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Gina Galvin's Posts

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

 

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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

 

Next Day Spa Covers

May 9th, 2016 by

spa-cover-careDespite good intentions to replace a spa cover before it is really needed, many spa tops befall some sudden calamity that renders them nearly useless. Wind storms, falling branches or my favorite, dancing kids and sleeping dogs – can all ruin a hot tub lid, making a replacement spa cover an urgent need.

Custom spa covers account for most of our spa cover business, that’s because most spas are unique in shape and size. Unfortunately there’s no standard spa cover size, and you want it to fit snugly, to prevent heat loss from an ill fitting spa cover.

 

Most Popular Spa Cover Sizes

We noticed a trend some time back; a handful of popular spa models had a surprisingly high spa cover sales rate. And that’s not just a coincidence, it turns out that these 6 or 7 spa models are the largest selling spas in America.

So we decided to pre-make the top selling spa covers, and have them ready for same day shipment. We stocked them in 9 warehouses around the country, and in most cases, you’ll have your new hot tub cover delivered the next day!

These covers are made to fit specific Hot Springs, Sundance and Jacuzzi models, but may also provide a good fit to many others. Measure your spa to be sure, and give us a call if you have any doubts about fitting your spa correctly.

 

Next Day Hot Springs Spa Covers


Hot Springs Prodigy

hot-springs-prodigyThe Hot Springs Prodigy Spa Cover is made to match the exact dimensions of Hot Springs Prodigy – Model H spa covers made from 1997-2011. Each cover is enabled with four childproof, safety locks to tie down the cover and are matched with handles constructed with an “X” box stitch for immeasurable toughness and durability. 5 Year Warranty included.

  • 87″ X 74″ and 11″ radius corners

 

Hot Springs Sovereign

hot-springs-sovereignThe Hot Springs Sovereign Spa Cover has been designed to duplicate the original equipment manufacturer specs for the Hot Springs Sovereign Spas – Model II made during 1997-2015. Every spa cover is designed via commercial grade quality vinyl that is specially processed for spa and hot tub covers. 5 year warranty included.

  • 93″ X 80″ and 11″ radius corners

 

Hot Springs Tiger River Bengal

hot-springs-tiger-river-bengal-spa-covers

The Tiger Bengal Spa Spa Cover has been precisely replicated from the original design of the Tiger River Bengal Spas, made from 1997-2010. Each heat-sealed polystyrene panel is encased in a poly-vapor moisture barrier that protects the cover from absorbing water with an “R” value great than 15. 5 year warranty included.

  • 79″ X 86.5″ with 7″ radius corners

 

 Hot Springs Vanguard

hot-springs-vanguardThe Hot Springs Vanguard Spa Cover is designed to match the exact specifications of existing Hot Spring Vanguard Spas – model VV, made from 1997-2015.  The cover’s folding hinge is also double-reinforced, and is supported by c-channels constructed of high quality aluminum for a dependable spa cover. 5 year warranty included.

  • 86.5″ X 86.5″ with 9″ radius corners

 

 

Next Day Sundance Spa Covers


Sundance Optima Spa Covers

sundance-optimaThe Sundance Optima Spa Cover is designed to match the biggest selling Sundance Optima and Cameo spa covers – model 850/880, made from 1997-2015.  All of the inserts are sealed with a marine-grade pvc resin-based zipper and polystyrene steam-blockers for maximum insulation and protection. 5 year warranty included.

  • 89″ X 89″ with 8″ radius corners

 

 

Next Day Jacuzzi Spa Covers


Jacuzzi Premium J355/J360/J365 Spa Covers

jacuzzi-j355The Jacuzzi J-300 Spa Cover is created to duplicate the OEM specs used by Jacuzzi for their most popular J355/J360/J365 spa covers – made from 2002-2015. Every side of the cover includes 4 child-proof tie-downs come with keys for the lock. The handles are backed by industrial strength x stitches for years of use. 5 year warranty included.

  • 84″ X 91″ with 11.5″ radius corners

 

 

When you need a spa cover fast, for the world’s most popular spas and hot tubs – you can count on Hot Tub Works for Next Day Delivery on Spa Covers for the world’s most popular spas! And – at a low price of just $299 – with Free Shipping, it’s a good deal, too.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

New! Hot Tub Tanning Liquid

March 31st, 2016 by

instant-hot-tub-tan

New – from the Fake Bake people comes Spa & Hot Tub Tanning Liquid. A proprietary formula that’s specially formulated for use in spas and hot tubs.

