What is the best swim spa for cold climates and countries like Canada’s?
Swim spas have been around for more than 30 years now, but to many people they are still a new item. When they are discovered, many people can’t stop asking questions, especially if they live in a cold weather country.
Making sure your swim spa can handle cold weather is part of any responsible buying process, and we understand why so many people ask about cold weather capabilities. For many people, questions come up such as:
- Can you use a swim spa in the winter?
- Which is the best swim spa for cold climates?
- What should I look for in a good swim spa for cold weather?
- Do swim spas cost a lot to run in the winter?
We get asked questions like this a lot at our showrooms and retail outlets around the world. We sell in cold countries globally, in cold weather and in warm countries.
We wrote this article so you could have a sense of what a swim spa can do in the winter, how much it costs, and so you would know what to shop for when trying to purchase a quality winter swim spa.
What is the best swim spa for cold climates?
We know there are quality swim spa makers out there. We wrote an entire article going over the major companies that make swim spas for Canada, from Endless Pools to Artic to Master Spas and Coast, to show you the options you have available to you. You can read it here. What is best will depend on what your priorities are and what you’re looking for.
What do I look for when shopping for a cold-weather swim spa?
Here’s our advice on what to look for:
- A network of retailers: If you’re buying a swim spa, especially for the first time, a local retailer can offer you support if you ever run into trouble with your swim spa in the winter. The last thing you need is water leaking in the winter and not knowing who to call in the middle of December.
- A commitment to insulation: Insulation is a key factor in how your swim spa is built. It’s boring, we know, and not many people even ask about it. But you should feel convinced that your swim spa has been insulated in a way that will stand up to cold weather. If you don’t feel that way, keep shopping, because some companies put a big priority on this element.
- Where it is manufactured: Some companies build “cold weather” versions of their hot tubs and swim spas and offer extra insulation as an option. Some build their swim spas for the coldest possible conditions and sell them everywhere. In general, we find that swim spa companies put a priority on their home markets first. If they didn’t, they never would have grown to become big companies, after all.
We know we are biased here, because we make our swim spas in Canada and have for decades and they are built for Canadian winters. We make all of our swim spas in Mississauga in Canada, where our home office is located. We have been in the hot tub business for 40 years and have been selling swim spas since the 1980s. So if our swim spas couldn’t handle Canadian winters, we’d be out of business by now. If you want to read more about our swim spas, click here.
Can a swim spa be used in cold weather?
Yes. Swim spas are built with motors inside that keep the water moving with circulation pumps. They also feature heating pumps that keep your water warm. Lastly, swim spas are insulated so heat generated is kept within the swim spa, and covers are kept on them all winter (except when in use) which further adds to their energy efficiency. A below-ground pool doesn’t have insulation and the size of the water body makes heating one all winter an overly expensive proposition.
What is the cost of using a swim spa in the winter?
On average over the year, we find a swim costs about $110 a month to run. That amount will drop in the summer as the weather warms, and increase in the winter when it cools. How much does it go up in the winter? We have had some people say it costs up to $100 and some say less than $30. So much depends on how much you use it, your type of cover and the ambient temperature, as well as local power costs. For the total cost of a swim spa, click here, while for the monthly costs, click here.
What temperature should your swim spa be in the winter?
You get to choose this one! This will depend on how you’re using your swim spa. If you’d like to treat it as a hot tub, then you may want to set it at 102F and leave it there. If you want to swim in it, we find that most people find 88F to 90F can be comfortable, which is a little warmer than you likely will want to set it in the summer, where some people swim in water as low as 72F. “90 would be the lowest where I feel comfortable,” said Canadian triathlete Jodie Becker, who owns a 14-foot Hydropool Aquatic Trainer.
Can a swim spa freeze?
Yes. You actually have a greater chance of dealing with freezing issues if you try and drain your swim spa before winter. Any water left in the pipes can potentially freeze and expand within the pipes, creating leaks. That’s why we recommend keeping your swim spa running all winter, so that the water can circulate and stay warm. The cost is minimal at this point. Like your hot water heater, keeping water warm can be done with a relatively small amount of heat once it is at a set temperature.
Can I go away and leave my swim spa in the winter?
Yes. People do all the time. Because the water continually circulates, you don’t need to worry about any issues. If this is a priority for you, look for a swim spa that can be monitored through an app from a distance. That way you’re able to check in on the status of your swim spa any time you want, from wherever you are in the world.
What is the best cold winter swim spa for me?
We wrote this article as a guide to what most people ask about swim spas in the winter. We have been making swim spas in Canada for decades, and we’re used to people asking about how swim spas are able to function each winter, which models are better than others, and how much they cost each winter to operate. We know these are key questions for anyone making a purchase, and we wanted to answer them in the most thorough, unbiased way possible.
Jon Filson is the senior content manager at Hydropool Swim Spas and Hot Tubs.