About outdoor spas and swim spas

Bathing for wellness is not a new thing

Ever since mankind has been able to take advantage of his surroundings, we have been looking for opportunities to take advantage of the water’s soothing and healing properties. Mineral-rich water, natural warm water and seawater have attracted people seeking pain relief and a cure for various ailments.

In this post we have compiled everything worth knowing about the history of using water for relaxation and healing, modern outdoor spas, swim spas, hot tubs and much more!

From primitive tubs to modern spas
Bathing played a major role in Roman culture and everyday life

All throughout Europe we see remnants of Roman bathing culture. The Greeks, the Chinese, the Japanese, pretty much all cultures have had different bathing customs that involved natural or manufactured “bath tubs”.

The Romans had a well-developed bathing culture with wellness and healing in mind.

During the 18th century, interest in hydrotherapy (treating diseases with water), and thus the development of new types of baths increased.

Spas, as we know them today, have mainly been developed after World War II. With the introduction of fiberglass and acrylic tubs, outdoor spas and swim spas have become affordable.

Outdoor spas are becoming more and more popular, and in the US and Canada outdoor spas are being developed in extremely luxurious versions.

Nordkap Living’s models are constructed to fulfill the Scandinavian desire for a simple, functional design with clean lines and few clear colors.

There is no unnecessary electronic equipment such as radio, TV, DVD or telephone (except radio in a few models). However, electronics can be purchased separately.

Enjoyment, well-being, and togetherness

Social bathing still plays a huge part in modern cultures

In Scandinavia we appreciate the life-giving effect of hot water on body and soul.

The company of family and friends is a major reason for the popularity and spread of spas and hot tubs.

Outdoor spas are enjoyed all year round, and, unlike swimming pools, they are especially popular during the winter months.

Nordkap Living offer a large number of different outdoor spas. Common to them all is that they are stock items that can be delivered quickly.

Modern spas come with a lot of options

A modern outdoor spa can be expanded in many ways for even more comfort.

You can for example connect the outdoor spa to your home network so you are able control the spa from your smartphone, either directly via wifi or via the internet if you are not at home.

There’s almost unlimited options in some modern spas

Tired of having to remember to refill water?

The automatic water filling system ensures that the water is always at the ideal level. Most people choose to refill through the spa’s pipe system, but a magnetically controlled tap can also be fitted over the tub.

Automatic water filling, chlorine dispenser, automatic draining, drain hose and more make it easy for landlords of, for example, holiday homes with outdoor spas, to maintain the water quality or replace the water quickly and conveniently.

Do you want to use your spa for exceptionally good skincare?

The spa can be upgraded with MicroSilk®, which transforms your outdoor spa into an advanced hydrotherapy system.

MicroSilk® fills the water with billions of microscopic air bubbles used for skincare. The bubbles are small enough to penetrate the skin and do great good.

MicroSilk provides extraordinary skincare in your spa

Unlike “normal” air massage, MicroSilk® does not cool the water, so your muscles still get the benefits from the hot water. However, you must choose between MicroSilk® or water massage, as they cannot be used at the same time. The powerful jets from the massage jets would immediately whip the air out of the water again.

Microsilk® is a comprehensive technology and is only sold with a new outdoor spa.

These are just some of the many options, modern outdoor spas offer. See the section “What is in our outdoor spas?” for a thorough look at what you get, when you buy an outdoor spa from Nordkap Living!

Not all spas are the same - but some things are similar

A modern outdoor spa is made of fiberglass and acrylic. These are durable materials that can be shaped almost as you like using molds. It also allows you to quickly and easily produce tight tubs.

Regardless of model and manufacturer, some things are always found in proper outdoor spas.

Display

The display is the “brain” of an outdoor spa. From here the pumps, the temperature and the various maintenance programs are controlled to ensure water quality and prevent frost blasting. Nordkap Living use American Balboa controls, which are among the best in the world.

Nozzles

A nozzle is fitted at the end of the hose that carries water from the jet pump back to the tub and powers the massaging water jets. Some nozzles can be directionally adjusted, as the inner part is rotatable. At the same time these nozzles have a strength setting that is operated by turning the ring that sits at the front. The middle nozzles cannot be set individually. At most outdoor spas it is possible to adjust the nozzle groups by means of one or more buttons on the edge of the tub.

Filters

One or more filters help keep the water clean.

There are several types of filters. Nordkap Living use lamella filters and micro-membrane filters. The difference is found in the structure and density of the membrane used for the filtration.

