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Hot Tubs & Brain Function

November 24th, 2014 by

hot-tubs-make-you-smarterSoaking in water soothes the savage beast. Hot tubs are well known for reducing aches and pains, and research has shown that it relaxes muscles as it improves blood flow and raises muscle temperature. But did you also know that your spa or hot tub can make you smarter?

In a study done with 60 mid-aged women suffering from fibromyalgia, hot water immersion and light exercise was prescribed, including mobility, aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises for 16 weeks.

Study participants tested for higher cognitive function after the 16 week study, as compared to tests completed prior to the study, and as compared to a control group. In addition, they had a self reported higher pain threshold and reduction in pain symptoms.

By way of contrast, another study at Kent State showed that exposure to acute cold, lead to pronounced reduction of cognition, before and after soaking in cold water at 55°.  Subjects were tested against various known cognition tests for reaction time, before during and after cold water immersion. Brr… I hope they paid those students well!

Hot Tubs Make you Smarter?

You heard it here first, folks. But, how exactly can we make this claim, and what is making some test subjects test better on cognition skills during and after a soak in hot water? According to a study by Titis Wijayanto, at Kyushu University, “passive heat exposure increases oxygen delivery in the pre-frontal cortex to maintain pre-frontal cortex oxygenation”.

So, in the presence of heat, and more specifically an increase in the core body temperature, the body responds by sending more oxygen rich blood to the frontal cortex. This is why you are so brilliant in the hot tub, and immediately afterwards!

Don’t confuse hot tubs with hot weather, however. The US Army has studied the effects of outside air temperature extensively on it’s soldiers, and both hot and cold environments have an adverse effect on soldier performance in various cognition tests, especially at temperatures below 50° and above 90° F.

Power of Water – Known to the Ancients

cleopatra-being-bathedAs far back as Hippocrates, water therapy was appreciated for it’s effect on the mind. The Greek doctor said that water therapy was necessary to prevent “lassitude”, or physical or mental weaknesses. During the rise of the Roman empire, great baths were erected for the ‘spiritual fulfillment’ of the citizenry.

For the ancient cultures of the Inca in South America, water was a deity, and natural hot spring baths were infused with local eucalyptus. The baths are still in operation to this day, known as the Baños del Inca. In North America and Europe, water therapy flourished until the middle ages, when puritan ethics decreed bathing to be something lascivious.

During the 17th and 18th centuries however, this gross misjudgement was corrected, and bathing for health, and well being become popular again.

Hot Water Therapy for Mood Elevation

happy-personMany studies have shown the effects of hot water immersion and an elevated mood, which can last for several hours after soaking, like the runner’s ‘high’. a study in 2020, by Dubois, et al showed that when test subjects (120 persons) were given regular warm water therapy, anxiety was reduced with less prescription drugs.

And in another study on the effects of hot tubs and depression, even the CDC is onboard, stating that hot water therapy improves mood and reduces depression.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Food & Drink Disasters at a Hot Tub Party

September 8th, 2014 by

food-in-hot-tubsHot Tub parties are a part of owning a spa – at least the occasional small, intimate affair with a few close friends. Or even if you are just enjoying your spa with that special someone, you may want to enjoy some wine and cheese, or other appetizers in the tub.

Now, you should always limit your soaks in water above 100° to no more than 20 minutes at a time, although after a 10 minute cool down, most people can take another session. And, although alcohol drinks in a hot tub are commonly enjoyed, our legal team would like me to remind you that using a hot tub while intoxicated can be dangerous.

With these disclaimers dispensed, let’s get to the worst food and drink of all time, for a hot tub party.

WORST DRINKS FOR A HOT TUB

The problem with certain drinks is that they contain sugars and starches, which is a tasty food for algae and bacteria. Alcohol is particularly troublesome for sanitation, and it also sports a very low pH. Soft drinks are also low in pH. And some drinks are thick with creamy dairy products or stuffed with fruit.

