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Balboa: Chill Out

Balboa’s Clim8zone II keeps cold tubs ice cold

When it came time to design the Clim8zone II heat pump, Balboa Water Group had a long list of features that to many might seem contradictory, if not impossible. It needed to be small but powerful, able to change the water temperature from a goosebump-inducing chill to a muscle-relaxing warm, all while being quieter than many household appliances and maintaining energy efficiency. 

Despite the complexity, Balboa checked off the entire list with its new heat pump, which is now featured in the Chilly GOAT tubs from Master Spas.

Jean-Pierre “JP” Parent, senior vice president and managing director at Balboa Water Group, says the Clim8zone heat pump came about three years ago and was inspired by Europe’s energy crunch. 

“All of a sudden, there was a lot of demand for energy-saving devices to operate hot tubs,” Parent says.

The Clim8zone II is a condensed version and a natural evolution of the product, designed with smaller hot tubs in mind.

“It still basically keeps 80% of the power of Clim8zone I, but it’s half the size, and it’s also significantly less expensive,” Parent says.

Balboa Clim8zone II

Beyond powering hot tubs, the Clim8zone II can also cool water. As cold tubs — also known as chill tubs, ice tubs or cold plunge tubs — became a trend, Balboa realized the Clim8zone II’s potential. It can cool the water down to 39 degrees Fahrenheit/4 degrees Celsius, while still providing energy savings. As a heater, it can bring the water temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit/40 degrees Celsius.

“The energy consumption is so much less than a regular electric heater,” Parent says. “We’re talking about using in 24 hours the amount of energy that an electric heater would use in one hour.”

The pump is also quiet, operating at a volume of 45 decibels, which is less than a standard microwave oven. In comparison, blenders produce about 80 decibels of noise, and a vacuum cleaner runs around 75 decibels.

“Decibels are not proportional,” Parent says. “They’re exponential. As [the decibel level] goes up, the noise increases exponentially. So 45 decibels is quite an achievement. We’re very proud of it.”

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Beyond these features, the pump has also earned multiple certifications, including UL certification.

“It answered all of the questions that were out there,” Parent says. “We were able to launch Clim8zone II in nine months because we were able to benefit from everything we learned from the Clim8zone I design and apply it to Clim8zone II.”

When Master Spas approached Balboa to collaborate on the Chilly GOAT cold tub line, there was no question that the group wanted to get involved, Parent says. The two companies have been working together for more than 20 years.

“We customized the Clim8zone II for their needs, and it went through a very extensive qualification,” Parent says. “Then it got the blessing from Michael Phelps for the endorsement.”

Balboa Water Group heater engineering manager and compliance coordinator Hoang Bui, who has been in the industry for nearly three decades, is excited to share the Clim8zone II’s innovations.

“This is a very compact design, including a display on the unit,” Bui says. “People [can also] use the Wi-Fi capabilities of the heat pump to control the pump from an app on their phone.”

The high-power, small-footprint pump is resonating with customers, as well.

Ryan Frank, owner of Aqua Haven in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has gotten chillingly good feedback from customers.

“Their body has been rejuvenated [after cold tub use],” he said. “People are health conscious right now.”