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Gina Galvin's Posts

New Spa and Hot Tub Products for 2014

December 26th, 2013 by

New spa and hot tub products for 2014What’s new for spas and hot tubs? This is not one of our gift guides that we publish around Thanksgiving, in advance of the holiday season – today’s post is about 7 innovations now available for spa and hot tub owners. A list of spa stuff with a special something – new and useful gear for your spa.

We don’t sell any of these items, so this can be a completely candid collection! Maybe we’ll add a few of these items to Hot Tub Works in the upcoming months. For now, use the links below to get more information on these new spa products.

 

aladdin-ecoline-cartridgesAladdin Eco-Line Spa Filters

Aladdin now offers an ecofriendly alternative for spa water filtration. They have developed a way to make filter cartridges out of spun plastic – or recycled water bottles, to be specific. The new Eco-Line spa filters are made by 90% post consumer, water bottles. Each square foot of filter area removes 1 water bottle from landfills.

 

AQUACOMB

Aqua Comb

Yes, it’s another spa cartridge spray tool. This is the first one however, with a comb that gets in between pleats of your spa filter, to help loosen dirt and debris trapped in the folds. The comb tines don’t spray, but a flat water sprays over them. Great for spa cartridges that have pleats of 1-2 inches deep.

 

color-chlorColorChlor Spa Salt System

Salt water chlorination for spas is not especially new, but ColorChlor, is the only saltwater system spa chlorine generator to combine 10 levels of chlorine production with 14 entertaining light shows to enhance the spa experience. For spas up to 1000 gals. Plugs into a standard GFCI outlet.

 

delta-UVDelta UV

UV sanitation is another natural method of sanitizing spa water. A Quartz UV lamp showers your spa water with ultra violet rays, which kills micro-0rganisms that bromine may have trouble controlling. Delta’s EA series works as a powerful supplement to your spa sanitation.

 

retro-smart-check-valveSmart Check Valves

Switch out and upgrade old restrictive check valves, used for your air blower line or other places in your spa plumbing. Retro Smart Check Valves by Magic Plastics is the least restrictive check valve you can buy, in 1.5″ and 2″ sizes. With Retro, you can replace just the body, and reuse existing unions, making Retro-Fits easy.

 

spray-misters-

Spray Misters

Imagine being inside of your hot spa, on a hot summer night, and feeling the misty droplets of moist air surrounding you. The first time I tried a spray mister while in a hot tub was many years ago. Now, it’s becoming more common for hot southern spas to have a mister installed. MistAmerica has several low profile, roof mounted misters that are perfect for a spa patio.

 

Trex-pergola-sm

Trex Pergola

Trex is the original, low maintenance cellular PVC that will never rot, split or fade. Easy DIY installation of a Pergola structure around your outdoor hot tub for privacy and style. Add climbing wisteria or other plants to add additional ambiance. In 9 colors, with a 20 yr warranty.

 

I hope these spa and hot tub products sparked some ideas for the new year! Enjoy your spa and have a happy new year!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Adding Music to Your Hot Tub Club

December 2nd, 2013 by

HOT-TUB-MUSIC

Music, it seems, is therapy. According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, music therapy, when combined with standard treatments, has benefits in treating depression, anxiety and addiction. Additionally, a review of 400 research papers in the neurochemistry of music which found that music can improve the function of the body’s immune system and reduce levels of stress.

Listening to, and playing music can reduce the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, and increase production of dopamine. Music makes you happy, and reduces stress – just like hot water therapy.

Combining the benefits of a hot water soak for your body, and relaxing music for your ears will increase the health and relaxation benefits of using a spa or hot tub. Plus, for hot tub parties, you gotta have music!

How to Add Music to Your Hot Tub

boomboxTruth be told, you don’t need anything more than a radio or boom box next to the spa to add the element of music to your spa. That’s what I do, as I think I’ve mentioned before. I have an old portable boom box that sits next to my spa, so old that it doesn’t even take CD’s. I like to play classical music or jazz, either from cassette tape (lol, I know), or I dial in a local radio station.