  • Soda Drinks – coke, sprite, root beer
  • Smoothies – imagine that floating on the surface
  • Daiquiris – mostly ice, but also lots of fruit, alcohol and sugar
  • Beer – foams the minute it hits the water
  • Wine – too many ingredients to list
  • Energy drinks – could make your spa hyper

WORST FOOD FOR A HOT TUB

You can imagine the kind of foods that you wouldn’t want around your hot tub, don’t serve anything crumbly, powdery, crunchy or juicy. Food is not only messy in a hot tub, but like drinks that spill into your tub, food contains all sorts of junk that messes with your water balance, blocking sanitation while feeding the enemy (algae and bacteria).

:-) AVOID THESE SPA KILLERS:

  • Crackers, Chips, Cheetos
  • Fruit – unless served as Fruit Kabobs
  • Olives – oil slick on the surface
  • Cheese – unless served cubed and toothpicked
  • Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
  • BBQ Chicken or Pizza
  • Candy or Cake

BEST FOOD & DRINK FOR A HOT TUB PARTY

If you noticed, my lists above leave very little party food to choose from! If you’re having a large party, it may be best to have a No Food or Drink sign posted, and place your food table far away from the hot tub.

hot-tub-signHowever, you don’t want your hot tub guests to become dehydrated, so in addition to limiting session time, place a large pitcher of water with a stack of plastic cups - no glass around the tub, within reach of the tub. Be sure to keep it full throughout the evening, to keep your hot tubbers wet on the inside. Water is the best drink to imbibe while in the hot tub – there’s going to be no problem if a cup of water spills over into the tub.

The best food to enjoy in the spa? Small food, which can be cubed and toothpicked. Avoid finger food, or food touched with hands, which then go down into the water. Avoid eating whole fruit, with the exception of grapes, which are one of my favorite spa foods to serve, or just eat myself. Frozen grapes are a special treat, just pop ‘em in the freezer for about an hour. If you want to snack, try grapes, strawberries, or baby carrots – keep foods on a side table and not balanced on the edge of your spa!

WHAT TO DO WHEN FOOD OR DRINK SPILLS IN A HOT TUB

Drain the hot tub? Maybe, if enough food or drink got in. If it’s just one drink, or a single potato chip, don’t worry about it. But if it’s the entire bowl of chips, or a plate full of rice and beans, you may want to drain the tub.

Alternatively, you could clean up any debris with a skimmer net (quickly!), balance the pH and then shock the spa. Chances are you’ll need to shock the spa anyway, so just give it a little extra this time. If you suspect or find broken glass in the tub (!), definitely drain it, or vacuum it very closely.

The best way to prevent a hot tub food or drink disaster is to stick to water, in plastic cups.

FOOD & DRINK DISASTER STORIES:

I asked this question via chat, around our office, and got some funny responses from the dozens of spa owners here at HotTubWorks. Here’s their best answers (warnings). Ugh!

  • Cheetos bowl flipped over into the tub
  • Bobbing for apples on Halloween
  • Pitcher of margaritas falling into the tub
  • Tray of Jello shots, which instantly dissolved
  • Pepperoni pizza found the next morning

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin

 

What’s the Best Hot Tub Temperature?

August 25th, 2014 by

hot-spaWhen I was younger, the target temperature for hot tubs was 105°, but that’s changed – now the CPSC recommends temperatures no higher than 104°. They also caution that one should always check the thermometer before entering a spa, and be aware that thermometers can be incorrect!

So, 104° for the regular hot tub soak – but that comes with a disclaimer. High temperatures over 100° are NOT recommended for pregnant women, hypertensive persons (with high blood pressure), or those with heart disease.

High temperatures can also irritate certain skin conditions, and temperatures of over 100° are not recommended for children, who overheat more easily than adults.

But what about all those other spa activities, besides a spine-tingling hot soak? There are other recommended temperatures, depending on the use of the spa, hot tub or whirlpool.

