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Archive for September, 2014

Stupid Questions about Spa & Hot Tub Covers

September 25th, 2014 by

Ask a Stupid Question DayI’ve heard lots of funny questions about hot tub covers over the years, and in honor of National Ask a Stupid Question Day, which takes place tomorrow – here’s a list of questions and answers about spa covers.

We’ve had a lot of questions about spa covers over the years, none of them actually stupid. So, I challenged a few staff members around here this week to send me their favorite questions about hot tub covers.

This is what we came up with – I hope it’s informational!

 

How much weight do spa covers hold?

That depends on the integrity of two things, the foam density and the strength of the support channel that runs across the fold. Spa covers can crack across the foam panels, or the support channel can become bent when overloaded. We like to brag that our spa covers will hold over a ton (and they will, if you place a large, evenly distributed weight across the top). But if we’re talking about a person or pet standing in a 1 sq ft area, our spa covers will support between 100-200 lbs, depending on the foam density chosen.

What options are there?

Among the basic options, we have 14 colors of marine grade vinyl, skirt length, strap length, weight and density of insulation foam. We also offer a double-wrapped core to protect from moisture, the number one spoiler of spa cover foam, and a continuous heat seal, to prevent heat loss along the fold. New this year are our heavy duty wind straps option.

What type of spa cover do you own?

Currently, I have one of our top of the line spa covers, called The Works, on my own home spa. Over the years, I’ve had better and worse, sometimes taking home mis-ordered spa tops that almost fit my tub. The spa cover I have now is performing beautifully, in it’s fourth year of service.

How long did your last spa cover last?

My very last spa cover was hit by a tree branch during a storm (one day I’ll get around to that gazebo). So, it only lasted me 2 years. I once had a cover that I kept for 10 years, until the vinyl started to split, then one of the panels cracked. If you take care of it with regular cleaning and conditioning, and “air it out” twice per week for an hour, you can expect 5-7 years from a good spa cover, if you don’t get hit with a tree, or carried off in high winds!

Dirty secrets about hot tub covers?

Most are made in Mexico or Canada – is that a dirty secret? How about the vast differences in construction techniques? I have heard of some groups that use flimsy aluminum or pvc support channels, or foam panels with less than the stated density rating. Using cardboard caps on the foam corners, to give the illusion of a thicker core. Not vacuum sealing and heat seaming the foam core, exposing the foam to constant moisture. There are ways to make a cheap spa cover, but we don’t cut corners here.

What are hot tub covers made out of?

They are made with two tapered panels of closed cell foam, wrapped in one or two layers of 6-mil polyethylene. Two or more panels are joined together, both with support channels embedded into the edge of the foam panel to provide rigidity across the center of the tub. The two panels are slid into a custom sewn ‘bag’, which is zipped up tight around the foam cores. The top and skirt material is a marine grade vinyl to resist rain and weather. Materials: Foam, Plastic, Steel, Vinyl, Nylon.

How are spa covers manufactured?

Ancient Chinese Secret! Not really, we are mighty proud of our state of the art design, manufacture and shipping facility. Your spa cover design and manufacturing is computer controlled with specific cad dimensions fed into our foam cutting, and bag sewing machines. Expert technicians vacuum wrap and heat seal the foam cores and insert them into the bag. The seam team sews it up tight, and inspectors run a 27-point drill before it’s boxed up by the shipping department.

What’s the largest spa cover ever made?

We once built a spa cover for a waterpark (read more), that was 10 separate panels, covering an outdoor hot tub that was 20′ diameter! It was quite a job, and expensive as I recall – but, they made their money back in reduced heating costs in 8 months. Not sure if it’s the largest ever made, but the largest we’ve ever done!

How much snow can a spa cover hold?

More than you think. Because it’s spread out over the top of the cover, the weight is evenly distributed. Anything under 24″ shouldn’t be a concern. Even more, if the snow is dry and light. Heavy layers of ice mixed with snow is more of a concern. If you want to remove snow from a spa cover, use a plastic shovel without metal edges.