Just pour the Instant Self-Tanning Liquid into the hot tub and soak for just 15 minutes, and emerge with a glowing tan.

The topic of tanning is right up my alley. I’ve been fake baking for years, using tanning booths or spray tan during winter, to keep my tan all year long!

In the past, spray tanning and hot tubs didn’t play nicely together. Go Hot Tubbing after getting a fresh spray tan, and you can lose about half of your hard-earned color!

And, spray tan solutions used in most tanning places are not friendly to your water balance, and can gum up your spa filter, leading to premature filter failure.

Hot Tub Tanning Liquid is so easy to use! Add 1-2 ounces for a light tan, 2-3 for medium, or 4-5 oz for the full on George Hamilton effect! The brown liquid instantly begins to coat your skin, transforming your pale skin to a darker, more lustrous you!

fake-bake-tan-in-tubInstant Self-Tanning Liquid absorbs into your skin while you soak. No residue left behind on the tub, and the microscopic particles easily pass through your filter. It even passes through your swimsuit (if you choose to wear one, that is!). Guaranteed to tan only you, and nothing else!

Try New Spa & Hot Tub Instant Self-Tanning Liquid from FakeBake – you’ll agree it’s the easiest and most convenient way to enhance your color, and dare I say, popularity!

Get it while you can! If you have trouble locating Self-Tanning Liquid, that’s because it doesn’t exist! This is just our little joke, see…

Happy April Fools Day!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

How to Shock a Hot Tub

February 1st, 2016 by

cloudy-spa-water-after-shockingWhat does it mean when we speak of shocking a hot tub? I like to say that my spa is shocked every time I remove my towel, but that’s just my little joke. 🙂

Spa shock is an oxidizer that is used to destroy organic contaminants that have been able to escape normal daily sanitation. Oxidation involves the transfer of electrons, and when hot tub water contaminants or pathogens are oxidized, they lose electrons, and quickly expire, or cease to exist.

Today’s blog post is all about shocking a spa or hot tub. What, how, when and why a spa or hot tub is shocked. A shocking topic to be sure!

 

What is Hot tub Shock?

Hot tub shocks are made from a powdered form of oxidizer, either a form of granular chlorine, non-chlorine potassium sulfate salts or liquid chlorine (bleach). When using a biguanide sanitizer system (Aqua Silk), the spa shock is made of liquid hydrogen peroxide, which can not be used in a bromine or chlorine treated spa/hot tub.

Why do I need to shock a hot tub?

There are 3 main reasons to shock a spa: 1. To destroy excessive contaminants in a hot tub after use by several people, 2. To reactivate bromide ions into active bromine, and 3. To kill algae, bacteria, viruses and pathogens that may escape your normal daily sanitation chemical.

How to shock a spa with bromine?

Trick question – you don’t shock a spa with bromine. There is no such thing as bromine shock, although many people confuse bromide ions with spa shock. Bromides (aka Bromine Boosters or Reserve) are used sparingly to boost the ‘bromide bank’, which is reactivated into bromine by using chlorine granules, or MPS (aka non-chlorine shock).

How to shock a spa with chlorine?

Chlorine granules are available in varying concentrations or strengths, so follow label instructions closely for proper dosage. For a 300 gallon spa, 0.7 oz of Chlorine Granules shaken over the water surface, will raise the chlorine level up to about 10 ppm. This should be done with a balanced pH (in the low range of 7.2-7.4), and with the circulation pump running on high to help distribute the shock quickly. Keep the spa cover open or removed for about 30 minutes after adding spa shock, to allow reaction gas to escape and prevent damage to the spa cover. The hot tub should not be used until the chlorine/bromine level drops back below 5 ppm.

How to shock a spa with bleach?

Regular household bleach (non-scented and without additives) can be used in a spa, but the pH level may rise as bleach has a very high pH of 13. For this reason many spa owners may find it easier to use dichlor (chlorine granules) or non-chlorine shock (MPS), which are more pH neutral. Testing the water with a chlorine test kit will determine the proper amount, but for a 300 gallon spa, 1 cup (8 oz) of 5% strength bleach will raise the level to 10 ppm.

