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Archive for the ‘Consumer Research for Best Hot Tub’ Category

Amazing Inground Hot Tubs

September 3rd, 2015 by

inground-spas-are-coolMy husband and I have been shopping for a new house lately – it’s so much fun, no really it is – looking at all the glitzy OC houses online.

Recently we’ve become enamored with the idea of an inground spa. That would be a first for us, now on our third spa, after getting our feet wet with wood hot tubbing, when that became fashionable, in the eighties.

Our budget is not something that can afford oceanfront property with a stunning spa and soaring pool – but one can dream, can’t she?

I did a little searching for homes with “spa or hot tub” as my main criteria – Oh, and a price range of $5M – $10M

“Honey…? I like this one, come look!” :-)


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Amazing inground hot tubs! If we don’t find a house in our price range with an inground spa, or pool/spa combo – we may just build our own! I’ll keep you posted!


Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works



FAQ About Spas and Hot Tubs

August 17th, 2015 by

spa-hot-tub-careBefore I came to Hot Tub Works, I worked in a spa retail store for ten years, selling spas. So when it comes to questions about hot tubs and spas, we must have heard them all.

There’s a lot to consider when buying a spa or hot tub, so many features, styles and options. Nothing overly complicated, but for someone who has never owned a spa before, it seems very confusing.

Today’s FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions, answers questions about Buying a Spa or Hot Tub. Next time, I’ll cover questions about spa safety and ongoing spa maintenance.

Q: How often do you need to Change the Water?
A: That depends on how much you use the spa or hot tub, and how clean your bathers are (see above), but generally speaking, most residential spas are drained every 3-4 months. For spas and hot tubs that are mandated to conserve water, there are ways to extend your time between changes for up to a year if needed. 

Q: How does a Spa Filter work?
A: Spas and hot tubs are filtered by pleated polyester cartridges. A filter pump pulls the water through the material, which traps dirt and particles down to a very small size. As the dirt loads up in the cartridge, it will need cleaning with a garden hose, once or twice per month. After 12-15 cleanings, it’s time to replace the spa filter

Q: How does a Spa Heater work?
Spas and hot tubs are heated by an electrical immersion element, much like the types used in electric home water heaters. When the control system gets a call for heat from the thermostat, it checks flow, pressure and temperature before sending power to the element, which heats up very fast to warm the water as it rushes past the element.

Q: What Chemicals are needed for a Spa?
Spas and hot tubs are most often sanitized continuously with bromine tablets in a floater, and shocked with a non-chlorine oxidizer after each use. Many spas also use an ozonator or mineral purifier to supplement the bromine. Also, you’ll need to check and periodically adjust pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels.

Q: Do I really need a Spa Cover?
 Yes, absolutely – it’s like having a house with no roof, or a refrigerator with no door – it just wouldn’t make sense not to have a quality spa cover. By the way, most standard spa covers that come with a new spa are usually junk – but it’s a good starter cover. Most folks buy a new spa covers every 3-5 years.

Q: Do I really need a Spa Cover lifter?
Yes again – but many people try it for a while without a cover lifter, and end up a spa cover lifter soon. Without one, you risk damage to the spa cover while moving it, or when it’s off the spa. And if your cover becomes even slightly waterlogged, oof! it’s heavy. And fellows, it may be easy for you, but smaller people (like me!) really struggle without a cover lifter.

Q: What Replacement Items will I need to Buy?
Spa cover every 3-5 years, filter cartridge every 1-2 years. Ozone cells wear out after 18 months, and mineral purifiers last 6 months typically. You’ll also have a stock of chemicals that will need regular replenishing. Spa pillows may deteriorate after several years under the cover.

Q: Will my Spa attract Rodents?
It’s not uncommon for mice to try to make a home beneath the warm spa cabinet. Using mint bags or moth balls will deter them, as will keeping it clear around the spa. Seal up any access points, but never block any vents (although you can staple a wire mesh over the vents).

Q: Is an Air Blower required equipment?
It is not, many hot tubs don’t have one, as they are more of a soaking vessel. Adding forced air into the return line accentuates the force of the bubble, and having seat jets, well that just feels really good! The problem with the blower is that they are usually somewhat noisy, and makes the water really “bouncy”. They also tend to lower the water temperature because they draw in air that is much colder than the water.

Q: Where can I install a Hot Tub or Spa?
A: A spa or hot tub full of water can weigh over 3000 lbs! For this reason it must be placed on a 4 inch thick reinforced concrete slab, or an equally sturdy wood deck (on compacted earth) capable of holding 100 lbs per square foot. You should never install on a balcony or unsupported deck, or set on the bare earth. 

Q: How much will my Electrical Bill Increase with a Spa?
A: Generally about $10-$20 per month, depending on where you live. Some areas of the US pay much more than other parts of the country pay for electricity. In most cases, you may not even notice the bump of $15 per month.

Q: How much will I spend on Spa Chemicals?
A: If you buy our 6-month chemical packages, you’ll spend about $250 per year on chemicals, but you can go a la carte, and spend much less, by buying only what you absolutely need. But, it’s important not to skimp too much on chemicals, or you end up having to drain and clean to correct a poor water situation.

Q: How do I Drain and Clean a Hot Tub?
A: Most have a spigot underneath that you connect a garden hose to, or you could use a small submersible pump. While empty, it’s  a good time to clean the surfaces, especially around the water line. When refilling the tub, you may need to make adjustments to water chemistry, if your fill water is less than perfect.

Q: What are the larger Expenses for a Spa Owner?
A: In most cases, the spa is trouble free for at least 5 years. At that point, things begin to show your age. You will likely need a new spa cover by now, maybe a new cover lifter, too. Spa components and electronics are more stable nowadays than 20 years ago, and you can expect trouble free performance for 10 years or more.  In most cases, a major spa repair is not more than $500 in spa parts.

Q: Do I need a Spa Cover on an Empty or Unheated Spa?
A: Yes, unless the spa is covered and shaded from the damaging effects of the sun. Just a few hours of daily direct sunlight can damage spa interior surfaces. Spa covers also serve an important safety function by keeping out children and animals.

Q: How much space is needed around the Spa?
A: The spa cover and spa cover lifter need to have room to operate, and depending on which cover lifter is used, you will need from 6″ to 18″ of clearance on 3 sides of the spa. Also important is easy access to the equipment spa pack (pump, heater, filter, blower, valves…).

Q: Can I place the Spa or Hot Tub Indoors?
A: This is generally not recommended, due to the heat and humidity that a spa gives off during use, and even while covered. It also presents a flooding hazard, and there will certainly be lots of water around the spa. Moisture and humidity will damage your walls and your home over time, unless the room is designed to manage the moisture.

Q: Do you have to Shower before Using a Spa?
A: It is recommended to shower before using the spa, to reduce the oils and dirt (and even bits of fecal matter) that will enter the spa. My usual routine is to shower and remove make-up, put my hair up, and then saunter to the spa. But there are times when I don’t have time, and that’s OK once a week or so, just shake in some shock after use. Water management can become difficult if the spa is used as a bathtub, requiring extra chemicals and filtration to compensate.

