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Archive for April, 2013

Health Benefits of Hot Tubs and Spas

April 29th, 2013 by

hot-tub-health-benefits

Hot Tubs and Spas are great for relaxing and also fun for family or social get togethers – but did you also know about the many great health benefits of hot water therapy?

Sure you did – it’s been known for thousands of years. 100 years ago, Mineral Hot Springs were prescribed to all manner of illnesses – maybe a bit too liberally!

Modern medicine has recognized the long list of curative and restorative powers that soaking in hot water can provide. Here’s a quick list of hot tub benefits.

 

Lower Blood Pressure

Soaking in a hot tub improves circulation of blood to all parts of the body. Blood vessels respond to the warm water by relaxing and dilating. As the circulatory pathways get larger, the Blood Pressure reduces. This allows for faster flow of oxygenated blood cells to the smallest capillaries in the farthest reaches of your body.

Reduced Mental Stress

Soaking in hot water reduces mental stress. Why? Soaking in a hot tub releases Endorphins, which feels good, so you focus on the stimulating sensations on your skin as you feel your muscles relax. Secondly, when the jet blower is on and the water is very turbulent, this creates a white noise that crowds out external sounds. Third, if your life is as busy as mine, it may be one of the few times per day where you can enjoy solitude!

Some spa owners combine Meditation, Breathing Exercises or Yoga to their hot tub soaks, which can provide even greater levels of stress relief.

Increased Metabolism

hot-tub-diet

Burn calories as you soak in the tub. That’s my kind of diet – and it worked for Bridget Praytor, author of the Hot Tub Diet. The warm water stimulates endocrines in the intestines, which speeds up digestion. As the body temperature warms up in a spa, the natural response of the body is to make efforts to cool itself through perspiration and sending blood to the skin’s surface. Actual calories burned during a hot tub session is not that great, but the effects on the digestion and blood flow stay with you – for hours after your time in the spa.

Clearer Skin

The moisture and humidity of a hot tub, in addition to the temperature, really opens up your pores, and allows clogging dirt and oils to release. Dermatitis, Psoriasis or Fungal Infections can all be helped with hot water soaking. Add some of our Spa Salts  to the water to condition the skin and add some of the benefits of soaking in plant extracts and essential minerals.

Deeper Sleep

And faster sleep. Studies show that people who soak in hot water in the evening do tend to fall asleep faster, and report feeling more rested than those who went to bed without a hot water soak. The sense of well being, and stimulation of your central nervous system is likely the cause of easier and more restful sleep. I like to joke that my spa releases Tryptophan – the chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy!

Muscle and Joint Pain Relief

The buoyancy found in a hot tub creates an environment where the muscles and joints can finally relax, without having to support the body. Heat releases the tension of tendons and muscles, allowing them to expand, and release inflammation. People with Arthritis, Tendonitis, and Fibromyalgia have found wonderful relief from their hot tubs. Back Pain, Knee Pain, Hand Pain – it soothes them all with relaxed muscles and improved blood flow.

infographic of hot tub health benefits

Hot Tubs – it’s the cure for what ails ya! Did I miss any benefits to hot tubs? Let me leave you with a word of caution – don’t overdo your time in the tub – limit your spa sessions to 30 minutes. Also, those with high blood pressure, heart disease or if you nursing or pregnant – seek advice from your physician before using a hot tub.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

Hot Tub Pump Problems

April 25th, 2013 by

spa-pump-problems

Spa and Hot Tub Pumps. They provide the circulation for the spa filter and heater and give an extra boost when turning the spa jets on high. And when the spa pump ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy – that’s because without water flow, there is no filtration, no sanitation and no heating.

Spa pumps need to operate every day to maintain clean and hot spa water – so when your hot tub pump has problems, it’s an emergency. If your spa cover is kept on, you may have 1 day before it cools off, and perhaps only a few days before bacteria and pathogens begin to thrive.

Shock the spa with your favorite spa shock when the sanitizer level gets low. You can continue using granular spa shock, or a spa floater with tablets, for several weeks, but if you go without filtration longer than a few weeks, you should consider draining the spa after your pump troubles are fixed.

