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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

 

Spa Cover Factory Tour

February 20th, 2014 by

spa-cover-factory-tourI’m mighty proud of our spa and hot tub covers, and there’s many reasons why we make the best spa covers, and now you can witness the quality construction for yourself.

Below is a nice video with Jerry, one of the owners of Hot Tub Works, taking you on a tour of our state of the art spa cover manufacturing facility. Below that, is the complete transcript of the video.

I hope you enjoy the tour ~

- Jack

 

Hi, welcome to our state of the art spa cover manufacturing facility. My name is Jerry and I’m going to take you on a tour of the facility today. This factory can produce over 1000 spa covers per week, and uses the latest technology and has decades of hard earned experience to make quality spa covers.

I’m going to start with the process of how we receive orders. Now we’re standing in customer service, and literally hundreds of calls come in to this room per day, from people looking for help with their hot tub.

We make it really easy for you to order a new cover, you can order a new spa cover online, you can call us, or you can even fax it to us. No matter how you do it, we try to make it easy, and we’re all experts here at getting you a perfect cover every time. Once the order comes in, it goes to Production Management – let’s take a look at that process and then we’ll go into manufacturing.

hot-tub-works-factory-tourProduction Control takes every order that comes in and produces what’s known as a CAD file, which is basically an automated drawing which is fed to the manufacturing floor. That produces a perfect cover every time, specific to your order.

We use absolutely the best marine grade vinyl on our hot tub covers. This vinyl is 30 oz weight, it’s made for outdoor use. It has UV and mildew inhibitors built in. As you can see, we have a lot of vinyl here in our facility – we offer 10 different colors, all of them on our website for your choice.

Our sewing team has the latest equipment that they use to sew every cover by hand. They have decades of experience, and there are 27 points of reinforcement sewn into every cover.

This big block of foam that you see here, that looks kind of like a giant piece of tofu, is actually EPS foam. EPS stands for Expanded PolyStyrene. Now, EPS foam is often used in floating docks and buoys, and it’s also an excellent insulator product, and it’s what we use for the inside core of the hot tub cover.

We offer three different densities of foam, 1 lb. density, 1.5 lb. density and 2.0 lb. density. And basically what that means is, as the weight changes, the foam gets harder – the insulation value goes up and the cover gets stronger.

The big block of foam you just saw then gets cut down into sheets. This particular piece of foam is made for our Ultra Cover, where it’s 6 inches thick on this side, 4 inches on the other side. Each piece of foam is actually cut, specific to your order.

After the foam is cut into a taper, it is then cut into the shape of your hot tub cover. This machine here is fed the same CAD file that the sewing room is using to sew your cover. The foam is being cut with a red wire, cutting through the foam, creating the perfect shape to meet up with the vinyl skin that has been sewn. After the foam is cut to it’s final shape, a steel reinforcement channel is placed into the foam to add strength to the product. At this point it’s ready for final assembly, so let’s head over to that department.

One of the last stages and a very important one is where we vapor seal the foam. We use a 6 mil plastic to wrap the foam with, and it’s vacuumed down and heat sealed, so moisture can’t get to the foam core. You can even order a double wrap, which is two layers, to give you a longer lasting spa cover.

Now the final step of inserting the foam into the vinyl skin. It’s zipped up, and then final quality control inspections are done, making sure every measurement is accurate and correct. Then it’s wrapped into a protective plastic and placed in a box ready for shipment.

We’re now standing in distribution, and as you can see, I’ve got hundreds of covers around me. This is the last place we touch them before they get shipped out to you. They come in here to get direct and efficient shipment to your home.

We appreciate you watching the video, hopefully it’s answered some questions, and we appreciate your time and consideration of our spa and hot tub covers.

 

World’s Most Romantic Hot Tubs

February 13th, 2014 by

happy-valentines-day

This valentine’s day, you don’t need a heart shaped spa to enjoy a hot soak, any hot water will do! For an extra romantic touch, add some lighted candles, soft music, and you can’t go wrong with spa scents, or floating rose petals.

Here’s a funny look at some ways that hot tubs and spas are considered romantic, sexy even!

