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Alicia Harris's Posts

10 Gift Ideas for the Spa or Hot Tub Owner


holiday hot tub gifts

Jingle bells, jingle bells – do you hear ’em? The holiday season is upon us, which means thoughtful friends (like you) are making shopping lists of gifts for friends and family.

Since you’re reading this, we’re guessing you’re probably a hot tub owner. If so, this means you likely know others who also belong to “The Hot Tub Club.” A gift that helps them enjoy their spa is the perfect way to show you care about their health and well-being.

If you’re ready to start shopping, Hot Tub Works has you covered! We have gifts for all the hot tub owners on your gift list, and they’re priced to fit any holiday shopping budget. Let Santa take a break. It’s your time to shine as the ultimate gift giver this year!

To tell the truth, these gifts are great for any special occasion – not just the holidays. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:


Aromatherapy Products

hot tub aromatherapyThere are so many forms of spa aromatherapy – crystals, elixirs, spa beads and even scented spa shock. They all make great gifts or stocking stuffers, and they’re quite affordable. If you’ve never tried aromatherapy in the hot tub before, you really should. Aside from the enriching aromatic experience, each product provides uniquely focused relaxation for the user. Whether refreshing the mind or rejuvenating the body, there’s an aromatherapy solution for every need or occasion. All natural ingredients and the perfect blend of moisturizing botanicals promise to soften skin, relieve stress, reduce inflammation and soothe aches and pains. These products are perfectly safe for spa surfaces and won’t clog jets.

Waterproof Playing Cards

waterproof playing cardsLooking for the perfect stocking stuffer? These waterproof playing cards go great with a floating game table, or they can be used all by themselves. Durable PVC material makes the cards completely waterproof without being too stiff to shuffle. This is a full deck of 52 regularly-sized playing cards, which comes in its own plastic carrying case. These cards are excellent for hot tubbers relaxing with others in the spa, but they also work quite well in a swimming pool setting. Give the gift that provides hours of fun for any age group!

Filter Flosser

filter flosserIf you’ve owned a hot tub for any amount of time, you know how time consuming it can be to clean a hot tub filter. With a Filter Flosser, that chore can be done in just minutes. Not only will it save the gift recipient a ton of time on regular hot tub maintenance, but it will also conserve water and prolong the life of their filter cartridges. The powerful, precise stream of water goes deep between filter pleats to provide a simple, efficient cleaning experience.


Spa Ozonator

spa ozonatorHere’s a gift that’s sure to please! Spa ozone systems are a simple, yet effective way to rid a hot tub of bacteria, viruses and other organic contaminants. If the person you’re buying for has a newer hot tub, chances are pretty good that it already has an ozone system built in. However, if the hot tub is more than a few years old, an ozonator will likely be a welcome addition. Spa ozonators reduce the need for sanitizing chemicals, and they leave behind no residues or harsh by-products, making this a great option for people with sensitive skin. They also pair perfectly with mineral sanitizers.

Spa Cover Lifter

spa cover liftMany people who own a spa already have (and use) a spa cover lifter. However, if someone on your gift list doesn’t yet have a cover lift, or if they need to replace their old, rusty one, Hot Tub Works has the perfect gift you’ve been searching for. A spa cover lift is a gift of convenience, making it possible for anyone to open a heavy spa cover by themselves. It also helps prevent damage to the cover while it’s off the tub. Lightweight aluminum and sturdy steel cover lifts are available to accommodate most spa covers, large or small.

Lighted Napa Bottle Chiller

lighted ice bucketThis gift will be the talk of the holiday party, as well as every hot tub party after that! This unique wine and beverage chiller is illuminated by color-changing LED lights. Choose from 24 colors, 4 color-changing settings and 2 brightness levels at the touch of a button. The rechargeable battery provides 8-10 hours of lighted entertainment, making it perfect for parties and get-togethers. The weatherproof design allows it to be used outdoors or indoors – it’s up to you! Just add ice, add your favorite canned or bottled beverages, turn on the light, and it’s ready to go.

Insulating Spa Blanket

protective thermal insulating spa blanketA floating thermal spa blanket is an inexpensive gift that can save any hot tub owner a chunk of change. The most notable benefit is that it prolongs the life of a spa cover by blocking chemicals and water vapor from gassing off and absorbing into the cover. This blanket also increases a spa’s efficiency by locking in the heat. This lightweight thermal blanket is easy to put on and remove, and it comes in two convenient square sizes: 7’x7′ or 8’x8′. If the spa isn’t perfectly square, simply trim the blanket with scissors to match any custom shape.

