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

Preventing Freeze Damage to a Spa or Hot Tub

January 20th, 2014 by

frozen-spaFreeze damage  is when water freezes and expands inside of spa pipes or spa equipment, like your filter, pump or heater.

Water expands about 10% when it freezes. For pipes or equipment that have a small amount of water inside, for instance a pipe that is less than half full of water, unused space inside the pipe allows for some ice expansion.

When pipes, pumps or filters are more than half full of water, there is little room for expansion, and even very thick materials can burst from the ice pressure inside.

Today’s lesson centers on how to avoid freeze damage in a spa or hot tub, which can be a complicated and expensive spa repair, and in some cases, could ‘total’ the spa, with repair costs of thousands of dollars.

There are 3 ways to prevent freeze damage in a spa or hot tub

1. Winterize the Spa

We don’t recommend that you winterize your spa, unless you are sure that it won’t be used for at least 3 months, or it cannot be maintained (at a vacation home, for example).

Winterizing the spa is a process that takes a few hours, to drain all of the water from the spa, and use air to ‘blow the lines’, to force water from the pipes, hoses and equipment.

We did an article on How to Winterize a Spa, if you are thinking about winterizing the spa. It’s not difficult, but if you want assurances of a proper winterization, most spa service companies offer this service.

2. Use Freeze Protection

Modern spas packs will have a freeze protection mode on the spa that will turn on the circulation pump when temps get close to freezing. If you don’t see this available in your control options for the spa, you may not have freeze protection.BALBOA-SPA-PACK

Freeze protection works with an air temperature sensor that communicates with a controller, wired into the pump power circuit. Freeze protection is standard equipment on all of our Digital, Flex-Fit and Balboa spa packs, which is the simplest way of adding freeze protection for older spas with air activated spa packs.

For help adding freeze protection to your spa, feel free to call our spa techs with some information about your spa.

3. Run the Pump

As long as water is moving through the pipes – all of the pipes, the water won’t freeze. Open up all of your jets, if your spa has the ability to isolate banks of jets. Low speed can be used, as long as all pipes are utilized.

The water need not be hot, or even heated at all – in most cases. As long as it’s moving through all of the pipes and equipment when temperatures are below 32 degrees. The heat from the spa pump, under a closed skirt, is also helpful to heat up the equipment. Of course, a spa cover should be used during winter to avoid ice forming on the spa surface.

During winter, it may be wise to operate your pump 24 hours per day in cold northern areas, or set the time clock to turn on the pump for 10 minutes every half hour.

 

ALSO HELPFUL TO PREVENT FREEZE DAMAGE: frozen-jacuzzi

  • Adding heat to your spa, a hot spa can give 24 hours of protection
  • Keeping a tight fitting spa cover in place and secure
  • Spa insulation – the more there is, the more protection you have
  • Hang a 100 watt shop light, under the skirt, next to the spa pack

 

FROZEN SPA!

If you discover a spa or hot tub that is solid frozen, and maybe you spot some freeze damage already, the equipment needs to be thawed out. If there are cracked pipes, using electric space heaters could be unsafe, under the skirt.

If you have a camping tent large enough to place over the spa, you can thaw out a spa in a few hours. When I was servicing spas in Colorado, we had a tent we used whenever we’d get a ‘frozen spa’ call. We used a small kerosene heater once the tent was set up over the spa, and monitored it closely. If there was freeze damage, (and there usually was), we would drain it completely, make the repair and fill it back up.

Adding hot water to the spa is another old trick. With a small adapter, a garden hose can be attached to most sink faucets, to bring hot water to the spa, to raise the water temperature for a faster thaw. In some cases, you can gently wet frozen pipes with warm water – just don’t spray any motors, electronics or controls.

 

SPA POWER FAILURE!

COLD!

If your power fails during winter, remember that a heated spa with a good fitting spa cover has enough warmth to prevent freeze damage for 24 hours or so, longer if it’s very well insulated.

