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Thread: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

  1. #1
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    spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Installation on our pool begins in a couple of weeks and I have been agonizing over whether or not to opt for the spill-over spa. I must have changed my mind at least 3 times now. If money was no object it would be a no-brainer, but like most, we are on a budget and are trying to decide if its really worth over-extending ourselves a bit financially. I realize its really something only we can decide, but I'd like to hear some opinions.

    We are doing a 18' x 38' rectangle (right angle corner), 8ft deep-end, inground vinyl pool and reside in Mass. Also, any suggestions as to where the spa should be placed?

    Thanks!
    Completed: June 2011
    18' X 38' IG Vinyl, 3' - 8' depth ~ 24K gallons
    2 skimmers, 2 wall suctions, 3 returns, 1.5" piping

    Hayward Equipment: 1HP Tri-star 2-speed, Aqua-Plus SWG,
    Star-Clear Plus 175 sqft cartridge filter, Colorlogic 4.0 LED

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    2011 Jacuzzi J-280 Hot tub

  2. #2
    Senior Member mas985's Avatar
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    First, welcome to the forum.

    Second, I'm not sure I understand your question. A spillover spa usually comes with a spa and pool combo. They usually share equipment and thus have the valves in place for the spillover function and comes at no extra cost. So are you asking if just a spa is worth it or something else?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Paper
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  3. #3
    Senior Member X-PertPool's Avatar
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    I think spill over spas are basically worthless as they never have as many jets as a stand alone spa and you can't use them in the winter since your pool is winterized. I think they are a waste of money, I would use that extra money for something else
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
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    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

  4. #4
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Quote Originally Posted by X-PertPool
    I think spill over spas are basically worthless as they never have as many jets as a stand alone spa and you can't use them in the winter since your pool is winterized. I think they are a waste of money, I would use that extra money for something else
    I'm going to have to agree. We've had a stand alone spa for 24 years; three different ones, last one purchased in 2002, our favorite. The first one came with the house, was pretty old, so we replaced it pretty quickly. Our spa is always ready to use year round, cost very little to heat and circulate water 24/7, and it has two separate 5 hp pumps for very strong jet action. You have to hang on when you turn on the venturi action or the jets can blow you off the seat. Without the venturi some of the jets will move you out of your seat. That is real massaging action.

    Even with pretty mild winters, our pool water gets into the 40's. It's typically open year round but not even the dogs swim in it when it's that cold. It would take a huge amount of money to heat that water for an attached spa and would take forever. Forget about "that moment". You have to plan ahead and wait.

    Some winter days the only thing that keeps us from using the spa is the frigid, high winds. It's not too bad going out there (and it's only about 20 ft from back door); its the getting out part that is painful.

    Most of the people I know don't use their attached spas because it take too long to heat, it cost too much to heat, the jets are puny compared to a real spa. Basically most are warmed up soak pits instead of therapy spas or kiddie pools.

    If you want some water features you can do many things to add interest to your pool for much less money. I don't know how much spas cost these days but ours was ~$7 K in 2002. I'll bet we don't spend over $25 a month keeping it running and heated; that's electric heater.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  5. #5
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    In Massachusetts, they are useless. You will close the pool is october at the latest and not open until late April at the earliest. You would want a spa at times your pool is closed. Your better off if you want a spa, to get a stand alone unit. My opinion of course.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  6. #6
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    I was going to add in my previous post that if we had more severe winters we would have considered the little "cabin" that can be closed somewhat in bad weather or opened quite a bit in warm weather. The two main reasons we didn't get it is that it would have blocked the view of our woods and bird feeders too much (no neighbors close enough to see us and lots of woods for privacy) and it would have meant a roof. We like looking at the sky, especially at night.

    My sister and her DH, who live in north central Kentucky, have their spa in a small room, well ventilated, off of their Florida room. They can open lots of windows in summer to allow a lot of air circulation. I'm not sure how they handle the regular humidity, in cold weather, but I've never heard them mention any issues.

    There's a big difference exiting the pool with calm winds vs high winds. When the air temps are in the low 20's even, if the wind is gentle to still exiting the spa is not painful. But when you add the high winds (our usual) 20 F can easily become chill factor down in the single digits or lower. We don't use the spa in those conditions.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  7. #7
    Senior Member mas985's Avatar
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    I have had both a stand alone and an inground spill over spa. I would agree that the stand alone probably has much better performance than the inground spa but there are advantages to an inground as well.

