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Jack Stone's Posts

Hot Tub Cool Tub – Using Spas During Summer

July 7th, 2014 by

steamy-spaDo you lower your spa temperature during summer? Or keep it blazing hot all year ’round?

I wondered about this, so I took a short office poll, and I asked people on our facebook page this question.

Do you ever use your spa for cooling soaks, with lower water temperatures?

I  didn’t control for location, spa type, or any variables at all, actually – so not a ‘scientific’ study on spa use.

 

Nonetheless, the results were interesting! cool-spa

Of the adults surveyed, 80% of them prefer to keep their spa or hot tub – hot all year around. Assuming of course, that there are no spa heater problems! 18% of respondents indicated that they do use their spa for occasional cool water soaking.

Of course I had some follow-up questions for those who said Yes! to cool water soaking. I asked them what they used it for, and compiled the comments. Most were related to “cooling off!“, and quite a few mentioned exercise, or using cool water to perform low impact stretching or calisthenics.

 

spa-temp-lgrI also wanted to ask a multiple choice question: “What’s temperature is best for cool water soaks?” Some said they don’t even check, they just shut off the heat, and it seems to stay around 70-75 degrees. But for those that I could pin down to a 5 degree range, most preferred the water to be 70-85° – except for the few polar bears out there, that are still using it with water temperatures in the 60′s.

 

So how about you? Do you like to use your spa or hot tub at a lower temperature as a way to beat the summer heat? Or as a way for a low impact exercise, especially for illness or injury recovery?

Give it a try if you’ve never done it before! You can still turn the blower on, and put the jets on high for some hydrotherapy, and add some tropical spa scents to the water to enjoy it even more!

During the survey, I tried a cool spa myself, and I have to say it is great when the night air is hot.

 

- Jack

 

Hot Tub Covers – Design & Manufacture

June 26th, 2014 by

three_simple_gears_turning_300_wht_14495 - image from PMThe design and manufacture of hot tub covers has come a long way since the early days. Hot Tub Works is proud to use a fully computerized design, cutting and sewing process to ensure that covers are made to exact dimensions.

But computers can’t do it all, we tried computerized stitching, and you know what? Our seam team does a better and faster job. And our designers double check all designs before it is sent into production. In other areas of production, we have other vital team members that perform precise functions, as your new hot tub cover moves through our state of the art assembly line.

From design and layout, to boxing for shipment, we have used the Kaizen method of continuous improvement to fine tune every step of the process. If you’re interested in how we do it ~ how we make America’s most popular hot tub cover, and do it with the highest marks for customer satisfaction ~ read on.

ORDER PROCESSING

htw-order-processingWhether you are ordering online, or filling out our spa cover dimensions form, or just calling us with dimensions and some information about your spa, your order begins with our experienced team of cover techs – who know all the pitfalls of spa cover ordering, and have a process to root out errors – even if your dimensions are wrong!

Our order team can process over 250 spa cover orders per day! We’ve recently added yet another team member in this dept. (10 people now!) to help customers with order placement. They carefully check each order and confirm all details before forwarding your spa cover onto our production team.

 

PRODUCTION CONTROL

production-control-htwIn Production Control, our hot tub cover designers take the measurements and information about the spa, along with all of the specifications for the cover design and feed it into our CAD program. A CAD file is produced which is the digital design of your spa cover. using computerized design, we are able to send the measurements to our cutting machines, which begins our manufacturing process.

 

MANUFACTURING

htw-foam-roomThe CAD file is first sent to the Foam Room. Our technicians load the proper size, thickness and weight onto the cutting machine, which verifies the correct foam core is being used. The computerized cutting table quickly cuts the foam into the exact shape specified by the CAD file, with a least amount of waste possible. After the foam is cut and tagged with the manuf. number, it rolls down the line to be reinforced with a steel channel, and then vacuum-sealed. Wrapped in one or two layers of 6-mil vinyl sheeting, the ends are double heat welded, and then the air is sucked out, resulting in a super snug plastic barrier around the foam core, which prevents tears or rips, and locks out moisture.

htw-vinyl-room-Next, the CAD file is sent to the Vinyl Room. Technicians choose the correct color vinyl, and lay the bolt on the feeding machine. As it rolls out across the table, the vinyl is inspected for any imperfections before the automated cutting machine carves a quick and correct cut, in just the exact size. The vinyl is tagged with the same manufacturing number as the foam, and the vinyl heads to the Sewing Room.

htw-sewing-room-2

 

In the Sewing Room, our seam team takes pride in the quality of their stitches, between top and side panels, skirts, handles, zipper and scrim. With over 25 seamers in this department, it’s one of the largest (and noisiest). Besides sewing the ‘bag‘ for the foam cores, there are 27 different reinforcement points that are stitched up tight by the seam team. With the integration of the original CAD file prompting the sewing machines and seamers, we have the most state of the art sewing room in the business.

