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Archive for October, 2013

Adult Games to Play while in the Hot Tub or Spa

October 31st, 2013 by

SPA-GAMES

 

Our last blog post on games in the Hot Tub or Spa focused on “Family” games to play in the hot tub. We started with floating checkers and wrapped it up with the game of Uno, with its waterproof playing cards.

Today’s post is for the adults – games that a group of friends can play in the spa to pass the time, and make spa time more fun.

 

 

Ha-Ho-Hee

hottubgamesThis game is a classic “Don’t Make Me Laugh” game. The object is to not laugh, while saying either Ha Ha, Ho Ho, or Hee Hee.

It can be played as a drinking game, although we suggest non-alcoholic drinks while in the hot tub. To play the game, the first person in the circle of players will say “Ha Ha”. The person to their right or left will then have to say “Ho Ho”, and the person next to them says “Hee Hee”.

Play continues around the hot tub until somebody chuckles. Smiling is OK, but if you chuckle audibly, you are either out of the game, or play stops while you take a drink, or suffer some other form of funishment.

 

Water Balloon Race

water-balloon-spaIf you’ve never filled up a water balloon to the size of your head, you just haven’t lived! For this game, have on hand some large size colored balloons, which you pass out to the contestants. Give everyone a balloon, or make teams of two people.

When everyone has their balloon, they hold it over the spa jets and fill the balloon with water! The balloon gets harder to manage as it gets so huge and unwieldy, and makes it difficult to keep filling it up. Whoever gets the largest balloon without popping it, will be declared the winner.

 

 

Hot Tub Pong

beer-pong-tub

This game comes to us from Pierre Audet, the author of the book Hot Tub Games. This game can be played against a wall, or use the raised up spa cover as your back board.

Set up several cups on the edge of the spa, and create some rules. If you are going for the traditional beer pong type of play, fill the cups with you beverage of choice.

Everyone gets 3 ping pong balls, and 3 chances to throw the ball into a cup. If a ball lands in your cup, you take a drink. If the shooter misses all 3 attempts, he or she takes a drink.

 

 

Orange Pass

pass-the-orange

You know this game, a silly but fun game, especially for younger adults. We always encourage eating fruit in the hot tub, and like to throw in some apples during our spa sessions.

With this game, just throw in a few California oranges – they will float in the tub. You don’t need many oranges, just one will do.

Pass the orange between the person sitting next to you. No hands, only necks!  When the game is over, offer all participants some juicy slices.

 

 

Hot Tub Charades

charadesThis game really needs no introduction or explanation, but here it is anyway. One person is the actor, and he will act out a situation, phrase or person.

The actor has a few limitations. No words can be spoken, and they only have 2 minutes to perform. The actor can give hand signals to indicate number of words, or when words or partial words are guessed correctly.

Have the actor stand safely, in the center of the spa, or if it can be acted out while seated, then relax.

 

 

Fun adult games to play in your spa or hot tub. What games do you like to play in your spa? Leave a comment below to add to the list…

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Indoor Hot Tubs vs. Outdoor Hot Tubs – Which is Better?

October 28th, 2013 by

outdoor-hot-tub

I love my outdoor hot tub, soaking under the stars. I couldn’t imagine it inside, but – there are some benefits to having an indoor hot tub.

My spa sits on the back patio, just steps from the back door, but during colder months, it can feel like I’m crossing frozen tundra on the way out of the spa.

And on really cold nights, which doesn’t happen too often here in southern California, wet hair can stiffen up – and well, I just wear a hat if it gets that cold…

 

 

Benefits to Indoor Hot Tubsindoor-spa

  • Climate controlled environment.
  • Tub, controls and equipment out of the elements.
  • Lower spa heating costs.
  • Indoor convenience – lighting, music, tv, bathroom.

Problems with Indoor Hot Tubs

  • Humidity levels when spa cover is removed.
  • Possible floor damage if spa begins to leak.
  • Spa pump noise and chemical smell in the home.
  • Getting it inside – spas are larger than most doors.

 

If you are seriously considering putting the spa or hot tub indoors, consider the following.

  1. The floor must be non-skid, easily cleaned and water proof. Think outdoor tiles or bathroom tiles.
  2. The floor also must be strong enough – to support a spa that can weigh over two tons when full.
  3. The walls and ceiling should have a vapor barrier installed to protect wood studs and rafters.
  4. Drywall soaks up moisture, instead look at architectural plastic, wall tile or cedar planks.
  5. A dehumidification system or unit is a must, or windows and fans to eject moisture when using the spa.