How to shock a spa with non-chlorine shock?

Chlorine free shock, also known as MPS (or PPMS) is Potassium Monopersulfate, or Potassium Peroxymonosulfate, is a quick dissolving and powerful oxidizer that is popular for use in spas and hot tubs. It’s not measured with a regular spa test strip, so following dosage instructions is important. For example however, when shocking a 300 gallon spa, 1-2 oz. of non-chlorine shock is used, broadcast over the water surface, with the spa pump running. Like other types of spa shock – add after you use the hot tub, not before.

Is Hot Tub Shock Dangerous?

spa-and-hot-tub-shock-smIt depends if you are shocking with 110V or with 220V! Just another little joke, but seriously folks, Spa Shocks are dangerous – if mixed with any other chemical, or allowed to become moist, or contaminated with dirt or debris, it has the ability to produce noxious fumes, catch fire or explode.

Yes, spa shock can be extremely hazardous, and must be stored in a cool, dry location, safely out of the reach of children. Overdosing your spa or hot tub with shock may damage the finish, or the spa cover. And using the spa before allowing chlorine/bromine levels to subside can bleach swimsuits or cause skin irritation or breathing difficulties.

Always follow the label instructions closely for dosage and use instructions, and keep your spa oxidizers clean, cool and closed. Be safe with spa shock because – oxidants happen! 🙂

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

How to Clean a Hot Tub

January 4th, 2016 by

deep-clean-your-spaSpas and hot tubs are fairly self-regulating; and don’t require a major time investment to maintain. However, to keep your spa in top condition and looking good, you do need to do some spring cleaning from time to time.

My technique is to drain half the spa water and refill every 4 months, with a deep cleaning every third interval, or once per year. Here’s the method that I use annually, to really deep clean my hot tub.

 

Step One: Flush the Pipes

Everyone knows how a toilet will grow a gross film if it’s not used (flushed) often; and the same for spas and hot tubs. The inside of pipes can become coated with a slick film that builds up along edges of pipe and air fittings. Low flow circulation pumps often don’t provide enough force to prevent bacteria build-up inside of pipes, filters and fittings.biofilm

Causes of biofilm in spas include those that have had mechanical down time or extended power outages, or temporary draining and standing empty. Poor water balance or sanitation slip-ups also allow bacteria to create clumpy communities, which protect themselves with a slick, slimy surface.

Biofilm is hard to prevent, even in well maintained spas and hot tubs. The best way to handle it is to use a spa flush product regularly. Chlorine or bromine can’t get past the greasy layer that protects biofilm. Use a product like System Flush, Jet Clean or Swirl Away to remove oils, organics, dirt and minerals, where biofilm bacteria makes a home.

This is the first step, because it’s done before draining the spa. Recommended once per year, or before draining a stagnant spa – one that has not been filtered for several days or longer. Add the solution and allow to circulate overnight, following label directions closely.

Step Two: Drain the Spa

After a flush, it’s time to drain out the water in the tub. A small sump pump can do it in about 20 minutes, or you can let gravity do the work by attaching a hose to the drain spigot on the spa. Spa water is fine water for the lawn or plants, as long as sanitizer or algaecide levels are not high. To be safe, move the drain hose often, or run it to a storm drain.

shop-vacFor stagnant spas, or tubs that have sat unfiltered and untreated, use the Shop Vac® to blow out the pipes with forced air (switch the hose to convert from vacuum to blower). This can dislodge any remaining gunk that is still in the pipes. Place the hose over returns, skimmer and drain ports, to force air in many directions.

If your spa has a forced air blower, turn it on to force remaining water out of the pipes. For seat or floor air jets, lay towels over the seat/floor before turning on the blower, to soak up the water. Getting out the last bit of water can be tricky, a wet/dry vac comes in handy, or a large sponge and a bucket.

Step Three: Clean the Spa

To retain the luster and protect the spa surface from UV rays and chemical problems, it’s recommended by spa manufacturers to clean the spa interior surfaces after draining. Be very careful not to use household cleaners, which can harm spa surfaces and contaminate spa water.