These filters remove dirt from the water and must be rinsed out or cleaned regularly. They should be replaced when they can no longer be cleaned. Filters are consumables and have a limited service life. For cleaning filters, Nordkap Living sell Filter Cleaners.

Filter No. 2 is an extra fine filter that collects even very small particles in the water. It is available as standard as a third filter in some of Nordkap Living’s outdoor spas, where the other two are lamella filters. Due to its fine-meshed filter membrane, Filter No. 2 has a shorter service life, and unlike the lamella filter, it cannot be cleaned with Filter Clean. Filter no. 2 can be replaced with Filter No. 1, which is a lamella filter.

An effective way to keep the filters clean without reducing the time the spa is available is to buy an extra set of filters and clean the dirty set in a bucket.

Jet pump

One or more jet pumps provide the powerful water flow in the massage jets. The jet pump is the most powerful pump in a spa.

Therapeutic light

Some spas are equipped with “therapeutic light”. The purpose of the color changing light is to create a calming effect.

Why are spas from Nordkap Living superior to the competition?

Nordkap Living have very high standards regarding the outdoor spas and swim spas we sell. Not only does the product have to live up to the requirements for electricity and product safety set by the EU and Denmark – we have internal quality requirements that must be complied with. In addition, all spas are tested before being shipped to the customer, which is why the pipes and hoses may contain water when the product is delivered.

American Balboa is a well respected manufacturer of technology for spas

American controls

Americans have the greatest experience in manufacturing modern hot tubs. That is why Nordkap Living has chosen to use controls and electronics from American Balboa, which is one of the world’s largest and most skilled manufacturers in this field. It ensures durable and capable control as well as reliable pumps and heaters.

To keep the prices competitive, Nordkap Living use only a few different models of this control. For example, this means you may have a spa with two sets of nozzles but still have a “Jets3” button. In this case, the button has no function, as there is no third set of nozzles to control.

Balboa outdoor spa heaters have also proven to be a good investment. They are reliable, high-performance and durable.

Frost protection

Balboa electronics and components come with frost protection. Via the control panel, the spa can be set to frost protection. If you choose to empty the hot tub during times of frost, make sure there is no water in the hoses, heater and pumps. This can be done by blowing them empty of water with a compressor. However, it is best to set the control to frost-proof on the tub.

Nozzles with stainless steel jacket

Nozzles with steel caps er more durable than chrome-plated plastic caps

Stainless steel casing gives an exclusive look and significantly better durability. They are easier to keep clean and the surface does not get the same worn out look that “chrome-plated” plastic covers tend to get.

Steel-encapsulated nozzles provide longer service life.

The Ozonator helps fight bacteria and algae in the spa

Ozonator

Nordkap Living’s outdoor spas are equipped with an Ozonator, which is a small device that converts oxygen into the gas ozone. Ozone is then discharged into the water through the internal water system where it helps to kill bacteria.

Note that the Ozonator cannot stand alone in the fight against the bacteria. Chemical treatment of the water to maintain a healthy and hygienic water quality is necessary, and in the case of publicly available spas (rental cottages, etc.) legally required.

An Ozonator has a limited lifespan and is considered a wear part that needs to be replaced. The service life depends on the use of the spa.

Circulation pump

A circulation pump keeps the water in circulation. This is important for the filtration of the water, and thus water quality. The circulation pump can be regulated through program settings on the display. When the water pump is running, the Ozonator is running as well. The heater is only activated when the circulation pump is running, as activation without it would lead to overheating. On standby mode, and with frost protection, the control panel will switch on the circulation pump and the heater after a preset time interval.

Power consumption

Nordkap Living’s outdoor spas are typically equipped with 3 kW heaters. The outdoor spas shown on the website use a total of approximately 5 kW at peak load (heater + pumps, lights, etc.).

Our outdoor spas are connected with 400V/16A, which guarantees stable use of the heater and the jet pumps simultaneously. Competitive products, that are connected with 230V/10A and equipped with e.g. a 2 kW heater, do not have this guarantee.

Connection should be done with a 2.5 square cable and separate fuse group.

The importance of effective water heating

Outdoor spas er made with internal heaters of various output according to the size of the tub. 

The spa can also be connected to an external heat source. This heat source can be a heat pump, a solar heating system, a wood stove or the like. You still have the option of simply using the built-in heater on its own.

Of course, a non-electric heat source reduces the power consumption of the outdoor spa, while e.g. a heat pump provides more heat in relation to the power consumption than the heater does.

More heat also means faster heating.

Using a heat pump

A heat pump can reduce the operation costs when using the spa

If you want to save on electricity consumption you can use an air-to-water heat pump.