To maintain some heat under the spa skirt during a power failure, you could hang a 100 watt shop light in a location close to the spa pack. In some scenarios, a small space heater may be safe to use also, inside the spa cabinet, in a dry location, until power is restored.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Accessorize your Spa or Hot Tub

October 15th, 2013 by

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

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

Bluetooth Speaker Set

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

Side Bar Drop Leaf Spa Table

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

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

Towel Warmer

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

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

Booster Seats

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

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

Color Lights

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

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa and Hot Tub Features and Options

October 3rd, 2013 by

modern-spas and hot tubs

Spa shopping soon? Whether this is your first spa, or your second or third, you may be surprised at all of the options available now for spas and hot tubs – it’s like buying a new car!

Many different models, with options like ‘jet packages’ or sound or lighting upgrades. And just like cars, groups of features are included with each model step up in the product line.

Here”s a rundown on some of the newest features and options available on modern spas and hot tubs.

Materials: And colors, too. The materials used for the spa, jets and cabinet offer a dizzying array of options. Acrylic is the most popular material, with the ability to swirl colors, and produce a high gloss, scratch resistant surface. Spas can also be made completely of molded thermoplastics, or use natural wood cabinetry, which looks better, but may require some spa cabinet maintenance.

Spa cabinet options is a nice feature, allowing you to choose from many colors, patterns and textures. A spa with easily removable and replaceable panels will allow you to more easily change the look of your spa.

Lighting: Spa lighting is not just a single bulb at  the bottom of the tub anymore. Manufacturers are placing lights in several areas  underwater, and above water, around the rim. Exterior lighting, down lights that help guide you around the spa, may also be offered. Small waterfalls are commonly lighted as well. Just like trim lighting inside newer model luxury cars, spa owners can switch colors and intensity for different lighting zones.hot-springs-accessories_IQ20

Controls: Spa side controls are more user friendly than ever, with some models allowing operation through smartphone apps, and others with floating remote control devices. Control your pumps, heater, blower and lighting from a touch screen. Program run times for filter and heater. Troubleshooting interface, pass code lock.

Massage Jets: My first spa had just 8 jets. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for spas to have dozens of jets. More important than the number of jets is the location of the jets, and if you can adjust their flow, without having to turn off or reduce flow to some spa jets to increase flow to others.

There are dozens of types of patented spa jets, or arrangements of spa jets. Different whirly, twirly things that mix water and air – every manufacturer claiming their jet design and placement are the best. Foot jets are a popular option. I love my neck jet, which comes in right underneath the pillow on one seat.

spa-full-foam-insideInsulation: Spa shells are insulated with a thick layer of foam attached to the underside of the shell. Beyond shell insulation, all spa makers insulate a bit differently. Some will insulate the floor, or the the sides of the spa cabinet with foam panels. Many will do full insulation, and shoot the entire cabinet full of expanding foam, while others will do some form of partial insulation around the shell and equipment. Insulation is more important to you if you live in colder region of the country.

Sanitation: As another way to distinguish their models from the others, manufacturers may install sanitation systems to help reduce chemical maintenance. Ozonators have been a popular options for many years. Ultraviolet systems, which bathe the water in UV light are being used more. Many spa manufacturers are now also offering Salt systems on their spas. Add about 10 lbs of salt to the spa, and an electrically charged salt cell will produce all the chlorine you need.

Filtration: Most spas and hot tubs use cartridge filtration, and that’s fine. An upgrade to your filtration could be a larger cartridge, or one treated with Microban, for greater resistance to bacteria.boombox

Accessories: Add-ons that can really add on to the price of your tub! Many are hard to resist, such as a built in music system that can connect to a wireless music system, or through your bluetooth device  (I still have an old boom box next to my spa).

