What is the EcoCube™ Heat Pump for spa pools and is it worth it?

Looking to reduce your spa pool's operating costs? Discover how the EcoCube™ heat pump can help you save money and enjoy your spa pool all year round.

EcoCube hybrid heat pump hero

Heating your spa pool can be one of the most energy-intensive and costly aspects of spa ownership. One way to keep costs down is with a heat pump.

This article reviews SpaNet’s Eco-Cube™ heat pump for small to medium-sized spa pools to help you decide if it’s worth it.

After reading you should know what Eco-Cube™ is, how it works and if it is a good option for your spa pool.

You'll learn:

Please note: Eco-Cube™ is designed for small to medium-sized spas of up to 1,990 litres of water capacity. If you own or are considering buying a larger spa or swim spa, you should consider a more powerful heat pump like the SpaNet SN-HP-90P Hybrid heat pump. Click the button below to read our article on choosing the right heat pump for your spa.

Watch: SpaNet™ EcoCube™ Mini Heat Pump - Unboxing and first review

What is a spa heat pump?

A spa pool heat pump is similar to a heat pump you would use in your home but instead of heating or cooling the air in a room – it works to heat (or cool) the water in your spa.

Heat pumps can be used with spas, swim spas, plunge pools, and even swimming pools.

These heaters take about the same amount of time to warm the water as standard built-in electric elements but they do it way more efficiently.

They can save you up to 75% in energy consumption, which means you can recover the purchase cost in a short amount of time, and then save money for years afterwards. Click the button to learn more.

Back to top

What is the EcoCube™ mini spa heat pump?

The SpaNet™ Eco-Cube™ heat pump is a compact, cost-effective heating solution for small- to medium-sized spa pools. It is easy to install and uses eco-friendly refrigerant in the cooling cycle. The heat is transferred to the spa water through a titanium heat exchanger for improved performance and durability.

It comes in two sizes a 3.3kw and 5.5kw version:

  • SpaNet EcoCube™ 3.3kw CHP-33
  • SpaNet EcoCube™ 5.5kw CHP-55

The Eco-Cube™ heat pump is designed for small to mid-sized spas to heat their water efficiently and cost-effectively. To heat it works by using a small amount of electrical power to capture heat from the air and transfer it into the water, which can reduce heating costs by up to 75%. It reverses this cycle when cooling.

How does the EcoCube™ Heat Pump work?

One of the best features of the Eco-Cube™ heat pump is that it can both heat, and cool your spa water.

In the heating phase, the Eco-Cube™ heat pump pulls in warm air from the environment, then uses a refrigerant (specifically R290, which is eco-friendly) to intensify the heat. After that, this amplified heat is transferred to the spa or pool water through a heat exchanger, which in this case is made from twisted titanium for enhanced performance and better corrosion resistance.

In the cooling phase, the EcoCube™ cools spa water by reversing its normal heating operation, effectively acting like an air conditioner for the water. See a more detailed explanation of this below.

Not all spa heat pumps have a cooling function. It is specifically found in reversible or inverter-driven heat pump models, like EcoCube™. If you want to heat and cool your spa water, ensure the heat pump has this feature built-in.

Back to top

Can I have a cold water spa pool with an Eco-Cube™ heat pump?

Yes, Eco-Cube™ can cool your spa water. As mentioned above, it does this by reversing its normal heating operation – like an air conditioner but for water.

During the cooling cycle, the heat pump's evaporator coil absorbs heat from the spa water, transferring it to a refrigerant. The warm refrigerant is then compressed, becoming a hot gas that travels to the condenser coil, where it releases the absorbed heat into the outside air.

The now-cooled refrigerant cycles back, passing through an expansion valve that further reduces its temperature before returning to the evaporator to repeat the process. This cycle continues until the spa water is cooled to the desired temperature – which, depending on the ambient temperature, can be as low as 5 degrees.

Please note that not all heat pumps are equipped with a cooling function. It’s specifically found in reversible or inverter-driven heat pump models, such as EcoCube™. If you want a heat pump that can both heat and cool your spa water, make sure it has this capability before buying one.

