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Swimming Pool vs. Swim Spa: Know all the facts before you buy

Swimming Pool vs. Swim Spa
Know all the facts before you buy

As the warmer weather knocks on our door we start to plan out the activities your family will take on with the summer sun . With the way that the Canadian Dollar is nowadays the cost of having a big family vacation to the US makes for a large financial obligation. Why not consider using this money to create your own backyard oasis. The question that's been gnawing through your mind year after year...what about a pool? If this is something you have been taking into consideration rather than making travel plans, we at The Spa Shoppe would like to help by giving you some things to mull over.

Size Of Backyard

The size of your backyard is always a driving factor as to what you have available for creating your retreat. When considering a pool the need for a larger plot is more advantageous to accommodate the option to include both a shallow & deep end. Also, often with a pool it will take up a substantial amount of real-estate.

If you are limited with regards to space in your backyard, or have thoughts of creating not only a swimming area but also a seating area, a swim spa might be a better fit for you. Swim spas range in size from 12ft - 19ft allowing for the best of both worlds. You can have the swim spa on one side of the yard & a patio/bbq/seating area on the other making your backyard the one stop entertainment spot for your family & friends.

Swimming Season

The availability of the swim season is another thing to consider. In Southern Ontario we are not privy to warm weather throughout the year (like I needed to remind you). This will limit on the length of the season for swimming in your backyard. A good swim season would be at most 6 months. The average Ontario swimming pool season is 4.2 months.

A swim spa however can be used 365 days a year. With the ability to swim throughout the year it drastically cuts the cost of usage. In fact you would be looking at a 50% reduction.

Installation Cost

Once you have chosen the ideal pool or swim spa that meets all your needs there are still more things to consider. A big one would be the actual installation costs of the unit. This is where there is a drastic difference in cost between your options. Not only is there a variance in the $$$ figures but also the length of time that your home will be under chaos. The average pool installation lasts from 7-14 days. This entails the mapping, gathering permits, excavation, framing, pouring concrete, grading, installation of the liner, & finally filling. A swim spa however averages just 3 days. The minimum requirements for a swim spa installation would be to create a concrete pad to support the spa. With swim spas however, you are not just restricted to this. If you would much rather have your swim spa installed in the ground like a pool or half sunken this is not a problem. Check out Hydropool Swim Spas, they are the only ones on the market that can be recessed in-ground, and can be configured to align with any project plan.

...now comes the money. You are looking at 35% difference in comparison to installation costs. The average install of an in-ground swimming pool would be $38,307.00. With the installation of a swim spa you are looking at the average installation of $24,800.00 allowing for more opportunity to have extreme savings.

Safety

One of the most important things to consider when planning your project is the safety of your backyard. When you start to consider things like safety covers, locking mechanisms & cleanliness of water you cannot be too careful. It is not as simple as just getting a standard cover for a pool because when the winter hits you must be prepared that if you have your backyard covered in snow (which it probably will) you would want to know that it is safe for you, your kids, or your pets to walk throughout the backyard without having the fear of falling through the ice. This is why safety covers have come to the forefront of the pool industry. These covers can range in cost from $2,500.00-$5,000.00 depending on the size of pool & quality of cover. Another thing we need to be conscious about would be the possibility of falling into a pool in the summer time as well.

Swim spas do not have this issue, they typically come standard with a hard cover that not only withstands the weight of someone but also the convenience of locks that mount directly to the cabinet. Young children cannot open them with ease which eliminates the risk of unmonitored swimming.

Depending on the swim spa, some like Hydropool's for example run on a premium commercial grade filtration system that will filter 100% of the water in just 45 minutes. In direct comparison with a swimming pool it takes an average of 12-18 hours to complete the same thing. Swim spas will give you cleaner water faster & will allow you to know that the water your family is playing in is always clean & safe.

Heating Costs

I hate to bring up money...yet again but we all know that it is one of the most important things to think about. Once you have the pool or swim spa in your backyard, installed & finally running, we need to then say to ourselves 'how much is thing going to cost me?'

Whether it be a hot tub, swimming pool, or swim spa the warmer the weather is outside, the less it should cost to keep the water warm enough to go in (common sense right?). Below you will find a chart outlining the comparative between a swimming pool & swim spa. Let's let the numbers speak for themselves shall we...

I kid you not. The cost differential is no lie. The reasoning behind the drastic difference with heating a swim spa is due to one simple reason...reusing heat. The 'Coles Notes' reason we can heat a swim spa for the fraction of the cost of a pool is that we effectively use the waste heat given off by the operating pumps running the spa. Not all swim spa manufactures do this however so it is important to invest in the ones that do. With using this extra heat we no longer rely on the sole power of the heater itself allowing for the hydro bill to not take a huge hit. In conjunction with this superior heating system & thermal barrier cover, a premium swim spa will cost you up to 75% less per month to keep it the ideal temperature range for swimming.

Read more: Swim Spa Buying Tips

Maintenance

Maintenance with either unit is inevitable but still something to consider either way. It doesn't matter if you have an in-ground, on-ground, or above-ground pool, or swim spa there is a necessity to balance & disinfect the water. The main difference is as to how much you are spending on those chemicals. The average cost for pool maintenance (including chemicals, equipment, various other things) amounts to approximately $1,000.00 a swim season. In comparison a swim spa's maintenance costs are cut drastically, averaging just $500.00 over the entire year.

Another thing we need to consider is not the upfront cost of the pool or swim spa but also the longevity of your investment as well. A big expense to be aware of is the cost of replacing parts. The Swim Spa's warranty is typically 10 years, how about a pool's? In those 10 years you can anticipate that there will be some replacements needed for the swimming pool. A big one would be the liner of your pool. The average life expectancy of a liner is 10-15 years if not less depending on the quality of the liner & water chemistry. This adds another $4,000.00-$5,000.00 to your pool (again, depending on quality of the one you choose). With a swim spa you will never need to worry about replacing such an item. Your swim spa's shell will last a lifetime.

Fitness & Fun

With all things aside, fitness & fooling around is another reason you are even flirting with the purchase of your swim entertainment platform. For those who are purchasing the pool or swim spa for the fitness element by far the swim spa is the better of the two. With the countless number of options such as rowing, walking, resistance band training, water palates, or even just swimming laps (continuously, no turns) this is the unit for you. Your swim spa will also have the option to read your caloric output giving your exercise a tangible value to it. A pool can't do that.

Now if you are even more adventurous there are some extreme sports to try with the swim spa as well such as knee boarding, kayaking, rapid paddling. These things are just not possible with the swimming pool in the backyard.

Investing in your backyard not only greatly increases the value of your property but also helps bring the family closer together. Whether your kids are young and living at home, away at college, or with families of their own, it is important to stay connected. The staff at The Spa Shoppe will sit down with you & guide you to what the best decision for your backyard sanctuary & help you in the right direction. Let us help you create time for what truly matters...you & your family.

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Categories: Hot Tubs, Pools