Waterfalls are popular options in higher end tubs, either a 6-8″ small sheet of water, or several small laminar jets that make a steady stream of water. Both can also be equipped with LED lighting. And just like with most automobiles these days, there are trim options, to add more bling to your spa. Stainless steel jets, or stylish trim pieces to adorn your spa.

spa-stepsSpa furniture around the tub makes it look much less boxy and allows you to place towels, supplies and plants neatly around the spa. At the very least, a set of spa steps is needed, to help you and your guests to get in and out safely. Gazebos or a pergola structure allow for some privacy and frame a spa nicely.

A spa cover and a lifter is also needed for whatever spa type you buy. It’s way too costly to keep it warm without a spa cover. Jack says that the spa covers used by most manufacturers are junk, and that “…I should tell you to buy our spa covers!” Lol, that’s mean, Jack.

Still confused? Start spa shopping by selecting your size first, and then decide which options are important to you. Jets, for instance, may not be desirable for the person that would prefer calm soaking to agitated water. Then you can more easily compare model to model, brand to brand. Good luck!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

10 Hot Tubs in the Most Unusual Places

September 26th, 2013 by

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

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

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

 

Hot Tub Suspended From Bridge

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

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Hot Tub on a Mountain Top

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

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Hot Tubs in Computer Games

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

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

Hot Tub on an Aircraft Carrier

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

hot-tub-on-an-aircraft-carrier

Hot Tub on The River

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

hot-tub-on-the-thames

Hot Tub in an Igloo

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

hot-tub-in-an-igloo

Hot Tub in a Tree House

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

hot-tub-in-a-treehouse

Hot Tub in a Mini Cooper

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

hot-tub-in-a-mini-cooper

Hot Tub in an Airplane

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

hot-tub-on-an-airplane

Hot Tub in a Cave

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

hot-tub-in-a-cave

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

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Family Games to Play in the Hot Tub

September 12th, 2013 by

family-in-spa
Want another reason for owning a spa or hot tub? Family Togetherness. A family takes work, to keep it knit together. It takes the effort to make it happen, to do things together.

A spa or hot tub is a place where there are fewer distractions, and everyone can enjoy the soothing sensation of the hot water, in close proximity to each other. The result? Conversation.

Have you ever noticed how conversations seem to just flow in a hot tub? People get into a relaxed and comfortable manner, and there’s not much else to do – except talk. Even surly teenagers tend to open up under the influence of hydrotherapy.

Spa Night can become a regular event for a household family, and it can also be a way to spend quality time with nearby relatives. A regular reunion can be held at your house, “bring your suits”!

Games to Play in the Hot Tub or Spa

  • Floating Chess / Checkers Game, for some brain exercising games that all kids know.
  • Waterproof Playing Cards can be used for casino style games or games like Go Fish.
  • Name Game. Pick a name, i.e. ‘Mike’, each person names a famous ‘Mike’, until they can’t.
  • Category Game. Pick a category, i.e. ‘Rock Bands’. Each person names a band that begins with the last letter of the previous suggestion.floating-drink-game-tray
  • Question Game. Ask a question, respond with a question. No statements, repetition or rhetoric allowed.
  • Uno. The card game has waterproof cards. Just use our floating Game and Drink tray for the card pile.

Have fun in your spa, and make it a point to soak with family! A spa or hot tub is the perfect way to reconnect and relax with your loved ones!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Comparing Spa Manufacturers – Which is Best?

August 22nd, 2013 by

spa-manufacturersSince we don’t sell spas, we may be in a better position to offer unbiased advice on choosing a spa brand or manufacturer. We’ve seen a lot of ‘em come and go over the years.

We spend considerable amounts of time working with manufacturers on issues of defects and warranty claims. And, since we sell spa parts, we also have an in depth view of parts availability, quality and the parts that are replaced more often than others.