Others here at Hot Tub Works laugh at me, with their wi-fi hi-fi systems, playing their bluetooth music from smartphones or tapping into their home stereo system, or even music stored on their computers in another part of the house. If you want to be fancy, here’s some ways that the true audiophile adds music to their “Club Hot Tub”.

OPTION ONE: Add a boat stereo. Most stereos that are built into spas are simply marine radios, or stereos made for boats. With a saw and some skills, you can cut a hole in your spa cabinet and mount a 12V marine stereo, and run wire to a few outdoor speakers that you affix to the spa shell, with small holes drilled for the wires, or set the speakers nearby.

OPTION TWO: Mount some outdoor speakers near the spa and connect them to your home stereo system, or a cheap receiver that you can place in a weather proof box, out of the elements.

OPTION THREE: Go wireless with a system like Sonos or iCast, which allows you to connect any MP3 player, or tap into your home wifi network to connect to internet radio services like Pandora or Spotify. These have portable, outdoor speakers that you can place almost anywhere around your spa.

OPTION FOUR: Go low tech, like me – and get a cheap radio that you can plug into a nearby (grounded) outlet, and turn on the radio, pop in a CD, or kick it old school, and break out your dusty cassette tapes!music-in-my-hot-tub

Of course, there are many of you who prefer peace and quiet in the hot tub. You know who you are – you don’t even turn on the blower because it’s too loud. You prefer to sit and soak, under the stars, and finally enjoy some silence.

Rock On, America…

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

10 Gift Ideas for the Spa or Hot Tub Owner

November 25th, 2013 by

san-tub

 

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells – do you hear ‘em? The holiday season is upon us, and that means thoughtful friends like you are making plans to find thoughtful gifts for their friends and family.

Since you are reading this, you are probably a hot tub owner, which also means that you know plenty of other people who belong to the “Hot Tub Club”.

Gifts that help ‘Tub Club’ members explore more enjoyment or create convenience – is the perfect way to show you care about their health and relaxation.

Fortunately, we have got you covered, with gifts for all of the hot tub owners on your holiday gift list, in a variety of price ranges.

Here’s a quick list of 10 items that are easy to wrap, easy to ship, and easily hidden, for any occasion, really.

 

Spa Booster Seat

spa-booster-seat

The Spa Booster seat is not just for short persons like myself or for kids. It makes sitting in the tub much more comfortable, and keeps you from slipping down when seated in a contoured spa seat. Fills with water so it stays put, the contoured shape makes your spa time a more relaxing experience.


Floating Spa Blanket

floating-spa-blanketA floating spa blanket protects your spa cover by blocking chemicals and water vapor which gas off the surface, and absorb into a spa cover. It also makes your spa more energy efficient, by locking in the heat. 1/4″ thick, closed cell foam, available in 2 square sizes, 7′x7′ or 8′x8′. Easily trimmed with scissors or a razor knife to fit other shaped spas or hot tubs.

Aromatherapy Crystals

spa-aromatherapy scents

We have so many types of spa aromatherapy – Crystals, Moisturizers, Elixirs, Beads and even scented spa shock. These make great affordable gifts or stocking stuffers. If you’ve never tried aromatherapy in the hot tub, it is very sensual and produces a soft and warm feeling. Mixtures of moisturizing botanicals and oils balance, relax and rejuvenate.

The Spa & Hot Tub Book

spa-and-hot-tub-book

If someone on your gift list needs to read-up on spa care, you could just suggest that they read this blog – or, you can buy this fun to read, information packed guide to hot tub and spas. Covering everything from cleaning to chemicals, with troubleshooting guides for common issues. A great book to give to a novice, or someone who needs to step up their game!

SideBar Drop Leaf Table

spa-side-table

You could make this out of a nice piece of oak, stained to match the hot tub, or wrap up this pre-fab drop table that fits nearly any spa with a square-ish shape. Use it to keep your drinks and phones safe from the water,  match it with stools for an al fresco meal, or a place for land lubbers to sit and talk with those using the spa. Measures 48×15″, with two drop leaf hinges included.

