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Carolyn Mosby's Posts

Spa & Hot Tub Information for Realtors

July 14th, 2014 by

home-for-sale-with-hot-tubLocal area Realtors have come to my husband and me for years, to perform hot tub integrity inspections, or to remove spas from homes being sold.

Surprisingly, very few people take their hot tub with them when they move, even though most are portable.

Listing a home with a hot tub or spa can be good or bad – good if it’s a beautiful, fairly new spa in a great location, but bad if run-down; in need of some TLC.

Some wise realtors may ask the seller to remove the spa if in very bad condition, while other spas can be spruced up with a new spa cover, and a quick coat of stain on the cabinet.

 

spa-movingMoving a Spa: Most moving companies can handle the transfer, although folks moving locally may use a local spa company with special dollies and trailers to transport it, who then can also hook up the spa at the new location, if proper power is available. Moving a spa usually costs $400-$600, depending on the size of the tub and the distance being transferred, more if electrical work is needed.

Removing a Spa: The same spa service companies can be called for a removal price. If the spa is in good condition, they may even remove it for free, if they are in the business of refurbishing and reselling used spas. If not, the cost for removal to a landfill should be less than the cost to move a spa to a new location, which any junk removal company can do.

When a spa or hot tub conveys with a home sale, it has to be clean, hot and in full working order to be an asset to the home.

[] Spa pump(s) should operate on command, and be fairly quiet.
[] If equipped, blowers should operate on command; and be fairly quiet.
[] The water should be 104°, hot and steamy when the cover is lifted.
[] The water quality should appear clean and clear.
[] Cabinet, cover and interior surfaces should be clean and bright.
[] Inspect electrical connections and look for any leaks or puddles.

Other advanced features that you may find on late model spas include small waterfalls, lighting and music. Some even have small televisions that pop up from beneath the cabinet.

If the seller is not occupying the home, you can arrange for a pool or spa service company, or your knowledgeable handyman, to clean and maintain the spa water. A basic spa service call would include: spa-repair-forum-guy

[] cleaning the spa filter
[] cleaning the spa
[] testing the chemistry
[] balancing chemistry
[] adding sanitizer
[] checking heater, blower
[] adding water if needed
[] Securing the spa cover
[] Report any problems

When a spa or hot tub conveys with a home sale, the buyers may want to know that an average spa uses $100-$200 per year in electricity, $100 per year in chemicals, and another $100 per year for replacement of spa covers or spa filters, and the occasional, hopefully rare spa component repair. Total ownership costs for a spa or hot tub should average around $300-$400 per year.

What’s the difference between a spa or a hot tub? Well, we wrote an entire blog post on the topic, but basically, a hot tub is a wood structure with a simple bench and a few jets. A spa is an acrylic or fiberglass tub or shell, with a blower, and multiple jets, some with as many as 90 jets!

A word on the spa cover. An ugly spa cover really makes the entire spa look junky and funky. Insulated spa covers can last 5-7 years before needing replacement at $300-$500. A spa cover in good condition will fit the spa well, and attach to the cabinet or floor via locking strap clips. It should not be waterlogged, or excessively heavy, nor have any tears in the material, on the outside or underside of the cover.

Dull & ugly spa covers can be spruced up with our spa cover cleaners and conditioners, to like-new condition. Covers that are broken, waterlogged or torn can be replaced quickly using our online spa cover order page.

One more tip – if the spa pump or heater is not working, it may be better to drain the spa, if it cannot or will not be repaired. Then gives buyers the option to ask for spa repair or removal before closing, or take it in as-is condition.

When Should a Realtor Advise a Seller to Renovate or Remove the Spa?

:-) Here’s some examples of when you might want to have that conversation – from uglyhousephotos.com

ugly-spa-1 ugly-spa-2 ugly-spa-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ugly-spa

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Minerals, Ozone and MPS for a Chlorine Free Hot Tub

June 19th, 2014 by

ozone-minerals-mpsIf you are interested in a method to operate a spa or hot tub without chlorine or bromine, you’re in the right place.

I have been bromine free in my spa for about 7 years. It’s a 400 gallon Marquis spa, that gets used 2-3x per week, by kids and adults. It’s an easy method that I’ve kept hidden until now – a great way to keep a spa or hot tub halogen-free, while ensuring that the water stays sanitary and healthy.

But why? Why would I want to operate a tub without chlorine or bromine ~ some of you may ask. I’ve always found it irritating, to my skin, hair and nasal passages, and it can be hazardous to store, plus I feel like our planet could use a little less Bromine.

Minerals + Ozone + MPS for a Non Chlorine Hot Tub

The secret to going bromine-free isn’t hard to follow; I use a mineral cartridge, an ozonator, and I shock the spa with MPS, non-chlorine shock, after we use it, or at least weekly if no one has used it, which is rare.

