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Gina Galvin's Posts

Hot Tub Water Meditation Techniques

August 28th, 2014 by

hot-tub-meditation

A hot tub is a perfect place for meditation, if you can get it all to yourself that is! I’m fortunate to have one evening per week when I’m alone with my tub, and take the time to practice short mindful meditations.

Emphasis on the word ‘practice’, because meditation is something that gets better each time you do it, and becomes easier – the more you practice.

If you’ve never tried to meditate, or have given it only a few sporadic efforts, you are missing out on one of the best ways to relieve stress, pain and fatigue. There are too many benefits to list; trust me – meditation is good stuff!

Meditate in your own spa or hot tub!

 

Set the Mood

Turn down the lights, turn down the heat, and turn off the pumps and air blower. You can light a scented candle, or add aromatherapy salts to your hot tub. Put the heat at whatever temperature you like, I tend to prefer 100°, but it depends on the outside air temperature. 104° is really too hot for quiet meditation, but something between 90-100 degrees (32-38° C) seems to work for most people.

You don’t necessarily need to be alone to meditate, but it helps if others also remain still and quiet, preferably meditating as well. If you like,  you can add some soft music, without lyrics. Yoga music or meditation music works well. I prefer the still sounds of the night, but then my neighborhood is fairly quiet. If you have more urban sounds, or cacophony of crickets, meditation music can be helpful – to set the mood.

focus on the body

The first step to hot tub meditation is to focus briefly on the body for a quick minute. Find a comfortable kneeling or seated position, cross legged or not, and sit up straight. Now begin to slowly check the sensations in each body area, and allow yourself to relax, bit by bit. Start at the toes, and move up the body to the top of your head. Focus your attention on your bones, muscles and joints, and allow the buoyancy of the water to take over. Pause along the each section of the spine, and you move up the body. Allow your arms to float freely in the water, limp at the wrist. Finally, relax any tension in the neck, face and scalp, and allow your body to become buoyant.

focus on the breath

The Yogi Complete Breath, from the book Science of Breath, written by a Yogi over 100 years ago, is a long and slow breath, combining low breathing, mid breathing and high breathing techniques. It takes time to master fully, but most people lock onto it after a dozen or so attempts. Once you have a comfortable seating position, sit up straight and start by ‘belly-breathing’, pushing out your stomach, as you breath deep into your stomach for a count of 2. On count 3 and 4, allow your side ribs to open up, and fill up your lower diaphragm. On count 5 and 6 fill up the upper diaphragm as your upper sternum rises toward your chin. Hold for a two count, and then slowly exhale for a 6 count, in the reverse order of inhalation. Chest down, ribs inward, stomach deflates. After much practice you can increase the time, until a complete breath takes a full minute!  Advanced breathing can add-in elements of Pranayama, by breathing-in through one nostril and exhaling through the other.

Breathing is the ladder to the next step in meditation, it is used to quiet the mind as you focus on the simple mechanics of inhaling and exhaling. Counting the breaths in your mind, with a 1-1 thousand, 2-1 thousand (or Mississippi if you prefer) can also help to drown out other thoughts and help you to remain focused on the breath.

focus on the mind

When we breathe deeply, the increased oxygen wakes up many dormant cells, and the mind can wander easily. Try to stay in the present moment, and don’t allow your mind to play tapes of the past or predictions of the future, just be here, now, in the present.

When thoughts come into my mind, this sounds silly but, I like to imagine them coming in near my ears, and a broom in the middle of my head sweeps them out the other side. The key is to catch yourself drifting into a thought, and let it go, sweep the thought away, or just let it go, and return to focus on the breathing.

Don’t chastise yourself, or wince at catching yourself thinking again, just make the neutral observation, let it go, and return your focus to the breath and body. What I do is – I relax my body and breathe deeply, and bring my attention to a spot behind my forehead, which some call the third eye, or the 6th chakra, and my thoughts diminish.

 

Water Meditation

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Water is a symbol of purity and a cleansing element. Our connection to water in this world is profound, it flows through our rivers and oceans, and through our bodies. Scientists recognize water as one of the most important elements on the planet, next to the sun’s energy, in allowing life to exist.

