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Carolyn Mosby's Posts

Dual Spa Filters: Double the Filtration!

April 25th, 2016 by

cabin-hot-tub-has-two-filtersHere’s a short story about how I doubled the filtration on a spa that we have on our vacation home. We rent out the mountain home and hot tub when we’re not using it (which is most of the year), and we were having some trouble keeping the water clean between visitors, without changing the water (too much).

My husband actually gets credit for the idea – he said “why don’t we just add another filter on the spa?”. We took a look at the complete spa filters on Hot Tub Works, and found one that would fit inside the spa cabinet.

Here’s how we added a second filter to our portable spa.

 

Adding a second spa filter

The filter that comes with most portable spas is a skimmer filter, located on the suction side of the spa pump. The second filter is added on the pressure side of the pump, or after the pump. These inline spa filters, as they are called, have an internal bypass feature that opens up when the pump is on high speed, so it won’t affect the jet flow.

Inline spa filters are available in 25ft, 50, 75 and 100 sq ft sizes. The canister becomes very tall, as the square footage of cartridge increases, and in my case, we opted for a 50 sq ft spa filter that we could fit underneath the cabinet.

There are 3 main ways to install a secondary spa filter, under the cabinet, outside the cabinet, or top loading, through the cabinet corner.

UNDER THE CABINET

rainbow-spa-filterThis is how we opted to do it, because our spa shell or cabinet doesn’t have corners where we could cut out a 6-3/4″ hole and use a top load filter. We of course had limited space under the cabinet in the equipment bay area, under the spa, but took some careful measurements and decided that we could use a 50 sf inline spa filter.

Adding a second filter required a little re-plumbing from the pump, in and out of the new filter, and then back to connect to the return pipe. To clean the filter, I just close the suction valve and unscrew the ring, and then pull the entire canister and cartridge out.

You can use inline filters with bottom connections (at ground level), but the top mount style where the pipes connect on top of the filter, is usually easier plumbing, and bottom mounts need vertical space to pull out the cartridge. My inline filter is a top mount, sits a few inches off the ground, so you can separate the canister from the filter top (after loosening the brown lock ring).

Wherever you locate a spa pressure filter, be sure it is after the pump and that you plumb in the filter in the direction of the flow indicator (printed on the manifold, where the pipes connect). It should also be easily accessible for cleaning, without contorting your body in awkward positions!

OUTSIDE THE CABINET

hayward-star-clearIf there is no room inside your spa cabinet, you could go hot tub style, with the secondary spa filter located outside of the spa cabinet. Less attractive, but it makes the filter very accessible for cleaning and easy to monitor the filter pressure gauge. And, outside the cabinet gives you room to add a large second spa filter, like a 100 sq ft Waterway Extended Top Load spa filter. A Hayward Star Clear filter also makes a nice choice.

The usual way to install a secondary spa filter outside the spa cabinet is to use a 2″ hole saw attached to a drill to cut through the cabinet – 2 holes, one for the pipe coming into the filter (from the pump) and one for the pipe coming out of the filter and running back to the return line. Be sure to plan out the complete pipe run before you cut the holes, and be sure there are no wires or studs running over the area where you are using the hole saw.

You can use 1.5″ (or 2″) schedule 40 flexible PVC pipe or rigid PVC pipe, and try to use as few 90′s as possible to decrease the amount of added resistance. We installed our second spa filter using only two 90′s – but when installing outside the cabinet you’ll have to use 3 or 4, 90° fittings. Essentially, you are cutting the pipe after the pump, and diverting the water in and out of the filter, before reconnecting it to where the pipe was cut.

Use fresh PVC glue and primer, and only use deep socket couplings, aka pressure fittings (not drain fittings). You can find all the supplies you need at a good hardware/home store.

TOP LOAD FILTERS

top-load-filter-by-waterwayMany spas with a square cabinet have molded circular areas in the corners of the spa. Top load spa filters are those that stick out of the top of the spa shell, but under the spa cover. They are called Top Load because you unscrew the top and pull out the cartridge, or load the cartridge from the top.

Most Top Load spa filters are sized to fit a 6-3/4″ hole, which is cut into the corner of the spa shell, using a Jig Saw or Dremel tool. A lock nut holds the spa filter canister tightly against the spa shell. Top Load filters are not underwater, they sit above the water level. Spa Skimmers are another type of filter that can also be installed on some spa shells.

The plumbing on Top Load spa filters is on the bottom of the canister, with the connection point dependent upon the size of the filter. You can buy Top Load filters in 25, 50, 75 and 100 sq. ft. sizes, each one taller than the next. The plumbing connection can be either threaded, or slip for smooth pipe connection.

Use fresh PVC glue and primer, and only use deep socket couplings, aka pressure fittings (not drain fittings). You can find all the supplies you need at a good hardware/home store.

 

in-conclusion-3Soooo… if your spa can use extra filtration, to extend the water life (time between water changes), or to help reduce the amount of sanitizer or other needed spa chemicals – consider adding a second filter to your spa or hot tub.

You can thank me later!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Tub Tips for Rental Homes

April 4th, 2016 by

Home Rental Hot Tubs The vacation rental and short term housing rental market is booming. One amenity that can help grow a rental home’s popularity as well as fetch a higher rental price is a hot tub.

Hot tubs are fairly self-regulating, and require only minimal care in between tenants, but there are a few things to keep in mind, if you currently offer a hot tub or are thinking about adding a hot tub to your rental home.

Here are 5 Tips for owners/managers of vacation rentals with hot tubs.

 

Get it in Writing

pool-guy-contractFor homes that are rented with a hot tub, we recommend a separate agreement be signed by the tenant, in addition to the usual agreement covering the home and other appliances. Having a separate agreement will help to reinforce important safety requirements, and help to protect your investment. After all, it may be the most expensive appliance in the home.

Though not an all-inclusive list of potential problems (check with your legal adviser), however, any good spa and hot tub addendum should include:

  • Minimum age for unsupervised use of the hot tub. (typically 14-18 yrs)
  • Minimum age for supervised use of the hot tub. (typically 5 yrs)
  • Maximum number of persons in spa (capacity).
  • Maximum safe spa temperature is 102° or less.
  • …must replace spa cover and latch cover clips after use.
  • …must add water if level drops below indicator on skimmer.
  • …must shower or bathe before use.
  • …no pets allowed at any time.
  • …no eating, no smoking, and only drink water from plastic cups only
  • …do not use spa if pregnant or hypertensive (high blood pressure)
  • …do not use spa if under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • …do not use spa if water looks poor, smells bad, or without pump running
  • Notify management of any equipment failure or water problems
  • Use at your own risk. Tenant agrees to hold owner harmless for any injuries…
  • Responsibility for any damage to equipment, spa cover or spa surfaces…

 

Put it in Writing

The more instructions you give to your renter, the better. I’m often frustrated at rentals that don’t have a master ‘Operations Manual’, where one can find answers to just about anything, including the spa and hot tub.

HOT-TUB-GUIDEHot Tub Guide: A 3-ring binder, with plastic inserts to display spa operation modes (jets, heating, filter), and basic functions. A sheet detailing safety and health requirements, and information on basic spa care tasks like adding water, shocking the spa, or refilling the bromine floater. A page on how to safely remove and reinstall the spa cover can help prevent spa cover damage. Finally, insert the spa owners manual for those that want to really delve into spa functions.

Service Log Book: Even if you do all of the maintenance on the spa yourself, keeping detailed records of spa chemical readings, filter cleanings, equipment replacement, etc, could be required in your area. And even if it’s not required, you may be called upon to defend your spa maintenance practices, if a renter developed a rash or suffered physical injury in your hot tub. If you have a service company maintain the spa, require that they fill out the log book on each visit. Keep it in a dry location with the other supplies.

spa-safety-sign-smHot Tub Signs: I’m a big fan of signs, and in my mind it’s well worth it to pay for professional and durable printed signs that help to protect spa users and also your spa. The obligatory Spa Rules sign can be used, but you can also find premade signs for No Food/Drink, No Smoking or No Glass. Ideas for custom signs may include age limits, temperature limits, time in tub limits, or reminders to check water level, replace the spa cover, or turn down the temperature on check-out.

Get Hot Tub Help

If you live nearby and generally manage the entire guest experience, you may want to manage the spa/hot tub as well. Or you can sub-contract spa care to a local spa company or rental assistance company that caters to the rental industry. Depending on your location, weekly hot tub service calls cost $60-$90.

You can also ask your guests to help maintain the spa. Asking them to balance the water, vacuum the spa and clean the cartridge may be a bit much, but you may want to consider asking for help with:

  • Shock the spa after each use (with specific directions).please-help-with-the-spa
  • Add water to spa if below the mid-skimmer mark.
  • Keep the spa cover installed and latched when not using spa.
  • Shower or bathe before using spa, for everyone’s health.
  • Notify management of any hot tub problems.

