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DIY Spa Cover Repair Videos

December 19th, 2013 by



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


Hot Tub Repair Business – Train to be a Spa Repair Man

December 16th, 2013 by

spa-repairman-hot-tubs-tooMany of us here at hottubworks got our start in the retail end of the spa business, but others are from the service business.

A Spa and Hot Tub repair company will offer several services, namely equipment repair and replacement, regular service and maintenance accounts, winterize, summerize and spa relocation services. They could also have spa inspection services for realtors, and orientation services for new spa owners. With factory training, you can perform warranty service for major spa manufacturers.

Spa and hot tub repair companies may also work on Jetted Tubs, usually installed in modern bathrooms. They could work with commercial spas and hot tubs like municipal spas, hotels, condos, resorts and therapy centers, or they can go a more residential route and work on inground or aboveground home spas; some indoors, but mostly outside on the patio.

So that’s your customer. But what about you? What skills are needed to become a successful spa entrepreneur? A successful spa technician, or a spa repair person will wear many hats.

  1. Chemist: You will be called upon to correct bad water conditions, with accurate testing and chemical additions.
  2. Electrician: Most spas are quite electrical, with loads like the pump motors, heater, blower controlled by a pcb, or printed circuit board.
  3. Engineer: Hydraulics and flow mechanics. Make repairs to the plumbing, install new spa equipment or an entirely new spa.
  4. Teacher: A good spa tech and business owner will make a business of teaching and instructing spa owners how to manage their spa.

I find that people with HVAC experience, including home appliance techs tend to understand spas and hot tubs pretty well. It really is not that much different than a large washing machine! Well, that’s not entirely true, they are indeed more complicated than a washer, but that’s what also makes it interesting!


Where to Get Spa Training

CPO TrainingCPO

The Certified Pool Operator CPO, course is a national certification program, that yeah – mainly is focused on pools, but there is also a lot of spa information. Many of the concepts of swimming pools cross over to spas and hot tubs.

Professional Training


Many professional associations, such as the American Pool & Spa Professionals APSP, or the International Hot Tub Association IHTA, offer training through their local chapters, or at their national and regional trade shows. Some even have a certified professional courses that you can take and earn a ‘degree’ in spa repair.

Spa Repair Forums


Bulletin Boards are a great way to learn about spas and hot tub repair. Read the posts, read the replies – now you know! There are a few discussion boards or forums out there that deal with spa topics. I’d like to point out the Hot Tub Works spa repair forum first and foremost. Spa also has a nice chunk of info online. RHTubs has another good spa forum.

Retailer Resources


At Hot Tub Works, we are proud of the videos and articles that we have put together on all sorts of spa and hot tub technical topics. The Hot Tub Toolbox is our library of articles and videos on various pool topics. Our friends at Spa Depot also has a nice spa info section, laid out by category. You can find lots of high quality spa and hot tub information online, and it’s all free.

Spa Repair Books


There are not a lot of books about spa repair on the market. Most books about spas are glossy coffee table books, or cover a very limited range of information. There is one book called The Ultimate Guide to Spas and Hot Tubs, which is jammed full of good information, in 320 illustrated pages, spread over 9 chapters. Tool Tips and Tricks of the Trade are given in each subject area.

What Else Is Needed?

Aside from good knowledge of spa care and repair, you’ll also need have a few other things for a successful spa repair company.

  1. Business License and registered Trade Name.
  2. Separate bank account and insurance policy.
  3. Advertising and Networking to add clients.
  4. Service vehicle with tools and supplies.
  5. Webpage or Online Directory listings.
  6. Great customer service

Your state or city may have other specific licenses to register the business, such as an Occupancy Permit, or special contractors license. You’ll need to file tax returns for the business, and pay any other license fees in your area.


Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara


Indoor Hot Tubs vs. Outdoor Hot Tubs – Which is Better?

