A relaxing evening in the spa can be the best part of any day. It offers its user a sanctuary from the trials and worries of the office or a hard day’s work. The worst aspect of that relaxing period could be that you may be paying more than you should for those precious, peaceful moments. Heat loss and inefficiency in spas can be a drain on your electricity. On average, a spa costs over $360.00 annually to heat. Reducing heat loss is one way to lower energy usage and ultimately the costs of owning a spa.
If you’re in the market for a new spa, read on as we will discuss some of the features to look for. If you already have an energy hoarding unit that you’re not ready to part with, there’s a few tips we’ve addressed here for you as well.
New Features on Spas
To make owning a spa more affordable, manufacturers have come up with innovative ways to upgrade equipment and improve features on their tubs without aggressively affecting your pocket book. When shopping for a spa, ask your dealer about the energy efficiency of the unit. Here’s what to look for:
- Spa Covers — Insulated spa covers keep most of the heat inside the spa. Make sure your cover is equipped with straps that lock the cover down to the unit. Not only will you improve the safety aspect of your spa, but a tightly sealed cover greatly reduces heat loss from around the edges. Check to make sure your spa’s cover will be tapered or sloped; creating a run off for any excess rain water that may build up on the cover. As spa covers age, you may notice the weight of the cover increasing as the foam inside becomes saturated with moisture. Once this happens, replace the cover immediately as a water logged cover will have lost most of it’s insulating qualities.
- Insulation — At minimum, the shell and plumbing of the spa should have a generous amount of insulation. Even though most heat is lost from the top, well-insulated interiors reduce heat loss from below. If you live in an area that experiences extremely low temperatures or snow conditions, ask about a “full foam” option. This encapsulates the entire underbelly of the spa with solid foam for optimum insulation.
- Pumps — Energy-efficient pumps are becoming more common in spas. Make sure that your spa has at least one 2 speed pump for filtration. Most spas are pre-programmed to filter twice a day for two hours a day. Rather than going full bore for those 4 hours, running the filtration pump on low speed will greatly reduce the amount of electricity used.
- Heaters — Modern heaters utilize improved heat transfer with less waste. An undersized heater will require your spa to run longer and draw more energy. If you are into the technical jargon, as a good rule of thumb you should have a 1.5 kilowatt heater in a 110 volt unit and a 5.5 kilowatt heater in a 220 volt unit.
- Go Green – Not literally! “Going green” is not the fondest term in the pool and spa industry as it is sometimes associated with poor water chemistry. When discussing energy usage, “going green” means decreasing consumption of electricity and ultimately lowering your carbon footprint. Some spa manufactures specialize in just this. Ask your dealer to see their most energy efficient models. These units most often do not feature large jet quantities or the latest iPod stereo, but they certainly create a relaxing oasis on low energy usage.
Making an Existing Spa More Efficient
There are a few things you can do to improve your current spa. Some are common sense, others may not have occurred to you. Just a few steps can help you reduce the cost of operating your current spa:
- You should never locate a spa on an open deck. If you have one on a deck, the open air beneath robs the heat from your spa. Underpin the deck with insulation board and siding if possible. This will help keep the temperature beneath the deck much warmer and prevent breezes from chilling your spa from below.
- Lower the temperature of your thermostat when not in use. Keep your spa at 80 – 90 degrees and turn it up an hour or so before using. This will save energy over keeping it at a higher temperature all the time.
- Use shrubs, privacy panels or fencing around the spa area as windbreaks to retain the spa heat better.
- If your spa is equipped with them, make sure your air venturi valves are closed when the spa is not in use. An air venturi valve blends air from outside your spa with the water in the jets. Pumping cold ambient air inside the spa will drastically lower the temperature and cause it to constantly run trying to maintain its heat.
- Turn the thermostat very low or off when on vacation.
You’ll get more spa for the money by following these few tips. Keeping operating costs down will increase your enjoyment, knowing your spa is costing you pennies per day instead of dollars.Continue Reading
How often do you come across helpful information that will keep more money in your pocket? In this day and age it seems we all need to watch our budgets with a sharper eye for ways to reduce expenses and our home’s maintenance costs. What if your pool could automatically sanitize and balance itself, all while putting a few bucks in your pocket and saving mother nature all at the same time?
Cooling off in your swimming pool after work, doing a few laps to unwind, or relaxing in your spa with your family and friends are a few of the advantages of owning a pool or hot tub. Pool maintenance costs can add up quickly if you use conventional pool maintenance practices which rely on chlorine to keep the water clean. Freshwater pools need water testing weekly with chlorine added regularly for sanitary pool conditions and also to prevent algae. Chlorine is expensive and many find it harsh on their skin when used in the traditional freshwater pool. A traditional pool also requires quite an investment in time to maintain the proper chlorine level and to get the pool’s water to chemically balance.
You can ensure the pool’s maintenance is efficiently taken care of by automating your pool with a salt chlorinating system. It not only reduces your chemically produced chlorine use to zero, reduces costs but will also make your pool’s water feel good on your skin.
Salt chlorination system installation
Installation of the system is quick and easy and does not replace any of your existing pool equipment. After a simple plumbing modification, just add the correct amount of salt and the chlorinating system does the rest. It works by first adding salt to your pool’s water at the rate of 3500 ppm salt content (equivalent to the salt content of the human body). The salinated water then goes through the chlorinating system, which uses electrolysis to break down the salt. The chemical reaction produces a chlorine gas. This chlorine gas prevents algae and purifies the water of your pool or spa. Chloramines are what give traditional pools the terrible smell and red, burning eyes. The electrolytic process oxidizes, or “burns off” these chloramines leaving your pool water clean, pure and luxuriously soft.
Salt doesn’t evaporate like chlorine does which is where the savings come in. Constantly adding chemicals is a thing of the past. No more mixing, measuring and hassling with harsh chlorine again. The savings are significant financially as well as freeing up the chunks of time you won’t be spending maintaining your pool. Say goodbye to itchy skin, strong chemical odors, faded bathing suits and red eyes forever.
Save money and go green
If saving the planet is your forte, you’re on the right track. A salt chlorination system will help you “go green” without your pool going “green”. Limiting the transportation to and from the pool store, reducing the introduction of harsh chemicals into the environment from your pool and cutting out the waste from chlorine packaging are all ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Now there’s an easier, more efficient and cost effective way to maintain your home pool or spa. Keep your pool’s water sparkling clean, fresh and crystal clear at all times. An automatic chlorinating system is a wise choice for easier maintenance at a lower cost to you. It’s amazing what a little salt can do!Continue Reading