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Archive for March, 2013

5 Minute Hot Tub Massage Techniques

March 30th, 2013 by

spa-massageThe Hot Tub or Spa is the perfect place for a soothing massage, after all, hydrotherapy is a form of massage. In the warm waters of your hot tub, tired muscles relax and yield to the softest touch.

It’s a great way for couples to help each other enjoy their time in the hot tub more, and become closer to each other in the process.

Since long soaks of 30 minutes or more may not be recommended, here’s some ways to provide quick relief – in just 5 minutes!

Spa Massage Tips

There are some areas of the body that are not conveniently positioned for the spa jet massage, such as the thighs, lower back and pelvis areas. Other parts of the body can be comfortably reached by your spa massage partner, without climbing into some impossible position.

Spa Massage starts with a deal, an accord or pact between two aching bodies. “I’ll do you – if you do me?” is the usual agreement. Although foot massage can both be given at the same time, it’s best to trade off, to allow your helping hands to be most appreciated. Here’s some tips on bringing loving relief in the form of massage – while soaking in your hot tub!

Foot Massage:

This is a good place to start the massage. Seated across from your partner, raise their ankle up onto your knee, and begin by slowly rotating the ankle in both directions. Then twist the entire foot, side to side – slowly. After this overall foot greeting, we can get specific. Extend the toes back and forward, and then stretch each toe, one by one, by gently twisting and then pulling or extending each little piggy.

Moving from the toes, massage the ball of the foot with circular motions, before running your thumb the length of the foot, from toe to heel. Finish the foot by massaging the heel area, squeezing it like a large lemon, as you move your hand around the heel. Switch to the other foot.

Hand Massage:

A hand massage is so appreciated, with the amount of dexterous tasks we are all doing each day on our computer and portable devices. A hand massage doesn’t differ very much from the foot massage, except that it’s best to be seated next to the person, on the side opposite the hand you are working on.

Begin with wrist rotation, a few times in each direction. Then fold the wrist to as far forward as is comfortable, pointing the fingers at the elbows. Reverse direction so the palm is open and facing up. Now, “squeeze the lemon” by squeezing the hand, as you slide it through yours, from wrist to finger tips. Now, work on each individual finger, with a stroking squeeze of each digit from base to tip. Twist each finger from side to side, and then extend each finger through it’s full range. Finish with some thumb strokes on an open palm, while squeezing the hand edge, opposite the thumb. Switch to the other hand.

Back Massage:

If you have a large enough bench seat, your partner can sit in front of you, or, you can bring in a clean 5 gallon bucket as a seat in the center of the spa. For portable spas, standing outside of the spa can be most comfortable for the one giving the massage, and also allows you more leverage to bear down into tired trapezoids.

Start at the base of the neck, and work your way along the top of the shoulders. Dig your thumbs deep into the shoulder grooves (as deep as is comfortable for your partner). Then, follow down the spinal cord, as far as you can comfortably reach. Repeat the stroke, widening your stroke on each pass, until your  hands end up on your partner’s sides. Finish by pulling, hand over hand, strokes from the outside – in, or from the side of the body, toward the spine, repeating the stroke on the opposite side.

Neck and Scalp Massage:

This one can be performed with the person seated on the floor in front of you, if your spa is not too deep, or you can stand outside the spa, just behind your partner. Hair can be wet or dry, but wet hair is easier to get your hands through.

Again, start at the base of the neck, but this time work your thumbs upward, and as you reach the scalp, run your thumbs along the base of the scalp, towards the ears. Run your fingers up the neck, and into the hairline, continuing the stroke all the way to the front (remove any rings and necklaces first). Spend time behind each ear, and massage the entire perimeter of each ear, pulling, twisting and folding your partner’s ear.spa-massage-2

Keep the massage oils inside the house – your spa filter will do better without having to filter excess oil, and besides the water is a good lubricant anyway.

If you have any of your own spa or hot tub massage techniques to share, post a comment below – if not, give this 5 minute spa massage a try on your hot tub partner!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Troubleshooting a Spa Ozonator Problem

March 27th, 2013 by

ozone-2Ozone is one of the world’s strongest sanitizers. It eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and other pathogens in your spa water. It also attacks oils, dirt and nearly all contaminants. And, the only byproduct of Ozone (O3) is Oxygen (O2).