October 28th, 2013 by


I love my outdoor hot tub, soaking under the stars. I couldn’t imagine it inside, but – there are some benefits to having an indoor hot tub.

My spa sits on the back patio, just steps from the back door, but during colder months, it can feel like I’m crossing frozen tundra on the way out of the spa.

And on really cold nights, which doesn’t happen too often here in southern California, wet hair can stiffen up – and well, I just wear a hat if it gets that cold…



Benefits to Indoor Hot Tubsindoor-spa

  • Climate controlled environment.
  • Tub, controls and equipment out of the elements.
  • Lower spa heating costs.
  • Indoor convenience – lighting, music, tv, bathroom.

Problems with Indoor Hot Tubs

  • Humidity levels when spa cover is removed.
  • Possible floor damage if spa begins to leak.
  • Spa pump noise and chemical smell in the home.
  • Getting it inside – spas are larger than most doors.


If you are seriously considering putting the spa or hot tub indoors, consider the following.

  1. The floor must be non-skid, easily cleaned and water proof. Think outdoor tiles or bathroom tiles.
  2. The floor also must be strong enough – to support a spa that can weigh over two tons when full.
  3. The walls and ceiling should have a vapor barrier installed to protect wood studs and rafters.
  4. Drywall soaks up moisture, instead look at architectural plastic, wall tile or cedar planks.
  5. A dehumidification system or unit is a must, or windows and fans to eject moisture when using the spa.


spa-gazeboAnother option to installing your tub inside the house is to extend the house around the tub. Gazebos were practically invented for spas and hot tubs, or you could screen in the back patio to make a “Florida room” type of spa enclosure.

Gazebos can be a simple roof with open sides, or for an authentic Japanese style ‘hot house”, they can be completely enclosed, offering protection for the spa and privacy for you and your ‘tub buddies’.

What’s your pleasure, an indoor spa or an outdoor spa – or an outdoor spa inside a structure? Leave me a comment below, about your feelings about spa location - indoors or outdoors?



Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works


Tips to Avoid Chemical Damage to your Hot Tub or Spa

October 22nd, 2013 by

DOS-AND-DONTSYour spa is beautiful, but to keep it that way you have to be careful. Spas are much less forgiving of chemical mistakes than pools, being up to 50 times smaller.

Part of the problem is you, and other spa users. 4 people in a 400 gallon spa is an equivalent bather load to 200 people in a 20,000 gallon pool. Spa users bring in loads of oils, body wastes, perspiration, cosmetics, soaps and hair care products, which your spa filter and spa chemistry have to deal with, since you don’t drain the spa after every use.

Here’s my tips on carefully managing your spa chemistry. Take care of these things, and your spa or hot tub will stay looking good, and you’ll avoid damage to the spa equipment, spa shell and spa cover.


Cheap spa chemicals have been flooding the market in the last few years. These products are made in countries with lax environmental and product controls. Labeling is usually proper, but the ingredients are always cheap. Low grade clays, gums and oils used as binders. Cheaper derivative bases can have a reduced shelf life or create ‘side effects’ in your spa water chemistry. I liken it to the pharmaceutical industry. A generic drug may be OK, but there are other options out there you’d be best to stay away from. Cheap spa chemicals can be damaging to the spa filter, pump seals, and spa surfaces.


Many spa manufacturers will void their warranty if you use pool chemicals in your spa or hot tub. The first problem is that the dosage rates are for pools, usually in 10,000 gallons, so it’s easy to screw up the math. Secondly, the big containers and scoops don’t allow proper measurement. Pools take pounds of adjustment chemicals, but in spas, we work in ounces. Third, Trichlor tablets (pool tablets) have a very low pH, and will give you trouble with your pH. Other pool chemicals are not made for the rapid dissolve rate that is necessary in spas, to keep harsh chemicals from contacting your shiny spa surfaces.


