Sunbeach Spas take energy efficiency to another level…
This year’s UK Pool & Spa Awards was dominated by eco-friendly spa products that not only help reduce running costs but crucially offset objections to sales in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. The prestigious Winners Trophy went to Sunbeach Spas and its Oasis RX range that features hot tubs in the low-to-middle price range, starting at £6,995 RRP.
Sunbeach Spas had previously won this award for their R10 insulation system – however, the Thermal Lock R18+ system, employed by the Oasis RX range, takes its eco performance to the next level. Sunbeach Spas have once again brought the best of energy-saving insulation solutions from the higher end hot tubs down to the more affordable ranges, without compromising on quality or features.
“We are also genuinely shocked to find that some well-known brands are still supplying hot tubs with little to no insulation whatsoever,” says Wayne Green of Sunbeach Spas. “Not only does this mean spas are more expensive to run, they are also at risk of freezing in the winter if not properly drained down.” He continues: We are actively promoting a ‘buy from the inside, out’ philosophy so customers look past the shiny, gleaming exterior and think about longevity and total cost of ownership.
“We want Sunbeach and Oasis brands to bring not only the quality and desirability they are looking for, but also peace of mind and a lower financial and environmental burden throughout the lifetime of their spa.” When Sunbeach signed the UK exclusivity contract with Oasis Spas, they say the deciding factor was not just the world class quality hot tubs, but because they shared a philosophy to keep down the total cost of ownership of hot tubs, and the significant proportion of running costs goes on keeping the water at the right temperature.
To that end, the entire RX range of Oasis range supplied to the UK all come with the Thermo Lock R18+ system. This is a multi-part system designed to insulate each and every part of the hot tub body: It starts with the shell itself. Oasis Spas use the thickest shell available on the market with the multi-layered American Lucite acrylic of closed-cell foam to give an 8-10mm shell thickness.
The solid, no-gap base is given a 3mm layer of foam insulation, with reflective aluminium foil on each side. The cabinet walls are lined with a l5mm layer of dense PE foam, and on top of this the same dual-sided foil. This acts not just to prevent the loss of heat, but to actively reflect it back into the spa cabinet and most importantly, back into the water. Lastly, but by no means least, the entire cabinet is filled with a soft, open cell PE foam.
This provides a superb level of heat retention in the void of the spa cabinet; this, combined with the features mentioned above, creates a system which cleverly utilises multiple-density layers to bring the ultimate level of insulation to the spa body. Wayne explains: “The full foam approach has the added advantage of keeping all the pipework perfectly static during transit and adds a significant amount of structural support to the pipework infrastructure, reducing the possibility of leaks throughout the life of the spa.”
To complete the Thermal Lock R18+ system, the cover itself is improved over the standard model found on most spas with a greater density of insulating material and a forms a first-rate seal around the top of the spa, keeping in as much of that precious heat as possible. Temperature-controlled tests showed as much as a 5% difference in heat loss between the standard and the Oasis cover. “This might not seem like much, but, based on a 1350 litre hot tub in constant ambient temperature, that’s the equivalent of running the 3kW heater in your spa for an extra 15 minutes, every single day,” Wayne points out.
Following climate-controlled tests of similar models using the same insulation system, the manufacturer has given it an R-rating of R22 – R-ratings being the standardised measure of how well a material resists conduction of heat; the higher the rating, the more insulating the material. “As the exact same models, we supply, were not part of the test, and to account for the fact that it is possible for R ratings to drop slightly over time, though due to the nature of the products used, we would not expect any significant change with normal use, we have chosen to act on the cautious side and have elected to regrade these as R18+; this is the level we are absolutely confident that the spas will be at for their lifetime.”
The insulation system employed in Sunbeach Spas branded hot tubs is rated as R10. Whilst the concept of full foam insulation is by no means new or exclusive, in general this type of solution with multiple levels of foam density across the spa has been the preserve of higher end spas. In the RX range, Sunbeach include this top-flight insulation system, as standard, in hot tubs at the more affordable end of the market as the RX range starts at just £6,995 RRP, a price Sunbeach has been able to hold for a second year, meaning a wider range of hot tub owners can benefit from these innovations.
However, no compromises have been made in the remainder of the specification to allow for the extra insulation – the RX range share the excellent build quality that Oasis are renowned for, as well as an impressive feature set already ahead of the competition in their price bracket. “After receiving the Gold Standard Award in this category in 2020, we said that we would not be resting on our laurels and that we would strive forward to bring more energy efficient spas to the UK – in the Oasis RX and the Thermal Lock R18+ system, we believe we have delivered on that promise with a no-compromise collection of world-class hot tubs with budget-defying insulation solutions,”
Wayne declares. “Our spa insulation systems are already way ahead of the competition in their price brackets, and simply adding extra insulation brings diminishing returns; so instead we are looking to the next stage in energy efficiency for spas – the heat source pump. “While the Thermo Lock R18+ insulation helps makes the most of the electricity used, the heat source pump allows us to use less electricity in the first place, potentially using 70-80% less mains electricity than conventional water heating systems, dependant on model and environmental factors” says Wayne.
“Not only have we have partnered with one of the UK’s leading manufacturers to produce our own-branded heat source pump, specifically targeted at the compact spa market, but we have started to include the necessary internal pipework and connectivity for heat pumps as standard across our Oasis range of spas, including the RX range, making on-site installation/retro fitting so much simpler.”
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