 

spa-gazeboAnother option to installing your tub inside the house is to extend the house around the tub. Gazebos were practically invented for spas and hot tubs, or you could screen in the back patio to make a “Florida room” type of spa enclosure.

Gazebos can be a simple roof with open sides, or for an authentic Japanese style ‘hot house”, they can be completely enclosed, offering protection for the spa and privacy for you and your ‘tub buddies’.

What’s your pleasure, an indoor spa or an outdoor spa – or an outdoor spa inside a structure? Leave me a comment below, about your feelings about spa location – indoors or outdoors?

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa Cover Lifter Repairs

October 24th, 2013 by

animated-spa-cover-lifterBroken spa cover lifter? Cover lifters can often be repaired, if you have the time and inclination. Sure, a new hot tub cover lifter is only one to two hundred bucks, but if you’re counting your pennies these days, many damaged spa cover lifters can be fixed quickly and cheaply.

Damage to spa cover lifters may result from water logged covers, improper use, acts of God, or teenagers.

Spa cover lifter repairs are usually to the mounting system, the lift assist system, or to the pivot arms or tubes that support the cover.

Replacement parts for some spa cover lifters can be scarce and in some cases, not available – forcing you to replace a damaged spa cover lifter with new. In some cases, you may be able to find suitable replacements for the parts your cover lifter needs, in a good hardware or home store.

Spa Cover Lifter Mounting System Repairs

If you have an undermount spa cover lift, with a metal plate that slides under the spa, you usually avoid complications such as this. Spa cover lifters that are screwed into the spa cabinet, via a mounting bracket, can suffer broken brackets, stripped screws, cracked bushings. It’s recommended to tighten spa cover lifter bracket bolts and check connections twice per year.spa-cover-mounting-bracket-repairs

If the wood of the cabinet has begun to rot, and there are soft spots in that area, could you remount the bracket on the opposite side of the spa? Or, can you empty and turn the spa to remount the brackets?

If not, maybe you can add a mounting strip to the spa cabinet. Glue and screw – a 2x4x8 piece of finished and stained wood or composite material from one end of the spa to the other. On top of the strip, or on the side of the strip, remount your brackets, following manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Broken or bent mounting brackets, bushings, or pivot points attached to the mounting system will put tubes out of alignment and create stress on attached parts. Metal brackets may be able to be returned to new shape with the use of a vice and a small torch to heat the metal. If not, replacement brackets are generally available online.

Spa Cover Lifter Lift Assist Repairs

Many spa cover lifters utilize a gas shock, also known as a gas spring or gas prop, with many uses. Although these may look the same as the one on your storm door, or car hatchback, they have different diameters, lengths, and output force of the piston. They also have different end fitting types. I wish that all spa cover lifter manufacturers would use the same shock for their lift assist systems, but most are different and specific to the model of spa cover lifter.

spa-cover-lifter-repairsGenerally, you will need the exact OEM shock, but if you are having trouble finding the ‘factory’ replacement gas shock for your spa cover lift, you could take the shock into an auto parts store to see if they can match it up [exactly]. They are usually sold in sets of two, and it would be best to replace both, so that their piston force and size will match.

Other cover lifters may have Lift Assist in the form of a fulcrum device. Heavy winds or accidents can topple a cover while it’s in the up position, and bend the bend of the fulcrum. Heavy wind or cover ‘accidents’ can be especially hard on joints, pivot points and fulcrums.

Spa Cover Lifter Arm Repairs

The arms of your spa cover lifter, those that go alongside the spa and over the hinge, or fold of your spa cover – could be the most fragile part of your spa cover lifter. Heavy, soggy spa covers can cause the tubes to sag under the weight. Heavy winds, as mentioned above, can also do damage, especially for covers that are stored in a position above the spa.spa-cover-lifter-arm-repair

If your tubing, or spa cover lifter arms become bent or crimped, you may be able to find replacement parts from the dealer you purchased it from, or directly from the manufacturer. If you can’t locate replacement parts, and don’t want to buy a new lifter, some spa cover lifter arms can be replaced with steel tubing of a very similar diameter. Steel or PVC electrical conduit of slightly smaller or larger diameter could be measured, cut, inserted and screwed down – to replace bent portions of the pivoting arms or connecting tubes.

