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Guide to a Satisfying Spa Ownership Experience 

The most important determinate of a satisfying spa ownership experience is choosing the right spa.  To make sure you are making the right spa purchase for you and your familyís lifestyle, you really need to make sure you understand the different types and the pros and cons associate with each.  There are basically two categories of spas: aboveground portables and in-ground types.  The following is a general description of each type, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.    

     Portable Spas    

 

Pros: lowest initial cost, movable, self-contained, 110 VAC models plug into regular outlet, always heated, and contoured seating.

 Cons: has to be kept covered at all times, heating costs range from $50-$150/month, slippery when entering, yearly maintenance required on wood frame and vinyl cover, electric heaters are not very powerful and donít allow you to make temperature adjustments during use, and takes up valuable patio space.

        Happy portable spa owners are those who:

1)      Oil their wood cabinet and Armor-All their cover 2 or 3 times a year to keep it looking nice.

2)      Are prepared to spend $50 to $200 per month for electricity to keep it hot all the time.

3)      Realize that they can only have one temperature choice for each spa session, as they are not practically adjustable during use..

4)      Place it where it adds to their landscaping environment, such as pouring a separate concrete slab in the yard and adding landscaping around it to hide it from view. 

Potential Portable Spa Locations 

Uncovered Patio

Pros: Allows you to look at the sky, which provides a natural relaxing atmosphere.

Cons: Exposes your spa to the harmful effects of the weather, which if not maintained will generally shorten the life of the spa. 

Covered Patio

Pros: Protects your spa from the weather.

Cons: Takes away the atmosphere of being outdoors, takes up half of your patio, and becomes a handy place to set junk on.

Lattice Gazebo

Pros: Adds a nice landscaping piece and atmosphere to your yard.

Cons: You now have both the spa and the gazebo exposed to the elements, and have more to maintain.  Plus, the birds like to sit on the lattice and drop bombs on or in your spa! 

Solid Gazebo

Pros: Adds a nice landscaping piece and atmosphere to your yard and protects your spa.

Cons: You still have a structure to maintain, and once in your spa, you lose the natural outside atmosphere. If you want an enclosed area, just put a Jacuzzi tube in you bathroom.

  In-ground Spas   -   The best way to go!  

In-ground spas are a more permanent built-in option. There are several types that vary in construction method and material. They differ from portables in the fact that the equipment is put in an inconspicuous place, similar to most pool equipment setups.  In-ground spa installation usually cost more, but your spa will generally last longer and get used more frequently.

Pros:  becomes a part of your landscaping, eliminates the spa's exterior maintenance, doesn't take up valuable patio space, equipment can be located anywhere in yard, have lower monthly utility bill costs, and generally have larger and more responsive heaters.  

Cons: higher installation and equipment costs.

Types of In-ground Spas 

Built in Cement (Gunite) - Similar to typical pool construction.

Pros: Can be any size and shape you want and can be added to blend into your existing pool if you have one.

Cons: Un-insulated, long installation time, bench style seating is not as comfortable to sit in, no therapy jet seats, lounges, or head rests, takes longer to heat and you can feel the cold cement while your sitting in it, cannot be moved, and requires resurfacing like pools.

Acrylic

Pros: Fully insulated, very comfortable to sit in, has a therapy seat & lots of jets, etc., and it can be moved and reused.

Cons: Acrylic is sun sensitive, and should be covered at all times when not in use. This tends to limit its use to a hot spa only.

     The RockSpoolTM        

 The RockSpoolTM is made from real rock that is pulverized, combined with resins, and remanufactured.  Itís color, texture, feel and wear is like that of real rock. The RockSpoolTM underneath is fiberglass reinforced for strength, and fully insulated for heating efficiency.  Itís unique combination of heat-retention and a powerful heater allows it more versatile use than any other pool or spa product on the market.  Itís five products in all in one, a refreshing cool water pool, heated pool, water feature, hot spa, and landscape centerpiece all in one. 

Pros: Fully insulated, very comfortable to sit in, has a therapy seat & plenty of jets, does not need a cover, and it is not sun sensitive like acrylics, Plus it adds a beautiful landscaping centerpiece to your yard with the therapeutic sound of the waterfall, and it can be moved and reused. 

Cons: None.

Pool & Spa Heater Type & Size Options

Electric vs. Natural Gas or Propane 

The decision of what type and size of your heater will be determined by how often you will use your spa, spa size, installation type, & budget.  Electric heaters cost less initially, but take longer to heat your spa (often 1 or 2 days initially), and cost more per month to operate. Gas heaters will cost more initially, cost less per month to operate, can heat your spa in 10 minutes, and allow you to change the temperature during your spa session. They also allow you to use the RockSpoolTM for a cool pool, heated pool, waterfall landscape centerpiece, and a hot spa, and allow you to do so within minutes of each other.

Heater Options                        Time Required to Heat 400 gallons from 40į to 100į F

Electric 6 kW = 20,500 btu/hr            7 hours (note: largest available heater in a portable spa)

Electric 11 kW = 39,300 btu/hr          4 hours

Model 50 gas = 50,000 btu/hr            3 hours

Model 125 gas = 125,000 btu/hr        1 hours

Model 265 gas = 265,000 btu/hr          25 minutes

Model 400 gas = 400,000 btu/hr          19 minutes 

Pools vs. The RockSpoolTM

Pools 

Happy owners of full sized swimming pools or play pools are the ones who really understand what a pool is, how often they will use it, what the maintenance is, and how much they cost to own. The biggest disadvantage to a pool is that for most people they don't get used as much as they thought they would. We believe the biggest reason is that the water is usually too cold. If its not comfortable, people just don't use them. No one showers or gets in the ocean much when the water is too cold.

