New Raypak AVIA Pool and Spa Heaters

LapPoolMike

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2017
157
Saint Petersburg, FL
Howdy,
I'm looking to replace my Pentair MasterTemp 400 natural gas heater. I was looking at the Raypak web site and saw that they have a new AVIA "Next Generation" Pool and Spa Heater that is Wi-Fi enabled, etc., looks like it may have been introduced just in the last couple of months. It appears this is a natural gas heater? Looks like model # 404 is a 399K BTU heater, and model # 264 is a 264K BTU heater. Almost looks like the water connections might be a drop-in replacement for my MasterTemp 400, that would be a nice bonus!

Anybody have any info on these new Raypak AVIA heaters? Seen one in person? Seen one on sale anywhere? Any info you could provide would be appreciated!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,822
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Do you have any Pentair automation controls?

So this looks like Raypak built a forced-air gas heater, same concept as a MasterTemp or Jandy or Hayward, and added some WiFi and external relay controls to it. Unlike their time-tested and much-less-expensive-to-fix natural convection based heater. Unless you are planning to use this new heater as an automation system, my guess is it will be a very expensive replacement for your MasterTemp with little or no difference in heating performance.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
18,822
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Just to be clear, TFP typically recommends the other version of Raypak heaters because it’s a convection based burner-tray style heater that’s very simple - no fans or forced combustion. They are just as efficient as any of the other vendors and a lot less expensive to fix. The Avia documents claim that this new setup protects the heat exchanger better since the combustion happens away from the exchanger but I think that’s hype. The biggest killer to the heat exchanger is poor water chemistry rotting the copper from the inside out. So I really don’t see how this unit is any different than any of the other vendors and I wouldn’t want to be one of the beta-testing Guinea pigs for their new product line.

And to the OP - if you don’t have Pentair automation, then I don’t see how this Raypak will communicate or control your IntelliFlo VSP. The IF uses and RS-485 bus for comms with either an EasyTouch or an IntelliConnect system. The IF is not designed to work with a remote relay type setup. Unless Pentair or Raypak provides a solution for that communication issue, mixing and matching different vendors is just going to be frustrating.
 

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
245
Houston, Texas
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Just to be clear, TFP typically recommends the other version of Raypak heaters because it’s a convection based burner-tray style heater that’s very simple - no fans or forced combustion. They are just as efficient as any of the other vendors and a lot less expensive to fix. The Avia documents claim that this new setup protects the heat exchanger better since the combustion happens away from the exchanger but I think that’s hype. The biggest killer to the heat exchanger is poor water chemistry rotting the copper from the inside out. So I really don’t see how this unit is any different than any of the other vendors and I wouldn’t want to be one of the beta-testing Guinea pigs for their new product line.

And to the OP - if you don’t have Pentair automation, then I don’t see how this Raypak will communicate or control your IntelliFlo VSP. The IF uses and RS-485 bus for comms with either an EasyTouch or an IntelliConnect system. The IF is not designed to work with a remote relay type setup. Unless Pentair or Raypak provides a solution for that communication issue, mixing and matching different vendors is just going to be frustrating.
Thanks for the detailed answer. Not the OP but also looking for a new heater. I will look in to the basic Raypak, I will be having automation, as I am updating pump to VS, and adding SWG.
 

LapPoolMike

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2017
157
Saint Petersburg, FL
Thanks all for the replies. After much consideration of heater options I decided to go with an electric air-source heat/cool heat pump, going with AquaCal HeatWave SuperQuiet SQ166R. I want to keep the main pool heated constantly to ~79-80 degrees (while using solar cover-I'll only need 5-8 or so degrees from the heater) for lap swimming, and I believe the heat pump should have lower operating costs than gas for that use case. It will take a little longer than a 400k BTU gas heater to heat up spillover spa but that's ok. Bonus is I should be able to chill down spillover spa to make a cold "plunge pool" in the peak of summertime! I'll report back once I have it installed and have used it a bit! Thanks.