A water meditation is allowing your mind to wander into a short story. As your breathing continues, guide your mind to another place, a wet place – and since you’re already floating in your hot tub, why not !?!

Waterfall Meditation

Imagine yourself sitting in a warm, crystal clear tropical pool, surrounded by lush foliage of all types, with a soft waterfall cascading down in front of you. The waterfall fills you up, and joins the rhythm of your breathing. A clear mist fills the air around you as you move under the waterfall. The soft waters dance over your shoulders, cleansing and purifying.

Stream Meditation

In this mindful meditation, you’ll take a seat near a small babbling brook, choose the season you like, I usually use autumn. Feel the water as it rushes around you, flowing to ever larger tributaries, and eventually out to sea. Allow the river’s flow to match your rhythm of breath, while it cleanses and purifies.

Hot Springs Meditation

Same thing here, just a different location. You don’t even need to leave your spa – sometimes (Ok, this is getting embarrassing) I imagine my hot tub in different locations, and in my water meditation, my spa is transported, deep into the jungle, or to a cliff overlooking the ocean, or on a desert island somewhere. :-)

 

Bonus Tips for Hot Tub Meditation:

  • Start with just 10 minutes, and build up to 20 minutes over time. Set an alarm for safety.
  • Meditation Music – search on Google, and you can find long songs or videos to play on your phone.
  • Aromatherapy – Aroma really helps with water meditations, and can become the entire meditation!
  • Mantras – short words or numbers said slowly to yourself, on the exhalation.
  • Asanas – simple yoga poses or postures, seated or standing. I don’t use these myself in hot tub meditation, but you can try lotus, child, angel or diamond positions.

 

“Open your pores and bathe in all the tides of nature, in all her streams, and oceans, in all seasons”.

 -  Henry David Thoreau

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Cut Spa Heating Costs with this One Weird Tip!

August 7th, 2014 by

one-weird-tip-too

 

OK, I don’t know if you’ve seen those adsense ads that promise Lose belly fat with this one weird tip! They seem to be following me around, but I like my belly just the way it is, thank you.

It’s become sort of a meme, this “one weird tip” idea – it makes me chuckle just a bit, so I had to use it in the title.

The problem with One Weird Tip blog posts, is that they tend to be rather short. There is, after all, only one tip.

 

 

Cut Hot Tub Heating Costs …with this one weird tip!

pink-insulation

Insulate your Spa!

Huh? Add home insulation underneath your spa, to seal up air gaps and hold the heat in your spa!

It’s an inexpensive way to add more R-value to your spa or hot tub. And it’s so easy to install, just tack it to the inside of the cabinet, lay it on the ground, tape it to the spa shell or just stuff it in there! Just keep it away from your spa pak and other equipment.

How much you need depends on how cold your climate is. If you live in southern California, like me, very little is needed, but if your spa is up north, you’ll need more.

 

Home Insulation is sold at every home store and hardware so it’s easy to obtain for a good price. The selection is absolutely dizzying, sold in many different sizes, in rolls or ‘bats’, and in several R-value ratings, from R-13 (shown) up to R-38.

Even one roll of the cheapest, lowest R-value insulation will increase your spa efficiency! Most heat loss on a spa is out of the sides and bottom, while covered with a good spa cover, of course.

denim-insulationIf you buy the fiberglass insulation, it comes faced (with a paper backing) or unfaced. Unfaced can make you itch like crazy if you aren’t wearing long sleeves and gloves. You could also use rigid insulation, those pink boards, to line the inside of your spa cabinet. Or, you could buy a spray foam kit, and spray every nook and cranny with expanding foam. Some stores carry insulation made from denim, or recycled textiles, if you want to use a natural insulation product.

 

For those of you with a fully foamed spa, where spray foam was injected to completely encase the spa shell in foam, I suppose my one weird tip is not much use. So here’s another weird tip, just for you! Use a floating foam spa blanket, to reduce evaporation and heat loss by creating another barrier between the water and the spa cover.

 

Weird, huh?

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Myths about Spa & Hot Tub Chemistry

July 21st, 2014 by

5 myths-about-hot-tub-chemistryWhen you advance beyond your basic pH and bromine levels to more advanced hot tub chemistry, you become aware of certain tenets or principle beliefs of managing a hot tub.