 

Water Changes

cloudy-spa-waterIt’s common practice among some rental homes with hot tubs to drain the water after each renter, after check-out. However, this can be difficult to do in one day, and have it hot again by check-in time; and it may not always be necessary.

A good look at the water quality, along with testing water balance and bromine or chlorine levels, can quickly tell you if the water needs to be changed. An option to a complete water change is a partial water change with complete balancing, shocking and cleaning the spa filter cartridge.

Most spas in a rental environment can go as long as 4-8 weeks between complete water changes, as long as filter cycles are lengthy and effective, and water balance and sanitizer levels are maintained properly. Other things can also help lengthen water life, see below.

 

Water Problems

Notwithstanding the above statements, if your tenants leave the spa or hot tub water in a cloudy, gray condition, it may be best to drain the tub. If you find that you have regular problems with water quality in your rental spa, or want to increase the length of time between water changes, here’s some things to do:

  • Add a Second Filter. Many spas have enough vertical space to install a second Spa Filter cartridge to double the filtration.
  • Add a Purifier. In addition to bromine or chlorine, use Minerals or Ozone to help prevent water problems or health issues.
  • Shock after Use. Keep a bottle of labeled MPS or Spa Shock, and ask tenant to add a specific amount after use.
  • Use a Clarifier. Pods, tablets or liquid clarifier to assist your filter in trapping microscopic debris.
  • Replace the Cartridge. Every 6-12 months, replace your spa filter with new.

 

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Natural Hot Tub Maintenance

March 3rd, 2016 by

my-natural-hot-tub-istkMy hot tub is not 100% natural, but it’s close. I use very few bottled spa products, either for cleaning the water, or for cleaning the hot tub.

Having a “Natural” hot tub or spa is more than just adding a mineral purifier or ozonator, or using enzymes – all of which I use.

If you really want to reduce reliance on spa chemicals, you have to take some action to replace the work done by spa sanitizers, clarifiers, algaecides, defoamers, etc..

Here is my short list of things that I do to maintain my Natural hot tub:

RUN THE PUMP LONGER

  • I know, not very “green”, to run the pump longer each day, but stagnant water starts to get funky quick without strong sanitizers in the water. For this reason, I run my circulation 3x as much as most people. I also run the pump on high speed almost every day to loosen any filmy or crusty deposits, opening the air intakes (or you can turn on a blower), to aerate the water. And when we use the spa, I add MPS afterwards and leave the spa running for about an hour, with the cover open.

SHOWER BEFORE USING

  • This is really necessary to maintaining a natural hot tub. If you don’t want to run a high bromine level, or have to shock the spa after every use, take a serious shower before getting in the hot tub. And ladies, don’t forget to put your hair up (or wear a cap) and remove make-up before getting in the tub. If your natural tub is not au-naturel (you wear something), be sure not to use swim suits, shorts or shirts that have been washed with soap. If so, wash them again on a long cycle without soap.

NEW SPA FILTER EVERY YEAR

  • A natural spa – one without bromine or peroxide sanitizers, has to replace the spa filter cartridges more often. Simply more stuff needs to filter out of the water, so your spa filter has to work harder. Spas that aren’t trying to be “Natural” may get up to two years out of a spa filter, but I always change mine every December.

CLEAN YOUR SPA NATURALLY

  • clean-your-spa-with-a-lemon-istk istockCleaning your cartridge in a 50/50 vinegar solution is a natural way for those with very high calcium levels, or hard water, to keep their filters and jets from tiny crystalline deposits. Use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) on a wet scrubber sponge as a way to clean and scour very dirty surfaces. Natural citrus based cleaners can also be used, in fact you can cut a lemon in half and use it as a tub scrubber!

KEEP WATER BALANCED

  • Another very important part of natural hot tub care, is keeping the water balanced. If the pH or Alkalinity get too high, it makes a perfect environment for all sorts of things to grow. I keep mine between 7.2 – 7.4, and always check it before I get in the water. If there are 2 or more people using the spa, I check it again afterwards, it’s almost always higher. Add calcium hardness increaser if your level is below 150 ppm, and alkalinity increaser if below 80 ppm.

ADD ONLY GOOD FILL WATER

  • Your tap water may not be the best water for your spa, with chloramines, metals, minerals and other invisible gunk. Just like we filter our drinking water, we filter it before I put it into the hot tub! Just use the Pre-Filter on the end of your garden hose when filling the tub. I can’t over-emphasize how important this is to maintaining a natural hot tub! Start off with bad water, and it quickly becomes hard to maintain it naturally.

MAINTAIN PURIFIERS

  • I have a Del Ozonator and I use the Nature2 mineral stick. Because I don’t also use bromine tablets or chlorine granules in my hot tub – I have to make sure these units are working properly, and replace them as needed. Every 4 months for the skimmer stick (my calendar alert pops up), and I just replaced my ozonator with the Next Gen model that lasts up to 5 years. I also add a small amount of spa enzymes to my spa weekly, natural proteins that consume microbes. And I use only as much shock as needed.

MPS SHOCK AS NEEDED

  • I use MPS shock, or non-chlorine shock, about every other time I use the spa, or about once per week. If that seems fairly often, it’s because I’m not using any bromine or chlorine in my hot tub. If I don’t use the MPS shock at least 1-2x per month, my water begins to look gray and dull, and I begin to ‘question its sanitary’, so I add just two tablespoons of MPS every week or so.

DRAIN / REFILL MORE OFTEN

Also not green, or environmentally friendly, and possible illegal in your area – but there comes a point when the water is literally choked with solids and needs to be changed. The water gets so crowded, that  some of it gets thrown out of solution and becomes visible. First as a dull appearance, followed by a slight haze, progressing to cloudy water. When spa water becomes ‘old’, it becomes harder to keep clean and clear and harder to keep sanitary. For most natural hot tubs and spas, including my own, a drain and refill is done every 90-100 days.

 

ecofriendly-natural-hot-tub-istkNatural Spa maintenance doesn’t need to involve so-called ‘natural’ hot tub treatments, or systems that claim to do everything with one monthly treatment. It’s not easier than a bromine/chlorine spa – it is more work and more multi-layered than many would have you believe.

But it is quite possible, to maintain a spa or hot tub with very few spa chemicals – my tub is nearly all-natural, and my hubby and I love it that way!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

Buy a Used Hot Tub? Don’t Get Soaked!

January 25th, 2016 by

spa-for-sale-by-ownerHow to buy a used hot tub is “hot topic” these days, with showroom prices over $10,000 it’s natural that many people consider buying a “Gently Used Hot Tub”.

For many, a used hot tub is not something they would consider, especially given that online portable spas can be purchased for less than $5,000.

Regardless, if you have your eye on a “pre-loved” spa or hot tub, here’s some tips on making a smart purchase.

 

Will it Fit Your Space and Budget?

Setting a firm budget up front is smart – you don’t want to pay more than you can afford and, you don’t really want to pay less than you should. A hot tub in good condition, fully operational, will cost around $2500, in most cases. You can find a lot of used hot tubs for under $1000, but most are empty, non-working spa shells, that need a lot of reconditioning – new spa pack (heater and controls), pumps and perhaps plumbing.

Secondly, where are you going to put your new (used) hot tub? When full, they can weigh a ton (literally!), so it needs to be set on a solid base of reinforced concrete. Never set a spa directly on the ground, or on a wood deck, and absolutely never on a second story balcony or elevated deck. Spas should also not be placed indoors, unless you have plastic or tiled walls and ceilings, floor drains and a suitable dehumidification system.

Thirdly, will it fit? You will need room to access the equipment underneath the spa, and for other reasons, you may need to access the underside of the spa from a side other than where the spa equipment is located. Spa covers are big and bulky, and should be used with spa cover lifters, to protect the cover (and your back!). These require anywhere from 6″ to 36″ of clearance, depending on the model, and some cover lifts need room vertically (above the spa), for upright spa cover storage.

Fourth, choose a location that is out of direct sunlight if possible, and avoid lawn sprinklers, or placement under a roof eave that will allow rain water to fall onto the spa. The best location will protect the hot tub from sun, rain and snow.

Fifth, consider privacy if you have close neighbors. You can construct a privacy screen or a gazebo of sorts to block prying eyes and prevailing winds while hopefully preserving the best view to take in while soaking in the spa.

Ask the Right Questions – in the Right Way

Studies show that the way you ask a question about maintenance issues or problems affects the probability of an honest response. Framing your questions with negative assumptions elicits more honest responses. I know you want to be nice, but the get the best information you have to be almost accusatory.

questions-about-spasFor example, asking “What mechanical issues have you had with the spa” will produce a better answer than “There aren’t any problems with the spa, are there?” Other questions to ask include: “Tell me what repairs you have made to the spa”, and “What repairs will I need to do soon?”, in addition to asking to see service records, or repair invoices.