Spa Care Kits

spa care kitLooking for a gift that just keeps giving? Surprise the hot tub owner on your shopping list with a spa care kit. There are 6-month maintenance kits for both chlorine and bromine users, multi-packs of scented spa shock, a spa cover care kit, floating sanitizer systems and cartridge refills, as well as all-inclusive spa start-up kits. We even have a kit for spa owners struggling with hard water issues. Just place a spa care kit in a wicker basket, add a gift bow or some colorful tissue paper, and give the gift of worry-free hot tub maintenance this year. Spa care kits also make fun “teaser” gifts if you’ll be surprising a loved one with their very own hot tub this holiday season.

Cantilever Umbrella

market umbrellaWhile soaking in a toasty hot tub, the last thing anyone wants to do is bake in the sun – especially when the weather gets warmer. This is why many hot tubs are located in shaded areas or under some type of roof or overhang. However, there are quite a few spas that don’t have that optimal placement, which is where offset cantilever umbrellas, also known as market umbrellas, come in handy. Hot Tub Works has two styles available – one is a 10′ umbrella with a metal plate that slides under your hot tub (3 colors available), and the other is a 9′ umbrella that can be bolted down or attached to a sturdy base (12 colors available). Market umbrellas also work well for patio tables and seating areas.

Infrared Sauna

infrared saunaWe saved the best for last! Imagine the look on your loved one’s face when you surprise them with a brand new in-home sauna. The growing list of sauna benefits is simply incredible. Besides soaking in a hot tub, there really is no better way to relax your muscles, detoxify your body and unwind at the end of the day. It’s not just a sauna – it’s a valuable wellness tool and is often considered a health investment. From extravagant 4-person infrared saunas to the less expensive single user or portable models, there’s a relaxation station for every budget.

Not finding what you’re looking for? There are so many other great hot tub gifts available in our online store. Another idea is to provide a “personal spa service” of sorts, helping the hot tub people on your list drain and clean the spa and/or condition the cover. Other ideas include an outdoor carpet or wood runners to help keep feet clean, new spa towels and a towel rack, or you could even spice things up by adding some music to their spa. It’s not too hard to find the perfect gift. The options are endless!

From all of us at Hot Tub Works, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Help! My Hot Tub Pillows Stink!


how to clean hot tub pillowsIt’s a common scenario. You open the hot tub cover and settle in for a warm, relaxing soak. Next thing you know, your senses are bombarded by the overwhelming aroma of smelly hot tub pillows…YUCK! Not relaxing at all! Lucky for you, it’s not too hard to eliminate that stealthy stench.

Why Do My Spa Pillows Stink?

Bacteria, mold and mildew thrive in warm, moist environments, making your hot tub a hot spot for the growth of these smell-inducing microorganisms. Left unchecked, they can accumulate and make your entire hot tub – not just the pillows – smell bad.

It’s easier for microorganisms to grow if the water’s pH is unbalanced and sanitizer levels aren’t high enough. Bacteria can also build up over time if the spa doesn’t get drained and cleaned properly. Failure to remove the spa cover and allow it to breathe or “gas off” regularly can also exacerbate smelly spa issues.

How Do I Clean My Spa Pillows?

Regular cleaning will not only keep your hot tub pillows smelling great, it will also keep them looking great and slow down the rate of deterioration. Here are some quick tips to clean your hot tub pillows and get rid of that stinky smell:

  1. Remove the pillows from your hot tub. Some pillows are connected by suction cups, some by screws, and some by a specialized plug or clip. Use caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions so you don’t damage the pillow or attachment pieces.
  2. Prepare the cleaning solution. If it’s part of your regular maintenance, use a gentle hot tub cleansing product. For mild mildew, vinegar and baking soda should do the trick. For more stubborn smells or severe mold and mildew, try bleach and a mild detergent. The use of gloves and safety goggles is recommended when handling strong chemicals.
  3. Use a sponge and cleaning solution to clean the pillow. Gently scrub to make sure every bit of mold and mildew is removed. If your pillow has a cover or can be disassembled, all pieces should be thoroughly cleaned. For hard-to-reach areas, seams, indents or deep textures, use a toothbrush. Don’t scrub too hard, or you’ll damage the pillow.
  4. Rinse pillows thoroughly to remove all cleaning solution.
  5. Allow the pillows to dry completely. This will kill off any remaining bacteria, mildew or mold spores. Warm, sunny days are perfect for this! Any strong scents left over from the cleaning solution (such as vinegar or bleach) should dissipate as the pillows dry.
  6. Clean hot tub surfaces in the areas behind the pillows. Don’t forget this step! Mold and mildew love to hide and accumulate here, so it could be where the smell was originating.
  7. Reassemble the fully dried pillows. When you’re ready to use them again, put them back in the hot tub, and enjoy that freshly-cleaned spa pillow scent!