 

htc-ca-cover-inspectionsOnto the Assembly Room! In here, we ‘marry’ the vacuum-sealed foam cores with the vinyl bag and zip up the reinforced edge. Now, two quality control inspectors view every spa cover from all angles, making 24 different quality checks on every cover. After the cover is certified as ready to ship, it makes a short trip via rolling cart to the packing and shipping area.

 

SHIPPING

semi_pull_into_warehouse_anim_150_wht_14384In the Shipping Room our team packs your cover in a heavy gauge plastic, and then slides the cover into a right sized box, choosing one of 30 different box sizes we stock. Once it’s boxed up, it’s ready to go, and is immediately weighed and labeled for shipment, and rolled down the gangway for one of our 3 daily pick-ups.

 

~ The manufacturing process for spa covers seems complicated, but we have it down to a science of efficiency. But that’s not our only secret – people love working here. We try hard to create a low-pressure manufacturing environment. We don’t bonus our teams on increasing production, we bonus them on reducing mistakes, material waste and accidents.

Here’s a video of our hot tub cover factory, if you want to really see how the best hot tub covers are made!

 

 

- Jack

 

Automatic Spa Cover Lifts

June 12th, 2014 by

hydrocover_anim2We have blah-ged many times about spa cover lifters, how to select the best one for your spa, or how to install or repair.

Now for something completely different!  Have you seen AUTOMATIC spa cover lifts? Motorized spa cover lifters that do all the work for you! Especially needed for large and bulky spa covers, or 3 and 4-panel covers for swim spas.

Another great thing about some of these cover lifters is that the key operated system may provide a great deal of security for the spa, and prevent unauthorized use. Some are even tough enough to keep bears out of your spa!

 

Auto Spa Cover Automated Spa Cover Lift System

Fits with nearly any size spa cover, lifting even this 3-panel swim spa cover off the spa in 30-40 seconds. Use the waterproof remote control to open and close the Auto Spa Cover.

 

The Scorpion Automated Hot Tub Cover Lifter

This Canadian spa cover and lifter is a sleek, modern system that replaces a vinyl covered spa top. Very heavy duty construction and microprocessor controlled motors. Scorpion

 

NerokLift Automatic Spa Cover Lift

Colorado made remote controlled spa cover lifter is fast, and even handles a snow load with no problem. Sensors stop the motors if snow load is too great. Neroklift

 

The Covana automated hot tub cover lift

The Covana is part cover, part cabana. Heavy duty roof and frame comes in a variety of colors to match your home. Privacy shades and very heavy duty, nearly impenetrable. They also make a flat version for swim spas, new this year. Covana

 

Derolo Spa Cover

I told you this was something completely different! The UK design is similar to a pool auto cover. Rolls up the heavy duty cover in a low profile housing on one side, in under 20 seconds! Derolo

 

Spa Cover Power Lifters are Fun

I’m not sure what make and model of spa cover lifter this is – but this guy sure is having a good time opening and closing this key operated, solar powered automatic hot tub lifter! Great feature that it doesn’t bend the spa cover as it’s removed.

 

How much you say? Well, we don’t sell any automatic cover lifters currently, so I can’t say for sure, but I would guess that these are in the range of $1500-$5000.

I hope you enjoyed this video-blog on automatic hot tub cover lifts. They are fun to watch, aren’t they?

 

- Jack

 

Spas and Hot Tubs in the News

June 3rd, 2014 by

ice-fishermen

 

Spas and hot tubs make the news headlines from time to time. Some wacky stories, some sad, some just make you shake your head.

Today’s post is our bi-annual round-up of news stories that have spas and hot tubs as a central focus.

Diving right in, so to speak, here’s a reverse chronological run-down of this spring’s top stories involving spas and hot tubs.

 

 

Boy, 4, drowns in hot tub after hand gets stuck in suction drain

June 2, 2014 – Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – A 4-year-old San Bernardino boy drowned over the weekend after his hand got caught in a spa filter, authorities said.

The boy, Cameron Nunez of Highland, was playing in a backyard in-ground spa at about 11:45 a.m. Saturday when his hand got stuck in an uncovered suction drain, according to the San Bernardino County coroner’s office.

Firefighters arrived at the home in the 2600 block of Mercedes Avenue and found Cameron in the spa, according to the San Bernardino City Fire Department.

They freed Cameron’s arm from the drain and pulled him out of the water, but he was unconscious and unresponsive, the fire department said in a statement.

Firefighters performed CPR on the boy and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

San Bernardino police are investigating.