When you want the unvarnished truth, you have to ask for it – don’t throw soft balls, or you’ll get soft answers. Ask pointedly negative questions to get the best negative answers, or the most believable responses.

Inspecting a Used Hot Tub

When buying a used hot tub, make sure that it’s full of water and hot, as measured by a floating thermometer. Bringing your own thermometer is a good idea, because you can’t always trust the temperature display. 104° is the maximum safe temperature, and for most people, an ideal hot tub water temp. If it only reads 100°, it could be any number of problems, or it just could be set too low. Turning up the thermostat should raise the water temperature fast, around 5° for every 10 minutes.

An owner’s manual can be incredibly useful for running the spa through it’s paces, to test out all features and to diagnose any error codes, if presented. If the spa owner doesn’t have an owner’s manual handy, you may be able to find it online and view it on your smartphone or tablet.

flashlight-for-spa-inspectionBe sure to bring a flashlight, so you can get a good look underneath the spa, looking for any drips or leaks, although on cold days some condensation water can be normal. Look closely at the pipes, fittings, pumps, blower and other equipment to check for leaks and also to check for smooth operation. Pump and Blower motors aren’t quiet, but they shouldn’t be loud, or screeching, which indicates near failure (most spa pumps last about 7-8 years).

Look and Listen when inspecting a hot tub. Be sure to also inspect the spa cabinet for signs of wood rot or decay, which can literally fall apart during removal, transport or set-up at the new location. Spa cabinets can be replaced, but not without significant cost and effort. The spa cover should not be heavy, or waterlogged, and the foam panels inside should not be cracked. Most spa covers last about 5 years before needing to be replaced, at an average cost of $400.

Alternatively, you can hire a local spa service company to inspect the spa for you for about $150, which could be the best way to go. I’d recommend using a spa repair service, rather than a local spa store, who may use the opportunity to downgrade the spa in the hopes of selling you a new one instead.

Transport & Installation

This is often the biggest hurdle to buying a used spa; getting it to the new location. Empty spas can weigh 750 lbs, and are quite cumbersome to move. In California and other “spa happy” states, you can find companies that specialize in moving spas, for a price of around $400. Most spa stores and spa repair companies can offer this specialized service. If not, you can hire a tow company with a Jerr-Dan type truck, or rent a flatbed truck to transport the spa to the new location.spa-moving

But, transporting the spa is only half the job – you still have to get the spa on and off the truck, and move it through fence gates, or down hillsides or across rough terrain. Spa movers use oversized dollies, with large wheels and lots of straps to keep the spa from falling off the dolly. You could also use 4 burly guys to carry the spa by hand, but even so, that’s 200 lbs per person, which could be dangerous to consider.

Once you get the spa to the new location, there will likely be electrical upgrades needed. Spas require a dedicated 220V service, with a breaker of 50-60 amps, and a cut-off box located near the spa. An electrician should be hired to perform these tasks, at a cost of $400-$800, depending on how far the main circuit panel is from the spa location. It could cost more than that if the main panel is already maxed out, and there is not enough amperage available for the additional breaker.

Deep Cleaning before Use

When you get your new (used) hot tub situated and filled with water, before you use it – I recommend using a chemical like Jet Clean or Spa Purge to strip the pipes of any biofilm. You’ll also want to clean and condition the spa cover, spa cabinet and inside surfaces to remove any dirt or films, and replace the spa filter cartridge. See Gina’s post on Deep Cleaning a Hot tub, and then check out our other posts on spa and hot tub care – you’ll be an expert in no time!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

10 Spa and Hot Tub Energy Conservation Tips

December 21st, 2015 by

bullfrog-spas-heat-map-of-full-foam-spaSome spas are built for a warm climate, while other spas are specifically designed for use in cold weather areas. A spa or hot tub that is energy efficient can use half of the energy of one that is not.

Spa insulation is the main factor, but there are many other variables that influence the amount of electricity used by your spa or hot tub. Here’s a few ways to curb your spa’s appetite for energy.

 

ADD WIND BLOCKS

hickorydickorydecksWind sweeping across the surface sure feels nice, but it also pulls a lot of heat from the surface. If your spa is not protected from the winds, consider installing small walls or plants on the side(s) with the most wind. They are usually installed on two sides, to preserve a preferred view, and can also serve as a privacy screen. Custom build it to your specifications, or you can order retractable spa wind screens online.

CLOSE THE AIR JETS

close-the-spa-air-knobAfter using the spa, remember to close the knobs that allow air to be sucked into the jets. Cold air being introduced constantly will cool the water, requiring your heater and pump to work harder to replace the heat that is lost. Heat loss is minor when using the spa for 15 minutes or so, but if you leave them open for days and days, you may notice an increase in hot tub energy use. For me, it’s the last thing we do, but I don’t usually open all of the air jet knobs, so I just close the one off before putting the cover back on. Remember to close the air jets!

TURN OFF THE BLOWER

The air blower, if your spa is equipped with one, is a real energy hog, besides being noisy and also cooling down the water with cold air injection. If you can go without forced air in the hot tub, you will absolutely reduce a hot tub’s energy usage. And when your spa blower finally bites the dust (and they all do someday), consider not replacing it.

FIND THE PUMP RUN TIME SWEET SPOT

spa-timers-can-save-moneyModern spas are somewhat self regulating with certain programmable modes, but for older spas or hot tubs, your filter pump or spa pump should use a timer, or be programmed to run in 2 or 3 shifts of about 3 or 4 hours each. When the pump is running, the filter, heater and purifiers can also operate, so it’s important to run it long enough each day (every day) to maintain water quality. Program your pump to run 2-4 times during the day, paying close attention to water quality. Some spas are fine with 4 hours per day, but others need 8 hours per day of pump run time, to both maintain water quality and water temperature.

TIP: Remember that spa pumps (and all motors) use a lot of power (amperes) just to start, so starting and stopping too often will increase spa energy consumption.

TURN DOWN THE SPA HEATER:

Turn down the heater to 90° if you won’t be using the spa for a week. For 2 weeks or longer, set it lower, but keep the spa water well above freezing – we recommend no lower than 65 degrees, to maintain some heat in the event of a winter power outage.

Turning down the heat for just the weekend, or even a week, and it can cost more to re-heat the spa than it would’ve cost to just to maintain the heat. Even so, many weekly spa users (myself included), maintain a temperature of about 95°, and bump it up to 102° an hour before using the spa.

RUN YOUR SPA DURING OFF-PEAK HOURS:

Off peak pump/heater operation, according to Energy.gov, may save you money over time. Check with your local power provider for peak times in your area, and available Time of Use rates. Generally speaking, peak rates are during weekdays, from 9-5 pm, although it varies by region and season.

USE A BETTER OR BEST SPA COVER

Notice I didn’t say a Good spa cover, or the El Cheapo spa covers; go for the Better or even the Best spa cover, if you really want to save energy by reducing heat loss. Our lower tier spa covers are only suitable for warm southern climates. If you have any kind of winter – buy a hot tub cover that can really hold in the heat.

you-need-a-new-spa-cover-1It goes without saying that a good spa cover can save money, while a bad spa cover can waste money. Spa covers that are waterlogged lose over half of their R-value, or insulation value. Hot tub covers that are warped, torn, or broken will not fit properly around the edges and leak precious heat from the sides or along the center hinge. Replacing an old spa cover before you really need to – is a surefire way to save money on heating a hot tub.

TIGHTEN UP YOUR SPA COVER

spa-cover-wind-straps-smAdjust your spa cover straps if necessary so that there is a slight downward pull on the strap, as you click the clip into place. This helps to pull-down the spa cover to snug-up against the spa top edge. Loose spa cover straps allow heat to leak out and high winds to get under the spa cover. Spa strap clips can be replaced if broken, or if your spa straps are completely torn off, you can use our heavy-duty over-the-top spa cover wind straps. A less elegant, but also effective way is to use a sheet of 1/2″ plywood, to gently hold it down and reduce heat loss from a loose or ill-fitting spa cover.

USE A FLOATING SPA COVER

floating-spa-blanketA secondary floating spa cover can increase your overall R-value by up to a third. Floating spa blankets are 1/4″ closed cell foam, to keep heat trapped in the water, and reduce moisture beneath the spa cover. It also prevents chemical damage to a hot tub cover, by containing the chemicals in the water. Foam spa blankets work much better than solar blanket type, which is a heavy duty bubble wrap type material – but any secondary spa cover will help, even plastic kitchen wrap!

