Switch It Up with a Spa Side Switch

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Switch It Up with a Spa Side Switch

You remember the days when you had to walk over to the heater and twist the knob to change the pool or spa temperature? Next came the miraculous invention of the panel mounted above the heater followed by the panel inside your house. Those were all convenient improvements at the time, but nothing matches a spa side switch that allows you to turn on the jets, change the temperature, turn on spa lights, and more – all from the convenience of in your nice and warm spa.

So, What is a Spa Side Switch?

Have you ever been enjoying your hot spa during the cold winter and wanted to change the temperature but dreaded getting out to face the cold? A spa side switch will fix that problem as you can control everything right from inside your spa. A spa side switch is a little panel that mounts right on the top of your spa. It has buttons that allow you to easily turn on the heater, spa lights, jets, and more depending on your desires. Thus, with a spa side switch you can have complete control over your spa without ever actually leaving the hot water.

We Use Two Types of Spa Side Switches

SunsetBlog - Switch It Up with a Spa Side Switch 1SpaCommand Spa-Side Remote

The SpaCommand remote is more expensive than the iS4, but this cost has its rewards as you have more control. With more than 10 buttons, you are able to control things like air temperature, water temperature, pump speed, yard lights, and more. This remote lets you set the temperature exactly and read it on a digital screen rather than just being able to turn on and off the heater. So if you are seeking convenience and complete control over your spa from inside your spa then the SpaCommand remote might be right for you.


The iS4 is the less expensive of the two options because it has less buttons and therefore less control. However, don’t let this fool you as the four buttons allow you to turn on the heater, jets, water feature, and lights. These four controls are basically all that is necessary, but you will not be able to fine tune temperature and lights as you can with the SpaCommand remote. So if you are looking for a cheaper alternative and do not care about fine details when controlling your spa then the iS4 remote might be right for you.

Regardless of your decision, a spa side switch is the next improvement in spa technologies and is necessary for any spa. We can’t overstate how convenient and awesome it is to control your spa from inside your spa.

Cheers, JZ

Save Money & Energy with Variable Speed Pumps

Pentair recently designed a new variable speed pump called the IntelliFlo 2 VST (PDF brochure) that is exclusive to pool professionals and cannot be simply purchased online. This new IntelliFlo 2 VST is more advanced than any prior pumps and offers numerous reasons to make the upgrade. IntelliFlo pumps are in more pools worldwide than any other variable speed pumps because IntelliFlo pumps are more advanced and reliable than any other pump.

Check out the reasons to upgrade:

Free Money

By upgrading to an IntelliFlo variable speed pump, you will qualify for a $200 Southern California Edison rebate and a $100 rebate from Pentair. Getting the rebates is easy and can be simply done online. (SCE Rebate Info) (Pentair Rebate Info *Good through September 9, 2016)

Save Money

Switching to the IntelliFlo 2 VST pump will not only save you energy but also money. At 16 cents a kilowatt hour you would save about $7,500 in 5 years by upgrading – that means the pump will pay for itself in the long run and can be seen as a long term investment.

Remote Control

The new IntelliFlo 2 VST has a rotatable wall mount keypad that allows for easy operation. You can also control the pump remotely via your phone, so you can set the temperature from anywhere and have the pool ready when you need it.

Quiet as a Mouse

Well actually quieter than a mouse. The IntelliFlo 2 VST pump works at 45 decibels which is on average quieter than the sound of rainfall and slightly louder than the sound of a library. This quietness means you can relax and not be bothered by the irritating noise pool pumps typically bring.

intelliflo2vst-soundUpgrading to a new pool pump may sound like a waste, but if you have an old pump that’s sucking up energy and making a ton of noise, then it may be time for an upgrade.

Upgrading to the IntelliFlo 2 VST will be a decision you won’t regret as you’ll save money over time and never have to listen to a loud pool pump again.

Light Up Your House with LEDs

LED lights were first developed in the 60’s, but did not become popular for almost 50 years after. Nowadays, everywhere you look you’ll see LED lights, and there’s a reason for that. LED lights are not only more efficient than incandescent lights, but also much more customizable. The various shapes and sizes of LED lights provide limitless opportunities allowing you to customize your project as you wish. In this article, we’ll highlight various benefits of LED lights and offer various options to help illuminate your house.

Benefits of LEDs

Longer Life

LED lights don’t burn out like regular lights, and, as a result, last much longer with a life expectancy of 100,000 hours. In other words, if you were to leave an LED light on for 8 hours a day it would take about 20 years before having to replace the LED light.

More Efficient

Incandescent bulbs make light by heating a metal filament that releases light and energy – the only problem with this is that 80-90% of this energy is released as heat not light. LED lights are the opposite as their energy is released as 80-90% light and not heat. This means LED lights need less energy to light the same amount of space compared to incandescent lights.

Less Heat

The improved efficiency of LED lights allows them to give off less heat than other light bulbs. This means that LEDs will remain cool and not heat up a space; thus, LED lights can save you money by lessening the need for AC or fans.

Less Expensive

Because LED lights use less energy, they therefore cost less money. People often assume LED’s cost more because their upfront price is higher, but their energy efficiency paired with their longer life expectancy causes them to actually be much cheaper than incandescent or halogen bulbs.