Spa cover lifter repairs are usually successful, if you use the right materials and take your time. OEM (original equipment manufacture) parts can be expensive however, so you’ll to weigh the costs of repair parts, vs. buying an entire new identical cover lift, and using the old lift for future spare parts.

If you haven’t been really satisfied with the cover lifter performance and are facing a repair, maybe now is the best time to look at other cover lifter models. We have ten spa cover lifters, and depending on your spa shape, there are usually 2-5 models that will fit your spa and spa cover.

 

– Jack

 

Tips to Avoid Chemical Damage to your Hot Tub or Spa

October 22nd, 2013 by

DOS-AND-DONTSYour spa is beautiful, but to keep it that way you have to be careful. Spas are much less forgiving of chemical mistakes than pools, being up to 50 times smaller.

Part of the problem is you, and other spa users. 4 people in a 400 gallon spa is an equivalent bather load to 200 people in a 20,000 gallon pool. Spa users bring in loads of oils, body wastes, perspiration, cosmetics, soaps and hair care products, which your spa filter and spa chemistry have to deal with, since you don’t drain the spa after every use.

Here’s my tips on carefully managing your spa chemistry. Take care of these things, and your spa or hot tub will stay looking good, and you’ll avoid damage to the spa equipment, spa shell and spa cover.

DON’T USE CHEAP CHEMICALS

Cheap spa chemicals have been flooding the market in the last few years. These products are made in countries with lax environmental and product controls. Labeling is usually proper, but the ingredients are always cheap. Low grade clays, gums and oils used as binders. Cheaper derivative bases can have a reduced shelf life or create ‘side effects’ in your spa water chemistry. I liken it to the pharmaceutical industry. A generic drug may be OK, but there are other options out there you’d be best to stay away from. Cheap spa chemicals can be damaging to the spa filter, pump seals, and spa surfaces.

DON’T USE POOL CHEMICALS

Many spa manufacturers will void their warranty if you use pool chemicals in your spa or hot tub. The first problem is that the dosage rates are for pools, usually in 10,000 gallons, so it’s easy to screw up the math. Secondly, the big containers and scoops don’t allow proper measurement. Pools take pounds of adjustment chemicals, but in spas, we work in ounces. Third, Trichlor tablets (pool tablets) have a very low pH, and will give you trouble with your pH. Other pool chemicals are not made for the rapid dissolve rate that is necessary in spas, to keep harsh chemicals from contacting your shiny spa surfaces.

DON’T USE BIGUANIDES

Biguanides are a product that replaces bromine or chlorine in a pool or spa. I might get in trouble saying this, because we sell spa biguanides – but the truth is that they can gum up the filter, dry out the hoses, and attack some spa surfaces. Despite these side-effects, those users who are very careful in their dosage and water balance can avoid most of the downside, and enjoy the benefits of biguanides. How’s that for double speak? 🙂

DO TEST & BALANCE WEEKLY

Test your water at least weekly, with a good set of test strips or a liquid test kit. And then – add the chemicals needed to adjust the range of Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and pH. Low pH and Alkalinity can become corrosive and damage shiny spa surfaces, or weaken soft hoses and seals. If you have hard water, use Calcium and Scale Control, and for soft water, with low calcium hardness, add some calcium increaser. Keeping balanced spa water not only protects your spa shell and equipment, but allows your sanitizer to work more effectively at removing the loads of contaminants in the spa.

DO DRAIN & CLEAN REGULARLY

Draining and cleaning the spa is recommended every 3-4 months for spas that get used 1-3 times per week. For heavier use, drain the spa more frequently. Before draining, or at least twice per year, use a spa pipe cleaning product, like Jet Clean, to remove film and funk from inside your tubes, hoses and pipes. Once drained, use a spa friendly cleaning product like Spa Care cleaner to clean the spa surfaces. Don’t use household cleaning products, they can contain abrasives or phosphates. After cleaning the shell, restore the gloss to your spa with a spa polishing product like Citrabright.

DO SHOCK & SANITIZE CAREFULLY

Use anyone of our spa shocks, either chlorine or non-chlorine shock, according to directions and you’ll have no problems. Always use the measuring scoop, and add spa shock to the water with the jet pump on and circulating. To protect the spa cover, leave it half open or completely remove it for an hour after shocking the spa. Continuous high levels of bromine or chlorine in the spa can be very corrosive. Use a floater or feeder for tablets and monitor the level closely, so that it stays above 1.0ppm, and below 3.0ppm. If the level goes to high, turn on the jet pump and open the cover. Adding fresh water also helps dilute high sanitizer levels.