We also get to hear the horror stories from customers who have experienced less than world class customer service, or had difficulty locating replacement parts or warranty service, or had a spa that was troublesome.

surveyWe’ve even done some informal research on our own, sort of a JD Power survey on spa owner satisfaction. I call them the JS Power surveys, to find out for myself, which spas and hot tub brands people are most pleased with, by asking one question “Would you buy this brand of Spa again?”.

bogus spa awardsWe also like to point out, here and there, that while most manufacturers have many awards for their spa from various organizations, that these aren’t necessarily worth the paper they’re printed on.

Here’s my short list of spa manufacturers that I think have a shared respect in the industry. There are other good brands out there, but these are some shining examples of well run spa manufacturing companies.

Arctic Spas

Based in Alberta, Canada, Arctic Spas is produced in a 100,000 ft facility. Launched in 1999, Arctic spas quickly became known as a well built spa, made by a company with a knowledge of good customer service and supply chain management. Recognized repeatedly as one of the fastest growing Canadian companies, with lots of good press.

Bullfrog Spas

Founded in 1996, and based in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah, Bullfrog Spas is known for it’s “Jet Pak” technology – modular, interchangeable jet paks for their spas. Bullfrog is also known for it’s charitable efforts, and seems to have a spa ready to aid weary athletes in a variety of sporting events, or donate to various good causes.

Dimension One

Founded in 1977, Dimension One was recently acquired by Jacuzzi, who plans to continue the brand, calling it New Dimension One spas. Known in the industry by the abbreviation D1, they were the first to make a fully insulated spa for inground or above ground use. They have been consistent in good dealer and customer relations over the years.

Hot Spring

Founded in One of the largest selling brand of spas, Hot Spring spas are made by Watkins Manufacturing, and is based in San Diego, Ca. Their spa Deck Designer tool is a lot of fun to play with, on their website. They have the most extensive dealer network, with over 800 locations worldwide, and are known for having strong dealer relations.

Marquis Spas

Founded in 1980 in the pacific northwest, Oregon based, Employee owned Marquis Spas has a reputation for building quality and technically advanced spas, with luxury surfaces and cool features. They are also a prolific giver, Marquis Spa dealers have granted over 500 wishes to children with advanced medical conditions, and are a Corporate Sponsor for the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Saratoga

Saratoga Spas are made near the Saratoga Springs, NY, since 1984. We really like the company around here. Easy to work with, for dealers, customers and even aftermarket retailers, (like us!) and their spas are known to be easy to work on as well. A reputation for reliable, energy efficient operation and features that no one else has.

So, there you have it, my personal and unbiased opinion as to some of the best spa manufacturers in today’s market. If you are looking for a new spa or hot tub, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these brands.

Have you owned one of these spa brands? Would you buy another one? Tell us below in the comments.

- Jack

5 ways to Improve your Spa or Hot Tub Appeal

August 15th, 2013 by

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

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

 

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

I hope you like the pictures!

DECKING

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

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

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ROCKS

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

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

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PLANTS

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

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

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FURNITURE

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

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

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GAZEBOS

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

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

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

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Spa Parts: Plumbing Parts for Spas and Hot Tubs

August 8th, 2013 by

spa-plumbing-supplies-and-partsSpa plumbing parts. This is going to be a long post, as we have 12 parts categories to go over, so settle in.

This post will help explain each spa plumbing parts sub-category in more detail, so you know how and when they are most useful.

There are many specialized parts in the plumbing category, and parts used only on certain spas and hot tubs, and many parts which are universal.

 

Spa Air Controls

spa-plumbing-parts-air-controlsAir controls are the knobs on the side of the spa that are used as air intakes. Some spas have several air control knobs, which control the amount of air intake (and thus air output) for a certain group of spa jets, or a particular air manifold. It acts as an air valve, to allow the spa user to dial in the perfect mix of air to the water stream, to increase the action and pressure from the spa jets.

We have over 35 different spa air controls, from G&G, Hydro Air and Waterway. They vary by the S hose connection size, and the hole size on the spa. If you’ve managed to lose or break one of these spa air intake knobs, see our selection of spa air controls.