INCREASE CABINET INSULATION

For spas that didn’t come with a lot of insulation around the cabinet, energy efficiency can be increased by strategically adding insulation underneath and around the spa or hot tub. There are several ways to do this, but remember that your pumps still need adequate air ventilation and circulation to prevent overheating. Never cover air intake vents or reduce the size of the equipment bay.

Spray Foam: There are spray foam kits that you can use to cover pipes and the back of the spa shell. Be sure to use a spray foam that has a high R-value and that you apply it according to directions. For best results, remove all cabinet panels before applying foam. A full-foam treatment may be difficult, but an inch or two on the spa shell and covering exposed pipes (outside of the equipment area) is do-able.

owens-corning-fiberglassInside Cabinet: You can also use wall or attic insulation, in soft rolls or rigid panels, to line the inside of your spa cabinet panels. Reflective bubble wrap insulation, placed on the inside of cabinet panels, can help by reflecting heat inward, back towards the spa.

Outside Cabinet: Another method is to construct an enlarged cabinet around the existing cabinet and fill the space with insulation. Or described another way, affix rigid insulation panels to the outside of your cabinet panels, and soft insulation on the corners, then build another cabinet from wood paneling, on the outside of the new insulation. Cap it with a heavy board on top of the enlarged cabinet.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Swim Spa or Hot Tub?

November 9th, 2015 by

michael-phelps-swim-spaSwim Spas are like a Limousine, stretched out 2-3x longer on one side, so that you can swim, row, stretch, train or recuperate.

When it comes time to replace your spa or hot tub, or even if it’s your first tub, you’ll at least take a glance at Swim Spas.

I’ve also considered Swim Spas during a recent spa replacement a few years ago, so the considerations are still fresh in my mind. I love the idea and we came close to buying a swim spa, especially when our grand kids thought it was the coolest thing ever!

Here’s some things to be aware of when thinking about a swim spa.

 

Swimming in a Swim Spa

phelps-swimmer-costumeAre you a real strong swimmer? If you have swimming medals on display, you’ll want to look on the upper end of the scale, or at the deluxe swim spa models. Swim spas are fine for a medium-speed crawl or breast stroke, or a strong kickboard workout, but if you are a serious swimmer, you’ll literally “hit the wall”, or be able to swim faster than many of the swim jet type of swim spas. Deluxe models, with larger pumps, paddle wheels and additional jets, are more suitable, if you want to swim as fast as in a regular pool.

Secondly, it’s different than swimming in a regular pool. It’s loud first of all, very loud from the pumps that are delivering hundreds of gallons per minute. It’s also very turbulent, as you might imagine, especially in the lower priced swim jet models. Turbulence makes it hard to keep yourself aligned; you have to work at keeping your body in the center of the flow. Paddle wheel models or propeller systems with large grates can produce greater volume over a larger surface area, greatly reducing turbulence and air volume.

swim-spa-tether-systemAn alternative to swimming against the current is to use a harness / belt, called a Tether System, and swim against the resistance of the Tether cord, instead of swimming against a current. In this way, you don’t need large swim jets and pumps at all, which reduces much of the cost of purchasing and maintaining a swim spa.

Swim Spa Walking is another popular form of exercise that can be done in a swim spa, either against the current, or using an optional underwater treadmill.

 

Hot Tub vs. Swim Spa – Maintenance

In terms of chemical, cleaning and covering a spa or hot tub, keep in mind that a swim spa holds around 2000 gallons of water, roughly 5x the size of your average spa.

That does not mean 5x the amount of maintenance however! The time spent cleaning and maintaining a swim spa is not much more than a regular spa.

swim-spa-cover-ingrondA swim spa uses a double-size and double-cost 4-panel type of swim spa cover. The additional swim jet pumps or swim current system will require maintenance at some point, and prices for these super-sized pump parts can be expensive.

I should also mention that your water and electrical consumption will also be more with a swim spa, as compared to a regular spa or hot tub.

In all, you will spend more on maintenance with a swim spa, probably twice as much as a regular spa.

 

Separate Hot Water Sections

swim-spa-separate-sectionsAll manufacturers of Swim Spas offer models that have a separate spa section. This is very useful if you want to heat up the water to 104°, and don’t want to heat the entire swim spa. Many models have a separate spa area with multi-jet captain’s chairs, but don’t have a wall to divide the swim and spa areas.

Maintaining two separate temperatures, hot in spa, cool in swim area, is a typically only available in the higher end models. Otherwise, they are both at the cooler swim temperature, and when you want to heat spa only, you can have it hot in under an hour, at the push of a button, (or turning a few valves).

 

Swim Spa Prices

swim-spa-at-homeSwim Spas generally start at the high end of spas, around $15,000. They do rise in cost with size and features however, and a top of the line swim spa installation can cost (hold onto your hat), over $40,000. However, most swim spa purchases are in the $25,000 range.

Swim Spas can also be built in-ground, or placed into a deck, using a pre-fab shell, vinyl pool kit, or gunite/plaster; traditional pool materials.

Swim Spa prices are generally about 3x the cost of a regular 8-person spa.

 

~ Swim Spas are a wonderful invention, and we came very close to owning one! Before you buy, do your research and physically try out at least one model (in the water), to be sure that it’s what you expect.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

Most Popular Hot Tub Chemicals

October 5th, 2015 by

top-ten-spa-chemicals

 

Going over sales spreadsheets is one of my primary jobs here at hottubworks. Sales trends are interesting to watch, and important to know – so we can meet seasonal demand.

Knowing the most popular hot tub chemicals can also be useful to the spa owner! Don’t get left behind – here’s the spa chemicals that your neighbors buy most frequently.

This isn’t just a unit sales contest, to be fair we also used velocity and frequency, to produce a more accurate list of the most popular spa chemicals – by category. “May I have the Envelope Please….”

 

aquachek-spa-test-stripsAquaChek 6-In-1 Test Strips: We have a lot of Test Strips to choose one, but the 6-in-1 is usually the top seller in the category, seconded by the TruTest digital test strips. The 6-in-1 will test for everything you need bromine/chlorine, and also Free Chlorine, which lets you know if there are high levels of bromamines or chloramines in the water. Aside from total, free and combined sanitizer – this strip also checks your water balance levels of calcium hardness, total alkalinity and pH, all on one test strip.

 

spa-frog-floaterSPA FROG Floating System: Nature2 or the other mineral sticks are popular, but for an all-in-one solution, you can’t beat the Spa Frog, which has a bromine cartridge and mineral cartridge that fit into a cute little floating dispenser. The bromine cartridge (yellow) has an adjustable openings so you can set the amount that is released, and the mineral cartridge natural filters the water as it passes through the mineral cartridge (green). With just a few pounds of MPS on hand, this may be all you need to keep your spa clean! 

 

brom-booster-twoHTW Brom Booster: This product is popular for the bromine spa or hot tub (which is about 60% of spa users, by my estimate). When you drain the hot tub, as you should do every 3-4 months, you lose the “bank” of bromide ions in the water. It takes weeks and weeks for enough bromine tablets to dissolve to produce enough bromides in the water, so that bromine can be created. Complicated, just add a capful of Brom Booster after draining the spa , or significant dilution, to “build the bromide bank” again.

 

leisure-time-spa-56Leisure Time Spa 56 Chlorinating Granules: 56% blend is pH neutral and more stable in hot water than other types of granular chlorine. Don’t ever use pool shock in your hot tub, it’s too strong and evaporates within hours. Spa 56 can be used for regular chlorination or weekly spa shocking, and is a great way to reactivate bromides (see above) in a bromine spa. Just a capful of chlorinating granules can bring levels up quick, or be used as an effective way to control algae and biofilm.

 

leisure-time-defenderLeisure Time Spa Defender: A blend of organic polymers that locks up minerals like calcium, phosphorous, sodium, which can cause cloudy water and scale – and scale is bad for spas. If you live in a hard water area (and nearly 50% of the country does, by my estimate), you want to control the minerals by using a sequestering agent like Spa Defender. Natural formula protects your filter, heater and beautiful spa surfaces, which is why it’s one of our 10 most popular hot tub chemicals!

 

rendevous-natural-clearRendezvous Natural Clear for Spas:
Natural Clear is an enzyme that removes scum lines and foam by digesting oils, lotions, make-up, and other oily gunk that we bring into our spas and hot tubs. Helps control biofilm development by attacking the outer layers that protect the colony. Just 1 oz every other week removes oils from the water, which protects your filter cartridge, and keeps your spa and spa water looking good. This product is a must for high-use hot tubs or spas with small-ish spa filters.