    First, the asthetics of inground, in my opinion can't be beat. With the spillover running and the lights on, it really adds to the look of the pool. Second, the sharing of water is certainly a plus because you can easily replace the water in the spa. I replaced the water in my stand alone quite frequently due to high TDS and foaming problems but the kids, then really young, used the spa a lot which had a big impact.

    Also, I found the stand alone spa to use much more energy than the inground but that has more to due with our electricity vs gas rates. Worst case for my inground with a 30 degree rise (most of the time it needs only half that), it takes about 30 min to heat up at a cost of about $3. 15-30 min warm up is really not that bad but if you do go with an inground, get the largest heater possible to keep warm up times low. Because our stand alone used electricity and the rates here are out of sight, it was really expensive to keep warm all the time and it took too long to warm up on demand so energy rates are a consideration.

    They now make fiberglass spa inground inserts which allow you to have the best of both worlds. A high performance spa and spillover/shared water so that is another option.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Paper
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  8. #8
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Thats a good breakdown.

    But, mx702 is in massachusetts. He wouldnt get to use the spillover spa for about 7 months out of the year. Once the pool is closed, no more spa.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mas985's Avatar
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    I agree, that is certainly a consideration but even here where we could spa all year around, we generally don't Dec-Mar during the rainy season. However, if the OP likes to spa in the dead of winter, I would say go for the stand alone.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Paper
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    Thats a good breakdown.

    But, mx702 is in massachusetts. He wouldnt get to use the spillover spa for about 7 months out of the year. Once the pool is closed, no more spa.
    I thought you could turn off the spill-over and use the spa in spa-only mode during the winter.

  11. #11
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    The spill over shares equipment, valves, etc. Up here, by Columbus day, all that is shut down, lines blown out, and put to bed until late April. So from mid October to mid April, no spa.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  12. #12
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    I thought it was all a matter of the right combination of proper valving and pumps to be allow the use of the spa while the pool is closed.

  13. #13
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    If the even the filter is shared, it would have to be shut down, making the spa inoperable. Where it gets as cold as it does here, the ENTIRE system is shut down, filter and all.

    I suppose you could plumb everything for dual use and have it in spill over mode when the pool is open, but if you wanted to use it after the pool is closed, you would need a separate pump, filter, valves, really the equivalent of a stand alone spa for it to be used after the pool is shut down. The cost would be very expensive and you wuld be better off getting a stand alone spa.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mas985's Avatar
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    If you had the equipment in an equipment room/hut where you can keep temps above freezing and if you had a decent cover for the spa much like a stand alone so the water would not freeze plus have the pipes below the frost line, then technically you could keep the spa open all year around. The equipment could still be shared and the pool closed off with the lines blown out but you would need to keep the valves in spa only mode or add some isolation valves to prevent water entering the pool pipes. So I think it could be done with a little forethought.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Paper
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  15. #15
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Maybe, but to go to that expense, just get a stand alone. BTW, frost line here is almost 3 feet. Water pipes have to be buried 5 feet by code.

    To put the equipment in a heated shed, the pipes would have to be 3 feet deep going into the shed, then straight up. The cost to do it would be prohibitive. You dont see many spill over spas up here.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  16. #16
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    Maybe, but to go to that expense, just get a stand alone. BTW, frost line here is almost 3 feet. Water pipes have to be buried 5 feet by code.

    To put the equipment in a heated shed, the pipes would have to be 3 feet deep going into the shed, then straight up. The cost to do it would be prohibitive. You dont see many spill over spas up here.
    WOW 5' deep pipes. I guess it's easier for people in this part of the country where the ground doesn't freeze that deep. Personally I love the looks of a nice spill-over spa, but there's no comparison to a stand-alone when it comes to comfort and jet action. I plan to install a wall with water feature spilling into the pool in front of my stand alone spa so I can have the best of both worlds.

  17. #17
    Junior Member angelagus's Avatar
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    They now make fiberglass spa inground inserts which allow you to have the best of both worlds. A high performance spa and spillover/shared water so that is another option.
    Can anyone point me to some manufacturers of fiberglass spa inground inserts? We are considering this as an option for the pool design we are currently working on.

    Thanks,
    Angela

  18. #18
    Senior Member mas985's Avatar
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    Re: spill-over spa: to do or not to do

    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Paper
    18'x36' 20k gallon plaster/gunite pool, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge Filter, 450 sq-ft EPDM Solar Panel, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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