Compared to a regular heater, the heat pump produces more heat per kW of electricity. The heat pump can be used for basic heating of the outdoor spa, while the heater built into the whirlpool fine-tunes the heat level during use.

Nordkap Living sell heat pumps for outdoor spas in three different sizes: one of 5.5 kW, 9 kW and one of 10.5 kW.

 

Proper insulation

Nordkap Living have very high standards regarding the outdoor spas and swim spas we sell. Not only does the product have to live up to the requirements for electricity and product safety set by the EU and Denmark – we have internal quality requirements that must be complied with. In addition, all spas are tested before being shipped to the customer, which is why the pipes and hoses may contain water when the product is delivered.

Insulation for Northern conditions

An outdoor spa is outside and used all year round. Therefore, the insulation must be top notch to save on heat and energy consumption.

Insulation is a science in itself. Nordap Living’s tubs are insulated with an extra thick layer of foam. In addition, the sides are covered with reflective foil in a six-layer technical insulation that keeps the heat from pumps and the electrical installation inside. The bottom is also foam insulated.

This ensures insulation intended for Scandinavian weather conditions, making it more than suitable for the Mediterranean climate.

Cover

A cover is included upon purchase of an outdoor spa from Nordkap Living. The cover is extra thick to save on heat and energy.

The cover has two purposes: To prevent dirt from getting into the water when the spa is not in use and to keep the water warm. The extra strong cover provides better insulation along with the extra thick layer of insulation foam on the tub itself.

The cover is attached to the tub by straps provided with a code lock. This prevents access to the water for unauthorized persons, but also ensures that the cover does not come off easily during windy weather, resulting in reduced savings on heat. Skirts that hang over the sides ensure that the cover fits properly.

A strong and insulating cover is important for outdoor spas

Slope on cover surface

The slope on the cover causes rainwater to run off. This reduces the risk of algae formation.

Likewise, there will be no rain to weigh in the middle, which could cause the cover to bend downwards over time and thus collect even more water.

The cover, which is stronger than most spa covers, has a better insulating ability and retains more heat when the bath is not in use. This is a clear advantage when the water has to be brought back to the right temperature before use.

If your cover eventually wears down due to weather and wind, accidents or anything else, you can buy a replacement cover from Nordkap Living.

Beware of the water quality

Ensuring water quality is an essential part of the spa’s function. Deteriorated water quality will result in poor user experiences.

A chlorine dispenser can help you keep the quality of the water perfect

Everywhere you have heated water, especially when bathing in it, there will be potential for bacteria growth in the water. The hot tub is equipped with an Ozonator, that keeps bacterial growth at bay, but it cannot do it alone. You will have to supplement the ozone treatment with chlorine tablets or a chlorine-free agent to effectively keep bacterial (and algae) growth down.

One of the important things about water quality is to ensure that the pH levels of the water is correct. In Denmark you usually have calcium in the water, which may create a need to lower the pH level. For this purpose, Nordkap Living sell pH Minus and a measuring set for chlorine and chlorine-free water treatment.

A 10-meter-long hose can be bought seperately

Water change

The water needs to be changed when needed. During normal use, this should be done once every two months. If the quality of the water causes issues, it might be a good idea to drain the water, clean the tub as thorough as possible and refill the spa with fresh water.

Nordkap Living’s outdoor spas have a large drain that ensures quick emptying. The drain is opened with a tap inside the cabinet.

A 10-meter-long hose can be purchased separately.

Water supply and drainage

The spa is usually filled with a water hose.

When the water needs to be drained, it is done through a tap at the bottom of the spa. Remember that the water must be drained away and that there is a lot of water in a spa. Use a hose to get the water away to a drain or out into the garden (not a good idea if there is chlorine in the water).

What is the operating cost of an outdoor spa?

The cost of operation varies, as there are a number of factors to consider:

  •  The size of the spa?
  •  Weather and wind?
  •  The temperature of the water?
  •  Number of days used per year?
  •  Consecutive days of usage?
  •  How often is the cover used, and is it properly attached?

How fast does the water heat up?

The following is a theoretical calculation of how quickly water heats up under ideal conditions. There are many factors that come into play here (See above under “consumption”), therefore the calculation must be considered as solely indicatory.

A lot of factors determine your spas heating abilities, including the heater itself

Based on the heat capacity of the water we can calculate how fast 3 kW heat the water temperature by 10 ° C.

It takes 1000 grams x 10 ° C x 4.2 J = 42,000 Joules to make 1 Liter of water rise by 10 ° C.