Using a spa ozonator can reduce your chemical usage dramatically, which is why most new spas are equipped with an ozonation system.

But you may be wondering if your ozonator is working? You probably don’t have a test kit for ozone, and even if you see bubbles coming out into the spa, there may be a problem.

How Does Spa Ozone Work?

In spas and hot tubs, ozone is produced by a Ultra-Violet bulb. When air is exposed to UV radiation (from a UV light bulb), some of the oxygen in the air is converted to ozone. O2 gains a third oxygen atom, and becomes O3. When the ozone molecule attacks contaminants in your spa water, it gives up the third atom, and reverts back to O2.

Inspect the UV bulb

If you can see the blue light coming from an inspection port, or slipping out of a small crack in the housing, you can assume that the bulb is functioning properly. If there is no blue light, follow the power cord, and make sure that it’s securely plugged into the spa pack, or is connected to a power source. Inspect the cord also, looking for problems such as cuts or breaks in the wire harness. Finally, if the bulb is lit, and no ozone is being released, you may have a clogged venturi injector.

Inspect the Ozone Hose

The hose carries the small ozone bubbles from the spa ozonator to the venturi injector, which pulls the ozone into the spa plumbing. Sanitation takes place almost immediately. If the hose is broken, or crimped, or disconnected, you have located your ozonator problem.

Inspect the Check Valve

On the hose, there is a check valve, which allows the ozone to flow in only one direction (towards the spa jets) and keeps water out of the ozonator. If the check valve appears to be damaged, or stuck, or if you notice that the pump basket is filling with air when turned off, you may have a faulty check valve. Be sure to replace with your exact manufacturer replacement. one that won’t be damaged by ozone, and is made to match the ozone output pressure.

Ozone bulbs usually last 3-5 years. When replacing the ozone bulb, be sure to use the exact manufacturer replacement. Or, you can replace the entire spa ozonator.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’!

Daniel Lara
Hottubworks.com

 

Spa Cover Lifter Reviews

March 21st, 2013 by

spa-cover-lifts

Hot Tub cover lifters are essential for most people to comfortably handle a bulky spa cover, and also to prevent damage to your spa cover. You may be surprised to know how often spa covers are broken during movement, or while not on the hot tub – about half of the replacement spa covers that we sell.

Reviews are popular nowadays, with nearly every product we sell, but the best reviews come from you, our customers via email – the unsolicited customer feedback. I have collected hundreds of these over the years, and have hand picked a few of the most useful reviews, or those that really highlight the features of each of these very different spa cover lifters.

Hot Tub Cover Lifter Reviews: 2008-2012

Cover Valet Reviews

  1. Works like a charm. I was nervous about installation, seeing that the other models you just slide under the spa, but this one seemed more sturdy than those. The video you guys did was very helpful. Installed in under an hour.
  2. Instructions were a bit lacking, but once I had the the side bracket installed, the rest was a breeze. It’s very sturdy and easy to use with the piston assist. I like how it sits up next to the spa, adds a bit of privacy on one side.
  3. I didn’t want to drill into the wood around my spa, fearing it would crumble on my old Coleman spa. The bolts were big enough to bite into the small pilot holes I made, and no cracking. This is a much improved spa lift, over the last model we had. Appreciate the fast shipping too.

Cover Caddy Reviews

  1. The cover caddy was easy to put on the spa, once we figured out how to lever the spa up slightly to slip it under. Once in place, it seemed secure so we tested it out. Worked the first time, no adjustment needed.
  2. Looks a bit flimsy in the video, but it handles our cover well. I like how it holds the cover along the side of the spa. We replaced the cover at the same time, and maybe the new one is lighter, but this is a lot easier to manage than before.
  3. Cover Caddy was fast to set-up. I had to move the bottom plate at first, I didn’t have it centered. But installing it in under a minute still counts as fast to me!

Cover Rock-It Reviews

  1. “Rock-on cover rock-it! I can’t believe I went this long without a spa cover lifter thingy. It’s so easy now, I don’t need to get someone to help me remove the spa top!”
  2. “Just fold the cover, and step on the little lever and ‘pop’! The cover opens instantly. Very ingenious device. I shoulda thought of that!”
  3. “Best $100 I ever spent. I was so tired of struggling with our cover before. I’m also convinced that not using a spa cover might have led to our spa cover’s demise. No one will take the blame of course, but they don’t just break themselves!”