Many are useful, such as adding only one chemical at a time, or maintaining good alkalinity to control pH bounce when several users get in the spa.

But some of the things I’ve heard, are either incorrect, or need some further explanation. Let’s take a look at some of the common misconceptions in treating hot tub water.

 

MYTH #1: Pools and Spas are the Same – or – a Spa is Just a Small Pool

A spa is a small pool, true, but that’s where the similarities ends, especially when regards to water chemistry. Precisely because it is such a small pool of water, hot tub water chemistry drastically changes when several users jump in the tub. pH can rise quickly to over 8.0 and render your sanitizer much less effective.

The temperature also has an effect upon how solids behave in the water. Bicarbonates, minerals and metals all respond a little differently, activated by temperatures over 100 ° towards greater scaling potential.

MYTH #2: Shocking is Needed Every 5-7 Days

Perhaps, if you are using it regularly. Shocking, or oxidizing your spa water, is done by adding a granular oxidizer (not pool shock), to break apart oils, dirt and any living algae, bacteria, viruses or mold that could be in the water. Shock the spa after you use it, following label directions.

If you have not used the spa all week, it’s not necessary to shock the water. But, if you haven’t used it in several weeks, it would be good to shock several hours before you use the spa, and then again afterwards, always testing the pH and alkalinity first, and adjusting if necessary.

Remember to leave the spa cover open for awhile after shocking with chlorine, to allow it time to gas off.

MYTH #3: Ozone (or UV) & Minerals are the only Sanitizer Needed

Perhaps, if you rarely use the spa, and you always shower beforehand, and you replace your spa filter every 12 months. Ozone is a very powerful sanitizer, as is UV (Ultra Violet) light, but they have some trouble with reaching every H2O molecule, and they only work when the spa pump is operating. Minerals are effective at controlling algae and some bacteria, but fall short of full sanitation.

For a sanitary spa, disinfecting the water with a regular sanitizer like bromine tablets, and regular shocking with MPS or Non-Chlorine spa shock is indicated.

MYTH #4: You Don’t Need to Check Calcium Hardness in a Spa

Having soft water (below 150ppm) in a spa leads to a corrosive water environment and having hard water (above 250 ppm), leads to scaling conditions. The higher temperature factor used in the Langelier Saturation Index, makes an acceptable calcium hardness level much more restrictive in spas and hot tubs.

For balanced spa water, check the calcium hardness level of your fill water each time you fill. Add calcium increaser if below 150, and run a higher Alkalinity level of 100-120. If you have hard water above 250, adjust your other chemical levels for balanced water, to use a lower alkalinity, in the range of 70-90.

MYTH #5: My Spa Filter Still Looks New, so it Must be Good!

You could say the same about a Nature2 spa stick, looks good on the outside, but inside it’s minerals are depleted. Over time, spa filter cartridges lose their ability to trap particles and harmful bacteria that can end up forming biofilm in the deep recesses of your spa plumbing.

Even though it may look new, each time a spa cartridge is cleaned, the fibers invisibly separate a little more, and the cartridge passes through a little more dirt. After 12-15 cleanings – a spa filter may be only doing half the job that it did when new.

Replace your spa filter cartridges every 24 months, or every 12 cleanings, whichever comes first.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

The World’s Most Exotic Hot Tub Locations

June 23rd, 2014 by

my-ugly-spa A hot tub is a hot tub, right? Well, it helps if you have a majestic or tranquil view. In my backyard, I have the lovely view of my fence, and a struggling lawn, along with the noise from the Santa Ana Freeway.

So forgive me if I’m a bit enamored with the life of luxury, the life of the Rich & Famous. For those that can afford to travel to exotic locations around the world, you can book a room with a view, and a hot tub!

The pictorial below is my new travel bucket list for the next ten years!