 

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spa Cover Lifter Buyer’s Guide

October 17th, 2013 by

spa-cover-lifts

We’ve recently added more spa cover lifts to our website. With over 10 cover lifters to choose from, it can be downright confusing. Today’s blog post is a buyer’s guide for spa cover lifters, designed to help you sort through the many models and options quickly.

We offer so many spa cover lifts, because there are so many types of spas, and because inventive people keep coming up with more ways to flip over and store a spa cover!

Here’s a rundown and roundup of the considerations one should make when selecting a new spa cover lifter.

 

Spa Shape:spa-cover-lifters-shapes

To start with, round spas or hexagon shaped tubs require a different cover lift than square or traditional hot tubs. Spa cover lifters listed as designed for “straight sided spas” would not fit round tubs, or spas with curved sides.

Spa Size:

Most spa cover lifters will fit a spa cover up to 96″, or a 8 ft. diameter. For covers larger than this, look at the Cover Caddy or the Cover Shelf. Also, many covers don’t work on spas that are smaller than 6 ft. diameter, or 72″. Most spa cover lifter models will handle a 6 to 8 ft. diameter.

Spa Space:spa-cover-lifters-space

How much clearance do you have available on the side that you flip the cover over? The clearance needed varies among cover lifts, but two only require 6 inches of space to flip and store the cover; the CoverMate 3, and the Cover Valet. Also, spa cover lifters need 2-3 inches of side clearance as well, on both sides.

Spa Location:

Is your spa above ground, partially in ground, or flush with surrounding decking? Most cover lifters are made for fully above ground spas and hot tubs; in ground spas can use the UltraLift cover lifter or the Cover Valet and secure the mounting plates to the deck.

Mounting Types:spa-cover-lifters-cabinet-mount

There are several types of cover lift designs. For those that don’t want to drill into the spa cabinet, use the undermount cover lifts like the Cover Rock-It, or the Cover Rx. These spa cover lifts allow you to slide plates under the spa. Other models will require that you drill mounting brackets on one or two sides of your spa cabinet.

 

Here’s a comparison chart of all of our spa cover lifters at Hot Tub Works. Use this to quickly narrow down a few choices, and then take a look at our spa cover lifters page!

I didn’t have room for everything – other comparison factors may be price and warranty. Most of our cover lifts have 1 year warranty, but some have 5 years! Spa cover lifter prices range (as of this writing) from $99 to $225.

spa-cover-lifter-comparison-chart

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

Accessorize your Spa or Hot Tub

October 15th, 2013 by

spa-swingWhat’s the hottest and coolest accessories for your spa? You probably already have the basics nailed down – spa cover lifter, spa steps and all of your hot tub chemical, testing and cleaning supplies. So, let’s move on to advanced spa accessories ~ fun and fanciful conveniences to help you enjoy your spa or hot tub more!

A spa is so wonderful just by itself, it’s hard to improve upon the experience, but these bits of small whimsy can add up to more time together in the tub. I have all of these items at home, and they have all added something special to my spa sessions, especially the spa swing! (shown left)

Bluetooth Speaker Set

Mini Bullet speaker setIndoor/Outdoor speakers by Grace Digital are extremely water resistant – not water proof, but they can be carefully set on the edge of your spa, or set them up on a drink table or tall side table that you can reach. These connect to any MP3 player, or music on most smartphones. Play your music selection through the wireless speakers, or with your device pull up online radio or music services like pandora and spotify.

Side Bar Drop Leaf Spa Table

spa-drop-leaf-tablesThis is my favorite type of spa table, for use with food or drinks, keys, phones or you can place your music speakers on it. The Side Bar measures 57 inches long and 15 wide, at nearly 2″ thick.

Add some stools and it makes a great spot for dining or conversation with those not in the spa. Folds down against the spa when not being used. I have 2 of these, the one on the far side is filled with (mostly) fake plants.

Towel Warmer

towel-warmerNothing is better than a warm towel when you come out of the hot tub. The towel warmer rack is a popular option, just stand it up near the spa, turn it on, and hang your towels on it before you get in the spa.

