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Thread: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

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    Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    I hate to join a forum and then post with an urgent title, but I'm in a little bit of a pickle. My wife and I are having our pool installed and have zero pool experience. Our original plan was to get a 18 x 36 vinyl pool (Gemini model listed here:https://lathampool.com/literature/Pacific_Steel.pdf) installed with a fiberglass tanning ledge with two water spillovers (the large Picasso shown here Tanning Ledges - Pacific Pools | In Ground Pools) that sits just above the pool. Due to a mixup with the manufacturer or the pool installer, the tanning ledge we were planning to have installed will not fit on our pool which is already dug and the walls are already cemented and back filled. Because this issue cannot be fixed we now have to create a vinyl tanning ledge that will take up a portion of our pool (about an 8 foot radius). I am not thrilled about this because it takes up swim space. Because the manufacture messed up we are going to get the in pool vinyl swim ledge installed at a discounted price.

    Another option that was thrown out by our swim company was to install a spa, since we were so furious that we were not able to get what we originally were quoted we wanted to have the vinyl tanning ledge installed in the pool and and receive a spillover spa. The model is the scalloped spillover spa shown here:Spas - Pacific Pools | In Ground Pools

    Our pool contractor just got back to us and said the best he could do was to install the vinyl tanning ledge in the pool and to give us the spa for an additional $1500 than what we originally were planning to pay, however that does not include the masonry work that would need to go around it. I like the spa because it adds some functional space and a waterfall effect, but I do not like the fact that I have to pay extra for it and I'm not sure how much I would use it. He also told us that the spa temperature can only get 10 to 15° warmer than the pool water.

    I think installing the spa would be more money out of our contractors pocket, because his company would also have to dig out the 2 feet of cement footing that was poured for the original fiberglass tanning ledge. Because of this he seems to be trying to talk us out of this idea of getting the spa. Says they require additional maintenance when winterizing the spa, he doesn't get very warm, if we ever had to fix anything we would have to tear out the concrete etc.

    For what it is worth it looks like we have a Hayward summit heat pump and the Hayward super pump.

    We live in Michigan and I'm guessing the pool will be open from May until September – October.

    We are definitely getting the vinyl tanning ledge because my wife really wants it. The other option we could do is to forgo the spa, save the money and he will throw in some waterfall a effects for free.

    The contractor was an answer ASAP so he can get to work. Any advice or feedback would certainly be appreciated. Thank you very much!!!!!
    James

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Welcome to TFP!

    For what it's worth, don't worry about the "urgent" subject. We get that all the time, usually for green pools and only a day or two until a party.

    Where you are located, I doubt you would use the spa much. I'll say this about it -- A pool connected "splash-over" spa is a different animal from a stand-alone spa. Stand-alone can be problematic to maintain, but pool connected since they use the same pump and water as the pool are as trouble free as your pool should be. I don't see the issue on winterizing, as it is part of your pool.

    Once you make your decision about the spa, you might want to take the time to read through our Pool School, to familiarize yourself with the best method of pool care available.

    Strongly suggested would be for you to purchase the TF-100 or Taylor K-2006 test kit before your pool is filled, and familiarize yourself with the testing procedures.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    For what it is worth, I agree with Charlie. I live in SoCal and rarely use my attached spa. My family talked me into it and I built my own pool! Go with what you really want, and don't be talked into something you're really not sure of.

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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    My take: If you think you'd use it, $1500 seems like a very good price for a spa. If you don't think you would use it, then it would be money wasted.
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
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    mitch08's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Having had a pool for my entire life without a spill over spa, and then getting a spa over the last 5 years, I can say from experiencing both sides that I would never give it up.

    It looks awesome. Its super easy to maintain. Guests love them. Kids love them (Obviously keep the heat lower in that case)... I use mine many times a week. Especially at night. Going back and forth between the spa and the pool is maybe the greatest thing on this planet to me

    That being said, its not the same as a stand alone. The jets are nowhere near the same strength and number. It opens and closes with the pool... Things like that.

