If you’re not quite sure what a swim spa is it’s basically a device that’s larger than a hot tub, but smaller than a swimming pool. Rushing water is created in the unit via a propulsion system and users can then swim against the current. Most models come with therapy jets which help relieve stress and loosen your muscles. The average depth of a swim spa is between three to five feet with the dimensions being about 15 feet long by eight feet wide. There are also several different types of swim spas such as jet propulsion, propeller, and paddlewheel and they’re constructed with materials such as acrylic, fiberglass or a combination of the two. Some models are made with stainless steel or aluminum shells that are covered with a vinyl liner and come in several colours.
What to look for
When checking out a swim spa you should be looking for a model that can produce a high rate of water circulation, even water distribution, and adjustable flow speed and current. This will allow you to adjust the water flow to meet your requirements. Most swim spa dealers will let you go for a test swim to help you decide which model suits you best.
In general, the speed of the current ranges from about 2.5 mph to 8 mph. You should look into this before buying one though to make sure that the current speed meets your specific needs. Remember, if you’re using the spa to increase your swimming endurance and skills you will probably want a faster current as your progress.
If the spa uses a paddlewheel system it means there’s a wheel at the back of the unit which draws water through it. This method can circulate about 80 per cent of the device’s water and creates a deep and wide current to swim against.
When it comes to a propeller-powered spa you’ll find a propeller located safely behind a cover at the front of the unit. The propeller sends the water current down the middle of the spa to the back of it. The water typically remains relatively calm along the edges of the device. Some spas will come with two propellers which enables two swimmers to use it with separate current speeds.
Jet propulsion spa
With a jet propulsion spa the water is pumped through the unit’s jets and the current can be adjusted for speed and direction. With this type of system the water may not always be distributed as even or as wide as it is with other methods.
Why purchase a swim spa
A swim spa is an ideal device to relax, exercise, socialize, and rehabilitate injuries in and allows you to swim lengths or laps in a small area. Working out in water is a good way to increase your strength since it offers more resistance than air. This type of workout benefits many of your body’s muscles and can burn off approximately 400 to 500 calories per hour. In addition, you won’t overheat in a swim spa, it provides excellent cardiovascular benefits, and the buoyancy of the water is easier on your joints. This makes it an ideal environment to relieve arthritic stiffness and pain. Some swim spas come with seats that are separated from the swimming area which promotes socializing at the same time as exercising. If you already have a swimming pool you can find portable propeller systems which can be quickly and easily installed in it. These will let you create a current to swim against and safely operate on battery power and/or electricity.
Installing a swim spa
You can usually install a swim spa in any area of your home which is large enough and can handle the unit’s technical requirements. Just like a swimming pool, a swim spa can be installed indoors, outdoors, inground, partially inground or above ground. The installation area needs to be able to support a minimum of 200 lbs per square foot. In addition, if you move to a new home you can take the swim spa with you since it’s a self-contained unit. When installing a unit make sure you have a qualified electrician on hand or are capable of doing it yourself since a spa comes with heaters and pumps as well as a contractor to help with any general construction required.
Maintaining a swim spa
You’ll find that maintaining a swim spa is relatively easy as it’s similar to taking care of a hot tub or swimming pool. Some models have internal sanitizing systems, but you will usually have to place chemicals in water to keep it clean and healthy.
Cost of a swim spa
The cost of a swim spa typically depends on the materials it’s made from as well as the size and any added features. In general, they come in at somewhere between $10,000 and $35,000. There are some optional extras which can drive up the price. These include things such as a stereo, hydrotherapy jets, fiber-optic lighting, contoured seats, and automated controls. Some models feature dual heaters which allow you to set a unique water temperature in different areas of the spa. You can also purchase safety features such as alarms, locking covers, and security systems. A swim spa takes up less space, uses less water and energy and requires fewer chemicals than a swimming pool. Most spas come with exercise equipment, but you may want to add extras such as an aqua bike, an underwater treadmill, a rowing machines, weight bars, and/or resistance cords etc. Those who take their swimming seriously may also want to install an underwater camera or mirror to help improve their stroke. Heart-rate monitors are also popular as are swim meters which measure your speed and distance.