Other Maintenance Tips

Keeping a close eye on water balance, sanitizer levels and overall cleanliness will help your entire hot tub stay looking and smelling good for many years to come. If you start to notice a smell coming from the spa, don’t just mask it with aromatherapy products – those can come after the bad smell is GONE. Find the root of the problem first, and eliminate the cause. Common sources of strong odors include the pillows, biofilm buildup in the plumbing, a dirty filter, an aging spa cover or even the water itself.

For regular pillow maintenance, gently wipe or rinse away chemical residue at least once a week. This is an easy way to prolong the lifespan of the pillows. If you won’t be using the hot tub for a while and are concerned about mildew issues, simply remove the pillows, clean them thoroughly (using the steps above), and store them in a dry place until they’re needed again.

If you notice that your hot tub pillows have started deteriorating and are smelling bad more frequently, it may be time to find replacement pillows. Hot Tub Works has many different types of spa pillow replacements to fit many models of hot tubs. We might just have what you’re looking for!

How to Drain a Hot Tub…Quickly!


Knowing how to drain a hot tub is one thing. Knowing how to drain a hot tub quickly is another. It can save so much time in hot tub maintenance! The average hot tub should be drained every 3-4 months, depending on frequency of use, water quality and other factors. Using the drain plug alone or siphoning water through a garden hose can take hours and hours to complete. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to some quicker methods for draining a spa or hot tub in minutes.


First Things First

Before getting started, check local ordinances to make sure you are able to legally drain the spa. Can you drain it into the yard? Can the water drain into the street? Is there a sewer hookup nearby? Perhaps there’s a draught in the area, and water conservation measures are in effect. Knowing this info before getting started will save you from headaches later on.

jet clean hot tub cleanerchange or clean the hot tub filterA couple times a year (or more), it’s a good idea to purge the plumbing in your hot tub. Bacteria, body oils and other organic matter form layers of nasty biofilm, which can lurk in the pipes and cause skin irritation or illness. Using a cleansing product like Jet Clean breaks down the biofilm so it can be removed while draining. Just add the chemical, turn on the jets, and let it circulate for 20-60 minutes, following label instructions on time and dosing. Don’t fret if brownish, foamy goop comes to the surface – this means the cleaner is working!

After the lines have been purged, turn off all hot tub functions and flip the circuit breaker; you don’t want the pump or heater to come on while the water level is low. Remove the filter for cleaning, and assemble your supplies…it’s time to drain the hot tub!

Draining the Hot Tub

There are couple of easy ways to quickly drain a hot tub. Either method can be used in addition to the drain plug or combined with other draining methods for maximum efficiency.

use a submersible pump to drain a hot tub

Submersible Pump

The fastest way to drain a hot tub is to use a submersible pump. Personally, I like using the AquaPro APC3000 submersible pump. This 1/3 HP pump can be used with a ¾” garden hose or a 1¾“ sump pump discharge hose to remove up to 30 gallons per minute (1,800 gallons per hour). The math is pretty simple – a 450 gallon spa can be emptied in as little as 15 minutes flat. Yes, you read that correctly!

The AquaPro is nice, because it includes a sensor to automatically turn off once the spa has been emptied. Since you won’t have to babysit the pump, use this time to clean the spa filter or get started on the spa cover. There should only be a little bit of water left in the bottom, which can be removed manually or with a wet/dry vac.

Shop Vac Siphon

wet/dry shop vacuumAnother fast method for draining a hot tub is using a wet/dry vacuum to get a siphon started. Drop one end of a long vacuum hose into the spa, and connect the other end to the wet/dry vacuum. Turn it on for a few seconds – just long enough to let the hose prime and get the flow moving. Turn off the vacuum, and quickly disconnect the hose so the water can flow out onto the ground.

Though not quite as fast as using a submersible pump, this method can still empty out an average-sized hot tub in a matter of minutes. The large hose diameter makes it much more efficient than a garden hose siphon. The nice thing about using the vacuum hose is that while water is being siphoned out of the spa, you can use the “wand” end to remove dirt and debris from the floor and seats. Once the water level is low enough that the siphon isn’t pulling water anymore, hook the hose back up to the wet/dry vacuum to remove the last puddles of water from the tub.

Final Tips

hot to drain a hot tubIf you’re going to be leaving the spa empty for a while, don’t forget to remove water from the lines, too. A new layer of biofilm can build up quickly if the water is allowed to stay in the pipes, and you’ll be right back at square one when you refill! This can be done with a wet/dry vacuum to blow and/or suck the water out. Or, if your spa has one, briefly turn on the air blower, making sure all jets are open first. Remember to turn the power back off once you’re done with the air blower.

