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COVID affects hot tub sales

NOPE, probably not what you expect to read. It isn’t COVID INfects hot tubs–this is NOT saying that there is a problem with safely using your hot tub because of COVID. But COVID affects hot tubs in terms of sales, pricing, and availability.

Consider this–more and more people are spending an increased percentage of their time at home. And they are less able to go on vacations, whether long or short.

That means we are seeing people “nesting”. They are doing things to improve their home and making it the stay-cation dream spot.

Hot tub wood deck photo by Atlanta Decking and Fencing Company

For a lot of people that means taking that vacation budget and buying, or upgrading, their hot tub, spa or swimming pool. We sure get that!

However, if you are in that camp, and think you will be able to have that wonderful addition done quickly and easily, then you just might have another think coming.

Especially if you are looking for a brand new spa, you will find longer lead times and higher costs.

Supply and demand? In part, sure. But we are also finding that COVID affects hot tubs because of supply chains and factory shut downs.

Surf City Pool Spa and Solar owner, Michael Hall

That makes maintaining your current system even more important. It also makes refurbished spas and hot tubs even more appealing for people looking to get their first or a replacement unit. They are often available at a lower price with a shorter wait.

So if you are in the Santa Cruz area and are interested in buying a spa or upgrading your spa or pool equipment, give us a call. We’ll discuss your goals and dreams and see what we can come up with to fulfill them.

4 Examples in Santa Cruz County of Swimming Pool Solar Heating Solutions

Here in Santa Cruz County we love our swimming pools and spas. And spas are great year-round, but heating a pool here can be quite costly.

Here Comes the Sun…

Fortunately, thanks to our beautiful sunshine, as the following four clients’ pools demonstrate, we can greatly extend the swimming season with solar heating systems.

Ground Mounted Solar Heating System

Ground mount pool solar heating system installed in Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz

This solar heating system may look strange to you. That is because we are used to seeing them installed on rooftops. But for this Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz family it was more practical to mount their system on the ground.

Beth and James have two boys who swim on the Santa Cruz High School team. During the summer the boys would practice at home to get in shape for the upcoming season. You may well imagine that the cost to heat their pool was pretty high–and you would be right!

Sky High or Free Heat?

They were spending $300 and up, every month to heat the pool. I suggested they consider adding a solar heating system to maintain their swimming pools heat all summer–and even into the fall. I ran the numbers for them, comparing their current all gas system and one with the added solar array. The return on their investment will be as little as 2 summers. After that, the solar heating is free!

Happy Clients. Happy Kids.

Keeping the Neighborhood Kids Warm with Solar Heated Pool

Soquel CA swimming pool solar heating system

Up the road a bit, in Soquel, the Jaimanson’s love the fact that all the neighborhood kids enjoy hanging at their house. Their pool is “the” place for all of them to congregate in the summer.

They gave me a call and I recognized a familiar look in their eyes. Would rising fuel costs mean cutting back on the pool temp–and freezing out the fun? Or could a new swimming pool solar heating system keep the kids warm and also protect their cash?

Happily for them, the sun shines just about every day in the hills of Soquel. They are now able to heat their pool with all that free sunshine!

Happy Clients. Happy Kids. (recognize a theme here?)

Solar Heating for Home Therapy Pool

roof mount solar heating for therapy pool

Kids aren’t the only ones who like swimming pools in Santa Cruz. While young at heart, Russel and Kathy are an older couple. They use their pool for therapy.

There are so many great ways that you can get therapeutic benefits from your pool. Kathy has a physical trainer that helps her with low impact pool workouts for her arthritis.

I will never forget Cathy telling me that she is a “tough gal, but a cold pool is just no fun.” When I finished this job I received flowers and a beautiful Thank You note.

I’d say she is having fun again! No more cold pool. Happy Clients.

Pool Therapy for Pets, too

Solar heating panels for dog therapy pool in Aptos, CA

Cindy and Beth are a beautiful couple with 5 dogs. In addition to that, they run a pet therapy business out of the home in Aptos, California. They provide warm water therapy for their four legged clients who have had surgery or have hip dysplasia.

They are on propane, and the cost to keep their pet therapy pool at the right temp was taking a bite out of their business cash.

The cost effective solution for these business owners? Solar heating for their pet therapy pool mounted on the roof, where as you can see, it gets plenty of sunshine.

Repeat after me: Happy Clients Happy Pets.

new spas cost big bucks

You may THINK your spa needs to be replaced. But what if we could save you a boatload (or spa-load) of cash and still bring your beloved spa to like new condition?

