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How to choose a swim spa

Family, fitness or fun?

Questions you may have when buying a swim spa

From backyard splash pools to elite endurance training, there is a swim spa to suit everybody and every purpose. I’m going to guide you through all the different types and arm you with the information you need to make an educated decision on which Sapphire swim spa is right for you.  This information is our no-nonsense guide to buying something energy efficient, practical and relevant to your family’s needs.

Have a look at these videos and information to start thinking about which swim spa will fit your backyard and the features you should choose depending on whether you want it for swim training, kids swimming pool, massage therapy or rehab / mobility / stretching tool.

THINKING ABOUT A SWIM SPA?

Deciding why you want a swim spa is the best place to start as this will set the guidelines for everything else we are about to cover, such as price, pumps and size.

Deciding whether you want to use the spa for AQUATIC EXERCISE or to SWIM AGAINST THE JETS, or just a SIMPLE PLUNGE POOL to SPLASH AROUND and COOL OFF is your first step.

Your Sapphire Spa will require some maintenance every now and then. It is important that you make specific times to give your spa the ‘once over’, probably every 3 to 4 months. 

The following is a guideline that you may like to follow: 

  • Disconnect the power source. 
  • Drain the water from your spa. 
  • Remove any dirt or sand and inspect the acrylic surface. 
  • Remove filters and clean as suggested. 
  • Treat and stain cabinet (if required). 
  • Clean your hardcover as suggested. 
  • Remove your headrests and clean. 
  • Refit all spa products and refill spa.

 

FILTERS

This involves removing your filter cartridges once a fortnight depending on use, hosing them down to remove debris or even soaking them in a filter cartridge cleaner. Your filters will need to be replaced every 12-18 months depending on use.

 

CHANGE WATER

It is recommended to drain one third of your spa water every three months to refresh your system and maintain good, clean water again, but a full drain every 6 to 12 months. This will be determined by which sanitisation system your spa is fitted with and how often the spa is used. A water test from your local pool & spa store will tell you when its time to drain based on the total number of dissolved solids in the water which can make it difficult to maintain balance of the water and hamper the sanitiser effectiveness.

 

Your Sapphire Spa is manufactured from the highest grade acrylic material available. To ensure that it keeps its finish for many years, a small amount of maintenance is required periodically.

 

General cleaning 

Acrylic is very easy to clean and generally stains and dirt will not adhere to the surface, however you may wish to wipe down the acrylic surface with a soft, damp cloth/sponge and a nonabrasive cleaner (ex. Methylated spirits) after use or during your normal maintenance program. 

Stubborn marks 

For more stubborn marks, your should consult your Sapphire Spa dealer for advice on a recommended acrylic surface cleaner. 

Crazing 

May occur in acrylic surface as fine lines when spa is exposed to extremely high temperatures even with cover on. These are non structural and not covered under warranty. 

Surface scratches 

You may also experience surface scratches caused by general wear and tear. If so, it is strongly recommended that you consult your Sapphire Spas dealer before attempting to remove them using the following method. Apply car polish or a similar product and lightly rub out the scratch in a circular motion. 

Sunlight & UV exposure 

Do not expose the acrylic shell to direct sunlight or UV for any prolonged period as this may have a detrimental effect on the surface and possibly void warranty.

Dirt & sand 

Avoid allowing dirt and sand, caused by bathers entering the spa, simply by placing a mat or footbath in the entry areas of the spa. This will assist in the easier maintenance of the acrylic surface.

Cedar cabinets 

If you have chosen a cedar cabinet for your spa, you can rest easy knowing it has been engineered and designed with the highest grade 20mm western red cedar available and has been treated with premium grade, mould resistant stain. Regular treatment of the cabinet will enhance the natural look of the cedar and ensure that your spa will always be the centre piece in its location for many years to come. Consult your dealer for the ideal product to stain and protect your cabinet. To treat your cabinet you will need to lightly sand the timber, then apply a good even coat of stain. Small marks and scratches can be treated the same way. Your cabinet life will depend on how you choose to maintain it and harsher conditions will determine how often the timber requires treatment. If you notice the cedar losing its richness of colour, it may be time for a treatment. Sapphire Spas recommend treatment after 6 months of usage, and then periodically every 12 months. 

Duratek cabinets 

Duratek cabinets must be washed down with a soap and water solution every 12 months.

 

HARDCOVER

Your Sapphire Spa is supplied with a vinyl, key lockable hardcover. All hardcovers contain unique heat sealed foam to prevent moisture retention which can result in added weight and sagging. Our spa covers are top stitched to add strength and durability and use unique, fully key lockable ABS locks. 