 

The Joshua Tree Green House – Twenty-nine Palms, CA

joshua-tree-green-haus

Iglu village in Zematt, Switzerland

iglu-village-zematt-switzerland

Vacation Rental in Luray, Va with views of the Shenandoah Valleyvacationrentalsdotcome-luray-va

Vacation rental in mountainous Utah. Grand Cabin near Salt Lake City

utahvacationhomesdotcom-grand-cabin

Sapphire Breeze, St John’s USVI

sapphire-breeze-stjohns-usvi

Coronado Beach Resort, CA, with a beautiful Pacific sunset

coronado-beach-resort

Aviary Cottage, Twin Farms, VT

aviary-cottage-twin-farms-vt

View of late sunset in Colorado Springs, CO

colorado-hot-tub-steamboat-springs

Dallas, TX skyline, seen from rooftop spa on Hugo street

dallas-rooftop-spa-Hugo-Street

View from Battery Park looking across the Hudson River to New Jersey

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Lake Michigan on Chicago’s Miracle Mile – jk, Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

bora-bora-pearl-beach-resort

I hope you enjoyed my quick visual vacation! Let me know if you go to any of these exotic locales! I’ll be so jealous!

:-)

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Outdoor Spa Covers – Indoor Spa Covers

June 16th, 2014 by

indoor-spa-covers-inground-spa-coversWelcome back class, we have another distinction to make in the use of spa and hot tub lexicon. My last post detailed the differences between a spa, a hot tub and a Jacuzzi, and this time around we look at the distinct differences in design and construction for indoor spa covers, and inground spa covers.

The first thing you have to know is that an ASTM safety standard is the same for indoor or outdoor spa covers. There are a half-dozen ways to make a cheap spa cover, but if you want to sell ASTM spa covers, you have to follow the standard. You can’t make an indoor spa cover less strong, or make it without safety straps to buckle it down.

We could make an “indoor spa cover‘ with lower weight and density of foam, or a thinner grade of vinyl, but we make all of our covers to meet the ASTM standard, and provide the best durability.

But there are a few distinct differences between an indoor and outdoor spa or hot tub covers.

SKIRT LENGTH

The skirt is the flap of material that hangs down from the edge of the spa cover. Most indoor spas will still have a lip, if an acrylic tub was placed in the floor. Order a skirt length based on the measurement from the spa lip to the floor. Other spas may have the floor cantilevered over the edge of the spa, in which case a skirt length of 0.0″ can be ordered.

FOAM PANELS

In a true indoor hot tub or spa, (not a screened porch), but if you have a climate controlled room, and excellent insulation around the shell of the hot tub, you could buy a spa cover that has thinner foam panel inserts, of a lighter weight. Because your spa cover won’t have to contend with sub zero temperatures, an easier to manipulate, lighter weight spa top can be used. This can save up to $250 on your spa cover cost.

The taper of the foam panels is really not necessary for rain run-off on an indoor spa, so a flat cover could be used on an indoor spa. However, all of our foam panels are cut with a taper, thicker in the middle, thinner on the edge – to provide extra strength where it’s needed most, along the center fold of the cover.

SAFETY STRAPS

The safety straps that are used to buckle the spa cover to the spa cabinet are very important, to keep the cover in place during high winds, and to help keep children out of the spa without an adult around. For indoor spa covers, keeping them from being pushed or lifted, they should be strapped in place with the safety straps. Drill a small 1/4″ hole in the deck, and use an anchor to hold the screw for the strap clip. Spas at ground level present a particular safety challenge, especially if the hot tub room or area is not locked and monitored at all times.

INDOOR SPA COVER LIFTERS

Another distinction is that many spa cover lifters cannot be used for a spa cover that is laying on ground level. And bending over to fold, lift and carry an indoor spa cover is a real drag. Inground spa covers can use the Cover Valet to secure the fulcrum plates to a wood or concrete deck, but read the instructions first!

So, bottom line is ~ we don’t sell an indoor spa cover, or an inground spa cover, but you can order a cover without a skirt around the edge, and you could go thinner if you prefer. I would also recommend a floating foam spa blanket for indoor spas, to reduce evaporation indoor spaces.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa, Hot Tub or Jacuzzi – What’s the Difference?

June 6th, 2014 by

spa-tag-clougOK, class ~ it’s time to define the true meaning of the different types of hot water therapy. There’s some confusion out there, and I have to admit, we tend to throw terms around here somewhat interchangeably.

When people refer to a spa or hot tub or jacuzzi – are they all talking about the same thing, or something different? And what about jetted tubs and whirlpools? There sure are a lot of different monikers used for hot water immersion vessels!