    Im not sure why they are telling you it can only get 10-15 degrees warmer than the pool. My pool can be 80 and I have no trouble with a very under powered heater getting my spa to 104 if I want it there. Any hotter than that and you will cook like a lobster.

    Obviously you will have to weigh the expense against all the benefits. But my recommendation would be to put it in
    18x38 Inground Liner (25k gal) Paver surround, multi-speed pump, DE Filter, Raised spill over spa, TF-100

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    I agree with @mitch08 (and not because I grew up in Suffolk County, LI too ), I love my attached spa, but.... I live in Arizona and I can use mine all year round. I'm not sure in Michigan that an attached spa makes sense. I could certainly see having a swimming pool and a stand-alone spa/hot tub (closer to the house), but not one attached to the pool. Also, I don't know heat pumps that well, but I'm not sure they are the best choice for spas. I have a natural gas heater for my spa and I can get it up to 104F in under 30mins. I don't think a heat pump can do that but you'd have to get advice from those that have them.

    SO my vote is, ditch the attached spa, save the money and buy yourself a good quality hot tub that you can run all year round.
    Matt
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Oh yeah another Suffolker. I guess you escaped

    I think if a pool makes sense in Michigan then an attached spa makes sense also. Besides, because of my spa, I keep my pool open from April to Nov. One year I actually closed it mid December. But that's extreme.

    Even if you only go May to Sept that's still 5 months of bliss that you won't get without it
    Detached spas are awesome as far as the jets, size, etc. But they arent nearly as nice, much harder to maintain, and most people I know who have them dont use them in the winter either. They close them up...
    Also the price is insanely higher for a high quality one...

    Anyway, just different opinions. But if you dont get it, Im never coming over for a bbq
    18x38 Inground Liner (25k gal) Paver surround, multi-speed pump, DE Filter, Raised spill over spa, TF-100

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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Thank you so much for all of your input. I really appreciate it!!! We have spent the last two hours driving around looking at concrete options for the pool. Like I said, we are complete newbies I have no idea if a heat pump would be able to get our spa to that heat, our pool guy is saying no but like I said, I think he is trying to convince us not to get it because it will cost him money. If my heatpump could get that spot up to temperature, I will be sold. Thank you so much for the advice, I know I will be spending the rest of my night researching it.

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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Hmm. I dont have a lot of experience with heat pumps. But if its going to heat a gigantic pool, I cant imagine it will have a big problem with 500 or so gallons. So unless your spa is going to be gigantic or your heat pump is going to be small, I dont see a major issue.

    Figure (this could be a bit off but I believe its close) for every 100,000 BTU's of heat, you will get about an 18 degree temperature rise for every 500 gallons in the spa per hour.

    So assuming your heat pump is 100k btu (yours may very well be larger) if you keep your pools temp around 80... You can get to 100 in about an hour. So sure, you wont be able to run outside, turn it on, and jump in. But you cheat. At some point turn it on and heat it up... then turn your pool back on. That water will stay relatively hot / warm for quite some time. A few hours later you should be able to turn it back on and get it to temp quickly when you are ready to use it

    Good luck either way!
    18x38 Inground Liner (25k gal) Paver surround, multi-speed pump, DE Filter, Raised spill over spa, TF-100

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    Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Have you considered a spillover spa on a separate pump? Our PB is doing this for us here in Toronto and it will be winterized so we can use it year round. My understanding of winterized means a separate pump system, additional insulation installed before the gunite, and an insulated cover. We will reduce the water level to stop the spillover in the winter.

    It also means shovelling a path in the snow from our patio doors to the spa.