New on the market is the Towel Spa, which heats up towels and robes in just minutes, in a small compact size that holds 3-4 rolled up towels. Impress your guests with a toasty towel after their soak. Not waterproof, this will have to be located indoors, or in a protected outdoor location.

Booster Seats

spa-booster-seatFill it with water for a soft and steady spa seat. For those that are less than 5 feet tall, today’s newer and deeper spas can make it hard to keep your head above water. And, let’s face it – many spa seats, although contoured, are less than comfortable, for sitting or other things…

Be head and shoulders above the rest with this water filled booster seat. Adjust the firmness and height of the seat by how much water is added to the seat fill valve. Comes in 3 colors to match your spa.

Color Lights

LED-spa-bulbMost spas of any age, except for the new models, have a boring white light in the base of the tub. My spa was like that too, until I upgraded the bulb to a color LED spa bulb. Now I can cycle between four colors, although we leave it on red most of the time. This LED spa bulb replace #912 type bulbs, on a 12V spa lamp. Add some ‘chromatherapy’ to your spa sessions by simply changing the spa light bulb!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa and Hot Tub Parts: Controls and Spa Pak Parts

October 10th, 2013 by

spa-packs-before-after-replacing-spa-pak

 

Today, we look at parts for your Spa Pack and Spa Control. These can be either air button controlled, or digital. If you have a digital temperature readout, yours is digital. If you have a temp dial, and no digital readout, you have an air control.

The Control for your spa or hot tub is the main brain that controls all of the components of your spa – namely the pumps(s), heater and blower. It connects to the top side controls that allow you to turn on jet pumps, lights, blowers and adjust the heater temperature.

Newer systems can allow you control over different banks of spa jets, or activate waterfalls or turn on some music to soak by. Controls include the heater element (either 1.5kw or 5.5kw), and a new topside control that will replace your current control panel.

 

spa-packThe Spa Pak (or Spa Pack), includes the Control (which includes the heater), and also includes the pump(s) and blower. Spa Paks and Controls are available for Air systems and Digital systems. A spa pack includes all of the equipment, with the exception of the spa filter or lighting. So, then parts for spa packs actually means parts for spa pumps, heaters, blower and controls.

 Panels

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-topside-controlsPerhaps your spa side panel has failed or been smashed by a tree limb. If you only need the panel that is topside, or accessible while in the spa, we have over 50 to choose from on our Topside control panel page. We also have replacement labels for some panels, if yours has worn away.  Replacement spa control panels come with a wire to plug into your control, and are available in Air or Digital. If you don’t see your panel listed, give us a call while you’re near the spa and we can figure out if your panel is still available, and if not, which substitute would be best to use.

Controls

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-controlsThe Spa Control, that’s the big square box inside the cabinet. It usually sits on top of the stainless steel heater tube. We have controls for Air or Digital systems that include the heater, or for spas with heaters located elsewhere, our Flex Fit Digital Controls are available. We offer a value priced HTW line of controls, as well as the highly sought after Balboa controls.You can upgrade from an Air control to Digital, and enjoy advantages like freeze protection and other convenience modes.

Selecting a control requires some information beyond whether you have an Air system or a Digital System. Our web page will ask you to select the incoming voltage (110 or 220) and the blower and pump(s) voltage (110 or 220), It also asks for your plumbing size (1.5″ or 2.0″) and the heater size (1.5kw or 5.5kw). All of this info is (should be) printed on the equipment. Take a pad of paper(or a tablet) and get the info, and our database will return you the correct control for your spa. If you have questions, please call!

Heaters

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-heatersIf your heater element has failed, and is not producing heat, you could test the unit for continuity, (with all power off). If the heater element has failed – you can replace just the element. Other parts of spa heaters include the union end pieces, and o-rings, as well as the heater housing, which we call the heater manifold. Spa heaters are available in their entirety too, you can replace the whole shebang with a replacement heater assembly.

 Blower

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-blowers

There aren’t a lot of parts available for spa blowers. We have the pipe clamps or unions available that connect the blower to the pipe, and we have spa blower motors and check valves. And, of course, we sell the entire blower unit, selected by horsepower, voltage and pipe size diameter. Blowers typically last 5-10 years, depending on how much they are used. Replacing the blower motor usually doesn’t save any money, and it’s usually best to replace the entire spa blower, especially if it has some age on it.