 

 

romantic-hot-tub-1Cove Haven Pocono Palace

In the four-level Cleopatra suite, there’s a seven-foot-high hot tub shaped like a Champagne glass, a mini heart-shaped pool All of the rooms at Cove Haven have the iconic heart-shaped tubs.

 

 

 

romantic-hot-tub-2

Pigeon Forge Cabin Rental

A rustic cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains, the Pigeon Forge cabin has a regular full size spa, and a smaller, heart-shaped jetted tub in the master bathroom.

 

 

 

romantic-hot-tub-3

Pocono Palace Resort

Heart shaped tubs are plentiful in the Poconos, here’s another one at the Pocono Palace. This heart shaped hot tub looks more like a plunge pool, and looks like it holds more people than your average heart-shaped tub!

 

 

 

the-love-tub

The Love Tub

The Amoré tub by Dimension One Spas. Made especially for Valentine’s day, only 100 of these specially designed cherry red tubs with a Valentine’s motif were created.  Get yours today – for a mere $20K.

 

 

 

dumb-and-dumber

Dumb & Dumber

What’s more romantic than Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels finding themselves alone at the end of the evening, together in a heart shaped hot tub? Maybe hilarious is a better word than romantic.

 

 

 

OK< that’s a quick look at some Heart Shaped Hot Tubs – to set you in the mood for Valentine’s day. I hope this has inspired you to add some romance to your hot tub tomorrow night. Soft music, chilled sparkling beverage on ice, and you and your honey can enjoy a special evening.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Your Hot Tub Cover Stinks!

February 10th, 2014 by

smelly-spa-coversHey, no offense, but your hot tub cover smells bad. Maybe you’ve gotten used to it?

Don’t worry, it happens to most spa owners at some time or another; water is one of nature’s most erosive substances. Moisture seeps in and becomes trapped between the outer vinyl shell and the plastic wrapped foam cores. The warm, moist environment is perfect for mold and mildew and other forms of smelly stuff.

If moisture has penetrated further into the plastic wrapped foam core, the cover becomes waterlogged, which can quickly grow all sorts of dark and smelly slime, but also make the cover really difficult to remove, and not as effective at keeping the heat in the spa. Time for a replacement spa cover.

 

Smelly Hot Tub Cover ?!?

  • Broken or damaged. Cracked foam cores, ripped or worn spots, torn seams. A spa cover that loses it’s arched roof line, to keep water draining off correctly, will eventually begin to puddle water, which is probably time to buy a new spa cover! A spa cover with threadbare spots in the vinyl is also bad news, and although you can stave off the inevitable with a duct tape repair, the water will win, eventually.
  • Not Removed Regularly. Remove your spa top weekly for 2 hours of airing out. A better cover can withstand longer periods, but it’s a good habit to remove the cover and let it get some air on a weekly basis. If you can easily open the zipper to allow moisture to escape do so, but don’t remove fragile foam panels unless absolutely necessary.
  • Poorly Made. It’s easy to make a spa cover with tape and staples, but it won’t stop moisture very well. The best spa covers have foam panels vacuum-wrapped in 6 mil PE, with a single, continuous heat welded seam. Some covers don’t even try to keep the intense moisture from your spa from reaching the foam core, but a better spa cover uses a thicker vinyl cover, backed in 3 layers to keep outside moisture out, and on the inside, thick vinyl scrim heat welded to a thick internal barrier.
  • Bad Spa Water. If the spa water is not maintained regularly with sanitizer and filtering, or is not shocked often enough, bacteria and algae can take advantage of a hospitable environment to flourish. Low pH, high chlorine or high ozone levels can also deteriorate the underside of your spa cover. Because the cover is so close to the spa, it absorbs the chemistry of the spa. Clean, clear and sanitary water is the best environment to prevent smelly spa covers.
  • Not Cleaned / Conditioned. For outdoor spa covers, unless your back deck is covered or your spa is in a gazebo (which if it is, I’m jealous!), you have sun, rain, pollen, dust, pollution, and animals to contend with. If you have a partial roof, that can be worse than no roof at all, if an overhanging eave drains water onto the spa cover. Clean and condition a spa cover 2-4 times per year, so that it always looks great, and is protected from the elements.

Fix Your Hot Tub Cover!