 

culator-spa-pakCuLator Metal & Stain Spa Pak:
This is the only product that actually removes metals from your spa or hot tub water. Other chemicals just lock-up the chemicals with strong bonds, but CuLator actually absorbs metals in the safe and non-toxic pouch. Drop the Spa Pak into your skimmer or filter, it attracts all heavy metals, like iron, copper, manganese, cobalt, lead and other stain-causing minerals.

 

spa-alkalinity-increaserHTW Spa Alkalinity Increaser:
Your water’s Alkalinity is what keeps the pH in check – not enough Alkalinity and the pH level will bounce around a lot. In most hot tubs and spas, pH tends to rise when used regularly. That’s because all the oils, lotions, dirt, dead skin and other unmentionables that we bring into the spa – tend to raise the pH level. Spa Owners lower the pH regularly; which also lowers the Alkalinity over time. Keep Alkalinity above 80 ppm.

 

htw-spa-ph-minusHTW Spa pH Minus: And here’s the other part of the equation, the reason the Alkalinity level tends to drop over time, is that pH minus, while lowering pH very effectively, also lowers Alkalinity somewhat. Each time you add a half capful of pH Down into the spa, the Alkalinity takes a little hit. What are you gonna do? You have to keep the pH in check, or everything else will quickly go out of whack. Use pH Minus as needed to keep pH in the 7.4-7.6 range, so that your sanitizer is most potent, and stains and scale can be prevented.

 

leisure-time-filter-cleanLTO Leisure Time Spa Filter Clean – Overnight Soak: To really get your spa filter cartridge clean, you have to soak it in a solution. A good, complete spray with the hose is still needed, but afterwards, soak your spa or hot tub filter cartridge in a solution of Spa Filter Clean. Double action formula removes greasy deposits as well as scale, dissolving and lifting them from the cartridge fabric. After an overnight soak, hose off and then allow it to dry fully, to kill any bacteria. This is why it’s good to have a spare spa filter cartridge.

 

 

Back to my spreadsheets! I’m sure you can find many of these in your spa chemical storage. I use most of these products above in my own spa, and can attest to their usefulness!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Amazing Inground Hot Tubs

September 3rd, 2015 by

inground-spas-are-coolMy husband and I have been shopping for a new house lately – it’s so much fun, no really it is – looking at all the glitzy OC houses online.

Recently we’ve become enamored with the idea of an inground spa. That would be a first for us, now on our third spa, after getting our feet wet with wood hot tubbing, when that became fashionable, in the eighties.

Our budget is not something that can afford oceanfront property with a stunning spa and soaring pool – but one can dream, can’t she?

I did a little searching for homes with “spa or hot tub” as my main criteria – Oh, and a price range of $5M – $10M

“Honey…? I like this one, come look!” :-)

tapiture-image-of-spa

Image Credit: Tapiture.com

 

zillow-spa

Image Credit: Zillow.com

 

zillow-spa-2

Image Credit: Zillow.com

 

zillow-spa-3

Image Credit: Zillow.com

houzz-spa

Image Credit: Houzz.com

 

houzz-spa-2

Image Credit: Houzz.com (this one needs a New Spa Cover!)

 

realtorcom-crmls

Image Credit: Realtor.com

 

realtorcom-img2

Image Credit: Realtor.com

 

houzz-spa-3

Image Credit: Houzz.com

 

houzz-spa-4

Image Credit: Houzz.com

Amazing inground hot tubs! If we don’t find a house in our price range with an inground spa, or pool/spa combo – we may just build our own! I’ll keep you posted!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spa and Hot Tub Manufacturers List

July 30th, 2015 by

lean_manufacturing_tape_measure_400_wht_3952The recession of 2008 wasn’t especially kind to spa manufacturers. As the number of spas sold dropped dramatically, smaller spa and hot tub brands were forced out of business.

Given that the industry has had a shake-up in the last 5 years, the time is ripe for an updated Spa and Hot Tub Manufacturers List, with current information.

We lost several good spa brands – Emerald, Great Lakes and Hawkeye Spas to name a few. Other companies under financial duress were gobbled up by larger players in the industry. The list below is 51 of the survivors, a tough as nails bunch of spa and hot tub brands that are beginning to thrive once again.

So then, in alphabetical order, I give you the current roster for the upcoming spa season! Use this list of Spa Manufacturers, or Hot Tub Brands in North America to find the contact information for your spa, or to read a little bit about the company.

 

ALPS SPAS

alps-spas
6100 Wheaton Dr
Atlanta, Ga 30336
678-916-4300

alps-spas.com

We want our customers to get more than they expected and enjoy their spas for years to come. All of our spas are custom ordered and built to last. From our steel frame construction to our environmentally safe acrylic backing you can rest easy knowing you bought a quality product. All spas are water tested for twelve hours to ensure that all components are working properly. With a lifetime warranty on the frame, acrylic shell and ABS bottom we stand behind our products and it shows.

APOLLO SPAS

apollo-spas

1233 Andover Park East
Tukwila, WA 98188
800-441-SPAS (7727)

apollospas.com

Apollo Spas has become one of the best-known hot tub dealers in the Northwest. The original company began in 1968 and was renowned as a fiberglass boat builder. In 1981, they took that knowledge and expertise with fiberglass and molding and applied it to the art of hot tub manufacturing, where they enjoyed instant success. During that time, the company phased out of boat-building and concentrated their efforts into building high quality hot tubs and jetted bathtubs. Apollo Spas is now owned by Arctic Spas.

ARCTIC SPAS

arctic-spas-logo

Box 560, 4549 52nd Street
Thorsby, Alberta T0C 2P0 Canada
800-309-1744

arcticspas.com

Across the globe, Arctic Spas is best known for two things – making beautiful hot tubs purpose-built for extreme weather, and for pushing the technological limits of our industry. Since our inception nearly 20 years ago, we have pioneered dozens and dozens of innovations that make owning and enjoying our spas easier, more relaxing and more fun. For 2014, its business as usual for our R&D team, as they have unveiled the amazing onSpa® with WebConnect, making real-time monitoring and total control of your spa anywhere on the planet a reality.

ARIES SPAS

aries-spas-logo

4176 East I-30
Rockwall, TX 75087
972-771-6286

ariesspas.com

“Aries Spas has a simple business philosophy: Build and sell innovative, highly reliable, premium quality products at a reasonable price, backed by a total commitment to customer satisfaction. Let us put our experience to work for you. We’ll analyze your needs, wants and desires. We’ll customize any spa to fit your particular lifestyle.” Larry Williams – President

ARTESIAN SPAS

artesian-spa-logo

4720 N Lamb Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89115
800-817-7727

artesianspas.com

Nowhere is our passionate commitment more evident than in the unparalleled quality of our spas. Each model has been painstakingly crafted to provide a feature-rich, optimal mix of elegance and functionality, omitting no detail. While many perceive spas as unattainable luxuries, Artesian builds a spa for every budget.  Working with our worldwide network of top-tier dealers, we bring the comfort, satisfaction, and benefits of owning an Artesian spa.

ATERA SPAS

atera-spas-logo

6306 W. Bell Rd.
Glendale, AZ 85308
623-334-3999

ateraspas.com

Atera AnyTemp® Spas & Hot Tubs are designed and manufactured in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., by a team of industry veterans. The company’s goals include handcrafting, using 100% North American components, high quality, exclusively featured, year round outdoor Fun and Therapeutic Health and Wellness Spas, Hot Tubs and Swim Spas in America. The family founders have also owned Four Seasons Leisure, a brick and mortar store in Glendale, Arizona, since 1996.

BAJA SPAS

baja-spas-logo

4065 N Romero Drive
Tucson, AZ 85705
800-845-2252

hottubs.com

Baja has always approached spa manufacturing with careful attention to detail and exceptional craftsmanship in each individual spa produced, not a race to see how many spas we can build. Our goal is not to create spas that people will merely like, rather we’re committed to building spas that discerning owners will love and enjoy. Forty years ago, when we invented the first acrylic spa, our vision was to design spas with hydrotherapy, style and comfort in mind.

BAREFOOT SPAS

barefoot-spas-logo

1500 Commerce Rd.
Richmond, VA 23224
804-298-3950

barefootspas.com

At Barefoot Spas, we design every model hot tub around your needs. We have worked tirelessly to optimize the ergonomics, aesthetics, ambiance, and hydrotherapeutic effectiveness of every portable spa we make. Additionally, we know your hot tub should work for you, and not the other way around. Our hot tub spas come standard with maintenance-free synthetic siding, ozonators, antimicrobial shells and filters, blah, blah, blah.

BEACHCOMBER HOT TUBS

beachcomber-spas-logo

13245 Comber Way
Surrey, BC V3T 1P1
604-591-8611

beachcomberhottubs.com

Beachcomber Hot Tubs has been leading the world in manufacturing quality hot tubs since 1978, and we are devoted to contemporary industrial design in every form, from the simple functional features, to making the most energy efficient hot tubs in the world.

