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JeremyNzl
310 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #2504743 15-Jun-2020 08:53
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stone2: Does anyone know anything about Alpine Spa's? They look quite good and reasonably priced.

 

 

 

Hi,

 

 

 

We purchased an Apline spa, Arctic Platinum 2.3m square 1300L last year. 15k, speakers,lights,upgraded insulation 6kw heater, 99ish jets, ozone, uv,wifi control, named components as opposed to generic. 

 

 

 

I was going to buy second hand but figured buy once cry once. I had a jet and pump fail within 1 month , full replacement of components with no hassle from Manufacturer. 

 

I have no issues aside from the above mentioned. One thing I found if buying new, every month there are sale of sales with a timeout. but next month pretty much the same heavy discounts are out there. 

 

I run bromine, 3 tabs a week on the 1300L spa, Only thing I wish i had was the salt system which may be better, as $$ allow I will do an aftermarket conversion.

 

 

 

I choose the model I did due to max water circulation for the jets 3x3hp pumps, u cant get that kind of performance from a 10amp spa. 

 

If $$ is a concern , the full foam 10amp jobs will be cheaper to own but are more of a hot tub than a massage spa. 

 

Would I buy another of this brand yes. with free shipping to local Mainfreight yard I collected and installed. 

 

 

 

Hope that helps, happy to answer specific questions

 

 


hsvhel
614 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2504803 15-Jun-2020 10:02
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JeremyNzl:

 

stone2: Does anyone know anything about Alpine Spa's? They look quite good and reasonably priced.

 

 

 

Hi,

 

 

 

We purchased an Apline spa, Arctic Platinum 2.3m square 1300L last year. 15k, speakers,lights,upgraded insulation 6kw heater, 99ish jets, ozone, uv,wifi control, named components as opposed to generic. 

 

 

 

I was going to buy second hand but figured buy once cry once. I had a jet and pump fail within 1 month , full replacement of components with no hassle from Manufacturer. 

 

I have no issues aside from the above mentioned. One thing I found if buying new, every month there are sale of sales with a timeout. but next month pretty much the same heavy discounts are out there. 

 

I run bromine, 3 tabs a week on the 1300L spa, Only thing I wish i had was the salt system which may be better, as $$ allow I will do an aftermarket conversion.

 

 

 

I choose the model I did due to max water circulation for the jets 3x3hp pumps, u cant get that kind of performance from a 10amp spa. 

 

If $$ is a concern , the full foam 10amp jobs will be cheaper to own but are more of a hot tub than a massage spa. 

 

Would I buy another of this brand yes. with free shipping to local Mainfreight yard I collected and installed. 

 

 

 

Hope that helps, happy to answer specific questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you find the Bromine over Chlorine? been looking at the simple silver solution but it takes up a bit of real estate


 
 
 
 


MikeB4
15555 posts

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  #2504822 15-Jun-2020 10:39
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@hsvhel We have been using Bromine tablets in our Spa for a few years now and we have not experienced any issues with them. Just drop a tablet in the filter holder every few days. No messy powders, no measuring and the pool does not get that fine gritty feeling that chlorine powder can cause. Still need to shock dose weekly depending on use.

 

We have also found that when we flush the filter there is not the milky powder coming off that we used to get with chlorine. Also swim suits if you wear them in the pool last a lot longer.


jonb
1572 posts

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  #2504826 15-Jun-2020 10:46
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Does anyone have experiencec with an inflatable spa, like the $700 container door ones?


hsvhel
614 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2504910 15-Jun-2020 11:06
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@MikeB4, i understand what you mean with the grit. Will look into this further as a better solution to the powder.

 

 


JeremyNzl
310 posts

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  #2504973 15-Jun-2020 12:14
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MikeB4:

 

@hsvhel We have been using Bromine tablets in our Spa for a few years now and we have not experienced any issues with them. Just drop a tablet in the filter holder every few days. No messy powders, no measuring and the pool does not get that fine gritty feeling that chlorine powder can cause. Still need to shock dose weekly depending on use.

 

We have also found that when we flush the filter there is not the milky powder coming off that we used to get with chlorine. Also swim suits if you wear them in the pool last a lot longer.

 

 

 

 

I also find the bromine hassle free, I chuck 3 tabs in the filterbasket (its open to the main pool) once a week, and it works well, when I fill the spa with fresh water I smash an extra one up so it breaks down faster to get the level established, If your filter basket is not open to the pool you need a floating dispenser so non nominal ph water doesnt wear the pumps or heating element components  

 

Chlorine was affecting my skin so that why we changed, 


apm45
51 posts

Master Geek


  #2505079 15-Jun-2020 14:41
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We bought an Alpine Artesian Spa in October 2019.