  • Remove to Safe Location: This first step may seem obvious, but you need a good place to allow the cover to sit undisturbed from pets, wild animals, and winds. It should be a sunny location if possible, or a dry indoor location with low humidity can also be used.
  • Deodorize & Disinfect: You may not need to do both, it’s best to be as gentle as possible. Don’t use household cleaning products on your spa cover, strange chemicals can end up in your spa water. Gently clean all exterior surfaces with spa cover cleaner, and allow the panels to dry.
  • Remove the Panels: Again, this should be avoided if possible, because the panels could become damaged during removal or cleaning. But if you determine that there is something slimy inside, you can usually unzip and remove the panel for a cleaning inside and out. spa-cover-cleaner

Use a Spa Cover Cleaner to gently clean and deodorize your spa cover without phosphates, bleach, alcohol or who knows what. Follow label to gently clean with a soft cloth or dish sponge, rinse clean and dry. It removes most anything, from tree sap and berry stains to bird poop, pollen and pollution. Used regularly, it also protects against stains and repels dirt.

For extreme mold and mildew stains, a stronger disinfectant may be needed. If the initial cleaning has still left dark spots of mildew or mold on the inside surfaces of the spa cover vinyl, or on the outside of the wrapped foam core, you may try a diluted mix of bleach. Pour 1/2 cup of bleach into 1-2 cups of water, and use a sponge to apply bleach to small areas. Quickly wipe dry with a paper towel, rinse off and dry again.

spa-cover-conditioner-It’s best to use as little water as possible on the spa cover during cleaning, and to do it as often as needed. How often? If your spa is protected from most sun and rain, maybe twice per year. If it’s out in the open like mine, it should be 3-4 times per year. It only takes a few minutes to do honestly.

I clean my outdoor spa cover every 3-4 months, and then I let it dry. I come back a few hours later, put it on the spa and rub on the Spa Cover Conditioner, which goes on in under a minute. It always looks great!

And, I do remove my cover regularly, twice a week usually – and, I do keep my water balanced and sanitary. So, I’ve been lucky to have no odor problems with my spa cover lately!

Sometimes, the easiest cure for a smelly spa cover is to just buy a new spa cover – especially if the cover is 5 years or older.  A smelly spa cover simply means that your cover is taking on moisture, and things are beginning to grow!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

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

 

Spa & Hot Tub Ozone Problems

January 6th, 2014 by

spa ozone bubblesOzone is one of the world’s most powerful sanitizers – over 200 times more powerful than chlorine. Using ozone in a spa or hot tub allows you to use fewer chemicals and may even require less filtration time.

Spa ozone is produced in a small ozonator underneath the spa cabinet, and it is delivered to the water by a small hose that carries the O3 gas to an injector fitting, where it is sucked into the spa plumbing.

But, over time, ozonator output decreases, and after 2-3 years, it’s time for a renovation or replacement of the ozone unit.

 

Is My Spa Ozonator Working?

When released into the line, ozone immediately begins to kill contaminants in your spa – when it’s working. But, how do you know when it’s working?

  1. Bubbles in the heater return line. A steady stream of champagne bubbles entering the spa.
  2. Spa ozonators have a power indicator light, but this doesn’t mean that ozone is being produced.
  3. There are ozone test kits, which tells you if your ozonator is producing ozone.
  4. If you remove the supply tube from the check valve, you should be able to smell the ozone.
  5. Water quality will deteriorate when ozone is no longer being produced, requiring more chemicals.

 

Clogged Ozone Injector

ozone-injectorAn injector is the point of entry for the ozone gas, which is located in the center of a venturi manifold, shown here. The injector draws in the ozone, mixing it with the water, where sanitation begins immediately.

If an injector becomes clogged with debris, gunk or scale, it will block the small amount of ozone gas pressure. To clean an ozone injector, remove the hose, and ream out the injector with a piece of wire or a very small screwdriver. Vinegar can also be used to help dissolve heavier deposits.

Broken Ozone Check Valve

A check valve is used on many spa ozone systems, to prevent water from backing up through the hose, and getting into your ozone unit. Check valves are one-way flow devices, designed to only allow gas (or water) to flow away from the unit.

ozone-check-valveOver time, ozone check valves can become stuck, or blocked by gunk or scale, much like the injector problem discussed above. Del ozone recommends replacing their check valves (shown here) every year. Cleaning a check valve with vinegar can remove deposits, but be sure that the mechanism inside is still doing it’s job.