Minerals: I usually use the Nature2 spa stick, as I call them- or you can use the Filter Frog, or the Leisure Time spa mineral stick.We also have the SunPurity mineral purifier for Sundance spas and the Hot Springs Silver Ion Purifier

Just drop them in your filter, and the rushing water pulls out copper and silver ions that do a bang-up job of busting apart contaminants in the water. After 4 months, they need to be replaced, which I time to be at or around the time that I am changing the spa water.

Ozone: A spa ozonator puts ozone in the water, which zaps anything that comes near it. Some of the nicer model spas have a built-in ozonator, but if not, you can easily add an ozone unit to the spa – like the MCD-50, which is only around $100.  After12-18 months, the manufacturer recommends the Renewal Kit, they may last longer however.

Ozone complements the killing preferences of minerals, removing the really hard to kill stuff, like bacteria and viruses. But even ozone, as powerful as it is, has limitations with an imperfect delivery system. So, I supplement ozone + minerals with MPS.

MPS: After we get out of the spa, I just sprinkle in a dose of monopersulfate, aka MPS, as we call it around here. I let the jets circulate for a few minutes, and then shut it down to low speed and close the cover. No waiting for it to ‘gas-off’, like with chlorine shocks.

I use the HTH Spa non-chlorine shock, it’s the strongest type of MPS we sell, and it has a good price. We have other brands and formulations of MPS, by Leisure Time and Rendezvous and we carry the full line of Zodiac Cense, MPS & Aromatherapy in one!

Other Tips for a Chlorine Free Hot Tub

  • Drain the tub every 3-4 months. Before draining, use Jet Clean to fight biofilm.
  • Change the spa filter regularly, every 12-24 months, to reduce your sanitizer demand.
  • Don’t be afraid to double the MPS dose if you’ve had a full spa, with many users.
  • Run the filter 20-24 hours per day, to keep the minerals and ozone circulating.
  • Keep your water balanced, especially your pH and alkalinity.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Covers – Measuring, Ordering, Dancing

May 22nd, 2014 by

spa-covers-newBack in the old days, ordering a new hot tub cover was such a hassle. I am old enough to remember when you had to call someone from the spa store to come out and measure, and then a few weeks later you’d get a price quote in the mail. Ah, the good ole’ days.

The internet sure has changed everything. Our spa covers and hot tub covers ordering pages were just ‘optimized’, to make them more user friendly and faster to complete. It’s now just a 3 step process to order – actually, it’s more like a 2-step process, if you skip over the last step of adding spa cover accessories to your order.

Measuring a Spa Cover

It depends on the shape of your spa cover,  as to how much measuring is needed. If you know the make and model of your spa or hot tub, we provide you the measurements, and you can just double check them (please double check them).

radius-measureFor round tubs, we just need a diameter. For square spa covers, we need a length and width. If you have curved corners, we’ll need to know the radius of the curve. This is easily figured by measuring from the start of the curve to the intersection of the other side of the curve. Basically, for all spa covers that aren’t round, we’d like a measurement of each side, and any corner radius that is not a 90° corner.

You can use a simple tape measure to measure a spa cover, the flexible or rigid type. Just be sure to double check your measurements before entering them into the website. Measure your old spa cover if that was a good fit, and you still have it, otherwise, measure to the outside edge of the hot tub, or to the outer lip of your spa.

Special Spa Covers: Give us a call if your spa cover is:

  1. A curvy, freeform shape
  2. Is over 96″ on any one side
  3. Has more than two panels
  4. Has special cut-outs or flaps

We’re here from 7am-7pm, M-F, and 7-4 on Saturday. 800-770-0292. If you’re a little shy on the phone, you can do it all through email, send us a note!

Ordering a Spa Cover

next-Step One: After you’ve selected your spa shape or selected your spa make and model from the drop down list, Click Next, you’re already done with step one!

Step Two: In the first section, you’ll start by entering the dimensions (if you selected a spa shape), or confirm the dimensions (if you selected a make/model). Then confirm the length of the skirt (the flap that overhangs the side of the cover), and the length of the safety straps.

In the next section, you can choose a color for our 30 oz. marine grade vinyl. With 14 colors to choose from, you’re sure to find one to match the tub, the house or the patio furniture. If your spa gets a lot of rain and tree litter, a darker color will show stains less.

In the final section, you select your insulation weight and thickness. 6 variations available, with options like double wrapped foam core,  a continuous heat seal and heavy duty windstraps available.

