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Thread: Hot tub vs. inground spa

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    Hot tub vs. inground spa

    I'm a newbie to pools and spas,
    But is an inground spa better than an above ground hot tub? I'm having a pool put in this fall, I hope! And I haven't decided to let them put in a spa, or going seperate with a above ground hot tub. Of course, I would make that back yard flow together with the two seperate items. But, sometimes I think the inground spas are not profecient as of a hot tub. Thanks, John
    14,000 gallon IG DiamondBrite pool with 2 ea. waterfalls and slide, Hayward Tristar 2.0 HP 2-speed pump, Hayward 3/4 HP waterfeature booster pump, Hayward 48sf DE filter, Hayward PS4 wireless controller, 1 skimmer and 4 returns, Polaris 280 pressure cleaner w/booster pump, 7 x 7 spa w/6 jets, TF-100 Test Kit w/speed stir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Random thoughts:

    Hot tubs tend to have more jets and comfortable seats than attached spas. They can also be kept up to temp easier than a spa.

    Attached spas use the same water as the pool so you have only 1 body of water to worry about maintaining.

    Attached spas may attract more dirt as they are left uncovered and most cleaners will not work in a spa.
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    When we were looking for houses we would not look at homes without a pool/spa combo. We saw one house with a pool and separate hot tub, but it was so awkward we walked right out. Not sure on the maintenance aspect as we get very little debris in the pool/spa so maintenance is very easy for us. Just something to consider.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Caring for separate pool and tub is slightly more than twice as much work. But for combined systems you need to wait for it to heat up, and do a little more cleaning.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Mine is attached. I'm glad it's not separate, but I do wish it was a bit higher than the pool.

    Because of the climate here in SoCal, I have to maintain pool chemistry year-round, so only having one body of water to deal with makes it easier.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    ok, it seems like everyone is liking the inground spa with pool as one package, because ease of maint. and being awkward looking. So if I get them to build a spa, its going to be a little higher. BUT, should it be seperate so the water isn't flowing into the pool? Thanks, John
    14,000 gallon IG DiamondBrite pool with 2 ea. waterfalls and slide, Hayward Tristar 2.0 HP 2-speed pump, Hayward 3/4 HP waterfeature booster pump, Hayward 48sf DE filter, Hayward PS4 wireless controller, 1 skimmer and 4 returns, Polaris 280 pressure cleaner w/booster pump, 7 x 7 spa w/6 jets, TF-100 Test Kit w/speed stir

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH
    ok, it seems like everyone is liking the inground spa with pool as one package, because ease of maint. and being awkward looking. So if I get them to build a spa, its going to be a little higher. BUT, should it be seperate so the water isn't flowing into the pool? Thanks, John
    That's what valves are for! I have, I'm guessing, about 20% of my return go to the spa where it then spills out into the pool. That keeps the spa water circulating and clean. If the pool is balanced, the spa water is too. All you need to do is put a check valve in the line so it doesn't drain down into the pool when the pump is off.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH
    ok, it seems like everyone is liking the inground spa with pool as one package, because ease of maint. and being awkward looking. So if I get them to build a spa, its going to be a little higher. BUT, should it be seperate so the water isn't flowing into the pool? Thanks, John
    That's what valves are for! I have, I'm guessing, about 20% of my return go to the spa where it then spills out into the pool. That keeps the spa water circulating and clean. If the pool is balanced, the spa water is too. All you need to do is put a check valve in the line so it doesn't drain down into the pool when the pump is off.
    Richard, so when the spa is in use, the spa is not flowing in the pool? The valve would make sense, you don't want to heat up pool while trying to the spa up to temp. Thanks
    14,000 gallon IG DiamondBrite pool with 2 ea. waterfalls and slide, Hayward Tristar 2.0 HP 2-speed pump, Hayward 3/4 HP waterfeature booster pump, Hayward 48sf DE filter, Hayward PS4 wireless controller, 1 skimmer and 4 returns, Polaris 280 pressure cleaner w/booster pump, 7 x 7 spa w/6 jets, TF-100 Test Kit w/speed stir

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH
    Richard, so when the spa is in use, the spa is not flowing in the pool? The valve would make sense, you don't want to heat up pool while trying to the spa up to temp. Thanks
    I turn the valves so it's spa in, spa out when I just want to use the spa. Actually, I usually go spa in, pool out and draw the water level down about 6" first - less water to heat, and it will just spill over when we get in and displace it, and then direct everything to and from the spa then fire up the heater.

