Free AC in my house from heat pump heaters for swimming pools and heat-pump hot -water tanks

On Jul 1, 2020, at 2:29 PM, Chris wrote:I enjoyed the presentation & am looking forward to reading your book. I’m surprised air sealing wasn’t emphasized more. A new version of an old product looks very interesting: AeroBarrier. Instead of replacing 3 basement windows (12 x 32in); I’m getting quotes for Innerglass. Thanks!I haven’t yet read your pool topic & wonder if you’ve seen the pool heater that uses waste central AC heat?

Hi Chris, I am beefing up what I say about air sealing. I have seen houses where air sealing cut 25% off the energy bill. This was not true on my house, where my roof is a rubber membrane and my siding is tongue and groove. I did use a couple of cans of spray foam around the sill plate and weatherstripped the bulkhead door. However, this was not enough for me to be able to measure the cut in the energy bills. However since my house was an exception I will be mentioning it much more in future. See my recent blog post on the issue:

You are well ahead of the pack on your thinking on swimming pool heaters. My pool heater is a standard issue AquaCal heat pump – it is very good and very economical to run. On warm days when we are heating the pool, (say a warm day in May) it exhausts cool dehumidified air into the atmosphere, truly global cooling! My pool is too far from my house to capture this and use it as AC in the house. But if ever built a house with a pool I would design it so that the heat pump for the pool would dump its cool air into the house. Free AC! I do not know of any heat pumps designed to do this but it would be fairly easy (i.e., you would need to hire an HVAC tech to do it) to run the refrigerant line from the heat pump to the head of a mini-split unit in the house. If you do this, please let me know, I would very much like to publicize stories like this. 

While I have not done this on my pool I have done something similar on my house. I do this by opening the vents (where the air filters slot in) in my air-handler units in my house in about May through September. This is when it is warm enough outdoors that I need AC indoors. Rather than turning on the AC, I open the vents on the air handlers in the basement. This draws air out of the basement and into the circulation of the house. I lean the filter pads against the open vent so that the air circulation is still filtered. The air in my basement is cool and dry. Why? My heat-pump hot-water tank cools and dehumidifies the air in the basement. This works because the ceiling of the basement is very well insulated at approx. R38 because I added 12” of fiberglass in between the floor joists. Using this source of cool, dry air allows me to avoid using the AC units for about 4 weeks in the year when previously I had to use them.  It is not a major cost saving but it is a nice one. I like anything I can get for free! If houses were properly designed, things like this and the integration of pool heating with house cooling, would be built in from the start. Sadly these people seem to not talk to each other. 

If you are seriously thinking of putting in a pool then the $15 you spend on Zero Carbon Pool could be one of the best investments you will ever make. I am saving about $3,000 a year. My pool is big, but even on a standard sized 20’x40’ pool you would save about $1,000 a year by following the pool fab four recipe. 

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