Swim Spa Buyers Guide - Part 3 - Planning for Delivery/Installation
If you’ve had a chance to read through parts 1 and 2, hopefully we’ve assisted you in finding the best model for your needs. Now, the most exciting part, planning for your swim spa installation!
Step 1 - Placement:
A little bit of extra planning at this stage will go a long way in getting to the installation of your dreams and ensuring that you will enjoy the swim spa for years to come. Here are few recommendations when considering placement:
- Step one is to always get a footprint, or spec drawing of the unit from your dealer. These drawings will give you accurate measurements to work from. Then, you need to know how big the pad needs to be in relation to the unit. Most swim spas require at least 6” extra around each side.
- Consider your entry: Some clients may want to deck their swim spa, or make some other type of enclosure around it, however, the most typical method of entry is a walk-up step. Make sure to plan for the step when you create your pad, as they can often need an additional 4’ or more to accommodate for the step-base.
- Are you enclosing the unit? Keep any decking or platforms you may want to build around the swim spa in mind as you plan, as they need to be designed for ease of use and maintenance. Make sure if you are using a contractor to build, they have the specifications of the unit and know the finished look you want.
- View: While not all models are the same, most swim spas have jetted seating oriented in the same viewing direction as the swim jet. Make sure as you plan out your placement, consider what you want to be seeing as you swim or lounge in the unit.
- If you are getting an automated cover, or roll-on style cover, you will want to factor this into your site plan.
Step 2 - Pad or Concrete Crypt:
There are two main ways you can install your swim spa. The first and most common is on a standard concrete pad. For our swim spas, this is a minimum of 4” thick poured concrete slab.
- Concrete slabs need time to cure. As you plan for your delivery, make sure you plan to have the slab in at least two weeks before your delivery, so the concrete is hard enough to place the weight of the filled unit on.
- Concrete has a clean appearance as well as being very durable. This is going to be the most economical route to install the swim spa on.
- Plan your slab alongside your electrical work, as you may want your electrical conduit to come up through the pad to keep the space neat and with minimal tripping hazards.
Concrete crypts are like a basement foundation that allow you to bury your swim spa into the ground, either partially or fully. There are some advantages to this, as you will be able to finish the unit and create a surround that blends perfectly with the inside acrylic.
- Costs associated with doing a crypt installation are much higher than a traditional slab and often require contractors with a higher-level of experience.
- Crypts need to be designed with equipment access in mind. Whether this means relocating some parts of the equipment, or in most cases creating a crawl space for maintenance.
- The scope of these projects means there’s a wide range of construction timelines, so plan ahead and accordingly so placement and installation go seamlessly.
Step 3 – Electrical:
Please note: Electrical for a swim spa can be very dependent on the model and brand. Consult your dealer for detailed instructions on how to best configure your swim spa electrical.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your electrical work:
- GFCI box: This will get wired directly to your house panel and depending on the model, will range from a 40AMP to 100AMP box.
- From your GFCI, wire(s) are run to the swim spa. Please note, you should always have the amount of wiring needed to reach the unit, plus the width of the swim spa in extra length. You will likely want to bury this line in a conduit underground to minimize the impact of the wire on the site. Because of the size of the unit, pay close attention to where the wire connects into the swim spa.
- Depending on the brand or model, splitter boxes may be used inside the swim spa to attach to multiple spa packs.
- If your swim spa is a dual-tank (swim lane on one-side, independent hot tub on the other,) there will likely be two wires run from the GFCI, or two separate GFCI with separate amperages.
- Planning ahead will go a long way to minimize electrical costs and keep the appearance of your installation clean.
- Have someone on-site to ensure the placement, orientation and hook-up is done to your satisfaction. Moving a swim spa often requires a boom-truck or crane.
- Because of the volume of swim spas, most dealers will either arrange or ask you to arrange for a water truck to fill the unit. A smaller swim spa has around 5,000 liters of water, large ones can have as much as 15,000L.
- If installation is included in your contract, make sure to ask the technicians to give you a basic operations lesson, as it can seem overwhelming at first.
- Book an in-store lesson once the unit has been installed and bring in a water sample to your dealer so you can easily balance your water and enjoy your swim spa!