Free Shipping on all Spa Covers and orders over $100
1-800-770-0292
Sunday - Saturday
7am - 7pm CST

Gina Galvin's Posts

6 Hot Tub Chemicals You Should Always Have

September 7th, 2017 by

If you are like most spa owners, you have more than 6 spa chemicals on hand, and like most of us, there is a larger collection of various spa chemicals, including sanitizers, balancers, clarifiers, cleaners and other specialty chemicals.

Every spa is different in terms of what is needed for proper and optimum water chemistry. Things like spa use frequency, number of users, cleanliness of users, filter size and effectiveness, pump run times, fill water quality and factors like sun, wind and rain can all call for different spa chemicals, at different times.

However, there exists a core set of spa chemicals that a hot tub owner should always keep in stock, because they are used more often than others. You will need other spa chemicals from time to time, to adjust water balance to proper ranges, or to control other water conditions, but keep a good stock of the basic inventory.

 


SANITIZERS

Every spa needs a means of controlling the ABC’s – algae, bacteria and contaminants, on a daily basis. When hot tubs first came on the scene, everyone used bromine tablets as the primary sanitizer. Bromine tablets are used with a bromine booster, to build up a bank of bromide ions, which can be easily regenerated by simply adding a shock oxidizer to the spa.

Many spas are outfitted with ozonators, which allow for much lower levels of bromine, or you can use a spa mineral stick to accomplish pretty much the same thing. Frog has two popular bromine+minerals floating sanitizers, the traditional Spa Frog floating system and the new round flip-floater, called @ease.

Chlorine tablets are not used as a spa sanitizer, because they dissolve too slowly, and lower pH and raise cyanuric acid levels, however Spa 56 by Leisure Time is a popular granulated chlorine that dissolves quickly and maintains a chlorine residual for 5-7 days.

SHOCK

Spa shock is in a class of chemicals known as oxidizers, because they will oxidize contaminants in the water, pipes and filter. Even though spa water may be clear, there exists at any given time, various ABC’s and other particles and byproducts that reduce sanitizer and filter effectiveness. Spa shocks destroy everything in the water, both inert particles and pathogenic organisms.

Shock your spa after each use, or every 7-10 days, whichever comes first. Shocking regularly is important to kill bacteria that may have escaped your daily sanitizer, and reduce build-up of oils, soap, skin, dust and other particles that enter the spa naturally. You can use chlorine spa shock or non-chlorine spa shock (MPS), they are both very effective.

CLARIFIER

Spa Clarifiers are positively charged polymers that are strongly attracted to negatively charge particles, which make water cloudy. They work by forming large clumps of very small particles, those that would normally pass right through your spa filter, making them easy for your filter to trap.

Clarifiers like Bright & Clear make the water more pure by removing dissolved solids, which increases the effectiveness of your sanitizers and shock. This in turn, makes your spa water last longer, increasing the length of time between water changes. Leisure Time’s  Protect Plus also adds a stain & scale additive, and Rendezvous’ Natural Clear adds an enzyme to remove oils and soaps from spa water.

pH DECREASER

At any given time, you may need either pH increaser -or- pH decreaser, but most people need the latter. Spas and hot tubs are small bodies of water, and with regular use, pH tends to rise in most spas. When pH rises above 7.8, sanitizers become less effective, and scale can form more easily. High pH is also a better breeding ground for algae and bacteria.

pH should be maintained in the 7.2-7.6 range, just slightly basic. If you are having trouble adjusting your pH, or if pH is very erratic, changing fast and often, test the Total Alkalinity of the spa water. 80-120 ppm is best, to provide a buffer for the pH level, helping it to remain steady for longer periods. Add Alkalinity increaser if below 80 ppm, and use pH decreaser to lower alkalinity levels in excess of 120 ppm.

COVER CONDITIONER

This one doesn’t need a long explanation, other than if you regularly condition the marine grade vinyl on your spa cover – it will look better, stay cleaner and last longer. Clean your spa cover first with a mild dish soap and a dish sponge to clean surfaces.

After drying, apply the spa cover conditioner to seal and protect the vinyl from rain, dirt, snow and sun. Regular use can add years to your cover lifespan by preventing breakdown and tears in the outer vinyl surfaces.

FILTER CLEANER

Hosing clean your spa filter gets most of the big stuff, but it won’t easily remove oils and mineral scale, which clog up the pores of spa filter cartridges. In such cases, the water pressure can push oil and minerals deeper into the fabric fibers, contributing to early failure.

Spa filter cleaners gently lift oils and mineral scale with a combination of mild acids and degreasers, like Rendezvous Filter Fresh or Leisure Time Filter Clean. Just soak your cartridge in a bucket or pail of water with the recommended amount of filter cleaner added, or use our own spray-on filter cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes, before rinsing clean.

 


 

As mentioned above, you may need other hot tub chemicals from time to time, but these are what I call the core set of chemicals – those that are needed most often, which are also (coincidentally) the most popular spa chemicals, or those that are purchased most often. I hope this was helpful!

 

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin

 

Spas & Hot Tubs in the News

June 9th, 2017 by

Reporter Gina on the job – rounding up news story from around the globe, about hot tubs and spas. I’ve been clipping news stories for months now, waiting for another chance to present Spas & Hot Tubs in the News )))).

