Why You Should Own A Swim Spa

Two summers ago my wife and I were thinking about getting an in ground pool for our back yard.  As usual Kim did the research and we called a pool company to come out and take a look at our yard.  Our back yard has a steep slope down to the river behind us and we knew we’d be looking at a few challenges.  After meeting with the rep from the pool company and talking with a landscaper that specializes in pool landscapes we decided the cost wasn’t worth it. The retaining wall would cost almost as much as the pool itself.  We decided the cost wasn’t worth it for something we could only use for a few months out of the year.  Then Kim had another one of her brainstorms.  She suggested we look into swim spas!  Yet another great idea by my wife.

A swim spa is not a jacuzzi.  A swim spa is not a pool.  A swim spa marries together the best qualities of the two.  A swim spa has jetted seats like a jacuzzi and a deeper end where you can swim against powerful jets located on the opposite end from the seats.  A swim spa offers the best of both worlds AND is designed to be used year round no matter where you live.  To me it’s a no brainer that offers so much more than either of the other two options.

The companies who manufacture swim spas have taken everything necessary into consideration.  They have thoughtfully designed the plumbing and electronics to be both powerful and efficient.  When you sit in a jetted seat of a swim spa you’ll notice right away that the jets are much more powerful than a regular jacuzzi.  If you want to swim against the current you’ll discover a real workout.  This is because of the pump design that uses two motors that make two zones.  Each motor can be turned up or down to your desired strength of current or jets.  This makes for an even better spa experience because you can adjust both motors to give you a relaxing jacuzzi experience with a combination of jets and the water current.  It can be like sitting in a river with a strong current and a jacuzzi at the same time!  A swim spa is whisper quiet and easier to maintain than a swimming pool.  The use of chemicals is minimal.

You can use your swim spa as a complete workout system.  You can swim against the current or you can use that current for low impact exercise.  There are several positions you can use to rehabilitate from surgeries or injuries.  You can also get the optional workout package that includes rowing oars, bungee straps, harness and an extensive exercise book that outlines the many exercises you can do in your swim spa.  Now you can even get a water bike and treadmill designed to work inside of the swim spa itself!  There really is no limit to what part of the body you can work using different current settings.  The swim spa is quite possibly the best mechanism you can use for your exercise regimen!

After our research was done we started things moving.  We found a reputable dealer, went to their showroom and asked ten thousand questions.  We were lucky to find a salesperson who knew the product inside and out.  The real line of swim spas is endorsed by Michael Phelps and yes, his name is on every one of them and that adds to the price.  There are several sizes to choose from, each with options to consider like LED lighting, sound systems, shell finish and even flat panel televisions that pop up out of the body of the spa!  The lengths vary from twelve to twenty feet and you can select between the standard or over-the-top propulsion system.  You can expect to pay anywhere from $25,000 and up for a swim spa. 

Once you have selected the swim spa that’s right for you, the next step is to coordinate with an electrician and someone who can pour a cement pad.  You don’t want to sink a swim spa into the ground because if maintenance needs to be done the sides of the spa need to be accessible.

We were able to have a cement pad poured and an electrician out to do the necessary wiring quickly and in April of 2011 our swim spa was delivered to our house!

It's Here!!

 

And then a little bit of landscaping on our part, and the finished product!

These days I simply can’t imagine my life without my swim spa.  Last summer we turned the heat off and were able to use it on hot days as a refreshing way to beat the heat.  There is no better way to relax after mowing the lawn or working in the garden than to sit back and let the water rehabilitate your body.  This winter we’ve left the heat right around 100 degrees.  We jump in and let the steam swirl around us while we’re warm and toasty.  The beautiful thing is when you get out of the spa, it can be ten degrees outside and it doesn’t bother you.  Your body retains the heat from the water.  We have a heated towel rack that we throw our bath robes over, so when we get out of the spa we have warm robes waiting for us.  While we’re in our spa we’re able to look out and enjoy all of the wildlife that living on a river brings to us and that makes the experience even better!

I think the best thing about having a swim spa is the way it reduces stress from your life.  My wife and I lead stressful lives.  We now come home from work to our own little stress-reducing haven.  It makes you feel pampered.  It can make you feel like you’re one of those lucky rich people even if you’re not.  If you adjust the motors just right it can even make you feel weightless.  Every time we’re in our swim spa we still say to each other, “This is the best investment we’ve ever made.”  It’s true – I can’t fathom life without one.

If you’re looking for a product that can truly change your life, I highly recommend doing the research and finding a swim spa that’s just right for you.  You will be more than glad you did.