Q: How Hot do Spas Get?
A: Spas are triple protected with high limits and temperature sensors to detect an overheating situation that could be dangerous to users or to the equipment. Most spas will not heat above 105°, but for safety’s sake a lower temperature of 102-104° should be used, and for children, the temp should always be under 100°.

Q: How fast do Spas Heat Up?
A: It depends on the size and voltage of heaters. 220V spas will heat twice as fast as 110V spas. Heater elements are sized in kilowatts, with larger spas using an 11 kw element, but smaller spas with a 5.5kw or 4kw element. 220V spas with an 11kw element can heat 6-8 degrees F per hour, but 110V heaters (plug and play models), only heat 2-3 degrees per hour.  Once it heats up, a well insulated spa can maintain a hot temperature quite economically.

Q: What is a Well Insulated Spa?
A: Full foam spas spray expanding foam throughout the space between the spa shell and the cabinet, except in the equipment bay area. This is the best form of insulation. Spas used in warm southern climates don’t need as much insulation as northern spas, but the more you have, the cheaper and faster it is to heat!

Q: Is it OK to use Well Water in a Spa?
A: Sure, well water is typically fine water. If your home has a water softener and in-home filters, it may be best to use your spa test strips to test the unfiltered water (typically from the hose) and the filtered or softened water from the sink. Well water may contain more heavy metals and minerals which could stain some spa surfaces, similar to what you may see in your bathtub or bath sinks. I always recommend using a pre-filter for well water or for city water that smells, looks or tastes funny!

Q: Do I need to have a Fence around my Spa?
A: Not directly around the spa, but in most towns and cities in the U.S., a portable spa or hot tub is treated with the same fencing regulations as an aboveground swimming pool. You probably do need some type of fencing to protect the community; check your local government website for details.

Q: What Tests do I need for the Spa Water?
You’ll need to regularly check the spa pH level and the bromine level, just about every other day, or at least before you use the spa. Bromine level should be a constant (all the time!) level of 3-4 ppm and the pH should be adjusted if needed, to be between 7.2 and 7.6. Test strips easily give you results in 30 seconds.

Q: Can Children Use a Spa or Hot Tub?
A: Toddlers should not be allowed to use the spa. At age 4 or 5, supervised children can be allowed a short session in spa water that has cooled to below 100°. Because young children are more susceptible to bacteria, they should always keep their head above water.

Q: Can I do my own Spa Repairs?
A: Spa Maintenance is simple. Spa repairs (to pumps, heater or control circuits) is within reach of most handy homeowners. Most spas nowadays are self-diagnosing, with very little testing or troubleshooting required. Owner’s Manuals for modern spas and spa packs are quite detailed with step by step flow chart repair guides. And we have all the spa repair parts you could ever need, here at Hot Tub Works.

Thanks! I hope you learned something! I learned that I shouldn’t sit so long in one position – I need to go sit in my spa for awhile. Bye!



Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works



Spa and Hot Tub Manufacturers List

July 30th, 2015 by

lean_manufacturing_tape_measure_400_wht_3952The recession of 2008 wasn’t especially kind to spa manufacturers. As the number of spas sold dropped dramatically, smaller spa and hot tub brands were forced out of business.

Given that the industry has had a shake-up in the last 5 years, the time is ripe for an updated Spa and Hot Tub Manufacturers List, with current information.

We lost several good spa brands – Emerald, Great Lakes and Hawkeye Spas to name a few. Other companies under financial duress were gobbled up by larger players in the industry. The list below is 51 of the survivors, a tough as nails bunch of spa and hot tub brands that are beginning to thrive once again.

So then, in alphabetical order, I give you the current roster for the upcoming spa season! Use this list of Spa Manufacturers, or Hot Tub Brands in North America to find the contact information for your spa, or to read a little bit about the company.



6100 Wheaton Dr
Atlanta, Ga 30336

We want our customers to get more than they expected and enjoy their spas for years to come. All of our spas are custom ordered and built to last. From our steel frame construction to our environmentally safe acrylic backing you can rest easy knowing you bought a quality product. All spas are water tested for twelve hours to ensure that all components are working properly. With a lifetime warranty on the frame, acrylic shell and ABS bottom we stand behind our products and it shows.



1233 Andover Park East
Tukwila, WA 98188
800-441-SPAS (7727)

Apollo Spas has become one of the best-known hot tub dealers in the Northwest. The original company began in 1968 and was renowned as a fiberglass boat builder. In 1981, they took that knowledge and expertise with fiberglass and molding and applied it to the art of hot tub manufacturing, where they enjoyed instant success. During that time, the company phased out of boat-building and concentrated their efforts into building high quality hot tubs and jetted bathtubs. Apollo Spas is now owned by Arctic Spas.



Box 560, 4549 52nd Street
Thorsby, Alberta T0C 2P0 Canada

Across the globe, Arctic Spas is best known for two things – making beautiful hot tubs purpose-built for extreme weather, and for pushing the technological limits of our industry. Since our inception nearly 20 years ago, we have pioneered dozens and dozens of innovations that make owning and enjoying our spas easier, more relaxing and more fun. For 2014, its business as usual for our R&D team, as they have unveiled the amazing onSpa® with WebConnect, making real-time monitoring and total control of your spa anywhere on the planet a reality.



4176 East I-30
Rockwall, TX 75087

“Aries Spas has a simple business philosophy: Build and sell innovative, highly reliable, premium quality products at a reasonable price, backed by a total commitment to customer satisfaction. Let us put our experience to work for you. We’ll analyze your needs, wants and desires. We’ll customize any spa to fit your particular lifestyle.” Larry Williams – President



4720 N Lamb Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89115

Nowhere is our passionate commitment more evident than in the unparalleled quality of our spas. Each model has been painstakingly crafted to provide a feature-rich, optimal mix of elegance and functionality, omitting no detail. While many perceive spas as unattainable luxuries, Artesian builds a spa for every budget.  Working with our worldwide network of top-tier dealers, we bring the comfort, satisfaction, and benefits of owning an Artesian spa.



6306 W. Bell Rd.
Glendale, AZ 85308

Atera AnyTemp® Spas & Hot Tubs are designed and manufactured in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., by a team of industry veterans. The company’s goals include handcrafting, using 100% North American components, high quality, exclusively featured, year round outdoor Fun and Therapeutic Health and Wellness Spas, Hot Tubs and Swim Spas in America. The family founders have also owned Four Seasons Leisure, a brick and mortar store in Glendale, Arizona, since 1996.



4065 N Romero Drive
Tucson, AZ 85705

Baja has always approached spa manufacturing with careful attention to detail and exceptional craftsmanship in each individual spa produced, not a race to see how many spas we can build. Our goal is not to create spas that people will merely like, rather we’re committed to building spas that discerning owners will love and enjoy. Forty years ago, when we invented the first acrylic spa, our vision was to design spas with hydrotherapy, style and comfort in mind.