Thoroughly dry the tub with a soft towel. Next, use a spa cleaning chemical to remove tough scum and protect the tub surface. Finish cleaning (or replace) the filter cartridge, clean and condition the cover, and hose off the spa cabinet if it’s looking dirty. If you’re not refilling the hot tub right away, allow the filter to dry completely, and store it indoors.


Of course, you can always just use the bottom drain on the hot tub and wait for several hours. Then again, the faster the hot tub is drained and cleaned, the sooner you can get back to using it! Hot Tub Works has everything needed to clean and maintain your freshly drained spa, from cleaning chemicals and replacement filters, to water balancing chemicals and test strips. Have questions? Give us a call!

Hot Tub Pros & Cons: In Ground vs. Above Ground


hot tub pros and cons

Looking to buy (or build) a new spa or hot tub? There are two basic types to choose from – in ground hot tubs and above ground hot tubs. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and there are many styles to choose from within each category. To help decide which one will work best for you, we’ve put together a handy list of hot tub pros and cons.

In Ground Hot Tub

If you’re considering an in ground spa or hot tub, chances are that you’re either looking to purchase a house with one already installed, or you’re thinking of installing one in your own backyard. These hot tubs can be attached to a pool as a pool-spa combo, or they can be completely independent of a pool. If you live in the snowbelt but would like to use your hot tub over the winter, avoid pool-spa combos that share the same pump and filter system or allow spa water to overflow into the pool.


  • in ground hot tubAesthetically pleasing addition to backyard. Perfectly complements any pool.
  • Permanent fixture – durable and built to last.
  • Can add value to home.
  • Easy maintenance if pool and spa share the same pump, filter and sanitizer system.
  • Hot tub doesn’t have to be drained if sharing water with the pool.
  • Customizable design options – shape, seating, lighting, jet placement, water features, spillover into pool, building materials used, etc.
  • Easy to get into and out of spa.


  • in ground hot tubFewer hydrotherapy jets.
  • Concrete spas are more abrasive on skin and swimsuits.
  • Most have basic bench-type seating around the spa, which isn’t as comfortable or accommodating.
  • Must be heated each time it’s used, which consumes a lot of energy.
  • Expensive to install.
  • Excavation and construction process takes time – 2 weeks to 3 months (or longer).
  • If using a cover, it’s more difficult to remove without a cover lift.

Above Ground Hot Tub

Also known as a portable spa, above ground hot tubs are a common choice for people purchasing a spa for their home. A portable spa doesn’t require any special permits, construction or extra equipment – just set it on a flat surface, fill it up, plug it in, and it’s ready to use! With a little creativity and planning, you can help it blend into your backyard setting and boost its visual appeal.


  • above ground hot tubComfortable ergonomic seats at varying levels to accommodate people of all heights.
  • Smooth acrylic finish is gentle on skin and easy to clean.
  • Many hydrotherapy jets with varying settings for a full body massage.
  • Lower purchase price, and costs less to operate and maintain.
  • Simple installation.
  • Building into a deck or other elevated landscaping can provide the illusion of an in ground spa.
  • Well-fitting spa cover conserves heat, keeps water cleaner and can be easily removed with a cover lift.
  • Always heated and ready to use; no waiting period for the water to warm up.
  • Most spas come with pre-installed extras – color-changing LED lights, water features, built-in stereos, etc.
  • Placement near home provides convenient winter access.
  • Can be moved to another location at any time.

above ground hot tub


  • Does not blend into landscape as easily.
  • Must be drained every 3-4 months to maintain water quality.
  • Not customizable. Fewer options for size, shape and interior materials.
  • Must use steps to get into and out of the spa.
  • Requires extra care to make sure the cabinet and cover stay looking new.
  • Must use specifically labeled spa chemicals. Pool chemicals are stronger and will damage your tub.
  • Filter cartridges need regular cleaning, which equals twice the work if you also have a pool.

Which is Better?

There really is no clear winner here. Both styles have their own merits, so it all comes down to personal preference. If you want to add extra dimension to your backyard, enjoy hosting social events at your home, or you just want a relaxing soak every once in a while, an in ground hot tub will likely suit you best. On the other hand, if you place more value on comfortable seating, powerful hydrotherapy, relatively simple upkeep, and you plan on using it frequently, you might opt for an above ground spa instead.