BULLFROG SPAS

bullfrog-spa-logo

668 W 14600 S
Bluffdale, UT 84065
801-565-8111

bullfrogspas.com

Bullfrog Spas feature patented technology recognized around the world in the pool and spa industry. The benefits of the patented JetPak Therapy System include: customizable jetted massages, an efficient system that creates the most energy efficient spa, and an ultra-efficient plumbing system that provides more power to run all the jets at the same time with optimum pressure. Perfection is no small challenge, but it’s our goal. At Bullfrog Spas, we take a different approach.

CALDERA SPAS

caldera-logo-300x150

1280 Park Center Drive
Vista, CA 92081
800-669-1881

calderaspas.com

Since 1976, Caldera® has been one of the world’s most trusted spa brands. At Caldera, we do more than sell hot tubs. We design and carefully construct a product with extraordinary benefits that can bring positive change and help transform your life. A Caldera spa gives you access to effective warm water massage therapy right at home, helping you feel renewed and refreshed, even when you have only a few moments to spare. Caldera Spas is a sister brand of Hot Springs Spas.

CAL SPAS

cal-spas-covers

1462 East Ninth Street
Pomona, CA 91766
800-225-7727

calspas.com

The Cal Spas story began over 35 years ago at a crowded county fair. The year was 1978 and California Acrylic Industries was a Pomona, California-based pool builder searching for a way to exhibit a large variety of pool designs in a small space. To solve this dilemma, the company created smaller versions of its formed acrylic pools and put them on display for customers. The miniature pools immediately sparked interest and the company began to receive special requests for acrylic hot tubs.

CANADIAN HOT TUBS

1585 Victoria Street
Kitchener, ON N2B 3E6
800-265-6355

canhottub.com

Canadian Hot Tubs Inc is a manufacturer and retailer of cedar hot tubs. Our round and oval cedar hot tubs are available from 2 to 10 people. Made from western red cedar from BC, the natural beauty of our hot tubs blends seamlessly into any backyard landscape. We are still independent and family-owned, meaning that we still provide the personalized customer service and attention to detail that customers have come to expect from Canadian Hot Tubs for over three decades.

CATALINA SPAS

catalina-spas-logo

275 West Rider
Perris, CA 92571
951-940-4556

catalinaspas.com

Catalina Spas is the leading spa manufacturer in cutting edge technology and quality fitness and exercise equipment giving the consumer state of the art construction and absolute relaxation. Catalina Spas are carefully constructed to provide years of carefree performance despite frequent, daily use. As a result, we build the best spas and swim spas in the industry with high-quality, efficient heaters, pumps and other components.

CLEARWATER SPAS

clearwater-spas-logo

18800 Woodinville/Snohomish Rd.
Woodinville, WA 98072
800-791-1190

clearwaterspas.com

Clearwater Spas was the first company to produce an ecologically sound product, and all of our spas are produced without fiberglass resin and other destructive agents. Clearwater Spas takes pride in using 100% recycled ABS to fabricate our Dura Floors on all of our spas. We also recycle 100% of our wood, plastic and cardboard waste. All of Clearwater Spas are certified to California’s Energy Commission (CEC).

COAST SPAS

coast-spas-logo

6315 – 202 Street
Langley, BC Canada V2Y 1N1
604-514-8111

coastspas.com

A Coast Spas® hot tub delivers a world of new experiences, improved health and an environment that is meant to be shared with friends and family. We’ve been an innovator in the Hot Tub industry since our inception in 1996. Coast Spas was the first to install modern lighting, audio and video systems and commercial-grade Hydro Cylonic filtration systems into the portable hot tub. Coast Spas also holds several patents such as our Infinity Edge design for both hot tubs and swim spas. Coast Spas is one of the few hot tub manufactures to be ISO 9001:2008 quality certified.

COLEMAN SPAS

coleman-spas-covers

1462 E Ninth Street
Pomona, CA 91766
888-772-4265

colemanspas.com

The same innovation and exploration that ignited Coleman® lanterns has inspired the creation of the Coleman® Spas collection. Coleman® Spas are manufactured in the United States with cutting-edge technology and affordability. Coleman® Rugged Rotomold Spas, Acrylic Spas and Swim Spas are built with quality and can be trusted to last from generation to generation. Buy Coleman® Spas and buy with confidence. Coleman Spas is owned by Maax.

COMFORT LINE PRODUCTS

comfortline

2717 N Tamiami Trail
N Fort Myers, FL 33903
888-997-6366

clpusa.com

Over the years Comfort Line Products, Inc. was not only the pioneer of the portable spa industry, but also influential in creating much of the technology found in portable hydrotherapy hot tubs today.  However, we do not rest on our laurels alone and have continued improving our line of spas into the most desired brand on the market.  The Spa-n-a-box, Spa2go, Bali Spa, and the incredible AiriSpa truly set the standard for the greatest in affordable hydrotherapy benefits and stylish design.

DIMENSION ONE SPAS

d1spas-logo2611 Business Park Drive
Vista, CA 92081
760-727-7727

d1spas.com

Dimension One Spas® was founded by Bob Hallam in 1977 and has grown to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hot tubs and aquatic fitness systems. The company was first established as a chain of retail hot tub stores. The area of Vista, California was ripe for pool and spa manufacturers, so Bob and his wife Linda set up a quick manufacturing concern. Dimension One was recently purchased by Jacuzzi, and Bob and Linda are now retired. :-)

DREAM MAKER SPAS

dream-maker-spas-logo

2452 Lake Emma Rd.
Lake Mary, FL. 32746
1-888-329-4847

dreammakerspas.com

Dream Maker Spas is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rotationally molded spas and has been a market leader since introducing this type of manufacturing to the spa industry in 1997. With a new owner and leadership team from within the industry for more than 25 years, Dream Maker Spas is now positioned for a greater level of innovation and technology. Our goal is simple: To provide superior products that allow everyone to enjoy leisure, recreation, and wellness.

DYNASTY SPAS

dynasty-spas-covers-sm

101 Dynasty Way
Athens, TN 37303
800-951-6224

dynastyspas.com

In 1995, in a small metal building in Etowah Tennessee, the owners of Dynasty Spas started working on what would turn out to be one of the fastest growing and most successful spa manufacturing companies in the world. Today, Dynasty Spas employ’s hundreds of the industry’s best people and has a modern 300,000 plus square foot manufacturing facility. distribution network that consists of over 500 dealers worldwide.

FOUR WINDS SPAS

four-winds-logo

251 Mayfield Dr.
Smyrna, TN 37167
615-220-8879

fourwindsspas.com

Four Winds Spas has been a leading manufacturer of quality hot tubs, therapeutic spas and swim spas for more than two decades. Our unparalled commitment to craftsmanship, excellence and innovation has allowed us to stay at the forefront of the spa manufacturing industry. Incorporating cutting-edge technology and aesthetic beauty, Four Winds is dedicated to providing a stunning array of spas to meet every style and budget.

FREEFLOW SPAS

freeflow-spas-covers

1280 Park Center Drive
Vista, CA. 92081
888-961-7727

freeflowspas.com

Freeflow Spas are incredibly durable because our manufacturing process produces a strong unibody (one-piece) hot tub shell, eliminating the need for an internal support frame. By reducing material and labor costs, we bring you a premium hot tub experience at a more affordable price. Freeflow Spas are manufactured using rotational molding making them extremely durable and more affordable than acrylic hot tubs.

GRECIAN SPAS

grecian-spas-covers-sm

24930 Railroad Ave.
Newhall, CA 91321
888-292-3890

grecianspas.com

In 1976 Grecian Spas was founded on the philosophy of bringing the customer the finest products available with uncompromising quality. Although there have been many owners of Grecian Spas over the past 28 years the same philosophy of uncompromising quality has never changed. In 2003 manufacturing began in Odessa, Texas, in our 90,000 square foot 8 acre facility, exceeding I.S.O. 9001 standards, we are confident that the product you purchase will exceed your expectations.

HOT SPRING SPAS

HotSpring-Logo-300x156

1280 Park Center Drive
Vista, CA 92081
800-669-1881

hotspring.com

Why Hot Spring Spas? A spa provides the powerful combination of massage and hot water. We strive to do these things better with one-of-a-kind massage, innovative water care systems, and features that keep water hot and operating costs low. Plus, you can count on our decades of experience and our unparalleled customer care for the Absolute Best Hot Tub Ownership Experience. Hot Spring Spas also owns Caldera Spas and FreeFlow Spas.