Do wild animals damage spa covers?

Bears seem to be attracted to some particular scents contained in spa foam. We’ve done a post (with pics!) on the topic. This is very rare, and it’s never happened to one of our hot tub covers – every since we began infusing them with shark scent!

What’s the worst thing you can do to your spa cover?

The worst thing you can do to a spa cover….? Is use it as a stage, or clean it with automotive care products. Or take it on the water, for some stand-up Hot Tub Cover Boarding

Pitfalls to avoid with hot tub covers?

High Winds can fling a spa cover halfway across the county! Keep it secured. Make sure that the roof eave or gutters don’t drain directly onto your spa cover, and if you have more than a few hours per day of direct sun, put up some shading. When ordering, don’t guess at dimension, but run a measuring tape. Use a cover lifter, a lot of damage is caused by not using one – usually someone falls into the cover when it’s leaning up against a wall. Crack!

Sad stories about hot tub covers?

There are plenty of sad stories about not using a spa or hot tub cover. Preventing access of small children to hot tubs is one of the best features of a spa cover. When properly affixed, they can be an effective barrier, but when they are not used properly…

Do I really need a hot tub cover lift?

Yes, not only to save your back, but to prevent injury to the spa cover. Moving an awkward and wet spa cover around is not easy. And when they are not stored up and out of the way on a spa cover lifter, they tend to get damaged, especially at parties. They also may not be positioned optimally for drying, as they are when folded over a spa lifter arm.

Hot tub cover accessories?

Aside from cleaning and conditioning chemicals, some other nifty spa cover accessories are the Cover Cap, and the Heavy Duty Wind Straps. Floating spa blankets are an accessory worth looking at, to protect your spa cover from excess heat and moisture.

 

– Jack

 

Restless Legs Syndrome – Relief in a Hot Tub!

September 22nd, 2014 by

restless-leg-syndrome

Tomorrow (September 23) is the international day of awareness for Restless Legs Syndrome, otherwise known as RLS.

RLS is a neurological condition that gives sufferers uncontrollable leg movements, or urge to move the legs – a restlessness – especially while lying still, or trying to sleep. Symptoms are more pronounced at the end of the day, which also makes RLS a sleep disorder.

It has recently come to the forefront with millions of sufferers, even celebrities such as Keith Olbermann, former MSNBC talk show host who has been given a diagnosis of RLS. But, this is not a new condition, having been first identified 70 years ago, in 1945.

Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

  • A strong impulse to move the legs, especially when sitting or laying in a prone position.
  • Moving the legs or feet brings temporary relief.
  • Legs have feelings of tremors or pulling, itching or like bugs under the skin.
  • Involuntary jerking of the legs during the daytime, or kicking at night.
  • Insomnia, or poor sleep patterns, as a result of leg tremors.

Diagnosis of Restless Legs Syndrome

Your doctor can determine if RLS exists, although you may already have a good idea. Symptoms such as those above can assist in a diagnosis, however, there are no specific tests that can be used to make a definite diagnosis. Like other ‘experiential’ conditions, RLS is primarily diagnosed symptomatically – by how you describe your troubles to your doctor. Cramping and twitching of the legs, which worsens when the body is at rest, and tending to increase at the end of an active day, are typical complaints of a person suffering from RLS.

Relief for Restless Legs Syndrome

There are many contributors to RLS, such as diet, activity and lifestyle. Making certain changes can help alleviate symptoms, and there are many treatments available, including many Parkinson’s Disease medications that can help. Before seeking a medication solution, which can have side effects, it is recommended to try other self-help methods of relief.