How to Keep a Hot Tub Clean While on Vacation


how to maintain a hot tub while on vacation

If you’ve owned a hot tub for any length of time, you know that it requires daily maintenance to keep the water clean and sanitary. But what do you do when you aren’t home to clean the spa for a few days or weeks? How do you keep the hot tub clean while you’re on vacation? Not to worry – we’ve got all your answers right here!


First Things First…

No matter how long you’ll be away from home, what the outdoor weather is like, or what time of sanitizer you use for your hot tub, some procedures will stay the same across the board for vacation-proofing your hot tub:

  • Test and balance the water.
    • Test the alkalinity and calcium hardness of your spa water, and balance it accordingly.
  • Clean or replace the filter cartridge.
    • change or clean the hot tub filterThis is one of the most important things to do before you go on vacation. Clean or replace the filter cartridge before you leave.
    • If you leave for a week or two with a dirty filter, you’re going to have dirty water to contend with when you get home.
  • Sanitize the water.
    • Make sure there’s enough sanitizer to get your spa through vacation, and lower the output levels as needed.
    • Since there will be no people in the hot tub while you’re gone, the sanitizer won’t be used up as quickly.
    • Before you leave, treat the water with spa shock, and run the pump for about 30 minutes to ensure the water has been well circulated.
  • Secure the spa.
    • No matter how long you’ll be away, make sure to keep your hot tub cover or entrance(s) locked down.
    • If an uninvited guest goes for a dip in your spa and something bad happens, you may be held liable. Keeping the cover firmly closed will also keep dirt out and heat in.

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s look out how this maintenance plan will change depending on a number of different factors.


Planning According to Duration

Short Vacation

If you’re only leaving town for a couple of days, there’s no need to do much else besides the basic instructions listed above. Enjoy your trip, knowing that when you return home the hot tub will be in the same pristine condition you left it in!

hot tub vacation

Long Vacation

Here, it mostly depends on how long you will be gone. A week? Two weeks? A month or more? For 1-2 week vacations, preparation work is extremely important. If you have a friend or neighbor who can drop in a couple times to monitor water quality and add more sanitizer, this will make it easier to keep the water clean and clear while you’re gone. As incentive for adding sanitizer for you, allow them to use the hot tub while you’re gone! To save on heating expenses, you can also decrease the temperature by 10 degrees.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be gone for quite a while, or if it’s been a few months since the spa was last drained and refilled, you may be ahead to just clean and drain your spa before you leave. Be sure to use a product like Jet Clean, which will clear the lines of biofilm and other hidden gunk. Drain the tub, and turn on a blower or low pressure air compressor to completely clear the water out of the lines. This will prevent freezing damage or yucky bio-growth taking over the plumbing. Once the tub is fully drained, thoroughly clean and dry the tub with a soft towel or sponge. Leave all drain plugs off to release any remaining water in the system, and put the spa cover back on to keep the tub clean and out of direct sunlight. It will be ready for a fresh refill when you return!

*Please note that wooden hot tubs cannot be drained for extended periods.


Planning According to Weather

Warm Weather

warm weatherIf weather conditions are pretty warm in your area, the main thing you’ll need to worry about while you’re gone is algae growth. Keeping sanitizer levels up is your best defense against an algae outbreak, and shocking the spa before you go will certainly help. If needed, use a spa algaecide to treat and prevent algae. It’s OK to turn off the pump and heater while you’re out of town if there’s no risk of the water freezing.

Cold Weather

cold weatherIf temperatures are consistently below freezing, you’ll need to ensure the hot tub and plumbing will stay thawed while you’re away. As long as the spa is properly heated, it’s alright to drop the water temperature by 10 degrees to save on heating costs. Leave the pump and heater on to keep the water warm and circulating. If you have freeze protection for your hot tub, it will automatically turn on the circulation pump when temperatures approach freezing.


Planning According to Sanitizer Type

Bromine or Chlorine Sanitizer

Bromine is the most popular sanitization chemical for hot tubs and spas, and it’s actually pretty easy to manage while you’re out of town. Just load up a bromine floater with 1” bromine tablets, and turn the output setting down to the lowest setting to keep the chemical flow to a bromine and chlorine

For chlorine, just remember to NEVER put 1” tri-chlor (stabilized pool chlorine) tabs into a spa floater. Tri-chlor tablets are intended for use in pools only, but di-chlor granular chlorine can be safely added to spas. If you rely solely on chlorine granules for sanitizing the water, you may need to have a friend or neighbor help out until you get back home. On the other hand, if you have a chlorine hot tub, it’s likely that you also supplement the chlorine with a mineral sanitizer or an ozone system. If that’s the case, keep reading to learn more!

salt chlorine generator for spas and hot tubs

Salt Chlorine Generator

If you have a salt water hot tub, you won’t have to worry too much while on vacation! Just make sure salt levels are sufficient for chlorine generation, and shock the water before you go. The chlorine will not be used up as quickly while the spa is closed, so the generator will not be working as hard to maintain free chlorine levels.