Today’s line up is full of fun and feel good stories, well not all of them actually. Stories like these really show how much spas and hot tubs really are woven into the fabric of America. Not just a fad from a bygone era, people really like to soak in hot water!

 

Iceland Spa has Hot Tubs filled with Beer

3 guys in a beer hot tub, drinking beer

At the beer spa Bjorbodin, in Árskógssandur, Iceland they offer warm soaks in a wooden hot tub filled to the brim with beer, water, hops. Beer for drinking is also included, so please don’t drink the spa water. Just another reason to hop on a flight to Iceland, says the article. Full Story

 

Wanted: Hot Tub Stolen from Fairport Canal Days

By , D&C, June 5, 2017

Fairport police are looking for a hot tub stolen from a vendor during the annual Fairport Canal Days. Overnight, a Softub brand hot tub was stolen from a vendor. The 2-person hot tub is a tan T-150 Softub spa. Soft tubs are easily portable and weigh less than 75 pounds when empty, according to Softub. Full Story.

 

Former UMKC basketball coach has hot-tub problem solved

by , Fox4KC, May 12, 2017

Retired UMKC basketball coach Darrell Corwin had contacted Fox4 Problem Solvers because he wanted to warn the public about a hot tub repairman who had taken $800 from him and disappeared. After the story aired, that repairman returned Corwin’s money, but the news got even better. Watkins Hot Tubs called Problem Solvers. It recognized the 33-year-old tub in Corwin’s backyard as one of its own and wanted to give Corwin and his wife a new one. “It ended up I got the money and I got the hot tub,” Corwin said smiling. “I really appreciate it.” Full Story.

 

Hot Tub Huckster Barred for Life

By Doug Jenkins – WBGZ Radio, May 24, 2017

James Flanagan has operated businesses under the names of Hot Tub Addict, Hot Tub Recyclers and Two Guys and a Spa Dolly. He has been barred from selling hot tubs or offering hot tub moving or repair services in Illinois. He has also been ordered to pay $48,000 to defrauded customers. Better Business Bureau spokesman Don O’Brien says that incidents like this can tarnish the whole industry. Full Story.

 

Driver backs spas for a cause

By Staff, Independent Free Press, June 3, 2017

Race car driver Gary Klutt has teamed up with one of his sponsors, Pioneer Pools, for a cancer fundraiser, Spas for a Cause pink hot tub giveaway raffle, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society. Ballots are $5 each and can be purchased at a Pioneer Pools location or online at spasforacause.ca. Full Story.

 


 

Well that was fun! I hope you enjoy peeking into the news surrounding hot tubs, as much as I do! Much thanks to the original authors of these articles, keep them coming, your readers (like me) love to hear about spas and hot tubs!

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Save Money with House Brand Spa Chemicals

March 27th, 2017 by

If you are like me, you buy a lot of house-brand food at your grocery store, or if you opt for the house wine or house dressing at a restaurant, you know that house-brand products use the same recipe as national brands, but sell for a much lower price point.

It’s the same with our house brand spa chemicals – 12 Hot Tub Works branded chemicals for cleaning, balancing and sanitizing your spa water.

Hot Tub Works spa chemicals are made with the same recipe as Leisure Time or Rendezvous products, but without fancy 4 color bottles and a national advertising and sales force budget. As a result of these cost savings, you can save 20-30% on your hot tub chemical expenses. Now isn’t that nice.

 

Hot Tub Works Spa Cleaning Chemicals


HTW spa-hot-tub-cleaning-chemicals shown

 

Hot Tub Works Spa Water Balance Chemicals


HTW water balancers - spa and hot tub chemicals shown

  • Calcium Increaser: Use to raise Calcium Hardness into the range of 180-220 ppm.
  • pH Plus: Use to raise pH level into the range of 7.4-7.6.
  • pH Minus: Use to lower pH level into the range of 7.4-7.6. Also lowers Alkalinity.
  • Alkalinity Increaser: Use to raise Total Alkalinity into the range of 80-120 ppm.

 

Hot Tub Works Spa Accessory Chemicals


image showing brom booster, clarifier, spa protect adn spa metal out

  • Brom Booster: Bromide Ion booster to replace those lost after draining and refilling spas.
  • Spa Natural Clarifier: With Chiton, natural polymers to coagulate suspended particles.
  • Spa Protect: Metal and Mineral sequestering agent to protect shiny spa surfaces.
  • Spa Metal Out: Stain removal and prevention treatment for metals and minerals.

 

>>> We don’t manufacture every spa chemical that is available – but for these top selling 12 items, we are proud to have our own house brand of high quality spa chemicals available to you, at significant savings over name brand spa chemicals.

And if you buy hot tub chemicals during This Week’s Sale (changes weekly) you can save an additional 20%, or more!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Flooded Hot Tubs – What to do Next

January 16th, 2017 by

Tim Baker watches his spa float away - image by examiner.co.uk

We’re a California company, and with rain pelting the west coast for many months now, and many of more local customers have been calling and emailing us for help with damage caused by high winds, heavy rain, flooding and even mudslides.