SPA:

According to wikipedia; a Spa is a term associated with water treatment ~ also known as balneotherapy. Spa resorts (including natural hot springs) typically offer various forms of hydrotherapy.

The belief in the curative powers of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times. Popular worldwide, but are especially loved in Europe and Japan. Day spas are also quite popular in the U.S..portable-spa-

But a spa is also used to refer to the American term for a hot tub that is equipped with strong jets which mix air into the water for a more pronounced massage effect. They can be above ground, like one of our portable spas shown here, or they can be sunk into an indoor floor or outdoor deck, or be a small part of an inground swimming pool, known as a pool and spa combo.

HOT TUB:

According to wikipedia: a Hot Tub is a large tub or small pool full of heated water and used for hydrotherapy or pleasure. Some have jets for massage purposes. Hot tubs are sometimes also known as spas or by the trade name Jacuzzi.

A perfect example of the confusion that exists – a hot tub to me, is not a spa, and certainly not a Jacuzzi. A hot tub is a wooden tub, first of all. hot-tub-woodIf you are talking about a swirly, acryclic finish with molded seats and a million jets, that’s a spa.

A hot tub is a (usually) round wooden tank, with a simple bench seat, and 4-8 jets around the side. Blowers and high speed pumps? Not in my hot tub, thank you. To me, a hot tub is a hot soak, without noisy equipment and turbulent bubbles bouncing me off the seat.

JACUZZI:

Jacuzzi is the name of one of the first and foremost portable spa manufacturers. Like Xerox, the brand name has been used to refer to the entire category of products. Hotels are famous for advertising an in-room Jacuzzi, when it’s a spa made by some other manufacturer. The Jacuzzi family has been fighting such brand dilution for years, to keep from becoming ‘generic’. If it is a Jacuzzi Spa, fine – call it a Jacuzzi. Otherwise call it a Spa, but please – don’t call it a hot tub.

JETTED TUB:

jetted-tubBonus content! A jetted tub is a bathtub, usually installed in the Master Bath, which has several jets around the tub. These are connected to small flexible pipes around the tub fitted to a circulation pump, and often an air blower. Luxury models are quite large and may even include a heater to keep the water that comes out of the tap hot. Fill it up like a normal bathtub and hit a few controls and let Calgon take you away. The main difference between a jetted tub and a spa or hot tub is that it is drained after each use, and for that reason they usually have no spa filter and no need for a spa cover.

WHIRLPOOL BATH:

Now here’s where it gets a little confusing, stay with me – a Whirlpool Bath is a trade name owned by Jacuzzi for their brand of jetted tubs, as in a Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath for the master bath. Operation is the same as the jetted tub above, and is drained after each use.

THERAPY TUB:

therapy-tubsThese are those stainless steel tubs that you see in the training rooms and locker rooms of athletic facilities, used for loosening up the muscles of tired athletes, or for an ice soak to help prevent inflammation of injuries. These are filled with hot water (or cold water) and sometimes have a circulation pump and electric heater. Larger therapy pools are also used for neck deep, standing physical therapy and low impact exercise.

 

Now, I hope that helps clear up the confusion about what to call your spa, or hot tub, or what the official definitions are for hot water hydrotherapy. For me, I prefer the term “Spa” – but you can call it whatever you want, as long as when you need help with it – you call us!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

3 Secrets to Spa Cover Longevity

May 15th, 2014 by

shhh-spa-cover-secrets-bw-Shhh! I’m about to share with you 3 secrets! A hot tub cover is a valuable piece of equipment. But since they’re not made of Kevlar, they will eventually need to be replaced. A thrifty spa owner can stave off the inevitable expense by taking action to protect their spa cover, and increase it’s longevity.

First, you have to ask yourself “Do I really care, if I get 5-7 years, or is 2-3 years OK?” If you’re the kind of person that gets a new car every 3 years, then maybe this post is not for you ~ you may want to read How to Buy a Spa Cover. For the rest of you, if making your spa cover last longer sounds like a good idea, read on…

 

Clean & Condition your Spa Cover

spa-cover-cleaner-and-conditionerThis is a lot easier than it seems. The problem is that a lot of people use automotive products or worse, household cleaners to protect their cover. I’ve even seen people using Linseed Oil – People, No!  Most cleaners contain chemicals that break down the UV inhibitors and natural pliability of the vinyl. Spa covers are made with a marine grade vinyl, meant for outdoor use and wet weather, but they break down and dry out if cleaned with harsh chemicals.

