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Winter Hot Tub Accessories

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With winter upon us, many new spa owners (and even some seasoned pros) have lots of questions about hot tub winterization and whether or not to keep the spa open all winter. A lot of people also wonder if they can safely drain the spa during winter.

We’ve talked about winter hot tub tips before, including how to get the most out of your spa during the winter months. Today, we’ll show you some handy winter hot tub products and accessories that help protect your spa from harsh weather conditions and make your winter hot tub safer and more enjoyable to use.

Spa Covers

spa-cover-for-winterOf course you need a spa cover during winter! Without a tight fitting spa cover in good condition, your hot tub may have trouble staying hot. Spa tops that are waterlogged can lose half of their insulating properties, and a poorly fitting spa top or one that is not strapped down tightly will quickly lose heat. Replace cover clips that are broken or use high wind straps to pull the cover down tightly and prevent heat loss. If you see steam escaping around the edges or along the fold seam, just imagine it as dollar bills with wings.

Spa Caps

spa-cover-cap-for-winterIt’s a cover – for your cover! Spa covers take a beating over the winter from sun, snow and ice. A spa cover cap is almost like a fitted sheet for the top of your spa cover, effectively protecting your cover from moisture and UV rays. The CoverCap is available in 7’x7′ and 8’x8′ square sizes to fit most hot tub covers. As an added benefit, this cap can improve heat retention performance on covers that are losing heat, and and it helps extend the life of any spa cover. The CoverCap spa cover cap is made from strong woven PE. It features a silver reflective surface to melt snow faster and deter most birds, squirrels and other wildlife.

Spa Blankets

floating-foam-insulating-blanketFor spas and hot tubs in cold Northern climates, a floating spa blanket can increase heat retention by up to 50%. Without a spa blanket floating on the surface of the water, heat rises to fill the air space between the water and your spa cover. Floating spa blankets are available in three types: the durable radiant spa blanket with an aluminum underside, the floating foam blanket made of closed cell foam, and the economy spa bubble blanket made of extruded PE. All spa insulating blankets are sold in square sizes and can be trimmed with scissors to fit your spa.

Spa Enclosure

hot-tub-gazebo in winterYou may have a hot tub umbrella, but do you have a hot tub enclosure? Sometimes called pavilions, gazebos or cabanas, the Japanese were the first to popularize the use of onsens, or small huts built above a hot spring. Hot tub enclosures are available as inflatable domes, retractable domes, or wood structures with large window panels that can be opened. In addition to protecting your spa from sun, snow and wind, enclosures also can improve the efficiency of heating a hot tub in winter, and they can be the best way to add a little privacy to your hot tub.

Heated Floor Mats

heated-mats-for-spa-steps-during-winterUnless your spa is located just steps from the door, on a covered patio, winter hot tubbers often have to cross a frozen tundra to reach their bubbling spa. Ice and snow can be dangerous, and a slip and fall on your way to the hot tub can ruin the whole evening. For hot tubs in snowy winter areas, consider heating patio pavers with floor heat cables placed beneath, or use heated floor mats to keep the path to your hot tub free of ice and snow. You can find them in many sizes, and also find heated stair mats to use on your spa steps, for safe entry and exit.

Spa Handrail

spa-handrails-for-winterSpeaking of safely entering and exiting a spa, spa handrails are the perfect winter spa accessory. Spa steps may be icy from splashing water or rain/snow. However, a spa handrail helps you make that last big, awkward step into the spa without making a fool of yourself. When getting out of the hot tub, while your legs are like jelly and the blood is rushing to your head as you stand up, a spa handrail is ready and available at-your-service. We have several different safety handrails for spas. One type screws into the cabinet, another type is mounted to a large plate that slips under the spa, and the final type is mounted directly to the spa step.

A Good Hat

accessory hatThis is possibly the best winter hot tub accessory to have. A good hat will not only keep you from losing heat from the top of your head, but it will also help keep your hair dry. When your head is cold, you risk catching a head cold! Along with my trusty hat, I also swear by my spa slippers and robe – two more winter wardrobe essentials for hot tubbers.

 

 

10 Gift Ideas for the Spa or Hot Tub Owner

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holiday hot tub gifts

Jingle bells, jingle bells – do you hear ’em? The holiday season is upon us, which means thoughtful friends (like you) are making shopping lists of gifts for friends and family.

Since you’re reading this, we’re guessing you’re probably a hot tub owner. If so, this means you likely know others who also belong to “The Hot Tub Club.” A gift that helps them enjoy their spa is the perfect way to show you care about their health and well-being.