Spa Air Injectors

spa-plumbing-parts-air-injectors

Spa air injectors, or maybe you call them bubblers or aerators in your spa, but this is where the air comes out, not mixed with water. Common on the floor or on lounge portions of the spa. You can replace the air injectors in your spa if they have become broken or missing parts, or you are renovating a spa and adding new or additional air jets or larger capacity jets to your spa or hot tub.

We have over 25 different air injectors, from Air Pro, Hydro Air and Waterway. Air Pro has a model with the Backstop, a check valve that prevents water from entering the air line.  Similar to air controls, the main difference between Air Injectors are in the air S hose connection size and the hole size, or the diameter of the hole through spa shell.

Spa Sealants

spa-plumbing-parts-sealants

This section of our spa plumbing department is stocked with sealants and bonding supplies for making PVC repairs with our Heavy Duty PVC cement, or fastening replacement air injectors, water jets or spa light rings in place with an underwater silicone adhesive. Silicone is also useful for making small leak repairs around the skimmer, air hoses, or on the spa shell, sealing up around leaky jets and fittings.

In the Sealant department, we carry 5 types of hot tub silicone by BOSS to allow you to affix and seal up just about anything on your spa. We also have spray blue RTV gasket maker for pump gasket problems, silicone Grout to use on tile and around spa fittings, and Mr. Sticky’s 2-part underwater epoxy. All in our spa sealants section.

Spa Air Buttons

spa-plumbing-parts-air-buttons

Spa Air Buttons are used to activate the spa blower, lights or jets. They are a safe way to activate a electronic switch when you’re sitting in a tub full of water. Spa air buttons are fairly reliable, but some may fail after many years of use, or become sticky. Like air controls and injectors, replacement air buttons will match up to your current air button by the hose size and hole size.

You can also match up current spa buttons by appearance. We have over 35 spa buttons, in all colors – gold, silver, black, white, taupe, from nearly 10 manufacturers, including Len Gordon, PresAirTrol and Tecmark. Your spa manufacturer likely used one of these specific air buttons, or we also have a universal button on our spa air buttons page.

Spa Drain Covers and Plumbing Fittings

spa-plumbing-parts-suction-plumbing-fittings

We have over 40 Spa plumbing fittings, like sweep elbows, 45′s, 90′s, connectors, reducers, tee fittings.Use these fittings to make repairs or renovations to your spa. Freeze damage repair to a spa will usually involve some plumbing fittings, repositioning equipment, or re-routing your spa plumbing . When plumbing PVC on a spa, be sure to use primer on the pipe and fittings before applying a heavy body PVC cement.

Half a dozen VGB compliant spa drain covers – it’s very important that they are secured to prevent entrapment. Modern spa drain covers or suction outlets have many small holes and improved flow characteristics to make entrapment unlikely. Missing spa drain covers should always be replaced and firmly secured, with both screws.

Spa Flexible PVC Pipe and Air Hose

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This department needs little explaining. We have flexible PVC ‘flex pipe’, in sizes from 1/2″ to 2 inch, sold in long rolls, or by the foot. We just slap a FedEx sticker on the roll of pipe, and ship it without a box – never had a problem. We also carry the clear flexible hose that is connected to air switches or used in air systems.

Spa air hose is sold by the foot, and available in diameters from 1/8″ to 3/4 inch.  And, those little hose clamp clips, that always seem to get lost? We have them also, in two sizes.

Use spa flex pipe when you are fixing major leaks or renovating a spa shell. Spa air hose can be damaged by rodents or heat sources. Whatever the issue, we have your spa flex pipe and spa air hose for small or large repairs.