CoverMate Freestyle Reviewscovermate-freestyle

  1. “Not the cheapest spa cover lift made, but works well. My previous cover lift (same model) lasted almost exactly the same amount of time as the spa cover (5 years). Is that on purpose?”
  2. “Love the new cover lift that I ordered. So mush easier than the other style you have for round covers – I had that one before, and my cover would always fall off (roll-off), which is not good for your spa cover! We love it, thanks for sending.”
  3. “I very much appreciate the replacement spa lift. The first one was defective on the hinge, but this one has been working fine for 30 days. I told you I’d update you – I guess you could say we are happy with the replacement.”

 

Cover Rx Reviewscover-rx-spa-top-lift

  1. Works great on my Softub. No other cover lift can be used with these. Slid right under, worked immediately. THANKS!”
  2. On our traditional wood slat hot tub, we wanted something inexpensive and easy. The cover rx was the prescription! Tell thanks to Dr. Alea!”
  3. There’s not a lot of choice for spa cover lifters for aboveground round spas. This one, and another one that was twice as much money. Glad we went with this one – it’s simple to use and looks durable. It’s easy enough for an 81 yr old grand mom to use (that’s me!).”

 

I hope you enjoyed a look at some quick reviews for our most popular spa cover lifts. Full disclosure, I edited these reviews, some of them were quite long! I also didn’t include any negative reviews, but there were some.

If you have a review of your spa cover lifter, Good or Bad, leave it in the comments below, along with the Make and Model, to let others benefit from your experiences!

- Jack

Hot Tub Cover Care and Maintenance

March 18th, 2013 by

Before and After using Leisure Time Spa Cover CleanerYour spa or hot tub cover fights the weather all year long, and like any Marine grade vinyl, cleaning and conditioning will make it last much longer.

Sun, rain and snow pull out the resins that keep vinyl soft and pliable. Over time, spa covers that are not cleaned and protected become brittle, and soon develop thin spots, rips and tears.

Fortunately, maintaining your hot tub cover is easy. I clean my cover once every few months, and it looks as good as the day I bought it (from HotTubWorks, of course), 3 yrs ago.

 

How to Clean a Hot Tub Cover

Start with a dry spa cover (use a towel if it’s been raining). Although you can use other vinyl cleaner and conditioner products, we have two products that are specifically meant for use with spa covers.

Just wipe it on the surface, and use a soft cloth to remove any excess. Apply more on seams or low spots that puddle water. It’s quick and easy to apply to both the top and the sides – but don’t use it on the inside of the spa cover.

Hot Tub Cover Cleaners303-spa-cover-wipes

303 Spa Cover Wipes – These are even easier. Pre-moistened towelettes meant for one time use. Wipe it on the surface of your spa cover for an instant shine and cleaning. This is the product I have at home for my hot tub cover.

Leisure Time Cover Care - Cleans, restores and protects spa covers. Apply it with a sponge, using the textured side if you need it to remove tough stains. Allows you to apply extra if needed, unlike the wipes.

How to Condition a Hot Tub Cover

After a cleaning of your spa cover, your vinyl is prepped to receive a protectant. Without first cleaning the spa cover, the absorption of the protectant is limited, and protection is reduced. And, if after cleaning your spa cover, a protectant is not used, you may be amazed at how fast your spa cover gets dirty again. This is because cleaning your spa cover “opens up the pores” of the vinyl (much like skin), and dirt can gain a quick foothold – if not sealed up again with a bit of vinyl protection.

Hot Tub Cover Conditionersspa-cover-conditioner

Spa Cover Conditioner – This is our own brand, and our most economical spa cover protectant. Squeeze it out onto a sponge and the cream soaks into the vinyl cover. High level of UV protection – it’s like sunscreen for your spa cover!

303 Vinyl Protectant – Not oily or greasy, like other spa cover protectants. Spray on, wipe off. Repels dirt and dust and stains from leaves or animals.

How to Clean the Underside of your Spa Cover

Normally, the underside of your spa cover should not need cleaning, but if you notice a moldy, musty smell, or see dirt or discoloration on the surface, here’s a trick from an old hot tubber. Fill a small spray bottle with a 10:1 solution of water:bleach, or a 10% solution of bleach. Do this after removing the spa cover from the spa. After spraying the plastic undersides, hose clean with fresh water.