Split Ozone Tubing

ozone-hoseThe tubing, or hose that carries the ozone from the ozonator to the injection manifold will deteriorate over time. Clear hose often becomes yellowed and brittle, and will eventually split, requiring replacement.

Inspect your ozone hose often, from end to end for degradation. Del recommends that the tubing be replaced every year, to prevent unexpected failure. Also inspect the barbed connections on the end of the hoses. Too much pressure can cause these to crack, and leak ozone.

Ozonator Expired

ozone-CD-chipFinally, the ozone generator itself may have expired. There are two types of spa ozonators, UV and CD. Spa ozonators using UV, or ultraviolet light to produce ozone, will need a new UV bulb after a certain number of operational hours, usually 8000-10000 hours.

CD, or corona discharge ozonators, will require a new chip or electrode every few years, to maintain ozone output. Del sells renewal kits for their CD spa ozonators, and it’s quite a simple repair.

Spa Ozonator Maintenance

…is not so difficult, once you know what to look for. The most important thing is to replace ozone parts on a schedule, to prevent damage to the ozonator, and poor spa water conditions.

Hot Tub Works carries a full line of spa ozonators, and ozonator parts to keep your spa ozone equipment running smoothly; doing it’s job.

Your spa ozonator probably won’t make it known that there is a problem – you have to go looking for it. Remember, eventually (2-3 years), your spa ozonator will quietly quit working. Maintain your spa ozonator to keep your spa sanitary.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Most Common Spa Parts Sold

December 23rd, 2013 by

HTW-spa-parts-awards

It’s that time of year again – the year end, where we take a deep dive into our product sales numbers for the year. Spa cover sales were off the chart in 2013, but this article is about the most common spa and hot tub parts for the year.

Who cares, right? Well, this little ‘information snack’ can give you a clue as to what items might be most likely to fail on your own hot tub or spa. It can help you in diagnosis to at least know what these spa parts are, and a little bit about how they function, or don’t function, as the case may be.

So without further ado, here are this year’s winners “The Most Popular Spa Parts” for 2013.

May I have the envelope please?

 

 

SPA-PARTS-HEATER-ELEMENTS

HEATER ELEMENTS

A worn spa heater element is not usually the most common cause of spa heater problems, until 2013. I think that a voltage spike must have gone off somewhere, and killed thousands at a single time. Our heater element sales doubled this year – something is going on!

 

spa-relays

RELAYS

A spa relay is an electrical switch, which relays power from one component to another. Contactors are another type of mechanical spa relays, for larger loads like your spa heater. Cube relays, shown here, were a big winner in 2013, over 1000 sold in all types of sizes.

 

spa-filters-

SPA FILTERS

Your spa filter is not meant to last forever. We recommend changing it every 12-24 months, depending on how much you use the spa, and if the cartridge is big enough to do the job. I guess people started listening to this advice, we actually ran out of some spa filters for a few weeks last month. Ordered more!

 

spa-pump-wet-end

WET ENDS

The wet end of your spa pump is the end of your spa pump that contacts water, or gets wet. The other end is the motor, and it should be kept as dry as possible. A new wet end can cure all sorts of spa problems that usually include leaking water around the pump area. Includes volute, seal and impeller.

 

SPA-PARTS-PRESSURE-SWITCHES

PRESSURE SWITCH

They say, that most spa heater repair calls are due to a dirty filter, not allowing enough water to flow. The pressure switch is what senses the low flow and prevents the heater from turning on. Don’t want to clean your spa filter? Must be a faulty pressure switch – replace it!

 

SPA-PARTS-ORINGS

O-RINGS

The most popular o-rings for a spa are inside the unions. When a union is opened, the o-ring often flushes out to an unreachable spot, under the spa. There are also o-rings in some spa filters, chlorinators or used in the wet end of the pump.

 

SPA-PARTS-LED-LIGHT-BULBS

LED SPA LIGHT

For those of you that forget to turn off the spa light when you close it up, I thank you. Sales of LED spa bulbs were up so much, I suspect that most of the halogen spa light bulbs have finally burned out in America. Lots of upgrades to LED spa light bulbs this year.