Spa Plumbing Manifolds

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These are some of the most interesting contraptions I’ve ever seen. They look like props for a science fiction movie. I keep saying that I’m going to make a lamp out of one of these, one day. Spa manifolds are used to split the water and air into several smaller ports attached to pipes and hoses that go to different water jets and air injectors. They are used for air, or for water, and connect to either PVC pipe or clear air hose and reduce from 2″ or 1.5″ pipe, down to 3/4″ or less.

We have over 50 different manifolds for unimaginable uses. You can plumb in 12 new jets into your spa or hot tub, of fix freeze damaged spas with these manifolds. Maybe you can make a lamp, or something else useful out of these spa manifolds.

Spa Skimmers

spa-plumbing-parts-skimmersMany above ground spas don’t have a skimmer similar to a pool skimmer, with a basket and weir. Many spas have a grate, which covers a throttled suction fitting, that slowly draws water from the surface. More or less effective. Other spas may have the more traditional type of skimmer. Either way, your skimmer grate, basket and weirs needs are covered.

We also have entire new spa skimmers, the Hayward SP1099 front access skimmer used on many backyard spas and hot tubs, or can be retrofitted to outdoor spas and tubs that need more skimming action.

Spa Plumbing Unions

spa-plumbing-unionsI’m not talking about the Brotherhood of Plumbers, local 454 – no, here we have connectors for spa pumps and filters that allow you to remove the equipment for service with unions – pipe connectors that can be easily removed. Unions can crack under pressure or from freeze damage. They can also overheat and melt, or if doing considerable plumbing modifications, you may need to replace the unions.

We have union nuts, o-rings and adapters. Over 35 unions available in sizes from 1″ to 3 inches, in every configuration imaginable. Specialty spa unions too, such as reducing spa unions, or barbed hose connection unions. View all of our spa unions.

Spa Valves

spa-plumbing-valvesOur final spa plumbing parts sub-category, is also our largest category, of spa directional valves and check valves. Over two dozen slice valves, aka guillotine valves, by Magic and Valterra. We have diverter valves by Jandy and Waterway, and the hard to find Ortega valves with the iconic brass handle. In this section you’ll find check valves for air and water as well. Valves help control the direction of the water flow, and check valves allow flow to pass through in only one direction.

Valves may need replacing for various repairs, or to replace a defective valve. Check valves also don’t last forever. For this reason, we also stock some of the most popular spa valve parts. Check us out when you need new spa valves.

That’s Ten categories of spa plumbing parts and fittings (I skipped two of them!). Just about everything you need to keep your spa or hot tub humming along.

- Jack

 

 

 

 

How to Buy a Used Hot Tub

August 5th, 2013 by

would-you-buy-a-used-hot-tub

Would YOU buy a used hot tub? Two-thirds of people surveyed would buy a used tub, especially if they knew the person. You can always find someone trying to sell their spa, for one reason or another. You’ll find used spas and hot tubs on craigslist and local papers by dealers and home owners.

Used spas and hot tubs can still have much life left in them, and can be purchased for less than half of a new spa. Even if you decide to invest in a new spa cover or cartridge filter element, the cost savings can be substantial.

Here’s some tips on how to buy a Used Spa or Hot tub.

Buying from a Hot Tub Dealer

Many spa dealers take trade-ins, much like a car dealer may sell new and used cars. They may sometimes have older models or demo units they are trying to sell.

The advantage of buying from a dealer is that it will have some kind of warranty, and a thorough ’29′ point inspection and detailing. They can also sanitize the pipes for biofilm removal. Plus – they can also deliver it, set it up with proper power, fill it, and show you how to use it.

Just make sure it’s a ‘real’ spa dealer, not a guy working out of a storage unit. And never buy a spa that you have not seen filled with water, hot, and fully operational.

Buy from a Friend you Trust

If you have a good friend whose personal grooming habits you respect, it might be worth a look into his or her gently used spa. There are those however, who say that you never should transact business with friends – if you want them to stay friends. Nonetheless, if you trust them that the spa was well maintained and is in good working order, you can help out a friend and get a hot tub for yourself at a good price.