If you’re ready to start shopping, Hot Tub Works has you covered! We have gifts for all the hot tub owners on your gift list, and they’re priced to fit any holiday shopping budget. Let Santa take a break. It’s your time to shine as the ultimate gift giver this year!

To tell the truth, these gifts are great for any special occasion – not just the holidays. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

 

Aromatherapy Products

hot tub aromatherapyThere are so many forms of spa aromatherapy – crystals, elixirs, spa beads and even scented spa shock. They all make great gifts or stocking stuffers, and they’re quite affordable. If you’ve never tried aromatherapy in the hot tub before, you really should. Aside from the enriching aromatic experience, each product provides uniquely focused relaxation for the user. Whether refreshing the mind or rejuvenating the body, there’s an aromatherapy solution for every need or occasion. All natural ingredients and the perfect blend of moisturizing botanicals promise to soften skin, relieve stress, reduce inflammation and soothe aches and pains. These products are perfectly safe for spa surfaces and won’t clog jets.

Waterproof Playing Cards

waterproof playing cardsLooking for the perfect stocking stuffer? These waterproof playing cards go great with a floating game table, or they can be used all by themselves. Durable PVC material makes the cards completely waterproof without being too stiff to shuffle. This is a full deck of 52 regularly-sized playing cards, which comes in its own plastic carrying case. These cards are excellent for hot tubbers relaxing with others in the spa, but they also work quite well in a swimming pool setting. Give the gift that provides hours of fun for any age group!

Filter Flosser

filter flosserIf you’ve owned a hot tub for any amount of time, you know how time consuming it can be to clean a hot tub filter. With a Filter Flosser, that chore can be done in just minutes. Not only will it save the gift recipient a ton of time on regular hot tub maintenance, but it will also conserve water and prolong the life of their filter cartridges. The powerful, precise stream of water goes deep between filter pleats to provide a simple, efficient cleaning experience.

 

Spa Ozonator

spa ozonatorHere’s a gift that’s sure to please! Spa ozone systems are a simple, yet effective way to rid a hot tub of bacteria, viruses and other organic contaminants. If the person you’re buying for has a newer hot tub, chances are pretty good that it already has an ozone system built in. However, if the hot tub is more than a few years old, an ozonator will likely be a welcome addition. Spa ozonators reduce the need for sanitizing chemicals, and they leave behind no residues or harsh by-products, making this a great option for people with sensitive skin. They also pair perfectly with mineral sanitizers.

Spa Cover Lifter

spa cover liftMany people who own a spa already have (and use) a spa cover lifter. However, if someone on your gift list doesn’t yet have a cover lift, or if they need to replace their old, rusty one, Hot Tub Works has the perfect gift you’ve been searching for. A spa cover lift is a gift of convenience, making it possible for anyone to open a heavy spa cover by themselves. It also helps prevent damage to the cover while it’s off the tub. Lightweight aluminum and sturdy steel cover lifts are available to accommodate most spa covers, large or small.

Lighted Napa Bottle Chiller

lighted ice bucketThis gift will be the talk of the holiday party, as well as every hot tub party after that! This unique wine and beverage chiller is illuminated by color-changing LED lights. Choose from 24 colors, 4 color-changing settings and 2 brightness levels at the touch of a button. The rechargeable battery provides 8-10 hours of lighted entertainment, making it perfect for parties and get-togethers. The weatherproof design allows it to be used outdoors or indoors – it’s up to you! Just add ice, add your favorite canned or bottled beverages, turn on the light, and it’s ready to go.

Insulating Spa Blanket

protective thermal insulating spa blanketA floating thermal spa blanket is an inexpensive gift that can save any hot tub owner a chunk of change. The most notable benefit is that it prolongs the life of a spa cover by blocking chemicals and water vapor from gassing off and absorbing into the cover. This blanket also increases a spa’s efficiency by locking in the heat. This lightweight thermal blanket is easy to put on and remove, and it comes in two convenient square sizes: 7’x7′ or 8’x8′. If the spa isn’t perfectly square, simply trim the blanket with scissors to match any custom shape.

Spa Care Kits

spa care kitLooking for a gift that just keeps giving? Surprise the hot tub owner on your shopping list with a spa care kit. There are 6-month maintenance kits for both chlorine and bromine users, multi-packs of scented spa shock, a spa cover care kit, floating sanitizer systems and cartridge refills, as well as all-inclusive spa start-up kits. We even have a kit for spa owners struggling with hard water issues. Just place a spa care kit in a wicker basket, add a gift bow or some colorful tissue paper, and give the gift of worry-free hot tub maintenance this year. Spa care kits also make fun “teaser” gifts if you’ll be surprising a loved one with their very own hot tub this holiday season.