1500 Commerce Rd.
Richmond, VA 23224

At Barefoot Spas, we design every model hot tub around your needs. We have worked tirelessly to optimize the ergonomics, aesthetics, ambiance, and hydrotherapeutic effectiveness of every portable spa we make. Additionally, we know your hot tub should work for you, and not the other way around. Our hot tub spas come standard with maintenance-free synthetic siding, ozonators, antimicrobial shells and filters, blah, blah, blah.



13245 Comber Way
Surrey, BC V3T 1P1

Beachcomber Hot Tubs has been leading the world in manufacturing quality hot tubs since 1978, and we are devoted to contemporary industrial design in every form, from the simple functional features, to making the most energy efficient hot tubs in the world.



668 W 14600 S
Bluffdale, UT 84065

Bullfrog Spas feature patented technology recognized around the world in the pool and spa industry. The benefits of the patented JetPak Therapy System include: customizable jetted massages, an efficient system that creates the most energy efficient spa, and an ultra-efficient plumbing system that provides more power to run all the jets at the same time with optimum pressure. Perfection is no small challenge, but it’s our goal. At Bullfrog Spas, we take a different approach.



1280 Park Center Drive
Vista, CA 92081

Since 1976, Caldera® has been one of the world’s most trusted spa brands. At Caldera, we do more than sell hot tubs. We design and carefully construct a product with extraordinary benefits that can bring positive change and help transform your life. A Caldera spa gives you access to effective warm water massage therapy right at home, helping you feel renewed and refreshed, even when you have only a few moments to spare. Caldera Spas is a sister brand of Hot Springs Spas.



1462 East Ninth Street
Pomona, CA 91766

The Cal Spas story began over 35 years ago at a crowded county fair. The year was 1978 and California Acrylic Industries was a Pomona, California-based pool builder searching for a way to exhibit a large variety of pool designs in a small space. To solve this dilemma, the company created smaller versions of its formed acrylic pools and put them on display for customers. The miniature pools immediately sparked interest and the company began to receive special requests for acrylic hot tubs.


1585 Victoria Street
Kitchener, ON N2B 3E6

Canadian Hot Tubs Inc is a manufacturer and retailer of cedar hot tubs. Our round and oval cedar hot tubs are available from 2 to 10 people. Made from western red cedar from BC, the natural beauty of our hot tubs blends seamlessly into any backyard landscape. We are still independent and family-owned, meaning that we still provide the personalized customer service and attention to detail that customers have come to expect from Canadian Hot Tubs for over three decades.



275 West Rider
Perris, CA 92571

Catalina Spas is the leading spa manufacturer in cutting edge technology and quality fitness and exercise equipment giving the consumer state of the art construction and absolute relaxation. Catalina Spas are carefully constructed to provide years of carefree performance despite frequent, daily use. As a result, we build the best spas and swim spas in the industry with high-quality, efficient heaters, pumps and other components.



18800 Woodinville/Snohomish Rd.
Woodinville, WA 98072

Clearwater Spas was the first company to produce an ecologically sound product, and all of our spas are produced without fiberglass resin and other destructive agents. Clearwater Spas takes pride in using 100% recycled ABS to fabricate our Dura Floors on all of our spas. We also recycle 100% of our wood, plastic and cardboard waste. All of Clearwater Spas are certified to California’s Energy Commission (CEC).



6315 – 202 Street
Langley, BC Canada V2Y 1N1

A Coast Spas® hot tub delivers a world of new experiences, improved health and an environment that is meant to be shared with friends and family. We’ve been an innovator in the Hot Tub industry since our inception in 1996. Coast Spas was the first to install modern lighting, audio and video systems and commercial-grade Hydro Cylonic filtration systems into the portable hot tub. Coast Spas also holds several patents such as our Infinity Edge design for both hot tubs and swim spas. Coast Spas is one of the few hot tub manufactures to be ISO 9001:2008 quality certified.



1462 E Ninth Street
Pomona, CA 91766

The same innovation and exploration that ignited Coleman® lanterns has inspired the creation of the Coleman® Spas collection. Coleman® Spas are manufactured in the United States with cutting-edge technology and affordability. Coleman® Rugged Rotomold Spas, Acrylic Spas and Swim Spas are built with quality and can be trusted to last from generation to generation. Buy Coleman® Spas and buy with confidence. Coleman Spas is owned by Maax.



2717 N Tamiami Trail
N Fort Myers, FL 33903

Over the years Comfort Line Products, Inc. was not only the pioneer of the portable spa industry, but also influential in creating much of the technology found in portable hydrotherapy hot tubs today.  However, we do not rest on our laurels alone and have continued improving our line of spas into the most desired brand on the market.  The Spa-n-a-box, Spa2go, Bali Spa, and the incredible AiriSpa truly set the standard for the greatest in affordable hydrotherapy benefits and stylish design.


d1spas-logo2611 Business Park Drive
Vista, CA 92081

Dimension One Spas® was founded by Bob Hallam in 1977 and has grown to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hot tubs and aquatic fitness systems. The company was first established as a chain of retail hot tub stores. The area of Vista, California was ripe for pool and spa manufacturers, so Bob and his wife Linda set up a quick manufacturing concern. Dimension One was recently purchased by Jacuzzi, and Bob and Linda are now retired. :-)



2452 Lake Emma Rd.
Lake Mary, FL. 32746

Dream Maker Spas is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rotationally molded spas and has been a market leader since introducing this type of manufacturing to the spa industry in 1997. With a new owner and leadership team from within the industry for more than 25 years, Dream Maker Spas is now positioned for a greater level of innovation and technology. Our goal is simple: To provide superior products that allow everyone to enjoy leisure, recreation, and wellness.



101 Dynasty Way
Athens, TN 37303

In 1995, in a small metal building in Etowah Tennessee, the owners of Dynasty Spas started working on what would turn out to be one of the fastest growing and most successful spa manufacturing companies in the world. Today, Dynasty Spas employ’s hundreds of the industry’s best people and has a modern 300,000 plus square foot manufacturing facility. distribution network that consists of over 500 dealers worldwide.



251 Mayfield Dr.
Smyrna, TN 37167

Four Winds Spas has been a leading manufacturer of quality hot tubs, therapeutic spas and swim spas for more than two decades. Our unparalled commitment to craftsmanship, excellence and innovation has allowed us to stay at the forefront of the spa manufacturing industry. Incorporating cutting-edge technology and aesthetic beauty, Four Winds is dedicated to providing a stunning array of spas to meet every style and budget.



1280 Park Center Drive
Vista, CA. 92081

Freeflow Spas are incredibly durable because our manufacturing process produces a strong unibody (one-piece) hot tub shell, eliminating the need for an internal support frame. By reducing material and labor costs, we bring you a premium hot tub experience at a more affordable price. Freeflow Spas are manufactured using rotational molding making them extremely durable and more affordable than acrylic hot tubs.



24930 Railroad Ave.
Newhall, CA 91321

In 1976 Grecian Spas was founded on the philosophy of bringing the customer the finest products available with uncompromising quality. Although there have been many owners of Grecian Spas over the past 28 years the same philosophy of uncompromising quality has never changed. In 2003 manufacturing began in Odessa, Texas, in our 90,000 square foot 8 acre facility, exceeding I.S.O. 9001 standards, we are confident that the product you purchase will exceed your expectations.



1280 Park Center Drive
Vista, CA 92081

Why Hot Spring Spas? A spa provides the powerful combination of massage and hot water. We strive to do these things better with one-of-a-kind massage, innovative water care systems, and features that keep water hot and operating costs low. Plus, you can count on our decades of experience and our unparalleled customer care for the Absolute Best Hot Tub Ownership Experience. Hot Spring Spas also owns Caldera Spas and FreeFlow Spas.



335 Superior Blvd
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5T 2L6

Hydropool Hot Tubs originated in 1970 as a commercial swimming pool company and in 1978 became one of the first hot tub retailers in North America. Initially, Hydropool purchased hot tub shells from a local manufacturer, plumbed and assembled them in house. By 1980, Hydropool began manufacturing their own hot tubs in Toronto, Canada which are hand crafted by experienced designers and the rest is history.



135 Matheson Blvd East
Mississauga, Ontario, L4Z 1R2, CANADA

Our hot tubs are shipped pre-plumbed and are easily installed by any professional contractor or handyman. Our Factory Sales and Service Support Team is available to provide telephone support assistance and where desired we can also quote on providing on-site installation or start up support.  HydroTher has two convenient shipping facilities, in Toronto and New York, for economical shipping to all major North American and European cities.



14525 Monte Vista Ave.
Chino, CA 91710

As the company that virtually invented the hot tub and whirlpool bath categories more than 50 years ago, and with more than 250 patents, we proudly offer the best hot tubs and spas available in the world today. Jacuzzi Hot Tubs has more than 500 retail locations worldwide, including more than 400 in the U.S. and 50 in Canada.



1331 N. Blue Gum St.
Anaheim, CA 92806

L.A. Spas has led the industry in hot tub design, manufacturing and innovation since 1976. Whether it’s a daily soak in the most ergonomic lounger on the market, or a cozy evening with family under the stars, you’ll love your L.A. Spas hot tub. Relax and let the crystal clear water created by Aqua Klean® filtration rejuvenate your body and mind. For unmatched quality, beauty and reliability, see a local dealer now to find the perfect spa. LA Spas is now owned by Maax.



25605 S. Arizona Ave
Chandler, AZ 85248

At MAAX Spas we understand that companies are not only products and programs, they are organizations of people. Great companies succeed because of the strength of their people and shared proven values. Within MAAX® Spas we consistently succeed in meeting the challenges inherent in our growth by staying focused on our values. Maax has acquired California Cooperage, Coleman, Elite Spas, LA Spas and Vita Spa brands.



596 Hoffman Road
Independence, OR 97351

Marquis Spas® was founded in 1980. Since that time we’ve worked hard to build trust with our customers. So it’s no surprise to find that today we’re an employee-owned company. We’ve always had a reputation for quality products and each employee takes pride of ownership very seriously. Such a commitment has led to the highest level of product quality and reliability. Marquis is mainly concerned with offering creative and innovative designs…



6927 Lincoln Parkway
Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Master Spas is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 90 miles north of Indianapolis. Operating out of a state-of-the-art 27 acre manufacturing campus, we are the largest swim spa manufacturer in the world, and one of the largest portable spa and hot tub manufacturers in the country. Master Spas award winning products are available in over 300 locations in more than 30 countries. Master Spas. Changing lives one hot tub at a time.



12700 Hillcrest Rd, Ste 278
Dallas, Tx 75230


Morgan Spas and Hot Tubs are made from the finest Lucite ® Acrylic in attractive, easy-to-clean surfaces. Spa cabinets are constructed of maintenance-free, state-of-the-art synthetics and are resistant to damage from moisture, mildew, fungus and insects. Morgan Spas are built, installed and serviced by its own in-house, factory-trained spa technicians.



4655 Patterson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512

“We have had our Warrior Nordic Hot Tub for 11 years now, and we still love it. We have only had to replace a gasket or two in 11 years. Our tub is exposed all year round to cold Ohio winters and hot summers. The shell looks as good as new as well as the inside. We don’t need a new one but seeing the upgraded models availible now we just might have to happily upgrade. Thanks for a great product!” Kristin McGeorge, Ohio


pinnacle-spa-logo601 45th St. N
St. Petersburg, Fl 33714

TRUST The leadership team at Pinnacle Spas has more than 100 years of combined experience in the hot tub industry, including more than 30 years of manufacturing spas and hot tubs. VALUE Everything you want in your spa is included in the price – and what a great price it is. You get the peak value in design, hydrotherapy, water care, comfort, efficiency, quality and service. Pinnacle Spas is formerly known as Gulf Coast Spas.



75 Palmer Industrial Road
Williamsport, PA 17701

Plastic Development Company, Inc., PDC Spas is a manufacturer known to put their customers’ needs first. Fifty-five years ago the family owned business began building fiberglass swimming pools. In the late 80’s the factory was re-tooled to meet the growing demands of the hot tub market with the second generation. Today, the third generation offers the entrepreneurial spirit to take PDC to the next level.



6101 45th Street N.
Saint Petersburg, FL 33714

“We previously owned a Premium Leisure spa and were always impressed with their style and performance, so when we found out that they had developed a new line, we were quick to learn more about them. We recently bought a PR881 and wow, this is truly an amazing hot tub. The entire family loves it as has something for everyone, including our 12 year old that fell in love with the smart controls.” Julie Roberson, Cherry Hill, NJ



1021 State Street
Bettendorf, IA 52722

QCA is one of the oldest spa manufacturers, dating back to 1966. When you buy a spa from QCA, you buy a spa from a company with decades of experience and a reputation for quality. We are committed to maintain the best reputation for innovation and hot tub quality. Every spa goes through a thorough water test and 50 point inspection before it is shipped, and every hot tub we build is made with quality components at a competitive price.



2343 Welcome Ave.
Richmond CA. 94804

Roberts Hot Tubs are the absolute highest quality traditional wooden hot tubs made. We have been manufacturing traditional redwood, western red & Alaskan yellow cedar, jarrah and teak wooden hot tubs, ofuros and accessories since 1976. The help section contains water care and spa maintenance help, as well as information for those needing some assistance in doing their own repairs to their hot tubs.



2041 West Epler Ave
Indianapolis, Indiana 46217

In 1981 Rick Bartlett and Bob Dapper started Royal Spa by making hot tubs on the south side of Indianapolis, Indiana.  They were 18 years old and engineering students at the time. We are a full service manufacturer with an over 89,000 square foot plant located in the southwest part of Indianapolis. Our plant includes a full service vacuum forming and fiberglass shop where we vacuum form our spa, swim spa, and jetted bathtub shells, and a cabinet shop.



33 Wade Road
Latham, NY 12110

When discovering Saratoga Spas you will learn that Redefining Hydrotherapy is a journey, not a destination. When looking at technology, what may have worked in the past may not have the same impact in the present. When looking at the curing and health benefits of water, some things never change. Saratoga Springs, New York has been a place of relief and rejuvenation for over 100 years. Saratoga Spas continues that tradition today for the relief of a tired body and soul.



