Pool & Spa News

One of the biggest names in pump motors now will be behind a line of pool heat pumps.

In April, A.O. Smith Corp. announced its acquisition of Applied Energy Recovery Systems, a manufacturer of heat pump water heaters in Norcross, Ga.

“We’ve been very interested in looking at things in the renewables category,” said Mark Petrarca, senior vice president of human resources and public affairs at A.O. Smith. “[AERS is] very strong in the area of commercial heat pump water heaters and pool heaters … so it was really the technology that was appealing to us.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

A.O. Smith doesn’t have any planned changes to the leadership or operations at AERS, but it will be looking at synthesizing its own water heating product line with AERS technology, Petrarca added.

Though the majority of AERS products are commercial water heaters, roughly 15- to 20 percent of its business is in the pool sector. And unlike potable hot water, pool applications are especially well-suited for heat pump technology, according to Petrarca.

“When you’re talking about just warming water for a swimming pool, you’re only talking about warming it to 80- or 90 degrees,” he noted. “It’s a much easier leap to [make] using some of these renewable technologies.”

Heat pump manufacturers have been attracting more attention as of late. The AERS acquisition comes just six months after Hayward Industries Inc. bought Summit Pool Heaters to add heat pumps to its more traditional line of pool heating products.

However, as a supplier to many of the major pump manufacturers, A.O. Smith now will occupy the same market as some of its clients.

“You don’t want to compete against your customers,” Petrarca said. “Obviously, we partner with people in the pool and spa industry, and we want to make sure we continue to support them in what they’re trying to do.”