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Thread: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

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    Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Primarily this is for spa use and I'm really confused. Planning on building a pool in the next 6 mos and I'm trying to decide what's the smart play here with my situation.

    So a pool/spa combo, yes I really want the spa, but my only choice is propane or electric HP. I've researched the heck out of this and it looks like a HP is marginal for spa heating however I only have propane as another option. How much I'd use the spa is questionable but given I'm in a milder climate (Atlanta burbs,) I don't have much cold weather to worry about. My wife and I like the idea on a cooler spring/fall night heading out to a spa for an hour or so to relax but I'm fearful that heating a spa would be nearly cost-prohibitive or not very convienant. Two PB's I've talked to suggested either forgoing a spa all together or putting in a HP for heat. First question, would this be practice? Second question, if I went LP what's the realistic use of heating a spa 'on demand' vs the costs? While we have fairly reasonable LP costs it's still there in the 'winter.'

    Ibe heard suggestions to do a stand-alone spa on my deck that uses electricity and is self-contained but it doesn't have the 'look' as a built-in spa has.

    Thougt of those that have been in this situation?

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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    For a spa, a gas heater, propane or natural, is recommended. Atlanta does get some cool weather and when that happens a heat pump won't be able to efficiently heat your spa or a pool for that matter. When heating just the spa you really won't use too much propane as a typical spa usually heats to temp well within a 30 minute time frame depending on your heater BTU size. A heat pump would take well over an hour in cooler temps.

    If you are more concerned about heating the spa, get the propane heater. And buy a Raypak/Rheem!
    Paul
    http://www.gastekservices.com A word of caution: When working with gas and electrical you might want to consider a licensed contractor. Consider the value of your life and others around you. If you would like to provide a review of the help I provided, please use the following link to leave a review. gastek - Google Search,

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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Paul, thans for the information in your response; honestly that's better news than I had anticipated. I get that a gas heater is faster to heat, cheaper to buy, etc but with propane costs being what it is honestly I likely wouldn't kick it on very much. I've been trying to find out how much gas I could expect to use, so far about 3 gallons per hour which would add up fast.

    With a HP, I wouldn't want to be outside in a swimsuit with the temp under 50 anyway. Also the HP allows me to heat the pool early in the season; something I'd never do with propane due to costs. It is what it is....

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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Our PB advised us to purchase a stand alone hot tub. We took his advice and it saved us over $15k on the pool build and made our pool plumbing much simpler. We bought a 7x7 Hot Spring hot tub for about 5k and installed it on a covered patio. It is covered so good in rain/snow, always hot, always clean, more comfortable, close to the back door and was not a noticeable hit on the electric bill.

    Edit: This is the tub we bought, https://freeflowspas.com/shop-spas/monterey/
    It looks like Watkins Mfg flipped the Freeflow brand out on its own. When we bought it was one of three brands listed on the Hot Spring website. We had to convert from 110v to 220v the first winter. We like to spend a few hours in the tub some days and 110v heater couldn't keep up with 30 and lower temps.
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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    I too was going to suggest a standalone spa
    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: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Just remember, with a standalone spa there is a little bit more water maintenance to deal with. Also you should clean the entire thing at least once per year. Plus now you have extra equipment to also maintain. That's just my opinion.
    Paul
    http://www.gastekservices.com A word of caution: When working with gas and electrical you might want to consider a licensed contractor. Consider the value of your life and others around you. If you would like to provide a review of the help I provided, please use the following link to leave a review. gastek - Google Search,

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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Quote Originally Posted by ps0303 View Post
    Just remember, with a standalone spa there is a little bit more water maintenance to deal with. Also you should clean the entire thing at least once per year. Plus now you have extra equipment to also maintain. That's just my opinion.
    This is true, however having added a stand alone hot tub (with an SWG) for a couple of years now, I find that I spend about 1/5th as much time dealing with it as I do dealing with the pool in some fashion, maybe more like 1/10th.

    Ike
    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: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Agreed, maintaining a covered hot tub is almost zero work.
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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Ok stand-alone spa folks, what spa models are the best? Assuming Hot Springs is still tops?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Yes, any of the Hot Spring brands are great.
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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    The brands I would consider are Hot Spring, Jacuzzi, Dimension One and Bullfrog, of those Bullfrog is unique in the fact they have modular interchaneable backpacks which all a great deal of customization now and later. If looking to save money you might consider used / refurbished hot tubs, you can save 50% or more going this route, just stick with the major brands, don't buy junk, and don't buy stuff that has been sitting out in the weather. Also don't buy anything more than 15-20 years old depending on the brand and model, as hot tubs construction had a number of major improvements that showed up on the market in the very late 1990's (digital controllers, titanium coated heaters, better circulation pumps, etc.) What these models may lack are mostly bells and whistles, fewer color options, no internet enables control, sound systems, color changing lights and mood lighting, etc.

    In my case I bought a "cheap" hot tub just to try them out, it is Hot Spring Jetsetter J that likely spent its entire life indoors, I bought it for $1,200 from a guy that bought it from the original owner and kept it in storage for a number of years, of course I had to spend another $400 or so fixing it up, new circulation pump, new ozonator, new GFCI and cord, new pillow, a valve rebuild kit for the diveter, a couple of new spinner jets. Plus about 2-3 hours of my time to install them. By comparison the current version of the Jetsetter which is nearly identical (mirror image seating layout, couple of of changes to the jets, and about 5 inches longer and wider) sells for around $9,000 when you catch them on sale.

    Here is a photo or two:






    Second one has the original faded pillow.

    Stop reading now and look at the photos then proceed


    Would you believe that it is 18 years old? Built in 1998, which was the last year that Hot Springs used real redwood (very thin, but real), after 1998 they moved to fake plastic redwood, the first few of years of the fake stuff did not age well (turned orange).
    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: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    Ok thanks. Any other brands I should consider?

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    Re: Heating for a spa/pool (again)

    There are several other potentially good brands out there, but most are bit players, then there are a lot of fly by night change the name of the company every year to get away from the bad PR brands. Also avoid the Costco spa of the year which is often made by one of the big players, the problem is a low bidder issue, with just too many corners cut to reach a certain price point. On the budget end of the spectrum you find 2 distinct different types of products, you ones like the FreeFlow that pooldv owns (foremerly a Hot Spring FreeFlow, now spun off as its own brand, but still owned by the same parent company Watkins), which lower production cost by using roto-molding where the cabinet, tub and all is one big piece of roto-molded plastic vs traditional framed cabinet and vacuformed shell. Vs many of the fly by nights which tend to use cheap cabinet and vacuformed spas plus under powered pumps, lots of chrome plated plastic poorly functional jets, lower amounts of insulation, etc. One warning sign you are looking at junk is an insanely high count for number of jets 8-16 well placed powerful jets is almost always better than 150 poorly placed under powered decorative jets, also remember Hot tub seating capacity is much like tent sleeping capacity, divide the advertised number by 2. My tub is rated as a 3 person tub, in reality it is cozy for 2, which works out fine for me as I am almost always alone in it, my wife has a medical condition where she has to avoid getting over heated so she almost never uses the hot tub, (I bought it for hydrotherapy reasons, not social reason, to help with back pain). Speaking of which I think I am going to go soak in it now

    Ike

    p.s. probably my favorite of the bit players is Arctic Spa's made in Canada, they still offer high quality real wood cabinets, most are designed for much colder climates than we have, but they do offer a line of warmer climate models that are still well built.
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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