So what is a Swimspa?
A SwimSpa is a cross between an excercise pool and a Hot Tub or Spa. So what is an exercise pool? Well, an exercise pool is a small swimming pool that has several powerful pumps connected to some large jets that are mounted in one end of the pool and you swim against the current created by these jets. The idea behind this is that you can swim endlessly while you stay in the same place - like running on a treadmill. These pools were originally designed to overcome space problems for people who wanted to exercise by swimming but didn't have room to install a big enough pool to actually swim in. Swimspas are the next generation of these pools many times combind with a spa.
A swimspa can contain massage seats in the pool area, like those you would find in a normal domestic spa or can have a separate “spa” area in addition to the swimming area or can be just like a pool with no massage seats at all. They are called swimspas because they are constructed just like spas and are self-contained, portable units that are usually craned into place as opposed to swimming pools that are built of brick and mortar on the spot. Like spas they come with thermal covers and have heating systems and filtration systems to keep the water warm and clean.
Note: At the bottom of this page is a link to an Adobe .pdf file of this guide in case you want to print it out or save it to read later.
Why would you want a Swimspa instead of a Pool?
Use your swimspa all year round!
There are quite a few reasons to have a swimspa instead of a pool but undoubtedly the most compelling one is that, unlike a pool, you really can use a swimspa all year round! Because it is designed as a spa it has a built-in heating system that you can set to whatever temperature you desire, it is fully insulated and has an acrylic shell and a thermal cover to retain the heat. Pools, on the other hand, are almost impossible to heat and only those of you with quite large budgets can afford to heat a pool all year ‘round even with a heat pump.
The reasons for this are quite simple, pools are generally built out of cement and all this cement absorbs most of the heat so you can spend a fortune heating and get very little result. Even fiber pools are generally bedded in sand and this has the same heat-sink effect. Add to that the large surface area of a pool that is constantly losing heat to the atmosphere (even with the best pool cover) and you can understand why they cost so much to heat. A swimspa, on the other hand, is built like a thermos – in other words it is built to hold the heat – not lose it like a pool. So, this means that you can use the swimspa all year ‘round, whenever you want – at those times when you cannot use a pool – Christmas, Easter, those nice, sunny November days… and if you have kids or grandchildren they just LOVE that!
The next advantage of a swimspa is ease of installation. When you want to install a swimming pool you have to dig a great big hole with a JCB, truck away all the soil and then the cement trucks start arriving. This can be quite a messy and harrowing experience that can take weeks to accomplish and often includes a major remodeling of your garden. Most pool builders will not give an estimate on the cost of the hole, as they cannot predict what they will find when they start digging so this can be a bit of a wild card. The final cost can be a lot more than what you were quoted for the pool and there can be a lot of collateral damage to clean up as well.
To install a swimspa all you need to do is build a platform to put it on, provide an electric supply and we will install your swimspa in one day. Many people like to deck around their swimspas so this can also take some time but can normally be accomplished in a few days with minimal mess. The other point to mention here is that to build a pool you need a permit but to install a swimspa you don’t because it is a portable unit. In some places this can mean the difference between having a pool or not!
Maintenance and Repairs
Now, here are a couple of the less obvious advantages of having a swimspa instead of a pool. The first point is regarding maintenance. Pools have a couple of problems that spas just don’t have. First of all many pools, for various reasons, cannot be drained very often because of the large amount of water involved. As the water must be kept this means that large quantities of chemicals have to be used to maintain the water even though the pool is not being used. Also, because the pool is open to the air the chlorine dissipates quickly and more has to be constantly added to compensate. This all adds up to a lot of expense for something you are not even using! But more than that it is a lot of work! Many of our customers are amazed at how simple it is to take care of a spa or swimspa compared to a pool. Pools need constant care while spas only need care when they are used. This is because a spa is always covered so you don’t have problems with the sun (algae), dust (bacteria), or junk getting blown in by the wind. In fact practically the only time you have to add chlorine to a spa or swimspa is after you have used it.
Now on to repairs, as the swimspa has an acrylic shell it cannot leak, the shell will last indefinitely. In fact the only places where it could possibly leak would be through the jets or other orifices in the shell and if that happens these parts can be repaired or replaced. There is adequate access to all parts on the swimspa and if there was a leak it is immediately obvious and can be located and addressed. Pools, unfortunately, very often have leaks and many times they are difficult to repair and quite often impossible to locate. You can see that the water is going down but you can’t find where the leak is so you have to re-do the whole pool and even then sometimes it doesn’t work - very expensive and very frustrating…
There are a lot of other advantages when you have a swimspa which can be summarized as follows:
1. The chlorine used in a swimspa (dichlor) is much softer than that used in a pool (trichlor) and you have a lot less chlorine in the water when you use your swimspa.
2. The water can be changed more frequently - resulting in fresher water.
3. You can shut down the swimspa easily either maintaining the water (for periods up to a month) or by draining it. If you can arrange to have someone put a small dose of chlorine in once every week you can maintain the water indefinitely.
4. If the swimspa is made up of two separate sections, a swim area and a spa area, you can keep each area at a different temperature. Normally for swimming you would want around 24º to 28º while in a spa 36º to 40º is normal.
5. A swimspa can go with you if you decide to sell your house and move to a new one.
A swimspa for health
Many of the swimspas we sell are bought primarily for the exercise possibilities and health considerations. As we all know swimming is one of the best forms of exercise not only because it exercises the whole body but also because it is a very flexible way of exercising. Hydrotherapy is used in many forms of physiotherapy because it can be so easily tailored to the specific needs of each person.
Water – especially warm water – is a safe, ideal medium for relieving arthritis pain and stiffness, for example. Programs based on water immersion not only relieve stiff joints and associated pain, but keeps them moving, increasing their range of motion and maintaining or building muscle strength. Moderate physical activity can improve your health without hurting your joints and when that activity takes place in the inviting environment of warm water, any excess strain on your joints and muscles is greatly reduced. If you would like more information about health benefits from using a swimspa please click on the "Health Benefits" icon at the top of the page.