 

Exercise

Exercises such as Yoga, or various types of core workouts or stretching can be exhausting in a hot spa. If you use your spa for exercise, especially active exercise, you’ll find a temperature below 90° to be more comfortable. It’s also safer, to prevent overheating and hyperthermia.

Therapy

For conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain diseases, warmer water increases circulation to the joints and allows for a more comfortable therapeutic exercises. Also helpful for rehabilitative movements or therapies. For most warm water therapy, a temperature below the body temperature 98.6° is desirable, something between 92-94°.

Special Conditions

Children, obese persons and those with MS can overheat easily, and should not exceed 100° in a spa or hot tub. In addition, it’s important to limit your spa session time to 15-20 minutes, and take in non-alcoholic beverages to cool the body.

Pregnant women should take care not to exceed 92 degrees in the spa or hot tub, and take in plenty of water or juice before and after hot tubbing, according to the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute.

Those recovering from accidents or stroke can use a warm spa to slowly regain movements, by practicing simple flexion and extension exercises. Every patient may prefer a different temperature, but most will fall in between 88-92 degrees F.

Air Temperature

Also a factor in how hot or warm the water feels, is the air temperature outside. An air temperature of 75° may feel nice walking around outside, but can feel chilly as one sits in water that is below body temperature. 88° may be perfect when the air temperature is above 80°, but feel too cold when air temps are just above 60°.

~ So, whatever temperature you like, whichever feels most comfortable, that’s usually the ideal temperature. Just remember that the hotter the water is, the shorter the soak should be. Don’t want you overheating!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Replacing a Wet End on a Spa Pump

July 24th, 2014 by

SPA-PARTS-WET-ENDSWet End Replacement – a wet end is the part of your spa pump that gets wet – the volute halves, and inside, the impeller and shaft seal. It’s sold as a complete unit, for quick field replacement, in the case of volute, impeller or seal failure.

Here’s pictures of Drake replacing a wet end in about 75 seconds, along with the transcript I also lifted from the video. :-) Enjoy!

 

Here’s a quick change wet end for the 56 frame Ultramax spa pump

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--

What you want to do is take all five bolts out of the volute, and remove the volute, or impeller housing from the front of the wet end. Some models may have only 4 bolts, some have six.

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--3

Take a slotted screwdriver, and insert it into the rear of the motor shaft (you may have to remove a cover plate), to hold the shaft stationary. Now spin off the impeller (counter clockwise). If it’s stubborn, you can use a pair of large Channel Lock type pliers, to assist in removing the impeller from the shaft. It can also be helpful to have a second person hold the screwdriver (or wrench) on the rear of the motor shaft.

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--4

Once the impeller is removed, you need to take note of the color bands on the impeller, that dictates the horsepower of the impeller, which should match the motor hp, and match your new wet end as well.

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--5

Now you want to remove all four motor bolts by loosening with a 5/16″ nut driver and release the tank from the motor. If the motor shaft is rusty, dusty or crusty, clean it up with some sandpaper.

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--7

Your replacement seal will come already in place inside your new wet end – you want to make note that you have the right color bands, which will dictate the horsepower for this particular motor.

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--9

Position the new wet end over the shaft, in the same orientation as your previous wet end (pointing either up, or to the side).

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--8

Use a slotted screwdriver on the back of the motor shaft and turn the shaft, pulling tight the new wet end against the motor, threading the shaft into the impeller and compressing the spring.

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--2

Insert the motor bolts and tighten them all the way by hand, and then use a 5/16″ nut driver to tighten them up in a harmonic cross pattern. Now reach in the front of your new wet end, and be sure that the impeller spins freely.

replacing-a-spa-pump-wet-end--11

Reconnect the wiring and the union connectors, and your wet end replacement is complete!

Remember to use only the exact and correct replacement wet end  – if you have any questions on selecting the right one, feel free to give us a call, or send an email, and we’ll help you out.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’!