During a 50-year or hundred year rain event, spas and hot tubs that are normally high and dry in all types of weather, can become flooded or can develop problems with sustained moisture and humidity.

What do you do after the storm?

rain-cloud-by-ocal-clkerIf your spa begins to flood, or has flooded – even if only a few inches deep, make sure to keep the spa power OFF, at the main circuit breaker. Do not use a spa that has flooded, and do not turn the power back on to the spa until you perform several important steps. You can add MPS or spa shock, to maintain the water while it is not being filtered.

 

inspect the cabinet equipment bay

If your spa is currently flooded, use a submersible pump like the Spa Drainer, to pump water downhill from the spa area, if waters are not receding on their own. Sand bags or trash bags filled with soil can be used around a spa or hot tub, allowing you to pump and clean the area around the spa or hot tub.

leaking-spa-pump-causesOpen up the equipment bay, when weather permits, to inspect the possible damage. Flood waters are usually dirty waters, so there is usually a visible waterline mark, like a bathtub ring. Look for evidence of how high the flood waters were inside the spa cabinet, and look to see if it rose over any electrical equipment. Did the water rise high enough to submerge the jet pump or circ pump, or an air blower? Did it rise over the spa controller, and specifically was it deep enough to touch the (gasp!) circuit board?

Spa pumps and blowers submerged only slightly fair pretty well, once they are dried completely. Most spa jet therapy pumps that have been fully submerged, they will likely need to be replaced. If only partially submerged briefly, while not running, spa circ pumps can be removed and dried internally, and sometimes will still work.

Control panels – the motherboard, the PCB or main circuit board. If the spa control was not energized (power off), during the flood event, there is a better chance of survival, after a proper drying of the circuit board and connections. Most spa controllers can be opened up, to inspect the main board and connections. Look at the board and connections closely, for any signs of damage, specifically electrical burn marks or corrosion, on the circuit board and on the wire connections.

Spa heaters are often not harmed in a flooded spa situation, as long as the spa was not powered when the flooding happened. Flow through heaters are sealed pretty tightly, and do not have a circuit board or an electric motor, so the heater may be safe from harm.

 

Dry out the cabinet equipment bay

It doesn’t just happen from heavy rain and flooding rivers, flooded spa equipment also happens people fill or top-off their hot tub, and forget about it overnight, as occasionally happens!

spa-controllerA wet/dry vac can be used to clean up puddled water, or use some old towels, to remove remaining water and clean the deposited silt and dirt. As weather permits, dry out the equipment bay by keeping the cabinet door open. Set up fans to circulate drying air into and through the cabinet.

If your hot tub equipment was completely submerged (water depths of 12″ or more), remove the spa pack or equipment to a dry and cool area within the home. This will allow for faster and more precise drying of the electrical equipment and connections, but some motors or circuit boards may not recover.

You can replace individual spa equipment parts, like pumps, blowers, heaters or ozonators. Your spa pack controller can also be repaired, or if your spa system already has 10 years on it, a new spa pack may be the best decision.

There are other spa electrical parts in there too, like contactors, cords and connectors, and thermostats, time clocks and transformers. Everything has to be dry before you turn the power back on.

 

Turn on Power at Circuit Breaker

After a complete drying out of your spa equipment (please see above), you are ready to turn the circuit breaker back on. Flip the main spa circuit breaker back to on, and any secondary cut-off box between the breaker box and the spa.

hot tub flooding, what to do after the storm

Check your topside control panel for any troubleshooting messages, or error codes. If your spa survived the storm successfully, you can proceed to put it through some paces, checking operation of lights, pump, heater, blower, etc.. If you find trouble however…

Circuit Breaker Trips: This usually points to damaged equipment, pumps or heaters. Disconnect electrical equipment one by one, to find out which load is causing the breaker to trip; heater, pump, blower, ozonator, light?

GFCI Trips: If the red reset button on the GFCI keeps popping out, it could be moisture related, be sure that everything has been completely dried out.

Nothing Trips, still won’t work: Check for Fuses that may have blown on your spa pack. If fuses are ok, circuit board may be faulty.

 

That’s it for now – be safe out there California, we love you!

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Great Gifts for Hot Tubbers

December 5th, 2016 by

holiday-gifts-for-hot-tubbers
So many of my friends and co-workers have hot tubs, I get a large portion of my Christmas gifts just by walking out to the warehouse; and paying for it of course.

Problem is, I’ve done this so many years now, that it’s becoming harder to give a gift that I’ve not already given before!

I wrote about hot tub gifts 3 years ago, in the first version of 10 Gifts for Spa Owners. This year, I’ve pulled out all the stops in this new list of gift ideas for hot tubbers, to find fun & unique spa accessories, that I haven’t gifted before!

 


 

spa-side-patio-heaterSpa Side Patio Heater

When the weather outside turns cool at night, having a free-standing propane patio heater sitting next to the tub is sooo nice. Once only affordable for high end restaurant patios, prices for full size patio heaters have sunk to levels that everyone can afford. For instance, AZ Patio Heater has a model for $180, with 48K BTU output, it stands over 87″ tall. Adjustable flame lets you dial in the amount of heat output and wheels allow you to tip and move the heater around to different locations on your patio or deck.