 

SPA-PARTS-SPA-COVER-CLIPS

SPA COVER CLIPS

Must have been windy this year too, as something bumped up spa cover strap clip demand above the usual few hundred sets sold each year. These clips can also be used to add additional straps to the skirt, or over the top of your spa cover, for extra safety and wind resistance.

 

spa-check-valve

OZONE CHECK VALVE

The ozone check valve keeps ozone traveling in one direction, out of the ozonator, and doesn’t allow air to flow the other way. Check valves are also known as one-way flow valves. For spa ozonator optimum operation, replace the check valve and maybe some hosing, every year or two.

 

spa-timerTIME CLOCK

I wonder if time clocks have an internal time clock, that tells them when to quit? If so, a lot of them went off this year, and another surprise superstar category is being recognized here today. Replace your clock when the internal motor or battery fails.

 

Congratulations to all of our winners today at the 2013 Spa Parts Awards ceremony. These hard working spa parts my not be recognized for large contributions to capital, but their unit sales figures have catapulted them to our list of the most common spa parts of the year. :-)

 

- Jack

 

DIY Spa Cover Repair Videos

December 19th, 2013 by

spa-cover-repair

 

Making my own repairs around the house is something I take great pride in. I’ve been accused of being too independent, and taking it a bit too far sometimes. Like the time I thought I’d install my own whole house generator. That was a big job, too big. But spa cover repair, how bad can it be?

If you like to make your own repairs around the home, and don’t mind patching things up, to get a few more years of life, this blog post is for you. Here’s some videos of some real boot strap pioneers, with ideas on how to repair a few common problems with spa covers.

Spa covers can be repaired if they aren’t allowed to go to far before receiving some attention. And if you have two of these major defects at the same time, it may be more economical to replace the entire thing with a new spa cover.

Here’s some ideas for you spa owners with an independent streak! There’s a lot of DIY hot tub repairs happening!

 

Repair Tears in the Vinyl Covering

The cover of your spa or hot tub cover is made with marine grade vinyl. It’s tough, but not tough enough. Over time, UV rays will deteriorate the vinyl, and you may notice threadbare areas. Or, your spa cover may have fallen victim to the sharp claws and teeth of a pet or wild animal. Or, It could have been dragged against something sharp, tearing or ripping the fabric. As this video shows, you can patch a spa cover, using tapes and a vinyl repair kit or patch glued on top of the problem area. This will help to lock out moisture and prevent the hole from becoming larger over time.

Replace the Vinyl Covering

If your problem is not an isolated hole or trouble spot, you may choose to recover the spa top with new marine grade vinyl. With a large sheet of unbacked vinyl, a can of contact cement and a large spreader, you can cover over the entire top of the spa cover, and the sides too. In this way, you not only get a newer appearance, but you cover many holes or thin areas all at once. You can find marine grade vinyl at a boating supply shop, or at a good fabric store. You may not find the heavy duty 30 oz weight that we use on our spa covers, but if you get something close you can add a few years to your hot tub cover.

Replace the Foam Inserts

The foam panels of your spa cover is what gives your spa much of it’s rigidity and is the main insulation for the spa cover as well. Large dogs, heavy snow load or kids using it as a dance floor can all cause the panels to break. As this video shows, you can open up the panels and replace with a high r-value home wall insulation board, which you cut to the shape of your existing foam panels. Then wrap it tightly in 6 mil plastic. It won’t have the r-value of our 2 lb foam, nor the advantage of our vacuum sealed 6 mil wrap, with heat welded seams, but a panel replacement of this type can be quite effective.

Replace the Cover Straps

Your hot tub cover straps serve an important dual purpose – to keep the cover secure during high winds, and also to help lock out youngsters and others who shouldn’t be using the spa, at least not alone. You can add extra spa straps if you want more protection, or if your spa cover straps have dry rotted and broken off, you can replace your spa cover straps and clips. We sell a set of spa cover strap clips and you can buy nylon webbing (strapping) at any fabric store.

Of course, there are some things that you can do yourself – you can even make your own spa cover! We would like to remind you how important your time is, and suggest that when the time comes, take it easy and buy a new spa cover from Hot Tub Works instead!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara