Hot Tub Water Features… the upsides and downsides!
Over the years, some of my customers have elected to add some type of water feature to their spa, hot tub or plunge pool projects. These types of features are perfect compliments to a hot tub or plunge pool, they add ambiance, a little extra class, soothing water flow sounds and they can be colorful if LED lights are added. Some common types of water features are, waterfalls, rainwalls, deck jets and bubblers.
I want to cover some of the more important pluses and minuses of these features. Things you may not think about when planning to add a water feature to your project. One of the first things I get asked is, “how much does it cost to add a water feature”? My answer is typically, as little as a couple hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars or more, no rules and no limits for a water feature.
Some of the common variables that contribute to the cost of a water feature are size, type of water flow, lighting, pump requirements and how will you control the functions of your water feature. Another important aspect of a water feature to consider is the climate area you live in and will the water vessel that water is being pulled from and spilled into going to be used year round. For warm climate areas these are less concerns to deal with opposed to those of us up in the northern climate areas.
In a cold climate area where water can freeze, water features need to be drained down and isolated for the winter months. This way the hot tub or other water vessel that water spills into can continue to be run if you choose to do so. It’s also a good idea to remove a water feature pump and store it indoors during the winter months. Keep that in mind when you set up your water feature, make the pump removable.
There are a number of over the counter waterfall fixtures you can buy for your project, but you’ll quickly find that they can get very expensive. What you may not know is that there are some waterfall fixtures that are actually quite easy to make yourself using common PVC pipe and fittings. My spa building information package gives you a free bonus book where I show you how to make a rainwall feature. Your fixture can be 12” wide, 18”, 24”, 30” etc… whatever you want it to be. It can be PVC pipe with a series of holes creating a rain wall effect or a slotted pipe creating a shear water fall or anything else you can think up.
One thing that I always advise my customers to do is run a water feature on its own supply/return lines and run it on a dedicated pump. This gives you more control over the feature, rather than having in run anytime a filter pump or jet pump is running.
In cold climate areas you won’t want this feature running when temperatures could freeze in the water lines. One thing you need to understand is that when a water feature takes water from you hot tub or plunge pool that water gets cooled off faster than the water body itself. The net effect is that if the air temperature is cooler than the water temperature, you’ll be losing more heat from the main body of water. You’ll increase the cost of heating the water body, (if you are heating it) and in the case of a hot tub you will likely be heating the water.
There are several ways to construct a water feature. One way is to place it near or next to a hot tub or plunge pool where the water feature has its own reservoir that water is circulated from. This eliminates the loss of heat from the main body of water. And, because it is a separate water body, it will function independently with it’s on pump and controller. This works out great for cold climate customers because it can be shut down and drained for the winter and you can still have a functioning hot tub.
Another issue to overcome with a water feature used with a hot tub is how are you going to cover the hot tub when not in use. The water feature may prevent you from using standard type covers and force you to have a more expensive custom cover made, things you need to think about. You can see this with the featured water fall photo at the top of the page.
All and all these features are really cool additions to a spa or hot tub. Just take a little time to weigh the pros and cons of doing one of these features so that what you build enhances your project without taking anything away from it. Here are a few very nice examples.
So, isn’t it time we help you build a hot tub, spa, plunge pool, cocktail pool, party pool or swimspa in your backyard? You can get everything you need to know on how to do it, right from my website and from me, “your personal spa building coach”
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Custom Built Spas