We receive this question frequently from pool owners in colder states within the USA, and from countries that experience cold winter seasons. Unlike those more fortunate, whose weather allows them to enjoy their pool year-round, the brutal winters experienced in some places do not give pool owners that option. When the issue isn’t if you will shut down your pool, but how to do it properly, your heat pump will likely be your first concern.
Depending on the reason for the heat pump inactivity and its duration, it is usually fine to leave main power applied to your heat pump. There are only a couple of reasons you may still want to kill the juice, which we will discuss now.
You should shut off your heat pump if you winterize your pool (or spa), or if your pool is being renovated. This way, the heater will not cycle on if the water flow sensor fails. Most heat pumps also incorporate other safety mechanisms to prevent them from coming on without water flow. However, it is easy to just power down the unit when there is going to be no water flow through the heater for extended periods of time.
If you simply do not want to heat your pool or spa, it may make sense to turn off the power. You will not harm your unit whether you leave it on or not. When the heat pump is turned off by the controls or because the water temperature is at or above the desired heat setting, the only power the unit consumes is the minute amount needed to power the control unit and display.
For heaters with digital display panels, just be sure the “Mode” is set to “Off.” For models without a “Mode” selector button, turn the temperature all the way down (to “Off”). For analog units (without a digital temperature display) turn the “On/Off” toggle switch to Off.
It is a good preventative maintenance practice to run a heater for a ½ hour to a 1 hour once a month, if the pool filtration system is operational, even if you decide to shut your unit down. Running the unit occasionally keeps the compressor and fan motors lubricated, and helps prevent separation of the refrigerant and lubricating oil that is mixed in with it.
There you have it. Leaving your swimming pool heat pump powered up through the winter will usually cause no harm and will consume only small amounts of power. On the other hand, if you will not use your pool for an extended period, there’s no compelling reason to leave your heat pump powered up.
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