  1. Economy Spa Cover: 1.0 lb foam, 4″-2″ taper, R-Value 12. 1 year warranty.
  2. Standard Spa Cover: 1.5 lb foam, 4″-2″ taper, R-Value 13. 3 year warranty.
  3. Deluxe Spa Cover: 2.0 lb foam, 4″-2″ taper, R-Value 15. 5 year warranty.
  4. Energy Saver Cover: 1.5 lb foam, 5″-3″ taper, R-Value 20. 5 year warranty.
  5. Ultra Spa Cover: 1.5 lb foam, 6″-4″ taper, R-Value 24. 5 year warranty.
  6. The Works Spa Cover: 2.0 lb foam, 6″-4″ taper, R-Value 30. 5 year warranty.

next-When you’re done with the selections on page two, you’re over halfway done! Hit Next to Advance to step three ~

Step Three: The third step in ordering a spa cover has some offers for bundling a spa cover lift, and other accessories that you may find useful like a floating spa blanket or spa cover care kit. If you want any of these items,next- click the Add to Cart buttons, or just hit Next again, and you’ll be transported to our shopping cart to review the spa cover order, in glorious detail with over 30 line items.

Dancingdancing for a new spa cover!

The reason for “dancing” in the title?

I just ordered a new hot tub cover about 2 months ago. When we clicked the final submit button on our new spa cover order, I leapt up into my husband’s arms and we did a quick happy dance!

It’s not like it used to be – it’s amazing, to be able to order a new hot tub cover in 10 minutes!

Isn’t technology wonderful?!?
Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Saltwater Hot Tub – Pros & Cons

May 12th, 2014 by

saltron-mini

If you have been busy lately, you may have missed the new craze in hot tub maintenance – spa salt water systems.

A saltwater hot tub uses a salt cell which reacts with the salt that you add to the water (2 lbs per 100 gals), to produce pure chlorine. A low voltage power supply is mounted on the spa, where you can increase or decrease the chlorine level and set an operation timer.

 

Salt systems have many fans, who say it’s very easy to use, and they don’t have to touch or store bromine or chlorine. Most people also love the way the water has a softer and silkier feel. Saltwater hot tubs also have a few detractors. Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of switching from tablets to salt to sanitize the water.

Saltwater Hot Tub – Pros

  • Softer & Silkier Water

prosYou’ll notice it right away, salt water feels softer, like a mineral bath. The salt used is sodium chloride, regular tablet salt. The same salt that is in the ocean, but only about a tenth of the amount. Get the 40lb bag of pool salt at Walmart or your local home store, and add 2lbs per 100 gallons of spa water, and you’re ready to go! The salt is very cheap, like $7 per bag. The slightly salty spa water leaves your skin feeling refreshed, not irritated. Like bathing in mineral spring water.

  • No More Sanitizer

prosMaybe the best benefit of a saltwater hot tub, is that you no longer need to store bromine or chlorine tablets, which could be dangerous. You should still shock the spa, so keep a granular oxidizer on hand, but you can use chlorine free MPS if you prefer. Spa salt systems make their own chlorine, so it’s still a chlorinated spa, but it’s created naturally, and is without binders or additives – pure chlorine.

  • No More Odor

prosChlorine tablets smell bad in the bucket, and bad in the spa. Bromine is a little bit better, but I can still smell it on my skin and on my hair, hours after soaking. Have you ever opened up your spa cover and detected the strong smell of chlorine?  That’s the smell of combined molecules, chloramines or bromamines. Salt systems are much less likely to produce these foul smelling mutations of chlorine, because after a chlorine molecule is used up, it reverts back to salt, or sodium chloride!

  • Buffered Water

prosAdding enough salt to reach 2000-3000 ppm in your spa takes about 2lbs per 100 gallons of water. The mineral in the water, raises the buffering capacity of the water, to resist changes in pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels. The addition of salt increases the total dissolved solids of the water, making the water less aggressive, and more resistant to water balance fluctuations.

Saltwater Hot Tub – Cons

  • Saltwater Corrosion

cons

This is the main issue against saltwater hot tubs, is that salt causes corrosion. At levels of 2000-3000 ppm, there should be no worry about damage to finishes and pool equipment. There is one material that doesn’t like salt, that being BUNA rubber, which some pump shaft seals are made of. Again, at normal levels, there should be no concern, but if your pump seal begins to leak, we do have shaft seals made for high salt or ozone conditions.

  • Salt Cell Replacement

consThe salt cell used for saltwater hot tubs is a titanium coated electrolytic cell, which will eventually lose enough of it’s coating to stop producing enough chlorine. Spa salt cells usually last 2-5 years, depending on the model, at which time you can replace just the cell (not the power supply). Keeping your cell clean (many models are self-cleaning), and not using it for cold spa water (below 60 degrees), are key to a long cell life.

  • Warm Water Only

consSalt systems, for pools or spas, have trouble producing chlorine at low water temperatures. When water temperatures drop into the 60′s, very little chlorine output is generated, even though your salt cell is working overtime. Many salt systems will shut down, in a self-protection mode, when low water temps are sensed. This of course, is not a big deal for spas and hot tubs – as long as you keep the water 65° or higher, you’ll have no problems.