Some spas have two pumps, one is the circulation pump and the other is the jet pump. If you have two pumps, chances are it’s one or the other – either your jets don’t work, or the spa circulation isn’t working. Spas and hot tubs with one pump usually have a 2-speed motor, operating on low speed most of the time, and on high speed when using the tub with the jets.

spa-repair-can-be-dangerous

Spa Pump Trouble F.A.Q.

Here’s a simple way to troubleshoot your spa or hot tub pump. Hot Tub Blogs should do this more often – These are our most Frequently Asked Questions about spa pump repair.

Q: My Spa Pump is Dead – No Noise, No Action!

A: When you hit the switch or button, and you don’t hear your spa pump come on, there are a few things simple things you can try.

First, are other equipment items powered, are the indicator lights on? If not, the Circuit Breaker may be tripped. Second, the GFCI breaker may have tripped. Look for a red “TEST” button on an electrical outlet near your spa equipment. If the GFCI was tripped, but the spa still won’t come on, check the system Fuse in the spa pack panel. If you replace the Fuse and it pops again, you have an short in the wiring equipment of your spa.

Third, check your time clock or remote spa controller, if you have one, to make sure it is not over riding the switch you are using. Fourth – is a faulty switch you are using to turn on the spa pump. Air switch buttons are often used on older spas, and you may have a problem with the switch or the hose. Modern air switches are electronic, and you can test the power coming in and out of them, to determine if the switch itself is faulty.

Q: My Spa Pump is Not Pumping!

A: If your spa pump is coming on, but not pumping any water here’s some steps to troubleshoot.

First, have you just refilled your spa? If so, there is probably and Air Lock in the hot tub. In some spa systems, when you completely drain the spa, air gets trapped in the pipes and equipment. You need to bleed the air out and replace it with water before the pump can catch prime.spa-pump-wet-end

To bleed air our of your system, first look for a drain plug on the pump and filter. Place a small pan or cookie sheet underneath to catch any water. Slowly open the drain plugs until water begins to run out. If you don’t have drain plugs, you can slowly loosen the union on the pump (but don’t remove it, or the o-ring may pop out of place). Listen for escaping air, and then once the water begins to drip, you can tighten the union up again.

Second, if your tub is full, and still no water runs out, look for any closed valves before or after the pump. Third, is something blocking the lines? Look for something stuck in the skimmer or blocking the spa drain. Fourth, is the water level high enough? Low water will allow the skimmer to suck air, and cause the pump to lose prime. Fill spa to the middle of the skimmer opening.

Q: My Spa Pump Only Works on High Speed

A: First, rotate your timer clock and turn up thermostat to high to see if this resolves the problem.
Second, check the power at the low speed and high speed terminals, which should be either 110V or 220V, +/- 10%. Third, check the air switch button that you push to switch speeds. Check for voltage coming in an out of the switch, or for mechanical air switches, check that the device is not clogged with debris or insects, and that the air hose is in good shape and connected on both ends. Fourth, the mechanical switch in the back of the motor could be stuck in the high position, due to broken parts or insect infestation.

Q: My Spa Pump Only Works on Low Speed

A: When your 2-speed hot tub pump only works on low speed, and never kicks into high speed, there are four possible solutions to check.

First, if you are pushing an air switch button, check that the air hose is not crimped or disconnected. Newer, electronic air switches can be tested with a multi-meter, to see that power is passing through, on both sides of the switch. Second, If the pump was recently replaced or rewired, the wires could be reversed on the back of the motor.

Third, is the switch in the back of the motor, that changes to motor from low speed to high speed. With power off, manually operate the switch, looking for something loose, broken or misaligned. Insect or ant infestation could also prevent the switch from operating correctly. Fourth, is the contactor/relay that switches the pump speed. With power off, make sure that the connections are tight, and the terminals are not rusty or corroded.

Q: My Spa Pump is Humming, and Then the Breaker Trips

A: If your spa pump never actually turns on, it only makes a low noise, until the circuit breaker trips, check these things.

spa-pump-capacitor

Capacitor

First, would be the capacitor on the motor. This cylindrical “battery” provides extra starting power, and these can go bad after many years. You can test the capacitor, or simply replace it with an identical size. Second, Check the shaft for rotation. If you have an open volute, where you can see the shaft, use straight pliers to manually turn the shaft, to rule out a locked up motor, or something stuck in the pump impeller. Third, Check that input voltage is correct, either 110V or 220V, +/- 10%. Fourth, it is possible that the breaker itself is in need of replacement.

Q: My Spa Pump is On, but Barely Pumping

A: First, check the spa filter, it may need cleaning. Second, look for any obstructions in the skimmer or over the drain cover. Third, something could be clogging up the pump impeller, especially if a spa cover is not used, and lots of small debris has entered the hot tub. Fourth, an air leak, before the pump can cause this issue. Check the union in front of the pump, and look for any water leaks when the pump shuts off.

Q: My Spa Pump is Making Loud Noises

A: There are a few types of funny noises that a hot tub pump can make – none of them good.

First, if the noise is a screeching, high pitched whine, the motor bearings could be failing. Bearings can be replaced, or if the motor is very old (more than 5 years old), you may consider replacing the hot tub motor. Second, if the noise is a low pitched, grumbling noise, the pump could be starved for water. Check that the valve in front of the pump are open, and that nothing is clogged in the suction lines, including the spa filter. Third, a rattling noise – could be vibration that can be solved with a rubber pad beneath the pump. If something is broken inside the motor, it doesn’t take long (at 3400 rpm) for broken spa pump parts to be worn down to nothing. In this case, the noise would not last more than a few minutes.

Q: My Spa Pump is Leaking Water

Leaking Spa Pumps

A: First, and most probable, is that the shaft seal of the pump has failed. This is located behind the impeller, and would leak along the shaft, just behind the volute. Second, is the union on top of the pump. If water is dripping or spraying from where the union connects, the PVC threads may have shrunk (from running pump without water), or the threads may be loose and simply need to be tightened. Third, if either incoming or outgoing unions were loosened recently, the internal o-ring may have come out of place, and not be positioned properly. Fourth – is the o-ring that seals up the impeller housing, or volute. Dry-rotted, out of position, or possibly loose, along with loose screws around the face of the pump.

 

I hope that this FAQ of Hot Tub pump problems has been helpful to you. If your question was not answered here, feel free to post a comment below, or call our helpful spa tech support personnel at  800-770-0292.

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

How to Buy Spa & Hot Tub Parts

April 22nd, 2013 by

 

Hot Tub parts for DIY spa repair
If you are a Do It Yourself type of spa owner, (and most of our customers are) – you’ve probably seen our huge selection of parts for spa and hot tubs.

Spa Parts are my favorite category of spa stuff that we sell, probably because it’s a bit more challenging to know the intricacies of spa parts. We found out early that to sell spa parts, you have to have people in the call center that understand such things. Our tech support staff actually know how to repair spas and hot tubs.

Spa and Hot Tub parts are something we understand very well at Hot Tub Works. Our staff is trained to help you select the proper spa part, and our inventory investment means that we likely have the part you need, when you need it – often shipping the same day.

 

How to Order Spa Parts

Spa and Hot Tub replacement parts

On Hottubworks.com, we have designed a logical spa parts storefront. We don’t ask you to search by sku, or p/n. Instead, we have broken down our spa parts into 12 logical categories, shown right. These spa part categories represent different systems of interconnected equipment or parts – so you can find what you need fast.

Another way we made parts buying simpler was to throw out the schematic! They can’t be displayed clearly anyway, and with thousands of parts to list, it gets real confusing, real fast.

Instead, what we have are pages of similar parts, with thumbnail images – to quickly spot the correct replacement part for your spa or hot tub. We have 37 pressure switches for instance, all listed on one simple page, with detailed descriptions, measurements and an image that you can enlarge to see more clearly.

Most web users are very visual, and using high quality images in our parts department helps our visitors to feel confident that they’ve chosen the right part. This saves us both money and hassle, in shipping parts back and forth.