Harsh spray cleaners or cream cleansers can seep into air holes and cause a lot of problems. Use only natural spa cleaners like Citra-Bright to clean acrylic spas. To water-proof your spa, go the extra mile after cleaning and spray on Fast Gloss to protect your spa with a thin layer of silicone.spacover-cleaner-and-conditioner

Spa Cover cleaning is also recommended, to extend the lifespan of a spa cover. The underside is usually not treated, but if your cover is smelly, a 10% bleach solution can be sprayed on the underside, to combat a mildew odor. The top a spa cover however, needs regular care to keep the vinyl supple and strong. Use a spa cover cleaner, followed by a vinyl conditioner, at least once per year to stop damage from sun, snow and rain.

Spa Pillows should also be removed and cleaned with mild soap and water. Manufacturers recommend that spa pillows be removed and stored if the spa is not used regularly, because of the high temperatures and chemical effects. You can protect spa pillows with a Fast Gloss treatment.

Spa Filters are cleaned with a garden hose, from top to bottom, to rinse out dirt and debris. However, even strong pressure won’t remove mineral deposits or oily grime. To really clean a spa filter, soak the cartridge overnight in a spa filter cleaner to remove oils, grime (dirt+oil), and mineral deposits from hard water. Or, it may be better to replace spa cartridges that are near the end of a useful life (18-24 months).

Step Four: Refill and Balance

spa-cleaning-toolsManufacturers recommend that you place the fill hose into the skimmer hole or filter hole, which is a way to avoid an air lock after filling the spa. An air lock occurs when air is trapped in the pipes, especially in front of the pump.

If your fill water comes from an untreated source, or contains high levels of metals and minerals, or has a bad smell or color – use a pre-filter on the end of the garden hose to trap contaminants and impurities.aquachek-spa-test-strips

When the spa is full (don’t overfill it!) – test the water pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness levels and adjust if needed. Add a shock treatment to the spa, using MPS or chlorine granules, just to be sure the water is sanitary.

For bromine users like me, draining the spa depletes the “bromine bank”, so you’ll need to add a few ounces of Brom Booster, or bromide ions, to react with the bromine tablets. Until the bromine bank is recharged, the bromine cannot effectively disinfect the spa water.

After a refill, balance and shocking, let the spa circulate and filter for several hours, or overnight – running the heater to bring the water temp back up.

 

Bears in Hot Tubs

November 30th, 2015 by

bears-and-hot-tub-jacuzziUnless you live in Bear Country, you may not know that bears love hot tubs.

And they aren’t shy about taking a nice soak in your wonderful heated tub!

If there are bears in your neck of the woods, get your camera ready, or we may see your hot tub next time!

 

 

Vancouver Couple Finds Bear Soaking in their Spa
CBC News Posted: Aug 18, 2015

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Image Credit CBC.Ca

Denise Diering didn’t expect to see a big black bear standing at the edge of her swimming pool when she looked out the back door of her North Vancouver home late on Monday afternoon.  She told CBC News she shouted to her husband, Tony Diering, who was nearby, to “Close the door!” When she looked back, the bear slid into the pool, then climbed into the adjoining hot tub for a quick soak. The swim lasted about 15 minutes, and was partly caught on video, before the bear scampered off through a hole it had knocked down in the Dierings’ fence. – Belle Puri, CBC News

 

Colorado Couple Find Spa Cover Destroyed by a Bear
SteamboatToday.com Posted: October 25, 2010 by DeeDee and Bing Rikkers

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Image Credit SteamboatToday.com

This bear tore this spa cover to shreds! There was another picture of him chewing on the floating thermometer, not fun or funny when it costs you money. Most bears enter spas or hot tubs that are left open, uncovered. But in cases where they jump on top of your spa cover, even our best spa tops will break under 500 lbs of bear!

 

Bears enjoy a Smoky Mountain Hot Tub
A Day in the Smokies Posted march 06, 2009

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Image Credit: Chipmunk Haven

If you were to spend a day in the Great Smoky mountains, at the Chipmunk Haven cabin rental in the hills of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, you may be visited by a family of bears looking to sooth tired muscles and relax in a warm bath. A sturdy spa cover may keep these water loving bears down in the river below. Bears have a very strong sense of smell however, and can literally sniff out your spa, even when covered!