Mineral Sanitizer

mineral floaterMineral sanitizers are valuable in that they can supplement most other sanitizer systems – bromine, chlorine and ozone, included. Some mineral sanitizers are packaged as floaters and paired with bromine or chlorine, while others can be dropped directly into your spa filter. Aside from the standard pre-vacation spa maintenance, you’ll just need to make sure that your mineral cartridges are good to go. Most mineral cartridges last about 4 months, so if needed, just replace them before you leave.


spa ozone generator

Just like a salt chlorinator, an ozone generator won’t require much extra effort before you close up the hot tub. Just ensure everything is working properly and the water is properly balanced and sanitized before you go. You won’t have to worry about overdosing the tub on ozone, so you don’t even need to adjust the timer if you don’t want to.


With a little extra planning and preparation, your hot tub will be ready to use in no time once you return. Don’t let routine hot tub maintenance keep you from enjoying the vacation you deserve!


Hot Tubs vs. Swimming Pools: What’s the Difference?


Hot tubs and swimming pools are a lot alike. They’re pools of water that allow people to relax and enjoy themselves. They both require proper sanitization, circulation, filters and regular cleaning. But if you’re dealing with a spa or hot tub that’s detached from the pool, this is where the similarities end. Contrary to popular belief, these tubs of hot water are not just “small swimming pools,” and they should be maintained differently than a normal swimming pool. Here’s why.

hot tubs vs swimming pools

Water Volume per Person Ratio is Lower

Imagine this scenario: 5 people show up for a backyard pool and spa party. Soaking in a 500-gallon spa, those 5 people share about 100 gallons of water each. In the 25,000-gallon swimming pool, it would take 250 people to match the same volume ratio as the hot tub. Crazy, right?

As you can imagine, this ratio plays a major role in water chemistry, tub cleanliness and the ability of the filter cartridge to do its job properly. Having extra sanitation methods in place, cleaning the spa filter every 1-2 weeks, and asking spa users to shower first will go a long way toward keeping your spa or hot tub clean.

Bacteria Thrive in Warm, Moist Areas

Warmth and moisture are bacteria’s best friends, so it’s no surprise that they flourish quickly in spas and hot tubs. Even if the water is actively managed with proper water chemistry and adequate circulation, a lapse in care can cause a layer of biofilm to build up on spa surfaces, the spa cover, the filter and plumbing lines in no time at all.

Overgrowth of bacteria in a hot tub is particularly concerning because the warm temperatures of spa water opens the pores of the skin and set the scene for a bacterial infection. While biofilm and bacterial growth can be problematic in swimming pools as well, algae blooms are a more common concern.

Water Chemistry Differs

Pool chemicals and spa chemicals may share the same names, but they’re not the same product. Chemicals behave differently in hot water because of increased molecular activity at higher temperatures.

For example, chlorine is a quick and effective option for sanitizing water. Pool chlorine is stable up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it starts to dissipate from the water. The problem is that most hot tubs operate between 95-104 degrees. This is why chlorine for hot tubs is specially formulated to withstand the higher temperatures. Some spa owners opt to use bromine (a more stable sanitizer), or they use chemical alternatives like ozone generators for added protection.

Pool chemicals are also stronger than spa chemicals, and using them in your spa or hot tub can cause damage to the tub and equipment. It’s especially important to monitor pH levels in hot tubs since high pH – a common problem for hot tubs – can lessen the effectiveness of chlorine and bromine.

Hot Tubs Require Regular Draining

Unlike a swimming pool, which rarely ever needs drained, hot tubs and spas need to be drained, thoroughly cleaned and refilled every 3-4 months. This is because of the low water volume to person ratio paired with the fact that chemicals and filters can only do so much to maintain water quality.

At least twice a year, it’s important to also flush the pipes before draining the tub. This flush will get rid of any biofilm lurking in the plumbing. Otherwise, you’ll end up right back where you started once the tub is refilled. Using a product like Leisure Time Jet Clean will help keep your plumbing in top shape.

There are other obvious differences between spas and swimming pools, including the use of an insulated spa cover (which also requires regular care), different filtration options, quantity of return jets and so on. If you’re lucky enough to have an in ground pool and spa combo, the care for both will be quite similar if the plumbing systems are connected. But for portable hot tubs or those running on a circulation system independent from the pool, understanding the different maintenance requirements will prevent a number of problems down the road.