Floating Game and Drink Tray

floating-spa-game-tray

This is one of our most popular gifts for spa owners – the combination tray holds drinks and snacks, use it to play checkers or chess, or a game of cards while in the hot tub. Closed cell foam is impregnated with color all the way through. Chemical and UV resistant, you’ll find dozens of uses for this spa accessory. It can even be used for resistance exercises.

Waterproof Playing Cards

waterproof-playing-cards-

Looking for a small, yet smart present? These cards go great with the floating game table (above), or use them all by themselves. They float, and are completely waterproof. Full deck of 52 cards, in their own carrying case. Currently on sale, at over 50% off – this gift is perfect for a stocking stuffer, and will give any spa owner hours of fun!

Color Glo Raydiance Bulb

led-spa-light-bulb

Step up to color lighting in your spa. This 24 LED bulb replaces standard GE 912 white bulbs, or 12V wedge based lighting sockets, allowing you to soak in a rainbow of deep, rich colors. Set it on any of 8 individual colors, or let it cycle through 2 multi-color modes. LED bulbs are also energy efficient, consuming only 2.5 watts.

 

Spa Cover Lifter

animated-spa-cover-lifter

I would assume that most people have a spa cover lifter already, but then, I could be wrong. If someone on your gift list never got around to buying a spa cover lift, or if theirs has broken or become unusable, how about a new spa cover lift? It’s a great gift of convenience, making it possible for anyone to open a heavy spa cover by themselves.


Gift Certificates

gift-certificates to hot tub works

Can’t decide what to give? We made it easy for you, and for your gift-ee. Starting at $25, Hot Tub Works gift certificates are good for anything in the store, and – they last 5 full years! Easy to buy, easy to give, and easy to use! A unique gift card code can be entered into our shopping cart, or use it when ordering by phone.

 

i-love-my-hot-tubThere are other great hot tub gift items in our store, these above are a sample, to give you some ideas. You could also save some dough, and offer a spa service, draining and cleaning, or conditioning the spa cover. Outdoor carpet or wood runners to keep feet clean. Spa towels, or add some music to their spa. Or you could just give them a coffee mug, to show how much you both love your spa!

Happy Holidays!

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Indoor Hot Tubs vs. Outdoor Hot Tubs – Which is Better?

October 28th, 2013 by

outdoor-hot-tub

I love my outdoor hot tub, soaking under the stars. I couldn’t imagine it inside, but – there are some benefits to having an indoor hot tub.

My spa sits on the back patio, just steps from the back door, but during colder months, it can feel like I’m crossing frozen tundra on the way out of the spa.

And on really cold nights, which doesn’t happen too often here in southern California, wet hair can stiffen up – and well, I just wear a hat if it gets that cold…

 

 

Benefits to Indoor Hot Tubsindoor-spa

  • Climate controlled environment.
  • Tub, controls and equipment out of the elements.
  • Lower spa heating costs.
  • Indoor convenience – lighting, music, tv, bathroom.

Problems with Indoor Hot Tubs

  • Humidity levels when spa cover is removed.
  • Possible floor damage if spa begins to leak.
  • Spa pump noise and chemical smell in the home.
  • Getting it inside – spas are larger than most doors.

 

If you are seriously considering putting the spa or hot tub indoors, consider the following.

  1. The floor must be non-skid, easily cleaned and water proof. Think outdoor tiles or bathroom tiles.
  2. The floor also must be strong enough – to support a spa that can weigh over two tons when full.
  3. The walls and ceiling should have a vapor barrier installed to protect wood studs and rafters.
  4. Drywall soaks up moisture, instead look at architectural plastic, wall tile or cedar planks.
  5. A dehumidification system or unit is a must, or windows and fans to eject moisture when using the spa.

 

spa-gazeboAnother option to installing your tub inside the house is to extend the house around the tub. Gazebos were practically invented for spas and hot tubs, or you could screen in the back patio to make a “Florida room” type of spa enclosure.

Gazebos can be a simple roof with open sides, or for an authentic Japanese style ‘hot house”, they can be completely enclosed, offering protection for the spa and privacy for you and your ‘tub buddies’.

What’s your pleasure, an indoor spa or an outdoor spa – or an outdoor spa inside a structure? Leave me a comment below, about your feelings about spa location - indoors or outdoors?