  • Bromine is Better

consBromine does have certain qualities that make it better than chlorine, as Jack wrote in his recent blog, Bromine vs. Chlorine in hot tubs. He points out that bromine is more stable at higher temperatures and pH levels. But most of the argument is made against Tablet Chlorine, not chlorine generated from salt, which although still chlorine, has far fewer of the downsides of using tablet or granular chlorine.

 

pros-and-cons-saltwater-hot-tub - pub domain imagesSaltwater hot tubs are still using chlorine, but it’s not your father’s chlorine – it’s pure chlorine, or hypochlorous acid, and can’t be compared to the tablet type. I love my Saltron Mini salt system in my spa. I’ve had it installed for nearly a year now, and other than add some replacement salt, I haven’t had to touch it. I still test the water, and shock the spa weekly, but my water balance is more steady and the water feels and smells great. And no corrosion damage!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Choosing the Best Hot Tub Cover Lift

April 21st, 2014 by

spa-cover-lifts

Hot tub cover lifts are the best aftermarket item you can buy for your spa or hot tub. When I originally bought my Baja spa, my husband and I thought we didn’t need a lift, and saved a little money on the overall cost.

We quickly discovered how important a cover lifter is; it’s pretty much impossible for one person to remove a spa cover by themselves. If we didn’t get injured, our spa cover probably would get damaged.

But, how to choose the best hot tub cover lift for your particular spa? After all, there are a lot of differences between the 10 hot tub cover lifts that we sell. Here’s a guide to help you compare spa cover lifts, narrow down the choices, and find the hot tub cover lift that’s best for you.

Shape of Your Hot Tub

Some of our hot tub covers are meant to fit round tub shapes, and others won’t work on round at all. In our spa cover lift comparison chart, below, you can see that we have about 4 hot tub cover lifts that fit round and square spas, and another 6 cover lifts that will fit onto square spas, or straight sided spas.

Size of Your Hot Tub

This is not usually a concern, unless you have a very large tub, like a swim spa. Most of our hot tub cover lifts will work on a spa up to 8′ across, and a few cover lifts will fit spas up to 10′ across. If your spa is larger than that, you probably have a 4-panel or larger cover, in which case, you may use two cover lifters, one on each end of the spa.

Clearance Required

This one is super important – some hot tub cover lifts require very little clearance, or space beside the spa to flip and store the cover off of the spa. But other cover lifts can require as much as 4 feet of space, because they hold the cover parallel to the floor. Some cover lifts also require side clearance, for the arms to swing on either side of the spa.

hot-tub-cover-lift-comparison-chart-5

Assisted Cover Lifts

All of the covers use a fulcrum principle, or lever, to assist in the opening and closing of the spa cover, but those with gas shocks give an extra assist when opening the spa cover, and then allows the spa cover to close more gently. Gas shock assistance is especially helpful when a spa cover begins to take on some moisture and the weight increases.

Cover Lift Costs

Not a huge difference in prices, but spa cover lifts currently range in price from $100-$225. The cheaper hot tub cover lifts are still very durable, but have a much simpler design, and may have fewer materials. Since they are all fairly close in price, may I suggest that you focus on features and what will seem to work best on your spa.

Warranty

The warranty for hot tub cover lifts are either 1yr or 5 yr, but unlike our spa cover warranties, lift warranties are pretty tight – you know, “Acts of God, Vandalism, Neglect, Abuse, Modification are not covered by this warranty…”. But, from my experience here in our returns/warranty department, warranty issues are rare anyway for spa cover lifters.

hot-tub-cover-lift-comparison-chart-3

Cover Lift Attachment Method

Most people cringe at the idea of drilling large bolts into the side of their new spa cabinet. About half of our spa cover lifts require drilling into the cabinet, to mount the mechanism in place. The other models slide under the spa, with a large plate to keep it in position – and some cover lifts have the option of installing into the cabinet, or under the spa.

Cover Storage Position

Some hot tub cover lifts place the cover down against the side of the spa, some stick up just a foot or so, and other spa cover models hold the spa cover in a full, upright position. The upright spa cover can be good for privacy and as a wind block – unless you are in an area of very high winds! Most of the above-spa stored covers warn against using the cover in winds over 10 mph.

If you have specific questions about your spa cover lifts  – please give us a call. We have experts with all the information at their fingertips, to answer any question or concern you may have and help you select the best hot tub cover lift – for you!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Beginner’s Guide to Spa & Hot Tub Care

April 7th, 2014 by

spa-care-and-maintenanceSpa and Hot Tub Maintenance – take a deep breath, this isn’t so hard. And if things get out of control, you can always drain the spa and start over. :-)

For the new spa owner, or for a person who is new to spa maintenance, I have some tips to maintain water chemistry and spa equipment, along with some regular maintenance and cleaning duties to keep your spa water clean and ready for use!