Making the offer sweeter would be accessories such as a spa cover lifter, spa steps or furniture, spa chemicals and equipment. A spa cover in good shape, one that looks new and is not sagging, faded, water logged or broken – is also a nice asset.

Buy from Some Guy Online

So, you find a good deal, it looks good, but how do you know what kind of condition it’s in? Take a look at the spa, and if it looks operational but you want to be sure, contact a local spa service company to perform a systems check on the hot tub. A spa inspection, along with other information such as overall condition, age or any necessary repairs. If you decide to buy it, the spa tech may also be able to move the spa for you, with specialized trailers and dollies made for the purpose.

Even if you are buying from a friend, having a spa tech do an inspection, and possibly move the spa and set it up in it’s new location, would be a good idea – especially if you are a novice to hot tubs and spas.

How much Should You Pay for a Used Spa?

odometer for spas?Unfortunately, there’s no mileage indicator on a spa, to see how many hours of use it has, or how long it’s been in service. There may or may not be a record of regular service, repairs and maintenance. If you can identify the spa model, you can try some online searches to find a retail price. If not, you can take some measurements, count the number of jets and other features and try to find comparable models to figure a base price for a new, similar spa.

Generally, the price for a used spa should be about 50% of the retail cost, or the cost paid by the current owner, for a spa less than 10 years old. If it needs a new spa cover, or the shell or skirt look worn and faded, or if the spa pack, pumps or blower look aged, the price should drop another 10% or more.

Moving a Spa to a New Location

spa-dollyNot as easy as it sounds, depending on the size of the spa. A 6 ft spa is much more manageable than an 8 footer, which hangs over the edge of most trailers and is too large for standard dollies. And they’re heavy! Drained of water, and with the spa cover and spa pack removed, a large spa can still weigh 500-800 lbs and be quite unwieldy.

Moving a spa to an indoor location presents even greater challenges, involving moving through doorways and possibly steps. If it’s possible to pull a large trailer right up to the existing location, and also pull it right up to the new location, the job is much easier.spa-moving

Electrical for the spa will need to be planned for in advance. Most spas require a 230V plug, like what you have for a dryer or washing machine. In addition, you may need to have a power cut-off box installed near the spa. An electrician can power up a spa in most cases for  under $300 dollars.

Deep Cleaning a Used Spa

citrabrightWhen buying  a used spa, you’re gonna want to disinfect it really well, am I right?

Once in the new location, start by filling the spa with water, testing the operation of the spa, then super-chlorinate with a granular spa shock product. After circulating for several hours, use a purge product such as Tub Rinse to strip off hidden bacteria and biofilms that may be hiding in the pipes and hoses.

Drain the spa after this treatment, and use a hot tub cleaning product (never use household cleaners) such as Tub Rub or Citrabright to remove grime from the spa jets and surfaces. Refill again and adjust the pH, Alkalinity and Hardness for perfect spa water balance.

Replacing the spa cartridge filter would be a good idea, and if the cover smells musty and looks old, it may be best to start out with a new spa cover.

If the opportunity to buy a used spa or hot tub comes your way, you are now a bit more prepared for the conversation.

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara

 

 

Spas and Hot Tubs in the News

August 1st, 2013 by

SPA-AND-HOT-TUB-NEWSAnyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that we like to highlight spas and hot tubs in the news. Jerry and I keep our ears to the ground, reading press releases, hot tub blogs, forums and online groups. Here’s a collection of our favorite stories this year, we’ve stumbled onto online. Enjoy.

 

Best of Class Awards

leg-lamp - it's a Major Award!Las Vegas, NV, USA (PRWEB) Just released this morning, is a press release announcing the Best of Class awards for pool and spa builders and manufacturers. I’ve ranted before about the large numbers of awards that are given to various spa manufacturers or spa models. Most of them aren’t real, but instead give top awards to the spa maker that pays the most, or buys the most advertising. So, when you see that this model or that brand of spa has received a Major Award – take it with a grain of salt.