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Accessorize your Spa or Hot Tub

October 15th, 2013 by

spa-swingWhat’s the hottest and coolest accessories for your spa? You probably already have the basics nailed down – spa cover lifter, spa steps and all of your hot tub chemical, testing and cleaning supplies. So, let’s move on to advanced spa accessories ~ fun and fanciful conveniences to help you enjoy your spa or hot tub more!

A spa is so wonderful just by itself, it’s hard to improve upon the experience, but these bits of small whimsy can add up to more time together in the tub. I have all of these items at home, and they have all added something special to my spa sessions, especially the spa swing! (shown left)

Bluetooth Speaker Set

Mini Bullet speaker setIndoor/Outdoor speakers by Grace Digital are extremely water resistant – not water proof, but they can be carefully set on the edge of your spa, or set them up on a drink table or tall side table that you can reach. These connect to any MP3 player, or music on most smartphones. Play your music selection through the wireless speakers, or with your device pull up online radio or music services like pandora and spotify.

Side Bar Drop Leaf Spa Table

spa-drop-leaf-tablesThis is my favorite type of spa table, for use with food or drinks, keys, phones or you can place your music speakers on it. The Side Bar measures 57 inches long and 15 wide, at nearly 2″ thick.

Add some stools and it makes a great spot for dining or conversation with those not in the spa. Folds down against the spa when not being used. I have 2 of these, the one on the far side is filled with (mostly) fake plants.

Towel Warmer

towel-warmerNothing is better than a warm towel when you come out of the hot tub. The towel warmer rack is a popular option, just stand it up near the spa, turn it on, and hang your towels on it before you get in the spa.

New on the market is the Towel Spa, which heats up towels and robes in just minutes, in a small compact size that holds 3-4 rolled up towels. Impress your guests with a toasty towel after their soak. Not waterproof, this will have to be located indoors, or in a protected outdoor location.

Booster Seats

spa-booster-seatFill it with water for a soft and steady spa seat. For those that are less than 5 feet tall, today’s newer and deeper spas can make it hard to keep your head above water. And, let’s face it – many spa seats, although contoured, are less than comfortable, for sitting or other things…

Be head and shoulders above the rest with this water filled booster seat. Adjust the firmness and height of the seat by how much water is added to the seat fill valve. Comes in 3 colors to match your spa.

Color Lights

LED-spa-bulbMost spas of any age, except for the new models, have a boring white light in the base of the tub. My spa was like that too, until I upgraded the bulb to a color LED spa bulb. Now I can cycle between four colors, although we leave it on red most of the time. This LED spa bulb replace #912 type bulbs, on a 12V spa lamp. Add some ‘chromatherapy’ to your spa sessions by simply changing the spa light bulb!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

10 Hot Tubs in the Most Unusual Places

September 26th, 2013 by

hot-tub-in-an-icebergSpas and hot tubs normally sit on the back patio, or built into the deck. Sometimes their placement can be rather bland, but the pleasure is none the less.

Want to add some excitement to your spa sessions? Place your spa in one of these outrageous locations, and you’ll enjoy it even more!

Without further ado, here are 10 wacky spas, in the most unusual places on earth ~

 

Hot Tub Suspended From Bridge

These loco locals in Switzerland suspended a platform over 600 ft in the air, from the Gueuroz bridge. Then they rappelled down ropes for the hot tub party!

hot-tub-suspended-from-bridge

Hot Tub on a Mountain Top

Another group of local locos – this time a group of mountain climbers, decided to relax after their long hike to the top of Mount Blanc. At nearly 16,000 feet, it’s the tallest mountain in Europe.

hot-tub-on-a-mountaintop

Hot Tubs in Computer Games

The Sims is a strategic life simulation video game, where users can create their own virtual reality, including the popular option of adding a hot tub, in nearly any location you wish!

hot-tub-in-the-sims

The top of the line Sims spa has many interesting features: Insta-hot heating coils, Dual pH gigabalance regulation system, redundant ultra-sav mood modulation rectifiers, 29 individual typhoon injector panels, rolling sonic wave instrumentation, no-stick polyfibred surface, stress inhibitor lounge seats, hybrid solar electric integrated feedback technology, nano-force streamlined air filtration apertures.