  • Moderate exercise for the lower body, such as swimming, walking or biking.
  • Avoid sitting or standing in one position for long periods of time.
  • Stretches for the legs and lower back. Yoga and Pilates can be especially helpful.
  • Pressure massage can be very helpful, from a sympathetic partner or with a lower leg massage machine.
  • Swaddling the legs, or wearing compression socks is helpful for many sufferers.
  • Sleeping with a large pillow between the legs can also bring relief.
  • Steady sleep schedules can help reduce fatigue, which tends to worsen symptoms.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, which can also make symptoms worse.
  • Dietary supplements, especially Iron and Magnesium can eliminate symptoms.
  • Avoid stress, take it easy. Mental stress can aggravate symptoms.
  • If you are overweight, reducing caloric intake can reduce leg stress.
  • Avoid OTC sleeping pills, anti-nausea medications and antihistamines.

Finally, a warm bath before bedtime, or a short session in a hot tub, can bring fast relief, especially when combined with light stretching of the calves, hips and thighs. If you suffer from lower back pain, symptoms of RLS are frequently associated with tension that begins in the lumbar or coccyx region, and radiates down the back of the thighs.relief-for-RLS

Hot tubs and Spas bring relief to millions of people suffering from a variety of conditions. Restless legs syndrome is just one more. Give it a try! If you don’t own a hot tub, don’t rush right out and buy one, but first try a week of 20 minute soaks in a hot bathtub, with some light leg stretches. Point and pull the toes, pull the knee up toward the chest.

Immediately after leaving the bathtub or hot tub, try a kneeling position, with a straight back, buttocks resting on your heels. Standing up, stretch the calves by placing both hands on the wall and leaning in slowly. Stretch the thighs by lifting up your leg behind you, and pulling your ankle toward the buttocks.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Refinishing your Spa Cabinet

September 18th, 2014 by

SPA-CABINET-RESTORATION

A spa cabinet, or the outside staves of a hot tub, begin to fade and splinter after some time in the good ‘ol outdoors. Even manufactured wood spa cabinets begin to show their age after a while. You should avoid staining and sealing the inside of a hot tub, but the outside, or steps and cabinets around a tub or spa is an easy way to rejuvenate your spa or hot tub!

At some point, your spa cabinet will lose the luster it once had, and you will decide to do something about it. This post is about how to rehab your cabinets around a spa or hot tub – and protecting it, before winter sets in.

 

Keeping your Spa Cabinet Clean

To keep your spa cabinet clean, you have to think about the area surrounding the spa.

  1. Shield from sprinklers or roof runoff water.
  2. Shield from direct sun if longer than a few hours.
  3. Spray any weeds, keep plants 6″ away from cabinet.
  4. Cover bare ground around spa with gravel, mats or decking.
  5. Don’t let your spa overflow, or allow heavy splashout from the spa.

Refinishing Spa Cabinets

Spa cabinets can be made of wood, typically cedar or redwood varieties, but common nowadays are composite plastic materials, in colors, with grained or patterned finishes. These finishes don’t require re-finishing, usually a cleaning with a stiff brush and a bucket of soapy water is all they need. If you do want to spiff up your non-wood cabinet, you can use spa cover conditioner to restore a darker, glossy finish, and remove minor scuffs.

Wood cabinets can become faded, chipped and over time, begin to rot. Even cedar and redwood cabinets, more resistant to insect and bacteria damage (rot), will eventually begin to deteriorate. Regularly cleaning and sealing your cabinet, and taking care of those 5 things listed above, will keep any wood spa cabinet looking good for a lifetime.

STEP ONE: CLEAN IT

Cleaning a wood spa cabinet with a stiff brush is the first step. If you don’t have a heavy, short handled brush, you can use a toilet brush (lol), or unscrew the handle from a push broom, or floor scrubber. Fill a small bucket with a gallon of water and some dish soap. Then, just like cleaning a car, go around the cabinet and give it a good scrubbing, top to bottom.

