Build separate or spillover spa with existing pool?


New member
Jun 13, 2021
Palm Springs, CA
Hi there! I’m renovating my new home in Palm Springs, CA, which came with an in-ground pool (gunnite) but no spa/hot tub. We’re looking to add an in-ground spa and wanted to keep it separate from the pool for aesthetic reasons (the existing pool is kind of an oblong pill shape and it would look sort of weird with an attached spa) but are running into cost issues. Quotes we’ve gotten for an attached hot tub have been around $25-30k (already higher than we anticipated!), and making it separate would tack on another $10-$12k. Questions I have:

-Is there a way to also use the existing pool equipment for a separate, non spillover in-ground spa through some kind of piping/plumbing magic?

-Would the most expensive option (separate, non-spillover with two separate sets of equipment) be able to save us some money on operating at least? For background, we live in an area that’s pretty hot year round, basically you don’t use the hot tub at all during the hottest summer months and there are a couple of months in winter when you probably wouldn’t use the pool, but 8 or so months out of the year you could feasibly use both. Separate equipment is appealing for a lot of reasons, I’m just wondering about cost of operating both sets of equipment vs. the same use, but one set of equipment.

I‘m new to pool owning and operating, so any feedback is welcome!


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
The best option is to buy a stand-alone fiberglass spa especially if you are going to actually use it a lot. That is the cheapest option by far and will get you the best and most comfortable spa.


Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
"Old" Katy, TX
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
There should be a way for the separate spa to share equipment. We have an attached spillover spa, but the various valves allow it to be operated completely separately, as we typically do in the winter when we want to heat the spa water but not heat the whole pool. That is, we can have the pool drain and skimmers or the spa drain on (as well as a mix in our case, since we have a spillover.) Similarly, the water return can be to just the spa, just the pool, or a variable combination. I can think of no reason you couldn't do the same with a standalone spa. Only caveat would be you have to be certain you have the drain settings and return settings in sync, or you might accidentally turn on the pool drain and the spa returns, essentially emptying the pool into the spa, which would then overflow--unless you had some kind of overflow drain in the spa leading back to the pool (which should also be feasible, especially if the spa is at least a little bit higher than the pool.) However, I would say it is technically feasible--and well worth considering given the cost of separate systems!

Poolgate's suggestion of a fiberglas spa is also a less costly option, although with its own drawbacks.
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Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

Have you ever been in a gunite spa?? If not, you really need to try one before you buy one.. They are not really for everyone.. If you have been in one and enjoyed it, then press on..

There is no magic in a spillover spa, it spills over to return the water to the pool.. There is just no reason that you can't have under ground plumbing that does exactly the same thing. Basically, all you need to do is to design the hot tub so that when the water level reaches the point where it would normally spillover into the pool, it just goes into an open pipe that is connected to the pool. Gravity will take care of the rest.


Jim R.
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