Maintaining your hardcover should be part of your regular maintenance routine. Dirt acts as an abrasive to the vinyl and can cause wear to the folds, seams and stitching. Keeping your cover clean is quiet simple but you must follow a routine for cleaning and treatment with a vinyl protector. Your local Sapphire Spa dealer will be able to assist you with an ideal vinyl protectant. 

For long lasting results we suggest: • Rinse the cover with cool water using a garden hose. • Spray with your preferred protectant and wipe clean. • For stubborn dirt we suggest a small sponge, similar to one you would use on your car. • Rinse again thoroughly with water. • Do not allow children or pets to walk or jump on the hardcover. • Do not lift or pull your cover by its straps, flaps, skirts or heat seals. • Never use laundry/dish washing detergents, abrasives, alcohol based products or harsh household cleaners. These can actually remove some of the top coat and cause premature vinyl failure. • Rotate foam inserts if you notice any sagging or water pooling.

 

HEADRESTS

Your Sapphire Spa headrests are designed for bather comfort and require very little maintenance. It is recommended that you remove your headrests to clean behind them when you drain your spa. The headrests are secured by two small lugs at the back and can easily be pulled off with your hands. Thoroughly clean the head rests with a damp cloth or sponge. The headrests are covered by a warranty of two years exclusive only to Sapphire Spas. With care and good chemical balance your head rests will last many years.

Exercising in water has added benefits to land-based activity. Your muscles are challenged from all directions by the surrounding water as you swim, jog, walk, run, tone and stretch. Massage jets will stimulate to multiply the benefits of exercise.

 

RESISTANCE WORK - Train your inner core at the same time as every other muscle group. Combine a low to high intensity ab workout with a total body resistance session, without ever leaving your swim spa. Take a resistance band into your spa and just experiment. During the development of our swim spas, we have been trialing all the classic exercises you can perform with a band, and found that we can increase the intensity of the workout by creating further resistance and instability when powering up the swim jets.

 

CARDIO - Swim jets integrated into your spa pool can simulate a lap session at your local pool, a high endurance ocean swim, a demanding 10km run7 or a fat burning walk down the street. Exercising in water is more demanding than land-based activity; your muscles are challenged from all directions by the surrounding water. So as you swim, walk, jog or run against the powerful swim jets, you multiply the benefit of your cardio workout just by being in water.

 

WEIGHT LOSS - Regular low impact exercise is recommended by weight loss professionals as a ‘fat burning’ activity. If regular exercise is not always possible, or if you are just feeling lazy, a spa pool can simulate the beneficial effects of exercise. We’ve put the fun back into exercise, leaving no excuse to getting your body moving.

 

ACTIVE KIDS - Your spa pool will become the hub of your home, enticing all family members to spend quality time together. Aqua play is the perfect way to develop a strong bond with your children whilst playing at their level. In todays world of internet, iPods, video games and television, we need a way to promote an active lifestyle and avoid the danger of disconnection from each other. Solar heating can’t warm your swimming pool enough for your kids to ‘jump in’ throughout winter! Imagine if they could enjoy some healthy outdoor exercise in your spa pool to help ‘burn off’ excess energy.

 

IMPROVE CELLULITE - hydro massage jets, positioned along the length of your legs, increase blood flow and stimulate problem areas of the thighs, buttocks and legs to improve circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

 

YOGA & PILATES are becoming increasingly popular for developing core strength. Supported by the buoyancy of the surrounding water, you can work your core by simply standing against the water pressure of your swim jets.

 

CORE STRENGTH - take your core strength training one step further, by introducing a number of upper and lower body exercises to create a smooth, toned body shape. Simple squats, calf raises, leg lifts and directional arm movements against the water will engage both your inner core for stability and all muscle groups within the body.

 

RECOVERY - Once your swim training is complete, move across to the therapy seats, packed with a powerful array of jets, to stimulate blood flow & encourage muscle recovery.

 

STRETCH - The warm water of your spa will increase blood flow, enhancing your workout with greater mobility and protecting your muscles with a more effective post training stretch.

An outdoor spa pool or swim spa is like nothing else. It’s treasured family time. It’s precious time together with your partner. It’s well deserved quiet time for yourself. It’s an inspiring exercise machine. It’s a gentle recovery tool. A spa is a part of your everyday life, so choose one that fits you.

FIRST find a spa manufacturer that ticks the boxes:

  • How long has the company been around? Look for a company that’s well established in the industry so they’re around to support you and their product in years to come
  • Is the company australian owned? This can be important if you’re after replacement parts or technical support
  • Is the swim spa actually made in australia? If it’s imported as a complete product, the company possibly won’t have much knowledge on how the swim spa is built and what’s required to support and repair any issues
  • do they claim to be energy efficient and can they demonstrate this?
  • are the spas made from optimum components and structurally sound?
  • will your purchase be protected by a warranty that is honoured by an australian based company?
  • do they provide helpful local customer support?