 

hot-tub-umbrellasCantilevered Umbrella

A hot tub umbrella is great for providing shade over the hot tub, for spas that are out in the open. Shade also protects your spa cover and spa cabinet from UV rays, but the most common reason to use an umbrella over a spa is to block rain and snow while you are using the tub. Sure, a soft rain or lightly falling snow can be nice while in a spa, but too much of a good thing can spoil your soak. What once cost thousands of dollars a decade ago is now affordable, these 9′ diameter hot tub umbrellas make great gifts, at $299.

 

towel-warmerTowel Warmer

For the ultimate spa experience, what’s better than toasty towels? Roll up two towels, close the lid and turn it on. A 50 minute timer shuts off the appliance automatically, for safety reasons, but that’s perfect for a hot tub session, which shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes. Like many of the items on this page, towel warmers were once found only at high end resorts, and cost nearly $1000 when first introduced. Nowadays, they make affordable gifts and everyone can buy an electric towel warmer, for just $90 on Hammacher Schlemmer.

 

custom-hot-tub-signsCustom Hot Tub Rules Sign

Amusing and whimsical, custom hot tub rules signs collect the most common hot tub sayings like “what happens in the tub stays in the tub”, or “Clothing Optional”, or you can opt for tamer messaging about relaxation. Custom signs, available on Etsy and other craft sites, allow you to order it with custom sayings, or include the family name, as in Galvin Family Hot Tub Rules. For about $50 you can give a wooden, hand painted, custom spa sign to your friends with hot tubs.

 

 

napa-chiller-bucketLED Champagne Bucket

One of the coolest new spa products this year, the Napa Bottle Chiller with LED lights is a fun way to keep your favorite beverage cold (or hot), while casting a cool glow, in 24 different colors, and several brightness settings. Rechargeable battery fully charges in just 4-5 hours, with the included AC plug, or use the optional solar charger when using outdoors as a planter (you can use it as a planter or as a champagne bucket). At just $99, the Napa Bottle Chiller makes a great hot tub gift for any budget.

 

LED-wine-glassesLED Plastic Goblets

A primary hot tub rule is No Glass, broken wine glasses or tumblers in the spa can be dangerous. Glass sinks quickly to the bottom, and small shards of glass under your bottom would not be a pleasant thing, and may mean you have to drain the spa for a complete cleaning. LED wine glasses are liquid activated, and shut off when the glass is empty. Internal LED batteries last for years. You’ll find LED wine glasses, rocks glasses and champagne flutes at Wayfair, starting at $37 for a set of six glasses.

 

underwater-light-show-and-bluetooth-speakerUnderwater Light Show

This product is one of the more fun gifts for hot tubbers. A floating LED lamp that creates a disco ball effect with a splash of psychedelic colors. It’s actually made for pools, but in the small space of a hot tub or spa the effect is much more dramatic. Underwater Light Show has 7 color changing light shows, with auto shut-off. Runs on 3 AA batteries, included in the kit for just $20. We also have the Bluetooth Floating Speaker & Underwater Light Show, for $60. Rechargeable unit connects to any bluetooth device to play music through the speaker while displaying any type of light show you select.

 

i-love-my-hot-tub-coffee-mugHot Tub Drink Mugs

Hot Tub novelty gifts include T-shirts, caps and of course coffee mugs. I ♥ Hot Tubs, being the most common saying printed on mugs, but you can also find “Keep Calm, Hot Tub ON”, or “This is not a Coffee Mug, it’s a Hot Tub for my Donuts”. Lol, but seriously every hot tub owner should have at least one with a Hot Tub cartoon, or some reference to your hot tub. And not just for coffee, you can use a Hot Tub Mug for hot chocolate or hot tea, and take a steaming mug into the tub. Find them at Zazzle, from $15.

 

digital-spa-test-strip-readerDigital Test Strip Reader

For the colorblind, or ‘hue challenged’, estimated to affect nearly 5% of the population, a digital spa test strip reader is the perfect gift! Even if you can discern between shades of pink and yellow, using a digital strip reader will definitely improve your accuracy, and you may even test the hot tub water more often. Test results in just 15 seconds, with low/high indicators and it stores the previous 9 test results. The AquaCheck TruTest Digital Strip Reader is only $51, and available right here at Hot Tub Works.

 

spa-hot-tub-gift-basketHot Tub Gift Basket

One of my favorite hot tub gifts for the new hot tub owner, is to send them a basket filled with spa goodies. I get the basket and some straw paper at Michaels, and roll up a few inexpensive but colorful towels, and then add useful spa accessories like a cute ducky Thermometer, Spa Test Strips, Spa Crystals, and maybe a pack of Waterproof Cards. Small spa cleaning supplies, like a Grit Getter, Tub Scrubber, Scum Balls or a Pre-Filter also fit nicely in the basket, or the Spa Cover Care Kit makes a nice $50 present for any spa owner.

 


 

Have a very happy holiday season, I’ve already given Santa my wish list, with many of these fun new hot tub gift ideas, which I can’t wait to use! If you want more ideas for hot tub owner gifts, see my earlier post on the same topic ~

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa Preppers – Hurricane Spa Protection

November 14th, 2016 by

hot-tubs-vs-hurricanes
Spas and Hot Tubs that sit aboveground in the backyard have a lot to contend with. Rain, Sun and Snow take their own toll on your spa cabinet and spa cover, but Hurricanes are on a whole ‘nuther level.