Cantilever Umbrella

market umbrellaWhile soaking in a toasty hot tub, the last thing anyone wants to do is bake in the sun – especially when the weather gets warmer. This is why many hot tubs are located in shaded areas or under some type of roof or overhang. However, there are quite a few spas that don’t have that optimal placement, which is where offset cantilever umbrellas, also known as market umbrellas, come in handy. Hot Tub Works has two styles available – one is a 10′ umbrella with a metal plate that slides under your hot tub (3 colors available), and the other is a 9′ umbrella that can be bolted down or attached to a sturdy base (12 colors available). Market umbrellas also work well for patio tables and seating areas.

Infrared Sauna

infrared saunaWe saved the best for last! Imagine the look on your loved one’s face when you surprise them with a brand new in-home sauna. The growing list of sauna benefits is simply incredible. Besides soaking in a hot tub, there really is no better way to relax your muscles, detoxify your body and unwind at the end of the day. It’s not just a sauna – it’s a valuable wellness tool and is often considered a health investment. From extravagant 4-person infrared saunas to the less expensive single user or portable models, there’s a relaxation station for every budget.

Not finding what you’re looking for? There are so many other great hot tub gifts available in our online store. Another idea is to provide a “personal spa service” of sorts, helping the hot tub people on your list drain and clean the spa and/or condition the cover. Other ideas include an outdoor carpet or wood runners to help keep feet clean, new spa towels and a towel rack, or you could even spice things up by adding some music to their spa. It’s not too hard to find the perfect gift. The options are endless!

From all of us at Hot Tub Works, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Hot Tub Leaking from the Bottom

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spa-cutaway-hot-tub

A leaking spa or hot tub is cause for alarm. But don’t freak out! It’s almost never the spa shell, and in most cases, spa leaks can be found and fixed easily.

Take a deep breath! After your blood pressure drops, we can get up under there and find out what is leaking and where.

Here’s a list of the most common causes of hot tub leaks and how to fix a leaking spa.

water-drop-smSpa Pump Leaking

We covered this problem in detail in an earlier post: “Help! My Spa Pump is Leaking!” To summarize the article, when a spa pump is leaking, it’s either the shaft seal, unions or the wet end volute. Look closely with a flashlight to determine the exact source of the leak on a spa pump. This should help you determine the replacement parts needed to fix the leak.

water-drop-smSpa Light Leaking

The lens for the spa light can become loose or cracked, especially with high heat halogen spa lights. The light housing or niche is usually located on the same side as the spa pack so the bulb can be serviced easily. Shine your flashlight onto the area around the housing to determine if water is leaking from the spa light. The fix for a leaking spa light is usually a new spa light kit, or the locknut could just be loose.

water-drop-smSpa Filter Leaking

We also covered this topic in a detailed post called “Hot Tub Filter Leak Repair.” To summarize that article, the usual spa filter leak fix requires a new gasket or o-ring, or possibly a new filter housing if the body is cracked. It’s also possible that the locking filter ring could be loose and just needs to be tightened up! Like I said, most spa leaks are small and easily fixed. But if you’ve got worse problems than what we’ve already covered, read on.

water-drop-smSpa Plumbing Leaks

It happens, but leaks in the PVC pipe are actually pretty rare. Much more common are leaks on the backside of spa jets, caused by loose locknuts or deteriorated spa jet gaskets on the inside of the spa.

Spa leaks occur in other gasketed equipment – anything with o-rings and gaskets. This includes things like skimmers, lights, pumps, unions, chlorinators and ozonators.

Freeze damage can shatter PVC pipe, but most spa plumbing leaks actually occur at the glue joints, or where the pipe is glued into a coupling, spa jet, union or tee fitting. If the original PVC glue was thin in one area, over time water can seep out between the pipe and fitting walls.

Locating a Spa Plumbing Leak: If you don’t see the spa leaking anywhere inside of the equipment bay, then you have a real spa plumbing leak. It could be on one of the fittings, jets or somewhere on the pipe. But where? It takes some sleuthing to decide where to remove the cabinet panel.

Shut the pump off, and allow the spa to drain to its lowest level – pay attention to where it stabilizes and stops leaking. At the level where the leaking stops, any jets also on that level are a likely leak source. Sweep or use a leaf blower to dry off any standing water around the tub. Then add water to the spa for a few minutes and watch closely where the water begins to run out. A doctor’s stethoscope or a simple paper cup can be used to listen for leaking water.