Pumps

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-pumpsThe filter pump, circulation pump, jet pump – many spas have more than one pump. And spa pumps have lots of parts! We detailed them in fact, in a blog post dedicated to spa pump parts. When you buy an entire spa pack, you specify how many pumps you have and their horsepower, voltage and pipe size. Many spa pump repairs involve either replacing the wet end, or all the plastic pumping parts, or just the motor. If you need to replace both, you may as well replace the entire pump. Most pumps also last 5-10 years, and then they can be either rebuilt or replaced. You can replace spa pump parts, individual spa pumps, or the entire spa pack. If you need help, call us up!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are other parts related to your controls or spa packs. Wire connectors, temp sensors, circuit boards. Whatever spa pack parts you need to keep your spa running, we have it. And, we specialize in parts for older tubs, and in helping customers retrofit new Digital spa packs into an older, air activated spa control. As shown in our feature image (above), newer systems are cleaner, more compact and more efficient.

If you need help with control parts or spa pak parts for your tub, and want fast help, give us a call, we’ve got spa techs standing by!

 

– Spa Jack (or Spa Jak)

 

Winterizing a Spa or Hot Tub

October 7th, 2013 by

spa-under-snow

Most portable spas are not winterized, many spa owners find that winter is one of their most enjoyable seasons with their hot tub. But, if this is a summer home, or if you are more of a 3 season spa user, you can shut down the spa for the next 3-4 months. Power outages or maintenance needs may also make you decide to winterize the hot tub. If a tub full of water were to freeze hard for several days, it can destroy a hot tub beyond repair.

 

Essentially the process is the removing all water from the spa equipment, pipes and hoses. Any water left in the spa can grow stagnant bacteria, or if there is enough to fill a tight space in the pipes, it will freeze and expand, and crack pipes or equipment.

Clean the Pipes

Using a product like Tub Rinse, added to your spa the night before draining will remove bacteria formed in the pipes or jets. If untreated before draining the water from the spa, the bacteria can thrive with just the moisture left in the pipes. This is a very important step that should not be overlooked, or dismissed as spa suppliers just trying to sell another chemical. 🙂 We do like to sell spa chemicals, but really – this one is a very necessary chemical. Use twice per year, and always before draining the spa for an extended period of time.

Drain the Spa

Open up the spigot on the bottom of your spa, most spas will have one that you can attach a garden hose. A small submersible pump can also be used. A siphon could also be used, with some degree of success. In addition to the spigot, remove any drain plugs you have on your pump or filter, or unscrew the unions on each side of the equipment (don’t lose the o-ring), to allow all of the equipment (pump, filter, heater…) to drain out.

Once the spa is drained completely, and the lines are blown out, use towels or sponges to get any remaining drops of water, and allow the shell to air dry for several hours with the spa cover removed. It’s important to remove every bit of water, from the pipes, seats, floors, equipment – everything.

Blow the Lines

When the spa is nearly drained, turn on the spa blower (if you have one), and let it run for several minutes. If you have air controls for the blower (jets or seats, for example), adjust the controls so that the blower is forcing air into all areas.shop-vac

You can blow the lines out, or suck them out with a wet/dry vac (just reverse the hose). Use a large wet/dry vac, and seal the end of the hose up against the hole in the bottom of the skimmer, and the drain, and on all of the spa jets. Depending how your jets and plumbing are arranged, you may have more success with vacuuming, or vice-versa, with blowing. Usually, some combination of both will be most successful.

In most cases, for the spa jets, you’ll want to start up at the higher jets, and work your way down to the floor jets. Seat air jets or ring jets take some precisely focused air and a dry towel laid across the bench or floor to absorb the water as it spits out of the air jets. When vacuuming, a sheet of plastic may be helpful, to cover other jets connected to the same manifold, to increase suction on the jet you are vacuuming water from. Blow or suck (sorry), the air until you no longer see any water or mist being extracted or pushed out. Important!

Non-toxic RV or Pool antifreeze can be used as a last resort, but it can get a little slimy and smells bad, so I’d advise you to do without, unless you are not certain that all the water has been removed, with no puddling areas inside air or water manifolds or pipe.

Miscellaneous

  1. Use spa filter cleaner It’s crucial to remove scale, minerals, dirt and grime from the cartridge.spa-cover-conditioners
  2. Lubricate union o-rings on equipment connections with a Teflon based lubricant.
  3. Shut down power at the breaker, be sure the spa will not turn on while empty.
  4. Secure the cover tightly, and treat with spa cover conditioner.