Hurricane Guide 2014; Shock the Spa and Strap Down the Cover

June 1, 2014, Miami Herald

MIAMI – For hot tubs and small spas, Bill Perrish, repair manager at All Florida Pool and Spa, said super-chlorinating the water and securely strapping a cover on will hold down the spa, protect its interior and preserve a source of clean water.

“The spa cover is cheap and replaceable, and in the event that you get flying debris, it’ll damage the cover instead of the spa,” Perrish said.

Next, spa owners should turn to their pumps. If it is not already bolted to the ground, it is important to secure it in place to keep it from dislodging and to take measures to prevent the equipment from becoming an electrical hazard. [or move your spa pack indoors, if there is a danger of flooding]

“Hit the breaker for all of the equipment and the lights in the backyard in case something gets dislodged, so that you don’t have live wires,” Ibarra said.

Odd Incident Involves a U-Haul, a Hot Tub and a Machete

May 23, 2014 – Statesman Journal, Salem OR

SALEM -Riley was arrested on Dec. 30 after a string of odd incidents involving a U-Haul, a hot tub and a machete.

It started with a house fire. The home, in the 7200 block of Silverton Road NE, was reported to authorities engulfed in flames at 5:20 a.m. Dec. 30. The family that lived there was on vacation at the time.

Later that day, police in the area found an abandoned U-Haul truck on 72nd Avenue that had knocked over a road sign and ended up in a ditch.

According to a police affidavit, a deputy with the sheriff’s office was in the area searching for a suspect for both the fire and the U-Haul when he received a call. Someone who lived nearby was reporting a suspicious person hiding in his hot tub.

The deputy tracked the suspect and encountered Riley coming out of a truck. Upon confirming he was the man hiding in the hot tub, the deputy then arrested him. A machete that had apparently been stolen from someone else was also located in the hot tub.

CHP: State worker tormented women with phony Craigslist sex ads

May 22, 2014, News10 ABC – Sacramento, CA

SACRAMENTO – A civil engineer with the California Department of Water Resources has been charged with identity theft for tormenting two women with sexually-explicit ads posted on Craigslist from his work computer.

The initial Craigslist ad, placed in mid-June 2013, was relatively innocuous: “I have a free hot tub to the person who shows up first. I am moving and must get rid of it today. Call 916-XXX-XXXX.”

Murray was apparently unaware of what Debra does for a living: She’s a cyber security specialist who suspected, based on the time of day many of the ads were placed, Murray was posting them from his downtown Sacramento office at 1416 9th Street.

“I think he knows now,” she said with a smile.

Researching Spas and Hot Tubs before Purchase

May 20, 2014, Action 9 News – Charlotte, NC 

CHARLOTTE – You may be shopping for a pool, spa, or hot tub, but be careful.

Stephen Beleau spent time and money making his yard relaxing. He shelled out $8,000 for a Dr. Wellness hot tub from RecDirect.

“We basically had problems with it from the beginning. It was overheating,” he said.

He says he couldn’t get the water below 106 degrees, a temperature the Consumer Product Safety Commission considers dangerous.

“It’s unusable,” Beleau said. Then, he says, the tub started leaking.

Mason City has new rules for residential spas and hot tubs

May 15, 2014, Globe Gazette – Mason City, IA

MASON CITY – Mason City has adopted new regulations and permitting requirements for residential pools, hot tubs and spas.

Curt Sauve, the city’s chief building official, said permits are now required for the placement and installation of permanent and portable above-ground swimming pools, spas and hot tubs that are 24 inches or deeper and located on the lot of one or two-family dwellings.

The new regulations contain provisions for a barrier or fence surrounding the water area and entrapment protection for suction outlets to reduce the potential for drowning of young children.

Deer Gets Stuck in Hot Tub

May 14, 2014, ABC-3 – Palm Harbor, FL

PALM HARBOR – A doe takes a swim in a Florida family’s hot tub then has to be rescued to get out. It was all caught on camera Deputy Timothy McTaggart of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says the doe knocked herself out cold. “It wasn’t pleasant watching her struggle,” McTaggart said.

After about a half hour, two deputies and a trapper managed to pull the doe out to safety. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 25 years and i’ve never seen anything like this,” McTaggart said. “I immediately responded to just take care of the deer. That became my priority.”

They put a blanket over her head trying his best to keep her calm. When the trapper arrived, they eventually got the doe free by lifting her out of the spa.

Homeowner Mike Wyers says it’s not uncommon to see deer running around his yard and he’s just glad this story has a happy ending. “to see her kind of trot off into the woods, it felt really good,” Wyers said.

The homeowners say this isn’t the first time surprise visitors have stopped by. They’ve found alligators in their pool on three separate occasions.

Man Arrested in Theft of Three Hot Tubs

May 7, 2014, Great Falls Tribune – Great Falls, MT

GREAT FALLS – A Great Falls man sought by police in connection with the April theft of three hot tubs has been arrested, court documents say.

