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Archive for January, 2011

Hot Tub Rule #1: Don’t crash into my hot tub!

January 27th, 2011 by

Dude, you crashed into my TUB!


Don’t crash into my hot tub!

A Prescott Valley woman, Atrina Sprague, is in custody for allegedly driving her car into a hot tub outside a northern Arizona home.

Police said Tuesday that Sprague, 32, remains in the Yavapai County Jail. She’s being held on suspicion of DUI, reckless driving, criminal damage and endangerment.


Jeff Spicoli's Sister?


Police say a breath test showed Sprague had a blood-alcohol level of .23 percent – well above the 0.08 percent legal limit to operate a vehicle in Arizona.

Car that Prescott Valley, Ariz. Police Say Crashed into Outdoor Hot Tub (KPHO)

Residents of the Prescott Valley home told police they were woken up by a loud noise just after 2 a.m. Saturday, and discovered a car stuck in their spa. (Yes, they hate it when that happens)

They say the driver, Sprague, was apparently trying to leave, but couldn’t get the car off a hill.

I’m sure they will need a new Spa Cover.



Spa Retailers Required to Stop Making False ENERGY STAR Claims

January 18th, 2011 by

Canadian Spa Retailers Claimed Their Spas Were Compliant


OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Jan. 17, 2011) – The Competition Bureau announced today that, as a result of its successful enforcement action, two additional spa retailers must cease making misleading representations that incorrectly conveyed the impression that their hot tubs or insulation met the criteria of the ENERGY STAR Program.

Under the terms of a consent agreement filed today with the Competition Tribunal, which has the force of a Tribunal order, “EcoSmart Spas” and “Dynasty Spas”, as well as a director of both retailers, Brent Marsall, have agreed to cease making misleading representations and to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $130,000. Corrective notices will also be published in all stores, and on their Web site, to inform customers of the misleading representations. In addition, a corporate compliance program will be developed and implemented for both retailers.

“I am pleased that our enforcement action has been successful,” said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. “Canadians seeking energy efficient and environmentally friendly products depend on businesses to ensure that the claims being made about their products are truthful and accurate. Companies that make false representations inhibit consumers’ ability to make informed purchasing decisions and put rival companies at a competitive disadvantage.”

On June 29, 2010, the Bureau announced that it had filed an application with the Competition Tribunal seeking to prohibit Mr. Marsall and his companies from making claims that the products were eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. The ENERGY STAR Program is an international standard for energy efficient and environmentally friendly consumer products. No hot tubs, spas, or insulation products for sale in Canada are eligible for certification by, or in association with, the ENERGY STAR Program.

Since announcing a crackdown on unsupported energy savings claims in June 2009, the Bureau has reached agreements with all Canadian hot tub and spa retailers identified as having made similar false or misleading claims, except EcoSmart Spas and Dynasty Spas. The Bureau was forced to start enforcement action against Mr. Marsall, EcoSmart Spas and Dynasty Spas. The consent agreement resolves the matter with respect to these final violations.

Canadian and American government agencies cooperated in the Bureau’s investigation. This includes the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which owns and manages the ENERGY STAR Program, and the Office of Energy Efficiency of Natural Resources Canada, which administers the program in Canada.

In June 2008, the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) jointly published enforcement guidelines, entitled “Environmental Claims: A Guide for Industry and Advertisers“. The guidelines provide the business community with the necessary tools to ensure that environmental marketing is not misleading, while providing consumers with greater assurance about the accuracy of environmental claims.

The EcoSmart Spas and Dynasty Spas retailers that made the misleading claims operate in the Calgary and Red Deer area.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

Warm Up with a Hot Tub Soak in Idaho

January 13th, 2011 by

Warm Up with a Hot Soak

Nothing like easing your tired muscles in a natural wonder

by Andrew Mentzer


Just because Old Man Winter has a stranglehold on the weather right now doesn’t mean you have to wait until May to feel warm again. Wouldn’t a nice soak in a hot tub feel great right about now? If you don’t own a hot tub yourself or don’t want to risk climbing the fence in the cold, dark night to slip into your neighbor’s tub, there are some great hot springs within a two-hour drive of Boise that can kill the chill.

Skinnydipper–Touted as one of the best hot springs in Idaho, these pools are not particularly easy to get to. Off of Banks to Lowman Road (South Fork of the Payette River), you have to park on the side of the highway and hike up a steep, rocky hillside. The trail can be especially tricky during the winter months. If you make it, the upper pools are piping hot and the scenery is well worth the trip.

Kirkham–Just past Lowman on Highway 21, these roadside springs are easy to get to and very relaxing. Just a short hike from the publicly managed Kirkham campground, these springs run right into the crystal blue waters of the Payette River.

Gold Fork–If you find yourself in the McCall-Donnelly-Cascade neck of the woods, Gold Fork Hot Springs makes for a worthy visit. Bring cash since these springs are privately owned and properly built-out. Get more information at

Baumgartner–Also adjacent to a publicly managed campground, Baumgartner hot springs is great place to sit back and take it all in. Being 11 miles past Featherville, access may be tricky depending on the weather.