1 kWh corresponds to 1000 W x 3600 sec. = 3,600,000 Joules. 3 kWh (3 kW in one hour) then corresponds to 10,800,000 Joules.

It takes 42,000,000 Joules to heat the temperature of 1,000 liters of water by 10 ° C. This means that 3 kW spends 3.8 hours heating 1,000 liters of water by 10 ° C. If you pour cold water into the tub, it will typically need to be heated approx. 30 degrees to reach a pleasant temperature, which will take about 12 hours. (Maybe a little more as there is a little heat loss along the way; the tub needs to be heated, and other factors also affect heat loss.)

As mentioned before, it is possible to use external heat sources if the outdoor spa is prepared for it. That, of course, will change several things. A larger heat source will heat the water faster. This usually also results in less power consumption, especially if you use a non-electric heat source.

Water volume

Regular changing of the water in the spa adds a slight cost to the water bill, naturally. The cost varies depending on local prizings, how often you change the water and most of all the size of your spa.

The amount of water in an outdoor spa varies from 500 liters in our smallest outdoor spa to 8500 liters in our largest swim spa.

So what is a swim spa?

A swim spa is an outdoor spa divided into two sections: an ordinary spa and a

larger pool with powerful jets, that can create a stream in the water allowing you to swim without the need for a huge body of water.

In addition to having a swimming area, the swim spa does the same as a regular outdoor spa. The same massage functions, heating functions and so on.

The swim spa encourages more play and exercise in its pool and is an alternative to a regular swimming pool. The swim spa is not as space consuming as a pool, it is easier and usually cheaper to heat up and can be covered to minimize heat loss.

The swimming spa gives you the benefits of both a spa and a swimming pool. The nozzles in the swimming section can be adjusted to fit one’s swimming abilities, so it can be used by both the beginner as well as the more experienced swimmer. At the same time, you get the wellness effects of an outdoor spa. The entire spa is heated which makes it comfortable to swim in cooler weather.

A wooden hot tub is a spa too
Wooden hot tubs are also called wilderness baths

Nordkap Livings wooden hot tubs/wilderness baths are all equipped with a filter system and electric heater. This makes them unique among wilderness baths.

With a wood-burning stove for fast heating of the water, and an electric heater to maintain the heat, you have the ideal combination of cheap heating and long-lasting hot water without the risk of scalding.

It is important for a wooden tub to be filled with water throughout the season. Otherwise the rods in the tub will dry out and the tub will start to leak. This makes the filtering system a valuable addition to the tub, as it removes dirt from the water. Combined with, for example, a starter set, you have everything you need to maintain a good and healthy water quality.

The Vancouver model – the only one of the wilderness baths without a wood-burning stove – also provides air massage from 25 nozzles.

1: Filter 2: Water return back into the tub 3: Heater 4: Intake from the tub

Filter and heater require connection with 230V/16A on its own circuit breaker. This means that a 2.5 m2 electric cable must be routed to the tub’s stand (must be done by an authorized electrician.)

It is recommended to use the chemicals in the startup kit (sold separately) to ensure water quality. The filter should be cleaned regularly and replaced when it is no longer possible to clean properly.

Cedar – durable, beautiful and aromatic

The wooden hot tubs are made of cedar – a tree species with a natural resistance to rot, fungus and insect infestation. Cedar has a beautiful reddish color that, with the right treatment can last for a very long time. It is also an aromatic type of wood with a pleasant scent. We use “Western Red Cedar” from sustainable forestry in Canada and is PEFC-certified.

The wood has an unusual durability. The best grades are used in construction exactly because they have such a long service life, which can even be extended by treatment with an oil seal.

Cedar is maintained with a wax oil treatment once or twice a year.

Cedar is known for its aroma, beautiful reddish color and incredible durability
Quality control

All Nordkap Living’s spas are assembled and tested in Denmark before being shipped to the customer. Therefore, there will be remnants of water in hoses and drains.

We do our absolute best to ensure you get products of the highest quality with longlasting enjoyment.

Self-control

Upon receipt, you should check that the packaging is intact and that no damage has occurred to the product during transport. Before installation you must ensure that all hoses and cables are placed correctly.

Word list and where you find the different parts
  1. Detachable front panel
  2. Manifold
  3. Mounted corner panel
  4. Stand
  5. Foam isolation
  6. Controls for integrated heater
  7. Tap to block the water
  8. Piping
  9. Jet pump
  10. Filter container
  1. Switch
  2. Control panel
  3. Skimmer
  4. Exhaust
  5. Large nozzle for powerful massage
  6. Small nozzle for body massage
  7. Filter
  8. Ergonomic seating