Notice how the water drains off, and if it pools in any spots on the cabinet or below the cabinet. Lightly hose off the surface with a hose spray nozzle, or wipe clean with a wet sponge, going with the grain as you wipe. Let your cabinet dry for a good 24 hours before the next step.

step two: repair it

You may be able to skip this step, I hope. But if your wood spa cabinet has some areas of wood rot, with hollow loose areas that you can practically poke your finger into… Look for any loose nails or screws, or any bowed sections, anything unusual.

Chipped, rotted or decayed sections can be cut out with a razor knife, and filled in with wood filler or any exterior wall repair patch. This will slow the deterioration of the wood. Just lay it in there with a putty knife and allow it to dry.

Rough areas, or splintering wood cabinets can be lightly sanded with a medium grit sandpaper. Wrap it around a dry sponge to make a sanding block.

step three: stain it

If your wood has visible damage, or severe fading, a solid cover stain will hide more imperfections than a transparent or semi-transparent stain. If it is in very bad condition, with advanced fading and color differences, you can use an exterior paint, but this will hide the natural tone of the wood, and could require frequent repainting.

Take a picture of your spa color as you go to your local hardware supply to try and match the stain color as close as possible. When in doubt, always select a lighter colored stain than what you think you have. The smallest jar of stain (4 oz) is often enough for a spa cabinet. Tear off the can label after use, and tape or staple it somewhere inside your spa cabinet, so you can remember the stain color 5 years from now.

Despite some other spa bloggers that suggest that you use Linseed Oil (blogger war!), I would stay away from this unless you have a very dark colored cabinet. It can be hard to control the mix and application, and you could end up with a black spa cabinet. Other than a problem with darkening, Linseed Oil does make a nice wood preservative.

For best results in staining, use a clean, textured kitchen sponge, strained of excess stain. Be sure to use a drop cloth, wear rubber gloves, and keep a rag handy to wipe up any pooling.

step four: seal it

Sealing the stained wood is a most important step for protecting your restored finish. While your browsing stains and sealers, you’ll notice that there are many products that are stain-and-sealer in one (!). These are fine to use – I like to use the Mixwax PolyShades line of all-in-one, but there are others.

If you don’t use a combination stain and sealer, you can find several polyurethane sealers or waterproofing products. Look for a product that won’t need reapplication twice per year, but something that is more permanent. Choose your finish – matte, satin or glossy. After your stain dries, you can apply the sealer, with a sprayer, rag or sponge.

>>> Most spa cabinets will need a refinishing every 5 years or so. So, what are you waiting for? Clean it, Stain it & Seal it!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

Advanced Hot Water Chemistry

September 15th, 2014 by

advanced-hot-tub-chemistry---PM

Beyond pH and Bromine levels, beyond alkalinity and calcium hardness – what else is there?

Maintaining a healthy hot tub is crucial not only for the users of the spa, to avoid sickness, but also for the integrity of your hot tub spa.

The following article on hot tub water chemistry will focus on 3 important tenets:

1. A Hot Tub is Not a Small Pool.

2. Chemicals behave differently in Hot Water.

3. Spa filters are important to chemistry.

 

1. HOT TUBS ARE NOT SMALL SWIMMING POOLS

Although many spa owners treat their spas and swimming pools the same, using the same test kits and even the same chemical treatments, there is a world of difference between the two. The largest difference is in volume. Easy enough to understand, a spa of 400 gallons is quite a bit smaller than a pool containing 20000 gallons.

The main distinction here is in gallons per bather. When 4 persons slip into a 400 gallon spa, that’s the equivalent of 200 swimmers in a 20000 gallon pool. A radical change in water chemistry occurs when people enter a hot tub. The pH tends to jump up dramatically, and the sanitizer is pummeled. The small cartridge filter, adequately sized for an unused spa, becomes immediately overwhelmed.

Bromine tends to respond better than chlorine in this situation, maintaining more efficacy at higher pH levels than chlorine, but even a high level of bromine is rapidly depleted in the presence of several spa users. This leaves your bathers unprotected from pathogenic microorganisms.