Don’t use household cleaning chemicals on your spa cover – you may add phosphates or detergents to the spa which can contaminate the water and give you problems with algae, foaming – or both. Some cleansers can even be harmful to spa users, if it gets into the spa water.

Hot Tub Cover Maintenance

Other than cleaning and conditioning your hot tub cover every 3 months or so, there isn’t usually any maintenance or needed repairs (as long as you are using a spa cover lifter). Here’s a few tips if you have problems with your spa top.

  1. Small tears to the plastic lining under the cover should be taped or patched to keep moisture out.
  2. Spa cover handles or straps can be sewn on again with an awl, or stapled (use Stainless Steel staples).
  3. Tears or rips in your vinyl cover material can be patched with an automotive “liquid vinyl” kit.
  4. Using a Spa Cover Cap can add years of life to your spa cover, and reduce the need for cleaning.

 

- Jack

 

Adding Audio-Video to your Spa or Hot Tub

March 14th, 2013 by

Marquis Spa with pop up TVA Hot Tub is a paradise – soothing, relaxing and as social as you want it to be. If you want your spa to ROCK, however, jazz it up by adding some tunes to your spa experience, or go all out and set up an outdoor TV or monitor!

Newer spas can come equipped with stereos and built in speakers, like the one shown left, with an option to add a pop-up television. Manufacturer options strike me as expensive however.

You can assemble your own hot tub audio and video equipment for much less expense. Here’s how.

ADDING AUDIO TO YOUR SPA

The Integrated Spa Side Stereo is an outdoor, waterproof receiver that’s used on spas, boats and golf carts. These are typically mounted to the spa skirt, on the outside of the spa. You’ll also need an Antenna if you plan on using AM/FM, and a 12V power supply, to connect to your spa pack.

Spa stereos can be purchased as AM/FM only, or with a CD port, Ipod/Iphone dock or USB port, or even with Bluetooth wireless connectivity to your mp3 player. When shopping for a spa mounted stereo, look for Marine stereos, those meant for outdoor use in boats.

The Ipod/Iphone docking stereo is another option. If you have a dry area near the tub, with a 110V outlet, plug in any Ipod player and dock your device. For something fully waterproof, look at the Eco Terra Waterproof Boom Box. Slip your mp3 player inside and let the music play! This item has the advantage of portability, so you can also use it on a boat, by the pool or at the beach.

Your Home Stereo system can be your third option. If you have a Home Stereo, wired or wireless, a set of outdoor speakers can be attached. This is how we rock my hot tub. I have a SONOS wireless home music system, with an Amplifier in the garage, connected with speaker wire to 2 outdoor, wall mounted speakers. I can control the music selection with my Iphone (being careful not to drop it in the spa!).

Spa Speakers

spa-speakers

  1. Spa Cabinet Installed. Newer spas will always have the option for an integrated stereo and speakers. If you purchased this upgrade, speakers would be mounted into the top of the spa, either round 6″ speakers, or pop-up cylinder speakers. Most spas have room on the spa shell or cabinet to retrofit such speakers. Pop-up spa speakers have some advantage in design; besides looking ultra cool, they shed water from the speaker cone.exoxgear
  2. Floating Speakers. Fully waterproof, of course, floating speakers connect wirelessly to your mp3 player via Bluetooth. Most of these available have poor reviews of low volume, short range and fast battery usage. There is one however, with better reviews, the ECOXGEAR. At only $90, this could be all you need to play music from any Bluetooth enabled device.outdoor-rock-speakers
  3. Free Standing Speakers. Outdoor speakers can be wall mounted (like mine), or can be set onto stands, or placed near the spa. With the blower running and your spa pump on high, you may want your speakers close to the spa. You don’t want to wake the neighbors! There are dozens of options in outdoor speakers, wired or wireless, although wireless speakers require a power source, using either 110V or batteries.

ADDING VIDEO TO YOUR SPA

outdoor-spa-with-integrated-tv

An integrated Spa mounted television is a high-end upgrade for today’s modern spas. These wireless monitors receive a signal from a small server that you plug into your cable box. A waterproof remote control allows you to change channels and volume. The SpaVue television is one that is used by many spa manufacturers, who build the monitor into a recessed cavity, which rises up slowly when you click the waterproof remote.

