Swim Spa 101
Although they were almost unheard of just a few years ago, swim spas have exploded in popularity in recent years, becoming some of the best selling pools in Canada. But what are swim spas anyway, and how do they differ from a regular pool?
What Are Swim Spas?
A swim spa is a small pool that is made out of a molded acrylic shell. They are insulated similarly to a hot tub and are designed to be used year round; even during the long, cold Canadian winters. Originally designed as the perfect fitness pool, most swim spas also include large jets that generate a current for people to swim against.
Are Swim Spas Heated?
Yes, all swim spas are equipped with electric heaters. This allows you to maintain a comfortable swimming temperature, no matter how cold it is outside! If you prefer to use your swim spa for relaxation and hydrotherapy, you can set the temperature as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit to loosen tense muscles and promote better circulation.
How Much Do Swim Spas Cost?
Swim spa prices can vary quite a bit depending on their size and build quality. Most are priced between $20,000 and $35,000; comfortably between the price of an in-ground pool and an above-ground pool.
Not only are the purchase costs of swim spas cheaper than in-ground pools, they’re also much cheaper to maintain. Trying to extend a standard pool’s swimming season into November or December can easily cost an additional $500 per month in heating alone. The insulation and small size of most swim spas allow them to run at a fraction of that price, no matter what it’s like outside.
Even in the warm summer months, swim spas are still much less expensive to operate. Since in-ground and above ground pools are so much larger than swim spas, they require more chemicals to keep the water clear and much larger pumps and heaters to run properly. These larger pumps and heaters come with equally high running costs. In fact, a standard single speed pool pump will generally cost between $2-3 per day to run. Standard swim spa pumps, on the other hand, run at a cost of around $1 per day with some ultra efficient systems, like those found in Hydropool Swim Spas, costing as little as $0.33 per day!
Why Have Swim Spas Become So Popular?
With backyards seemingly getting smaller and smaller every year, not everyone can fit a traditional pool in their backyard. The more compact size of swim spas mean that they can fit in yards that other pools can’t.
The unique construction of swim spas mean that they can also be installed above ground, in ground or anywhere in between. This allows them to fit in nicely with any backyard design.
Longer Swimming Season
A big reason why more and more people are buying swim spas is the short swimming season in Canada. Unless they are willing to spend a fortune to heat their pool, most pool owners in Ontario can’t get more than 3-4 months of swimming. Since swim spas are both heated and insulated they can be run year round, without costing you an arm and a leg. In fact, most swim spa owners are swimming 6-9 months of the year, with some using them year round!
Not all swim spas are created equally however and some handle the cold weather better than others. If you’re planning on using your swim spa in the winter, you’ll want to take a good look at each swim spa’s insulation system.
Most swim spas use a thin layer of spray foam to insulate the shell of the swim spa. While this does help to keep heat in the water, this insulation system leaves the pumps, electronics and some plumbing exposed to the cold winter air. In the event of a power failure these components are liable to freeze, potentially causing quite a bit of damage that isn’t covered by a standard warranty.
Some swim spas – like Hydropool’s Self-Cleaning Swim Spas – prevent this potential problem by adding an additional layer of insulation around the cabinet of the swim spa. This added insulation keeps the air in the cabinet of the swim spa warm; protecting the plumbing, pumps and electronics of the swim spa while also increasing its energy efficiency.
People today have less and less free time available to them. Nobody wants to spend what little free time they have brushing, vacuuming and skimming a pool. Fortunately, due to their compact size, swim spas require a fraction of the maintenance of a standard pool.
Some – like Self-Cleaning Hydropool Swim Spas – are designed to be virtually maintenance free. They do this by adding floor vacuums and pressurized filtration to greatly increase the efficiency of the filtration system, and further reduce the amount of maintenance needed to keep the water clean and clear. In fact, Hydropool swim spas will generally only need 5-10 minutes of maintenance per week!
Another reason why a lot of people are buying swim spas is for fitness. In many ways, swim spas are the perfect fitness pool. They allow people to swim against a current that can be adjusted to their needs, and many also include specialty aqua fitness packages. Although sometimes written off as a workout for the elderly, aqua fitness is an amazing workout routine for people of all ages. It is very low impact and when done properly can give you an incredible full body workout.
If you’re looking to use your swim spa for fitness, pay close attention to the swim current system as many swim spas suffer from at least one of two potential problems;
- Speed. Many swim spa currents are underpowered. Others lose a lot of the power they create due to inefficient plumbing design.
- Turbulence. Most swim spas rely on round jets to power their swim current. When combined, the various jet streams interact with each other negatively, causing turbulence that makes it hard to stay in the proper swimming position.
Fortunately, there are some swim spas that can deliver a truly great swimming experience. Hydropool’s new V-Twin swim current system is the next generation of jetted swim spa currents.
AquaTrainer swim spas use special V-Twin jets to power their swim. These jets spread the current evenly over a wide area and include special fins that break up the rotational turbulence caused by the jet pumps. Together these create a smooth, powerful and turbulence-free swim current.
With all of the amazing features that switch spas offer, it’s no wonder that they have exploded in popularity over the last few years. Whether you’re looking to save money, extend your swimming season, get in shape, reduce your weekly pool maintenance, or simply relax; a swim spa might be what you’re looking for! Learn more about our Canadian made swim spas here.
Aquacade Pools and Spas Ltd. Is pleased to offer our many years of personalized pool construction experience to the community of Sudbury, Ontario. We have customized programs to fill your specific needs. We take pride in offering our customers personal and direct service during the construction of their backyard dream from contract to completion.
The ownership and staff always value a strict work ethic with customer satisfaction as a top priority for forty years. This dedication to excellence shows in every project.
Whether Exquisite or Simple… we look forward to fulfilling our customers backyard vision.