Using camera for pool heat pumps?

Are you using your infrared camera to determine if a pool heat pump is working? If so what temperature differentials are you looking for on the water coming in to the water going out of the heater? Or am I asking the wrong question? Or am I looking at the wrong thing?
Cameron Mason
Gulfshore Home Inspections
Bonita Springs, Florida

asking the wrong question

It should be quite clear if it is “working”.

Not that anyone gives a crap, but you are not here to analize efficiency; capacity or design…

…well this may not apply to TEXAS!

You have to rip up shingles to see how they are nailed… who knows what these guys want you to do, for the sake of what?

Using IR for pool heat pumps is tricky. Oulet vs inlet temperature is subtle…less than 2 degrees in most cases. That said, its critical to set the camera set up properly (compensate for reflected energy and use emissivity for PVC)

A better indicator is the air temperature leaving the top of the unit since the air leaving the unit is significantly colder than ambient air (10-20 degrees)

Knowing all this, it is still wise to be very clear (in writing) that your test is simply a courtesy check and may not be relied upon for a definitive statement concerning its function. Using IR to properly test a heat pump is quantitative analysis and requires far more information than just what’s on the camera screen.

It’s the equivelant of sticking your hand in the water and stating that it works. Keeping your IR use qualitative should be the rule.

This is what you should expect to see. Images are from my pool heater in operation today. It hasn’t been serviced since installed in 2001 but I know it to be functioning well.

Notice the delta between inlet and outlet…very subtle. The split is affected by water and air temperature, but on most normal days without any extreme environmental swings, it should be relatively small.

The “Heat-X” photos are the heat exchanger in operation. This is where you find your greatest temp split. Notice the 13 degree delta…its this delta that’s necessary to create the split between the inlet and outlet. The air entering the unit coils has had its heat removed and is noticably colder than ambient when it exits the unit. Standing over the outlet feels like standing in front of an AC unit.

You can say based on this information that the heat pump functions. Since the deltas can be different for any given set of environmental and water conditions you can’t comment on the adequacy of the numbers…only that the existence of the deltas are an indication of heat transfer to the water.


Heat-X Hot.jpg

Heat-X Cold.jpg