This is why a Hot Tub needs to have additional sanitation methods. Using an Ozonator and a mineral purifier together (in addition to bromine), is the best way to ensure extra protection for a hot tub or spa used by several persons at the same time.

This is also why it is so important for spa users to shower thoroughly before using a hot tub. I know that it’s difficult (if not outright rude) to ask guests to shower before using a spa, but just imagine all of the gunk that is washing off their (and your) body – bacteria, dirt, fungus, feces, oils, urine – to name a few. Not to mention all those chemicals from cosmetics, lotions, hair care products, shampoo and soaps. And your skin pores, opening up in that hot water…

 

2. CHEMICALS BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY IN HOT WATER

As water temperature rises, the viscosity or density of water decreases, and molecular activity increases. Sanitizing agents become hyperactive, and quickly dissipate. Carbonates and bicarbonates, hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and calcium minerals all ‘fly’ around the water at breakneck speed, combining and separating in bizarre ways, not seen in colder water. Molecules in cold water have a greater atomic bonding, and resist change, whereas in hot water, molecular combinations (not all good) occur much more easily in hot water.

Cold water also holds much more entrained oxygen than hot water, and sound travels faster in cold water. Not much to do with hot tub water chemistry, I just think it’s interesting, that’s all. Everything that is in your hot tub water, every speck of dust, every droplet of bodily fluid, all affect water balance, and contribute to Total Dissolved Solids in a hot tub. It’s another property of hot water that solids break down more easily than in cold water. But they don’t go away, they are simply dissolved in the water.

Pool chemicals are not suitable for spas and hot tubs. Namely because of the labeling and dosages listed. It’s very easy to overdose or under dose a hot tub. Even for those chemicals that may be identical, such as pH up or Alkalinity increaser. Although chemically the same, spa chemicals are produced in finer grades, to dissolve more rapidly.

Other pool chemicals, such as clarifiers and algaecides, are not produced for use in hot water temperatures. They break down more readily in water of higher temperatures, and combine in ways that render them useless. These reasons are why you should not use pool chemicals in your spa or hot tub.

 

3. SPA FILTERS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK

You may wonder what the spa filter has to do with hot tub water chemistry, but as the title implies, it’s more important than you may think!

Harkening back to our opening paragraph, when 3 or 4 people jump into a hot tub, it can overwhelm a spa filter. I’m speaking of the pleated filter cartridge that serves to strain out small particles in your hot tub. In most cases, their diminutive size is adequate for a hot tub that is not hosting visitors, but place a few humans in the equation, and it can take hours for it to catch up.

In spas, as in swimming pools, there needs to be a balance of sanitation and filtration. A balance is important, if you will – imagine doing it all with only one of these. If you only had sanitation (and no filtration – stagnant water), you would need a very large amount of sanitizer to keep the water clean and clear. Or – you could do without sanitizer, if you had a filter as big as a house, or circulation of hundreds of gallons of water per minute. But this is impractical, so we rely on a balance.

It doesn’t take long for a small cartridge filter to stop pulling it’s weight around a hot tub or spa. When this happens, much more is required of your sanitizer, or more sanitizer is required, I should say. I know that some of you may be guilty of going years without changing the filter cartridge. Sure you clean it – occasionally, but when was the last time you replaced your spa filter?

For best results, replace your filter cartridge every 10-15 cleanings, or every 12-24 months, depending on how often the spa is used. A spa filter that needs replacement won’t stand up and wave it’s hand for a substitute, it quietly keeps chugging along, allowing microscopic debris to pass through unfiltered.

When your filter is doing less than what is required, your water suffers, and it could affect the health of your spa users and your spa luster. Do yourself a favor and set a calendar reminder to replace your spa filter on a regular basis. Or, do what I do, and buy them in pairs, and alternate cartridges when one is removed for cleaning. This allows me to go 24 months between purchases, and also means that I allow the cartridge to dry fully after cleaning it, which kills any contaminants buried deep inside the fibers.

