This old myth began in the industry back in the good old days when the spa equipment was located outside the spa enclosure. The entire area under the actual spa hull, or shell was filled with closed cell polyurethane foam. The insulation and heat retention of the actual spa was fantastic, but the heat generated by the motors, which is considerable, was lost to the atmosphere. If you’re looking for a brand new hot tub, swim spa, home sauna and you’re not exactly sure which one is right for you, here’s how you figure it out. Get you bathing suit out of storage and head on down to your local hot tub dealer.
Then some one got a great idea. Clear out some foam from the front area of the spa, and put the pumps and equipment in this area to retain some of the heat from the pumps. This was great! You now got to take advantage of a percentage of the heat generated from the motors which would heat the foam, the shell, and in turn the water and you still had great heat retention for the hull or shell. This was a real advancement; you even saved money on manufacturing costs because you used less of the expensive closed cell foam!
We at the Canadian spa company went even one better by putting air intakes above the motors onto injectors so when the motors were running the heat was drawn off the motors and injected directly into the water! Fantastic now you could fill the cavity with foam for maximum insulation value, protect the equipment from freeze up, and maximise the efficient use of the heat created from the pumps! Couple that with our standard 4” thick “Blizzard” cover and the result is a spa with the most efficient heat reclamation and retention system of any spa on the market. A Canadian spa company spa will maintain a temperature of up to 37 degrees with the heater disconnected, just using the heat from the motors!
To save money on construction, some manufacturers removed most or in some cases all the foam from the back of the spa shell. They came up with fancy names like “premium partial foam insulation” or “locked in perimeter heat insulation”, or “heat lock”, and through clever marketing, made nonsense of proven insulation common sense. Claims abound like “the air cavity is a better insulator” and “the heat generated from the motors heats the air cavity for better insulation”. There are nuggets of “partial truths” buried here, it is true that air is a great insulator, but only if it is trapped and pressurized into a confined area. Not if it is just wafting around, under the spa shell. After all what is “closed cell polyurethane insulation?” Just a bunch of air really, the difference is it is trapped, and compressed, into millions of tiny cells, this is why it is a superb insulator. The same thing is done with energy efficient thermo pane windows, the reason they work is because the air is vacuum sealed in-between the panes of glass, if it is not completely sealed it does not insulate well. Again a nugget of truth lies in the fact that when the pump is running and generating heat you will get a small percentage of heat from the motors transferred through the shell to the water but, what about the two thirds of the time when the pumps are not running??? After all a well insulated spa with a good filtration and purification system will only run about 6-10 hours a day. For the majority of the life of your spa it will not be running at all. Which in turn means it will not be generating heat from the motors, so all that foam your spa is missing causes the spa to loose heat up to 3 times more quickly than a fully foamed spa! Removing insulation and replacing it with air will not improve the insulation value, it just does not add up. It is nothing more than hot air. Generally the more insulation your spa has the better it will retain heat in hot tub.
Based on some of the claims you would be led to believe that reducing the insulation in your walls will increase the energy efficiency of your home because all the heat from your heating system will get trapped into the house and insulate better. Typically these obscure theories are put forth by the same “quality spa companies” that promise lifetime warranties on the shells but exclude the surface of the spa shell which is the only part likely to fail. Or offer great parts warranties but pro rate the warrantee so you pay a percentage of the repair cost. hot tubs are very essential in spa.
The real reason why some manufacturers don’t fill the entire cavity with foam? Simple; it is cheaper.
First you save on insulation and application. Second if you manufacturer a lot of leaky spas it makes it cheaper and easier to fix them in the field. At the Canadian Spa Company we feel it makes more sense to build excellent quality products that don’t leak. And spend that little bit extra to build a sound, efficient spa.
“Companies use full foam insulation to stop a thin shell from flexing”
While some manufacturers using the ABS plastic shells will use foam as a structure for the shell we don’t. In fact the Canadian Spa Company is one of the only companies using the ABS plastic shells that also use fibreglass, in conjunction with the ABS plastic, and acrylic in the construction of our spa shells. In the case of a Canadian spa company spa the ABS plastic layer is an addition to the components all of our competitors use. That is why we have the longest comprehensive warrantee in the industry; we cover our shell surfaces for a full 10 years. If you feel our competitors offer a better warrantee we will gladly substitute their warrantee for ours. In most cases this will simply mean giving you a longer coverage for the structure, which will never fail anyway, and reduce the surface coverage which is the only part that would be likely to fail in a normal fibreglass, vinyl resin, acrylic spa shell.
The way a Canadian spa company shell is supported is by a cradle constructed of marine grade 4X2’s this wooden cradle evenly spreads the weight over the base of the spa. Uprights and cross-members under the seats and lounge’s help support the weight.
“It is difficult to service the plumbing on a full foamed spa”
First of all this should be a non-issue. Properly built spas don’t leak. But even if they did why should you as a consumer sacrifice insulation value and running costs so the manufacturer can save money if they have to fix a faulty product? Be wary of companies who design their products around being able to fix leaks, this is obviously a problem they have with failures which they frequently need to address.
The other point is it would take about 20 minutes more to repair a leak on a foam filled spa. That is about the time it would take to remove the foam and replace it. A small penalty to pay to do a job right!
“You should put your spa on the lawn, or anywhere that is flat”
You can do this with any well built spa. Providing it is flat and level there will be no problem. Most honest companies recommend a base of patio stones, or gravel, or interlocking stones or concrete. This has nothing to do with the strength of the spa. If you put your spa on a surface that has not been prepared properly, the several tons of weight of the spa and water will cause the ground beneath it to settle. This will almost never happen uniformly. One side will inevitably settle lower than the others. Then the spa is out of level and the water is higher at one end than the other. It won’t hurt the spa, but it will not look very good.
Besides why cut the corner and do a half way job? Put your spa on properly fitted patio stones or tamped gravel or concrete and it will stay level and look great for ever.
“We guarantee your operating costs will not be above £…..”
Anyone willing to put this guarantee into writing will have to have a Solicitor write up a substantial agreement with exclusions and clauses. Simply put spas do not cost much at all to run if left covered and hot.
The cost of running a spa is directly related to usage. No matter which spa you own, no matter how well built, once you remove the cover from any spa they are all exactly the same, because you expose the surface of the water to the cool outside air. The heat loss off the exposed surface of the water is hundreds of times more than the heat loss from the worst insulated spa.
The fact is the usage will determine the running cost. What we can guarantee you is this: “a Canadian spa company spa will outperform any spa on the market with like components with regards to running costs.” The average spa will consume around £8.00-£12.00 a month averaged over the year.
There are more myths, misconceptions, and outright misinformation in the spa industry than you can shake a stick at. There is so much hot air that the Arctic glaciers are in danger of melting. Use common sense and trust the leaders in the industry. We have over 20 years experience in the spa industry!
Canadian Spa Company… great products that consistently outperform everything else on the market, service that is reliable and efficient, and knowledgeable support staff. Don’t accept less than the best.