 

Bookkeeper Sentenced to 3 Years

bustedTOMS RIVER, NJ (nj.com) – Gina Harle, 57, of Loveladies, Long Beach Island,  was sentenced today to a three year State prison term on one count of third degree theft and a five year term on one count of second degree computer theft. The court also ordered restitution in the amount of $52,946.09 payable to Hotsprings Spas of N.J LTD. Ms. Harle was found guilty of inappropriately using the Hot Springs Spa credit card, to pay her own credit card bills, and even paid $26,000 on her Volvo automobile with Hot Springs monies. Keep an eye on the accounting office staff!

Jacuzzi Brands Restructures

jacuzzi-logoCHINO HILLS, Calif.–(Businesswire)–Jacuzzi Brands LLC, announced today the closing of a recapitalization transaction that significantly raises liquidity, materially reduces outstanding indebtedness and extends the maturity dates of its loans out to 2018 and beyond. The transaction will position Jacuzzi to capitalize on opportunities from the recovery of the housing industry and the overall economy. They essentially restructured away $124 million in debt. Great move for Jacuzzi.

 Hot Tub Cinema Next Big Thing?

hot-tub-cinema(Hackneycitizen.co.uk) – For £30 a head you should know what you’re letting yourself in for. Sitting in a tub watching classic films is definitely fun, but to pay so much and then to have to buy the themed cocktails and food on top of that seems like a splash in the face. And if there are not six of your friends in the tub then more likely than not you’ll be grazing the leg of a total stranger, and the more you accidentally do it, the weirder the looks you get. Funny article about the popular new London rage, rooftop hot tub cinema, spreading to New Zealand and Australia I hear, maybe near you?

Jacuzzi Acquires Dimension One Spas

dimension-1 spas covers

(PoolandSpanews.com) This is the second acquisition of another hot tub company by the Chino Hills, Calif.-based firm in less than eight months. In June 2012, Jacuzzi brought ThermoSpas Hot Tub Products into its fold. As part of the deal, the business now will be called New Dimension One Spas and will continue to operate as a separate unit from Jacuzzi with most existing operation remaining at the current site in Vista, Calif. Jacuzzi has a lot of cash on the table. I wish them much luck in their ventures.

 

Balboa sued under the Sherman Antitrust Act

balboa(Salon.com) A lawsuit filed by a Californian manufacturer of hot tub electronic control systems claiming that another California company — the apparent Microsoft of the hot tub world — was restricting competition via aggressive litigation. The bulk of the complaint accuses Balboa of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by using a monopoly (defined by Newport as 75 % of the market for hot tub electronic controls) power to crush Newport’s attempt to get a share of the market. Balboa – the Microsoft of the Spa and Hot Tub world?

‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ Sequel Could Happen

hot-tub-time-machine

(Huffpost.com) “Hot Tub Time Machine,” the cult 2010 comedy that starred John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Chevy Chase, Lizzy Caplan and Jessica Pare may be doing a sequel.

This might be the best hot tub news of the year – or maybe not. But, however you feel about the movie, or the concept – it looks like talks are underway between MGM and some of the original cast, to reprise roles for a sequel, or prequel, or something to do with time traveling with a hot tub.

Stolen Jacuzzi Recovered, Thief In Hot Water

he-stole-the-hot-tub-from-here

(khq.com) A spa on a trailer is stolen and recovered within hours. Jeff Hickethier called Crime Check to report that a hot tub had been stolen from his premises (without water). The spa was on trailer display with a For Sale sign; proceeds benefiting the Deer Park High School archery club.

“One of the deputies was just driving by and saw someone unloading a hot tub off a trailer; had I not turned that report in, there’d be no way I’d be driving my trailer back to Deer Park,” Hickethier told KHQ on the scene.