If you’ve seen my post on the Secret to Hot Tub Water Chemistry ~ you’d know the secret. In short, test the water and make small adjustments to pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Sanitizer level – with regularity. ideal-spa-chemical-levelsRegular testing would mean testing the spa water 2-4 times per week, and making adjustments as needed, to keep your levels in the proper ranges. Keeping a log is a good idea, just writing down your test results, and any notes on adjustment.

Tap water is pretty good spa water, in most areas. But in some areas, and you know where you are – there is soft water or hard water or high alkalinity and pH, or high levels of chloramines, or metals and minerals. You can test your tap water with your test kit, or when testing after a drain and refill, you can measure the suitability of your tap water as spa water. Using a Spa Pre-Filter removes metals, odors and the finest silt from your spa fill water.

Back to the matter at hand, in addition to testing and adjusting the spa water chemistry 2-4x per week, there are other duties and tasks that need to be done to maintain overall spa health.

Clean the Spa Filter

spa-filter-assemblyThe spa filter can be located under the skimmer basket, and accessed from inside the spa, or it can be a small tank that is opened up underneath the spa, to clean or replace the filter. If underneath the spa, you may have a valve that can be shut to prevent water from rushing out when you open the filter. Loosening a large nut or just turning the filter body counter clockwise is the usual method to access the filter cartridge. Some water spillage is inevitable when opening it up, but if you are careful it can be very little.

If your spa filter has a pressure gauge attached to it, the cartridge needs cleaning when the pressure rises 8-10 lbs, or when flow is noticeably reduced. If you have no gauge on your filter, you should clean the filter on a regular schedule. hasta-la-vista-babyI clean my own filter cartridge every 4-8 weeks, depending on how often I use the spa. If my hot tub is being used a few times per week, I’ll clean the filter every four weeks, or monthly.

Replace your spa filter every 12-24 months, again depending on usage. Another way to do it is to change it every 10-15 cleanings, because that’s what really breaks down a cartridge. Every time it’s cleaned, fibers loosen up and it loses a little bit of dirt trapping ability. Keep track of your spa filter’s age or cleaning cycles, because at some point soon it’s gonna be Hasta la Vista, baby!

Clean the Spa

skimmer-netA full cleaning of the waterline and surfaces can be done when the spa is drained. Just be sure not to use any old household cleaner or soap. If you are going to use any chemical on your spa surfaces, use something like our Spa Cleaner, to keep out phosphates, nitrates and who knows what else.

Vacuuming the spa can be accomplished with small vacuums that are either battery powered, or garden hose powered. The Pool Blaster vacuums are battery operated and fast to use, or you can use the Grit Getter to suck up the little grains that gather in the corners. The Spa Vac connects to your vacuum hose for fast vacuuming of even large leaves.

Floating debris can be removed with a skimmer net, or if you left the cover off during a windstorm and it’s full of leaves, it can also be used to scoop up the larger leaves under the water.

Air-Out the Spa Cover

One of the most important things you can do to help your spa cover live a long healthy life of service is to remove it at least twice per week. Use the spa cover lifter to completely remove it, or gently place it off the spa if you don’t have a spa cover lift. Give your cover a few hours to breathe and shake off some of the constant heat and moisture. spacover-cleaner-and-conditionerThis is also a good time to add chemicals or shock the spa, if you aren’t using it at the time.

Another spa cover maintenance item is cleaning and conditioning the vinyl spa cover. Especially if your spa cover is outside, spa cover cleaner removes airborne oils and dirt, tree sap and pollen while cover conditioner replenishes the vinyl plasticizers that keep your spa cover vinyl covering soft, strong and looking great.

Add Fill Water

This is so often forgotten, and if the skimmer starts to suck air, in could damage the pump, in some situations. The water level should be in the middle of the skimmer intake, or a little higher. You don’t want it too high, and you never want to over-flow the spa, so keep a close eye on it while filling!remote-hose

Keep a garden hose close-by. If your garden hose is too far away, set up a sub-spigot by running a hose from a splitter on your current spigot, to a spigot that is mounted on a stake. Then you always have a hose right next to the spa for filling or topping off the hot tub water level.

To take care of 95% of spa care tasks, just remember to…

dont-forget-

  • Test and adjust your spa 2-4x per week
  • Clean the spa filter every 4-8 weeks, replace every 1-2 yrs
  • Keep the spa clean; drain & refill every 2-4 months
  • Air-Out the spa cover twice per week
  • Add water as needed to keep it full

 

Until next time;

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Exercises for Arthritis in the Hot Tub

March 10th, 2014 by

deviant-art-fibro-myalgia

Arthritis is a painful swelling and stiffness in the joints. The human body contains over 350 joints between bones, large and small. Arthritis pain is most common in hands, feet, knees and back, but can also flare up in other parts of the body.