Spa plumbing leaks will often leak more when the pipes are pressurized, or when the pump is running. Some hot tubs may stop leaking altogether when the pump is off. In this case, you’ll need to refill the spa, and run the pump while looking for the leak source.

Leak-Seal-by-LeisuretimeSmall leaks in hot tub fittings and spa jets can be fixed by adding the emulsion Leak Seal by Leisure Time. Leak Seal seeks out leaks, and clots together to form a permanent repair. It works great on small voids, seepers and weepers, but does have its limitations. It won’t fix large cracks or stop large spa leaks, but for small leaks, give it a try.

Removing Cabinet Panels: Once you have determined where the spa plumbing is leaking, carefully remove the cabinet panels. These are often glued or stapled onto the frame or studs around the spa shell. In some cases, you’ll find screws under the trim on top and bottom of the panels. If glued or stapled, find the seam or space where two panels join, and use a large flathead to pry one of them up. You won’t need your power saw, but you may need to remove the header or footer strip to make it easier to pull out the cabinet panel.

Digging Thru Spa Foam: Once the panel comes off, you may have full visibility of the plumbing, or you may have a wall of insulating foam. Just dig it right out, using a screwdriver or large kitchen spoon, and search for the wettest area of the foam. Keep digging towards the moisture until you expose the pipes, fittings or spa jet that is leaking. A wire brush on a drill can be used to clean up the little bits stuck onto the PVC, or you can use pipe cleaner to dissolve the foam bits.

spa-foam-removal-by-JD-Finley

Spa Plumbing Leak Repair: Once you find the leak, you’ll want to fix it. Leaking spa jets may need a new gasket (or just tightening). Leaking pipes and PVC fittings (90s, 45s, couplings) should be replaced if possible; just cut it out and replace the fitting with a new one. There are some PVC repair products such as Mr. Sticky’s that can be tried, but they are not always successful. Snap-on PVC repair cuffs or compression couplings can also be used in tight spots. As a drastic last resort, the line (or jet) can be abandoned by cutting out the leaking area and capping the pipe on both ends.

After the spa leak repair is complete and your spa is leaking no more, you can pick up a few cans of spray foam and replace most of what was taken out. This helps the spa retain heat and block cold winter temperatures. Replace the wall cabinet panel in the same fashion as before, using screws, a staple gun or a wood adhesive like Liquid Nails.

Clean Spa Filters – in the Dishwasher?

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how to clean hot tub filterCan you clean your spa filters in the dishwasher? I think the idea came about when cartridge manufacturers suggested that dishwasher detergent (not laundry detergent!) could be used as an alternative to TSP (trisodium phosphate) for soaking cartridges and removing greasy oil deposits before cleaning the filter.

I have yet to see a manufacturer of spa filters suggest cleaning spa filters in the dishwasher. There are some people online that say that they clean their spa filters in the dishwasher (without soap or rinse aid), and using a no-heat drying cycle. Sounds OK, but will it really get the cartridge clean?

My dishwasher hardly removes all of the tomato sauce it should, but it’s a decent model. So I thought I’d put this to a test. Can you clean spa filters in the dishwasher? And perhaps more importantly: Should you?

The Dishwasher-Spa Filter Cleaning Test

My spa filters had not been cleaned in a month, which is my usual schedule, so I removed my filter cartridge. It’s about 15″ tall, so I was able to place it standing up on the lower rack of the dishwasher – it just barely fit. I added a small amount of dishwasher detergent to the reservoir, then set it on the longest cycle (115 mins) with a no-heat drying cycle.

THE RESULT? There was still debris stuck down in the pleats, even though it definitely looked a lot cleaner from the outside. I’ve seen some suggest laying the spa filter on the top rack of the dishwasher, so I repeated the test in this manner, even rotating the cartridge twice during the cycle. However, there was still small debris and discoloration deep in the pleats.

How to Clean Spa Filters

THE OLD METHOD IS STILL THE BEST METHOD. Hose the filter cartridge clean with a handheld garden hose nozzle. It’s a wet and not particularly comfortable experience, but cleaning it pleat by pleat in an up and down motion does the best job.

Here’s a step by step guide for cleaning spa and hot tub filter cartridges:

  1. Turn off spa, open filter canister and remove cartridge.
  2. Spray carefully with a high pressure hose nozzle to remove debris from each pleat.
  3. Soak the cartridge for 8 hours in TSP solution (1 cup TSP per 5 gallons hot water). Rinse clean.
  4. Soak the cartridge 1 hour in an acid solution (1 cup acid per 1 gallon cool water). Rinse clean.
  5. Soak the cartridge again in the TSP solution for 10 minutes to neutralize remaining acids.
  6. To kill remaining microbes, allow filter to dry completely before reinstalling.unicel-filter-guy-using-protective-gear

Steps 3 and 4 are not always necessary. TSP (or dry dishwasher detergent) is great for removing oily deposits on spa filters. Muriatic acid (or dry acid) is used to remove mineral scale like calcium deposits. Be sure to wear proper protective gear when handling muriatic acid, and always add the acid to water (not water to acid).

