Commercial Versus Residential Spas: Understanding The Differences Between Two Similar Products

Traditionally, commercial spas were installed in hotels, recreational facilities, and fitness centres; however, over the past several years, the industry has seen condominium developments flourish, and along with this, so too has the demand for commercial spas. Photo courtesy Coast Spas Inc.

By Richard Hall

Commercial spas have increased in popularity over the years, primarily due to three significant changes. First, because they fit into certain applications where concrete or tiled spas do not meet the customer’s criteria or location requirements; second, residential spas are not deemed acceptable, primarily due to the different design properties of the various engineering firms responsible for specifying spas; and third, updated municipal, provincial, and federal health and building codes—along with new industry standards—have contributed to the shift toward specially designed, constructed, and engineered units.

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Modern Hot Tubs—Efficiency Redefined: Understanding Energy Consumption

By Vic Walker

To raise the temperature in a hot tub containing 1,552 L (410 gal) of water by one degree it takes 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity.
Therefore, a 1-kW heater will take one hour to raise the temperature, while a 4-kW heater will accomplish this task in 15 minutes. A larger heater does not use more energy to heat the water, it just heats it faster.
Higher voltage does not mean more energy use, either. Watts (W) or kilowatts (kW) equals voltage times amperage. For example, a 1-kW heater at 110 V uses 9 amps, whereas a 1-kW heater at 220 V uses 4.5 amps. Therefore, both 110- and 220-V heaters use the same amount of electricity to heat the water.

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Modern Hot Tubs—Efficiency Redefined: Green Manufacturing Processes

By Vic Walker

In today’s hot tub manufacturing environment, many improvements have come through the experience of other industries. For instance, the automobile manufacturing industry has proven the effectiveness of programs such as Lean,2 Just In Time3 (JIT), Kaizen4 (Japanese for ‘improvement’ or ‘change for the better’), and the International Organization for Standardization5 (ISO).
Many hot tub manufacturers are adopting these new techniques as ways to improve product work flow, manage inventory, and improve product quality. These programs are also important in reducing manufacturing waste.
Continuous improvement programs can deliver green manufacturing results through the very essence of Lean, which is waste reduction. In a quest to reduce operational waste on all fronts, the byproduct has always been reduced environmental waste. In fact, in the last few years, many companies have reduced manufacturing cycle times, process variability, and inefficiencies in all areas.

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Modern Hot Tubs—Efficiency Redefined: New Materials And Design Elements

Many hot tubs are sprayed with polyurethane foam, which fills any voids in and around the plumbing. Photo courtesy Dimension One Spas

By Vic Walker

Everyone understands the need for insulation; most homes built today have adequate insulation and meet the requirements and guidelines of California Energy Code (Title 24), The Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Non-residential Buildings. However, not thought about as often are the plethora of appliances consumers have in their home and the insulation systems they use.
From the wall-mounted oven or dishwasher to the side-by-side refrigerator, insulation either keeps the heat in or out. In fact, most people are surprised to learn that modern hot tubs use the same basic techniques and materials of a typical refrigerator.

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Modern Hot Tubs—Efficiency Redefined: What Makes Today’s Hot Tubs More Efficient?

A key area that has helped hot tubs become more energy efficient is component design. Photo courtesy Dimension One Spas

By Vic Walker

A key area that has helped hot tubs become more energy efficient is component design. While all hot tubs basically use the same components (e.g. hydraulic pumps, heaters, light-emitting diode [LED] lighting, insulation, and reinforcement systems, etc.), it is the combination of all these (or some) that help the modern hot tub attain an energy-efficient design.
While most hot tub manufacturers do not design their own components, they work closely with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that specialize in component design unique to the hot tub environment.
As energy efficiency is always top of mind for most consumers, OEMs have focused on new and improved designs for hot tub manufacturers to utilize in their designs to help lower energy consumption and cost of ownership.

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