 

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Autumn is Here – is your Spa Cover Ready?

September 11th, 2014 by

spa-cover-enemieThe weather is cooling down, and leaves are already falling. And, if you thought last year was snowy and cold, NOAA has put out an official El Niño watch, which will bring more snow, rain and generally colder weather than usual.

Autumn is the time of year when our customers get their spas and hot tubs ready for winter – in fact, it’s our busiest time of year for spa covers!

And Hot Tub Works is not alone in that regard. According to our trade association and other industry sources, spa cover sales soar during fall, as the swim season ends and hot tub season begins.

I say bring it on! We have planned for the onslaught by hiring extra help for our ‘seam team’, and stocking up on bolts of 30 oz. marine grade vinyl and truckloads of high density foam. Our warehouse chief is interviewing daily for an increase in staff, and our call center is all hands on deck, ready to handle over 1000 calls per day.

So, we’re ready, but my question to you – is your spa cover ready?

 

Most hot tub covers last about 5 years; longer if they are protected from the elements and given certain care like cleaning and conditioning and regular time-off the tub, when they can shed some of the moisture and heat that they dutifully retain 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Other products to protect your spa cover include Heavy Duty Wind Straps, Floating Spa Blankets and Spa Cover Liftersspa-cover-caps

For the most protection from winter’s worst, consider buying a Spa Cover Cap. Yep, it’s a cover for the spa cover – kind of ridiculous to think about I know, but nothing keeps your spa top cleaner and drier.

It’s been said that using a spa cover cap can double the life of your spa cover. I don’t know if I’d go that far – but there is a grain of truth to everything, I suppose.

 

69-ford-galaxieThe problem is, like most good things – is that you have to use it for it to help. Doesn’t do a bit of good laying in a rumpled pile next to the spa. Kind of like the car cover I bought back in ’03, which was going to preserve my old Galaxie, if not outright restore her. I think I used it twice, maybe three times, until a big wind blew it out into the cow pasture, and well, I wasn’t going out in that minefield to retrieve it. I like to think that it’s become a nice shelter for a family of deer.

 

Back to the matter at hand, if your spa cover has suffered a bit over the summer. If the vinyl is beginning to thin, maybe a crack across the panel panel insert, or if you start to see steam seeping out the sides of your hot tub cover – it may be time for a new one. You won’t be alone – we plan on providing over 50,000 spa covers between now and the end of the year – shipping them all around the country, from Sarasota to Seattle; from Needles to Nantucket.

Hot tub covers can be ordered online, by fax, email or if you prefer the old fashioned way – give one of our spa cover specialists a call. If you’ve ordered from us before, as over half of our customers have – just let us know you need a replacement spa cover, and we’ll pull up your previous order and start the ball rolling.

Order a new spa cover today – before old El Niño turns ugly!

 

– Jack

 

Food & Drink Disasters at a Hot Tub Party

September 8th, 2014 by

food-in-hot-tubsHot Tub parties are a part of owning a spa – at least the occasional small, intimate affair with a few close friends. Or even if you are just enjoying your spa with that special someone, you may want to enjoy some wine and cheese, or other appetizers in the tub.

Now, you should always limit your soaks in water above 100° to no more than 20 minutes at a time, although after a 10 minute cool down, most people can take another session. And, although alcohol drinks in a hot tub are commonly enjoyed, our legal team would like me to remind you that using a hot tub while intoxicated can be dangerous.

With these disclaimers dispensed, let’s get to the worst food and drink of all time, for a hot tub party.

WORST DRINKS FOR A HOT TUB

The problem with certain drinks is that they contain sugars and starches, which is a tasty food for algae and bacteria. Alcohol is particularly troublesome for sanitation, and it also sports a very low pH. Soft drinks are also low in pH. And some drinks are thick with creamy dairy products or stuffed with fruit.