Steps 3, 4 and 5 can be combined into one step when using our Spa Cartridge Filter Cleaner, which can remove both oils and minerals. We also have Leisure Time Filter Clean for an overnight soaking, or Leisure Time Cartridge Clean, which is a spray-on formula that works in minutes instead of hours.

A spray nozzle that works great for cleaning spa filters is the Filter Flosser. It can really get in there to clean between the pleats of your filter, even if the water pressure to your hose is not so great.

Final Tips

  1. DO NOT clean spa filters in the dishwasher! It’s not very effective and could damage the filter.
  2. DO NOT clean spa filters with a pressure washer, for obvious reasons.
  3. Dry dishwasher soap is OK, but laundry detergent is NOT OK.
  4. Remember to rinse the filter thoroughly after soaking to remove all chemical traces.
  5. DO NOT use DE powder as a spa filter aid. However, Puri-Fiber or Aqua-Perl may be used if desired.

Conclusion

unicel-guy-spraying-hose on spa filterIf you REALLY want to use your dishwasher to clean a hot tub filter, be my guest. But be warned: the dishwasher won’t get your filter very clean. It shouldn’t hurt the filter cartridge unless you use a heated dry cycle. You can use a small amount of dry dishwasher detergent as long as you remember to rinse the filter well once the dishwasher shuts off.

As for me – I’ll just keep doing it the old fashioned way. I take a seat next to an empty trash can, then hose the filter clean inside of the can. It’s more difficult to do it like this, but it keeps my shoes dry.

July 4th Hot Tub Party

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Fourth of July PartyWant to get some friends and family together, but don’t have a swimming pool? Do what I do – host a July 4th hot tub party!

Planning a hot tub party on the 4th of July is just like any other Independence Day party. The only difference is that your guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the spa. Watching fireworks from the hot tub is one of the best ways to enjoy the show!

Needing some quick and easy tips on hosting a successful 4th of July hot tub party? You’re in luck!

 

Prepare the Spa

A few days to a week before the party, check the water balance. Lowered the pH down around 7.3-ish, and gave the spa a healthy shock treatment. On July 3rd, clean the filter and vacuum the spa. Before the guests arrive, bring an extra ounce of “wow” to your party with some aromatherapy crystals in the tub. Nothing says a summer party quite like a cool glass of sweet sangria, and Spazazz brings that essence to your spa with their Wild Fiesta scent.

Get creative with fun and patriotic signs to direct your guests to the hot tub. If the spa is behind the house, hang a sign on the side gate or the front door to direct them toward the back. This will also save you time with your guests since you won’t be running back and forth to point them in the right direction. Spice it up with American flags, red/white/blue confetti or balloons to make it festive and noticeable!

Don’t Start Too Early

If you’ll be serving alcohol at the party, be careful not to start the party too soon! If you start around 6 or 7 p.m., there will be plenty of time to eat, drink, relax and socialize before the fireworks start. This shorter timeframe on the party also means that guests leaving the party after the show will still be in a relatively sober state of mind.

patriotic playlist

Pump Up the Jams

It should go without saying – every good party needs good music. For your 4th of July party, create a playlist full of patriotic songs and let the good times roll! Save the best ones to play during the fireworks so your guests can be serenaded under the glittering glow of lights.

Even if it’s just sparklers, no Independence Day party is complete without John Philip Sousa’s famous version of “Stars and Stripes Forever” playing in the background.

Turn Down the Heat

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

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

Patriotic Food & DecorationsFourth of July Party

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

In addition to the previously mentioned gate sign to direct guests to your hot tub in the backyard, you can add patriotic vibes to the party with a number of simple accents. A nice red tablecloth, a firecracker centerpiece, and a proudly flying American flag are all a good place to start.

Simple dishes and finger foods will be easy to both prepare and enjoy, so you don’t have to get too crazy with it. Don’t forget to offer plenty of hydrating refreshments to your guests.

Whether it’s just a few friends or a block party – have a super-terrific 4th of July! Happy Birthday, America!

Hot Tubs vs. Swimming Pools: What’s the Difference?