 

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spa and Hot Tub Features and Options

October 3rd, 2013 by

modern-spas and hot tubs

Spa shopping soon? Whether this is your first spa, or your second or third, you may be surprised at all of the options available now for spas and hot tubs – it’s like buying a new car!

Many different models, with options like ‘jet packages’ or sound or lighting upgrades. And just like cars, groups of features are included with each model step up in the product line.

Here”s a rundown on some of the newest features and options available on modern spas and hot tubs.

Materials: And colors, too. The materials used for the spa, jets and cabinet offer a dizzying array of options. Acrylic is the most popular material, with the ability to swirl colors, and produce a high gloss, scratch resistant surface. Spas can also be made completely of molded thermoplastics, or use natural wood cabinetry, which looks better, but may require some spa cabinet maintenance.

Spa cabinet options is a nice feature, allowing you to choose from many colors, patterns and textures. A spa with easily removable and replaceable panels will allow you to more easily change the look of your spa.

Lighting: Spa lighting is not just a single bulb at  the bottom of the tub anymore. Manufacturers are placing lights in several areas  underwater, and above water, around the rim. Exterior lighting, down lights that help guide you around the spa, may also be offered. Small waterfalls are commonly lighted as well. Just like trim lighting inside newer model luxury cars, spa owners can switch colors and intensity for different lighting zones.hot-springs-accessories_IQ20

Controls: Spa side controls are more user friendly than ever, with some models allowing operation through smartphone apps, and others with floating remote control devices. Control your pumps, heater, blower and lighting from a touch screen. Program run times for filter and heater. Troubleshooting interface, pass code lock.

Massage Jets: My first spa had just 8 jets. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for spas to have dozens of jets. More important than the number of jets is the location of the jets, and if you can adjust their flow, without having to turn off or reduce flow to some spa jets to increase flow to others.

There are dozens of types of patented spa jets, or arrangements of spa jets. Different whirly, twirly things that mix water and air – every manufacturer claiming their jet design and placement are the best. Foot jets are a popular option. I love my neck jet, which comes in right underneath the pillow on one seat.

spa-full-foam-insideInsulation: Spa shells are insulated with a thick layer of foam attached to the underside of the shell. Beyond shell insulation, all spa makers insulate a bit differently. Some will insulate the floor, or the the sides of the spa cabinet with foam panels. Many will do full insulation, and shoot the entire cabinet full of expanding foam, while others will do some form of partial insulation around the shell and equipment. Insulation is more important to you if you live in colder region of the country.

Sanitation: As another way to distinguish their models from the others, manufacturers may install sanitation systems to help reduce chemical maintenance. Ozonators have been a popular options for many years. Ultraviolet systems, which bathe the water in UV light are being used more. Many spa manufacturers are now also offering Salt systems on their spas. Add about 10 lbs of salt to the spa, and an electrically charged salt cell will produce all the chlorine you need.

Filtration: Most spas and hot tubs use cartridge filtration, and that’s fine. An upgrade to your filtration could be a larger cartridge, or one treated with Microban, for greater resistance to bacteria.boombox

Accessories: Add-ons that can really add on to the price of your tub! Many are hard to resist, such as a built in music system that can connect to a wireless music system, or through your bluetooth device  (I still have an old boom box next to my spa).

Waterfalls are popular options in higher end tubs, either a 6-8″ small sheet of water, or several small laminar jets that make a steady stream of water. Both can also be equipped with LED lighting. And just like with most automobiles these days, there are trim options, to add more bling to your spa. Stainless steel jets, or stylish trim pieces to adorn your spa.

spa-stepsSpa furniture around the tub makes it look much less boxy and allows you to place towels, supplies and plants neatly around the spa. At the very least, a set of spa steps is needed, to help you and your guests to get in and out safely. Gazebos or a pergola structure allow for some privacy and frame a spa nicely.

A spa cover and a lifter is also needed for whatever spa type you buy. It’s way too costly to keep it warm without a spa cover. Jack says that the spa covers used by most manufacturers are junk, and that “…I should tell you to buy our spa covers!” Lol, that’s mean, Jack.

Still confused? Start spa shopping by selecting your size first, and then decide which options are important to you. Jets, for instance, may not be desirable for the person that would prefer calm soaking to agitated water. Then you can more easily compare model to model, brand to brand. Good luck!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works