Many times I am called out to check on a hot tub that is 10 years old, or more. The owners frequently are concerned that getting a new spa is beyond their budget, but have no idea how they could live without their personal hot tub.

Frankly, most folks do not have the available cash to replace a tub!

I am so happy that I am able to provide my customers with a solution. And it isn’t a “quick fix” or “make-do” solution either.

Take this spa, for example, located in beautiful Santa Cruz County.

spa equipment died new spa needed?

It was clear that these clients use their hot tub daily. Stepping into the spa area, it was obvious the amount of love this couple has for their private oasis.

No Virginia, Spa Equipment Doesn’t Last Forever

Yes, it is true. Spa equipment does have a “useful life” after which it just doesn’t work well, or may quit working entirely. This was the case here. But that does not mean that you automatically have to replace a hot tub that fits your needs. Rather than removing their retreat and selling them a new spa, I told them about a great, money-saving option.

new spa cost avoided with refurbished spa equipment

Upgrading spa equipment can be the perfect solution. Replacing the controls for the spa is the most cost effective way to bring an older spa back to like new condition.

Here’s to a new life, and another 10 years of pleasure in the oasis.

So whether you are looking to buy a new spa or hot tub, replace an existing unit, or need some help with getting your private oasis working like new again, give us a call.

Capitola Swimming Pool Solar Heat installation July 2019

In much of Santa Cruz County, California it is often foggy in the morning. That doesn’t mean your swimming pool heating costs have to go through the roof.

Instead of going THROUGH the roof, let you heating costs plummet when you put in solar heating ON the roof.

With swimming pool solar heating you can do away with high fuel costs.

Take advantage of your roof as these Capitola clients did this week.

Solar heat is free heat!

Your Old Swimming Pool Filtration System May Cost You Big Bucks!

Santa Cruz County swimming pool filtration system updating to save customer money

Is your swimming pool filtration system more than 10 years old? You may be throwing away money every day.

The owners of this Scotts Valley swimming pool contacted us when they realized their pool equipment needed some help. Now they are set to have fun in their newly upgraded pool without having to worry about wasting money or chemicals.

Don’t worry, be happy!

Don’t let the wind carry away your hard earned cash!

old inefficient swimming pool filtration system is like throwing your money to the wind

By upgrading your system you can save the cost of the install in the first couple of years in energy costs.

Making your spa or pool filtration system more efficient reduces the amount of time it has to run. That in turn means you actually use fewer chemicals and make for a happier pool–not to mention pool owner and user!

If your pool is in Santa Cruz County then be sure to contact us about how we can help save you money and increase your time in the water. We have pool equipment options that will fit just about any budget.

So stop throwing you money away, call Surf City today! 831-438-0882

Environmentally Friendly Pool Heating Keeps Kids at Home

swimming pool with ring toy

Mr and Mrs Smitt wanted their boys to stick around this summer and have their friends over to swim in their family swimming pool in Capitola.

Nice, right?

But no one would swim in the pool.

Why? It was cold!

Who wants to swim in a cold pool? No one.

Surf City Pool Spa and Solar suggested adding a solar heating system. Most systems in Santa Cruz County pay for themselves after the first year compared to using a gas heater alone. Plus with solar, we are not hurting the environment.

Solar heating panel installation by Michael Hall of Surf City Pool Spa and Solar
That’s Mike up on another roof!

The Smitt’s agreed and so this summer your going to find Trevor and Donovan in their pool with all of their friends. Oh, and Mom and Dad, too!

Now, that is cool–in a very good way!


Click to read more tips about solar heating for your Santa Cruz County swimming pool.

coastal fog in the Santa Cruz mountains, photo by Bill Swandaman

Cool evenings and coastal fog make Aptos a great place for a hot tub. Add in your active Santa Cruz lifestyle and the desire to cool off without the sand and salt, and you may be thinking about whether or not your pool and spa are up-to-date.

Whether you already have a swimming pool or are looking to add a hot tub to the mix, at Surf City Pool Spa and Solar we can help get you set up right. We can also make your Aptos oasis easy on your body, the environment, and your budget!

Although we are fully licensed swimming pool contractors, that is not what we do. We specialize in hot tubs and spas and also fixing up your existing swimming pool equipment. And of course, we also specialize in solar heating systems for your pool and hot tub.

Time to come in from the cold, Aptos!