Other spa parts websites have black and white parts images that look like they were taken in the 19th century! Instead, we decided to do something different, and 5 years ago, launched a parts image improvement program; completed in early 2012.

Some of the other guys have out of date parts databases, selling items that have been obsolete for 10 years. They can’t get the part, but yet they take the order as though they can. A week later, you find out that the part is no longer made, and without a substitute available.

Instead, We continue to add to our spa parts selection every year, as new spas and new spa products are introduced and clean up the database of NLA (No Longer Available) and OBS (Obsolete) spa and hot tub parts. And, when there is a generic replacement, or a similar substitute, we code that into the database, so you know what the options are. And, our website never displays obsolete or unavailable spa parts.

Spa Parts Technical Support

spa-repair-forum-guy-smOur spa and hot tub technical support staff can often help you identify the correct spa part, or verify that your troubleshooting process was logical and correct. We can’t guarantee that the spa or hot tub part you are ordering is the one that you need – we’d have to come to your house and perform a spa diagnostic to be sure!

We don’t make house calls, but you can call us anytime to speak with one of our spa techs about your symptoms, diagnosis, and the parts or supplies needed to make a successful spa repair.

 

I hope you like our Spa Parts Department – we’ve spent a lot of time designing the most user-friendly and complete online spa parts catalog.

– Jack

 

Top Spa and Hot Tub Accessories

April 18th, 2013 by

Every year, I review the the best accessory items for spas and hot tubs. Hot tub style doesn’t change as fast as clothing fashion, but it does change! Each year, inventive manufacturers look to provide the next big product for the 5 million spa and hot tub owners in North America.

Your spa or hot tub was installed for the enjoyment that it brings as a tranquil relaxation zone. This year, our top hot tub accessories list includes items that make it easier to enjoy your spa, or add a new dimension of interest and delight. Maybe one of these items will rekindle the flame between you and your tub?

My Favorite Spa and Hot Tub Accessories

Spa Umbrella

Spa-Side Umbrella

These umbrellas, which used to cost thousands, are not in the reach of every spa owner. I have one of these over my spa – although  it’s not always open, I keep it folded most of the time.

Spa umbrellas are nice to block the low sun on a summer evening, or if it starts to rain while you’re in the spa you can wait out the storm safely underneath.

Spa umbrellas can also be rotated 360 degrees, to shade adjacent areas, and it pivots to an almost vertical position, to add a bit of privacy.

 

stool-and-chairs

Spa Console Table & Stools

Having a spa-side counter is helpful to store snacks and drinks, lay towels or magazines. I know many people that use more than one, a friend of mine uses 3 of them, all filled with beautiful herbs and flowering plants.

The stools of course, provide a place for friends and family to sit and talk, while not getting into the spa. It’s so convenient for guests at a party. My grand children sometimes have a Sunday snack there, after their soak in the tub.

 

spa step with planters

Spa Steps with Planters

DreamMaker Spa Storage Steps Another hot tub accessory that I love, even though, most of the time, the flowers in my spa steps are “artificial”. They beautify my spa entrance nonetheless! The top step also opens up for additional storage.

You can plant real plants in these if you wish, they have a drain hole in the bottom of each plant area. Some people I have heard of are using these as coolers! Great spa party idea – fill each one up with ice and a different beverage of your choice!

 

Omni-Rocks

Omni Rocks

Omni Rocks are artificial rocks that look like the real deal, but they are light weight molded faux rocks. The step is available in 2-step or 3-step for today’s taller spas. The corner rock has a lift off lid, with a storage compartment for towels, or spa care items. You can also use it as a cooler, or convert it into a planter!

The Corner Rock Planter Unit holds enough soil to accommodate a medium sized bush or bunches of seasonal flowers or herbs. Frames two sides of your spa as it hugs the corner.

 

Color Glo Raydiance - LED bulb for spas

Color Glo Raydiance LED Spa Bulb

24 LEDs fill even larger spas with dense, rich hues of intense color. 8 standard colors, and two color light shows. Rotate just by flipping the switch, or hitting your light button.