To keep your cover looking good, clean and condition it every 3-4 months with a spa cover cleaner, to remove dust, dirt, sap, pollen, bird… you know. Afterwards, restore the brilliance while adding emollients to increase the vinyl’s resistance to cold weather, rain, snow and sun, with a spa cover conditioner. Both of these together costs like $15, and will last for years and years.

 

Lock Down your Spa Cover

inground-spa-cover-locking-strapsHigh winds can blow your spa cover off of the hot tub. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about this one. Placing chairs or items on top is not a good way to prepare for a storm either. Use the spa cover strap clips, at least 4 of them, to keep most covers secure. If your spa is in a very high wind area, or if you’re in tornado alley or hurricane country, use heavy duty spa cover straps. If your spa is sunk into the ground, you can use safety pool cover hardware to make safety straps for the spa cover.

Both of these items also add an element of safety to your spa cover, and make it difficult for others to remove your spa cover. And when those who are inexperienced in handling spa covers are not trying to open and move them, they tend to last longer!

 

Remove your Spa Cover 2x per Week

air-out-your-spa-coverEven though our spa covers have foam inserts that are vacuum sealed and heat seamed to lock out moisture, the entire cover; vinyl, scrim, zippers – will do better if it’s allowed to breathe every few days. Carefully remove your spa cover to it’s off position, if you have a cover lift, or with a helper, fold the cover in half and gently move to a safe location.

Let your cover breathe, or air out, twice a week for an hour or so, or once per week for several hours. If you are using your spa regularly, you may already be doing this, but for hot tubs that don’t get much action, leave the cover open and off the tub for a few hours per week, perhaps after testing and shocking the spa.

 

~ There is one more way to have a hot tub cover that lasts longer, and that is to buy one that lasts longer. There are many ways to make a cheap hot tub cover, and believe me, they are out there. A Hot Tub Works spa cover, every one of our 5 models, is made with computer design, and crafted to exacting standards.

Our materials may not be Kevlar, but they are the best materials to produce a lightweight, durable cover with a strong 5-year warranty. The fact is, our spa covers last twice as long as those spa covers that are only $50-100 cheaper.

Why is this such a secret? Well, if everyone knew these secrets to spa cover care, we’d sell a lot fewer spa covers!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Safely Storing Spa & Hot Tub Chemicals

April 28th, 2014 by

spa-chemical-warningSafe storage of spa chemicals – a boring topic? Not so ~ it has all of the elements of a Shakespearean tragedy, only without all of the hard to follow old English tongue.

The horrible tragedy is that nearly 5000 people visit hospital rooms every year – after a pool or spa chemical dust or gas exposure, according to the CDC. In 2007, Poison control centers nationwide reported nearly 10,000 calls regarding human exposures to a pool or aquarium chemical.

Here’s how to keep yourself and your family safe, from seemingly harmless spa chemicals.

KEEP THEM DRY

Pool chemicals are soluble in water, and are made to react with water, of course. When your hot tub chemicals absorb moisture from any source, they begin to react, and break down. This can produce toxic fumes and violent reactions. And when the liquid is not water, but some seemingly harmless beverage or household product, the reaction can be much worse.

  • Always screw on childproof lids tightly, until they click. Chemicals with loose lids absorb humidity.
  • Keep your spa chemicals in a dry, water tight container.
  • Never use a wet scoop in a large container.
  • Always store dry chemicals above liquid chemicals.
  • Don’t rinse off the chemical lid or scoop in the spa water.
  • Always store your spa chemicals in a dry location.


KEEP THEM OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN

A good number of spa and hot tub chemical accidents involve children under the age of 14. Ingestion, inhalation or irritation from pool and spa chemicals.spa-chemical-locker

The best way to protect children from pool or spa chemicals, is to keep them out of their reach. Spa chemicals don’t take up as much room as pool chemicals, and are easy to keep in a sturdy, locking storage container, or in a shelf that is mounted high up on the wall.

locking-wall-cabinet-rubbermaidPlease don’t put your spa chemicals in the flip-up spa step storage area, or other cabinet or container that is accessible. If you want to keep your spa chemicals from being discovered by a curious child, place them out of reach, at least 48″ off the ground. A sturdy locking container, as mentioned earlier, can be used if you don’t have a high cabinet.