Jeremy Walraven, 37, was arrested Tuesday on a single felony theft charge. An earlier attempt to apprehend him April 22 resulted in the brief closure of 8th Avenue North during a foot chase in which he eluded officers, GFPD spokesman Sgt. Bryan Slavik said.

According to charging documents, three hot tubs valued together at about $9,000 were reported stolen from All Season’s Spas at 1205 Central Ave. the morning of April 8.

Detectives reportedly tied Walraven to the theft through tips provided by multiple confidential informants, including a Crime Stoppers hotline call April 21 that said Walraven had been planning to steal hot tubs from All Season’s Spa since last summer.

Slavik said shortly after Walraven’s initial alleged escape that they had reason to believe the hot tubs were being moved from out of town to an undisclosed location and were attempting to intercept him and the merchandise when he fled. All three hot tubs were reportedly recovered and returned to All Season’s at that point.

Walraven was ultimately apprehended Tuesday at 412 4th St. N., court documents say.

Canadian Ice Fishermen Keep Warm in a Hot Tub

March 9, 2014, Toronto Sun – Simcoe, Ontario

SIMCOE, ONTARIO – Some inventive ice fishermen in Simcoe, Ont., tried to liven things up by making themselves a hot tub out of plywood. They towed it out to their fishing hut by snowmobile, heated it with a wood burning stove and then proceeded to enjoy their excursion and the incredulous looks from other sportsmen out on the ice.

 

Sad or funny stories about hot tubs and spas – they never stop coming!

 

- Jack

 

Spa Chemical Start Up Guide

May 29th, 2014 by

hot-tub-chemistry-start-up

Balancing your spa or hot tub water after draining and refilling is an important step for many whose tap water is less than perfect.

Doing it in the right order is even more important, to prevent problems and make adjustment and balance something that takes just a few hours, not days.

Many of our customers have fill water that is very hard (or very soft), very acidic (or basic), and loaded with metals or metals, phosphates and nitrates, or silt and sediment. Not good spa water.

My spa fill water is from a well, and even after water treatment, it has a high pH and is full of minerals and metals.

Here’s my 3 step process for refilling a spa, balancing the chemistry, and starting sanitation.

PRE-FILTER THE FILL WATER

number_one_400_wht_9875 - image from PMAs I mentioned, I’m on a well, but even if I wasn’t I would use a pre-filter to fill my spa. City water often contains high levels of chloramines, ammonia and phosphates. If you have a DPD pool or spa test kit, test the water sometime, you may be surprised!

Our Pre-Filter removes all types of chlorides and sulfides, minerals, metals and contaminants. Filters down to below 1 micron in size, it even softens hard, scaling water and removes odors! Just connect it to a garden hose and fill your spa. It’s good for 3-4 fills before the filter clogs.

The only way this could be better would be if it also balanced the water (alkalinity, pH, calcium)!

BALANCE THE WATER

number_two_400_wht_9869 - image from PMThe first step of course is to test the water with a reliable test kit or test strips. Test kits are more accurate, but most people I know test the spa water with test strips.

Alkalinity First! Mine is always a little low, around 50ppm, so I add Alkalinity Increaser first, to bump it up to around 100ppm. This helps to hold your pH level steady when several hot tubbers jump in the water, so don’t neglect your Total Alkalinity level.

Second is the pH adjustment. I add a pH decreaser (acid), to lower the pH to around 7.4, or between 7.3 and 7.5. With high pH like I have, scaling of calcium can result, and it also causes the sanitizer to work harder, and makes it easier for bacteria and other pathogenic stuff to grow. A low pH, below 7.2 is equally troublesome, and below 7.0, the water becomes acidic and can corrode finishes, damage wood, or harm sensitive spa components.

After my Alkalinity and pH adjustment – I let the spa circulate for about 10 minutes or so, and then I adjust the calcium hardness. In my case, our water is extremely soft, and is only about 100 ppm. I add Calcium Booster to the water to double it, to 200 ppm. A range of 200-400 ppm keeps spa water from becoming aggressive in it’s desire for calcium, which can lead to corrosion and staining. Again, I let the spa circulate for about 10 minutes before starting sanitation.

SANITIZE THE WATER

number_three_400_wht_9871 - image from PMThe first thing I do is boost the bromides in the water by shaking in some Brom Booster, about two tablespoons. This is an important first step if you use bromine tablets in your hot tub. If you don’t add sodium bromides, it can take days or weeks to build a bromine residual, which leaves your spa vulnerable to bacteria.

Immediately after the bromides are added, I shock the spa with chlorine granules. I normally use MPS (non-chlorine shock), but after a refill, I like to use a chlorine shock to kill anything in the fill water and to activate the bromides.