Biguanides are a product that replaces bromine or chlorine in a pool or spa. I might get in trouble saying this, because we sell spa biguanides – but the truth is that they can gum up the filter, dry out the hoses, and attack some spa surfaces. Despite these side-effects, those users who are very careful in their dosage and water balance can avoid most of the downside, and enjoy the benefits of biguanides. How’s that for double speak? :-)


Test your water at least weekly, with a good set of test strips or a liquid test kit. And then – add the chemicals needed to adjust the range of Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and pH. Low pH and Alkalinity can become corrosive and damage shiny spa surfaces, or weaken soft hoses and seals. If you have hard water, use Calcium and Scale Control, and for soft water, with low calcium hardness, add some calcium increaser. Keeping balanced spa water not only protects your spa shell and equipment, but allows your sanitizer to work more effectively at removing the loads of contaminants in the spa.


Draining and cleaning the spa is recommended every 3-4 months for spas that get used 1-3 times per week. For heavier use, drain the spa more frequently. Before draining, or at least twice per year, use a spa pipe cleaning product, like Jet Clean, to remove film and funk from inside your tubes, hoses and pipes. Once drained, use a spa friendly cleaning product like Spa Care cleaner to clean the spa surfaces. Don’t use household cleaning products, they can contain abrasives or phosphates. After cleaning the shell, restore the gloss to your spa with a spa polishing product like Citrabright.


Use anyone of our spa shocks, either chlorine or non-chlorine shock, according to directions and you’ll have no problems. Always use the measuring scoop, and add spa shock to the water with the jet pump on and circulating. To protect the spa cover, leave it half open or completely remove it for an hour after shocking the spa. Continuous high levels of bromine or chlorine in the spa can be very corrosive. Use a floater or feeder for tablets and monitor the level closely, so that it stays above 1.0ppm, and below 3.0ppm. If the level goes to high, turn on the jet pump and open the cover. Adding fresh water also helps dilute high sanitizer levels.


Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works



Accessorize your Spa or Hot Tub

October 15th, 2013 by

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

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

Bluetooth Speaker Set

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

Side Bar Drop Leaf Spa Table

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

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

Towel Warmer

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

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

Booster Seats

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

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

Color Lights

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



Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works


Winterizing a Spa or Hot Tub

October 7th, 2013 by


Most portable spas are not winterized, many spa owners find that winter is one of their most enjoyable seasons with their hot tub. But, if this is a summer home, or if you are more of a 3 season spa user, you can shut down the spa for the next 3-4 months. Power outages or maintenance needs may also make you decide to winterize the hot tub. If a tub full of water were to freeze hard for several days, it can destroy a hot tub beyond repair.


Essentially the process is the removing all water from the spa equipment, pipes and hoses. Any water left in the spa can grow stagnant bacteria, or if there is enough to fill a tight space in the pipes, it will freeze and expand, and crack pipes or equipment.

Clean the Pipes

Using a product like Tub Rinse, added to your spa the night before draining will remove bacteria formed in the pipes or jets. If untreated before draining the water from the spa, the bacteria can thrive with just the moisture left in the pipes. This is a very important step that should not be overlooked, or dismissed as spa suppliers just trying to sell another chemical. :-) We do like to sell spa chemicals, but really – this one is a very necessary chemical. Use twice per year, and always before draining the spa for an extended period of time.

Drain the Spa

Open up the spigot on the bottom of your spa, most spas will have one that you can attach a garden hose. A small submersible pump can also be used. A siphon could also be used, with some degree of success. In addition to the spigot, remove any drain plugs you have on your pump or filter, or unscrew the unions on each side of the equipment (don’t lose the o-ring), to allow all of the equipment (pump, filter, heater…) to drain out.

Once the spa is drained completely, and the lines are blown out, use towels or sponges to get any remaining drops of water, and allow the shell to air dry for several hours with the spa cover removed. It’s important to remove every bit of water, from the pipes, seats, floors, equipment – everything.