We love the beach as much as anyone here in SC County, it is gorgeous, a lot of fun, and really refreshing on a hot day. But let’s be honest, most of the time, for most of us mere mortals (as opposed to those seal-human hybrids who can be seen surfing year round) the water is just a bit…shall we say, brisk? OK, it is down right cold!

Santa Cruz County surfing in COLD water

So if you are not interested in surfing and tired of having sand in your suit, you might be thinking about spending more time in the swimming pool. We can make your swimming pool more environmentally friendly (not to mention budget-friendly) by setting you up with a solar heating system. Yes, even with our fog, we do get enough sunshine that we can heat a pool that way, extending the swimming pool season so it is much longer than beach swimming weather.

Some of the other things to consider are your filtration system and your purification system. Since you are probably inviting the entire city of Aptos to your backyard pool, you don’t need to chlorinate your pool to the same level that a public pool would. In fact, you don’t actually have to use chlorine at all. You can instead have a saltwater pool!

Saltwater Pools are Gentler on Your Body

saltwater pool is not like diving in the ocean

While it is called a saltwater pool, don’t think you will be swimming in an aquarium. You won’t be able to keep your fish in the pool with you, and you won’t be growing other sea creatures and vegetation either.

It is true that saltwater purification systems don’t use chlorine. However “salt” is converted to chlorine as part of the process. But it is still much gentler on your body, your hair, and your eyes–and your swimming suit. Most people find they can swim in a saltwater pool without needing goggles–if they typically use goggles to protect from the chlorine.

We can also discuss various options for keeping your Aptos hot tub or spa sparkling clean as well.

Whether we are installing a spa for you, upgrading your current swimming pool pumps, motors, heaters, or filters, we are happy to discuss options to help save you money. With our decades of experience, we can often either refurbish your equipment or find other spas we can refurbish and install for you.

Santa Cruz hot tub selection

In the end, the decision will always be yours. We won’t push you one way or the other. For some people having the most modern spa with all the “bells & whistles” is super important. For other people, a basic hot tub that works really well and will last them for many years is the way to go.

Aptos California beach at sunset, perfect time to get in a hot tub

While you might not be able to see the concrete ship from your backyard, don’t you think it is time to kick back and watch the stars from your own hot tub?

Leukemia Treatment Side Effects Lessened by Hot Tub

hot tub helps ill child ease pain of Leukemia treatment

Thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Charlie Wanzek of North Dakota is getting some help for his aching joints and muscles.

Charlie has Leukemia. One of the side effects of his treatment is aches and pains in both his joints and his muscles. Fortunately soaking in a hot tub really helps ease the pain.

“I am very, very thankful. I mean who doesn’t want a hot tub and who doesn’t like hot tubs,” said Charlie Wanzek.  

The hot tub health therapy was recommended by his doctor a couple of years ago. Charlie asked for the spa to help his condition, but also so he could enjoy it with his friends.

Fortunately for him, the North Dakota Make-a-Wish Foundation was able to grant his wish.

We are very happy for Charlie and his family that he has been given this gift that will help him manage his condition. We know first hand about the therapeutic benefits of hot water therapy. Soaking in a hot tub has many health benefits for many illnesses. But there are health advantages even if you don’t have a serious illness like Charlie.

Are you a weekend warrior type? In Santa Cruz we see so many people on surfboards on the weekends enjoying themselves. That is great, of course, but if you only do that on the weekends, it can leave you feeling like…well, like the wave crashed on you! Soaking in a spa can help relax those muscles so you won’t feel as sore the next day.

Do you have a stressful job? Enjoy an evening (or morning) soak in your hot tub to de-stress. Your body will thank you. And your boss and co-workers just might as well.

Do you suffer from joint pain because of injury or arthritis? Hot tubs help with that pain as well.

And of course there are the social aspects of enjoying a hot tub, and as Charlie says, “who doesn’t like a hot tub.”

Are you ready to soak away your stress and aches and pains? Give us a call and we’ll set your Santa Cruz County home up with a spa that meets your goals, and your budget.


Smart Hot Tubs Hacked by the Thousands!

We all love technology that makes our lives easier, right?

Ken Munro demonstrating hack to BBC

So we invest in aps that allow us to adjust our thermostat, turn on lights, start the oven, check on the family cat or dog–all from the office, or even the beach.

You can even get a hot tub that has the latest remote start capabilities.

Well, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year–that wonderful convenience is washing out according to Pen Test Partners. PTP is a security firm out of the UK.