Keep the spa cover open for a few hours after shocking, to allow gas to escape. The spa is not ready for use yet, not until the sanitizer level has fallen below 5 ppm. Plus, it’s not hot yet anyway – so before bed, I replace the spa cover and turn up the heater. molecular_structure_expand_anim_150_wht_14299

The next day I check chemistry again, and make any additional adjustments. When perfect, I always smile and give myself a pat on the back!

Check and balance in the right order and you can make quick work of spa and hot tub start-ups!

 

- Jack

 

When to Replace a Spa Pack

May 9th, 2014 by

spa-packs-hot-tub-worksThere comes a time – in the life of every spa or hot tub, when the gears stop turning. It’s usually a minor glitch, something a new pump, or new heater element or relay can fix fast.

But then there are those times when it makes sense to replace the entire spa pack, and take advantage of modern spa pack features and efficiency.

For those of you who aren’t hip to the lingo, a spa pack is a self-contained unit, that contains the controller, heater, pump and sometimes a blower, all mounted on a skid to slide neatly under your spa or hot tub.

When should you replace your spa pack? There are several situations that make it more cost effective or a better long term decision, to replace the entire spa equipment pack.

  1. Your spa pak is old, and it develops a mechanical problem. It could be an inexpensive fix, but soon after, there’s another repair expense. When packs reach 7-10 years of age, they start breaking down.
  2. Your spa controls operate with air buttons, and you would like to have a state of the art digital controller, with backlit display board and function controls and status.
  3. Your heater is broken, again! Breaker is tripping or there are other annoying electrical nuisances.
  4. Your spa system runs continuously without filter cycles; runs only on low speed or only high speed.
  5. A repair company came out for a diagnosis; gave you an estimate that could reach $500. Ouch!

 

SELECTING A NEW SPA PACK

Buying a new spa pack can be confusing, here’s some questions to ask yourself, or call us – and we’ll ask you the questions!

SINGLE OR DUAL PUMPS?

Some spas or hot tubs have a single pump, usually a dual speed (low and high), to accomplish circulation, filtration and high pressure jet action. Other pumps have a low speed circulation pump, and a separate jet pump for the jet action.

PIPE SIZE?

Most spas and hot tubs have 1.5″ plumbing, which has a 1.9″ OD, or outer diameter to the pipe. Larger spas, or custom hot tubs may use 2″ PVC plumbing, which has an OD of 2.375 inches. When ordering a new spa pack, we need to know which pipe size you have – 1.5″ or 2.0″.

INLET ORIENTATION?

Is your spa pack a lefty or a righty? As you look at your current spa equipment pack, is the pump inlet on the left or right side. Put another way, is the wet end of the pump facing to your right or to your left, as you look at the spa pack?

VOLTAGE?

110V or 220V – that is the question – regarding your pump. You may have a 220v spa pack, but have 110V pumps. Check the label closely (with a flashlight and magnifying glass if necessary), to be certain of the voltage for your spa pack pump(s).

HORSEPOWER?

How many horses is your spa pump packing? This is another label check, look for the abbreviation HP to indicate the pump motor horsepower. Spa packs can have pumps with a small 1.0 hp, all the way up to 5.0 hp. Don’t buy a spa pack with a larger hp pump, without speaking to one of our spa techs first. An overpowered spa pump can be worse than an underpowered one.

BLOWER?

Some spa packs have a blower mounted on the skid, and other spas will have a blower mounted elsewhere under the spa skirt, or even in a remote location. If your blower is located on the skid, select Yes – to add a blower to your spa pak, or No – if it’s mounted elsewhere, or you prefer to soak without bubbles.

DIGITAL OR AIR?

A digital spa pack has an digital display of the water temperature, and probably a few status lights. An air system or pneumatic spa control operates with air buttons on the control panel, and you will also see thin air hoses connecting from the  control panel to the control unit. You can switch from air to digital. Contact one of our spa techs if you have any questions.

spa-pack-

 

With the information above, you can buy a new spa pack online, or if you’d like to be sure that you’ve selected the right spa pack, and maybe want to ask a few installation questions, please call our spa techs at 800-772-0292, or send an email with your questions.

 

- Jack

 

Bromine vs. Chlorine for Spas & Hot Tubs

May 1st, 2014 by

chlorine vs. bromineFor the hot tub or spa owner, a thought gets put into their head, “Hey, why not use pool chemicals for the hot tub? They’re a lot cheaper!”

So, why not just use 3″ chlorine tablets and powdered pool shock to sanitize your spa? Isn’t it the same thing?

Bromine vs. Chlorine – two challengers will fight for the title of best spa and hot tub sanitizer.