    Normally it's pool in, 20% spa, 80% pool, out.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH
    ok, it seems like everyone is liking the inground spa with pool as one package, because ease of maint. and being awkward looking. So if I get them to build a spa, its going to be a little higher. BUT, should it be seperate so the water isn't flowing into the pool? Thanks, John
    Mine (hot tub) is seperate because i like to use it during winter while the pool is closed.
    23k Vinyl, Sand Filter tr60, 1hp Whisperflo pump,Coverstar autocover
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Its definitely a matter of personal preference.
    Attached spas (I have one) are normally not nearly as therapeutic or comfortable as an above ground spa.
    When I look at above ground spas these days, I am amazed. They are super comfy, have a million jets, etc.

    On the other side, attached spillover spas are much more aesthetically appealing (In my opinion)...

    You can match the pool surround to it, or do real nice tile work, etc... Definitely have it raised up a bit from the pool.
    Mine is about 8" higher than the pool. It creates a nice waterfall and lets you look in at the pool which is pretty cool.

    Its so easy to maintain a spillover. As long as your pool water is well maintained, your spa is well maintained
    Just get yourself a little battery operated vacuum... First turn the spillover on, and push all big dirt into the pool for your main vacuum to get. Then get the small stuff with the hand held.

    Do a google image search for spillover spas and take a look at the different options and the way they look. I recommend this route because of how they make every yard into basically a resort, and are extremely easy to maintain.

    I never have a problem holding temp. Usually 104 at night. But it does take about 1 degree per minute to heat up.

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

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    We opted out of an attached inground/built in spa for several reasons...

    1) I want to use the hot tub year round, but don't necessarily want to maintain the pool water year round (although I may this is my first pool season).

    2) I wanted an automatic cover to cover everything due to kids and pets and liability and evaporation and chemical loss etc. etc. A built in could be designed to work with auto cover but you can go back to reason 1 as to why we didn't do it.

    3) Cost of built in vs. stand alone
    4) Comfort of stand alone vs. built in.


    I do agree they look a lot nicer when everything is uncovered and in-use.

    Here is a pic (excuse the muddy dog tracks they're all gone now) and on my upcoming vacation i'll be finishing the landscaping etc...we poured an extra area off the pool deck for this hot tub (already had it for 7 years) and any future one we get so that it doesn't infringe on the deck around the pool

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Several people indicated they had a spa because they wanted to use it during the winter. I have a spa/pool combination that runs on the same pump and I winterize my pool in the winter and keep my hot tub running all winter. Just so you know, that is possible with the proper valving.
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Quote Originally Posted by XsAllOverIt
    Several people indicated they had a spa because they wanted to use it during the winter. I have a spa/pool combination that runs on the same pump and I winterize my pool in the winter and keep my hot tub running all winter. Just so you know, that is possible with the proper valving.

    I assume in that case you must run your pump/filter 24/7 in the winter. If you let it sit for any significant amount of time it is going to freeze up.

    How were you able to find an insulated cover for your spa section? Did you build it to match a stock cover.

    Down the road (far down the road) I would love to go to an IG pool with a spill over spa, but I want to use the spa all year long. The other consideration is I would like the spa sort of close to the house for those winter trips through the snow, but thats more of a design challenge.