 

KEEP THEM SEPARATED

Mixing incompatible spa chemicals is the number one cause of emergency room visits, according to this chemical safety alert. But it’s not just mixing spa chemicals with other spa chemicals – it’s also contamination caused by beverages, household chemicals, dirt, leaves, even dust.

  • Store liquids near ground level; never store liquids above dry spa chemicals.
  • Always use dedicated spa chemical scoops, one for each chemical.
  • Store sanitizers like shock and bromine away from acids like pH down.
  • Store hot tub chemicals in their original container only.
  • Keep your spa chemicals completely separate from all other substances.
  • Always open and add only one chemical at a time to your spa or hot tub.

Please don’t put your spa chemicals underneath the spa skirt. As mentioned before, the best storage is in a lockable waterproof cabinet or container, or in an indoor or outdoor cabinet located 48″ off the ground.

KEEP THEM CLEAN

Contamination can occur from just a few small flecks of dirt, or tiny pieces of a leaf, or a few drops of root beer, or other type of beer – can be enough to slowly generate enough heat, in 2-3 minutes (after you’ve left the area), to start a chemical fire.

Be sure that you always store spa chemicals in a clean and dry location, and NEVER place spilled spa chemicals back into the container. Sweep it up and add it to the spa water, or dispose of properly.


BE THE EXPERT

spa-chemical-expertFor spa chemical safety, make one person responsible for the spa or hot tub chemicals. This one person should know what every chemical is and what it does, in addition to practicing safe handling and storage. Don’t pass around the duty – the only person touching the spa chemicals, is you. Or someone else – but just one person, OK?


READ THE LABEL

Bromicharge-small

Spa chemical labels are changing, requiring more safety information, in an easier to use format. Look for Instructions for Use, Precautionary Statements, Active Ingredients and other useful information, even First Aid information. The CDC recommends that you read the entire label before using spa or hot tub chemicals, for dosage and treatment information, and for reference during an emergency.

ROTATE YOUR STOCK

If you can no longer read the label, use up the chemical, or dispose of it properly. See your local governmental website for guidance on disposal procedures for old pool or spa chemicals. Don’t hold onto old unused chemicals. Rotate your stock.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

5 Signs You Need a New Spa Filter Cartridge

April 17th, 2014 by

hasta-la-vista-babyHot tub and spa cartridges do some real heavy lifting. Pounded non-stop by water, filling up with dirt, keeping your spa water clean and clear.

But ~ they don’t last forever. To prevent dirty water and disease, spa filters should be replaced every 12-24 months. 12 months, if the hot tub is heavily used by several people, or 24 months for a spa that may be used weekly, by just a few persons.

You can set a scheduled reminder to replace your filter cartridge every certain number of months – or use these tips below to determine when your spa filter has reached a point of no return.

Here we go!

1. Filter Pressure

A new spa filter cartridge of good size should last a month or so before it needs to be removed and cleaned. After cleaning, you should notice that the filter pressure has dropped (if your spa filter has a pressure gauge), and flow rate has increased. If the pressure doesn’t drop back to the original pressure, or if it only drops for a few days or weeks, it’s probably time for a new spa filter cartridge. And, if the pressure never seems to rise – that also means that your cartridge is not trapping dirt like it should. Using a spa filter cleaner chemical, can improve flow rate and reduce pressure, as it removes oils and minerals that clog up a spa filter.

2. Water Clarity

Probably the most definitive test of your spa filter – does it keep the water clear and clean? A new cartridge should be able to give you sparkling water, as long as you are using sanitizer and running the filter for long enough each day. Over time, fibers in the filter loosen, and allow small particles to pass through, back into the spa. Turn on the spa light to get a good look at the water. Is there lots of tiny, floating stuff? Does the water look gray and lifeless, or does it reflect light and sparkle? If you pay attention to these things, you should begin to notice when water clarity changes. If cleaning your spa filter doesn’t help – it’s time for a new spa filter.