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa & Hot Tub Information for Realtors

July 14th, 2014 by

home-for-sale-with-hot-tubLocal area Realtors have come to my husband and me for years, to perform hot tub integrity inspections, or to remove spas from homes being sold.

Surprisingly, very few people take their hot tub with them when they move, even though most are portable.

Listing a home with a hot tub or spa can be good or bad – good if it’s a beautiful, fairly new spa in a great location, but bad if run-down; in need of some TLC.

Some wise realtors may ask the seller to remove the spa if in very bad condition, while other spas can be spruced up with a new spa cover, and a quick coat of stain on the cabinet.

 

spa-movingMoving a Spa: Most moving companies can handle the transfer, although folks moving locally may use a local spa company with special dollies and trailers to transport it, who then can also hook up the spa at the new location, if proper power is available. Moving a spa usually costs $400-$600, depending on the size of the tub and the distance being transferred, more if electrical work is needed.

Removing a Spa: The same spa service companies can be called for a removal price. If the spa is in good condition, they may even remove it for free, if they are in the business of refurbishing and reselling used spas. If not, the cost for removal to a landfill should be less than the cost to move a spa to a new location, which any junk removal company can do.

When a spa or hot tub conveys with a home sale, it has to be clean, hot and in full working order to be an asset to the home.

[] Spa pump(s) should operate on command, and be fairly quiet.
[] If equipped, blowers should operate on command; and be fairly quiet.
[] The water should be 104°, hot and steamy when the cover is lifted.
[] The water quality should appear clean and clear.
[] Cabinet, cover and interior surfaces should be clean and bright.
[] Inspect electrical connections and look for any leaks or puddles.

Other advanced features that you may find on late model spas include small waterfalls, lighting and music. Some even have small televisions that pop up from beneath the cabinet.

If the seller is not occupying the home, you can arrange for a pool or spa service company, or your knowledgeable handyman, to clean and maintain the spa water. A basic spa service call would include: spa-repair-forum-guy

[] cleaning the spa filter
[] cleaning the spa
[] testing the chemistry
[] balancing chemistry
[] adding sanitizer
[] checking heater, blower
[] adding water if needed
[] Securing the spa cover
[] Report any problems

When a spa or hot tub conveys with a home sale, the buyers may want to know that an average spa uses $100-$200 per year in electricity, $100 per year in chemicals, and another $100 per year for replacement of spa covers or spa filters, and the occasional, hopefully rare spa component repair. Total ownership costs for a spa or hot tub should average around $300-$400 per year.

What’s the difference between a spa or a hot tub? Well, we wrote an entire blog post on the topic, but basically, a hot tub is a wood structure with a simple bench and a few jets. A spa is an acrylic or fiberglass tub or shell, with a blower, and multiple jets, some with as many as 90 jets!

A word on the spa cover. An ugly spa cover really makes the entire spa look junky and funky. Insulated spa covers can last 5-7 years before needing replacement at $300-$500. A spa cover in good condition will fit the spa well, and attach to the cabinet or floor via locking strap clips. It should not be waterlogged, or excessively heavy, nor have any tears in the material, on the outside or underside of the cover.

Dull & ugly spa covers can be spruced up with our spa cover cleaners and conditioners, to like-new condition. Covers that are broken, waterlogged or torn can be replaced quickly using our online spa cover order page.

One more tip – if the spa pump or heater is not working, it may be better to drain the spa, if it cannot or will not be repaired. Then gives buyers the option to ask for spa repair or removal before closing, or take it in as-is condition.

When Should a Realtor Advise a Seller to Renovate or Remove the Spa?

:-) Here’s some examples of when you might want to have that conversation – from uglyhousephotos.com

ugly-spa-1 ugly-spa-2 ugly-spa-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ugly-spa

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Spas and Hot Tubs in the News

June 3rd, 2014 by

ice-fishermen

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

June 2, 2014 – Los Angeles Times

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

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

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

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

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

San Bernardino police are investigating.