Blow the Lines

When the spa is nearly drained, turn on the spa blower (if you have one), and let it run for several minutes. If you have air controls for the blower (jets or seats, for example), adjust the controls so that the blower is forcing air into all

You can blow the lines out, or suck them out with a wet/dry vac (just reverse the hose). Use a large wet/dry vac, and seal the end of the hose up against the hole in the bottom of the skimmer, and the drain, and on all of the spa jets. Depending how your jets and plumbing are arranged, you may have more success with vacuuming, or vice-versa, with blowing. Usually, some combination of both will be most successful.

In most cases, for the spa jets, you’ll want to start up at the higher jets, and work your way down to the floor jets. Seat air jets or ring jets take some precisely focused air and a dry towel laid across the bench or floor to absorb the water as it spits out of the air jets. When vacuuming, a sheet of plastic may be helpful, to cover other jets connected to the same manifold, to increase suction on the jet you are vacuuming water from. Blow or suck (sorry), the air until you no longer see any water or mist being extracted or pushed out. Important!

Non-toxic RV or Pool antifreeze can be used as a last resort, but it can get a little slimy and smells bad, so I’d advise you to do without, unless you are not certain that all the water has been removed, with no puddling areas inside air or water manifolds or pipe.


  1. Use spa filter cleaner It’s crucial to remove scale, minerals, dirt and grime from the
  2. Lubricate union o-rings on equipment connections with a Teflon based lubricant.
  3. Shut down power at the breaker, be sure the spa will not turn on while empty.
  4. Secure the cover tightly, and treat with spa cover conditioner.


Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works



Spas and Hot Tubs for Back & Joint Relief

June 27th, 2013 by

hot-tub-spa-therapyI suppose we’re stating the obvious here, I mean, everyone knows that back pain can be relieved by a soak in hot water, right? And, it makes sense that the same hot water therapy can relieve the pain and swelling of arthritic joints.

According to The National Institutes of Health, Spa therapy, or hot-water balneology, appears to be indicated for chronic low back pain, stabilized rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Clinical trial findings suggest that patients with knee and hand osteoarthritis may benefit.

OK, point proven. Hot tubs and spas are great for what ails ya. The combination of the heat and the body’s buoyancy in the water relax the central nervous system and allow blood to flow. Increased blood flow helps to relieve inflammation and swelling, and brings more white blood cells to your painful areas.

And if you have massage jets in your spa, you get the bonus benefit of hydro-massage to specific areas.

Back Pain

Chronic back pain is an extremely disabling condition, affecting millions of Americans. Persistent pain can be managed with pills, but for many, it’s the hot tub that brings steady relief.

back-painBack pain can be caused by vertebrae misalignment, or from compression on the nerves that pass through the spine. Warm water therapy has been shown to be useful (American Journal of Medicine) for those recovering from back or spine trauma. Range of motion exercises in the hot water can increase one’s flexibility in the affected region.

Although hot water soaks are great for backs, experts generally agree that for first aid treatment to back injuries, one should start with ice or cold compresses. After some stabilization of the area, alternating treatments of hot water soaking and cold compresses can be used. Weeks or months after an injury, hot tub therapy can continue to bring back pain relief and speed healing of the area.


Arthritis Pain

As early as 1938, the New England Journal of Medicine stated “No therapy has been shown to be more consistently effective at treating chronic arthritis, as is physical medicine, including hydrotherapy”.

arthritis-painArthritis can be of two types, rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is when the body’s defenses are weak, affecting joints and bones. Osteo-Arthritis is a more common type of arthritis, affecting joints and bones that had suffered previous injury. Another very painful type of arthritis is Gout, when crystals develop between and around the joints. The swelling and pain can be excruciating.

Fortunately, there is relief in hot water. The temperature of the water helps to increase blood flow, and reduce swelling, while numbing pain receptors. Constricted muscles slowly expand as the skin absorbs the moisture deep into the body. Toxins are drawn off, and one can finally relax.