HYDROPOOL HOT TUBS

hydropool-logo

335 Superior Blvd
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5T 2L6
800-465-2933

hydropoolhottubs.com

Hydropool Hot Tubs originated in 1970 as a commercial swimming pool company and in 1978 became one of the first hot tub retailers in North America. Initially, Hydropool purchased hot tub shells from a local manufacturer, plumbed and assembled them in house. By 1980, Hydropool began manufacturing their own hot tubs in Toronto, Canada which are hand crafted by experienced designers and the rest is history.

HYDROTHER SPA & WELLNESS EQUIPMENT

hydrother-logo

135 Matheson Blvd East
Mississauga, Ontario, L4Z 1R2, CANADA
800-891-5811

hydrother.com

Our hot tubs are shipped pre-plumbed and are easily installed by any professional contractor or handyman. Our Factory Sales and Service Support Team is available to provide telephone support assistance and where desired we can also quote on providing on-site installation or start up support.  HydroTher has two convenient shipping facilities, in Toronto and New York, for economical shipping to all major North American and European cities.

JACUZZI HOT TUBS

jacuzzi-spas

14525 Monte Vista Ave.
Chino, CA 91710
800-899-7727

jacuzzihottubs.com

As the company that virtually invented the hot tub and whirlpool bath categories more than 50 years ago, and with more than 250 patents, we proudly offer the best hot tubs and spas available in the world today. Jacuzzi Hot Tubs has more than 500 retail locations worldwide, including more than 400 in the U.S. and 50 in Canada.

L.A. SPAS

la-spas-covers-sm

1331 N. Blue Gum St.
Anaheim, CA 92806
800-569-2344

laspas.com

L.A. Spas has led the industry in hot tub design, manufacturing and innovation since 1976. Whether it’s a daily soak in the most ergonomic lounger on the market, or a cozy evening with family under the stars, you’ll love your L.A. Spas hot tub. Relax and let the crystal clear water created by Aqua Klean® filtration rejuvenate your body and mind. For unmatched quality, beauty and reliability, see a local dealer now to find the perfect spa. LA Spas is now owned by Maax.

MAAX SPAS

maax-logo

25605 S. Arizona Ave
Chandler, AZ 85248
480-895-0598

maaxspas.com

At MAAX Spas we understand that companies are not only products and programs, they are organizations of people. Great companies succeed because of the strength of their people and shared proven values. Within MAAX® Spas we consistently succeed in meeting the challenges inherent in our growth by staying focused on our values. Maax has acquired California Cooperage, Coleman, Elite Spas, LA Spas and Vita Spa brands.

MARQUIS SPAS

marquis-spas-covers

596 Hoffman Road
Independence, OR 97351
503-838-0888

marquisspas.com

Marquis Spas® was founded in 1980. Since that time we’ve worked hard to build trust with our customers. So it’s no surprise to find that today we’re an employee-owned company. We’ve always had a reputation for quality products and each employee takes pride of ownership very seriously. Such a commitment has led to the highest level of product quality and reliability. Marquis is mainly concerned with offering creative and innovative designs…

MASTER SPAS

master-spas-logo

6927 Lincoln Parkway
Fort Wayne, IN 46804
260-436-9100

masterspas.com

Master Spas is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 90 miles north of Indianapolis. Operating out of a state-of-the-art 27 acre manufacturing campus, we are the largest swim spa manufacturer in the world, and one of the largest portable spa and hot tub manufacturers in the country. Master Spas award winning products are available in over 300 locations in more than 30 countries. Master Spas. Changing lives one hot tub at a time.

MORGAN SPAS

morgan

12700 Hillcrest Rd, Ste 278
Dallas, Tx 75230

972-864-7300

morganspas.com

Morgan Spas and Hot Tubs are made from the finest Lucite ® Acrylic in attractive, easy-to-clean surfaces. Spa cabinets are constructed of maintenance-free, state-of-the-art synthetics and are resistant to damage from moisture, mildew, fungus and insects. Morgan Spas are built, installed and serviced by its own in-house, factory-trained spa technicians.

NORDIC HOT TUBS

nordic-hot-tubs

4655 Patterson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
888-438-8827

nordichottubs.com

“We have had our Warrior Nordic Hot Tub for 11 years now, and we still love it. We have only had to replace a gasket or two in 11 years. Our tub is exposed all year round to cold Ohio winters and hot summers. The shell looks as good as new as well as the inside. We don’t need a new one but seeing the upgraded models availible now we just might have to happily upgrade. Thanks for a great product!” Kristin McGeorge, Ohio

PINNACLE SPAS

pinnacle-spa-logo601 45th St. N
St. Petersburg, Fl 33714
800-304-9684

pinnaclespas.com

TRUST The leadership team at Pinnacle Spas has more than 100 years of combined experience in the hot tub industry, including more than 30 years of manufacturing spas and hot tubs. VALUE Everything you want in your spa is included in the price – and what a great price it is. You get the peak value in design, hydrotherapy, water care, comfort, efficiency, quality and service. Pinnacle Spas is formerly known as Gulf Coast Spas.

PDC SPAS

pdc-spas-covers

75 Palmer Industrial Road
Williamsport, PA 17701
800-451-1420

pdcspas.com

Plastic Development Company, Inc., PDC Spas is a manufacturer known to put their customers’ needs first. Fifty-five years ago the family owned business began building fiberglass swimming pools. In the late 80’s the factory was re-tooled to meet the growing demands of the hot tub market with the second generation. Today, the third generation offers the entrepreneurial spirit to take PDC to the next level.

PREMIUM LEISURE HOT TUBS

premium-leisure

6101 45th Street N.
Saint Petersburg, FL 33714
877-237-8772

premiumleisure.com

“We previously owned a Premium Leisure spa and were always impressed with their style and performance, so when we found out that they had developed a new line, we were quick to learn more about them. We recently bought a PR881 and wow, this is truly an amazing hot tub. The entire family loves it as has something for everyone, including our 12 year old that fell in love with the smart controls.” Julie Roberson, Cherry Hill, NJ

QCA SPAS

qca-spas-logo

1021 State Street
Bettendorf, IA 52722
888-729-7727

qcaspas.com

QCA is one of the oldest spa manufacturers, dating back to 1966. When you buy a spa from QCA, you buy a spa from a company with decades of experience and a reputation for quality. We are committed to maintain the best reputation for innovation and hot tub quality. Every spa goes through a thorough water test and 50 point inspection before it is shipped, and every hot tub we build is made with quality components at a competitive price.

ROBERTS HOT TUBS

rht-logo

2343 Welcome Ave.
Richmond CA. 94804
800-735-5290

rhtubs.com

Roberts Hot Tubs are the absolute highest quality traditional wooden hot tubs made. We have been manufacturing traditional redwood, western red & Alaskan yellow cedar, jarrah and teak wooden hot tubs, ofuros and accessories since 1976. The help section contains water care and spa maintenance help, as well as information for those needing some assistance in doing their own repairs to their hot tubs.

ROYAL SPAS

royal-spa-logo

2041 West Epler Ave
Indianapolis, Indiana 46217
800-541-1248

royalspa.com

In 1981 Rick Bartlett and Bob Dapper started Royal Spa by making hot tubs on the south side of Indianapolis, Indiana.  They were 18 years old and engineering students at the time. We are a full service manufacturer with an over 89,000 square foot plant located in the southwest part of Indianapolis. Our plant includes a full service vacuum forming and fiberglass shop where we vacuum form our spa, swim spa, and jetted bathtub shells, and a cabinet shop.

SARATOGA SPAS

saratoga-spas-covers

33 Wade Road
Latham, NY 12110
518-786-1111

saratogaspas.com

When discovering Saratoga Spas you will learn that Redefining Hydrotherapy is a journey, not a destination. When looking at technology, what may have worked in the past may not have the same impact in the present. When looking at the curing and health benefits of water, some things never change. Saratoga Springs, New York has been a place of relief and rejuvenation for over 100 years. Saratoga Spas continues that tradition today for the relief of a tired body and soul.

SOFTUB SPAS

softub-spa-covers

13495 Gregg Street
Poway, CA 92064
888-763-8828

softub.com

Softub is the only truly portable hot tub on the market. Weighing less than 80 pounds, its lightweight and compact design provides you the luxury to relax and indulge-anytime anywhere. Softub’s Heat Recovery Technology incorporates a pump motor that heats into a single Hydromate Unit. The heat from the motor is then used to heat the filtered water, keeping energy consumption to a minimum. Softubs plug into a standard 120V outlet, and does not require any additional wiring.

SPA CREST HOT TUBS

spa-crest-logo5989 Hwy. 129 S.
Claxton, GA 30417
800-569-1942

spacrest.com

Our success, however, is truly owed to our valuable vendors and customers. It is your support and belief in the Spa Crest line that have brought us this far and it is your continued support that is sure to propel us even further as we strive to always surpass our very best in order to offer you a truly exceptional product. In 1998, we began our second product line, Vision Hot Tubs, which offers customers an added level of superior hot tub craftsmanship and design.