Hot Tub on an Aircraft Carrier

It’s hard work keeping those planes flying! This rescue boat is filled with water and connected to a hot water heater. Anchors away my boys, anchors away!

hot-tub-on-an-aircraft-carrier

Hot Tub on The River

On the river Thames, to be exact. These Londoners are enjoying a Hot Tub Boat, as they steam around town. You can rent these also in California and the Pacific Northwest, of course.

hot-tub-on-the-thames

Hot Tub in an Igloo

With an open roof, to allow the heat to escape. In this Swiss resort, Iglu-Dorf, you can rent an Igloo for the night, and if you book early, you can get one with a hot tub!

hot-tub-in-an-igloo

Hot Tub in a Tree House

Sure, why not? Tree house resorts are springing up in all sorts of tropical places. This one is on the big island of Hawaii. I really want to visit this hot tub, with a glass of wine, and good friends…

hot-tub-in-a-treehouse

Hot Tub in a Mini Cooper

We’ve all seen hot tubs in limousines (yawn), but would you believe – a hot tub in the back of a Mini Cooper?  It’s modified of course, a la the movie “The Italian Job”, to support the weight of the spa, water and party people!

hot-tub-in-a-mini-cooper

Hot Tub in an Airplane

OK, truth be told, this one doesn’t really fly, it’s a hotel, the Airplane Suite at the Teuge Airport in the Netherlands. I’m told that hot tubs are too heavy (when full of water), so they are rarely installed.

hot-tub-on-an-airplane

Hot Tub in a Cave

What’s cooler than a cave? At 55 degrees year around, it’s the perfect place for a hot tub! This hot tub, located on the Cayman Islands, is beneath a 48,000 sq ft mansion. Now, that’s living in style!

hot-tub-in-a-cave

Well now, there’s 10 hot tubs located in the most bizarre locations. Do you have another hot tub to mention, located in an even more unusual place? Leave a comment below, and I’ll add the best to the list!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

5 ways to Improve your Spa or Hot Tub Appeal

August 15th, 2013 by

spa-landscapingSpas and hot tubs need decor surrounding them – plants, wood, stone, tile. Natural elements, to complement the hot bubbling water.

Wrapping your spa in decking really expands the spa area, making the hot tub a part of a larger, cohesive design. Spas or hot tubs need some exterior design elements, for privacy, and to create that tranquil vibe.

 

Here’s some ideas for taking a plain ‘ol above ground spa, and wrapping it in other natural elements, to create a more inviting and interesting outdoor spa environment.

I hope you like the pictures!

DECKING

An important design consideration is that the area around the spa needs to be well draining and clean. No puddles or muddy spots, spa users need to be able to walk barefoot around the spa. The surface needs to also be non-skid, since it will be wet.

Here’s some ideas for wrapping decking around a spa or hot tub. Sinking it in the ground makes the spa easier to get in and out of, and reduces the visual footprint of the spa or hot tub.

blog-spa-decking-ideas

blog-spa-decking-ideas

blog-spa-decking-ideas

ROCKS

With placement of rocks around the spa, you can create a rustic or natural mountain spring setting. Wrap 2 or 3 sides in soil, rock and gravel (leaving room to access the spa pack), to hide a big, chunky spa. Use thick plastic sheeting if planning to put dirt or rocks up against the spa skirt.

Here’s some ideas for using natural or faux rocks around a spa or hot tub.

blog-spa-rocks-ideas

blog-spa-rock-ideas

blog-spa-rock-ideas

PLANTS

If some of these ideas so far look daunting, consider planters around the spa at varied levels. If your spa sits on a large patio without close earth, large and small planters can be placed on the sides of the spa to soften the view of the spa, provide privacy, and a natural element.