13495 Gregg Street
Poway, CA 92064

Softub is the only truly portable hot tub on the market. Weighing less than 80 pounds, its lightweight and compact design provides you the luxury to relax and indulge-anytime anywhere. Softub’s Heat Recovery Technology incorporates a pump motor that heats into a single Hydromate Unit. The heat from the motor is then used to heat the filtered water, keeping energy consumption to a minimum. Softubs plug into a standard 120V outlet, and does not require any additional wiring.


spa-crest-logo5989 Hwy. 129 S.
Claxton, GA 30417

Our success, however, is truly owed to our valuable vendors and customers. It is your support and belief in the Spa Crest line that have brought us this far and it is your continued support that is sure to propel us even further as we strive to always surpass our very best in order to offer you a truly exceptional product. In 1998, we began our second product line, Vision Hot Tubs, which offers customers an added level of superior hot tub craftsmanship and design.


strong-spa-logoRte. 11, P.O. Box 108
Northumberland, PA 17857

Our Strong hot tubs are made by a team of experts at our manufacturing plant in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. That’s right. We don’t just assemble our spas in the USA, but we build them from the ground up right here! Our use of the latest technologies and materials also helps us comply with and exceed green standards. Our processes are clean and release zero CFCs or harmful toxins, such as Styrene and fiberglass, into the atmosphere.


sunbelt-spas-logo3924 Dunvale rd
Houston, TX 77063

Here at Sunbelt, we don’t just make spas, we own them and use them. When we add another feel-good feature to our spas, we know it really does feel good because we’ve felt if for ourselves. Just like you, we have our daily share of aches and pains, and when we say a Sunbelt Spa soothes the body, we can say it with confidence because we’ve been soothed ourselves. Other spa makers are portable spa factories with limited options.



14525 Monte Vista Ave.
Chino, CA 91710

For over 35 years, Sundance® Spas has brought families together with warmth, buoyancy, and the practical style of our hydromassage hot tubs. Our reputation for lasting design and craftsmanship is backed by our history as the most award-winning company in the industry. Our popular collections of hot tubs and spas deliver luxurious comfort and entertainment features, along with innovative engineering that maximizes efficiency while decreasing time spent on maintenance.


sun-ray-spas-logo5650 99 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, T6E 1V2, CANADA

At Sun Ray Spas, we manufacture hot tubs using only top-of-the-line parts that in turn require less maintenance and are backed by one of the best warranties in the business. We believe energy efficient hot tubs that are also easy to maintain are important elements in today’s market. It isn’t enough to just produce a hot tub that looks good on the outside-it needs to perform at its peak at all times.


sunrise-spas-logo317 South Service Rd.
Grimsby, Ontario Canada L3M 4E8

Passionate about innovation and state-of-the-art engineering, Sunrise Spas is committed to “best in class” quality and features. For over 25 years, Sunrise has been setting industry benchmarks in over 40 countries. Expertly crafted; from the structural foundation to the exquisitely detailed final touches, we ensure every hot tub manufactured by Sunrise Spas is the perfect way to improve your health, rejuvenate mind and body, entertain friends and relax with family.


thermo-spas-lgo10 Research Parkway, ste 300
Wallingford, CT 06492

ThermoSpas sells hot tubs directly to you, the consumer, to provide the highest-quality hot tubs for the lowest possible price. ThermoSpas® hot tubs are a better value than the typical retail showroom hot tub because you only pay for the features you want. Customize with features and options that fit your needs and budget from the number of jets to a stereo or even deluxe LED lighting. Thermo Spas is now owned by Jacuzzi.


viking-spas-logo2725 Prairie St. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49519

For 2015, Viking’s innovative spirit has brought to the spa industry a third generation SOFT-TOUCH, an exclusive Slip Resistant satin surface that only Viking offers. Your family’s safety is important to you and it is also important to us. We have also teamed up American Made Matters. Given that we are the only manufacturer in our industry that have been recognized by the President of the United States for US Exporting and the fact that we have the highest content of American manufacturing in our product we think it’s time to educate consumers on the importance of this position.


vision-hot-tub-lgo5989 Hwy. 129 S.
Claxton, GA 30417

Back in 1985, the parent company, Spa Crest Manufacturing, began a tradition of building quality spas and in 1992, moved its headquarters to Claxton, Georgia. Soon after that in 1997, we were driven by a “vision” to create a new hot tub line. In 2005, with the help of a superior team of designers and engineers, we fulfilled our dream and are proud to offer six highly-innovative models. Since inception, the goal of Vision Hot Tubs has been to design and manufacture the most well-built hot tubs on the market – and that continues to be our goal in everything we do.


vita-spa-logo2320 N.W. 147th Street
Miami, FL 33054

At Vita Spa, we pursue perfection in all that we create. The focus of everything we do at Vita Spa is on you. The full and complete satisfaction of our customers is our objective and the result is evident in every spa that rolls off our factory floors. When you purchase a Vita Spa, you can be sure you’ve made one of the smartest and most worthwhile purchases possible. For over four decades, we have been at the forefront of the hydrotherapy industry in innovation and technology and our spas are rated amongst the best in the world. Vita Spas was acquired by Maax in 2009.



Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works



Hot Tub Water Conservation

July 21st, 2015 by


Are hot tubs and spas water wasters? The mayor of San Jose thinks so – in May, the San Jose city council voted to prohibit filling pools and hot tubs. And in Santa Clara, California, hot tub owners are allowed to replace hot tub water, but only after agreeing to take fewer showers.

Santa Clara also has required “Water School” for the edification of water restriction violators. What’s this world coming to? It is the new reality of life in California and other water poor states. Until the drought subsides, or new water harvesting technologies are installed, we will have to comply.

So then, for the hot tub owner who wants to keep their hot tub bubblin’, here are some ways to conserve hot tub water.

How to Extend the Life of Hot Tub Water

It’s a commonly accepted practice to drain and refill a spa after 3-4 months of use. This is due to a build-up of dissolved solids and and oily substances that can begin to “choke” the water over time, which can make water balance and complete sanitation more difficult. However, there are ways to extend the life of your spa or hot tub water…

Beginner Tips:

  • Check and balance the water 2-3 times per week, to keep levels optimum.
  • Replace your Spa Filter every 6-12 months, to keep filtration optimum.
  • Use a Spa Ozonator or Mineral Purifier, as a supplement to bromine.
  • Use Spa Enzymes to dissolve oils and organics.
  • Use Spa Clarifier to improve filter effectiveness.

Pro Tips:

  • Install a secondary in-line spa filter, to improve filtration.
  • Use a Pre-Filter to clean hot tub fill water (excuse my French!).
  • Use a floating foam blanket and a good spa cover to reduce evaporation.
  • Use a Rain Barrel to capture hot tub water (I know, what Rain?).
  • Limit hot tub use, if needed, to reduce solids build-up.

Eventually, you will need to change the water, but if a spa is maintained very well and not overloaded to capacity with users, it is possible to extend the time between water changes for a year, or even longer in some cases.