Environmentally Friendly

LED lights do not emit UV and infrared light causing them to be much more environmentally friendly. LEDs also do not contain any toxic chemicals and are 100% recyclable.


Design Flexibility

LED lights come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors allowing for flexibility in design and various methods for illumination. LED lights can also be individually dimmed allowing dynamic control of lighting, color, and distribution. With LED lights, you can achieve miraculous lighting effects not only for the eye but also for the mood and mind. We’ll cover a few of the places LEDs could be used in your yard to help customize your lighting and upgrade your yard as a whole.

Yard LEDYard Lights

Yard lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes from spotlights to flood lights to specialty lighting. One common use of LED lights is to illuminate a specific plant within your yard. LED lights can also light walkways or decks to emphasize them. The possibilities for lighting your yard with LEDs are truly limitless and an LED light can be placed anywhere you can imagine.

Pool LEDPool Lights

Nothing is more eye catching than a well-lit pool, and this is why pools are the perfect spots for LEDs. The large color range of LEDs is beneficial in a pool as you can illuminate the water in any color of the rainbow. LED lights can also light up water features like a waterfall or spitters. Regardless of your choice, LED lights are a must in any pool for night swimming.

Home LEDsHome Lights

LED lights work not only outdoors but also inside. Replacing any simple light from a lamp to a ceiling light with an LED will help to save you money and benefit the environment. The option to dim LEDs is especially helpful indoors and can help set the mood. So next time your incandescent bulb burns out, try upgrading to an LED light.

LED lights are better than incandescent bulbs in almost every way, and in our eyes there’s no reason not to make the switch. However, be careful not to go overboard and light up your yard like it’s Christmas; light placement is an art and sometimes less is more.

Solar Pool Blankets Results – They Work!

Solar Pool Blankets don’t have to cover the entire pool!

Recently we wrote about an idea of partial solar pool blankets and their many advantages. This was brought to my attention by a pool remodel client in an email which we have included for you to read.

Customer Email – Solar Pool Blankets Theory


I don’t know the physics of it, but from observation, deduction and just plain guessing, I have a theory.

First, let’s start with something we’re familiar with – the car.  Park your car outside on a mild, but fully sunny day.  Say its noon and about 65 degrees.  If you leave your windows open, your car will be relatively cool when you return in an hour.  A few surfaces in the direct sun may be quite hot depending on their color, but the general air temperature will be cool.  However, if your windows are closed, the air temperature in the car upon your return will be considerably hotter than 65.  If you leave a window cracked a bit, it will still be hotter than the ambient temperature, but not as much.

Observation/deduction/guess:  Infrared radiation passes through the glass once, but apparently loses enough energy doing so that it doesn’t pass back out.  This causes the inside to heat up above the ambient air temperature.

Application to Pool:  Full cover – infrared goes in, but it can’t get out (like a roach motel).  OK, but with a partial cover, shouldn’t the infrared escape like it does when your car windows are down?

  1. Perhaps pool water plus the darker bottom is enough to stop some of the infrared from bouncing back out.  In that case, perhaps the partial covers merely insulate the pool from losing its heat to the ambient air temperature.

However, the pool temperature with the partial pool covers often exceeds the ambient air temperature.  Also, if we get lazy and leave the covers off, the pool does not warm up as fast or much during the day.  Therefore, number 1 can’t be the whole story.

  1. Perhaps only some of the infrared escapes through the uncovered portions, as with a car that has the windows only cracked and not down all the way.  This would explain the record temperature of 97 degrees with the full cover and the mid to high 80’s achieved with partial covers.
  1. I think it’s a combination of several factors – reduction of heat loss, trapping of infrared at a higher rate than with just water and plaster color alone and reduction of evaporation.

JZ’s Approach

I felt inclined to flush out the idea.
 I carefully read and thought through the information. Then I purchased solar pool blankets of my own. I purchased 3 for the pool and 1 for the spa. I started logging water and air temperatures 3 times per day. To follow is observations, data and conclusions from the experiment. Please enjoy the information.

JZ’s Observation

After several weeks of careful monitoring the partial solar pool blankets on my pool I came to very similar conclusions! A small problem was I started the test in late April and now concluded in early June. As we all know this is not always the sunniest time of the year but there were obvious trends. I started with the cover on for a week and a half, then took the covers off for a week. Finally, back on the final week plus. I did take a vacation so there is a gap in the data. (Full Data Set)

JZ’s Conclusion

  • poolblanketsThere is definitely an effect that traps heat in the water. The increase is often 5 to 7 degrees higher than the ambient air temperature.This is very impressive to me with a max temp I got of 89 degrees on a day with air temp high of 82 degrees.
  • Insulation factor exists as well to have less loss of heat over night. The morning water temps all started out higher with the covers on.
  • There was definitely less evaporation with the covers on. I calculated that my 3 covers on the pool covered 75% of the water surface area and the spa is completely covered. I have an electronic auto fill that typically adds about a one-minute blast of water every other day. With the covers on it cut that back by 75% to a one-minute blast every week. 
  • The time to remove and put back the covers has shortened with each time I do the process. It’s to the point that I feel the benefit well out weighs any unsightliness and inconvenience.

Save Water, Save Gas and Save Time with Partial Solar Pool Blankets!!!

Thanks for the tip Tim!!!