Tropical plants are great around southern spas, while northern spas can use hearty evergreen bushes, along with seasonal flowers or blooming plants. Use Cactus and succulents for southwestern spas. Volcanic rock or river stone makes a nice ground cover for pathways.

blog-spa-and-hot-tub-landscaping-ideas

blog-spa-and-hot-tub-landscaping-ideas

blog-spa-and-hot-tub-landscaping-ideas

FURNITURE

Spa furniture makes a quick and easy way to frame your spa, and reduce the visual impact of today’s gargantuan spas. They are also convenient spaces to place plants, candles or towels. The counter and stool arrangement makes a nice place for family to eat, or converse with people in the spa.

Spa steps are necessary for hot tubs that are completely freestanding, above the ground. Wrapping steps around the spa, and integrating with barrier walls or external seating is an exciting way to make the spa more accessible.

spa-furniture-ideas 2

spa-furniture-ideas

spa-furniture-ideas-3

GAZEBOS

I think the Gazebo must have been invented for spas and hot tubs. It provides shelter from sun and rain, not just for you, but for your spa and spa cover. They also allow you to easily hang overhead lighting and speakers.

A gazebo can be built to any shape and size, or there are many pre-fab kits you can buy and build. Pergola is an open option to use with climbing Wisteria or hanging plants. Drape with curtains for a cabana look and feel, or create a tropical roof of shingles or thatch.

blog-spa-gazebos

spa-gazebos-2

spa-gazebos-3

 

So many ideas, so little time, I know. I hope this inspires you to some action for improvements around your spa or hot tub. Let us know your plans, in the comment section below!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Spa and Hot Tub Cover Safety

July 29th, 2013 by

locking-spa-coverSince the 1980′s, more than 250 children age 1-4 have drowned in hot tubs and spas. A small percentage became entrapped on suction outlets. Most were not experienced swimmers who fell into an open spa or hot tub, and were not able to escape.

A strong locking spa cover is the best protection for children in homes with spas or hot tubs. No matter what type of spa you have, there is a way to make it safer with the use of a cover.

 

Above Ground Spas and Hot TubsPLEASE-LOCK-THE-SPA

My spa at home is an above ground spa, with a standard folding spa cover – and there’s 4 million more out there, just like me! These spas are the simplest to keep safely covered with spa cover clips.

Latch your spa cover clips every time you put the cover back on, and never leave the spa unmonitored when you have the cover off. A simple practice of latching the spa cover clips, and keeping your spa covered when it’s not being watched will keep your spa safe.

I have a small sign near the spa, as a reminder to myself and others, to keep the spa cover latched when not in use. Although not specifically child proof, it’s unlikely that a small child will be able to remove a spa cover that is clipped in place on 2 sides of the tub.

For more advanced spa cover locking hardware, there are two other ways to secure the cover – with external straps or steel bars. This not only keeps out children, but any unauthorized use. As horrible as the numbers of drownings in spas are for children, the number of adults found dead in spas is double.

Spa cover straps, sold here at HotTubWorks, are primarily sold as heavy duty Wind Straps – but also function as extra protection, to delay or frustrate children and also – inebriated acquaintances who decide to crash your tub when you’re not looking.

Lock them over the spa cover for extra protection. Wind straps use a standard style spa cover clip to protect against high winds, and double your spa cover security.

spa-cover-lockWant even more protection? Use the Spa Cover Lock, a spa cover locking bar, made by Arctic Spas. Attach two heavy plates on the side of your spa cabinet, and use a padlock to secure the curved steel bar. Works with spa cover lifters to keep the spa cover pressed down on the tub, and prevent use of the spa cover lifter.

Used with a spa cover lifter, it also prevents being able to slide the cover off, in the other direction. If you have no spa cover lifter, two bars can be used, in opposite directions, to absolutely prevent hot tub cover removal.

In Ground Spas and Hot Tubs

Outdoor or Indoors, a spa that is at ground level presents an even larger danger to young residents or visitors, and accounts for more drownings and injuries than above ground spas – which are more difficult to access for 1-4 year old kids and easier to lock a spa cover on safely.

Many in ground spas may not even have a rigid spa safety cover – using a floating thermal blanket or soft cover instead. Of course, these are more convenient to use, than a rigid spa cover, but if there are young people in the house, nothing is safer.