This LED spa bulb works on 12V spa light systems, with a wedge based lighting socket, and without dimming capability. It only uses 2.5 watts, but you may find it to be twice as bright as your old white light, or earlier generation LED spa bulbs.

 

waterproof-playing-cards

Water Proof Playing Cards

When’s the last time you played cards? In the tub, playing a game can be a lot of fun. Texas Hold-Em is the game we like to play in our hot tub, but you could play Go Fish, Gin Rummy or BlackJack, anything you wish.

Our Water Proof Playing Cards may seem silly, but it could be the kind of thing that gets you out in the spa more – “…how about a game of cards in tub?” I can hear you saying now…

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

Is Bio-Film Lurking in your Hot Tub?

April 15th, 2013 by

BioFilm in spas and hot tubsWarning: Unpleasant subject coming up! This post is about biofilm bacteria that can form in the plumbing and equipment of spas and hot tubs.

The good news is that biofilm is removable (in most cases) and preventable. But first, we have to know more about the hidden bacteria BIOFILM.

What is BioFilm?

According to the BioFilms: The Hypertextbook

“A biofilm is composed of living, reproducing microorganisms, such as bacteria, that exist as a colony, or community. In other words, biofilms are alive and have a complex social structure that scientists and engineers are still trying to unravel, a structure that both protects them and allows them to grow.” Alfred B. Cunningham, John E. Lennox, and Rockford J. Ross

Biofilms are naturally occurring, everywhere. Algae on your hot tub walls is also a biofilm, but were not talking about algae in the pipes, this is more of a mixture of bacteria with solids, oils and other organic matter. Ewww, I warned you!

Today’s aboveground spas have lots of plumbing pipe, running to numerous spa jets all around the shell. Most have well over 100 feet of pipe. The interior surfaces, never getting a wipe down, develops a film of solids that coats the pipes, or finds other areas to attach itself, inside almost every part of the spa that you don’t see.

Some Jetted Tubs, common in today’s high end master bathrooms, are especially vulnerable to biofilm formation. They are used briefly, without sanitizer, and then drained until the next use. If all of the water does not drain from pipes and pumps, and it’s common that it does not – all sorts of things can grow.

Where does Biofilm come From?

Biofilm can form in spas that have been sitting unused, either full of water or drained, but still with water in the pipes. Biofilm can also come from active, normal use of your hot tub. Our own dead skin cells, body oils, cosmetics and other organic matter are used as building blocks by biofilm, as they establish colonies in low turbulence areas of your circulation system, and attach to surfaces when the pump shuts off.

Spas that are maintained poorly, such as those with old filter cartridges, or the sanitizer – not enough, inconsistent or incorrect use of (don’t use pool tablets!), or water not balanced and not shocked regularly – these practices can also lead to biofilm formation. Also, spas that have high usage, hot tubbin’ every night, with many users – can have fast colony formations, if the spa sanitation and filtration is lacking.

Even new spas can come with biofilm from the factory, although most reputable manufacturers sanitize and air dry the piping now after water testing, to ensure that while sitting in storage they are not breeding grounds for bacteria.

Used spas? You may find a low price on a used spa, but if it’s been used and abused, or neglected, it could have a big problem with biofilm inside of the pipes and equipment. I hear of this happening all the time.

Testing for Biofilm

It’s almost impossible to test for and identify as well. It’s nearly microscopic in it’s young stages. If you can empty the spa, a Q-tip swabbed inside of a few jets, main drain, the filter body or inside the pump drain plug may turn up some funny colors.

If you can disassemble part of your spa jets, you can inspect inside for any thin layers of oily or slimy substances, usually in a brownish shade. Spas with a scum ring that develops around the water line or behind the spa pillows, may have a biofilm problem.

In my earlier days of spa scrapping, I have cut up old and neglected spas for refurbishing, where all of the pipes, jets, equipment, everything – is full of a slimy film. Really unpleasant, and unfortunate, as we would have to cut all of it out, down to the spa shell, and replumb the whole spa with new pipe, fittings, jets and spa pack to restore such spas.

Biofilm in Spas

  • Reduces pipe diameter in acute cases
  • Consumes Sanitizer, affects pH and spa balance
  • Can harbor harmful bacteria colonies
  • Causes foaming and water problems

Removal of Biofilm in Hot Tubs

Spa Shock – First, lower the spa pH to 7.2, and lower the spa temperature to an unheated state. “Super Shock” the spa with a 4x normal shock dosage of non-chlorine spa shock. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to shock the spa with even more, to kill the bacteria and weaken the organism.

Spa Flush – Use a Spa Flush product, such as Rendezvous Spa Rinse or Leisure Time Jet Clean. Just pour in 1 pint and circulate the spa for an hour and then drain the spa. These products break apart the biofilm, from every hidden area.

Spa Rinse – Give the spa another additional rinse and flush with your garden hose. Spray water into every jet and orifice that the nozzle will fit into. Drain remaining water and refill the hot tub. Balance the chemistry and begin sanitation and filtration.

Replace your spa filter cartridge, to be sure that bacteria is not hiding deep in the pleats of the spa filter.

Prevention of Biofilm in Hot Tubs

  • Change the water every 3-6 months – based on frequency and number of users
  • Use Spa Rinse or Jet Clean every time you drain the spa
  • Maintain proper water balance and continual sanitizer level
  • Replace your spa filter cartridge every 12-24 months
  • Shock the spa or hot tub after heavy use, or twice per month
  • If you drain the spa or jetted tub and don’t refill immediately, use air to blow the pipes dryBiofilms-hot-tub-bacteria

 

BIOFILM – sounds like a bad fifties movie, but it’s real. If you maintain your spa well, you’ll have nothing to fear – as long as you are using a Spa Flush product regularly to strip the pipes and hidden interior spaces of BioFilm!

See Carolyn’s related and more recent article: Bio-Film in Spas & Hot Tubs ~ How to Deal, for a fresh look an unpleasant subject.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

10 Fabulous Celebrity Hot Tubs

April 12th, 2013 by

luxe-hot-tub

If you’re like me, you enjoy the occasional voyeuristic and vicarious view into celebrity lifestyle. Here in Southern California, music, film and technology celebs are quite common, and also here in the O.C., everyone has a pool and spa.

What’s also common about celebrities is that they buy and sell houses in L.A. – all the time! My pics below were easily found by looking through the MLS realty listings for the area. I hope that doesn’t qualify me as a stalker! 🙂

 

So, here’s a list of my top ten Celebrity Hot Tubs in Southern California. Which one is your favorite?

 

Top Ten Coolest Celebrity Hot Tubs

Britney Spears    

britney-spears

Matthew Perry   

matthew-perry

America Ferrera   

america-ferrera

Jim Carrey   

jim-carrey

Nick Lachey    

nick-lachey

Pink    

pinks-pool

Hulk Hogan    

hulk-hogan

Jennifer Love Hewitt    

jennifer-love-hewitt

Joey Fatone    

joey-fatone

Ashton Kutcher    

ashton-kutcher

What’s the one thing that is missing in all of these celebrity spa photos? That’s right Hot Tub Covers! I’m sure they just took it off for the picture, right? Most of these would be custom size and shape spa covers – but that’s our specialty! I was hoping I’d find more portable, aboveground spas and hot tub photos, but only Jim Carrey!

Enjoy your Hot Tubs, Celebrities and you regular folks, too!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Securing Your Spa or Hot Tub Cover for Safety

April 9th, 2013 by

spa cover-straps - regular type

It was a dark and stormy night. Wind swept up the valley, and pounded our neighborhood the entire night. We had trees down across the street, and to our surprise, our spa cover had taken flight across the backyard.

The spa cover was unfortunately damaged beyond repair, both foam panels were cracked. When I told my story to Jerry, one of the owners here at Hot Tub Works; he laughed, and told me to use Hurricane Straps, and then he handed me a free pair! (He was happy that he was going to sell me a new spa cover!) 🙂

 

Standard Spa Cover Straps

Spa cover straps like those pictured above, are sewn onto the edge of most all of our spa covers. These standard straps are pretty sturdy during light winds, provide a small amount of security, and may prevent young children (or adults) from using the spa without supervision. But they really aren’t super-strong, and the spa cover clips or even the straps can break in high winds.