ROUND ONE: COST

Trichlor chlorine tablets, the 1″ size, are about 20% cheaper than bromine tablets. And the 3″ tablets, are over 40% cheaper, when you buy in bulk. Chlorine does have a shelf life however, and after about a year, depending on the temperature it is stored at, it can lose half of it’s power. Cal Hypo or dichlor shock, two types of pool shocks, are also cheaper than non-chlorine shock, Angel Tabs, or our specialty spa shocks.

Round One goes to chlorine – definitely a cheaper alternative!

ROUND TWO: CONVENIENCE

brom-booster-htwBoth challengers are fairly convenient. Purchase a small quantity of 1″ tablets (3″ tablets are too slow dissolving for hot tubs), and put enough in a floating dispenser to give a good reading when the water is tested.

Bromine however, requires a bank of bromides to build up before you can register a reading on your test kit. Another small step in the process, after draining a spa, you can shake in a little Brom Booster, or use the 2 oz. sodium bromide packets.

Chlorine comes out slightly ahead in Round Two.

ROUND THREE: STAYING POWER

Bromine is not as easily protected from the sun as chlorine is, by adding stabilizer, or cyanuric acid. But then, most hot tubs are covered and out of the sun. Although bromine lost the first round, and can be more expensive than chlorine, it has the curious property of reactivation.

Bromide salts can be reactivated into bromine by adding a small amount of chlorine shock or MPS shock. This allows you to reuse the bromide again and again, and you use less bromine tablets. With chlorine however, once the killing work is done, the chlorine molecule becomes inert.

Bromine wins this round, with an amazing ability to regenerate.

ROUND FOUR: KILLING POWER

bromine-has-an-extra-layerWhich is stronger, chlorine or bromine? Chemically speaking, chlorine is a stronger halogen, with a quicker oxidation reaction, but bromine has a larger atomic size, with an extra valence shell.

Bromine has a big advantage over chlorine in killing bacteria and viruses, whereas chlorine has an advantage in killing algae more rapidly. Bromamines continue to be an active sanitizer, in contrast with chloramines, as we will see in the next round.

Bromine wins Round Four; it’s stronger in more water conditions and molecular states.

ROUND FIVE: STABILITY

Bromine comes out swinging! At a high pH, say of 7.8, only about 25% of chlorine is active. Bromine is not affected by pH swings as much, and continues to be effective, when a full hot tub can quickly raise pH levels.

Being stable at high temperatures is another characteristic of bromine. Chlorine becomes really active at high temperatures and tends to quickly gas off, at temperatures around 100 degrees.

Third, when bromine or chlorine combine with nitrogen or ammonia, they form bromamines or chloramines. In chlorine, the compound formed becomes an ineffective sanitizer, and is responsible for red eyes, itchy skin and that awful chlorine smell. Bromamines, on the other hand, continue to be active sanitizers, without smell or irritation.

Bromine wins Round Five!

ROUND SIX: OTHER

  • ODOR – Chlorine smells similar, but the bromine odor, in the container or in the water, is softer.
  • IRRITATION – Skin irritation can occur with bromine or chlorine, but bromine is less irritating.
  • pH – Trichlor has a very low pH, Bleach has a very high pH, Bromine has a pH level of 7.5. Perfect!
  • ADDITIVES – Cal hypo adds calcium to a spa, and Trichlor and Dichlor will add cyanuric acid.

Bromine has chlorine against the ropes, and in the sixth round, has delivered a knockout blow!

 

bromine-winsIf you have a spa, bromine has a lot of advantages over using chlorine. It may cost a little bit more, but it lasts longer and does a much better job than chlorine at killing bacteria, especially at high temperatures and high pH levels.

Which is better – bromine or chlorine? Bromine is best for spas, use Chlorine for pools.

- Jack

 

 

Spas and Hot Tubs as Tax Refund Purchases!

April 13th, 2014 by

hot-tub-tax-return

April 15 is tomorrow – tax day!

If you’ve given the government an interest-free loan over the past 12 months – you have a tax refund coming your way!

The average tax refund for this year is $2831 – that’s enough to get you into a 4-5 person spa!

Our Aquarock line of rotomolded spas start at just $2399, for the Bliss Spa, or for a few dollars more, you can step up to the Aquarock Serene Spa, currently priced at $2699.

Expecting a larger refund? Treat your friends and family to hot water therapy, in our larger, more powerful Acrylic spa, with all the bells and whistles. Here’s a few of my favorite spa models…

AquaRock Xanadu Spa

aquarock-xanadu-spas

 

The Xanadu Spa is a round, roto-molded tub for up to 6 adults. Comfortable seats include an interior step/cool-down Seat. Features a durable resin cabinet, the and a backlit digital topside control, underwater LED light, 1kW/4kW stainless steel heater, and comes in eye-catching Cobblestone, Millstone, and Gray Granite cabinet colors.