Typical Pool Use 

Kids have a swim season of about 3 months. For adults it is usually about 6 to 8 weeks. The rest of the year it is a landscape feature in your yard. Most adults typically use a pool by floating on a raft, sitting on the steps, or sitting around the side. If you want year round use you can add a gas heating system and insulated cover at a cost of $3,000 to $5,000 initially and $200 to $300 per month. 

Pool Maintenance and Cost 

Pool pumps should be run 4 to 6 hours per day in the winter and 8 to 12 hours in the summer to keep them clean and the chemical levels evenly distributed. This adds $30 to $60 per month to your electric bill. It is smart to add your water feature to your filtration cycle pump so that while the pump is running you also have your waterfall running. Waterfalls add about $4,000 to $10,000 to the cost of your pool.           

Chemical balance should be checked every week and chemicals added as needed. Cost for chemicals runs from $20 per month in the wintertime to $60 per month in the summer. It takes about 1 hour per week to perform proper cleaning. The pool will need to be acid washed every couple years at a cost of $300 to $600 and re-plastered every 5 to 10 years at a cost of $1500 to $3,000. 

Swimming Pool Pricing Guide 

If you purchase a swimming pool from a swimming pool contractor in the winter months the following is a guide that will give you a ballpark idea of what swimming pools costs. Base price $15,000+, add $5,000+ for Pebble-Tec, $5,000+ for a waterfall, and add $7000 to add an in ground spa.  If purchased in the summer months add another 30% to this total. 

RockSpoolTM 

The RockSpoolTM makes sense to a lot of people because it combines the best parts of a pool with the best parts of a spa and waterfall in one package. It is much more affordable than trying to accomplish the same thing with traditional pool and spa construction, and has much lower monthly cost and maintenance requirements.

 

Typical RockSpoolTM Use 

            Landscape centerpiece, cold pool, heated pool, hot spa, or just the soothing sounds of the waterfall, make this the ultimate multi-use backyard relaxation center 365 days per year. It is large enough for 2 adults to float on a raft side by side, has 7 seats inside and smooth rocks for sitting around the edges.

 

RockSpoolTM Maintenance and Cost 

            The filtration pump only needs to run 30 minutes per day in the winter and 45 minutes per day in the summer. Chemical balance should be checked every week and chemicals added as needed. Cost for chemicals runs from less than $1 in the wintertime to $2 per month in the summer. It takes less than 3 minutes per week to perform proper cleaning. The RockSpoolTM never needs to be acid washed or re-plastered.

The RockSpoolTM gives you the versatility of using a beautiful landscape centerpiece that is also a cold pool, heated pool, hot spa, and a waterfall 7 days a week year round.  And the best part is, it only takes a couple of minutes per week to take care of it. No wonder the RockSpoolTM is the ultimate backyard entertainment center! 

RockSpoolTM Vs. The Rest

Features*

In-ground      RockSpool

In-ground Pools

In-ground Gunite Spa

In-ground Acrylic Spas

Above Ground Portables

Insulated

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Heating Time

26 Minutes

N/A

1 1/2 Hours

26 Minutes

5+ Hours

Contour Seating

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Rock Perimeter

Yes

Optional

Optional

No

No

Rock Waterfall

Yes

Optional

Optional

No

No

Removable

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Sun Sensitive

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

5 Feature Use

Yes

No

No**

No

No

Installation Time

5 Days

30 Days

30 Days

5 Days

1 Day

Cleaning Time

3 Minutes

1 Hour

3 Minutes

3 Minutes

3 Minutes

Price

$12,000-$25,000

$18,000-$75,000

$25,000-$50,000

$9,000-$23,000

$4,000-$20,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** Gunite (cement) draws the heat out of the water, and thus it takes approx. 1 1/2 hours to heat up in the winter. As a result, it doesnít allow for spontaneous use or changes in temperature.

* Notes about the features listed above

1) Insulated: Insulation is important if you plan to heat your spa especially in the colder months. UN-insulated spas will add 1 hour to heating time in the winter months.

2) Heating time: Heating times are calculated based upon a 265,000 BTU Natural gas or propane heater, raising 400 gallons of water 40 F 

3) Contour Seating: Contour therapy seating is very comfortable compared to traditional uncomfortable bench style seating with uncomfortable neck tile edge to lay your head on.

4) Rock Perimeter: Rock perimeter around the entire edge to give that natural look.

5) Rock Waterfall: Soothing, therapeutic sounds of flowing water over rock.

6) Removable: You can take it with you, if and when, you move if you wish.

7) Sun Sensitive: Acrylic is sun sensitive and will most likely crack from exposure to the sun if left exposed.

8) 5 feature use: Can be used as a landscape feature with the waterfall running, and switch to a cold pool, heated pool, or hot spa, within just a few minutes of each other.

9) Installation Time: Standard installation times from start to finish

10) Cleaning Time: Numbers of hours per week it takes to clean.

11) Price: This price varies based on the options that are chosen. In all cases, the RockSpoolTM offers the best value for your money. 

Compare for yourself

The RockSpoolTM gives you all of this, and for less money

1) Comfortable contoured therapeutic seating

2) Full insulation between spa & ground

3) Rock interior

4) Rock perimeter

5) Therapeutic waterfall

6) Wireless remote controls, allows full control of all equipment without getting out of the water

7) Hot Spa in only 10 minutes in the summer & 25 minutes in the winter.