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Hot tubs and swimming pools are a lot alike. They’re pools of water that allow people to relax and enjoy themselves. They both require proper sanitization, circulation, filters and regular cleaning. But if you’re dealing with a spa or hot tub that’s detached from the pool, this is where the similarities end. Contrary to popular belief, these tubs of hot water are not just “small swimming pools,” and they should be maintained differently than a normal swimming pool. Here’s why.

hot tubs vs swimming pools

Water Volume per Person Ratio is Lower

Imagine this scenario: 5 people show up for a backyard pool and spa party. Soaking in a 500-gallon spa, those 5 people share about 100 gallons of water each. In the 25,000-gallon swimming pool, it would take 250 people to match the same volume ratio as the hot tub. Crazy, right?

As you can imagine, this ratio plays a major role in water chemistry, tub cleanliness and the ability of the filter cartridge to do its job properly. Having extra sanitation methods in place, cleaning the spa filter every 1-2 weeks, and asking spa users to shower first will go a long way toward keeping your spa or hot tub clean.

Bacteria Thrive in Warm, Moist Areas

Warmth and moisture are bacteria’s best friends, so it’s no surprise that they flourish quickly in spas and hot tubs. Even if the water is actively managed with proper water chemistry and adequate circulation, a lapse in care can cause a layer of biofilm to build up on spa surfaces, the spa cover, the filter and plumbing lines in no time at all.

Overgrowth of bacteria in a hot tub is particularly concerning because the warm temperatures of spa water opens the pores of the skin and set the scene for a bacterial infection. While biofilm and bacterial growth can be problematic in swimming pools as well, algae blooms are a more common concern.

Water Chemistry Differs

Pool chemicals and spa chemicals may share the same names, but they’re not the same product. Chemicals behave differently in hot water because of increased molecular activity at higher temperatures.

For example, chlorine is a quick and effective option for sanitizing water. Pool chlorine is stable up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it starts to dissipate from the water. The problem is that most hot tubs operate between 95-104 degrees. This is why chlorine for hot tubs is specially formulated to withstand the higher temperatures. Some spa owners opt to use bromine (a more stable sanitizer), or they use chemical alternatives like ozone generators for added protection.

Pool chemicals are also stronger than spa chemicals, and using them in your spa or hot tub can cause damage to the tub and equipment. It’s especially important to monitor pH levels in hot tubs since high pH – a common problem for hot tubs – can lessen the effectiveness of chlorine and bromine.

Hot Tubs Require Regular Draining

Unlike a swimming pool, which rarely ever needs drained, hot tubs and spas need to be drained, thoroughly cleaned and refilled every 3-4 months. This is because of the low water volume to person ratio paired with the fact that chemicals and filters can only do so much to maintain water quality.

At least twice a year, it’s important to also flush the pipes before draining the tub. This flush will get rid of any biofilm lurking in the plumbing. Otherwise, you’ll end up right back where you started once the tub is refilled. Using a product like Leisure Time Jet Clean will help keep your plumbing in top shape.


There are other obvious differences between spas and swimming pools, including the use of an insulated spa cover (which also requires regular care), different filtration options, quantity of return jets and so on. If you’re lucky enough to have an in ground pool and spa combo, the care for both will be quite similar if the plumbing systems are connected. But for portable hot tubs or those running on a circulation system independent from the pool, understanding the different maintenance requirements will prevent a number of problems down the road.

 

Product Spotlight: Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

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Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

How cool would it be if you could move your hot tub anywhere, anytime? Or, if space is a factor, wouldn’t it be great to have a small hot tub you could store out of the way until you wanted to use it? I’ll let you in on a little secret…you CAN. It’s all possible with the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub. And here’s the best part: you don’t have to break the bank to own one.

Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

This portable hot tub is more than just a pool of bubbling warm water. In fact, the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Hot Tub offers all the benefits of a standard hot tub, but with unparalleled convenience and maneuverability that only a portable model can provide. The Miami inflates in seconds, and setup is a breeze – no tools required! Use it anywhere you’d like: indoors, outdoors, or pack it in the trunk and take it on vacation.

The rapid heating system quickly warms the water to temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll be ready for relaxation in no time. Just set your preferred temperature on the digital control panel, turn on the heater, and you’re all set. The control panel also lets you operate the filtration system and massage feature with the simple touch of a button. The inside of the hot tub is printed with an attractive light blue mosaic pattern, which makes it even more enticing to take a long, relaxing soak.