Over 20% of the US population have some form of arthritis or other related rheumatic disease. Of these, over 60% are women, particularly women over 40 years of age.

I count myself among these sufferers – having mild arthritic pain in my knees, ankles and fingers. On most days, it’s hardly noticeable – but then there are those days – when I’m not taking care of myself – too much stress, and not enough exercise and eating right.

Exercises for Arthritis

The hot tub is the perfect place for soothing relief from arthritis pain. Warm water increases blood flow to reduce painful swelling, and improves range of motion as the muscles relax. The water’s buoyancy makes exercise easier and makes injury less likely.

Range of Motion Exercises

wrist-flexionOne of the side effects of Arthritis is limited mobility in the joints. This condition worsens without exercises to move the joints through their full range of motion. Wrist, ankle, knee, fingers – just about any joint in the body can improve flexibility and range of motion with some simple flexion and extension.

These exercises are best done slowly and rhythmically, in sets of 5 or 10 motions. With practice, you should be able to increase the range of motion, but be careful not to over-extend your joints. Take it slow and steady, for a short duration of 5-15 minutes.

Stretching Exercises

There’s a lot of stretching involved in range of motion exercises, but greater benefit and relief to arthritis symptoms can be gained by actively stretching the muscles and ligaments that connect the joints. For instance, if your pain is primarily in the knee, devise some easy stretches for calf and thigh muscles.hot-tub-yoga-

Yoga moves can be incorporated into your stretching routine. Some of my favorite yoga poses to do in the spa are listed on Gina’s blog post about Hot Tub Yoga. If you are familiar with Tai Chi – a warm water spa is an ideal place to practice your moves!

Breathing Exercises

lungsTake it easy, and remember to breath deeply during range of motion and stretching exercises, just as during any other type of exercise. I like to imagine that I am drawing the air directly to the body area that I’m exercising.

For myself, I typically practice a few full yogic breaths before and after I stretch. I place my hands behind my head and first breath deeply into my belly for a 4-count, then open up the sides of my rib cage for 5-6, and then fill my upper chest as I count 7-8. Then a slow 8-count exhale in the opposite direction (chest-ribs-belly).

 

Other Thoughts on Hot Tub Exercises for Arthritis

  • Warm – Not Hot! The Arthritis Foundation recommends warm water of 92-100 degrees.
  • Consult your physician before beginning any program of physical exercise.
  • Buddy-Up! Don’t use the spa alone, or have someone keep an eye on you.
  • Limit your spa sessions to 30 minutes maximum.
  • Fluids! Drink water or juice before, during and after hot tub exercise.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Infused Spa Waters to Drink in the Hot Tub

March 4th, 2014 by

fruit-cooler

When we normally speak of spa water, we are talking about the water in a tub. Today however, we look at Spa Water from another perspective. it’s common for resort spas to offer naturally flavored water to their guests – some people call it ‘spa water’.

Hot Tubs and Spas are great for ridding the body of toxins, cleansing the pores and skin. When you put good stuff inside of you while in the hot tub, you can ramp up the detox effects with natural fruit coolers that are easy to make, and so good for you!

Most of these infused water recipes have 3 ingredients, but in a pinch, 2 is OK. Get inventive! Raid the fridge for herbs, fruits and roots and the cabinet for spices and extracts.

Not to complicate things, but I am also a spa fragrance user, and of course I have quite a selection, big bottles of my favorites, and lots of samples of different exotic fragrances. The challenge is to try to match the essence of the cooler with the spa fragrance.  I’ve made some suggestions below.

 

Healthy Hot Tub Coolers

1. Honeydew, Cucumber, Lime, Mint - [recipe] Refreshing and invigorating, these ingredients settle digestion, reduce water weight and increase metabolism. A glass or two can help stave off after dinner hunger. If you are missing 1 or 2 or the ingredients, it’s still delicious! Pair this cleansing cooler with aromatherapy like the Elixirs Eucalyptus Mint, or the Crystals Cucumber-Melon spa aromatherapy.

honeydew-cuc-lime-mint

2. Raspberry, Rose, Vanilla – [recipe] Rich and exotic, Mash up the raspberries to release their color and rub together just a few natural rose petals (without any chemicals – organic flowers only). One vanilla bean, or you can substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (almond is good, too!). This cooler will relax and soothe, and can be easily matched with other Vanilla scents or Paradise Floral spa aromatherapy scents.