 

Bear Family Visits Vermont Hot Tub
StoweToday.com Posted May 16, 2013

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Image Credit Judy Lazaro

This Mama Bear and Cub took over this attractive watering hole. Seems to be too tall for the little one to get in, so Mom has it all to herself. According to the full story by Matt Kanner, the owner Judy Lazaro had just drained and cleaned the spa and had left it open to air dry when the bear climbed in. The baby cub began whining and crying, and the mother bear soon climbed back out, after a nice long drink, and they disappeared into the woods again.

 

Even Bears Need a Soak in a Hot Tub Now & Then
Examiner.com  Posted June 24, 2010 by Kathy Harris

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Image Credit: Sky Johnson

In Anchorage, Alaska, these bears were caught on film frolicking in an uncovered hot tub. Once again, the young cub was too small to find his way into the tub, but unlike the other cub above, was content to stay dry on the deck.

 

Bear takes a dip in Seminole County woman’s spa
Orlando Sentinel Posted June 7, 2011  by Gary Taylor

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Jenny Sue Rhoades lives only a couple of miles from Wekiva Springs State Park, and she has been bears in her yard before. But this bear wasn’t just passing through. He headed toward her pool and pressed his nose against the screen. Then he just walked through the screen “like it was made of butter.” First he put his mouth in her spa, then a paw and finally he just jumped in. “I think he was hot and thirsty,” Rhoades said. “It looked like he knew what he was doing.” – Gary Taylor

 

Casey Anderson and His Pet Bear Brutus
Today.com Posted August 27, 2009

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Image Credit: msnbc.msn.com

Meet Casey Anderson and Brutus his pet bear, who not only shares the family hot tub, but also loves to swim in the inground pool. I know this picture looks like fun, but you should never share your spa with a bear. Brutus however, born in captivity, is quite tame and as long as the 800 lb bear doesn’t sit on you, you should be safe. See the whole story, as reported on Buzzfeed, with additional pictures.

 

Man Finds Bear in his Hot Tub
Seattle Wolf 100.7 FM Posted October 21, 2014

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What a surprise to look out onto your back deck and see your hot tub -a- rockin’! This bear splashed so much water out of the hot tub that the skimmer was sucking air! Next steps? Drain the spa, and refill! Or at least that’s what I would do. Perhaps just balancing the chemistry and shocking the spa would be enough.

 

~ This has been fun – but bears in your hot tub could be dangerous! Keep your hot tub lid closed, with the safety strap clips connected. For added security, place a pre-cut 1/2in plywood board on top of your spa cover, or use our heavy duty high wind straps to keep the spa cover in place.

For more tips on sharing your environment with bears, see LivingWithBears.com.

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Del Spa Ozone Maintenance

October 19th, 2015 by

new-spa-eclipse-newOzone has been used in spa and hot tubs for years, as a powerful sanitizer that kills 99.9% of pathogens and contaminants.

When used with a spa mineral stick, an ozonator can do the bulk of spa water sanitizing, requiring only a small amount of bromine, and/or regular spa shock to oxidize organics that hide in small spaces, away from the ozone.

BUT – Ozonators Wear Out! They need to be rejuvenated or renewed – by replacing the ozone bulb, chip or electrode. In addition, hoses, injection fittings and check valves also need regular replacement.

Hot Tub Ozone Maintenance:

You can do your own spa and hot tub ozone maintenance. A screwdriver is usually all that’s needed, and directions for repair or replacement of a spa ozonator are simple and easy to follow, even if you are repair-challenged!

Replacing Ozone Hose:

ozone-hoseOzone is a very powerful gas that breaks down the ozone tubing over time. Nitric acid is created in small amounts, and within 2 years the hose will begin to weaken so much that a hole will burn right through it, spilling ozone into the spa cabinet. Inspect the hoses twice per year, visually for any staining and by hand for thin spots. Ozone Hose Lifespan: 1-2 years.

Spa Ozone Check Valve Maintenance:

SPA-PARTS-OZONE-CHECK-VALVEA Check Valve is a one way flow valve, allowing the ozone to travel in one direction only. It connects in the hose between the ozonator and injector. Ozone Check Valves can only be installed in one direction (in the direction of the Flow –> arrow). Eventually, the check valve will need to be replaced (with an exact duplicate) or it can damage your ozonator by allowing incorrect ozone flow. Ozone Check Valve Lifespan: 1-2 years.