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

June 1, 2014, Miami Herald

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

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

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

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

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

May 23, 2014 – Statesman Journal, Salem OR

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

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

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

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

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

CHP: State worker tormented women with phony Craigslist sex ads

May 22, 2014, News10 ABC – Sacramento, CA

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

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

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

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

Researching Spas and Hot Tubs before Purchase

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mason City has new rules for residential spas and hot tubs

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

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

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

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

Deer Gets Stuck in Hot Tub

May 14, 2014, ABC-3 – Palm Harbor, FL

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

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

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

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

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

Man Arrested in Theft of Three Hot Tubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canadian Ice Fishermen Keep Warm in a Hot Tub

March 9, 2014, Toronto Sun – Simcoe, Ontario

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

 

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

 

- Jack

 

Chlorine or Non-Chlorine Shock for Hot Tubs?

May 19th, 2014 by

spa-hot-tub-shock-treatments

Spa and Hot Tub Shockwhat’s better – chlorinated granules or non-chlorine shock?

This post takes a look at the differences between two types of oxidizers used for spa shock treatments – Sodium DiChlor (chlorine granules) or MPS – Monopersulfate (chlorine free).

WHY SHOCK SPAS & HOT TUBS? Oxidizers are added to pools and spas to destroy pathogens like bacteria and viruses, and also organic contaminants that lead to algae growth.

The second main reason is to destroy molecular combinations between your main sanitizer (chlorine or bromine), and other organic matter, which create foul smelling -amines in the water.

WHEN TO SHOCK A SPA? The best time to shock a spa is after you have used the spa, or every 7-10 days. Don’t shock just before using the spa which will reduce it’s effectiveness, and could cause skin irritation. Wait at least an hour after shocking (with MPS), while circulating the water with the spa cover open, before getting in the tub.

HOW TO SHOCK A HOT TUB? Follow the label instructions, for specific dosages. Check your pH first, and adjust to within 7.2 – 7.6. This will allow the oxidizer to work harder, with a pH in the lower half of the scale. Just shake the required amount over the water, being careful of winds, which could blow the powder in your face. Don’t rinse off the cap or scoop in the water, keep it dry and clean at all times for safety. Keep the cover open to allow for gassing off, an important part of the process.

WHAT TYPE OF SPA SHOCK IS BEST? Finally, we are at the meat of this post – which is better for spas and hot tubs, MPS or chlorine shock? Let’s create some distinctions between the two types of spa shock, by looking at benefits of each, not shared by the other.

PRICE COMPARISON

SPA-SHOCK-PRICES-COMPARISON-CHARTHow do Chlorine Granules compare to MPS in terms of price? Is there a large difference between the two? Our chart shows 4 chlorine shocks, 5 MPS shocks, and one blend, Replenish, which contains MPS, with some chlorine added.

Chlorine granules come out a bit cheaper by the pound than MPS spa shock, which has a much wider price range, all higher per pound than chlorine, with the notable exception of Activate shock.

 

STRENGTH COMPARISON

SPA-SHOCK-STRENGTH-COMPARSION-CHART-2The reason that DiChlor shock is used in spas, is that DiChlor is more stable at higher temperatures and has a near neutral pH level. Spa shocks are particularly fine, more of a powder than a granular, so that they dissolve quickly.

All 4 of the chlorine hot tub shocks are 56% Available Chlorine. Among the 5 non-chlorine spa shocks, all are blends of MPS in different formulations, with different percentage of MPS.

If one was to generalize the relative strengths of MPS and DiChlor, it could be said that both Dichlor and MPS have equivalent ability as an algaecide, bactericide and virucide. Dichlor shock may have an edge for spas that are heavily used, or in need of high levels of oxidation.