You can retrofit an existing spa with the same idea, or surface mount the SpaVue, or similar outdoor television onto the edge of your spa. Wirelessly connect to your home media, or connect with cabling of your choice.

outdoor-tv-hot-tub-2Wall mounted outdoor televisions are another option. You can mount directly to the wall, of the house or your hot tub gazebo. With this option, you can go as big as you want, and mount a full home theater style screen. However, I don’t think that I could watch an entire movie in the spa. Or at least a long movie; I tend to use the spa for less than 30 minutes at a time. For hot tub parties, as Gina blogged about earlier this week – a big screen experience could really add something.

As I stated at the outset, a Hot Tub is a paradise, all by itself. You don’t need to add music and video – you could just light a candle and use your spa to escape technology, which come to think of it – is how I enjoy my spa best.

Happy Hot Tubbin’!

Daniel Lara
Hottubworks.com

 

Hot Tub Party Tips

March 11th, 2013 by

hot tub party tips

Hot Tub Parties -  just like any other party, except your guests are wet! Whether you like your hot tub party small, for just a few select couples, or if you throw whole house parties, with the spa available to the adventurous – this post is for you!

Having hosted my share of hot tub parties, for nearly any occasion, I’ve assembled some “best practices” for keeping spa party guests comfortable and safe.

Looking back over the years, I have become something of an expert hot tub hostess. Mistakes from early spa parties have not been repeated (although I will repeat them here), and my set-up and clean-up routines are faster every time.

Here’s my top tips for hosting a hot tub party, where all of your guests are comfortable.

CLEAN SPA!

The day before your spa party (not hours before), check and balance your spa chemistry. Make sure the pH is 7.4-7.6, to keep your sanitizer effective in the presence of possibly too-many spa users. Remove your spa filter and give it a heavy duty cleaning, so it can keep up with the bather load. Wipe down your spa, inside and out, and give it a quick vacuum to remove any grit or dirt. And to make sure it’s fresh, I like to use spa shock the night before, so that I know my spa is sanitary.

I also clean up the ground, or floor around the spa. It will become very wet, and if the floor is dirty, it tracks a lot of muck and yuck into the spa. There is one spot near my spa that is a real dirt magnet; I lay down an outdoor carpet in this area just before the party begins.

I almost forgot ~ Aromatherapy! Spa scents are a must for a spa party. I really love Spazazz Mood Crystals – Tropical Rain or Lavender being my favorites lately. For the uninitiated, they are just astounded that my spa smells so good!

FOOD AND DRINK!

For Food, if you can avoid it, keep the food out of the spa. Nothing is nastier than floating cheese snacks, and the oils that party snacks have will consume much of your sanitizer and clog up your spa filter. no-food-allowed-in-spa

At first, I had the food right next to the spa, then I moved it around 10 feet away (but still outside). After too many food messes, I now have the food inside of the house, and a cute sign made up to help people get the idea. Food and Spas don’t mix, so try to discourage food (and glass) from being near the spa.

For Drinks, I’m much less concerned about them in the spa, as they’re important to keep your guests from becoming hydrated. I keep a plastic water pitcher filled up, with plastic cups available. For those people that are using the spa – it’s crucial that they drink enough of water, especially if they are also drinking alcohol.

COMFORT!

Crowd Control – Rotate your guests. Limit them to 30 mins, and keep tabs on how long people are in the spa. For some people, you have to “cut30mins them off”, especially if you have a large crowd of other people that may want to use the hot tub. But mainly for safety – so after 30 mins, I’ll find a way to suggest a “spa break”. Also, I like to encourage all ages and both sexes to use the spa, and if I notice that the spa seems “unbalanced”, I’ll suggest an open seat to others.

Not everyone is comfortable about their body, and at my hot tub parties, typically half of the people (women and men) opt to keep their street clothes on.Make them comfortable by not being pushy about using the spa. If most of your group is in the spa, take some time to entertain those that stay dry. Seating around the spa, benches or stools, are great for these land-lubbers, especially if the party is centered around your hot tub.

Have other activities nearby, to offer additional entertainment, other than the hot tub. Lawn Bowling anyone? Horseshoes? Even a deck of cards can be useful. An outdoor fire pit with lots of seating is always a crowd pleaser.