Hurricane winds have been known to pick up and hurl hot tubs across the yard or flip them into the house. Flooding around your spa or tub is also common from drenching rains that last for days.

For our friends in Hurricane Alley, which is a large portion of eastern and gulf coast states, here’s how to prep your spa for hurricane force winds and flooding.

protecting your spa from hurricane winds

hurricane--istkHurricane force winds can’t be prevented, but you can do several things to protect your spa from high winds. First and foremost is a well-planned location, using the back of the house to block winds or sculpting the earth and patio to wrap around a spa. But aside from that, follow these tips:

DON’T DRAIN THE HOT TUB: The weight of the water inside the spa is important to keeping it in one place.

DO ADD EXTRA SANITIZER: Load up a spa floater with bromine tabs, or add granular sanitizer to hold the water in the event of power loss.

STRAP DOWN THE SPA COVER: Check your spa cover clips for proper tension, you should need to push down on the cover slightly to release the clip, they should be taut and fairly tight, to prevent heat loss and prevent wind from getting under the spa cover skirt. For extra protection for spa covers, use our High Wind Straps for spa covers, also known as Hurricane Straps, coincidentally. These over-the-top straps can hold your cover down even in the strongest winds, which have been known to rip spa cover straps and send a spa cover flying, damaging it beyond repair of course. To protect your cover from damage from flying debris, you can place a sheet of cut plywood over top of the spa cover, but you must hold it down tight with Hurricane Straps, or a heavy webbed strapping at least 2″ wide.

REMOVE THE PROJECTILES: Anything that is not strapped down can become a projectile when the winds really start blowing. Even heavy planters and steel patio furniture can become airborne or be thrown against your spa or the sliding glass door to the house. If there is time, pruning trees and removing downed branches quickly to a safe area can help reduce the chances of damage from flying tree branches.

protecting your spa from hurricane flooding

hurricane--istkThe second danger that comes with a hurricane or tropical storm event is the possibility for flooding around the spa, submerging electrical motors and spa packs. First and foremost is a well-planned location on high ground, but aside from that, follow these tips:

SHUT OFF THE POWER: On the main breaker, cut all power to the hot tub by shutting off the circuit breaker for the spa or hot tub. This simple step can prevent electrification of the tub and nearby spaces, and could save a life when hot tubs flood.

SAND BAGS: Old school, but a tried and true method of keeping a spa from flooding. Build a wall around the hot tub with bags filled with sand. Don’t have sand or sand bags? Fill heavy duty plastic garbage bags with 50-100 lbs of soil or gravel. Don’t build a wall with lumber, block or brick, which don’t work well, and could be blown away in strong winds.

SUMP PUMP: A submersible pump can be used to pump out water that seeps through a sand bag wall and prevent a flooded hot tub. Larger pumps, like the Spa Drainer 1/3 HP pump, are powerful enough to keep encroaching flood water levels from rising. Pumping 3000 gallons per hour, the Spa Drainer pump drains the average spa in 5-7 minutes.

If your spa or hot tub has flooded, above the level of the pump or blower motors, or over the spa control box, keep the power safely off. Close valves or drain spa, to remove affected equipment to a dry location where they can be opened up and dried out. In most cases, flooded motors or spa packs will need to be replaced, but if wet only briefly, they can sometimes be dried out and work fine.

Tim Baker watches his spa float away - image by examiner.co.uk

Tim Baker watching as his spa floats away…

 

Hurricanes can be Deadly, the most important thing is protecting your own safety. Don’t risk accidents to yourself by working outside trying to protect the spa. When the winds top 50 mph, you’ve done all you can do – time to head for shelter.

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

15 Hot Tub Deck Surround Ideas

August 22nd, 2016 by

cool-hot-tub-surrounds
Spas and hot tubs by themselves are wonderful, but when they are just plopped onto the back patio, they can look kinda plain.

For designers, the spa or hot tub is a focal point, and hot tub surrounds are used to dress it up and provide conveniences and privacy.

Today we look at some elegant ways to add a hot tub surround, or custom hot tub decks to ‘frame and set’ your spa or hot tub.

1. Marquis Spas accessory package paired with some big pots makes this spa blend well with the surrounding open patio.

Marquis Spa Hot Tub Surround Kit

2. Attractively designed wood spa surround wrapped in sturdy foliage that adds color and comfort all year long.

Hot Spring Spa with wood deck surround

3. Stone hot tub surround with a cinder block foundation, wrapped in faux stacked stone and topped with flagstone.

hot-tub-surrounds-3

4. Hot tub surround is capped with a cabana and wrapped with a wet bar and wood step and box planter.

Caldera hot tub surround

5. Jacuzzi wrapped in rocks is set 2 ft lower and hidden with large boulders and colorful plants.

Baja Spa with rock surround

6. This lighted Pergola roof with lattice privacy wall is extended to include a side table, or with large pillow, a lounge.