 FEATURES AND BENEFITS

 

Dichlor-molecule - RSC.orgCHLORINATED GRANULES:

Although there are many types of pool shocks available, using Calcium or Lithium or Sodium Hypochlorite, chlorine hot tub shocks are primarily made with Sodium DiChloro-S-Triazinetrione, or DiChlor for short.

  • Neutral pH, Quick dissolving
  • Sanitizes and oxidizes pathogens and organic contaminants
  • Lower price point

MPS-potassium-peroxymonopersulfate  from rsc.orgMPS SHOCK:

There are a few formulations of MPS, but most of the monopersulfate sold for spas and hot tubs is a blend of MPS, primarily purchased from DuPont, and packaged for resale under many brand names.

  • Low pH, Quick dissolving
  • An excellent oxidizer and a fair sanitizer
  • Does not contribute calcium or cyanuric acid to your spa water
  • Can use the spa almost immediately, unlike with chlorine
  • No odor, gentle on spa covers

 

THE BOTTOM LINE: If you are not using bromine tablets to sanitize, but instead using minerals and ozone, DiChlor may be a better shock to use, but – if you use Bromine tablets or Angel Tabs to sanitize, use the MPS shock to oxidize. I’ve always used bromine tablets and shock the spa with MPS after we use it. However, I also keep some DiChlor on hand, and give the spa a super shock about every month.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

3 Secrets to Spa Cover Longevity

May 15th, 2014 by

shhh-spa-cover-secrets-bw-Shhh! I’m about to share with you 3 secrets! A hot tub cover is a valuable piece of equipment. But since they’re not made of Kevlar, they will eventually need to be replaced. A thrifty spa owner can stave off the inevitable expense by taking action to protect their spa cover, and increase it’s longevity.

First, you have to ask yourself “Do I really care, if I get 5-7 years, or is 2-3 years OK?” If you’re the kind of person that gets a new car every 3 years, then maybe this post is not for you ~ you may want to read How to Buy a Spa Cover. For the rest of you, if making your spa cover last longer sounds like a good idea, read on…

 

Clean & Condition your Spa Cover

spa-cover-cleaner-and-conditionerThis is a lot easier than it seems. The problem is that a lot of people use automotive products or worse, household cleaners to protect their cover. I’ve even seen people using Linseed Oil – People, No!  Most cleaners contain chemicals that break down the UV inhibitors and natural pliability of the vinyl. Spa covers are made with a marine grade vinyl, meant for outdoor use and wet weather, but they break down and dry out if cleaned with harsh chemicals.

To keep your cover looking good, clean and condition it every 3-4 months with a spa cover cleaner, to remove dust, dirt, sap, pollen, bird… you know. Afterwards, restore the brilliance while adding emollients to increase the vinyl’s resistance to cold weather, rain, snow and sun, with a spa cover conditioner. Both of these together costs like $15, and will last for years and years.

 

Lock Down your Spa Cover

inground-spa-cover-locking-strapsHigh winds can blow your spa cover off of the hot tub. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about this one. Placing chairs or items on top is not a good way to prepare for a storm either. Use the spa cover strap clips, at least 4 of them, to keep most covers secure. If your spa is in a very high wind area, or if you’re in tornado alley or hurricane country, use heavy duty spa cover straps. If your spa is sunk into the ground, you can use safety pool cover hardware to make safety straps for the spa cover.

Both of these items also add an element of safety to your spa cover, and make it difficult for others to remove your spa cover. And when those who are inexperienced in handling spa covers are not trying to open and move them, they tend to last longer!

 

Remove your Spa Cover 2x per Week

air-out-your-spa-coverEven though our spa covers have foam inserts that are vacuum sealed and heat seamed to lock out moisture, the entire cover; vinyl, scrim, zippers – will do better if it’s allowed to breathe every few days. Carefully remove your spa cover to it’s off position, if you have a cover lift, or with a helper, fold the cover in half and gently move to a safe location.

Let your cover breathe, or air out, twice a week for an hour or so, or once per week for several hours. If you are using your spa regularly, you may already be doing this, but for hot tubs that don’t get much action, leave the cover open and off the tub for a few hours per week, perhaps after testing and shocking the spa.