Spa Ozone Injector Maintenance:

ozone-injectorThe ozone injector is usually a small 3-way manifold or Tee, which fits into a larger 3/4″ or 1″ hose. In the middle is a smaller hose connection, where the ozone hose is attached. Injectors don’t commonly fail, but they do clog quite often. If you have no ozone bubbles in your spa, chances are you have a clogged ozone injector. They can clog with calcium or chemical build-up, and block the flow of ozone bubbles, which usually enter at a floor spa jet.

To clean a clogged ozone injector, remove the hose and hose fitting from the injector. With the spa running, simply insert a bent paper clip or tiny eyeglass screwdriver and move it back and forth to break up and suck in any crusty deposits that block ozone from flowing into the injector. Then reconnect the ozone hose and you should see ozone bubbles in the spa again. Ozone Injector Life Span: 10 years.

Spa Ozone Generator Renewal:

The engine of a spa ozone generator, the device that actually creates O³ from O² eventually wears out and will need to be replaced. Be prepared for the day when the ozone bubbles stop suddenly, and your spa water grows quickly dark and turbid.

Spa ozone is created in 2 ways – with a UV bulb or with Corona Discharge, which creates a small electrical charge to create ozone, like a tiny lightning bolt. Corona Discharge (CD) units are powered by a chip or electrode. CD units last much longer than UV bulbs, but newer models can last over 5 years.

UV Ozone Bulb Replacement: If you no longer see the eerie blue glow coming from the inspection port of your long, tubular ozone bulb housing, check that it is still plugged into a power outlet. If all good, order the exact replacement bulb, if still available. Actually, a better recommendation would be to replace the outdated bulb unit with a longer lasting CD unit. Ozone Bulb Life Span: 1-2 years.

spa-eclipse-renewal-kitCorona Discharge CD Chip Replacement:  After several years, the CD chip will wear out on ozonators like the Spa Eclipse. It will wear out especially fast if you are running the circulation pump 24 hrs per day. Whenever the pump is running, CD chip ozonators produce ozone. Replacing a CD chip on a Del Spa Eclipse is very easy. Simply unplug the power cord to the unit and remove the back screws. Locate the CD chip, in the bottom of the case, and disconnect the wire plugs. Reconnect the new cell the same way, and you’re back in business! Del Ozone CD Chip Life Span: 2-3 years.

mcd-50-renewal-kitCorona Discharge Ozone Cell Replacement: The Del MCD-50 ozonator uses an electrode that can last much longer than the CD chip used in the Spa Eclipse. But eventually it too will wear out, and it has an indicator light to let you know. Renewal kits for the  MCD-50 include a new Ozone Cell, Power Supply, Hose Barb, O-ring and Fuse. Pull off the cover (with the power off), and you can replace all 5 parts in under 5 minutes, OK, maybe ten. Replace the front cover and test it out. MCD-50 Cell Life Span: 3-5 years.

del-ozone-apgSpa Eclipse NEXT GENERATION uses the new APG technology – Advance Plasma Gap.  The latest and greatest spa ozonator, it has more ozone output and last longer than it’s predecessors. It also has an auto voltage sensor, so you can connect to 115V or 230V without switching wires or settings. The maintenance to the Next Generation ozonators is the same for hoses and check valves, but the AGP cell is not sold as a part, you just replace the entire box, which is a small job of unmounting and remounting, and connecting the hoses and wire plug. APG Module Life Span: 4-6 years.

How to Know if a Spa Ozonator is Working? 

  • Ozone bubbles are visible in the Spa, at a lower jet, or the heater jet, usually.
  • Ozone smell when you open up the spa cover after being closed for some time.
  • Indicator light on the ozone module, as a visual indicator of operation.
  • Test it with the new Del Ozone test kit.

Spa Ozonators don’t last forever! If your spa ozonator troubleshooting has led you to this page – consider the possibility that your ozone device (bulb, chip, electrode, cell) is no longer producing ozone. They don’t go bad gradually, they go all-of-a-sudden. One evening you’ll lift the spa cover and discover dull and lifeless spa water. Shock the spa and order your spa ozone parts, hoses and check valve – to keep your ozonator running in top condition!

And remember, you don’t have to stick with the branded ozonator that came with your spa (it was probably made by Del anyway!).

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works