Illuminate and Elevate

Enhancing backyards with low-energy, high-impact products

Retailers are always on the lookout for merchandise that can transform the hot tub experience without adding to energy bills. Whether these items are solar-powered lights or mats that melt snow, they have a positive effect on a customer’s backyard experience and retailer’s bottom line.

“Solar lights are great — anything that’s illuminated because the hot tub experience does tend to be in the dark,” says Kathi Belcourt, director of sales and service at Aqua-Tech Pool, Spa, and Home Renovation in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Solar-powered lighting, whether it’s conventional options or specialty lights that resemble railway lanterns, is a huge seller, Belcourt says.

“It’s not just aesthetically beautiful,” she says. “It also helps getting in and out of the spa safely.” 

Aqua-Tech carries many types of Hampton Bay solar lights and offers solar string lights from Brightech that are both trendy and traditional.

“When you put up your Christmas tree, if you just add ornaments, it’ll be pretty, but as soon as you add lighting, it’s magical,” Belcourt explains. “Your backyard is the same thing. Your yard is lovely when you illuminate it. Once you actually get lights, you can’t go without them.”

Because Belcourt uses solar lights at her home, they’re always on when the sun is down. 

“Even if I’m just doing dishes in the kitchen, it brings me joy to look out into the yard and see that warmly lit welcoming space,” she says. 

Beyond solar, customers looking to install low-energy lighting upgrades also have plenty of options in the LED category.

LED lighting can offer special effects such as light shows and changing colors, and it is significantly more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lighting. 

“Standard incandescent bulbs are good for a few thousand hours,” says John Kenbeek, sales and retail manager at Horizon Pool and Patio in Wellington, Florida. “The standard LED fixture is rated for 50,000 hours.”

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While lighting is a great choice for sprucing up a spa owner’s backyard, there are plenty of other available products that can make a substantial impact. 

Movie night in the hot tub is attractive to customers, Belcourt says. Aqua-Tech sells the rechargeable ViewSonic Wi-Fi projector with built-in Harman Kardon speakers, transforming any outdoor living area into an entertaining space.

Another big seller for Aqua-Tech is a USB-rechargeable towel warmer. LiveFine is just one brand they carry to bring this energy-efficient luxury to customers.

For those cold, snow-covered months, Aqua-Tech started carrying HeatTrak heated snow-melting mats. They can be connected to form a path, which offers convenience and safety. 

Steepleton, a hot tub and outdoor living store with locations in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, offers Infratech patio heaters, president Gunnar Graven says.

“We sell them to go above hot tubs, patios and seating areas,” he says. “They put out great heat.”

In addition to costing less than 50 cents an hour to operate, they have decorative features and several installation options.

The heaters are reminiscent of shop lights and are different from the propane-powered standing heaters many people use. The Infratech heaters can be controlled by a wall switch and heat the area in a matter of minutes.

According to Graven, the 6,000-watt heater comfortably covers an 11-foot-by-11-foot area, keeping the hot tub and the surrounding space warm and extending the spa season.

“These are a really great way you can spend more time outside and not be super cold or uncomfortable,” he says. 

Whether a consumer prioritizes practicality, luxury or a mix of the two, the array of low-energy, high-impact products extends far beyond lighting, allowing for the complete customization of a backyard oasis.