Do you want to run your hot tub or swim spa even more cost-effectively?
These days we can safely say that technology, in general, now makes running a high-quality hot tub or swim spa as economically and energy efficient as possible. But, if you wanted to go one step further and look at an even more sustainable source for heating and cooling your tub, then why not think about air-source heat pumps?
As well as helping to reduce your own carbon footprint it will also save you money on your energy bills in the longer term too. In basic terms, an air source heat pump can potentially be 55-60% more efficient than standard electrical heating options. As air source heat pumps use inverter technology they can also maintain consistent temperatures whilst using a lower electrical current and are able to generate up to 5kw of energy for every 1kw of electricity used, even in lower outdoor temperatures, often as low as 5 degrees C.
What is an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) and how does it work?
An ASHP is a device which transfers heat, either to or from, your hot tub. Working on the principle of vapor compression refrigeration, a compressor and condenser is used to absorb heat from the air, with the then hot air being transferred to the tub. Alternatively, if needing to cool the water in the hot tub, the same principle applies, but the process then absorbs heat from the water and releases air in the opposite direction.
The fan in an ASHP firstly draws air over a series of tubes that resemble a radiator, with the tubes being filled with refrigerant. Air is then passed over the tubes, which in turn warms up the refrigerant, transforming it from liquid to gas. This gas is passed through a compressor which increases the pressure and significantly raises the temperature of the gas, which is then passed through a heat exchanger.
With a hot tubs water circulation system plumbed through the ASHP and with the heat from the gas travelling through the heat exchanger, this then heats the water from the hot tub or swim spa as it passes over it. The refrigerant then cools and turns back into a liquid and starts the process all over again.
What are the advantages of an Air Source Heat Pump?
Efficiency – ASHPs are one of the most efficient heating systems available. They can provide up to three times more heat than standard heating options, and they’re incredibly energy-efficient.
Lower your carbon footprint – using an ASHP lowers your energy consumption via traditional electric energy requirements, therefore decreasing your own emissions footprint overall. Good for the planet!
Save money – using an ASHP will most definitely reduce your costs on energy bills. Depending on your usage, an ASHP can pay for itself in a short a time as 12 to 18 months.
All year use – quality ASHPs can work in even lower temperatures, below 0 degrees and their Coefficient of Performance (CoP) are high – very convenient for holiday lets, ASHPs can heat a hot tub from 11 degreesC to 39 degreesC in under 4 hours.
Easy to Install – we detail requirements in more detail below, but ASHPs, as well being generally compact, are very easy to install, requiring little to no disruption to your environment.
Low maintenance – ASHPs require very little maintenance – outside of an annual health check, you can also expect a well-maintained quality system to run effectively for at least 20 – 30 years.
Installation Requirements for Air Source Heat Pumps
Planning – obviously no one installation is the same, but we would look to do a free site survey for you to look at the best way of fitting, locating and installing the pump.
Electrics – essentially the heat pump does not need any additional electrical installation work – the pump unit itself will take its power from the hot tub or swim spa.
Fitting – when fitting an ASHP some basic modifications will be made to your hot tub or swim spa. Our engineers will plumb the pump into the tubs heating system itself and an inlet and outlet pipe plumbed into the base or cabinet to provide circulation.
Location – a heat pump generally needs 45cm for the inlet space and it is recommended to have a minimum or of 150cm space for the fan outlet.
Which ASHP is right for you?
ASHPs do come in various sizes, and have the ability to heat water up to 40 degrees C. To understand which size is right for you, we would advise you to contact us directly so that we can assess your personal requirements.
At the Oyster Pools & Hot Tubs show site, we have ASHPs installed and working on our swimming pool and a swim spa at the time of writing. We would welcome you to come and take a look at them in action so that we can demonstrate exactly how they work.
We hope this article has given you an idea of how air source heat pumps work and just how energy-saving they are. For more articles on hot tub operation please visit our section on Hot Tub Operation.