To protect your hot tub health however, you must always maintain the water balance and sanitation, and over-filter the water by running the filter pump for a sufficient amount of time each day. Periodic shock treatment is also necessary, in addition to keeping a constant bromine residual in the water.

A solid spa cover in good condition is important, to prevent water loss from evaporation. Drag off and splash out can also be controlled, and be sure to fix leaks in the plumbing or around the spa equipment.

The Future of Hot Tub Water

water_faucet_drop_400_wht_11410Some water watchers warn that we are only at the forefront of the current crisis in America and that rationing and cut-backs are sure to continue and escalate in many areas. If your town is under a water use restriction, you probably know about it.

To find out if there are any spa or hot tub restrictions (and not just swimming pool water restrictions), you can do an online search for “City/Town/County water use restrictions”, or visit your local government website and search therein.


- Jack



Hot Tub Recycling or Hot Tub Graveyard?

May 7th, 2015 by

hot-tub-recyclingIf you have ever wondered what to do with an old, unused and probably non-working hot tub – this post is for you. The lifespan of a hot tub needn’t be short, the shell and other parts can last a lifetime, with occasional equipment repair and replacement, or a few spa parts here and there.

And that’s part of the problem, is that acrylic spas are built to last, and they aren’t biodegradable, as a wooden hot tub can be. Plus, it’s too big to fit in your blue recycle bin! If you call a local junk pickup service, they take the spa straight away to the landfill and just kick it off the truck. This is the least “green” option of getting rid of an old hot tub.

Trade-in your Hot Tub

If you are planning to buy a new spa, a slightly more green way to recycle a spa is to trade it in on a new model. Many spa dealers and manufacturers have a program to haul off your previous spa at no charge, and may even pay you something for it. Spa shops may then strip the spa of any useable parts, or they may sell it to a spa scrapper who may rebuild or refurbish the spa, to resell it as reconditioned. But most of the time, they just haul the tub around back to the spa graveyard. Photo below is of several spa manufacturers lots, courtesy of Google Earth.


Sell your used Hot Tub

You can sell it to a local spa scrapper / refurbisher, if you can find one. Check with friends and family. Post a listing on, or on But don’t offer it for Free, ask for at least $100, up to $500 or more if the spa is in operating condition. When you offer a spa for free, it doesn’t seem that enticing, even if it holds water and heats up. If you can rent or borrow a truck and trailer, perhaps you may be able to deliver the spa (for a few hundred bucks more!).

Strip it Down and Recycle what you can

First, remove the spa pack and spa side controls, all of the equipment. You may have a better chance of selling the components. New spa packs can run over $1000, so you may be able to get some money for the equipment from a spa guy, or a fellow spa owner. At the very least, it can be useful for spare parts. After all of the electronics are removed, you can strip away the cabinet from the shell. Wood and plastic cabinets can be recycled. Next, cut off all of the PVC fittings, valves and pipes, which can also be recycled. Finally, the spa shell itself can be cut up into smaller pieces, using a reciprocating saw with a 9″ blade.  The acrylic spa shell is not recyclable, but a rotomolded (thermoplastic) spa shell can be recycled. The spa cover can also be recycled, separately into it’s components – vinyl, foam, steel, nylon.

Turn it into a Backyard Pond or Water Feature


After stripping down the spa as described above, the spa shell can be placed into the ground, and covered with a vinyl or rubber pond membrane, and surrounded by rocks and plants. A small pump in the bottom can supply water for a 3-tier fountain, spouting frogs or urinating boy statue – whatever you want. Keep it sanitary with copper sulfate or other natural sanitizer. Or, stock it with Koi fish and use plants and circulation to keep it clear. Be sure to consider safety, and place the water feature behind a fence or within the fenced backyard.


Turn it into a Gardenhot-tub-garden

After stripping down the spa and removing plumbing fittings, set it in the ground and fill it with dirt to make a very colorful box garden!

Choose a sunny spot in the yard, close to water and not too far of a walk, and you can grow your own summer and fall garden! An 8-person spa can hold a lot of vegetables!


Turn it into a Dog Househot-tub-dog-house

That’s what this energetic dog owner did, and not only did he create a warm dog house by flipping the spa shell upside-down, but he also integrated a water fountain into the top!

Using a reciprocating saw, he cut out the doggie door and placed a utility light on the inside to provide heat during the winter.


So, you see there are many options for recycling or re-purposing an old spa or hot tub. The easiest thing to do is to just pick up the phone and call a junk removal service, but remember, the easiest way is also the least green way of dealing with an old, unwanted spa or hot tub.



Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works



Inflatable Hot Tubs: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

April 24th, 2015 by


The Inflatable Hot Tub is a relatively new product on the market, and it has a surprising amount of internet activity or “buzz” happening.

They’ve not only caught on in the U.S., but are also quite popular in the U.K. and Australia, according to my little keyword tool.

Why so popular? Also known as portable spas, inflatable hot tubs can set-up nearly anywhere, which is a huge part of it’s appeal, and it’s low cost makes it a perfect entry level spa – to get your feet wet, so to speak.


But there is also a dark side, some less appealing traits to inflatable spas. If you’re considering a small investment in one of these – here’s a few Good, Bad and Ugly considerations to make before you buy an inflatable hot tub.



  1. Entirely portable, comes in a box not much bigger than a microwave oven. Comes with a carry bag to pack it off to sporting events, camping or fishing trips or to the beach.cute-british-girl-showing-off-bestway-inflatable-hot-tub
  2. Quick set-up. The spa has an air blower of course, and this is used to quickly inflate the chambers. After inflation, drop a hose in the tub and it fills in under an hour. Plug into any grounded outlet. Put on the cover and turn up the heater.
  3. Sturdy and durable. Vertical ‘I-beam’ construction gives the walls rigidity. Reinforced vinyl material ranges in thickness from 30-50 mil; which is not puncture-proof, but is resistant to scrapes and punctures.
  4. Easy to operate. Self contained pump, filter, heater and blower unit has digital controls to operate equipment and display temperature and status lights. Lock out feature prevents tampering.
  5. Locking spa cover is included to keep the spa clean and warm, and ready to use. Also comes with test strips and floating chlorinator.


  • Make sure it’s completely dry before packing for storage or transport.
  • Don’t overfill an inflatable tub, and don’t sit on the sidewalls.



  1. Not as deep as  you might imagine. Only 22-24″ maximum water depth for most models.
  2. coleman-spa-tubNot as large as the picture seems. Look at these happy campers in this “4-person” inflatable hot tub – where are their legs? I suppose it’s fine for the young and beautiful, to commingle legs with their young and beautiful friends, but for me – I prefer personal leg space.
  3. MUST be installed on a level surface, at ground level. Not suitable for balconies, rooftops or elevated floors. Full of water and people, inflatable hot tubs can weigh up to 2500 lbs.
  4. Slow to heat. The heater on these units is small, and although the water is only 200 gallons, it can take awhile to heat up. If you keep it covered, and outdoor temperature is 70-90° F, expect 2-3° increase per hour.