  • Soda Drinks – coke, sprite, root beer
  • Smoothies – imagine that floating on the surface
  • Daiquiris – mostly ice, but also lots of fruit, alcohol and sugar
  • Beer – foams the minute it hits the water
  • Wine – too many ingredients to list
  • Energy drinks – could make your spa hyper

WORST FOOD FOR A HOT TUB

You can imagine the kind of foods that you wouldn’t want around your hot tub, don’t serve anything crumbly, powdery, crunchy or juicy. Food is not only messy in a hot tub, but like drinks that spill into your tub, food contains all sorts of junk that messes with your water balance, blocking sanitation while feeding the enemy (algae and bacteria).

🙂 AVOID THESE SPA KILLERS:

  • Crackers, Chips, Cheetos
  • Fruit – unless served as Fruit Kabobs
  • Olives – oil slick on the surface
  • Cheese – unless served cubed and toothpicked
  • Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
  • BBQ Chicken or Pizza
  • Candy or Cake

BEST FOOD & DRINK FOR A HOT TUB PARTY

If you noticed, my lists above leave very little party food to choose from! If you’re having a large party, it may be best to have a No Food or Drink sign posted, and place your food table far away from the hot tub.

hot-tub-signHowever, you don’t want your hot tub guests to become dehydrated, so in addition to limiting session time, place a large pitcher of water with a stack of plastic cups – no glass around the tub, within reach of the tub. Be sure to keep it full throughout the evening, to keep your hot tubbers wet on the inside. Water is the best drink to imbibe while in the hot tub – there’s going to be no problem if a cup of water spills over into the tub.

The best food to enjoy in the spa? Small food, which can be cubed and toothpicked. Avoid finger food, or food touched with hands, which then go down into the water. Avoid eating whole fruit, with the exception of grapes, which are one of my favorite spa foods to serve, or just eat myself. Frozen grapes are a special treat, just pop ’em in the freezer for about an hour. If you want to snack, try grapes, strawberries, or baby carrots – keep foods on a side table and not balanced on the edge of your spa!

WHAT TO DO WHEN FOOD OR DRINK SPILLS IN A HOT TUB

Drain the hot tub? Maybe, if enough food or drink got in. If it’s just one drink, or a single potato chip, don’t worry about it. But if it’s the entire bowl of chips, or a plate full of rice and beans, you may want to drain the tub.

Alternatively, you could clean up any debris with a skimmer net (quickly!), balance the pH and then shock the spa. Chances are you’ll need to shock the spa anyway, so just give it a little extra this time. If you suspect or find broken glass in the tub (!), definitely drain it, or vacuum it very closely.

The best way to prevent a hot tub food or drink disaster is to stick to water, in plastic cups.

FOOD & DRINK DISASTER STORIES:

I asked this question via chat, around our office, and got some funny responses from the dozens of spa owners here at HotTubWorks. Here’s their best answers (warnings). Ugh!

  • Cheetos bowl flipped over into the tub
  • Bobbing for apples on Halloween
  • Pitcher of margaritas falling into the tub
  • Tray of Jello shots, which instantly dissolved
  • Pepperoni pizza found the next morning

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin

 

Exterior Design – Creating Hot Tub Décor

September 4th, 2014 by

exterior-design-hot-tubs-and-spasGood exterior design is a sum of its parts, bringing together disparate elements into one cohesive and balanced design.

Your hot tub or spa is a warm, bubbling respite away from the stress of everyday life. Shouldn’t the surroundings of your spa also create feelings of peace and serenity? I’m not talking about a Zen garden, although if that’s your theme, by all means go ahead – but rather adding design elements that engage the senses, and produce an air of tranquility. Isn’t that what your hot tub is all about?

Put into words, using adjectives – just what is it that a Hot Tub means to you. Not your current hot tub, but your ideal hot tub. What would it look like? Rustic? Elegant? Tropical? Modern? Now how does it make you feel – Chic? Adventurous? Pampered? Relaxed?