Product Spotlight: Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub


Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

How cool would it be if you could move your hot tub anywhere, anytime? Or, if space is a factor, wouldn’t it be great to have a small hot tub you could store out of the way until you wanted to use it? I’ll let you in on a little secret…you CAN. It’s all possible with the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub. And here’s the best part: you don’t have to break the bank to own one.

Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

This portable hot tub is more than just a pool of bubbling warm water. In fact, the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Hot Tub offers all the benefits of a standard hot tub, but with unparalleled convenience and maneuverability that only a portable model can provide. The Miami inflates in seconds, and setup is a breeze – no tools required! Use it anywhere you’d like: indoors, outdoors, or pack it in the trunk and take it on vacation.

The rapid heating system quickly warms the water to temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll be ready for relaxation in no time. Just set your preferred temperature on the digital control panel, turn on the heater, and you’re all set. The control panel also lets you operate the filtration system and massage feature with the simple touch of a button. The inside of the hot tub is printed with an attractive light blue mosaic pattern, which makes it even more enticing to take a long, relaxing soak.

The Miami holds 192 gallons, meaning you’ll save money on water and heating expenses with less to maintain. The compact size also makes it perfect for couples, but four adults can easily fit inside the hot tub. Fully inflated, it measures 71” wide and 26” tall. Everything you need is included in the Lay-Z-Spa Miami package:

  • Inflatable tub with 81 air jetsLay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub
  • Pump/heater with digital control panel
  • Reinforced inflatable cover with closure straps
  • Two filter cartridges
  • Floating chemical feeder
  • Water hose set
  • Inflation hose
  • Setup and maintenance DVD
  • Heavy-duty repair patch kit
  • Adapter cover, screw valve and hose adapter

In short, the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub lets you enjoy all the benefits of hot tub ownership at a fraction of the cost. It comes with everything you need to get set up and running in no time. The added benefits of portability and easy setup make this hot tub a popular option for almost any application. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

Spa Covers: Get the Most from Your Investment


spa cover


Spa covers are one of the most important investments you can make for your spa or hot tub. Not only will a cover keep your hot tub free of debris and ready to use, they also play an important role in conserving heat, water and chemicals. Quality hot tub covers can cost $250-$500, sometimes cost more. But with proper care and regular maintenance, you’ll extend the life of your spa cover and get the most from your investment.


Choosing the Right Cover

Sizespa cover measurement
It’s important to buy the right size. Improperly sized spa covers diminish your cover’s ability to conserve heat, water and chemicals, plus the foam panels are more susceptible to damage. A poorly fitted cover can also be an eyesore. With Hot Tub Works, you can easily search covers according to the make and model of your spa, or you can request a custom size and shape.

Insulationspa cover foam
For this part of the equation, it’s important to consider where your spa is located. Do you live in a mild climate, or are snowy winters a trademark for the area? An indoor model or a spa in warmer climates can use thinner, lower density 1 lb. foam, whereas an outdoor spa in cooler climates will need thicker and heavier 1.5-2 lb. density foam.

Other Options
There are more options to increase the efficiency and longevity of your new Hot Tub Works spa cover. A continuous heat seal provides additional structural support and helps in reducing heat loss. To prevent moisture from penetrating the foam, a double vapor barrier around your core is the best policy. If you live in windy or stormy climates, prevent damage to your cover by upgrade the existing safety straps with heavy-duty ASTM approved wind straps. Choose from 11 custom color options to complete the look of your new hot tub cover.inside a spa cover

Maintaining Your Cover

Let It Breathespa cover lifter
Even though the foam cores are sealed with a vapor barrier to lock out moisture, regular airing it out helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the rest of the cover. Simply open the cover and leave it off the spa for an hour twice a week or a few hours once a week. Using a spa cover lifter will make this job significantly easier, and a lifter will also prevent cover damage while it’s off the spa.

Strap it Down
When your spa or hot tub is not in use, it’s important to keep the cover strapped down or otherwise secured to prevent it from blowing open or falling into or off the spa. Securing your cover is also a safety measure to prevent accidents with children or pets.

Lighten the Load
On that same note, it’s important to keep heavy objects (including children and large pets) and excess snow accumulation off spa covers. Although covers are reinforced with sturdy metal braces, the added weight can damage the integrity of the foam and/or bend those braces, causing a progressive sagging effect.

Clean and Conditionspa cover cleaner and conditioner
Mother Nature is hard on vinyl covers. Freezing winters, sizzling summers, strong storms and the sun’s harsh UV rays all take their toll on a cover. To keep your cover looking better longer, it’s important to regularly clean and condition it. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as detergents, dish washing soap, alcohol-based products or products containing bleach, oil or silicone, as they can damage the vinyl. Only use specially formulated cover cleaners or cover wipes. Abrasive scrubbers will damage the finish, so use a small towel, soft sponge or soft-bristled brush instead.