The Miami holds 192 gallons, meaning you’ll save money on water and heating expenses with less to maintain. The compact size also makes it perfect for couples, but four adults can easily fit inside the hot tub. Fully inflated, it measures 71” wide and 26” tall. Everything you need is included in the Lay-Z-Spa Miami package:

  • Inflatable tub with 81 air jetsLay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub
  • Pump/heater with digital control panel
  • Reinforced inflatable cover with closure straps
  • Two filter cartridges
  • Floating chemical feeder
  • Water hose set
  • Inflation hose
  • Setup and maintenance DVD
  • Heavy-duty repair patch kit
  • Adapter cover, screw valve and hose adapter

In short, the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub lets you enjoy all the benefits of hot tub ownership at a fraction of the cost. It comes with everything you need to get set up and running in no time. The added benefits of portability and easy setup make this hot tub a popular option for almost any application. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

Hot Tubs with a View

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Every once in a while, we like to step away from the nitty gritty of spa and hot tub maintenance to feature topics around hot tub lifestyle, design and decor. A showcase for hot tub owners who have created a true spa oasis with innovative decking, landscape or location.

And speaking of location, some settings are just a natural fit for a hot tub. Continue reading for a collection of 11 beautiful hot tubs with spectacular views, some of which are available for short-term rental! If your hot tub has a great view, leave a comment with a pic – maybe I will add it to the list!

Estes Park Colorado Hot Tub Home VRBO Rental - Photo by Linda, Owner

Estes Park, Colorado, VRBO Rental – Photo by Linda, Owner

 

Hot Tub on Smith Mountain Lake, Va, Home Away Rental, Photo by Owner

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, Home Away Rental – Photo by Owner

 

Buffalo River Arkansas Rental with Hot Tub, Photo by Buffalo Outdoor Center

Buffalo River, Arkansas, Rental with Hot Tub – Photo by Buffalo Outdoor Center

 

Hot Tub at Fossil Bay Resort, Shirley, BC, Photo by Fossil Bay - click to visit Fossil Bay site

Fossil Bay Resort in Shirley, British Columbia – Photo by Fossil Bay

 

Hot Tub overlooking a California Bay, Zillow Photo by Brad Anderson

Overlooking a California Bay – Zillow Photo by Brad Anderson

 

Scottsdale, Arizona Hot Tubs- Zillow Photo by Imagine Backyard Living

Scottsdale, Arizona – Zillow Photo by Imagine Backyard Living

 

Hot Tub with a View of Lake Tahoe, on VRBO, Photo by Owner

Lake Tahoe, California, VRBO Rental – Photo by Owner

 

Hot Tub on a Yacht, Photo by Miami Boat Charters

Yacht with a Hot Tub – Photo by Miami Boat Charters

 

Hot Tub In Seattle with a View on Realtor.com, Photo by Owner

Seattle, Washington, listing on Realtor.com – Photo by Owner

 

Acorn Cabin Rentals #701 Hot Tub in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Photo by Acorn

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Acorn Cabin Rentals #701 – Photo by Acorn Cabins

 

Penthouse Hot Tub view overlooking Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia, Penthouse View – Photo by Poynters.co.nz

 


 

I would Love to soak in any one of these hot tubs with a view! My home hot tub view is not quite as grand, like most people I look across the backyard, noticing all the plants and things that need my attention.

Oh well, I can always close my eyes, and can imagine that I’m on vacation, somewhere fabulous! That’s the greatest thing about hot tubs – it doesn’t really matter where it is, I can always find my happy place!

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

Wi-Fi App Control for Spas & Hot Tubs

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Control your hot tub from anywhere in the world!

That’s how the tagline reads for a new generation of smart hot tub controllers that can communicate wirelessly to your mobile device. Super convenient, now that you don’t have to shuffle out in the cold and lift the lid to turn up the heat. Just pull up the app where you can view current temperature and status, and operate all spa functions like pumps, heater, lights, music – like a topside control panel, in your pocket!

All of the major spa manufacturers and spa control makers now offer wifi-enabled spa paks with the software to connect to your spa controller via bluetooth and wifi. And, most spa techs now have a half dozen or more spa manufacturer apps on their smartphones, useful for bypassing control panels, and for certain diagnostics.

Arctic has OnSpa, Jacuzzi has ProLink and Sundance has SunSmart, proprietary wi-fi modules, control software and smartphone apps that operate with their control packs. And for those spa manufacturers using Balboa or Gecko spa packs, Balboa offers BWA module and app, and Gecko has the in.Touch system.

 

HOW DOES HOT TUB WIFI WORK?

A wifi-enabled spa control has a bit of software revision to communicate with a wifi module and to your phone or tablet via the app. The module allows for direct connection from a nearby phone or tablet, and also connects to your home wifi network, for connection to the internet. Balboa uses a single wifi module, good for about 65 ft, and Gecko includes two transmitters, one for spa mounting and one for mounting next to your home wifi router.

