What do you think of when you think about relaxing at home? Is it sinking into a bubbling hot tub, or do you picture yourself relaxing by the pool or on a nice tanning ledge? You might think you have everything. There are ways to make your dreams come true, no matter what they are.
Our team at Baltimore Swimming Pools loves not only to teach about swimming pools but also to help homeowners like you make the best choice for your family, even if that choice isn’t ours. In this article, we’ll talk about why someone might want a pool instead of a spa (or vice versa), as well as some pool and spa designs and what you can do if you want both.
Sounds like a plan? Then let’s go in, whether you hold your nose or not.
Differences between a Pool and a Spa
Both pools and spas have their own benefits, but they can also work well together. To help you choose between a pool and a spa, here are some pros and cons of each:
- More swim room
- enables activities
- Let your cool down (but can also be heated)
- Takes up more room (not as easy to accommodate for some yards)
- Depending on where you live, you may have to shut down for part of the year.
- Designed to help you relax or get better.
- Can usually be used all year in colder places.
- able to fit in yards of many different sizes.
- Higher water temperatures require more chemicals to keep up.
- Less room (built for relaxing, not swimming)
Some of the above cons could actually be pros, depending on what you want, and vice versa. How you design your pool will depend on what you want to do with it. Do you want to get lounge chairs? You would love a pool with a ledge for tanning. Do you want to get more practice diving? A diving board would have to be built into a pool in a way that meets safety standards. In a spa, they are often square or round. Both are beautiful, so the choice depends on how you want your space to look.
You can choose between a pool and a spa
Depending on the type of pool you choose, available pool and spa designs can be almost anything you can think of: small pool designs, modern rectangular pool designs, square and round spas, etc. Concrete and vinyl liner pools, for example, can be built right in your backyard and can be made in all sorts of shapes and sizes (meaning, the pool is yours to command).
But fiberglass is not the same. Fiberglass pools and spas are made in a factory from molds. The manufacturer decides how these molds look, so you can only choose from what the manufacturer has to offer. Don’t worry! Fiberglass pools have come a long way over the years and now have many features that people want, like sun shelves or tanning ledges, deep-end benches, swim lanes, and more.
When it comes to spas, you can choose from a few extras. A spillover spa is an example. You might wonder how a spillover spa works. Well, a spillover spa is basically a spa that is built so that the water flows into your pool like a waterfall. Pumps help move the water up and over the edge of the spa. This is usually used in spas that are not connected to the pool. The spillover option is a design choice that can give your pool/spa a very elegant look. But it’s important to know that with this setup, you’ll need to pull water from your pool to make the spa overflow, which will create the spillover effect. Because of this, your heater will not work as well.
In a typical spa, water is taken out of the spa, put through the heater, and then put back into the spa. Since there is less water in a spa than in a pool, it heats up faster. In a spillover spa, pumps pull the water from the pool, which is a much bigger and cooler body of water. Because the pumps pull water from the pool to create the spillover spa’s overflow, the water starts at the temperature of the pool, and the heater’s relative increase gives you water that is much colder than a recirculating system that pulls water from a spa that is already warm. In a regular spa, heating is more efficient because there is less water than in a spillover spa, which is constantly heating pool-temperature water.
In a spillover, the heat comes from the pool instead of being heated and circulated directly in the spa. The direct flow of water from the heater to the spa and back to the heater is much more efficient than the flow of water from the heater to the spa to the pool and back to the heater. This is because the water has to travel less distance to heat up. Ultimately, if you want a hot spa without heating the pool, you need either a main drain in the spa and valves to divert water away from the pool and into the spa, or a separate set of equipment just for the spa (recommended). We’ve made a helpful infographic to show the differences between heating a spillover spa and a regular spa:
You can also add more jets to make it feel more like a resort. (It’s fun to know that jets can also be added to an inground fiberglass pool!)
What is a pool/spa combo and is it a good choice for you?
We’ll answer the question that you’re probably thinking about: what do you call a pool and spa together? How do pool-spa combinations work? Pool and spa combos are pools that have a spa/hot tub already built in. When it comes to fiberglass pools, the spa is built into the pool, so the mold has both the pool and the spa in it. When your spa and pool are connected as one, they share the same filtration system. This can make maintenance easier than if your pool and spa were separate. But your maintenance costs will be higher than if you just had a pool since you’ll need more chemicals to keep it clean and more electricity to heat it up than if you just had a pool.
Does it make sense to add a spa to a pool? This is totally up to you, and it may or may not make sense for the way you want to design and run your pool. If your yard doesn’t have enough room for a separate pool and spa, you like the idea of being able to go from your pool to your spa without getting out of the water, or you like how luxurious these designs look, a pool and spa combo might be the way to go. Also, if you need to cover your pool, having the combo means you only need to use one cover instead of two, which is definitely a plus.
So, friends, that’s the story. Or at least what it’s about. So, is it worth it to put a pool (or a spa) in your backyard? We hope that this article helped you decide.
Baltimore Swimming Pools makes and puts in one-piece fiberglass inground pools for people all over the country. If you want more information about fiberglass pools and/or spas, you can talk to a Baltimore Swimming Pools dealer in your area (click the button below). Want to know more about how our pools are built and set up?