The Xanadu Spa is sold complete for $2999.

 

AquaRock Tranquility Spa

aquarock-tranquility-spa

The Tranquility Spa can seat up to 6 people in its comfortable roto-molded seats, and includes a lounger. Features a super-strong resin cabinet, the AquaRock Tranquility Premium Spa includes a waterfall, underwater LED light, backlit digital topside control, 4 kW stainless steel heater, and an Ozonator. The AquaRock Tranquility Premium Spa comes in eye-catching Cobblestone, and Gray Granite cabinet colors to enhance any backyard décor.

The Tranquility Premium Spa is sold complete for $3999

 

AquaRock Mykonos 50 Spa

aquarock-mykonos

The AquaRock Mykonos 50 Spa can seat up to 5 people in its smooth and soft Acrylic seats that include two Captain’s chairs, and also has an interior step/cool-down seat. Features a super-strong DURA-LAST resin cabinet, the Mykonos 50 Spa includes a backlit LED waterfall, underwater LED light, backlit digital topside control, 4 kW stainless steel heater, blower, 50 Jets, and an Ozonator. Available with different cabinet colors – Cobblestone, Gray Granite, and Millstone.

The Mykonos 50 Spa is sold complete for $5499

 

AquaRock Morocco 90 Jet Acrylic Spa

morocco-spa

The AquaRock Morocco Acrylic 90 Jet Spa can seat up to 6 people in six comfortable seats that include a lounger and 2 Captain’s chairs. The Captain’s chairs have rollover neck/shoulder jets for soothing your joints, and there is also an interior cool-down seat. All Resin cabinet, the AquaRock Morocco Spa includes a backlit LED waterfall, underwater LED light, backlit digital topside control, 4 kW stainless steel heater, 90 Jets and an Ozonator. It’s a Top-of-the-Line spa!

The Morocco 90 Spa is sold complete for $6499

 

Now that you know what to do with your tax refund, you can relax – in your own hot tub! You’ve worked hard – you deserve it ! See our full line of spas >>> here.

 

- Jack

 

Installing a New Spa Pump

April 3rd, 2014 by

spa-pump-installation

 

I have heard that the industry average for spa pump motor is about 8 years. When the motor goes, you have a choice – replace just the motor, or buy the entire pump.

The same with the wet end, or the opposite end of the pump, you could just replace a new wet end onto the existing motor. We have a large inventory of parts for spa pumps, to fix almost any pump problem.

But…if you’d rather not get your hands dirty, and prefer to just replace the entire pump – motor and wet end, then this post is for you. Here’s how to replace a typical spa pump, wired into a spa pack.

 

1. Check the Frame, Horsepower, Voltage & Speed

You don’t want to install the wrong pump, so get out your reading glasses and a flashlight, and inspect the label on the pump motor. Look for FR which indicates frame type (48 or 56), HP for horsepower(1 – 5), Voltage (115 or 230) and Speed (single or dual). Replace your existing pump with the same size and type spa pump. adjustable spa-pump-volute

Also pay attention to how the pump discharge is oriented, is it on the side, or on the top center? These are two different wet ends. The side discharge spa pump can be rotated to different locations by loosening the volute screws, but the center discharge is top dead center – 12:00.

If you have questions on selecting the correct spa pump, please call or email us!

2. Shut off the Power

Don’t take chances, find the correct circuit breaker that feeds the spa and shut it off. Use a piece of tape over the breaker so that no one accidentally turns it back on. After shutting off the breaker, test to be sure that power is off, then you can proceed to disassemble and remove the existing pump.

3. Disconnect Old Spa Pump

Start with removing the bare copper bonding wire that is attached to the pump. Now, assuming that the spa is drained, or you have valves closed to prevent the water from running out, slowly loosen the union nuts on the incoming and outgoing water connections of the spa pump. 1-10 gallons of water will drain out, so be prepared if your spa is located indoors.

If your spa pump is bolted to the floor, use a wrench or socket to remove the bolts on the motor footpad.

Once you can move the pump, position it to give you easy access to the wires coming into the rear of the motor. Open up the cover plate and you will find 3-wires for a single speed pump, and 4-wires for a two-speed spa pump. With a screwdriver, nut driver or needle nose, you can remove the wires from their terminal screws, and after loosening the cord clamp on the motor, gently pull the wire cable out from the existing motor.

spa-pump-replacement

For a two-speed motor, note or label the high speed and low speed wires, to wire correctly to the new motor. Get out your glasses and flashlight again, you’ll find the terminal screws are labeled in very tiny print.

4. Connect New Spa Pump

You’ll find it easier to wire the motor before you slide the pump underneath the spa. Make identical connections to the new pump. For two-speed motors, low speed is usually Red, common is White and high speed is Black, and green is of course green. However, if the wires are not an actual spa pump cord, the colors may be different. Match up the wire color to the markings on the terminal board.

