Be wary about pump sizes, energy “star ratings” and running cost claims

Be aware that a 4.8 BHP (brake horse power) pump is exactly the same as a 3 HP pump. No government body has ever given efficiency ratings to individual spa brands so where star ratings are shown they’re simply being “made up”. Some manufacturers promote running costs that don’t include heating. Other manufacturers base their claims on incorrect power rates and unrealistic assumptions. And a few brands promote “low amp” filter pumps but as they run 24 hours a day they actually cost you more. If claims are made, ask how they are calculated. The only things that effects running costs are:

  • The amount of insulation (how many layers, how thick etc)
  • If the spa have a sealed base
  • If the spa uses a low cost filtration pump
  • If the spa have a Spa Net “smart controller”
  • The size of the gap between the cabinet panels and spa shell
  • The size of the heater (the quicker the spa heats the sooner the pump turns off)
  • If you are able to use a gas heater or heat pump (which offers savings of up to 75%).

Are “salt water” spas better?

Salt can only be used to sanitise water when it is transformed (by a salt chlorinator) into chlorine. But as this form of chlorine does not suit hot water you’ll have to add extra chlorine or bromine. This basic form of chlorine created by salt chlorinators is very corrosive and will damage your heater element so be wary of “chlorine-free” salt water spas.

What about backlit jets?

While they look good in the showroom, in most cases you won’t see these lights as people will be sitting against them. Also, these clear plastic jets break more easily and if water quality is not maintained they can become opaque (slightly white). As the LED lights can also be hard to replace when they fail we would suggest other forms of in-spa lighting.

Do UV “sterilisers” work?

This form of water treatment is only successful when a very large UV bulb is used (16 watt minimum) and when the water has enough contact time with the UV bulb. The standard UV system with a chrome/ stainless metal tube is only designed for water flow from a tap and will NOT kill germs – plus you need to replace the UV bulb yearly at significant cost. Unless you fit a large, more expensive system like “Ultrazone” unit that combines UV and Ozone to create hydroxyl radicals, then don’t expect any benefits, only maintenance.

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