  • If you can fill your inflatable tub from a utility sink with hot water, you can save a lot of time in heating.
  • 2 persons is plenty-o-people for the “4-person” inflatable hot tubs.



  1. Funky water. If you do put 4 persons into a 200 gallon hot tub, let’s see – that’s 50 gallons per person, which will overwhelm the undersized spa filters. In other words, the water can get funky and germy fast, even if everyone showers first.
  2. tiny-tubNot safe for children. At only 28″ tall, a toddler may be able to climb into an open hot tub and possibly drown. The latching cover should prevent most entry, but only until about age 5, which is when my daughter learned how to operate the spa cover strap clips.
  3. Not energy efficient. You’ll find out fast that it’s costly to keep this type of spa hot, and nearly impossible in very cold outdoor temps. In fact, in temperatures of below 50°, a 1 kw heater may not get past lukewarm.
  4. Disposable. Unfortunately, many inflatable hot tubs will be neglected, abused and set out to the curb for the trash after a few years of service. They won’t all end up that way, but in general, portable spas have a short lifespan.


  • Add a capful of MPS (non-chlorine shock) before and after each use, and keep the floater filled with bromine tablets. Run the filter daily, and change the water monthly.
  • A heavy plywood sheet, carefully placed over top the spa cover may discourage some toddlers, and may improve heat retention somewhat. At least on top.
  • You can recycle a vinyl inflatable hot tub, call your local trash service for information.


intex-purespa-inflatable-hot-tubSo, that’s my rant about inflatable hot tubs – we had to join the conversation, it’s become such a popular topic online, and a story line that we needed to cover here on the hottubworks blog.

If I haven’t scared you away from inflatable hot tubs, and you’re looking for an easy way to join the 5.9 million Americans who own spas or hot tubs, take a look at our portable inflatable hot tubs – we carry the Intex PureSpa and the AiriSpa – 2 great entry level spas!


Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works



Spa & Hot Tub Safety – Drain Cover Recalls

January 22nd, 2015 by

RISING-DRAGON-DRAIN-COVERYour spa drain can kill! Numerous entrapment injuries have occurred, where the powerful suction of a spa drain has trapped persons under the water. They are either suctioned onto an unsafe drain cover, or have hair or hands stuck in the pipe, when drain covers go missing.

The number of entrapment fatalities over the years prompted the CPSC and other agencies to demand safer standards for pool and spa drains. Commercial spas are now required to have dual drains set far enough apart to prevent entrapment, and drain covers must be of a safe design, to diffuse the suction and prevent entrapment.

In 2008, manufacturers produced redesigned drain covers which would diffuse the suction around the top and sides of the drain cover, reducing the chance of entrapment. Most of these early spa drain covers were voluntarily recalled, in 2011, as not meeting rate of flow requirements.

Here’s a summary of some of the more common spa drain covers that have been recalled. Check your own spa or hot tub to be sure you don’t have these drain covers, and also check that your drain cover is securely screwed in place. Missing or broken drain covers are more dangerous than an unsafe drain cover.



Most portable, aboveground spas are plumbed in such a way that the drain and skimmer are connected to the same pipe. This design is inherently safer, because if you block the drain cover, it will automatically start sucking more from the skimmer. However, this does not reduce the danger of entrapment. Be sure that your spa drain covers are safe, and secured in place at all times.

Never use a spa or hot tub without safe drain covers in place – and if your spa has separate spa and main drain pipes, as many inground spas do, a dual drain system should be installed, far enough apart so that coverage of both at the same time would be unlikely. For added protection, install an SVRS (suction vacuum release system), to automatically shut off the pump when suction or vacuum pressure increases (indicating that something is blocking the drain cover).

Spa drains or suction outlets can be dangerous – check that your system is safe by contacting the manufacturer of your drain cover, and by having your system certified safe, or modified to be safe.


- Jack


Spa & Hot Tub Error Codes – OH, OHH, OMG

January 6th, 2015 by

balboa-control-OH-errorIn our series on spa and hot tub error codes, we turn our attention today to the HOT messages that your topside control may be trying to give you.

OH, or OHH, or OHS (Overheat) all mean that a temperature sensor has detected unsafe water temperatures of 108° – 118° F, and your spa is in an emergency cool down mode, shutting off the heater, and turning on circulation pumps and blower to help dissipate heat.

Open the spa cover to allow excess heat and steam to escape. The spa obviously should not be used when OH or OHH is flashing on the topside control; as the water could be scalding hot for several more minutes. After the water cools, a high limit switch may be need to be reset on some spa packs; look for a red reset button. Press any topside button to reset a digital spa after the water has cooled to 100° F.

What causes a Spa to Overheat?

Low Water Flow (LF, FLO), is the usual cause of an overheating (OH, OHH) spa or hot tub. When water doesn’t flow fast enough through the heater, it removes less heat, and the temperature of the water increases. Eventually, the temp sensors or high limit switches will detect the increased water temperature, and shut everything down. The causes of low water flow in a spa include:

  • Dirty spa filter cartridge
  • Closed or partially closed valves or jets
  • Pump has an air lock, or has lost prime
  • Low water level in spa, skimmer sucking air
  • Spa drain cover is obstructed or pipe is blocked

What else causes a Spa to Overheat?

If your water flow is perfectly fine, then you could have a problem with the thermostat or high limit switches used on older spa packs, which could fall out of calibration, or become too sensitive. Digital spas have electronic sensor circuits, which are more durable than mechanical switches, however temperature sensors, hi limit sensors, relays and circuit boards also eventually fail on modern spas.

In most cases, for newer spas anyway, the water flow problem can be quickly remedied and the spa will cool, reset and start again on it’s own. Some panels need a prompt from you to restart. For spas without digital controls, you may need to manually reset the high limit switch near the heater housing.

Spa Overheating Troubleshooting Flow Chart

Here’s a Cal Spa troubleshooting flow chart that has some other possible triggers of seeing OH, OHS, OHH or HH blinking on your spa panel. Open the spa cover and let the spa cool down for 10 minutes, then touch the control panel to reset the circuits, or push a red reset button on air systems.


OH, HH or HOT trouble codes, or a hot tub overheating is not usually a spa heater problem - it is almost always a flow problem, and when it’s not a flow problem, it’s a bad temp sensor, high limit or a stuck relay.

Here’s another Cal Spa troubleshooting flowchart for spa error codes OH, including testing the spa heater element for excessive resistance, done with the spa heater and all systems powered Off, and only by someone qualified to test safely.


So, the next time your spa throws you a OH, OHH or some other Overheat error code, you know what to do. Clean or replace the spa filter, open all the jets and turn the pump on high. If you still have problems, check over your temp sensor and hi limit circuits for wire or plug or sensor problems.


Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works


Baby It’s Cold Outside: Winter Hot Tub Tips

December 29th, 2014 by

spa-during-winterFor many spa or hot tub owners, winter is the perfect time to enjoy a hot soak in your outdoor tub. Here in Southern California, the winter temperatures rarely dip below 50°, which hardly qualifies as cold for most of the country.