Towels! Lots of towels, hanging nearby are useful for not just drying off, but for covering up while taking a break from the spa (encourage short-term use, 15-20 minutes at a time).

no skinny dipping

Nudity? There have been times, when tops have come off, but to ensure everyone’s comfort, I post another sign near the spa. It gets a lot of giggles, but I let them know (in most cases) that the sign is real. Once clothes come off, I have found that things can quickly become tacky and embarrassing for many guests.

MUSIC!

What’s a party without music? Most spa owners have already crossed this hurdle, and have set up some system to play some relaxing music to soak by. Party music should be a bit more upbeat, and mixed of many different genres. I typically play Pandora internet radio, set to shuffle among my pre-set stations. If I get a request, it’s easy to add another station.

LIGHTING!

Lighting in the spa can really set a mood. If your spa doesn’t have advanced color changing LED bulbs, you can float a few glow sticks in the spa to create a colorful glow, or hand out glow stick bracelets to your guests. Outside the spa, you can light some candles, use tiki torches, or turn on some exterior lights that aren’t too bright, but bright enough to light the way.

SAFETY!

Safety is important for many reasons, and most importantly to prevent accidents around your spa or hot tub. Here’s a list of spa safety tips.

  • Check that your spa drain covers are securely attached, to prevent entrapment.
  • Limit your guests to 30 minutes max in the tub. After a break of 15 minutes, a guest can return.
  • Alcohol is intensified in a hot tub. Try to limit your guests to one drink per hour, if possible.
  • Help your guests in and out of the tub. Coming out of a spa makes one lightheaded.
  • No glass allowed near the hot tub (and no food!).
  • Use outdoor carpets for wet spots on the floor.

So, that’s it – my tried and true secrets of spa party success! Follow these simple tips and you’ll enjoy being the hot tub host (or hostess)!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Top 5 Hot Tub Heater Problems

March 7th, 2013 by

Hot Tub Won’t Heat?

hot-tub-heater-problems

A Hot Tub without heat, is … cold! And no fun for anyone. Hot Tubs are meant to be HOT, and if you’ve ever been in a Warm Tub, you know it’s just not the same.

If you’re in charge of the hot tub at home, you hear the complaints when the hot tub heater is not working properly. You need a quick solution to the problem of no heat, or not enough heat in your spa or tub.

So here we have, a quick guide to the common issues affecting common spa heaters. I won’t go into gas heaters, but restrict this to common spa pack type heaters, or electric immersion element heaters.

Top 5 Spa Heater ProblemsHOT-TUB-PARTS

LOW FLOW: A spa heater relies on sufficient water flow to operate. A pressure switch, screwed into the heater chamber, senses when the water flow is too low to properly protect the heater. It breaks the electrical circuit powering the heater element, and the heater shuts down, and will begin to heat until proper water flow is established. With a flow issue, you don’t normally need any spa heater parts to repair.

Low flow in your spa or hot tub is most commonly associated with a dirty spa filter. If your spa heater won’t heat, remove your spa cartridge and clean the filter(s), to see if you have a pressure or flow rate problem. Other flow problems will be more severe – broken pump impeller, broken valves, or clogged pipes or spa jets. These problems will be evident from the noticeably reduced flow coming into the spa or hot tub.

THERMOSTAT:  The thermostat is the dial that you turn to crank up the heat. Most new spas use a solid state thermostat, connected to a circuit board. If you have a thermostat “knob”, instead of a lighted red arrow, you can test your thermostat to see if the unit is faulty internally, or if the sensor bulb has become corroded.

HIGH LIMIT:   The High Limit is another switch, similar to the pressure switch and thermostat discussed above. It’s purpose is to prevent a run-away spa heater – one that won’t shut off. It has a preset maximum heat (e.g., the upper limit), at which the switch will open, and short the electrical circuit carrying power to your spa heater element.

hot-tub-heater-trouble

HOT TUB HEATER ELEMENT: Your heater element is similar to a kitchen cooktop element, only they are built to be immersed in water while operational. Spa heater elements burn out very quickly if operated without cooling water surrounding it. Hot tub elements can also be tested to determine if there is a short in the coating surrounding the heating element.

Spa heating elements can also develop a scale buildup, from hard water or sanitizing with salt systems. When a spa element develops scale on the outside of the element, it will reduce the element’s heat output, and could lead to element failure.