 

ADDING WIFI TO A HOT TUB?

Well, there may be a little problem… you see, hot tub wifi modules only work on wifi-enabled spa controls, and these are still a standard feature only on luxury lines of spas, and for spas produced in the last five years or so. If you have a late brand name spa with all the bells and whistles, including Wi-Fi, see your dealer to purchase the wi-fi module kit, and you can then connect to your spa with the app.

For Balboa Controllers, only the BP line of spa controllers is wi-fi enabled as of current. The wifi module 50350 plugs into the BP500/BP600 circuit board and puts out a signal to connect with your home wifi and directly to nearby devices.

For Gecko Controllers, the in.touch remote control system uses two RF transmitters to connect to your home wifi network and to nearby devices. Gecko in.touch works with in.xe, in.xm and in.ye, in.yt controllers, with the new software revision for wi-fi.

Other aftermarket spa controllers, by ACC, Acura and Waterway for example, offer an add-on wifi module that fits select spa controls, for remote control from inside of the house or monitoring your spa while away from home.

 

HOT TUB WIFI – NOT SO SIMPLE?

Unless already equipped, you basically need a new digital spa control if you want to control your spa with your smartphone. 🙁 And, it must be a wifi-enabled spa controller, and you must also purchase the additional module or transmitter to connect from the spa to your home wifi and nearby devices.

If your spa control or spa pack is fairly new, it may have wifi capability, check the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for information.

Or maybe you’ll have to continue to shuffle through the cold, to check-on, or turn-up your spa or hot tub – the old fashioned way!

Your next spa (or your next spa control) will likely be part of the Internet of Things, and more accessible 🙂 It is a nice feature I must admit, my new Sundance has wifi and I love it! I use it to play music from my phone, thru the spa speakers, and use it inside the house to turn up the temp (and turn it down, too) or for running extra filter cycles, or to check if I left the spa light on again?

 

XOXO;

 

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

7 Hot Tub Accessories I Can’t Live Without

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Hello again! Carolyn here to tell you about some of my favorite hot tub accessories. It could’ve been a ‘top ten’ list, but I wanted to keep it shorter and made of more unique spa products.

So then, without further ado, here’s the 6 hot tub accessory items I just couldn’t live without!

 

 

MY SPA PRE-FILTER

Water where I live is not very good hot tub water. It has really high minerals, making the water hard. Plus, it looks gray, and even smells bad sometimes. Whenever I fill my spa, or top of the water level, I just screw on the Pre-Filter to the end of the hose, to ‘pre-filter’ the water, so my filter doesn’t have to.

 

MY TAYLOR K2105 TEST KIT

The Taylor K-2105 test kit is the complete DPD test kit, for Low Range chlorine and bromine. Since I also use minerals and some ozone, I keep a very low bromine level in the spa, about 0.6 ppm. The low range test kit lets me test down to 0.1 ppm levels. We don’t sell it, 🙁 but I found mine for $45 Taylor K2105.

 

MY NATURE2 SPA STICK

Nature2 spa cartridge is a thin mineral stick that fits inside of your filter cartridge. As the water rushes over it, copper and silver ions are released into the water, which kills bacteria and other particles in the water. Lasts for 4 months, I buy the Nature2 Spa 3-pack, to have a year-long supply on hand.

 

MY BALBOA CONTROLLER APP

I’ve become quite attached to my tablet around the home, for playing music, adjusting the home temperature and a few lights. But the newest Balboa App is just amazing. Using our wifi enabled Balboa Spa Controls, one can view temp, change modes – everything that I can do from the topside control.

 

MY FLOATING SPA COVER

I just brought it out again recently, as I don’t use the floating spa blanket during the summer, but for winter it really helps to hold in the heat. We have 3 types of spa floating covers, a low cost bubble blanket, a closed cell foam blanket (like mine!), or the aluminized Radiant foam blanket, to help trap the heat this winter.

 

MY SPA BOOSTER SEAT

I’m a short person, ok? I can’t enjoy the ‘captain’s chairs’ in our hot tub without my spa booster seat. Unlike inflatable boosters that float, this one is filled with small pebbles or marbles, to stay in place in the seat. I wish it was a bit larger, but that’s my problem, I suppose. 🙂

 

What are some of your favorite spa or hot tub accessories? With fall already here, winter hot tub accessories will be needed, for those of you in colder climates. Would love to see some snow down here in southern California! On the other hand, I don’t think we would deal with it very well! Keep your snow!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works