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11 Comments

  1. Lorrie

     /  March 26, 2014

    Hi. Thank you for your details. I am also like you and have been getting pool install estimates, wow, its expensive. We moved to the North Shore of MA from San Francisco Bay area and after this winter pretty much ruled out a swimming pool. Now I am looking at swim spas, but also really want the hot tub part. Do you find you use your spa as a hot tub much? I am considering the dual zone’d spas (where one end is spa and the other the swim spa) but not sure its worth the money in the big picture if I can just turn up my swim spa the day before and use as a hot tub. I see you do turn up the temps in the winter-how about in the summer? Do you think the swim spa is big enough for kids to play in? We have an 8 year old. How is swimming in your swim spa? Last ? how is the maintenance. Thank you so much for answers on this…I really appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Hi Lorrie,

      First off, welcome to MASS. Let’s see if I can get to all of your questions.

      We use our swim spa mostly as a hot tub. We rarely use it for swimming. What I really like about it is that when it’s really hot or really cold outside, I can go completely underwater and cool down or warm up. I like to be able to just fully submerse myself and crawl around on the bottom of the spa from time to time. For me, it’s just a little bit too small to go all-out swimming against the jets because I’m always banging my foot on one of the steps or something. To effectively swim against the jets you have to stay more or less perfectly centered in the spa. It’s hard for me to do that. Then again, we have the shortest version that they made when we bought it a few years ago.

      Technically, ours is a dual zone swim spa – the jetted seats are at one end and the swimming area is at the other end. There are also a series of jets on one side wall in the swimming area that you can use while standing or in other positions. They are arranged in a similar pattern as the regular jetted seat jets.

      Our swim spa is big enough for a couple of younger kids to play in…but remember, it’s not meant for diving!

      Here’s how the seasons affect our spa – Because the lowest heat setting is 80 degrees and you can’t turn the heat completely off, we need to cool the spa down a few times every summer. It is covered when not in use and the cover is dark. It’s not much fun getting into a 90 degree spa on a 95 degree day or sweating to death while you’re in there! So what we do is when the temperature gets too warm to be comfortable in the summer, we drain the spa HALF WAY and refill it. So, if it’s Saturday morning and the water temp is 92 degrees, I drain it half way (takes about two hours), refill it, and the water temp is perfect and refreshing by the time we use it at 3 in the afternoon. We have to do this about three times every summer, depending on how warm it is.

      In the winter we have a few rules that we use. First, NEVER turn the spa up over 104 degrees, as that can cause some health issues. Our rule is: Temps 0 to 15 = 104 degrees. 15 to 20 = 103 degrees. 20 to 30 = 102 degrees. 30 to 40 = 101 degrees. 40 to 50 = 100 degrees. 50 to 65 95-99 degrees. Then we keep decreasing until the air temp gets around 80 steadily and turn the heat off when that happens. The thing to really remember in the winter is that once you take the top off and start circulating the water, the temp is going to drop, about 1.5 degrees per every 45 minutes. If it’s 20 degrees outside and you get out of the spa when the water is 101 or higher, you will stay warm and toasty while putting your robe on. We usually use the spa every Saturday and Sunday EVERY weekend and we usually use it for two or three hours at a time. Longer in the summer on hot days.

      Sorry this is running long, but I realized I left out a lot of info on the initial post so you’ve given me an outline to fill in some blanks…Maintenance? ZERO. When we get out we put the four tablespoons of multimagic shock in and that’s it. When we first got it we tested it every three days, but based on using it every Saturday and Sunday, treating it when we get out is all we need to do, except for adding some alkalinity up once every month. Keep in mind that no one is allowed to wear sunscreen or suntan oil in our spa and that can affect how much you need to treat it. Also, wear only polyester swim wear (or, even, just go naked) because cotton clothing retains detergents from the wash and then enters your spa. I completely drain and refill the spa a few times every year. Usually in April (yay!), and then right after all the pollen has gotten out of the trees in early July. Then I drain/refill again in the fall. When I do that, I use my little pump that I have (can get a good one at any hardware store). When it’s down to the lowest level it can get with the pump (about 1/4 inch) I spray the inside down with a garden house, lightly scrub the interior with a towel, rinse, drain the rest of the water, and refill it. The entire process takes about 6 hours, I think. You will also need to drain your spa when you notice the water needing to be treated constantly. That is a sign that your water has become “dead”, which means it’s been treated so many times (based on useage, etc.) that the oxygen and other things in the water are gone. The filters you’ll need to replace every now and they run about $150 for the pair. The spa uses two types of filters at once. What we do is we bought four filters at once, and we swap them every three months or so. That way they don’t get as dirty, are easier to clean, and they wash easier.