Jacuzzi spa with wood pergola and lattice

7. Wrap the spa in stained planks and add a stack of steps with down lighting. Add a custom fence and bamboo planters.

wood cabinet and steps plans for spa shell

8. When your neighbors are this close, a proper privacy fence can help you enjoy your spa more.

wood hot-tub-surround and deck with seating and privacy wall

9. And for privacy at home, use large hedges, vine trellises, ornamental grass or bamboo around the hot tub.

hot tub surrounded by tall hedge, grasses, bamboo

10. Two more examples of a 4-post structure to mount lattice walls and side tables around a hot tub.

Hot tub with Pergola and Cabana

11. Close slat fence is capped with a vine trellis. Separate seating area, just off the Master bedroom. Sweet!

hot tub deck wood surround, off master bedroom

12. Inground tile spa kit by Signature with a beautiful hot tub surround and seating area. Tiki torch!

Inground tile hot tub wrapped in wood

13. If you have a real hot tub, wooden barrel type, wrap around wood stairs are popular.

classic wood hot tub step and wrap around

14. Japanese inspired spa gazebo surrounds the spa with sliding window panels and roll screens for a quiet retreat.

Hot tub gazebo, classic Japanese Hot House style

15. Hand Carved Concrete by Artiststone, created this impressive hot tub surround to blend with the natural surroundings.

hand carved concrete spa steps, faux stone

 

I hope these ideas on how to surround your hot tub was what you were looking for! If you’ve grown tired of your current hot tub surroundings, dress it up with wood and stone, and wrap it in plants to soften the surround.

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Cover Clip Replacement

August 8th, 2016 by

spa-cover-clip-repair
At Hot Tub Works, we specialize in hot tub covers, so it’s natural that we spend a lot of time talking about them. Down to the smallest details in fact, like the spa cover straps and the locking clips that allow you to safely secure your spa cover.

Spa cover clips aren’t the most exciting topic I’ve ever written about (yawn), but a question that we answer all the time – that is, “how do you replace hot tub cover clips?”

There are three ways to replace hot tub cover clips. Cut the Strap, Cut the Clip or Sew the Strap.

 

CUT THE STRAP METHOD

strap-slide-buckleSpa cover straps are usually a 12-15″ of vinyl or woven mesh, folded over in half, after the clip is slid onto the strap. Cutting the strap requires that you use a backpack type of strap slide buckle placed on the strap above the clip, to re-join the strap after cutting one end of the strap, leaving the other end attached to the cover skirt. Slide buckles can be found at most fabric stores, or taken from an old backpack you no longer use. If your strap is doubled over, cut one end where it attaches to the cover. If you have a single strap (not folded over), cut the strap near the end, just to cut off the old clip, and re-position the latch mechanism if needed for a slight tension on the strap.

 

CUT THE CLIP METHOD

hot-tub-cover-clip-replacementAdditional stitching may be sewn in above the locking clip on a single strap (not folded over). This method of replacing spa cover clips is to use a hacksaw or sheers to cut a small gap in the outside of the plastic edge of the cover clip. Slide the new clip through the gap, and with slow pushing, slide the strap and clip into position. Sliding the cut clip over the strap loop is shown here in the image, and inset, a spa cover clip that has been cut, with a piece of paper between.

 

SEW THE STRAP METHOD

an-awl-for-sewing-hot-tub-cover-strapsThere is one more method that is available to you, you could cut the strap just above the clip, and instead of using a strap slide (shown above) to rejoin the strap, you could use an Awl, to sew or stitch the strap back together again. An Awl can be found in nearly any fabric store, or fabric section of department stores for under $10. Use thin cotton string or extra thick polyester thread to sew the strap end to itself, after you run it through the cover clip and fold it over. Stitching it up with an awl only takes 10 minutes to do a good job. Re-position the latch if necessary, to make a snug, but not overly tight strap tension.

 

PRO TIP: When installing or re-installing the lower latch mechanism to the spa skirt, the strap tension is important. Too much puts strain on the cover locks, but if the strap is too loose it makes it easier for children to remove, and easier for wind to get up under the cover.

Make the strap just tight enough so that a person needs to slightly push down on the spa cover with one hand, while unlatching the cover clip with the other hand. Only when straps are taut do they offer real safety protection for children and guard against wind damage.

 


 

Hot tub locking cover clips tend to become brittle and break easily after years in hot sun and frozen winters. If it’s not time to buy a new spa cover, fix your spa cover straps, to protect your cover from high winds, keep out small children, and large animals!

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Heaters: Gas vs. Electric

July 7th, 2016 by

spa-heaters-gas-vs-electric
In the old days, all hot tub heaters were gas-fired heaters; small pool heaters specifically. And most hot tubs were not hot all the time, and not covered with a thick insulated spa top; they were heated up on demand.

When portable spas came on the market in the late 70’s, manufacturers were looking for a way to market a plug and play appliance that could be easily installed without too much hassle. The Spa Pack was born, an integrated electric heater and controller system.

Nowadays, most spas and hot tubs are heated with an electric heating element, tucked into a stainless steel tube. Gas heat is always an option however… which is better? Today they fight it out, to the finish – Gas Spa Heaters Vs. Electric Spa Heaters!