Woman enjoying Nitro spa pool in summer

Back to top

How do you install the Eco-Cube™ Heat Pump?

The EcoCube™ series has been designed to offer convenience and ease of use.

It features simple plug-and-play installation without needing additional electrical circuits, making it suited to DIY projects. The heat pump comes with a plastic cabinet that is resistant to UV rays, ensuring durability. It also boasts an IPX5 water protection rating, which means it's built to withstand being installed by the side of a spa without water damage.

One of the key advantages of the EcoCube™ is dual-core heating and cooling, which means it can warm your spa water and cool it down as needed – even to temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius. This can be particularly useful for ice bath applications or during hot weather.

The heat pump is engineered for hassle-free installation. It features standard 32/38mm water connections and a flexible hose for a quick and straightforward setup.

While EcoCube™ is suitable for DIY installation, you can elect to have EcoCube™ installed by a technician.

EcoCube Heat Pump

How much does EcoCube™ cost?

When it comes to the SpaNet EcoCube™, there are two models available for those looking to manage their spa pool temperatures efficiently: the EcoCube™ 3.3kw and the EcoCube™ 5.5kw.

If you're considering the more compact 3.3kw model, it retails for $1,690. However, for those in need of a bit more heating power, the 5.5kw variant is priced at $1,990. These prices reflect the cost of each model in NZ dollars and could vary based on the retailer or any ongoing promotions or discounts.

SpaNet™ EcoCube™ prices:

  • SpaNet EcoCube™ 3.3kw CHP-33 $1690
  • SpaNet EcoCube™ 5.5kw CHP-55 $1990

*Prices are accurate at the time of writing and subject to change.

Back to top

running cost

Pros and cons of SpaNet™ EcoCube™ Heat pump

The SpaNet Eco-Cube™ Heat Pump is an innovative solution for maintaining the ideal temperature in your spa, no matter the season. Here’s a look at the benefits and limitations of this eco-friendly heat pump to help you determine if it's the right choice for your spa needs.

EcoCube™ Heat Pump Pros

The EcoCube™ Heat Pump boasts several attractive features for spa owners.

1. Heats and cools Equipped with dual-core heating and cooling capabilities, this unit ensures your comfort throughout the year, allowing you to make the most of your spa in any weather.

2. Quick pay-off time Its cost-effectiveness is one of its strongest selling points; with its economical operation, the EcoCube™ promises a quick return on investment and continued savings over time. At the time of writing, the estimated pay-off time on EcoCube™ for a 1380-litre spa is 2-3 years, saving you up to $9,118 over 10 years (depending on factors such as usage, location and local electricity costs) compared to a standard electric spa heater.

3. Integrated controls Integration with SpaNet's sophisticated controls, featuring dynamic thermal tuning, means added efficiency and managing your spa temperature is a breeze.

4. DIY installation The hassle-free installation process can be a DIY project thanks to the direct Plug & Play pipe and cable connections.

5. Eco-friendly Environmentally conscious consumers will appreciate the use of a natural refrigerant, minimising the ecological footprint.

6. Built to last The unit's resilience is evident in its UV-resistant cabinet and high water protection rating, ensuring longevity and durability.

7. Quiet operation Lastly, its quiet operation allows for a tranquil spa experience without noise disturbances.

Back to top

EcoCube™ Heat Pump Cons

While overall it is an excellent choice for heating and cooling a spa, the SpaNet™ EcoCube™ Heat Pump does have a couple of limitations.

1. Capacity It is primarily suited for small to medium-sized spa pools of up to 1,990 litres’ water capacity, potentially excluding those with larger entertainer spas, plunge pools or swim spas.

2. Installation limitations The unit needs to be mounted against the spa which may be a limiting factor for some installation

In conclusion, the SpaNet™ EcoCube™ Heat Pump offers a range of benefits for spa owners looking for an eco-friendly, economical, and easy-to-install heating and cooling solution, though its application is best suited for smaller installations.

Top 6 benefits of the EcoCube™ Heat Pump for spa pools

The Eco-Cube™ Heat Pump addresses this issue by providing an energy-efficient alternative to conventional heating methods.