      In closing – what you really need to watch out for is the increase in your electric bill. Mine more than tripled. That’s not only because of the heater and running the jets, but the spa also goes through filtering cycles while it’s not in use. You can control the number of cycles per day using an economy versus standard filter setting. But all in all, we LOVE OUR SPA. We just can’t imagine life without it!!

      Thanks for asking!

      Kurt

      Reply
      • Oh, and Lorrie, during the winter months we keep the spa turned down to 80 degrees during the week. Then I turn it up on Friday around noon to whatever temperature we want it at and it’s ready to go by noon the next day. The rule of thumb is it heats up at a rate of about 2 degrees per hour.

        Reply
        • Lorrie

           /  March 27, 2014

          Thank you Kurt-so much. You were really, thorough and helpful.!!! I think we are going to get the swim spa. We are looking at the unit that is divided so one end is hot tub that allows you to keep temperature up to 104 and then the swim/spa part that can be a different temperature. Next phase is to decide which model and how to design our yard around it. My husband is a DIY’er and will do most of the work except the electrical. We are hoping to have a bit of a tropical paradise outside, especially after this winter. 🙂
          Send more pix of your spa. I love it.!!

          Reply
          • Good for you, Lorrie! Here’s a bit more info for you – the best spa place in our area is just over the border in New Hampshire, called Crocker Sales. There is a link to their site in my original post. There you will not only find THE best selection of spas, but you will also find the most helpful, knowledgeable people to assist you. You’ll walk in the door with a million questions like we did, and they will answer them all using plain language! They also handle the coordination of getting the cement pad poured and have an excellent person they can refer you to who is pretty close to where you live who can do the electrical. And the guys who deliver and setup your spa are very friendly – we had a lot of fun with them when they came out to deliver ours!

            We put a four foot wide stone walkway around our spa (I HATED moving the stones from the driveway all the way to the back yard) and we put a ton of potted annuals around it every summer. It really has become the centerpiece of our back yard. We live on a very scenic river, and it makes watching our wildlife so much more enjoyable. And there’s nothing better than doing some yard work on a Saturday afternoon and then jumping in and turning the jets on. Instant relaxation! It’s even better after clearing snow. Enjoy your spa! PS – if you go to Crocker Sales, ask for Mike Peters, the Sales Manager. The guy knows really his stuff.

            Reply
  2. I therefore conclude that a swim spa can be the best option. It relaxes you, it’s cheaper and gives you a small amount of money and time on maintenance.

    Reply
    • Margaret,

      We’ve owned our swim spa for nearly three years now and we still love it! We still use it year ’round and we make sure we spend time in it every weekend during the winter and most days during the summer. I believe when I wrote that post I failed to mention the inevitable rise in your electric bill. Our electric bill jumped from an average of around $80 per month to around $180 per month, higher in the winter. We live in the northeast so winter temps can be brutal. What I recommend is to keep the water temperature turned down when you know you won’t be using the spa, then turn it up at least 18 hours before using. So in the winter, we keep it turned down to 85 degrees during the week, and since we know we will use it on Saturday and Sunday, I turn the water temperature up to 103 degrees late on Friday. A key is to not have the water temperature too high depending on the outdoor temperature. For example, if it’s 50 degrees outside, you’ll sweat a lot if your water temperature is 103 degrees. Our rule of thumb is if it’s below freezing, we set it at 103. If the outside temperature is 40-45, we set the temperature at 101, and for each rise of five degrees outside, we drop the spa water temp two degrees. In the summer we keep the heat turned all the way down (80 degrees) and we find the sun warms the spa too much during the summer, so every few weeks we drain half of the water out and refill with cold water and that keeps the water temp refreshing during the summer months.

      Reply
  3. Matthew Reynolds

     /  June 14, 2012

    Thanks for this. I am currently agonizing over these and annoying my whole family with the obsession. You’ve probably pushed over the line.

    Reply
    • KDawg

       /  June 15, 2012

      Hi Matthew,

      Glad I could help with your obsession. My wife and I still use our swim spa at least every Saturday and Sunday year round, more during the summer months. Every time we are in it we look at each other and we say, “This is still the best investment we’ve ever made.” Best move we ever made. One thing I failed to mention in my blog post – make sure you can handle the increase in your electric bill. Our bill has doubled…it costs us about $150 extra each month in electricity. However, to us it’s well worth that added expense.

      Go out and get a swim spa! You’ll certainly be glad you did! And…thanks for reading!

      Reply
  4. KDawg

     /  April 5, 2012

    Henry,

    Thanks for stopping by! One of the other great things about swim spas over pools is they are so easy to maintain and treat. Really low usage of chemicals and the filters need to be replaced once per year. Simple!

    Reply
  5. These spas look great. they are better than owning a swimming pool..

    Reply

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