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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

We Took a Tour of the Swim Spa Factory in Clearwater - Spa Manufacturers

This swim spa is about 8 feet by 16 feet by 4 feet. The bowl is made of acrylic - then it is covered with several coats of fiberglass.

When we lived in Tamaqua PA - we had a small hot tub on our back porch. Lulu loved it because even in the winter - she would have hen parties in it. For hours they would sit in the 100 degree water  - have a little wine - and gossip in their "way too loud" voices to overcome the noise of the bubbles. Neighbors would open their windows to listen to the latest news. Today - it would be all over the net.

Our tub was small and you could not do much swimming in it - but it could be used the entire year. Because it was insulated and also it only held 200 gallons - it was inexpensive to operate. 

I had heard of this company called Spa Manufacturers in Clearwater that made something called a swim spa. It is essentially a long hot tub. On one end it has all the massage jets of a regular hot tub. On the other end is a pump that produces a very strong current. The current is so strong that you can swim in place and never touch the sides. It is an endless pool - no need to touch the sides or turn around - you just keep going and going. You can adjust the pump to any speed. 

While a regular hot tub may only have 200 gallons in it - this one is 4 feet deep and holds 1200 gallons. But it has many features a regular pool does not have. Our pool holds 20,000 gallons - it would cost a fortune to keep it heated all year around. Even here in Florida we close our pools down from October to April - we get 6 months of use it of them. 

The swim spa has a insulated cover - it also has foam insulation under it to keep the water warm. The swim spa is portable. You just need a flat pad for it - it is delivered by truck. You plug it in and fill it with a hose. 

In Florida - having a pool is not a good selling point for many houses. Some people do not want to care for a pool - there is a flourishing business here of making pools go away. With a Swim Spa - you can sell it on Craigslist - and it is gone in 60 seconds. 

The cost of installing a regular pool can easily hit $50,000. This unit retails for about $10,000 to $12,000.

Spa Manufacturers has been building Swim Spas on site for 30 years. All the materials and parts are American made. Meg Baker gave us the VIP tour of the place. 

One end is a swim spa - the other end a hot tub with jets.

They heat a sheet of acrylic in the oven - then press it into the mold.

This one just came out of the oven.

They have several different molds in the stock yard.

This one has all the jets installed.

This is another empty mold. They use propane for the ovens.

A sheet of acrylic cost $1500 - they must buy them by stacks of 20.

The sheets are about ¼ inch thick. They then apply several coats of fiberglass and resins for strength

This one was sold - although it had a blemish in the corner. 

Carol and Marylou enjoyed the tour with me. Ironically - our old hot tub is on their porch now - and is still being used. 

If you have a sore back or shoulder these jets of 100 degree water would be great to loosen the muscles. As people get older - they like swimming in warmer water. When we have parties - very few people want to swim in cold water. 

You control the temperature digitally. Push buttons control power and speed of the jets and the swim current. 

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