Sapphire Spas are manufactured right here in Australia with optimum components, sourced from the very best within the industry, every Sapphire Spa is backed by our lifecare commitment for peace of mind. We are australian made & owned and we are proud of the product quality we have achieved. You are not a number at Sapphire Spas, you can contact us at any time to check in on the progress of your much awaited new purchase. 

We know your spa is one of the most exciting purchases you make, along with a car and home, so we make the experience special. Hand delivered with attention to detail, followed by our lifecare commitment backup via phone support, mySpa@Home tutorials and you tube video demonstrations. If you have any questions about your new spa purchase, we’re right here in Australia, to help. Sapphire Spas have partnerships with Pool & Spa stores Australia wide and throughout New Zealand to provide you with a local showroom, delivery, service and support

Sapphire ticks all the boxes, so choose which Sapphire spa suits you best?

When filled with water a swim spa can weigh several tonnes so any swim spa will need a stable, even surface that’s capable of supporting its weight. Sapphire Spas recommend that you prepare a reinforced concrete slab of at least 150mm thick when installing our swim spas. You must ensure this base is an even, level surface free from cracks, doming or hollows. Never attempt to pack any object under your swim spa if the concrete slab is not entirely level as you may cause damage and void your warranty.

To protect the electrical equipment within the portable spa cabinet, ensure the surrounding area has adequate slope to drain well away from your swim spa. Consider areas that may flood or collect water in heavy rainfall and attempt to avoid those or provide appropriate drainage. 

It’s preferable for the slab to extend at least 200mm outside the spa dimensions for stability. Another consideration is the installation position of a heat and cool pump if you’re installing one or plan to in the future. As these units also need to be placed on a solid, level surface close to your swim spa, you may find it worthwhile to pour the concrete a little wider in this area to allow for it.

A structural engineer must be consulted if you’re considering installing your swim spa onto a decked area. 

Do not install a swim spa on grass, paving or an uneven surface or you will void your warranty and cause problems for yourself due to the weight of your swim spa, the large volume of water it holds and also the people enjoying the spa. 

As you’re investing a significant amount of money into the purchase of a swim spa, of course you’ll want to protect your investment and install it correctly to avoid damage and disappointment.

Sapphire swim spas are manufactured with a convenient drain hose (so you don’t need to pump the water from your swim spa when required) which can be extended from within your cabinet so consider access to a drain nearby for this purpose.

Sapphire swim spas have been designed to accommodate all fitness levels by adjusting the number of swim jets that are running as you swim. You can lower the speed for a lower paced, long endurance swim or turn them right up for a faster speed session.

With all FOUR pumps on, you’ll get a strong jet stream from your 4 x swim jets, allowing even a competent swimmer to swim steadily without outrunning the flow or touching the end of the swim spa.

A swim spa is a great alternative to the backyard swimming pool for many reasons:

  • it can be heated
  • It will fit in a smaller backyard
  • It also provides heated hydromassage
  • A fully self contained swim spa can easily be placed onto a suitable concrete slab, whereas a swimming pool requires a much more involved installation
  • easier to maintain

Yes the typical backyard swimming pool is larger than most swim spas but this means it would be costly and difficult to heat. Especially throughout the cooler months you will find you’ll get much more use out of a swim spa that’s energy efficient to keep at your desired temperature

With house lot sizes becoming smaller these days, the swim spa has grown in popularity as it’s compact and portable compared to a swimming pool. Some of the smaller swim spas on the market are only 2.3x4.0m in size whereas a backyard swimming pool tends to need much more space.

Massage jets are not offered in backyard swimming pools. Sometimes when a spa is attached to a concrete pool, they will plumb around 10 small jet in, but this is nothing compared to the fully jetted loungers that are available opposite the swim end in a swim spa. Swim spas already have hydropumps installed to power the swim jets so manufacturers will usually add seated massage jets at the other end; simply turn the diverter valves on the topside of your spa to divert the water pressure to the spa end. You can also choose to have maybe one massage seat operating whilst the hubby is swimming against the jets at the other end by selecting another water/pump diverter option. Swim spa are very flexible compared with a swimming pool. If I had the money for both, I agree a swimming pool is a beautiful addition to your backyard but I think you’ll find you get much more use all year round from a swim spa

A swim spa can be craned into your backyard in an hour or so; the minimum requirement is a suitable concrete slab to support the weight of the swim spa and water, then an electrician to complete the power hook up. Whereas a more costly swimming pool installation will require weeks of muddy excavation work, preparation, concrete pouring, paving and equipment plumbing to install. Of course you can add decking and backyard landscaping to a swim spa as well but, if budget is a consideration, at least you can get a fully functioning swim spa into your backyard ready to enjoy, then spend money on the surrounding at a later date.