 

~ There is one more way to have a hot tub cover that lasts longer, and that is to buy one that lasts longer. There are many ways to make a cheap hot tub cover, and believe me, they are out there. A Hot Tub Works spa cover, every one of our 5 models, is made with computer design, and crafted to exacting standards.

Our materials may not be Kevlar, but they are the best materials to produce a lightweight, durable cover with a strong 5-year warranty. The fact is, our spa covers last twice as long as those spa covers that are only $50-100 cheaper.

Why is this such a secret? Well, if everyone knew these secrets to spa cover care, we’d sell a lot fewer spa covers!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Saltwater Hot Tub – Pros & Cons

May 12th, 2014 by

saltron-mini

If you have been busy lately, you may have missed the new craze in hot tub maintenance – spa salt water systems.

A saltwater hot tub uses a salt cell which reacts with the salt that you add to the water (2 lbs per 100 gals), to produce pure chlorine. A low voltage power supply is mounted on the spa, where you can increase or decrease the chlorine level and set an operation timer.

 

Salt systems have many fans, who say it’s very easy to use, and they don’t have to touch or store bromine or chlorine. Most people also love the way the water has a softer and silkier feel. Saltwater hot tubs also have a few detractors. Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of switching from tablets to salt to sanitize the water.

Saltwater Hot Tub – Pros

  • Softer & Silkier Water

prosYou’ll notice it right away, salt water feels softer, like a mineral bath. The salt used is sodium chloride, regular tablet salt. The same salt that is in the ocean, but only about a tenth of the amount. Get the 40lb bag of pool salt at Walmart or your local home store, and add 2lbs per 100 gallons of spa water, and you’re ready to go! The salt is very cheap, like $7 per bag. The slightly salty spa water leaves your skin feeling refreshed, not irritated. Like bathing in mineral spring water.

  • No More Sanitizer

prosMaybe the best benefit of a saltwater hot tub, is that you no longer need to store bromine or chlorine tablets, which could be dangerous. You should still shock the spa, so keep a granular oxidizer on hand, but you can use chlorine free MPS if you prefer. Spa salt systems make their own chlorine, so it’s still a chlorinated spa, but it’s created naturally, and is without binders or additives – pure chlorine.

  • No More Odor

prosChlorine tablets smell bad in the bucket, and bad in the spa. Bromine is a little bit better, but I can still smell it on my skin and on my hair, hours after soaking. Have you ever opened up your spa cover and detected the strong smell of chlorine?  That’s the smell of combined molecules, chloramines or bromamines. Salt systems are much less likely to produce these foul smelling mutations of chlorine, because after a chlorine molecule is used up, it reverts back to salt, or sodium chloride!

  • Buffered Water

prosAdding enough salt to reach 2000-3000 ppm in your spa takes about 2lbs per 100 gallons of water. The mineral in the water, raises the buffering capacity of the water, to resist changes in pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels. The addition of salt increases the total dissolved solids of the water, making the water less aggressive, and more resistant to water balance fluctuations.

Saltwater Hot Tub – Cons

  • Saltwater Corrosion

cons

This is the main issue against saltwater hot tubs, is that salt causes corrosion. At levels of 2000-3000 ppm, there should be no worry about damage to finishes and pool equipment. There is one material that doesn’t like salt, that being BUNA rubber, which some pump shaft seals are made of. Again, at normal levels, there should be no concern, but if your pump seal begins to leak, we do have shaft seals made for high salt or ozone conditions.

  • Salt Cell Replacement

consThe salt cell used for saltwater hot tubs is a titanium coated electrolytic cell, which will eventually lose enough of it’s coating to stop producing enough chlorine. Spa salt cells usually last 2-5 years, depending on the model, at which time you can replace just the cell (not the power supply). Keeping your cell clean (many models are self-cleaning), and not using it for cold spa water (below 60 degrees), are key to a long cell life.

