AquaCal Heat Pumps - Further Reading

AquaCal Heat Pumps

Aquacal has a popular product line of heat pumps and chillers that is an alternative to the major pool equipment brands. The AquaCal brand is part of Team Horner that also manufacturers the AutoPilot SWG.

AquaCal heat pump models include:

  • Heatwave SuperQuiet with models from 125K BTU to 166K BTU and models with heat only and heat/chiller.
  • TropiCal is a basic budget heat pump from 55K to 135K BTU
  • GBB (Great Big Bopper) is a large high performance heat pump that heats and cools large commercial swimming pools with up to a half million BTUs in one unit.
AquaCal TropiCal Heat Pump.jpg

AquaCal also has the TropiCool Water Chiller in three sizes to lower the temperature of your pool. This is an alternative to evaporative cooling systems that can struggle to keep up in humid climates. TropiCool can chill as low as 40° F for cold plunge pools.

TropiCal and SuperQuiet series units both have titanium heat exchangers. The T55 and T75 in the TropiCal line use tube in tube style heat exchangers while the T90, T115 and T135 along with the entire line in the SuperQuiet series feature AquaCal's patented Thermolink heat exchanger which is a unique design to their products.[1]

The SQ120R and SQ166R models in the SuperQuiet series offer both heating and cooling modes. Even if cooling is not a desired feature of the heat pump this adds another benefit in that the unit can heat in lower air temperatures if this is desired. The TropiCal series does not offer any heat/cool units.

The SuperQuiet does have a quieter operation as compared to the TropiCal or other brand units on the market. A part of this is the fan blade design that AquaCal utilizes in this series. SuperQuiet series units use Scroll compressors. This also adds to the quiet factor.

There is another unit as well in the SuperQuiet series which is the SQ225 at 143,000 BTUs (80/80/80).

SQ150VS has a variable speed compressor, called Turbo Boost Mode, designed to more quickly and efficiently reach a temperature set point.

AquaCal says the TropiCal has a microprocessor controlled defrost cycle that allows operation down to mid to low 40s °F.

Hybrid functionality can initiate a gas heater when an extra boost of heat is needed.

Check the minimum/maximum (gpm) flow requirements for the unit you are considering. A Heater Bypass Manifold (STK0135) is required when flow rates exceed the maximum which can range from 45 to 70 GPM.

AquaCal Heater Bypass.jpg

Remote Controls

Addition of the PoolSync WiFi Controller allows you to adjust your heat mode and temperature setting right through your phone in the PoolSync app.

The latest version of AquaCal's units that have the HP9 microprocessor support their SMART Controller that provides RS-485 control through Pentair IntelliCenter, Pentair EasyTouch, Pentair IntelliTouch, Jandy AquaLink, etc. This AquaCal video shows how an older HP can be upgraded to HP9 controls.

A external flow relay switch (FS2 Controller) will automatically change between the pool and spa thermostat depending on the position of the plumbing valves.

A standard 2-wire "fireman's switch" control can be used to control heat only. Or a 3-wire connection can be used for Pool-Off-Spa control.

Connecting AquaCal SQ166R Heat Pump to IntelliCenter

Your AquaCal HP needs to be a newer unit (with HP9 microprocessor and 5 buttons display) to be controlled by the RS-485 comm line. Older units with an HP7 microprocessor and an either 3 or 4 button display can't and need to use the 2 wire dry contact connection for HEAT only.

Connect green and yellow wires from the heat pump's "Port B" of the AquaCal HP control board to an available RS-485 comm port inside the IntelliCenter.[2] The wire size connecting the heat pump to the IntelliCenter must be 22- gauge, 2-conductor, low-voltage wire.

You need to connect a 10K resistor or temperature thermistor to the solar temp sensor to make the IntelliCenter happy with the heat pump. This is not used but required for the IntelliCenter to properly control a HP.

Setup your AquaCal as "UltraTemp" when adding a heater in IntelliCenter. Turn "Cooling Enabled" on.

IntelliCenter Add Heater Aquacal.jpg
IntelliCenter AquaCal HP as Ultratemp.jpg

On the AquaCal HP, go to the installer's menu. The code is 17. Select "SET EXT. CTRL MODE" to "SMART". Exit the setup menu.


After a short wait, the main display should indicate "UNDER REMOTE CONTROL" on the bottom line.


At this point, you're connected. To turn the AquaCal HP on, go to IntelliCenter: Pool --> Heat Mode --> UltraTemp Only. Set your desired heat and cool setpoints. The AquaCal HP will turn on if there is a call for heat or cooling.

For more information see page 20 in AquaCal Installation Manual.

Setting the AquaCal Heat Pump to Standalone Mode

To operate in standalone mode, push "Menu" --> "Installer Menu". The code is 17.

Scroll down to "Set Ext. Ctrl Mode", push enter, arrow down to select off, push enter again.[3]