STRONG POOLS & SPAS

strong-spa-logoRte. 11, P.O. Box 108
Northumberland, PA 17857
800-787-6649

strongpoolsandspas.com

Our Strong hot tubs are made by a team of experts at our manufacturing plant in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. That’s right. We don’t just assemble our spas in the USA, but we build them from the ground up right here! Our use of the latest technologies and materials also helps us comply with and exceed green standards. Our processes are clean and release zero CFCs or harmful toxins, such as Styrene and fiberglass, into the atmosphere.

SUNBELT SPAS

sunbelt-spas-logo3924 Dunvale rd
Houston, TX 77063
800-258-7727

sunbeltspas.com

Here at Sunbelt, we don’t just make spas, we own them and use them. When we add another feel-good feature to our spas, we know it really does feel good because we’ve felt if for ourselves. Just like you, we have our daily share of aches and pains, and when we say a Sunbelt Spa soothes the body, we can say it with confidence because we’ve been soothed ourselves. Other spa makers are portable spa factories with limited options.

SUNDANCE SPAS

sundance-spa-logo-140

14525 Monte Vista Ave.
Chino, CA 91710
800-883-7727

sundancespas.com

For over 35 years, Sundance® Spas has brought families together with warmth, buoyancy, and the practical style of our hydromassage hot tubs. Our reputation for lasting design and craftsmanship is backed by our history as the most award-winning company in the industry. Our popular collections of hot tubs and spas deliver luxurious comfort and entertainment features, along with innovative engineering that maximizes efficiency while decreasing time spent on maintenance.

SUN RAY SPAS

sun-ray-spas-logo5650 99 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, T6E 1V2, CANADA
877-212-7727

At Sun Ray Spas, we manufacture hot tubs using only top-of-the-line parts that in turn require less maintenance and are backed by one of the best warranties in the business. We believe energy efficient hot tubs that are also easy to maintain are important elements in today’s market. It isn’t enough to just produce a hot tub that looks good on the outside-it needs to perform at its peak at all times.

SUNRISE SPAS

sunrise-spas-logo317 South Service Rd.
Grimsby, Ontario Canada L3M 4E8
905-309-1800

sunrisespas.com

Passionate about innovation and state-of-the-art engineering, Sunrise Spas is committed to “best in class” quality and features. For over 25 years, Sunrise has been setting industry benchmarks in over 40 countries. Expertly crafted; from the structural foundation to the exquisitely detailed final touches, we ensure every hot tub manufactured by Sunrise Spas is the perfect way to improve your health, rejuvenate mind and body, entertain friends and relax with family.

THERMO SPAS

thermo-spas-lgo10 Research Parkway, ste 300
Wallingford, CT 06492
800-876-0158

thermospas.com

ThermoSpas sells hot tubs directly to you, the consumer, to provide the highest-quality hot tubs for the lowest possible price. ThermoSpas® hot tubs are a better value than the typical retail showroom hot tub because you only pay for the features you want. Customize with features and options that fit your needs and budget from the number of jets to a stereo or even deluxe LED lighting. Thermo Spas is now owned by Jacuzzi.

VIKING SPAS

viking-spas-logo2725 Prairie St. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49519
616-248-7800

vikingspas.com

For 2015, Viking’s innovative spirit has brought to the spa industry a third generation SOFT-TOUCH, an exclusive Slip Resistant satin surface that only Viking offers. Your family’s safety is important to you and it is also important to us. We have also teamed up American Made Matters. Given that we are the only manufacturer in our industry that have been recognized by the President of the United States for US Exporting and the fact that we have the highest content of American manufacturing in our product we think it’s time to educate consumers on the importance of this position.

VISION HOT TUBS

vision-hot-tub-lgo5989 Hwy. 129 S.
Claxton, GA 30417
800-569-1942

visionhottubs.com

Back in 1985, the parent company, Spa Crest Manufacturing, began a tradition of building quality spas and in 1992, moved its headquarters to Claxton, Georgia. Soon after that in 1997, we were driven by a “vision” to create a new hot tub line. In 2005, with the help of a superior team of designers and engineers, we fulfilled our dream and are proud to offer six highly-innovative models. Since inception, the goal of Vision Hot Tubs has been to design and manufacture the most well-built hot tubs on the market – and that continues to be our goal in everything we do.

VITA SPAS

vita-spa-logo2320 N.W. 147th Street
Miami, FL 33054
800-848-2772

vitaspa.com

At Vita Spa, we pursue perfection in all that we create. The focus of everything we do at Vita Spa is on you. The full and complete satisfaction of our customers is our objective and the result is evident in every spa that rolls off our factory floors. When you purchase a Vita Spa, you can be sure you’ve made one of the smartest and most worthwhile purchases possible. For over four decades, we have been at the forefront of the hydrotherapy industry in innovation and technology and our spas are rated amongst the best in the world. Vita Spas was acquired by Maax in 2009.

 

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Hot Tub Pressure Switch Adjustments

July 9th, 2015 by

spa-pressure-switchesThe Pressure Switch on a hot tub or spa is a pressure sensor that is mounted onto the heater housing, or very close to the exit point of the heater. It’s sole purpose is to shut off the heater if low pressure (low water flow) occurs.

In a hot tub, pressure is an easy way to determine flow rates through the pipes, pump and heater. Some spas also use a Flow Sensor, in addition to (or instead of) the Pressure Switch, to be sure water is flowing properly for the heater to operate safely.

You See, if an electric or gas heater is On, but the water is not moving fast enough through the heater, it heats up too much, too fast, which could melt pvc pipes and scald spa users. Although it rarely happens, if a hot tub heater were to run without water moving through it, a massive meltdown or fire will result.

Fortunately, spas and hot tubs are equipped with redundant safety checks – pressure switches to shut the system down when water pressure is low, and flow sensors if water flow is low and high limit sensors that are monitoring temperature.

How to Jump Out the Pressure Switch

Don’t “jump” right to this, but check these things first: For Low Flow spa error codes, like FL, FLO, FLC, or OH (OverHeat), check the filter, check the pump and check the valves for something that is obstructing the water flow.

single_eye_movement_150_wht_9341Look for a dirty filter, a clogged impeller, closed valve, or a piece of plastic film covering the spa drain. Check the spa skimmer water level is high enough, and the skimmer isn’t sucking air. Check underneath for any drips or leaks when the system is off that may indicate an air leak when the system is on.

“Jumping Out” the pressure switch refers to placing a jumper wire between the two spade terminals or brass screws on the pressure switch. By connecting a wire between the two “in” and “out” terminals, you essentially bypass the switch itself. Note that jumping out a pressure switch should only be done for testing purposes, do not operate a spa or hot tub with any safety components bypassed.

jump-out-the-pressure-switchThe easiest way to jump out a spa or pool heater pressure switch is to use a short wire with two alligator clips, or other metal clips on the ends. But you can also do it with just a wire if you have a steady hand to hold each end of the wire into the grooves of each brass screw.

With the pump running, and the thermostat turned up, high limits reset – in short, everything ready to go, connect the wire or clips to each side or terminal, onto the brass spade connector (where the wires are connected), and within just a few short seconds, the diagnostic checks are done and the heater should turn on, or you should see an indicator light or heating code on the spa side control panel.

If not – if the hot tub heater does not come on with the jumper wire connected, the pressure switch is not your problem, my friend.

Hot Tub Pressure Switch Adjustments

You may have also read on the internet that the pressure switch can be adjusted, and it’s true, most of them can – but just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

Most pressure switches are factory set for the overall resistance in the system, and making adjustments should be done with careful small steps, and close observation of the entire system.

PRESSURE-SWITCH-ADJUSTMENTSThat being said, pressure switches can be adjusted from 1-5 psi, or from 1-10 psi. After checking first all of those items above to be sure that flow and pressure is proper and normal, you can make micro adjustments to a dial wheel or small screw, to change the pressure minimum required for the switch to close, allowing the heater to work.

Some adjustable pressure switches have an Adjustment Screw of grey plastic that accepts a small skinny flathead. Turn the screw slowly to the left, counter-clockwise, to reduce the minimum required pressure. Turn it slowly just barely beyond the point where the heater turns On.

Other adjustable pressure switches have an Adjustment Wheel that you turn with thumb and finger. Many have a lock mechanism, Len Gordon has a sliding tab lock, Tecmark has a metal clip that needs to be removed or bent out of the way. Again, turn to the left to reduce required minimum pressure, and turn it to the point just beyond where the heater turns On.

If not – if the hot tub heater does not come on with this new pressure switch adjustment, the pressure switch is not your problem, my friend.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works