The ap, designed for your convenience, just didn’t provide sufficient security. Hackers can raise or lower the hot tub’s temperature, turn on or off lights, and basically mess with your system all from using GPS!

Balboa Water Group (BWG), which runs the affected system, has now pledged to introduce a more robust security system for owners and said the problem would be fixed by the end of February.

Pen Test Partners revealed this hack on a BBS show “Click.” Ken Munro is one of the firm’s founders. He says that hot tubs are not the only item that is vulnerable to this potential hack.

It seems that many items that Santa delivered might also be susceptible to the same technology weakness.

That means it is up to YOU, the consumer to be sure that the aps you buy and install for convenience work–but only for you, not for someone with less than honorable intentions.

While PTP’s testing only relates specifically to Balboa Water Group’s hot tubs and their ap, it is worth keeping a eye on the technology that we allow into our homes and yards.

It might not seem too serious that someone could mess with the temperature of your hot tub, annoying but not terrible. But consider that if they can access your hot tub they can probably figure out when you are home and enjoying your tub.

That’s kind of creepy.

Save your money! Invest in a really good cover, upgrade your system if needed, and enjoy your hot tub without worry. That is something to celebrate!


Read more of the article by Dan Simmons at BBC.com,

Photo is of Ken Munro, founder of Pen Test Partners as he revealed the hack to BBC on Click.

 

Should Santa Cruz Pool Owners Ban Electronic Gadgets?

resort swimming pools ban electronic gadgets

While it is unlikely that homeowners in Santa Cruz County are going to ban cell phones and other electronic devices from their pools, some places (and people) are making just that move.

For these folks, part of the reason they have a pool is to enjoy the peace and quiet. They are able to feel transported away from their electronic devices. They like to think of the backyard sanctuary like taking a mini-vacation.

You might not go to the extremes of the DIY swimming pool guys. In their “more modern” pools they have rigged up a water delivery system using bamboo. Even then, their pools are off the grid–literally! Well, except for the cell phones for taking the videos and a few selfies.

DIY pool guysHmm, so maybe that doesn’t count as electronics free! And here in Santa Cruz we do need to have heat for our pools. Details, details.

Families might view pool time as family time–not screen time. There may be noise, but it is happy playful noise generated by the living, breathing beings that share their physical space–as opposed to those on a screen.

Many of our customers live in our beautiful coastal cities such as Aptos and Capitola, but they work in the Silicon Valley. At least they officially work there. Some have the luxury of working from home. Or from the pool deck!

You bet those folks enjoy being able to take a dip to cool off when it gets hot, get a few laps in as part of their exercise routine and quick break. Or they might like a good soak to relax those tense muscles–from thinking to hard or from hunching over the keyboard.

relaxing hot tub destress

The bottom line is that your personal pool is your personal haven–whatever that looks like for you!

What About Public or Hotel/Resort Swimming Pools?

commercial pools are our specialty

But what about when you go to a public pool, or you are at a lovely resort or hotel? Would you like to have laptops and cell phones and other gadgets banned? Or should people be able to use them at pool side?

Have you ever been on vacation and tried to relax poolside only to have someone (or several someones) talking loudly on their cellphone?

Really, when I’m on vacation I don’t need to hear about your ailments, or troubles back home or at the office. Some folks will actually bring their laptops to the pool area and use a table like their personal work station. I know you may be a workaholic, but seriously? Is it really a good business practice to conduct meetings in such a public forum?

And then there are the families where each kid seems to have their own device to keep them entertained. While I may shake my heads at the kids who are heads down texting their buddies, at least they are being quiet. But some kids are watching videos without the benefit of headphones. Not cool.

That is one reason that the Ayana resort in Bali has decided to make one of their pools an electronics free zone.

Bali resort swimming pool bans electronic devices

…a luxury resort in Bali, Indonesia is banning electronic devices from one of its swimming pools. With its “In the Moment” campaign, the five-star Ayana Resort & Spa wants to encourage its guests to unplug and fully enjoy their me-time, which it feels can be more easily accomplished if they’re not worrying about calls, checking email or what’s happening on social media.

When there are several swimming pools at a resort, this seems like a great compromise. Ayana, for example, has 12 different swimming pools! That means folks who can’t live without their electronics have a place to chat or work poolside. Those of us whose idea of vacation haven means peace and quiet, get their wish granted, too.


The “River Pool” at Ayana Resort & Spa, photo courtesy of Ayana