3. Sanitizer Consumption

Whether you use bromine, chlorine or alternative sanitizers, when the filter is not working like it should, more sanitizer can take up the slack. It will take more sanitizer to reach the same test readings and more shocking of the spa, to keep water clean. If you begin to wonder why you have to use more sanitizer, and begin to question the potency of your purchase – you may instead be looking at a spa filter problem – not a sanitizer problem. When you have to use more chemicals to keep the water clear, and more adjustment chemicals to balance the water chemistry, it’s time for a new spa filter.

4. Damage to Cartridge

Spa filter cartridges can be damaged by poor water chemistry, or very high sanitizer levels, although this type of damage can be hard to see clearly. Other types of damage is easy to spot, like cracked end caps, broken bands, or pleats that are uneven and no longer straight. Cleaning your spa cartridge with a pressure washer, or taking it to the car wash, as I have heard some people do – is not recommended. The fragile filter fabric can develop small holes, or large tears, if it is cleaned too aggressively. If you have a spare spa filter, keep it stored indoors. Sun and snow can damage a spa filter cartridge left out in the open – time for a new spa filter.

5. Number of Cleanings

They say that each time you clean a spa filter cartridge, a little bit of it’s filtering ability is lost. This is because the cleaning process lifts and separates the layers of fibers that trap dirt. Cleaning with water pressure opens up the layers, and makes it easier for dirt to pass through unfiltered. After 10-15 cleanings, your spa filter cartridge may have only half of the dirt capacity that it had when new, which means more sanitizer and more filter run time is required to keep the water clean. Whether you wait 18 months, or 12 cleaning cycles, eventually it’s time – for a new spa filter!buy a new filter cartridge

Don’t wait until it’s too late, and you begin to overspend on pump energy and chemical cost – replace your spa filter on a schedule, and your spa water will always look great!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Works Sends Spa to International Space Station!

March 31st, 2014 by

international-space-station-really needs a hot tub! - image from wikipedia

Many of our hot tub blog readers know this already, but Jack Stone has been infatuated with space since childhood. He closely followed all of the old Apollo launches, the Space Shuttle, and the growth of the International Space Station.

Jack’s office is covered with commemorative plaques and displays of space – the final frontier. He has signed photographs of him shaking hands with astronauts, and model rockets and ships. He’s really a space enthusiast!

 

That’s why it was no surprise to us when he told us that Hot Tub Works was being chosen to supply the ISS, or the International Space Station, with a hot tub for the astronauts to use during their long stays aboard.

aquarock-fiji-spaWe have partnered with our spa manufacturer AquaRock Spas, who is providing the AquaRock FIJI 40 spa, and HTW will complete the gift with a spa pak, spa cover, spa steps, spa cleaning tools and a 5 year supply of spa chemicals and spa filters. The Fiji 40 spa is a 1-2 person spa, which fit the weight and size restrictions that we had to work with.

One funny thing – Jack had made up these giant Hot Tub Works logos – when he was told that logos are not allowed, except on the chemicals. They don’t want the space station to turn into a product endorsed space laboratory! We also can’t call ourselves “Official Spa Supplier to the International Space Station”, at least not officially.

NCC-1701The original Hot Tubs for Astronauts idea sprang from some Star Trek episodes, (you have to understand that Star Trek is like – a very important cultural phenom for Jack). Anyway, Jack can quote all of the episodes of Star Trek that had some reference to a hot tub, and decided that it was his mission to see to it that the astronauts aboard the ISS had the same conveniences as the crew of the USS Enterprise.

Very soon now, our FIJI spa will be added as payload aboard an upcoming provisioning flight to the space station, and the aches and pains of our international space scientists will be a thing of the past.

iss-logoJack is hopeful that there will be a need for a spa technician to visit the space station in the future, and that they may call on him to grab his tool bag and fly into space. I told him that the astronauts are surely quite capable of fixing any mechanical problems.

At Hot Tub Works, we are proud to partner with NASA to bring the joy of spas and hot tubs to our brave space scientists circling the earth.

Oh, and one more thing ~ Happy April Fool’s Day! You can’t send a spa into space, silly! Did I fool ya?

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

;-)