Bonneville–Also just north of Lowman, Bonneville is an awesome spot if you enjoy hiking. These springs are about a quarter-mile hike/snowshoe from the Bonneville campground and have a “soak shack” that guests can enjoy.

Pine Flats–Another Highway 21 hot spot, Pine Flats hot springs are best enjoyed during the summer and fall months, since the river blows out the lower pools during the early spring. Just a few miles before Lowman off of Banks to Lowman Road, these springs are a short hike from the scenic Pine Flats campground.

Garden Valley/Moondipper/Pine Burl/Silver Creek Plunge–The Garden Valley area has many excellent hot springs, both improved and unimproved.

With all of these hotspots, don’t let the desire to soak your self override your common sense. Check conditions before heading into the mountains and keep in mind that some Forest Service roads are closed during snow season. Be prepared for any number of scenarios, including but not limited to the following: nude hot-tubbers, nude hot-tubber-loving mountain animals, Johnny Law (if you become a nude hot-tubber), and piping-hot water temps (dip your toes before you dive in)

What to Look for in a Backyard Hot Tub

January 7th, 2011 by

Winter Warmth Outdoors: Backyard Hot Tub Features

hot-tub-featuresPat Karlsson Backe and her husband, Kevin, say this is their favorite time of the year to use the hot tub in their Franconia back yard.
By Ann Cameron Siegal, for The Washington Post

“Something different happens when you are sitting outside,” said Pat Karlsson Backe, a fitness and Pilates instructor. Her husband, Kevin, brought his hot tub to their marriage three years ago, then they added a small, portable fire pit to celebrate their first Christmas together. Their Franconia back yard, with its slate patio and view of the woods, became their favorite hangout. It’s “good for the soul,” she said. “You have the ability to take in the evening air as nature takes away all the stresses of the workday.”

Whether seeking a focal point for gatherings or for solitary contemplation, here are some things to consider before installing a backyard hot tub or fire pit.

Hot tubs in the Washington DC area

Is your primary goal hydrotherapy for aching muscles, simple relaxation or socializing with friends?

Customers often say they want a hot tub – also called a spa – big enough for a party, said Dave Cintorino, owner of Home Escapes, a spa and patio furniture store in Reston. “Most often it’s one or two people at a time, so get the one you want,” he said.

Kevin Backe purchased his hot tub 20 years ago, when he was in his 30s. It’s a basic no-frills three-seater, which he and Pat, avid runners, use to limber up before exercising and for soothing soaks afterward.

Lise and Steve Lingo use their eight-person spa several times a week in the back yard of their Herndon townhouse, most frequently in winter.

“In the morning it wakes you up, gently,” Lise Lingo said. “In the evening, it puts you to sleep.”

Sprinting from your cozy indoors to the warmth of the water can be a challenge in the winter, so the closer the spa is to your house, the more likely you are to use use it.

“The trade-off may be the view,” said Charlie Hyink, owner of Vienna Hot Tubs and Patio in McLean, “so seek the best compromise.”

The Lingos, for example, installed a ceiling under their deck to protect the area between house and tub from snow and ice. It’s important to make sure you have a non-slip surface to guard against falls.

Acoustics count, too. Will the sound of spa jets, heaters or pumps be bothersome if your unit is near a bedroom window or a nearby house?

Before deciding on a location for your tub, you also should consider whether you need privacy screening so you’re not on display before the neighbors. Also make sure you have enough space around the hot tub to allow easy access for maintenance and repairs.

Contemporary hot tubs come in many shapes and sizes, seat two to eight people and require several hundred gallons of water. While you can get wooden and even inflatable versions, we’ll focus on the aboveground molded-plastic style. Popular sizes can take up to an 8-by-8-foot space.

Always do a “wet test” before purchasing a hot tub; many retailers will arrange for you to bring your bathing suit and towel to the store for the not-so-dry run. That’s the best way to determine if the seats, depth and jet placement fit your body, and whether the well is large enough that entangled feet won’t be a problem. Typical options include multi-level seating, armrests, or lounge seating for stretching out.

Hot-tub covers should be well insulated, tapered for rain run-off and lockable so uninvited visitors – particularly children – can’t access the water. (The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 800 deaths associated with hot tubs since 1990, nearly 90 percent of them children younger than 3.) Lids can be heavy, so consider installing a cover lifter, which will add a couple hundred dollars to your cost.

Molded tubs run from $2,000 to more than $15,000, depending on the size and extra features, such as lighting and fountains.

The services of a licensed electrician will add several hundred dollars to the tab. Hot tubs require 110/120 or 220/240 volt systems, with the higher service needed to run spa pumps and heaters simultaneously in cold weather.

A hot tub full of water can weigh several tons. You’ll need a a substantial platform, concrete slab or reinforced deck to support it.

Heating requires about one hour for every three degrees of water temperature, so the better insulated your unit, the lower the costs to run and the quieter it is. The better the filtration system, the easier the unit is to maintain.

Cintorino estimates that chemicals and heating will run about $500 a year on a high-end model with options such as digital programming, individually controlled jets, mood lighting or water fountains.

Manufacturers recommend that users completely change the water every three or four months, depending on usage, and check the water’s pH weekly. To minimize bacteria, religiously add sanitizing chemicals and clean the filters according to the manufacturer’s directions.