Spa Cover Wind Straps

spa-cover-wind-straps

You may call these Hurricane Straps, like Jerry did, but they are listed on our site as Spa Cover Wind Straps. Whatever you call them, these 1″ nylon webbing straps with thick foam edge pads to prevent rubbing, are the sure way to hold down your spa cover in a wind storm.

They are also considerably more difficult to remove than regular straps sewn onto the spa cover, to keep small children safe around the spa. And although I’m not sure, these straps will probably prevent bears or other large wildlife from removing the hot tub cover.

For added security, these straps have heavy-duty, quick-connect Sure-Loc Fasteners that clip together easily and securely. The trick to removal is to push down slightly on the spa cover, to give some slack to the strap. Then squeeze both sides of the clip to release the latch.

Inground Spa Cover Straps

inground-spa needs a spa coverWhat if you have an inground spa, with a spa cover that just sits over the edge? On an inground spa there is no skirt around the spa for which to fasten the strap clips. How can you secure a spa cover onto an inground spa?

What you can do is install brass safety cover anchors, which are made for pool safety covers. Drill 4 or 6 anchors into the deck around the inground spa, and use the safety cover springs to connect the straps to the anchors.

To create this arrangement, you’ll need several yards of of nylon webbing from your local fabric store. These hardware to make wind straps for inground spa coversstraps will cross over top of your cover, so you’ll need the diameter of your spa cover, plus about 5 feet for each strap. If your inground spa is raised up off the deck surface, you’ll need extra length to reach the pool deck.

Then, order pool safety cover hardware – stainless steel springs, SS buckles and brass anchors – 2 for each strap that you want to make. You can find them online at pool supply sites, search for mesh pool cover parts.

You’ll need a hammer drill to install the anchors into the deck surrounding the inground spa. You also may want to purchase the spring removal tool, which makes it much easier to attach and remove the spring from the anchor.

Keeping your spa cover secured is important in high wind areas – and also important to prevent accidental drowning in spas or hot tubs. Remember to use your strap clips, and keep your spa covered tightly when not in use!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

Signs That You Need a New Spa Filter Cartridge

April 4th, 2013 by

spa-filter-cartridges

 

At Hot Tub Works, we spend a lot of time thinking about spa filter cartridges – maybe too much time! They are one of our largest selling product lines, and a topic that our customers bring up quite a bit.

The question is “How do you know when to replace the spa filter?” Aside from indications of total failure, such as rips in the fabric or a cracked end cap – how can you determine when the filtering ability has diminished?

 

 

How Long Do Spa Filters Last?

I wish that they cartridges would change color or something, so that spa owners know – that their filter has reached it’s “half-life”. Fact is, each time you clean the cartridge, the fabric fibers are stretched apart a little bit more, which reduces dirt trapping ability.

By the time you have cleaned your cartridge a dozen times, it can be allowing twice the volume of matter to slip through the material, passing right through your hot tub filter. So, one way to determine when to replace is to set a schedule for cleanings, and when you reach 10-15 cleanings, it’s time to replace the cartridge.

Many of our customers have a schedule where they simply replace the cartridge on an annual basis, at the same time each year.

How Often do You Clean It?

Another way to easily tell when the spa filter has reached it’s half-life, is when the time interval between cleanings increases. If you were formerly able to maintain water clarity or proper filter pressure with a monthly cleaning, but now it has to be done every two weeks, you can assume that your filter cartridge is clogged with minerals or oils.

Spa filter cleaners can help remove this gunk, or it may be time to just replace the hot tub filter(s).

Spa Water Clarity

A third way to measure your cartridge effectiveness is to look at your spa water. Is it as clear and sparkly as you want, or does it look dull and dirty?

You may find yourself compensating for a weak spa filter by using more sanitizer than you used to use, or having to run the spa filter longer – in order to achieve the same degree of water clarity in your spa.