Remove the pump cord clamp from the old motor and screw it into the wire access port of the new motor. Insert the pump cord through the clamp, and connect the wires to the terminals. You can either wrap the bare wire around the post, underneath the screw or nut, or use spade connectors crimped onto the end of the wire. Make sure that your connections are tight, and no wires are touching each other.pump-cord-clamp

Tighten up the pump cord clamp where the wires enter the rear of the motor, and replace the motor end cap or cover.

Next, you can thread on the union nuts to the new spa pump, making sure that the o-ring is still intact, and has not fallen out. Hand tighten the union nuts firmly. The final step is to re-secure the bolts that hold the motor foot pad to the floor or base. This helps cut down on vibration noise. Using a rubber pad beneath the pump can help reduce it even further.

Finally, reconnect the bare copper bonding wire to the bonding lug on your new spa pump.

5. Testing a New Spa Pump

spa-pakOnce the plumbing on the pump is tightened up, you can begin to fill the spa. Once you have the spa about half full, open the valves and loosen the incoming spa union to allow any air lock to escape, and tighten up firmly when water begins to drip. Continue to fill the spa full, while looking for any leaks around the new spa pump.

When the spa is full, turn on the breaker to test your spa pump, running through it’s paces. Make sure that your heater kicks on and that everything looks and sounds proper.

A fairly simple procedure, but if you need any assistance in replacing spa and hot tub pumps, we have spa techs standing by waiting for your call or email !

 

- Jack

 

Spa & Hot Tub Owner’s Manuals

March 17th, 2014 by

spa-owners-manualsYour spa owner’s manual is an important piece of literature, detailing safety information, installation instructions, and covering every aspect of use, care and maintenance for your spa or hot tub.

Spa manufacturers write some of the most detailed owner’s manuals that I’ve ever read. I’ve been curating spa and hot tub owner’s manuals for many years, but now they sit dusty on the shelf, as most manufacturers have their owner’s manuals listed online.

 

Here’s an extensive reference sheet on where to find owner’s manuals for a spa. Use these as guides for use, care and troubleshooting information. They also usually contain the spa warranty policy, in the appendix of the owner’s manual.

Amish Spas

Arctic Spas

Artesian Spas

Baja Spas

Barefoot Spas

Beachcomber Hot Tubs

Bullfrog Spas

Cal Spas

Caldera Spas

Catalina Spas

Centurion Hot Tubs

Clearwater Spas

Charisma Spa Operation & Installation Guide

Coast Spas

Coyote Spas

Coleman Spas

Costco Spas

Diamante Spas

Dimension One Owner’s Manuals

Dolphin Spas Use & Care Manual

Dreammaker Spas Owners Manuals

Down East Spas  Owner’s Manual

Dynasty Spas Operators Manuals

Emerald Spas Owners Manuals

Freeflow Spas Owner’s Manuals

Garden Leisure Owner’s Manual

Grecian Spas Installation Manual

Great Lakes Spas Owner’s Manuals

Gulf Coast Spas Owner’s Manuals

H2O Spas Owners Manual

Hot Spot Spas Owner’s Manuals

Hot Spring Spas Owner’s Manual

HydroPool  Hot Tubs Product Manuals

Infinity Spas Owners Manual

Jacuzzi Hot Tubs Owner’s Manuals

LA Spas Owner’s Manuals

La-Z-Boy Spas Owner’s Manual

Maax Hot Tubs Owner Manuals

Marquis Spas Owners Manual

Master Spas Owner’s Manuals

Pacific Spas Owner’s Manual

Persona Spas Owner’s Manuals

PDC Spas Owner’s and Installation Manual

Phoenix Spas Owners Manual

Pinnacle Spas Owners Manual

Polar Spas Operator Guides

Polynesian Spas Owners Manual

Saratoga Spas Owner’s Manuals

Shoreline Spas Operator’s Guide

Softub Manuals and Instructions

Solana Spa Owner’s Manual

Sonoma Spas Owner’s Manual

Spa-N-A-Box Installation Guide

Sundance Spas Owners Manuals

Sweetwater Spas Installation & Owner’s Manual

Sunbelt Spas Owners Manual

Thermo Spas Owner’s Manual

Tiger River Spas Owner’s Manual

Viking Spas

Waters Edge Spas Owner’s Guide Book
wow


Wow!
– that was quite a list of spa and hot tub owner’s manuals – not the most attractive layout, but easy to find the spa owner’s manual that you need. If you need help finding an owner’s manual for your spa that is not listed here – it may not be available. Feel free to send us an email anyway – there is a small chance that we can find it, maybe sitting dusty on a shelf in my office!

- Jack