    -dave
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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    We are in the bid stage of our pool adventure and already own a Jacuzzi hot tub. We have MANY friends who have spa/pool combos and hardly ever use the spa. We use our hot tub fairly regularly. I don't know what I am doing right/wrong by I hardly ever have to do anything to the water in my spa. It did come with an ozonator. Not sure if that helps it.

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Quote Originally Posted by phonedave

    I assume in that case you must run your pump/filter 24/7 in the winter. If you let it sit for any significant amount of time it is going to freeze up.

    How were you able to find an insulated cover for your spa section? Did you build it to match a stock cover.

    Down the road (far down the road) I would love to go to an IG pool with a spill over spa, but I want to use the spa all year long. The other consideration is I would like the spa sort of close to the house for those winter trips through the snow, but thats more of a design challenge.


    -dave

    When it's below freezing you would have to run your pump full-time. I run my pump full-time all through the year. I've bought a timer to eliminate some of the run-time, but haven't yet installed it. It is best to run it full-time during the winter to keep the temperature at 70 degrees full-time. When I use the hot tub, I heat it to 98-100 in about 20 minutes. I use about $30/month in natural gas to do that here in MD.

    My hot tub was an 8' circle and have a standard cover which is about 3.5" thick that goes over it. The PB provided the cover, but it's easy enough to special order an 8' circular cover.

    My hot tub is spill-over to the pool (but not during the winter). It is approximately 35' from the entrance to our house, so many run in and out quickly. I go heat it up 20 minutes early with full-clothing. When I go to enter, simply walk slow, get cold and quickly warm up. Afterwards, I'm hot enough it's no issue with bathing suit on for a couple minutes.

    Just to add another note, we're pool/hot tub people and use our hot tub throughout the year at about the rate of 1-2 times per week. It is SO NICE to hop in when you're sore from something and sit there for a good 1/2 hour sipping on a cold beverage. We also use it alot in the summer because the water tends to be a little warmer than the pool, but that's probably perception since the water is taken from the pool and goes through the hot tub back into the pool. It is a nice place to sit and soak yourself during those hot days with the water at the same temperature as the pool.
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
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  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    I have owned a Hot Springs spa since 1998. With a bromine floater, it does not require much maintenance. It is always 104F. It is about like keeping a lightbulb on, energy wise. We use it nearly every night and don't have to preheat, it's always ready. We mostly soak but it does have great jets. Because we love it so much, we are getting a pool only built (starting tomorrow!). I agree the attached spas are MUCH more aesthetically pleasing. When I by a new one, I will get the type that has a shell made for laying rock on and make it match my house.

    Just thought I'd throw a vote for the free standing spa out there!
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

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  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    Quote Originally Posted by bpricedo
    I have owned a Hot Springs spa since 1998. With a bromine floater, it does not require much maintenance. It is always 104F. It is about like keeping a lightbulb on, energy wise.
    Unless your heater and your main jet pump(s) are NEVER used, I would think you are consuming significantly more wattage than a lightbulb.

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    A Hot Springs spa is completely filled with polyurethane foam. Of course it has an insulated cover. We rarely run the jets. Keeping it at 104F is maybe $10 a month.
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

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    Re: Hot tub vs. inground spa

    I never put a meter on it to check, but my in-laws also have a fully insulated free standing spa. They keep it at temp (104 or so) all year round and use it every day.

    When not in use, they keep the insulated cover on it as well.

    They do use the jets when in it.

    They say it did not add much at all to their electric bill. $10 - $20 a month.

    That is part of my back and forth with a intergrated pool spa or a free standing. Sure the spill over spas look great, but we plan on using a spa 300+ days a year. I would like not to go broke heating it.

    -dave
    27' Round ABG (17,000 gal) - +/- 11 hours of full sun per day
    Hard plumbed Hayward Perflex EC-40 DE filter w/ 1 HP pump (Got a new one June 2015)
    Filered 4 hours per day (on a timer)
    Pentair Aqualuminator - now working - and now dead once again, this time for good.
    Zodiac Wahoo

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