Quality swim spas range in price from $20,000 to $50,000. The price of a swim spa is affected mainly by the physical size of the spa, the equipment that powers it and the quality of the materials and build. Obviously the larger the swim spa, the more raw materials are required to build it so it will be more costly. 

The hidden costs that you should be aware of though, are possibly the most important! For example, a 5.0metre swim spa made from a formed sheet of acrylic, encased in a timber or plastic cabinet will look very similar from all manufacturers. It’s what’s inside the cabinet that you need to carefully consider. 

    • the number of pumps that power a swim spa alters it’s cost dramatically; some swim spas may be powered by just 1 x pump compared with a more costly swim spa which has 4 x pumps providing a much better water pressure through the jets. You possibly won’t even be able to actually swim against the jets in a swim spa with only 2 pumps as the jet pressure is too low to hold your body buoyant and in place during your strokes. 
    • Insulation is also another important consideration. As it costs you money to heat your swim spa, you should check how well insulated it is inside the cabinet. A well insulated swim spa should have foam sprayed onto the underside of the moulded acrylic shell and also attached to the inside of the cabinet walls for the most effective prevention of heat loss. Beware of some spas that are foam filled or have loose foam within the cabinet as they may cause issues with the workings of your spa. A well-fitted swim spa cover is also an added layer of protection against heat loss so purchase a sturdy, thick hardcover with your swim spa to save on heating costs.
    • Heater capability and efficiency is also where some manufacturers may take shortcuts. Beware of cheaper swim spas which have less powerful heating equipment which is not matched to efficiently heat the larger body of water in a swim spa. Swim spas will not be heated efficiently just with the inbuilt heater system alone; most will require at least an 8.8kw external electric heater. These days, an efficient external heat pump will hold your swim spa at temperature and ready to use for a reasonable heating cost.
    • When purchasing a swim spa, don’t forget to factor in the delivery and installation costs as most will require a crane to lift into your backyard and the minimum of a suitable concrete base and electrician to complete the power hook up.

       

Do your own due diligence on anything under $15,000 or on second hand swim spas to ensure the manufacturer is available to support the product if needed.

 



1 x day for delivery and hook up

Once you have prepared a suitable concrete base for your swim spa, the crane delivery and electrical hook up could take place all in one day, then you just have to wait for it to fill with water. 

Due to the weight of most swim spas, they need to be craned into your backyard. This typically only takes an hour or so once you’ve prepared the site.

Once the swim spa is in place, a licensed electrician will be needed to complete the power hook up. If you book your electrician in advance, the electrical connection could be prepared earlier so hook up can be completed on delivery day.

As long as you have a stable base for your spa to sit on, a smaller spa pool can also be crane lifted or maneuvered into place with man power and a trolley in an hour or so.  



2 x days for concrete

Most concreters would take a day to excavate, box out and prepare for the concrete slab, then return another day to pour the concrete.

Many people want to install their swim spa into a deck or build a deck around the swim spa for ease of access and aesthetics of backyard landscaping. Of course you can add decking and backyard landscaping to a swim spa but expect this to take longer than simply placing it on a concrete slab. Decking, permits, safety fencing (if required) and the construction will usually take place over a number days but you will be able to organise some of these elements prior to delivery.. 

The addition of a swim spa to your backyard is exciting for all family members. Take your time to prepare once you decide to purchase one and the installation should go smoothly.

Swim spas can look amazing when seamlessly installed into your backyard decking. The surrounding area then gives the feel of an inground swimming pool as you can sit on the edge and dangle your feet in. Installing swim spas partially inground also allows you to sit on the edge to easily get in and out of the pool.

You can install a portable swim spa almost anywhere you want as long as you allow for access to the equipment within the cabinet. 

Portable spa pools and swim spas are not suitable for digging into the dirt like a swimming pool however, as they have more intricate plumbing hoses, electrical equipment and heating systems within the surrounding cabinet

If you're unsure, you can always have your swim spa installed onto a minimum 150mm thick reinforced concrete slab, then decide the rest later.....

A swim spa that is well integrated into the property will increase the value of your home if you consider these aspects:

An extension of your home so it’s close and comfortable to use every day

Outdoor living is one of the most valued aspects of a home

Within view of the house so you can supervise kids

If it’s easy to maintain with a good sanitisation system

 

If it’s economical to heat with an efficient heat and cool pump

THE FUN PART!

Now you get to choose the colour of your spa and cabinet to match with your backyard landscaping. Maybe you're considering just sitting your spa on a concrete slab or building a deck to allow you to sit around your spa at a social level

Choose your ideal combination of Sapphire Spa colours then simply order with your local retail store

Sapphire Spas is always looking at new colour options to keep ahead of market trends; please talk to your local Sapphire Spas retail store about our extensive colour selection (limited edition options are also available depending on current stock)

Click here to view our extensive range of colours options =>>

 

 

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