 

hayward-gas-spa-heaterGAS SPA HEATERS

Gas spa heaters such as the Hayward H-100 or the Raypak 106A, powered by either propane or natural gas are used on inground spas, free standing wooden hot tubs, or even for portable spas, installed outside of the heater cabinet. A gas line is connected to the heater by a gas contractor to provide a constant supply of fuel, which is ignited by spark ignition.

 

PROS: Gas spa heaters do have some benefits, including:

  1. Low Operation Cost: Natural gas has become less expensive in recent years. Propane gas is more costly, but produces slightly more BTU’s than NG.
  2. Fast Heating: Gas heaters are the clear winner in the speed of heating competition. A gas spa heater can add 1-2° per minute, but an electric heater can take an hour to add a few degrees. This lets you keep the spa at a lower resting temp, and heat it up quickly.
  3. Overcomes Obstacles: For large spas over 700 gallons, or for poorly insulated spas or wooden hot tubs that are used year around in freezing climates, electric spa heaters can cost a small fortune to operate as compared to gas heat.

CONS: Gas spa heaters have a downside, like most everything, including:

  1. Higher Initial Cost: A gas spa heater costs about $1000, plus it needs to have a gas line connected to the natural gas meter (or the propane tank). Costs for a buried gas line vary on the distance of the meter to the heater, and can exceed the price of the heater itself.
  2. They’re Gas: For those of you concerned about the safety of gas appliances, with possible gas leaks and carbon monoxide exhaust, accidents with gas spa heaters rarely happen, but they do happen.
  3. External Installation: Not that they are ugly, but you can’t tuck a gas heater underneath a portable spa, it needs to sit outside in the open air with access to fresh air and clear sky above for the exhaust.

 

spa-heater-manifoldsELECTRIC SPA HEATERS

Electric spa heaters are sometimes called Flow-Thru heaters, and are basically a long electric heating element inside of a stainless steel tube. Union connectors on the end make it easy to access the element, inside of the slim and compact tube. Attached to the tube are temperature sensors, high limit and pressure switches to monitor temp and water flow.

 

PROS: Electric spa heaters have their own benefits, including:

  1. Low Operation Cost: If your spa is located in a mild climate, and is well insulated and has a good spa cover, using electric spa heaters is  usually less expensive to operate than gas heaters. Unless you live in a very expensive electricity area, that is.
  2. Low Initial Cost: Electric spa heaters cost much less than gas heaters, in the $100-$300 range, and there’s no gas line to run. Most spa heaters, or Spa Packs, are powered with 240 volts, from a 60 amp GFCI circuit breaker.
  3. Low Repair Costs: Electric spa heaters are simple devices, and repairs are usually under $100. Gas heaters are by design much more complicated, and repair costs are much more costly.

CONS: Electric spa heaters also aren’t perfect. Here’s some common complaints:

  1. Slow to Heat: The best you can hope for is 2-3 degrees per hour on a small, well insulated spa with a 5.5 or 11 kw element(s). Cold outside temperatures and high winds can reduce heat gain to just 1° per hour on spas with smaller 4 or 5.5 kw elements, and smaller 1.5 kw heaters may not keep up.
  2. They’re Electric: We all know that water and electricity don’t mix, but spa heaters are protected by a GFCI and several safety components to prevent overheating and electric shock. However, accidents can still happen with 240 volts.
  3. Higher Operational Costs: Possibly. If your electrical costs are greater than 25¢ per kw, you’ll reach a tipping point where it costs more to heat with electric spa heaters than with a gas spa heater. Especially for spas/hot tubs with poor insulation located in cold northern climates; you will find it more expensive to maintain hot water, during winter.

 



BOTTOM LINE: 
For most people, myself included, an electric spa heater is simpler and cheaper in the short run and the long run. For those who live in much colder regions than southern California 🙂 however, a small gas heater may be a better choice, especially for low use spas, which can be maintained at 85°, and cranked up to 104° in just a half hour.

COST COMPARISON: If you want to figure out the cost comparison between gas and electric, it takes 8.34 BTUs to raise one gallon of water one degree Fahrenheit. Assume that heat loss is constant in both cases (although it does increase during colder months), and know that gas heaters are only 80% efficient, but electric heaters are close to 100% efficient. Then you can compare your cost of gas (in therms) and electricity (in Kilowatts) to produce your own analysis. bromine-wins

I’m not sure who wins this battle royale between two heavy weight spa heaters. Gas heaters are costly to install (and replace), but can be cheaper to operate (in many cases) than an equally sized electric spa heater.

Let me know in the comments ~ whatcha think?!?

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Save

Save

Spas and Hot Tubs in the News

June 6th, 2016 by

SPAS-IN-THE-NEWS

I’m so excited to report on spas and hot tubs in the news this time! Normally Jack finds these nuggets around the web, he’s always sending funny stories around the office.

Today’s News of the Weird stories about spas and hot tubs is a collection of actual events that I’ve been collecting for the last six months. I hope you enjoy them!