Alpine Spas seemed the best 'bang for buck' deal. We looked at some cheaper models, and also higher' end like Hotspring and Sundance. We wanted a quality spa with good insultation, water treatment and components, but just couldn’t justify the higher price for Hotspring and Sundance. I do note that those brands have been around a long time, and seem to keep value well if you look at what second hand spas are selling for. Alpine Spas are a bit like Briscoes - don’t buy anything if it isn't on sale, because it will be the next week.

Overall we've had the spa for about 8 months, used it most evenings, and are happy with it. We haven't had a spa before, so not sure if paying a bit more has improved the user experience.

Here are some answers to your questions, plus a few more thoughts.

1. What to expect to pay fitted less any paving, decking etc

We dug out a section of out lawn, installed some timber boxing to form a 2.5m square frame, then placed a trailer load of gravel and compacted it inside the frame. This has worked well, although do put down weedmat under the gravel to stop weeds growing up through the gravel.
The spa was delivered free to our local Mainfreight depot, and I arranged a local transport company with a hiab to pick it up and deliver it to our house. The hiab has about a 20m reach so can get most places, but you'd need to check for your specific situation.
Total cost was:
Gravel $20 for 800kg
Timber framing $50
Compactor hire from Bunnings $60
Hiab install $120
Electrician to hard wire $400 (we already had the circuit run when we did a switchboard upgrade previously)
Total $650 for installation.

2. How often to you use it so I can understand the 'pay back' or value for money

We use it almost every night (weather dependent)

3. Did you feel the cost would also add value to your house

This wasn’t really a consideration for us - we would likely take it with us if we move, but I do think that if you installed it in a nicely landscaped area it would add to the appeal for potential buyers. Whether this results in a higher price I don’t know, but certainly provides a point of difference.

4. What to pay attention to e.g. pumping, power use, what determines a good one

I would definitely recommend a spa with a dedicated circulation pump. This means that for the filter cycles the jets aren't running full time. This saves money, reduces wear on the jet pump, and most importantly is a lot quieter. Another key difference between different makes and models is the water treatment system. More on this below.

5. Any recommendations on brand and installers

Our experience with Alpine was generally positive. I've given some reasons above why we went with them. We talked to them a few times on the phone, and actually drove from Dunedin to Christchurch to have a closer look at some models. They didn’t always have answers to our questions, but were as good as anyone.


Some other thoughts:

Water treatment:
The Spa has the Ultrazone system, which is a combined Ozone and UV treatment of the water. You still need chemicals, just less of them. We use a Nature2 spa stick which sits in the filter, and then a 2 tablespoon dose of chlorine once a week as a shock treatment. If you don’t use the Nature2 stick, you are supposed to use a tsp of chlorine each night for each person that uses it. We have found this system works ok, although sometimes we need to use the chlorine after 5 or 6 days, as you can feel the water quality changing. The Nature2 stick lasts 4 months, and you need to replace all the water at that time.
You are also supposed to take out the filters and hose them down once a week.

Filling / drainage:
Wherever you put the spa you need to be able to reach with a hose to fill it. To drain it there is a socket at the base of the spa you can plug a hose in to direct the flow to the nearest drain.

Power usage:
We live in Dunedin, so relatively cool climate. Our power bill has increased by $20-$30 per week since we got the spa. Closer to $20 in summer, but more like $30 in winter. It is starting to get cold now, so will see if that goes up any further. Don’t believe anyone who says $1 per day - more like triple that. And we got a model with full foam insulation - the cheaper models don’t have that. I don’t know what impact the extra insultation has on energy cost. No matter what you do, keeping 1300 litres of water at 38 degrees 24/7 isn't cheap!
You will probably need a new circuit run to the switchboard, for up to 40 amps (depending on model)

Reliability:
When we first filled it once of the pumps didn’t work, so Alpine sent out a local contractor to check it out - turned out there was just an air lock in the system. They were very good at sorting that out quickly (no cost to me) and the guy also showed me how to fix it myself, so when it happened again next time I filled it I knew what to do.

Other costs you need to consider:
There are regular costs you should allow for, and these weren't all spelled out very well in my conversations with the salespeople.
Chlorine: $20 / kg, lasts about 6 months.
Nature 2 stick: $60, lasts 4 months
Filters: need cleaning solution to soak $25, estimate 6 monthly
Filters: need replacing annually, for the Artesian spas this is $200 for the two filers
UV bulb: $200 lasts 18 months- 2 years

So all that adds to up around $500-$600 per year.

Cover lifter:
A cover lifter makes life SO much easier. My wife would struggle to manhandle the cover off or on by herself, but with the cover lifter it is an easy one-person job. It also means the cover doesn’t get dirty or scraped on the ground. We haggled to get one included for free with the spa.