  • Warm Water Only

consSalt systems, for pools or spas, have trouble producing chlorine at low water temperatures. When water temperatures drop into the 60′s, very little chlorine output is generated, even though your salt cell is working overtime. Many salt systems will shut down, in a self-protection mode, when low water temps are sensed. This of course, is not a big deal for spas and hot tubs – as long as you keep the water 65° or higher, you’ll have no problems.

  • Bromine is Better

consBromine does have certain qualities that make it better than chlorine, as Jack wrote in his recent blog, Bromine vs. Chlorine in hot tubs. He points out that bromine is more stable at higher temperatures and pH levels. But most of the argument is made against Tablet Chlorine, not chlorine generated from salt, which although still chlorine, has far fewer of the downsides of using tablet or granular chlorine.

 

pros-and-cons-saltwater-hot-tub - pub domain imagesSaltwater hot tubs are still using chlorine, but it’s not your father’s chlorine – it’s pure chlorine, or hypochlorous acid, and can’t be compared to the tablet type. I love my Saltron Mini salt system in my spa. I’ve had it installed for nearly a year now, and other than add some replacement salt, I haven’t had to touch it. I still test the water, and shock the spa weekly, but my water balance is more steady and the water feels and smells great. And no corrosion damage!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spring Spa Patio Decorating Ideas

February 27th, 2014 by

spa-patio-before

 

Hi, it’s me Gina again – this time with some tips on sprucing up the patio area when spring returns to your area.

After a long, cold winter, my patio looks barren and grey. Piles of leaves rustle in the corner, next to dead potted plants and there’s a pile of firewood, and the old exercise bike I moved out last fall.

My patio would never win the cover of BHG, but after months of neglect, it’s time to clean it up!

 

Nothing brings clean like a power washer, and to be honest, they’re kind of fun to use! The hardest part is moving everything out of the way, and sweeping everything up before you begin. If your patio has a low spot like mine, start there first, as water will begin to puddle there later, or use a push broom to keep dirty water from standing. Don’t use any detergent, as things get sudsy real fast, just good old water. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one for the day. In my area the rental cost is around $80/day, so I talked my neighbor into going in on it for halfsies, plus he has a pickup truck!

Patio Surfaces

Look at the surfaces of your patio, you have a floor surface, probably at least one wall surface, and possibly some sort of ceiling. Changing just one of those surfaces with new surface materials, can really change the entire look.

For the wall, you could add paneling or other texture on the bottom half of the wall. You can add a wall, if you wanted more privacy or a wind block around the spa.

For the ceiling, could you re-imagine it with fabrics or lighting, or if you have no ceiling, consider adding an inexpensive pergola structure, or harem tent!

On the floor, you can add color to your patio by painting bare concrete any number of earth tones, or if you have stampcrete or kool deck finish, rejuvenating with a new sealer coating. Adding elements of wood and stone are wonderful around a spa, if you have a little budget to spend.

Plants

For me, that’s what will really bring my patio to life, is when I make my spring purchase of hanging plants, herbs and tropicals, and bring out some house plants that have spent the winter inside. Don’t tell anyone, but I also make use of some fake plantery around my spa. A few plastic plants and climbing vines are placed strategically among live plants to help fill in bare spots. Plants are essential for me, to create my ‘tropical spa’ motif, lol.

Lighting

Patio lighting is usually pretty basic when they build a house, maybe a 60 watt bulb in a glass and brass wall sconce. Ugh. Rope lighting is a cheap way to add some soft glow around your spa, or above your spa. Other unique lighting features can be added around the spa, or further out in the backyard, to gift depth to your view. Candles are also nice to use around the spa, if you really want to set a mood, or tiki torches for a more festive atmosphere.

Here’s some photos of some great patio decorating designs, with spas or hot tubs. Maybe one of these will inspire your own spa patio makeover!

spa-patio-designs