Raspberry-rose-vanilla

3. Citrus, Strawberry, Green Tea - [recipe] – Green tea has many health benefits, but you don’t have to drink it warm! It’s the perfect base for citrus, using a blend of lemon, grapefruit and orange, to your taste. The strawberries and honey add a touch of sweetness, while the mint adds a bit of enthusiasm ~ you can pair this infused water drink with aromatherapy spa scents like Peony Green Tea Elixir, or the Jasmine spa crystals.

citrus

4. Strawberry, Kiwi, Mint – [recipe] Strawberries regulate sugar level, aid in digestion and immune system and cardiovascular health. Kiwi adds a natural tartness that’s a perfect complement to the dull sweetness of the berry. Mint speeds up metabolism and soothes. Take a big swig of this in the tub and I always feel calm, yet alert. To complement the flavors of this healthy infused water, try our Eucalyptus Mint or Kiwi Pear elixirs to add another dimension of relaxation.

Strawberry-Kiwi-water

 

Spa Water – it’s not just something on the outside of your body – add fruit infused water to your spa routine, and you’ll come out feeling great! It’s always encouraged to drink lots of fluids while you’re in a hot tub, infuse some fruit to your water for refreshing detox therapy. I try to drink 24 ounces during a 30 minute spa session. It’s become part of my necessary gear, before I head out to the spa.

Cheers!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spa Maintenance & Safety for Rental Home Hot Tubs

February 24th, 2014 by

cabin-spa

 

Do you own or operate a rental cabin or B&B with a hot tub for the guests to use? If so, you know that a spa can significantly increase the appeal of the property for renters, but that it also brings with it another layer of maintenance in between guest stays.

My husband and I have had a mountain home near Mammoth Lakes, Ca that we rent out when we are not using it, through a rental agency. Over the past 15 years, I have many stories to tell about our little mountain spa.

Like the time we found broken champagne glasses in the bottom, or the time we discovered it missing nearly 1/3 of the water, or the many times we have found it left uncovered, cranked up to the max and low on water.

Here’s a list of ways to improve management of your rental home hot tub, and reduce surprises and potential conflicts with your guests.

Signs

I’m a big believer in signs all around the house – small, tasteful signs that I print up and laminate. Here’s a sample of some useful signs around your spa:spa-rules-sign

  1. Spa Rules – Standard sign warning of potential health dangers.
  2. Spa Operation – Custom sign telling how to remove cover, turn on jets, air, heater, lights. How to add water if needed. How to shock if needed.
  3. Spa Closing – Sign by the door, reminding users to turn off the spa, replace the spa cover and latch it securely.
  4. Spa Heating – Tips on spa heating, troubleshooting checklist of simple fixes for the spa temperature.

 

Equipment

In order to be sure that our spa stays as sanitary as possible, we have a small inline brominator installed under the skirt, an ozonator, and we use a mineral stick. In most cases this amount of overkill is not needed, but it can be a little insurance against the occasional group of guests that really push sanitation to the limit, with heavy spa use.

The spa filter cartridge should be replaced every 6 months in a heavily used spa, or at least that’s the schedule we keep. We buy 6 at a time, and keep them stocked at the property. Same with the mineral sticks, which gets replaced at the same time.

Draining Schedule

We have a formula that we use to calculate when to drain the spa, based on the number of guests, but we also try to tell whether or not the spa has seen heavy use. The water level is always a good indicator, since most guests will never add water. If the water level is close to the level where we always leave it at, and other indicators don’t point to heavy spa use, we don’t drain the spa after each guest, but we vacuum, clean the filter, balance the chemistry and shock the spa.

However, in order to maintain a sanitary spa in your rental, you should drain and refill the spa if it looks like your guests really enjoyed it! Our spa gets drained about every month, but sometimes twice per month, if the unit has seen heavy usage, or if we rent to snowboarders (jk, lol).

Spa Safety

First off, the spa should be isolated on your property. If there are adjacent town homes or condos, a safety fence should be built around the patio, to cordon off the spa, and also add some privacy.

Secondly, a covered spa is always safer than an uncovered spa. Make sure your cover clips and straps are in good shape. A spa cover lifter should be installed to protect your spa cover and prevent guest injury.

Third, our Spa Rules sign makes these specific restrictions:

  1. Children under 14 with Adults only
  2. No single use, 2-4 people only
  3. No alcohol or drugs
  4. No pregnant women
  5. No Hypertensive people

Fourth, keep all spa chemicals safely stored, and out of the reach of children.

Fifth, make sure that your spa is in good electrical condition, without any chance of accidental electrocution.

What’s a Spa Worth?

Adding a spa or hot tub to your rental property will add another recreational element to your offerings, and will allow you to charge a premium – to at least cover the additional costs and maintenance involved. In our case, our property management company raised their price a set amount, and we have figured out our annual expenses for the spa. From there, we were able to figure out a fair amount to add to a night’s rental, which has by now, over the last 10 years ~ paid for the spa many times over!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Your Hot Tub Cover Stinks!

February 10th, 2014 by

smelly-spa-coversHey, no offense, but your hot tub cover smells bad. Maybe you’ve gotten used to it?