Controls:
The control system is ok, but a bit basic. Changing colours for the lights in particularly is a fairly painful process. While I'm on lights, the quality of the LCD lights is a bit average - you can see each of the 3 different colour LCDs in each light, which feels a bit cheap to me.

Jets:
We probably spend 80% to 90% of our time soaking, without the jets on, but it is nice to have powerful jets when you do feel like a massage. I am not particularly impressed with the jet placement on our model - works ok but you need to wriggle about a bit to find the best spot, and placement just doesn’t feel quite right. Our course it might depend on your body shape/size.
Ours has 2 pumps for the jets, but it turns out that 1 pump does 4 seats, and the other pump does 1 seat. For the 4 seats, there is a diverter so the air flow can be directed to 2 of the seats at a time if desired, but it just seems a bit weird that it was set up that way. It would be worth asking the salesperson how the jet control / pumps work for the models you are considering.

Well done if you've read all that. Hope it helps.

 
 
 
 


xlinknz
997 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #2505319 15-Jun-2020 19:41
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I started looking today (we are Wellington) has anyone had experience or can comment on UnWind or TruForm spas? (2 brands we eye balled today)

 

     

  1. What are the advantages of more than one pump, I see some have a smaller pump for circulation and the more powerful one for the Jets (what I call noisy mode) but if not using the Jets a lot are multiple pumps quieter as I assume the single pump units simply run at less hp when only circulating?
  2. How does one determine whether a unit has good insulation, is that simply the thickness of the shell?
  3. Does it require to be on a concrete poured pad or would concrete pavers on (level) grass suffice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


dangergadget
4 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2505692 16-Jun-2020 11:57
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Some learnings from our spa install - a 5-6 person spa sensations synergy 28 in 2016:

 

  • If its next to a retaining wall seek geotechnical advice as the extra tonne or more will load up the wall. Ours advised to put in long timber piles underneath and pour a slab on top so the weight goes to those piles.
  • We placed ours on 50mm of polystyrene sheet for insulation and sound reduction.  It seems to work a treat. There’s maybe a few mm max of compression in the sheet after 5 years, and it helps keep the plywood frame at the bottom dry and well drained.
  • Spa was sold as insulated, but this meant say just 30-40mm of foam on the inside.  We got a pack of polyester insulation from Bunnings and stuffed the inside cavity of the spa with that. Can’t find the records but I think it dropped power usage by about 30-40% or more. Took about 2 hours to put in.
  • Power usage depends on the difference between spa and ambient, but in winter I measured 8.6kwh/day of heat and pump, after the insulation.
  • I did the 30 metre wiring run to the spa (part underground), then paid a sparkie to wire it to a new RCBO to the mains board, test and certify it.  Make sure you follow all the requirements of AS 3000 .. outlet needs to be up and away from the spa to comply.  Probably saved thousands doing this and it was pretty easy.
  • Put it so you can drain it to a sewer, or get a waste pump to do that job.  Draining a spa that you’ve put pipe cleaner (benzalkonium chloride) into your garden will almost kill your punga trees speaking from experience, don’t do that. 
  • I got a quote to add a Davey spa timer and it was $180 or something. I reverse engineered the terminals and added a time switch from eBay for $8, and it works great - gets the spa only heating on the cheap night power (which we get through an EV plan). A side effect is that the sanitation seems better as it gets a good 1.5 hour solid pump/ozone in the evenings.  Can press the pump button to get it heating earlier no worries. 
  • Ours doesn’t have a separate circulation pump, just a two speed main pump.  This seems to fine, and is very quiet - quieter than the neighbours heat pumps in low speed.  I’m sure a circulation pump would be quieter/lower power again but more complicated.
  • We tried ‘magic spa‘ treatment and it didn’t work at all for us. They say you still need to shock, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the shock was the only thing doing sanitation.  Two incidents of folliculitis was more than enough to change to a robust, proven solution.
  • Have settled on a routine of adding boric acid for buffering/silkiness, then a bit of stabilised chlorine to the 30ppm limit, then using liquid chlorine from a syringe every day or two.  It’s maybe about the cheapest way to keep a spa sanitised. $32 for 12.5 litres from Bunnings.   Ph seems pretty stable too, it doesn’t need much acid.  We’ve kept the water crystal clean for as long as 9 months between changes (probably a bit long but hey).  Note Liquid chlorine loses its mojo over time. Recommend reading the posts by Nitro on the pool and spa forums.
  • I’d still love an automated chlorine system that pumps chlorine, or maybe a saltwater chlorine system.  Can’t understand how this isn’t more of a thing. Spa chemical maintenance is a pain.  Have wanted to set up one with peristaltic pumps and a raspberry pi and redox sensor but then had kids and now have 0 time.

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