You can still secure a spa cover on an in ground spa. Indoor spas may present more of a challenge, but nearly any flooring type around a spa can be drilled, and screw anchors installed – so that standard spa cover straps can be connected. Even outdoor spas – you can drill into the concrete with a small masonry drill bit and a hammer drill.

inground-spa-cover-locking-strapsWant even more protection? You can use pool safety cover hardware to secure a spa cover on an outdoor, in the ground spa or hot tub. Drill holes with a 3/4″ masonry bit and a heavy duty hammer drill.  Connect nylon strapping with the stainless steel buckles to the s.s. springs, and then attach the cover springs to the brass anchors with the installation rod that is used. In this way, you can run 2 or more straps over top of your cover, which hold the cover down tightly, and is difficult to remove without the installation rod. You can’t buy these, but you can make them, with pool safety cover hardware, and nylon strapping from the fabric store.

Keeping your spa safe is every hot tub owners responsibility. Even if you don’t have children, you likely have neighbors and guests who do – and also keeping out trespassing acquaintances should also be on your mind, to prevent an unwanted tragedy in your spa or hot tub.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Inground or Aboveground Spas – Which is Better?

July 18th, 2013 by

inground-spas-vs-abovegrond-spasI love spas and hot tubs, no matter if they’re installed in the ground, above the ground, or on the roof – I love to soak in warm and fragrant waters with several friends or alone with ‘mi hombre’.

A good friend of mine told me that she was looking into getting a spa, but was having some trouble deciding between a ‘natural’ inground spa built of rock and stone, or a much less expensive portable spa. Good blog topic, don’t you think?

 

POOL / SPA COMBO

This conversation is not about having a spa attached to a swimming pool. Many people have these, and my friend does have a pool, but the cost of retrofitting a spa to an existing pool can be high. Plus, having a pool/spa combo – is just not a real spa, in my mind. It definitely increases the wow factor of your inground pool, but it’s usually so far from the house, takes too long to heat up, has uncomfortable bench seating, and just 6 or 8 jets.

The question addressed today is the decision of installing an separate inground spa, built of rock and stone, or buying a ready-to-go spa.

Inground Spa or Aboveground Spa?

My friend feels that a portable spa looks big and clunky, and won’t add much appeal to her fabulous backyard (it is quite beautiful). I was quick to tell her that she could certainly sink an acrylic spa shell into the ground, or build a deck of wood or concrete to surround a regular spa.

After looking at her planned location for her new spa, I have to agree that just plunking down a portable spa onto a slab of concrete would not be the most aesthetically pleasing option. She said she likes how my spa is placed. Nothing special, but we have our spa half-sunk into a wooden gazebo type of thing. It’s actually more of a Pergola type of structure, with lots of hanging plants and climbing Clematis that I’ve been trying to nurture.

inground-spas

Inground Spa Advantages

  • Unlimited Design, as big or stylish as you want it to be.
  • Infinite ability to blend it into backyard decor and themes.
  • Can be at ground level or be raised up above.
  • Can integrate water features or fountains.
  • Variety of materials, such as concrete, tile, vinyl, acrylic, stainless.

Inground Spa Disadvantages

  • Large or unusual shapes will need expensive spa covers.
  • Can cost considerably more than portable spas to install.
  • Not nearly as energy efficient as a portable spa or hot tub.
  • Seating is typically not as comfortable or relaxing.
  • Cover Lifters are typically not possible for spa covers.
  • Exposed equipment requires winterization or constant operation.
  • Typically has only 6 or 8 jets, which may be not as powerful.

 

Aboveground Spa Advantages

aboveground-spas

  • Easy to install, nearly plug and play (most require 230V).
  • Very economical to operate, +/- $20 per month.
  • Although quite heavy, it can be moved to new locations.
  • 30-100 jets are standard in most portable spas.
  • Contoured, smooth seating surfaces, at varied heights.
  • Can integrate a spa cover lifter, for easy cover removal.
  • Spa equipment is protected from the weather, beneath the spa.
  • Features such as LED lighting and integrated stereo units.
  • Less costly to cover, most portable spas use standard spa covers.