Principles of Exterior Design

Balance & Contrast

Exterior Design is not so different from interior design. To make interesting spaces, designers play with balancing and contrasting elements. An element is anything tactile and visual – everything in sight is an element that can be matched or juxtaposed with surrounding surfaces and objects.

Lines: Horizontal or Vertical, diagonal or curved. The visual lines around your hot tub – fence, walls, floors, even the hot tub itself can balance each other in simple or striking ways. Lines can be used to make a space feel taller or more spacious. The type of lines used can evoke very different feelings. Thick or thin, precise or varied, bold or barely there. Wall, ceiling and floor coverings often make use of lines, to bring balance or contrast to the shape of the room, or outdoor space.

hot-tub-exterior-decorating

Symmetry: Open any book on design and there will be an early chapter on creating symmetry. It’s all around us, and being that our own bodies are symmetrical, we are naturally drawn towards symmetry. In exterior design, you’ll often find landscapes very symmetrical, and the house as well. Symmetry is as natural as bookends, end tables or night stands, but can also be seen as boring by those who prefer to avoid repetition.

Asymmetry: Asymmetrical designs can be just as pleasing, but instead of using repetition, they create balance through contrast. The difference can be with color, size, position, texture, quantity or even empty space. If you want something different, consider radial design, with elements arranged in a concentric fashion around a focal point, like your hot tub!

hot--tub-and-spa-design-ideas

Scale & Shape

One can do a lot with scale & shape – the size and form of various elements placed around the hot tub, and if space allows, focal points placed further out in the field of vision.

Size:  The outdoors allows and begs for a larger scale than what can be done indoors. A few examples of large elements around a hot tub include outdoor fireplaces, overhead pergola or open air gazebos. Large oak leaf and ivy trellises can double as privy fences, and chunky living room style lounges and daybeds, fountains or sculptures can be added to your spa resort.

Form: Shapes are all around us – even the spaces in between ‘things’ have a shape. Shapes need not be 3-dimensional, that is they don’t have to have depth, and so are often added to walls, but can also be creatively used on floors and ceilings.

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Landscape: When imagining the landscape around your spa, one way to consider scale and shape is to use a mix of small, medium and large plants (or small trees) to build layers of shapes and sizes. If you love blooms, plan and plant a perennial garden, blooming from early spring to late autumn. Your landscape doesn’t have to match your style completely, but should complement a theme. For instance, hot tub landscaping can be formal or casual, desert or tropical, beach or mountains. It can be inspired by Asian, Mediterranean or Latin landscape gardens. It’s best to consider your growing zone, and choose plants that will thrive in your climate, and with available daily sun exposure. Your local garden center has experts that can help you with plant selection for scale, shape and style.

Colors & Textures

color-wheelThere is a general rule of design that 3 colors is the maximum number of hues that one should use in a space. These are sometimes referred to as the dominant, secondary and accent colors. However, if you want to use more colors, make use of analogous colors, or those that are in the same general spectrum of color, or neighbors on the color wheel. Opposites on the color wheel are often paired together, in a complementary color scheme.

When designers consider a color scheme for a room or outdoor space, they can go in several directions, depending on the primary use of the space, and the wishes of those who will inhabit the space. If you have a theme in mind, or an overall style picked out, it makes it easier to narrow the color choices. Often, certain elements or focal points in the space become the primary inspiration for the color palette. But it doesn’t have to be!

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Textures: Everything has a texture, and will fall somewhere on a spectrum of texture from smooth to rough. There are two types of texture – actual texture and simulated texture. Actual texture will have depth and a tactile sensation of texture. Simulated texture is created by duplicating the color value and darkness of the original, but in only two dimensions. It’s best practice to use a combination of surface textures, to suit your style. Generally, the more formal a setting is, the smoother the elements become, while more rustic or outdoorsy style will utilize a great deal more texture. Texture can be overdone however, so use with care, to avoid too many or too few competing textures.

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Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works