About Spa Pumps

Pumps provide pressure filtration and heating and determine a spas’ running costs more than the actual heater itself. Depending on the type of Filter Pump used, it will cost from 25c - $2.00 every day for the pump to filter water and considerably more when the heater is on (approx 2 - 3 times the Filter Pump costs mentioned below). The descriptions below are provided in good faith and are designed to give you a better understanding of how filter pumps affect ongoing costs for all types of spas. This information is based on a rate of 20c per kW per hour.

1). Single Speed Pumps: The pump has only one speed for heating, filtering and hydro-massage. Mostly used in budget spas, these aren’t recommended due to pump noise and ongoing costs however with the introduction of the ‘XCelsior’ range of pumps by Davey, some have become more efficient and are now suitable for well insulated spas.

3.0 HP (2,200 watts = 45 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = $1.80 cents / day.
2.5 HP (1,850 watts = 37 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = $1.50 cents / day.
2.0 HP (1,500 watts = 30 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = $1.20 cents / day.
‘XCelsior’ 1.25 HP (930 watts = 18 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = $0.72 cents / day.
Trueform ‘Little Ripper’ and ‘Eco’ spas use this pump. To offset ongoing costs, energy from the pump is transferred directly back into heating the water (the pump and 1kW heater produce 1.9kW energy, reducing heating costs by close to 50%).

2). Two Speed Pumps: The pump has two speeds: low speed for heating or filtration and high speed for massage. These pumps are used in many Australian and imported brands of various quality and price. The two most common brands of this type of pump in Australia are ‘Davey Pumps’ (New Zealand) and ‘Spa Net’ (Australian), both brands are manufactured in China to Australian specifications. The pumps are generally of good quality and reliable and access to spare parts is good. This type of pump is used in the following brands sold by Simply Spas: Sapphire Spas, Trueform Spas and some Oasis Spas models. Note: The smaller the pump the lower the cost however there’s also less pressure for massage. The recommended pump size for good hydro-massage is 3.0 - 4.0 HP.

3.0 HP Low Speed (450 watts = 9 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = 36 cents / day.
2.5 HP Low Speed (400 watts = 8 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = 32 cents / day.
2.0 HP Low Speed (350 watts = 7 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = 28 cents / day.

3). Programmable Circulation Pumps: Used in imported and Australian spas of various quality and price, some brands offer good benefits to the spa owner. Compared with 2 speed pumps some programmable circulation pumps are quieter and cheaper to run and some have a good life expectancy. The circulation pumps’ plumbing is only connected to the heater and filter system so better pressure from jets can be expected (2 speed pumps can’t deliver the same strength of massage when on high speed because the filters noticeably restrict water flow to the jets).

1.0 HP (750 watts = 15 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = 60 cents / day. Not recommended due to high ongoing costs and noise level from aged pumps. If considering a spa with this size pump, be aware that it’s one of the more expensive ways of running a spa (double the cost of a 0.5 HP circulation pump) and replacement parts are difficult to find. Note: Replacing pumps with different brands voids Australian compliancy. This oversized circulation pump is usually found in poor quality Chinese made spas found online however one spa retailer in Brisbane uses this pump.

0.5 HP (375 watts = 7.5 cents / hour), 4 hours filtration = 30 cents / day. Recommended for efficient and quiet operation, there is good access to spare parts as both ‘Davey’ and ‘Spa Net’ now manufacture this type of pump.

Note: Oasis Spas use smaller impellors on their circulation pumps which reduce running costs by approx 1 cent per hour. Less noise, better performance and longer pump life is also achieved as there is less wear and tear on the pump compared to similar quality circulation pumps with standard sized impellors.

4). 24 Hour Circulation Pumps: One brand is super efficient and uses less energy / day than all other types of filter pump allowing for affordable 24 hours / day operation. There are no additional pump costs when heating as the water is already flowing over the element (the heater simply turns on and off as required). All other Filter Pumps use more energy when the heater is on (which can easily double or triple the pump costs mentioned above). Another benefit is that Ozone may be continuously introduced to the water, meaning less chemicals, less cleaning and better quality water. Note: Control units on some brands using this type of pump only allow Ozone to be produced during heating or filter cycles (approx 4 - 8 hrs / day). If this is the case with a spa you’re considering, be aware that there is no real benefit to having this pump and that you’re better off with either a 2 Speed Pump or a 0.5 HP Programmable Circulation Pump. Below is some information on the two main 24 Hour Circulation Pumps used in Australia.

Aquaflo 'Circ Master' Pump: (190 watts = 4 cents / hour), 24 hours filtration = 90 cents / day. This brand is not recommended for a variety of reasons: 1). It makes an audible noise 24 hours / day which gets louder as the pump ages. 2). Daily operating costs is too high. 3). Experience shows that this pump is unreliable and has a high failure rate. Note: This brand of Circ’ Pump is only used by one Australian spa manufacturer and is sold through ‘Just Spas’ outlets, the 'Balboa' brand of controls that are used on these spas do not allow for 24 hour ozone production.

Laing 'E10' Pump: (70 watts = 1.5 cents / hour), 24 hours filtration = 36 cents / day (Low Flow).
Laing 'E14' Pump: (110 watts = 2 cents / hour), 24 hours filtration = 50 cents / day (High Flow).
Both are made in USA and are the most efficient in the spa industry. Both are highly recommended as parts are easily found and replacement cost is also low. Laing magnetic pumps are silent and have no Mechanical Seals (no leaks and longer life compared to others). Although not common in Australia, these pumps are used by LA Spas where approx 85% of energy used by the pump is transferred directly into heating the water (heater costs are reduced considerably). LA Spas Control Systems also allow for 24 hour Ozone production, increasing water quality and reducing maintenance.