If you live in colder climates, where 50° would be a winter heat wave, you can safely (and sanely) enjoy your hot tub. In winter, the air is crisper and the stars are brighter, and even if there is snow all around, it’s the perfect time to enjoy your hot tub with family and friends.

Here’s some tips to help enjoy your hot tub, during the holidays, and all through the winter.


1. Wear a Hat

For women (or men) with long hair, wearing a hat helps to keep your hair dry, which will help to regulate your body temperature, and prevent catching a chill while using the hot tub. Not only important for keeping your hair dry, we all know that 70% of heat is lost through the top of your head – so break out a ball cap, knitted cap or even your ten gallon Stetson®.

2. Wear Face Moisturizer

Skin cream, or hand lotion will help protect your face from bitter winter winds, which can be drying from low humidity. A layer of moisturizer (or even suncreen) will keep your skin from drying out, and keep the moisture in your skin. It also forms a barrier over your pores, to reduce absorption of spa chemicals that may be released at the surface of the water.

3. Wear Sandals or Slippers

Most outdoor spas are at least 10 steps from the door. And unless you have a red carpet runway from the doorway to the spa, slippers or sandals will help keep your spa clean, and keep your tootsies warm and dry, as you make the mad dash to the hot tub. Surfaces around a spa can also be slippery, so wear something on your feet to keep from becoming a slip and fall statistic.

4. Warm Towels

My favorite spa accessory is a towel warmer, which my wonderful husband gave me (us) as gift on my last birthday. It’s a small box, about the size of a micro-fridge, that holds 2-3 towels, always toasty warm and ready for use. Don’t have a towel warmer? No problem, pop some towels in the dryer beforehand, and store them in a small box just inside the door to the house.

5. Cool Umbrellas

If you have a patio umbrella near the spa, have it ready to pop open in the event of rain or snow. If you wear a hat, you may not need to use an umbrella, but if not, it’s nice to have a large umbrella or small parasol to keep winter weather from raining on your parade. Hold on tight in high winds, and if a rare winter thunderstorm develops, it’s best to head indoors.

6. Hot Drinks

In warmer outside temperatures, nothing is as refreshing as a cool beverage (I like infused waters), to help regulate body temperature. During the winter however, we like to make up a batch of Mexican hot chocolate, and pour it into an insulated coffee carafe, to keep it warm. Coffee mugs are perfect for the liquid chocolate; just be sure not to spill any in the tub!

7. Spa Covers

The colder the weather is outside, the faster your spa will lose heat. Spas without an effective cover will have trouble maintaining the heat during freezing temperatures, and may not recover fast enough after losing ten degrees while the cover is off. If your cover is struggling to keep the heat in, consider that it may be time to buy a new spa cover, and perhaps also investing in a floating spa blanket.

Don’t let the cold weather temperatures drive you indoors! Enjoy your spa or hot tub all year round, just remember to limit your soaks to 20 minutes, and enjoy your soak without alcohol or drugs, which can be dangerous.


Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works


Solar Hot Tub Heaters

December 22nd, 2014 by

spa-solar-heatersSolar Hot Tubs are all the rage now for off the grid homes and campsites, or for anyone who wants to operate a spa or hot tub in an eco-friendly way.

Can a solar pool heater be used to heat a spa? You betcha! And it’s a simple Saturday project. Spa solar heaters can heat up a spa to over 100° with just 6 hours of sunshine – ready to use when you come home from work!

I have a friend with an inground pool and spa, and a solar pool heater – his spa is 104° in under 30 minutes – during sunny daylight hours, of course. And,…there’s not much heat in winter, but you can get 3 seasons with a hot tub solar heater!

Your hot tub cover will retain the heat from a solar heater until well into the evening, and if needed, you can use an alternate spa heater or hot tub heater for night hot tubbin’.


How to install a Solar Hot Tub Heater

1. Location of Solar Panels: The first thing to think of is where and how the solar panels are going to be mounted. If you have full sun, all day long, you could just lay them on the ground, but for most folks, mounting them on a roof or rack, at a 30-45° angle works best. A rack can be built of angle iron or lumber, topped with plywood or plastic and painted black. You can also hang them on a fence. Choose a spot that will get at least 6 hours of daily sun; a southern facing direction is best.

2. Buy a Solar Pool Panel: A single 4′ x 20′ solar panel, a total of 80 square feet, is a good size for most spas. There are also 4′ x 10′ panels, but they are priced higher per square foot of panel. 80 sq. ft. of solar panel will heat spas under 500 gallons to over 100° during the day, and be ready to go for the evening. If you want to heat the hot tub in under an hour like my friend with the pool/spa, you’ll need 4-5 of the 20′ solar panels.

solar-heater-all-rolled-up3. Installation of Hot Tub Solar Panels: Solar pool panels are polypropylene mats of small black tubes with a continuous backing, so they absorb more heat than black hose DIY solar spa heaters. Inside the box will be two 2′x20′ solar panels, end caps, pipe adapters, mounting kit and a 3-way diverter valve. Secure the panels to the location securely so they are protected from high winds, animals and tree branches. Attach the end caps, and run PVC pipe from the panels to the plumbing line of the spa.

4. Plumbing a Spa Solar Heater: This part is custom for every spa or hot tub, but essentially you connect the plumbing from solar panels to the spa. A 3-way diverter valve will allow for adjusting the flow rate, and for shutting off the solar panels completely. Other items needed for plumbing beside the pipe include some directional fittings (90′s or 45′s) and couplings to connect lengths of pipe. A check valve is needed just before the heated water comes back into the spa plumbing, to prevent water cycling.

Other Thoughts about Solar Hot Tub Heaters

  • A solar controller can be used with an automatic valve turner and temperature sensors to have thermostat control for the solar spa heater, but more importantly, to shut off the unit when conditions are not right for solar, at night or when it’s raining, for instance. This is an extra $325, but is recommended for optimum heating, neither under or overheating the spa.
  • Speaking of overheating, it is possible to overheat the water with a solar spa heater. If you have an electric spa heater, the hi-limit may trip and shut off the spa pump, but at that point the water may already be dangerously hot. Use caution not to heat the water over 104°.
  • As mentioned before, hot tub solar heaters don’t work at night, or when it’s raining or heavily overcast. They drop way off in effectiveness during the winter months, unless you are in the very deep southern U.S..
  • A booster pump is not usually needed for installation on a roof, unless the roof is very tall. If a booster pump is needed these small spa circulation pumps are perfect for the job.
  • For best results, use an insulated spa cover to retain the heat and a solar controller to optimize when the solar panels are used, and to maintain safe water temperatures.



Hot tub solar heaters work very well in all parts of the U.S. – anywhere that has at least 6 hours of unobstructed sun. For many hot tubs, solar heat is used as a supplemental heater to keep the spa hot during the day, and at night or during rainy periods, the other spa heater takes over.

I wish I could say that we sold solar spa heaters at Hot Tub Works, but we don’t. However, here are some links for solar pool heaters and controllers at Specialty Pool Products, who had the best price on solar pool panels that I could find online.


Happy HOT Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works