SPA-HEATER-ELEMENT-2

For those of you with newer spas, you’ll often find that your spa heater element is housed in a sleek stainless steel chamber, with unions for easy removal. On this type of spa heater, you can test the element, high limit and pressure switch for resistance, as measured in Ohms. When testing with a multi-meter or ampmeter, an “OPEN” is when the meter spikes to a high reading. A “SHORT” is when there is little to no activity on the meter. When there is no resistance, the current is leaving the circuit, known as a “short-circuit”.

OTHER SPA HEATER PROBLEM CAUSES…

This last category causes profound heartburn to many of our customers. These spa heater problems are causes that you normally don’t think about, but can be a quick solution, and isn’t that what I promised you? Check these causes of spa heater troubles first, for the quickest solution that will have you shaking your head.

  1. GFCI tripped. Look for the electrical outlet on your spa pack. The one with the red TEST button. If it’s popped out, push it back in firmly.
  2. Spa Pack Door Interlock open. Many spas have a switch that is only closed when the spa equipment door is fully inserted and secured.
  3. Spa Cover needs to be replaced. Warped, broken and ill fitting spa covers can allow as much heat to escape as is being put into the tub.
  4. Loose Wires – Connections must be tight and not oxidized. Chewed wires (rodents) is another possibility.

I have sincere hopes that this information has helped you heat your hot tub up again. If you’re still baffled, leave a comment below for me, or give our customer support hotline a call at 800-770-0292.

Happy Hot Tubbin’!

Daniel Lara
Hottubworks.com

 

Your Hot Tub Water Smells Bad!

March 4th, 2013 by

Clothes Pins - the solution to smelly spas and hot tubs?

Does your spa smell? When you open up the spa cover, do you reach for the clothes pins? Does your skin smell bad, hours after you get out of the hot tub?

A foul smelling spa or hot tub is a sure sign that bacteria is hiding somewhere in your spa, spa equipment, or spa cover. I’m not talking about the smell of spa bromine or ozone – but a rotten egg, dirty socks, wet dog kind of smell! Your spa water can be crystal clear, and you can still have smelly spa water.

A spa with an odor problem is not uncommon, so don’t feel bad when it happens to you – feel motivated, and do something about it! Here’s some steps to take to remove odors from your spa, so you can get back to enjoying your relaxing soaks.

pH Levels

Your spa pH level, can affect the way that your spa water smells. When pH is very low, an sharp and pungent smell can result and when pH is very high, a musty and stale odor can result. Check and balance your pH level often, and maintain it in the 7.4-7.6 range.

Sanitizer Levels

Bromine, Chlorine or Biguanide, check that your level of sanitizer in the water is at a level high enough to kill bacteria and other smelly substances. This level of sanitizer needs to be kept at a consistent level to keep your water clean.

After heavy use of your spa or hot tub, or every few weeks regardless of use, shocking the spa will quickly kill bacteria in the water. To successfully shock the pool you should know the number of gallons in your spa, to be sure that you don’t under-dose it with spa shock. After shocking a smelly spa, leave your spa cover open for a few hours to allow gasses to escape.

Draining your Spa

If you haven’t done so in some time, you may want to skip the balancing and shocking of your spa water and proceed directly to draining. I like to drain my spa every 90 days, or sooner if I have been a little slack in my spa care routine, or if one of my spa parties becomes a little crowded or… boisterous! For smelly spas, draining the water may not do the trick of removing the smell. If not, read on for more causes of hot tub odor.

Your Hot Tub Cover

Hot tub covers are designed to drain properly and not hold water. If you’ve owned your hot tub for any length of time however, you know that spa covers don’t last forever. Eventually, nearly all spa covers will begin to trap water. When unsanitized water is trapped in a warm environment – that’s right, you get bacteria!

If your spa cover has gained a few pounds, it may be the source of your spa smells. Remove it to an area away from the spa to determine if the funky spa smell is from the spa, or the spa cover. If you can find the source of the water logged spa cover, you can attempt to seal up the void, dry out the spa cover guts, and reassemble. In most cases however, a water logged hot tub cover or a spa top with broken foam inserts will have you soon looking to buy a new spa cover!

