Is my Hot Tub Compatible with An Air Source Heat pump?
Yes, your hot tub will be compatible with an air source heat pump. The compatibility, however, may be a little different to what you were originally thinking.
In this article, I will explain exactly why.
Compatible Hot Tubs with Air Source Heat Pumps – packs and brands
When we talk about hot tubs being compatible with air source heat pumps, usually we mean that we can control it all from our topside control. This is the set of buttons where you turn your jets on or off and set the temperature.
To get this level of compatibility with an air source heat pump is quite difficult. Firstly, you need to match the brand of heat pump with the spa pack that you have. Balboa or Gecko for example. This can be expensive in itself as those brands of unit tend to be expensive in my opinion and also underpowered – again, in my opinion.
Next, you must have a compatible model. Just because you have a Balboa Spa Pack for example does not mean that it is compatible with the Clim8Zone Air Source Heat Pump.
You need to have a specific spa pack, with a specific firmware revision on it. You also need to have a topside control that support the air source heat pump – not all of them do. This is the same with Gecko branded packs and air source heat pumps too.
What is the Alternative for a Hot Tub to be Compatible with an Air Source Heat Pump?
The alternative for a hot tub to be compatible with an air source heat pump to to control everything through flow? So what does this mean?
When you add an Air Source to your Hot Tub, invariably, you are going to disconnect the electrical heater because you want to make financial savings – makes sense!
The common misconception is that you are going to plug the air source into that socket. You are not. The reason being is that socket really is a switch and will kill the power to the air source. If this is mid-heating, the air source will not be shutting down by going through its full process. Depending on the model, this might shorten the life span of the parts and in some cases may actually damage the unit.
Therefore, we power the air source independently from the spa pack. It can be powered off the terminal block, but we are not using the Spa Pack at all to switch the air source heat pump on.
To make your Hot Tub compatible with an air source heat pump, we are going to control it by flow. When you hot tub calls for heat when it is not at temperature, the heater relay switches on. Now, we have disconnected the heater so that will now not turn on. This is fine, the Spa Pack does not know.
However, at the same time, the Spa Pack will turn on the circulation pump. The circulation pump is needs to run when the heater starts to heat the water as it passes over it. In our case not, the electric heater is disconnected so it will not do anything. However, the water will now flow through the air source heat pump.
When the air source heat pump senses flow, it will turn the heating on and start to heat the water. No flow, no heat. Simple. So indirectly, we are controlling this heat pump with flow.
This is why your hot tub is compatible with an air source heat pump because all hot tubs have pumps. If you can put flow through an air source heat pump then you can control the air source heat pump from your hot tub.
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Thanks - Andi