Don’t worry, it happens to most spa owners at some time or another; water is one of nature’s most erosive substances. Moisture seeps in and becomes trapped between the outer vinyl shell and the plastic wrapped foam cores. The warm, moist environment is perfect for mold and mildew and other forms of smelly stuff.

If moisture has penetrated further into the plastic wrapped foam core, the cover becomes waterlogged, which can quickly grow all sorts of dark and smelly slime, but also make the cover really difficult to remove, and not as effective at keeping the heat in the spa. Time for a replacement spa cover.

 

Smelly Hot Tub Cover ?!?

  • Broken or damaged. Cracked foam cores, ripped or worn spots, torn seams. A spa cover that loses it’s arched roof line, to keep water draining off correctly, will eventually begin to puddle water, which is probably time to buy a new spa cover! A spa cover with threadbare spots in the vinyl is also bad news, and although you can stave off the inevitable with a duct tape repair, the water will win, eventually.
  • Not Removed Regularly. Remove your spa top weekly for 2 hours of airing out. A better cover can withstand longer periods, but it’s a good habit to remove the cover and let it get some air on a weekly basis. If you can easily open the zipper to allow moisture to escape do so, but don’t remove fragile foam panels unless absolutely necessary.
  • Poorly Made. It’s easy to make a spa cover with tape and staples, but it won’t stop moisture very well. The best spa covers have foam panels vacuum-wrapped in 6 mil PE, with a single, continuous heat welded seam. Some covers don’t even try to keep the intense moisture from your spa from reaching the foam core, but a better spa cover uses a thicker vinyl cover, backed in 3 layers to keep outside moisture out, and on the inside, thick vinyl scrim heat welded to a thick internal barrier.
  • Bad Spa Water. If the spa water is not maintained regularly with sanitizer and filtering, or is not shocked often enough, bacteria and algae can take advantage of a hospitable environment to flourish. Low pH, high chlorine or high ozone levels can also deteriorate the underside of your spa cover. Because the cover is so close to the spa, it absorbs the chemistry of the spa. Clean, clear and sanitary water is the best environment to prevent smelly spa covers.
  • Not Cleaned / Conditioned. For outdoor spa covers, unless your back deck is covered or your spa is in a gazebo (which if it is, I’m jealous!), you have sun, rain, pollen, dust, pollution, and animals to contend with. If you have a partial roof, that can be worse than no roof at all, if an overhanging eave drains water onto the spa cover. Clean and condition a spa cover 2-4 times per year, so that it always looks great, and is protected from the elements.

Fix Your Hot Tub Cover!

  • Remove to Safe Location: This first step may seem obvious, but you need a good place to allow the cover to sit undisturbed from pets, wild animals, and winds. It should be a sunny location if possible, or a dry indoor location with low humidity can also be used.
  • Deodorize & Disinfect: You may not need to do both, it’s best to be as gentle as possible. Don’t use household cleaning products on your spa cover, strange chemicals can end up in your spa water. Gently clean all exterior surfaces with spa cover cleaner, and allow the panels to dry.
  • Remove the Panels: Again, this should be avoided if possible, because the panels could become damaged during removal or cleaning. But if you determine that there is something slimy inside, you can usually unzip and remove the panel for a cleaning inside and out. spa-cover-cleaner

Use a Spa Cover Cleaner to gently clean and deodorize your spa cover without phosphates, bleach, alcohol or who knows what. Follow label to gently clean with a soft cloth or dish sponge, rinse clean and dry. It removes most anything, from tree sap and berry stains to bird poop, pollen and pollution. Used regularly, it also protects against stains and repels dirt.

For extreme mold and mildew stains, a stronger disinfectant may be needed. If the initial cleaning has still left dark spots of mildew or mold on the inside surfaces of the spa cover vinyl, or on the outside of the wrapped foam core, you may try a diluted mix of bleach. Pour 1/2 cup of bleach into 1-2 cups of water, and use a sponge to apply bleach to small areas. Quickly wipe dry with a paper towel, rinse off and dry again.

spa-cover-conditioner-It’s best to use as little water as possible on the spa cover during cleaning, and to do it as often as needed. How often? If your spa is protected from most sun and rain, maybe twice per year. If it’s out in the open like mine, it should be 3-4 times per year. It only takes a few minutes to do honestly.

I clean my outdoor spa cover every 3-4 months, and then I let it dry. I come back a few hours later, put it on the spa and rub on the Spa Cover Conditioner, which goes on in under a minute. It always looks great!

And, I do remove my cover regularly, twice a week usually – and, I do keep my water balanced and sanitary. So, I’ve been lucky to have no odor problems with my spa cover lately!

Sometimes, the easiest cure for a smelly spa cover is to just buy a new spa cover – especially if the cover is 5 years or older.  A smelly spa cover simply means that your cover is taking on moisture, and things are beginning to grow!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works