Aboveground Spa Disadvantages

  • Not as attractive as an inground spa. Large and bulky.
  • Fewer options for interior surfaces, usually acrylic or thermoplastic.
  • Entrance and exit can be tricky, especially without spa steps.
  • Shapes and styles are more limited than inground spas.
  • Exterior wood skirt may require some maintenance.

Each type of spa has it’s own disadvantages and it’s own advantages. Not a clear cut choice. For some, it will come down to budget. And, don’t forget that you can always install a spa shell into any type of structure that you can imagine – stone, wood, rock.

I’ve seen some pretty fancy spas that were built around a spa shell, which is easily ordered from any spa manufacturer. Below are some examples of what I mean.

spas-set-inground
To see more awesome hot tubs, see Jack’s recent blog post “12 Spectacular Spas & Hot Tubs“.

I’m not bossy or pushy (most of the time) – so I’ll let my good friend make her own decision. Either way, you can be certain that I and ‘mi hombre’ will be one of the first to crash her hot tub!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

July 4th Hot Tub Party

July 1st, 2013 by

july-fourth-spa-partyWant to get some friends and family together, but don’t have a swimming pool? Do what I do – and host a July 4th Hot Tub Party!

Planning a July 4th Hot Tub party is just like any other Independence day party – the only difference is, your guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub.

Especially if you can see your local fireworks from your hot tub, it makes a great place to watch the fireworks show!

Here’s some tips on hosting a successful July 4th Hot Tub Party, without it being too complicated.

 

Prepare the Spa

A few days to a week before the party (in fact last night), I checked the water balance, lowered the pH down to 7.3-ish, and gave my spa a healthy shock treatment. On July 3rd, I’ll clean the filter, and vacuum the spa. Before the guests arrive, I’ll add some aromatherapy crystals to the tub – to set the mood.I’m thinking of using the Sweet Pea Apple sample I have, from Spazazz.

Those of you who know me, know that I love signs – so, since my spa is in the back of my house, I put a sign on the front door to lead guests around to the side gate. This keeps me from having to leave the party, go all the way upstairs and back downstairs again. When they reach the gate, I’ll have something patriotic on the gate, so they know they are entering a July 4th party!

Don’t start too early!

My July Fourth party starts at 6pm, so most guests should arrive by 7pm. I’ll be serving alcohol, so a shorter timeframe on the party should mean that my guests should leave the party – after the fireworks show, in a relatively sober state of mind.

patriotic-playlist

 

Pump up the Jams!

Every good party needs good music. For the Fourth of July, I created a play list full of patriotic songs, loaded onto my ipod, which I’ll run through twice during the evening.

When it’s time for the fireworks, even if it’s just sparklers, be sure to have John Philip Souza’s very famous version of “Stars & Stripes Forever” playing for your guests.

 

Turn down the Heat!

If you can get away with it, turn the heat down to around 100 degrees, especially if you have guests that are unaccustomed to hot tubs. This will also allow you to worry less about the guests overheating or staying too long in the hot tub. You may even want to have cooler water – 85 degrees, and use your spa as a cool water dunking station for your Hot guests.

If your hot tub buddies are old pros, they may want it bubblin’ at 104 or less – but remember to limit each guest to 30 minutes max in the tub. This is to allow room for other guests, but also to prevent dehydration and overheating on a warm summer night. With alcohol, a light headed dizzy feeling can come over those who spend too much time in the spa. Because of this, it’s also a good idea to help your guests get out of the spa safely.

Patriotic Food & Decorations

There’s no need to overdo it, so don’t stress out about having a dozen different red, white and blue recipes and elaborate decorations. Focus on just a few recipes and a few decorations.firecracker-centerpiece

For the decorations, I’ll have a patriotic display on the backyard gate, as mentioned earlier, and my food table will have a nice red tablecloth, and bunting hanging off the front. A firecracker centerpiece, made from wood scraps will be fun. I’ll also be proudly flying an American flag, of course.

For the food, I’m planning a Blueberry, Strawberries and White chocolate chip platter, and a big batch of firecracker punch. We’ll also have hot dogs, chips and cole slaw.

So, NBD – No Big Deal – you can pull off your own Hot Tub Party for July 4th. Whether just a few friends, or a block party – have a super-terrific Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday America!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works