 

CAMERA CATCHES TRESPASSER’S HOT TUB SEX ROMP

By CTVNews.ca Staff , May 28, 2016

hot-tub-romp-in-BC - image by CTVNews.caMounties in British Columbia are searching for two trespassers who were recorded on camera allegedly committing “illegal and obscene acts” in a stranger’s hot tub. Investigators allege a teenager and a woman entered the backyard of a Kelowna home early Wednesday morning, where they drank, smoked cigarettes and had sex before leaving the property. Police say the suspects also looked into the windows and may have been attempting to steal a television. The homeowner, who was not home at the time of the incident, has asked to remain anonymous, but told CTV Vancouver that he is planning to invest in a lock for his hot tub. “We have something called a smart top, which is a more heavy-duty hot tub that has a cable locking mechanism,” said Robynn Robertson of Interior Pool and Spa. Full Story.

 

9 CHEAP AND FREE THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

By LA WEEKLY,May 13, 2016

hot-tub-with-kurt-&-Kristen

[love these guys!] Laughing together onstage since 2003, comedians Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal implore you to take a dip with them in their Hot Tub, their weekly wet jubilee of a variety show that’s all about comic warmth, with only a fraction of the mold. Square-jawed, nattily attired Braunohler and adorably dippy Schaal take self-deprecation and reference beyond the limits of ordinary comedy, working out new bits each week by themselves and with guests. Everyone from chortlesome cellist Nina Daniels to the incisively insightful Candy Lawrence has dropped by, marinating you in the egg drop soup that is this stand-up spa tub. The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., May 16, 7:30 p.m.; $5. Full Story.

 

JACUZZI CELEBRATES 60 YEARS OF HYDROTHERAPY

Chino Hills, Ca, PRWeb, May 25, 2016

jacuzzi-celebrates-60-yearsJacuzzi Group Worldwide (http://www.jacuzzi.com), the pioneers of the first home whirlpool hydrotherapy pump, announces the 60th anniversary of the Jacuzzi® Brand. With a rich history of innovation and design, the Jacuzzi® Brand continues to lead in both indoor and outdoor hydromassage. The Jacuzzi brothers revolutionized the pump industry by developing a pump that drew water out of the ground more efficiently than ever before, earning them a Gold Medal Award at the California State Fair in 1930. Then in 1956, Candido Jacuzzi responded to his toddler Ken’s need for pain relief and created the J-300™ hydromassage pump. The portable hydrotherapy pump turned any normal bathtub into a relaxing and rejuvenating hydro-therapeutic spa and changed the lives of people around the world. Full Story.

 

THIS SPA GUY IS AN INTERNET SUPERSTAR

By Nate Taylor, Pool & Spa News, April 27, 2016

chris-wheatley,-hot-tub-universeThe owner of Hot Tub Universe, serving eastern Canada, became an Internet sensation after posting an impromptu video of himself giving a scathing review of a Costco 2015 Evolution, a model he considered insufficient in so many ways that he felt compelled to warn consumers. “It was just a knee-jerk response,” said Wheatley, who began his career in the 1980s selling hot tubs at a waterbed store. In the video, he details how shoddy insulation and chintzy plumbing are all indicators of a cheaply made hot tub. He particularly took issue with polystyrene foam pillars supporting the thin shell. The video wound up on the popular online message board Reddit under the headline, “Holy [expletive] this guy knows a lot about hot tubs.” It racked up more than 300 comments. A write-up on the website BuzzFeed soon followed. Full Story.

 

HOUZZ STUDY: HOMEOWNERS WANT POOLS, HOT TUBS

By Linda G. Green, Pool & Spa News, April 26, 2016

houzz-study-homeowners-want-pools,-hot-tubs-water-featuresHouzz cited the top four reasons for upgrades: The outdoor space needed repairs; the homeowners had wanted to do it and finally gained the means; they’d wanted to do it and finally have the time; or they want to customize a recently bought home. What sort of outdoor projects were undertaken? Patio or terrace upgrades top the list, followed by gazebos and pergolas; then decks, sheds/workshops, hot tubs, swimming pools, and greenhouses. “Comfort-enhancing outdoor products,” as the survey called them, were popular as well, including outdoor furniture (52 percent), fire pits (36 percent), grills (24 percent), patio heaters (12 percent). Also mentioned were various outdoor kitchen upgrades, such as pizza ovens, wine coolers, new sinks and fridges. Full Story.

 

RAPPER SUES SPA CASTLE FOR JACUZZI BURNS

The Gothamist, April 17, 2016

MISFIT-DIORThe Post reports that Laeticia Harrison-Roberts—who is also an aspiring rapper with the MC name Misfit Dior—filed her lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court last week, alleging that Spa Castle “failed to make sure the temperature and chemicals at its East 57th Street location were at safe levels.” The new lawsuit is the latest in a long chronicle of legal trouble for Spa Castle. In addition to the rampant underwater sex allegations against its Queens location, a dead man was discovered floating face down in one of the spa’s hot tubs in 2014. In February, a 6-year-old girl nearly drowned when her hair was caught in a Spa Castle pool vent. Spa Castle called the allegations “utterly frivolous” and said they have automatic systems in place to check temperature and chemical levels.  Full Story.

 

I’ll keep my ear to the ground, to find more spa stories in the news, and see you back here in 6 month for another bi-annual segment of Spas & Hot Tubs in the News!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works