban lot sizes can run anywhere from of an acre to three acres. But even a quarter acre lot opens up the possibility of a vertical closed loop geothermal system.

A three acre lot will afford you the space to install a slightly less expensive horizontal closed loop geothermal system, a wind turbine or even an outdoor wood, pellet or corn furnace.

At approximately $5000, the outdoor furnace is your least expensive option. A quality 1,800 watt wind turbine and tower can be purchased for $7,000. If geothermal is your system of choice, a new, 3,000 sq. ft. home can be heated and cooled for around $20,000.

If you partner with a program such as Energy Crafted Home in Connecticut, it’s possible to receive a rebate of $713 per ton of geothermal heating/cooling capacity. For the 3,000 sq. ft. home just mentioned, it would mean a rebate totaling $2,971.

Although wind, geothermal and outdoor furnace systems are more expensive than the typical $2000 wood pellet stove, they are very efficient and pay for themselves in only a few years.

The increasingly popular manufactured home is a growing segment of the suburban real estate market, and fire safety codes are very specific as to what you can use to heat your home.

Check with your local building department to find out exactly which alternative heating appliances are permitted before you start shopping for the best deal.

Rural Alternative Heating
Just as the sky and landscape open up in rural America, so do opportunities for alternative heating.

With so much room to work with you could design a CHP (Combined Heat and Power Unit).

 

An obvious choice for homeowners in the Corn Belt would be an outdoor corn furnace for heat and hot water. Couple this with a low maintenance wind turbine for electricity and it’s possible to achieve a 70%+ reduction in energy costs when compared to fuel oil.

If your property includes a shallow pond or lake, a closed loop geothermal system will heat and cool your home for the cost of electricity to operate a heat pump. Heat pump prices can be high but you will get your investment back in just couple of years.

The choices for alternative heating are plentiful no matter where you live. It’s just a matter of knowing where you fit in.