Once your cover is clean, apply spa cover conditioner to keep the vinyl soft and pliable and resist damage from UV rays. Clean and condition your cover at least 3-4 times per year for best results. In between cleanings, it helps to keep it brushed off or wiped down to prevent accumulation of leaves, pollen, dust and dirt. In the event of mold or mildew growth, swab the area with diluted vinegar and allow the cover to dry out completely.

Other Tips
Check your cover regularly for damage or signs of wear. If the moisture seal around the foam core gets punctured or torn, patch the affected area immediately to prevent the foam from absorbing water. In addition, you can keep the foam cores from sagging by flipping them over once per year when the cover is completely dry. Another option to prolong the life of your cover is to purchase a cover cap for extra protection against UV rays, inclement weather, dirt and debris.


Whether you’re looking to update to a better spa cover, or you need to replace your old waterlogged cover, you’ll find everything you’re looking for at – including products to help you get the most from your spa cover. Build your own fully customizable cover, or browse our selection of pre-made covers ready for next day shipment.


Top Hot Tub Accessories For True Relaxation on Mother’s Day


hot tub accessories for mother's dayAlthough motherhood comes with its own rewards and perks, like hugs and messy artwork, coming in a close second is a quiet moment in the spa with a basket full of hot tub accessories. Being a Mom can be stressful. Moms run the house like a well-oiled machine, work to keep food on the table, help juggle school work with sports and other extracurricular activities, and let’s not forget the countless hours spent lending an ear, offering advice and helping their children grow up to be the best they can possibly be.

What better way to show appreciation to the mother in your life than with the gift of rest and relaxation on Mother’s Day? If you own a spa or hot tub, this will be pretty simple to do! Check out these luxurious hot tub accessories meant to treat your mother, grandmother, wife or other maternal figure to a day of relaxation on this special holiday. These are gifts she’ll not only appreciate on Mother’s Day, but long after, as well.


hot tub accessories

Aromatherapy Crystals by Spazazz

A relaxing session in the spa or hot tub can be made significantly more satisfying with a bit of aromatherapy. Spazazz offers more than 20 different scents from their line of aromatherapy crystals. It’s an all-natural product that acts as an anti-inflammatory and a stress reliever, and there’s a scent for just about every preference and purpose. There’s an invigorating Eucalyptus Mint and calming Warm French Vanilla from their Original Crystals line. Their specially formulated Rx Crystals products help ease pain in joints and muscles, boost circulation and revitalize energy levels. Better yet, try the Rx Detox Therapy Crystals to give the body an all-over boost. If you’re looking for something a little different, take a walk on the wild side with the incredible scent options offered through the Escape Crystals line of products. Who says that hot tub accessories can’t be romantic? There’s also a series of alluring Mood Crystals available for a relaxing night in.


hot tub accessories

Lighted Beverage Chiller

From wine and champagne to water or soda, it’s hard to beat a cool, refreshing beverage while taking a relaxing soak in the hot tub. Why not liven up the spa’s scenery with a color-changing LED lighted beverage chiller? Whether it’s cool, relaxing tones or warm, energizing colors, this unique ice bucket lights up in 24 different color settings to set the mood and help your mom ease into her favorite state of mind. After Mother’s Day is over, this trendy chiller is sure to be a conversation starter at your next backyard get-together. Built for outdoor and indoor use, this weatherproof ice bucket is also rechargeable and can last 8-10 hours on a single charge.



hot tub accessories

AquaChek TruTest Digital Test Strip Reader

One of the most time consuming parts of owning a hot tub or spa is maintaining proper water balance. Before you start adding or adjusting chemical levels, you first spend several minutes analyzing test strip results. With hot tub accessories like the AquaCheck TruTest Digital Spa Tester, this task just got infinitely faster and easier. Simply add an AquaChek TruTest Test Strip to the digital reader, and get a clear-cut numerical reading for levels of free chlorine, bromine, pH and total alkalinity in mere seconds. Save your mom the time and hassle of visually analyzing old-fashioned test strips, and give her the gift of convenience and precision with this fast, accurate and easy-to-use water chemistry tester.



While she’s busy relaxing and enjoying her time in the spa, take Mother’s Day just one step further to show your mom how much you really care. Surprise her with a personal gesture such as a handmade decoration, a mid-day brunch, an outing to the movies or the local art museum, or you can even bring her a classic greeting card. The options for showing your appreciation are absolutely endless!