Your Hot Tub Filter

Bacteria and other contaminants that are brought into your spa are meant to be killed by the sanitizer and their smelly-selves removed by the filter. Your filter cartridge needs to be properly inserted to prevent water from bypassing around it. Most spa filter cartridges should be replaced every year, to keep filtering at an optimum. When the cartridge ages, oils and minerals can clog up the fabric, and the fibers of the fabric separate, allowing mold and bacteria to pass right through. Replace your spa filters annually to avoid.

Your Hot Tub Pipes

Bacteria can build a nice home for themselves inside of your plumbing pipes. This is almost a certainty if you neglected the spa for some time, or left it almost empty, but with some water left inside the pipes and equipment underneath. This topic kind of grosses me out to be honest, so I’ll be quick.

Bio-film in your spa definitely smells bad, but you may never know that it’s there. In extreme cases, chunks will break off and you may find brown or green remnants in your spa filter, but usually you will never see biofilm, as it likes to stay hidden in your pipes and equipment.

It’s a good idea to use a cleansing product twice per year to remove bio-film in your spa or hot tub. I use Rendezvous Tub Rinse to remove any hidden bacteria in the pipes and equipment. I add it to the spa the night before I plan to drain it, just in case.

Aromatherapy for your Spa

I haven’t mentioned these products as a solution to a smelly spa, because they’ll just mask the odor – and not do a thing to correct the situation. Nonetheless, when speaking of smelly spas, how can you not mention the numerous products to help make your spa smell nicer? cense-spa-shock

We have spa beads, spa crystals and spa elixirs, in such delicious packaging that looks good enough to eat! Blends of minerals, crystalline salts and moisturizers, spa fragrances are used to create aromas that help you relax and enjoy your time more in the spa.

There is one product that is more than perfume for your spa – Cense spa shocks are scented, non-chlorine spa shock that kills bacteria fast, and leaves a clean scent to the water.

If you have any stories of smelly hot tubs and what you did about it – leave a comment below!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Swimming Pools vs. Hot Tubs – Which is Better?

March 1st, 2013 by

a pool and a spa, in one

 

Which is better – a swimming pool or a hot tub – which would you rather have? If you had this deluxe swim spa pictured here, you’d be able to swim in the upper area and soak in the lower hot tub. It’s the best of both worlds!

There are some strong opinions on the swimming pools vs. spas and hot tub question. I took a straw poll around the office and posed the question to my facebook friends.

 

“What would you rather have… a Pool, or a Spa?

The most common response was “Can’t I have both?” or “I have both!”, which forced me to revise my question, or add the caveat…

“If you could only have one… a Pool, or a Spa?”

After tallying the responses (many of them hilarious), I can now present to you the findings of my study.

 

“I would Rather Have a Pool Because…” pools-are-best-sm

  • I like to swim laps (or water exercises).
  • Nothing like the cool of the pool on a hot summer day.
  • Fun for the kids (or grandkids).
  • Entertainment – pool parties.
  • Sun Tan!

 

“I would Rather Have a Spa Because…”

hot-tubs-are-best-sm

  • Hot tubs soaks are so relaxing
  • Spas are very romantic
  • Can use a hot tub all year long
  • Much cheaper to buy
  • Easier to manage
  • Safer

 

I suppose that I’m partial to spas and hot tubs, but to be fair, I honestly do prefer my hot tub to having an inground swimming pool. I don’t think I’d even want one. We belonged to a community pool when my children were young, (they’re  now grown and moved on) so I made sure they had learned how to swim. One of my babies was on the swim team for many years. Living in southern California, swimming pools are quite common, and many of our friends have swimming pools.

And now that some of us are getting older, hot tubs seem to fit our lifestyle better. A pool would not get as much use at our house, but there it would be – demanding my daily attention. Or the attention of my husband!

My spa is so easy to take care of, it literally takes me 5 minutes per week – and that suits me fine. A swimming pool, from what my friends tell me, takes them about an hour per week in cleaning and maintenance.

And the cost of operation is much higher with pools. My friends with pools also report that they spend at least $1000 per year, running the pumps and keeping the chemicals correct, and making small repairs to the equipment. Then we went on to tell me stories of the BIG repairs, which I won’t bore you with, but some can be expensive.

So, I’ll keep my spa for now. What about you? Let’s keep the Study of Preference going – which would YOU rather have, a Pool, or a Hot Tub? Leave a Comment below, and let us know how you really feel about it!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works