    We are 2 or 3 weeks away from swimming so I can't promise how well this is going to work, but we are hopeful!
    17K, IG, Gunite, 16x30 Rectangular, Beadcrete Water Blue, Hayward C4030 cartridge filter, 2 Hayward SP3400 VSP Variable Speed Pumps, Hayward T-Cell 15 Salt System, OmniLogic Automation, PCC 2000 Infloor cleaner, Coverstar auto cover, 3 deck jets, 3 Savi Melody LED lights, flagstone deck and coping, attached raised winterized spa, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir, build completed 09/10/15.

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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Now for a different point of view;

    Personally I much prefer having a stand alone spa over a built in spill over spa, for one thing the typical built in spill over spa is vastly inferior to the jet action one gets in a modern stand alone, also stand alone spa's can be much easier from the maintenance and replacement point of view. Sure it is two separate water systems to maintain, but that really is not all that much trouble.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    mitch08's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    I definitely agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to both. I think they are both great and love the high powered, tons of jets stand alone spas.

    But from what I can tell this isnt really a matter of which the op should get. Its not one or the other.
    It seems like spill over or not So in that case I would argue 100% go for it
    18x38 Inground Liner (25k gal) Paver surround, multi-speed pump, DE Filter, Raised spill over spa, TF-100

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    Mark R's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    I love my spillover, same water, same pump, same heater. Easy peasy


    12k gal Gunite/Hayward filter C5520BH with quad 33 inch filters. 2.5 hp motor. Pool is on south side, so full sun light. Spill over spa.
    Laar's heater LT250-Low NOx Gas Fired for pool/spa 250,000 BTU. Roof mount 6 panel solar system installed east/south. TF-100 test kit. May-September 100+ degrees out side.

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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    So..... What did you decide??
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    Thank you everyone for their advice! As of last night the pool builder and ourselves came up with a compromise. We are going to go ahead and install the spillover spa. A standalone spa was never really an option for us. Thank you for the quick advice, I'm sure as a new poll owner I will have many questions in the years to come!.

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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    So I am back again… Our spa has not been installed as of yet. Apparently, we have the option of allowing the spa to be standalone spa, meaning having its own filter and I'm guessing heat pump, keep in mind that I'm a complete newbie, and I also am getting this information secondhand from my wife. The "new" spa will still be a spillover spa.

    We have the option of staying with the original plan and keeping the spa as a spillover that will only get 10 to 15° hotter than the pools temperature or now getting a spillover spa with its own heat pump which I'm guessing will allow it to run hotter.

    This however mew option will cost us $1000 more. Which at this point is not chump change. Any advice? Technically we could use it maybe during the winter, although I don't think we ever would.

    Thanks'

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    You would be surprised how nice it can be to sit in a 104 degree spa when it is freezing all around you.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    You want a natural gas heater not a heat pump for a spa.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    We have a spill over spa and it is the same temp as the pool when not in use. When we want to use the spa the valves isolate the main pool and the filter and heater are directed to the spa only. We also have a dedicated pump for the spa jets. In the Midwest we close our pool the first week of October and keep the spa going until the first week of December when we winterize it. You need to keep all the pumps running when the temp drops below freezing to prevent the pipes freezing. That's why we close it down in December.
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
    Filter dual cartridge Sta-rite 450sq/ft, TF-100 Test Kit
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    Re: Urgent: Are spill over spas worth it? Should I consider one?

    What I am not understanding is that why in a closed loop spa situation would the temperature of the pool matter? So once you switch the valves over from pool to spa operation it would be like you having a detached spa at that point. Your spa starts at pool temperature and slowly the spa water temp comes up to whatever temp you set the thermostat at(mine has a max set at 104 also) becuase the water is in closed loop (recycling). So then the only issue would be time to temp as the higher the BTU heater you have would make this process shorter. Oh wait... By spill over spa, do you mean you want your spa to spill over to your pool when you have your spa on too? If so then the water source will be the pool and I guess this may be what your builder is referring to as you would be drawing pool water, heating it for the spa then the spa would then spill over into your pool.
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