Spa Filter Tips

To help your spa or hot tub filters last longer, follow these tips:

spa-filter

  1. Always have a spare spa filter to use while cleaning and drying the dirty spa filter
  2. Drying after cleaning helps kill any remaining bacteria and contaminants
  3. Use a spa filter cleaner every 3-6 months, to remove oils and mineral deposits
  4. Don’t use a brush while cleaning, and don’t use a pressure washer
  5. Don’t use any household chemicals, soaps or detergents

To keep your spa sparkling and safe to use, replace your spa filter cartridges every 12-24 months. With our low prices, at up to 50% off retail – there’s no excuse not to buy new filter cartridges for your spa or hot tub!

– Jack

Spa Water Chemistry – Test and Balance

April 2nd, 2013 by

spa-water-tests

 

Testing your spa water regularly is the best way to really understand your water chemistry. It’s always changing, your water chemistry – and usually very rapidly, when 3 or 4 adults jump into 500 gallons of water.

” Balanced spa water” means that your pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels are correct. Each of these 3 can need adjustment, but in terms of stability – Hardness stays fairly stable, followed by Alkalinity. pH can have the quickest and widest swings in level, so pay especially close attention to your spa pH levels.

 

Testing Spa Water

Test strips are the most convenient way to test spa water, in part because anyone can use them – without much instruction. Even my 4 yr old grand daughter can test the hot tub! Just dip and swirl, then compare the colors – it’s almost fun!

I use the AquaChek “Red” test strips, and check the water nearly every other day, or at least 3 times per week. These spa strips test for Bromine, pH, Alkalinity and Hardness – everything I need. digital-strip-tester

The AquaChek Digital Strip Reader is great for us older folks with tired eyes, or maybe for my color blind husband (who claims he isn’t). Just dip the strip and then insert it into the strip reader. Colormetric scanner determines the reading, and displays an exact digital readout of your spa water chemistry levels.

When your spa water is not in balance, your sanitizer is unable to work effectively, and algae and bacteria may thrive. Besides helping to keep your spa water safe and sanitary, balanced water also protects your spa shell and equipment from scaling or corrosive water conditions.

Test your Spa! It’s the only way to know what is too low and what is too high. Test your hot tub every time you use it, or at least once per week.

Balancing Spa Water

After testing the spa water, adjust your Calcium Hardness levels first. If your water is very soft (less than 150 ppm), you should add a small amount of hardness increaser (Calcium Chloride) to the hot tub. This buffers the water, and can help prevent spa foaming. Next, adjust your Alkalinity level, if it’s outside of the range of 80-120 ppm. Add baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) to increase it, or use a pH decreaser chemical (an acid) to lower Alkalinity.hot-tub-chemistry

With calicum hardness (Ca) and alkalinity (Alk) levels correct, move on to pH. When pH is too high (above 7.6), your sanitizer is very weak and sluggish. When the pH is too low (below 7.0), the bromine is very effective, but the water is dangerously close to acidic range. Over time, acidic water can be corrosive to the spa finish, spa filters and to your spa heater. Add pH increaser or pH decreaser, to keep your hot tub pH level in the 7.2-7.4 range.

Finally, with the spa water balanced, we can address the sanitizer level, and make any adjustments necessary, and shock the spa. It’s always important to have balanced water first, before boosting bromine, or shocking the spa.

How Much Water is in my Hot Tub? To adjust your spa chemical balance carefully, you need to know how much water is in the spa, so that you can add the proper amount of spa balance chemicals. If you know the make and model, find the specifications sheet online for “water capacity”. If you can’t locate this information, you can calculate your spa’s capacity by measuring your garden hose flow rate, and then monitoring how many minutes it takes to fill the spa. To do this, time how long it takes to fill a bucket of known size. If your hose takes 1 minute to fill a 2 gallon bucket, for instance – and it takes 150 minutes to fill the spa – you can deduce that your spa holds 300 gallons.

For hot tub adjustment chemicals, see our Hot Tub Chemicals section. When you maintain water balance in your spa, you won’t need so many other chemicals. Not only that, but hot tub maintenance is reduced, and your spa components can last longer. Just from testing and balancing your spa water chemistry!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works