1. Efficient Heat Exchange Technology

EcoCube™ uses a heat exchange system, often including a twisted Titanium Heat Exchanger, which is more efficient than standard heating elements found in many spa pools. This technology helps transfer heat from the surrounding air into the water, significantly reducing the energy needed compared to direct electrical heating.

2. Eco-Friendly Refrigerant

Equipped with an eco-friendly R290 refrigerant, the EcoCube™ has a lower global warming potential and higher energy efficiency compared with traditional refrigerants. This contributes to its ability to reduce overall energy consumption.

3. Insulation for Enhanced Performance

An insulated heat exchanger and cabinet help to retain heat, minimizing heat loss during the transfer process. This means that less energy is required to maintain the desired temperature of the spa pool.

4. Pump Integration for Seamless Operation

The Eco-Cub™ has been designed to integrate seamlessly with the spa's control system, optimising the heat pump's operation time and ensuring that it only runs when necessary. This integration can lead to further savings by preventing unnecessary energy usage.

5. Dual Heating and Cooling Functions

The capability of the heat pump to both heat and cool means it can be used year-round. During hotter months, the ability to cool the water may also reduce the need for additional ice or cold water, which can consume more energy to produce.

6. DIY Installation

The design of the EcoCube™, which includes easy-connect water pipes and a simple plug-n-play setup, can potentially save on professional installation costs. It's important, however, for spa owners to assess their ability to install the unit correctly to ensure optimal function and safety.

7. Quick return on investment

The estimated pay-off time on EcoCube™ RRP for a 1380ltr spa is 2-3 years depending on location. Save up to $9,118 over 10 years (depending on factors such as usage, location and local electricity costs) compares with a standard electric spa heater.

By focusing on energy-efficient technologies and design, the EcoCube™ Heat Pump can significantly reduce the running costs of a spa pool. When estimating potential savings, you’ll should also consider other factors such as local electricity costs, climate conditions, and the specific setup of your spa pool.

Back to top

How can I reduce my spa's running costs?

While a heat pump is by far the most energy-efficient way to heat a spa, it’s not the only way to reduce running costs. It may not even be the best option for you. For example, if your spa has poor insulation, a thin, flimsy spa cover and is poorly maintained - you’ll struggle to see any major reduction in your heating bill until you address these areas.

To ensure you get the most value from a spa heat pump, make sure you have the basics of spa energy efficiency covered.

Here are 10 ways to reduce spa running costs:

  1. Lower the spa temperature to the lowest comfortable level
  2. Clean and replace spa filters as recommended
  3. Invest in a well-insulated, fitted spa cover to prevent heat loss.
  4. Supplement the spa’s built-in insulation with additional layers or wraps to trap heat.
  5. Minimise the use of spa jets as they can lower water temperature and increase heating demands.
  6. Limit spa use to off-peak hours when energy rates may be lower.
  7. Protect your spa from cooling winds with natural or artificial barriers.
  8. Keep your spa equipment in prime condition with regular servicing.
  9. Use chemicals wisely to reduce the need for extra heating and filtration cycles.
  10. Consider an energy-efficient heat pump for heating and cooling the spa.

By incorporating these practices, you can significantly diminish the operational costs associated with heating and maintaining a spa pool, ensuring it remains a cost-effective luxury.

Click the button below to learn more about spa running costs and how to have an energy-efficient spa.

Back to top

Frequently asked questions and installation advice

Want to know more about EcoCube™ Heat Pump? Got technical questions?

Read our detailed article with answers to common questions, installation and electrical info, and more.

In Summary

We hope this article has given you a good understanding of the EcoCube™ Heat Pump, EcoCube™ could be a great solution to reducing energy consumption and heating or cooling your spa pool. It is an affordable, user-friendly, eco-conscious solution for maintaining your spa or small pool's temperature, offering significant energy savings and easy, flexible installation options.

For more information please contact our friendly team of experts. We are here to help!

Article authored by: Mariam El Orfi

Related Articles

Five Star Trust Pilot Rating

We are proud that Spa World customers have given us a Five Star Trustpilot rating.