Hot tubs aren’t a panacea for pain management, but they do provide real relief, and are an accepted treatment for back pain, arthritis, and many other ailments.

Does your spa bring therapeutic relief to you or your family? What benefits do you see? Which conditions is your spa or hot tub treating effectively?

We’d love to see your comments below!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works



Spa Yoga Workout – Hot Tub Yoga

May 31st, 2013 by



Namaste! Welcome to my Yoga Ashram, I’m Gina, your yoga instructor. I’m qualified, I suppose, since I started my own Hot Tub Yoga program 8 weeks ago, in preparation for this blog post!

I have always been a fan of Bikram yoga, a very physical type of yoga, practiced in rooms near 100 degrees – so it was a natural transition for me to try yoga in hot water.

Yoga in a spa or hot tub is, to be honest – a bit easier than yoga on land. The buoyancy of the water, and the water’s resistance, definitely make it easier to hold the poses!

When I began my personal Hot Tub Yoga Studio, I started out by doing the poses that I was most familiar with What evolved was my own brand of Sivananda Yoga – (a series of linked asanas and pranayamas), or sets of poses and breathing exercises.

My spa isn’t big enough to do some fully stretched out poses, and of course, seated poses and many inverted positions are difficult to do underwater. So, after much trial and error, here are some tried and true yoga sequences that can be done in your hot tub.


My yoga warm-up is more of a relaxation exercise, to prepare the body and mind for the sequences to follow. I sit cross-legged on the lounge seat of the spa, very straight and tall, in the Lotus position. Hands facing up, I begin rhythmic breathing, deep into my belly first. As the breathing becomes deeper, I fill my mid-chest and eventually my upper chest during each breath. Exhaling slowly and fully, this is known as the full Yogi breath. 8-10 full, slow breaths and I open my eyes and unfold my legs.

Hot Tub Yoga Warm-Up

Next – with the bathtub mat I bought placed on the spa floor, I kneel on the floor of my spa, in the Vajrasana or Rock pose. The water level forces me to sit nice and straight, with my toes bent under and my rump resting on my heels. After a few relaxing breaths, I push my hands up straight while inhaling, up toward the sky. Leaning and reaching back to full extension, I exhale as I bring my hands back into the prayer-like Namaste pose.

Spa Yoga Routines



Breath: Standing up in the center of the spa, I begin a series of repeated movements. The first set is part of a Sun Salutation, and is similar to the kneeling warm-up routine. As I stretch toward the sky, it’s helpful to imagine a rope around my wrists, pulling me up straight and tall. Repeating the set 5 times, very slowly and precisely, focusing on my breathing. Inhale as I open up tall, exhale as my head goes under water.


Balance:¬†Up until now, at the half point of my yoga workout, it’s been relaxing, with a focus on the breath, and clearing my mind with the clutter of the day. Now I turn to my balance routine. You can mix it up with different poses that seem to work best for you.

Yoga, for me, has a goal of perfection – unattainable perfection perhaps, but nonetheless, and as I hold a pose, I try to be perfectly straight and balanced – with a clear mind, breathing deeply, in and out of each position.




Brawn: Time to kick it up a notch. Now that I am fully limber, and beginning to break a sweat, it’s time for some strength conditioning. The next set of poses that I link together use muscles that I hadn’t used in years – but after a few weeks, they stopped complaining after workouts. Some of these strength yoga poses involve the benches in the hot tub, as support.

These poses during the “Brawn” phase of the workout, are held for a longer time than the previous sets. Once you gain balance, focus the breath, and hold the pose for as long as you comfortably can.

I’ve added some Pilates moves to my hot tub workout. One new favorite is using a Pilates ball, and with straight arms and locked elbows, push the ball partially under water for 3 or 4 breaths. After several rounds, I move the ball to my toes and hold it under water with feet (harder than it sounds!) while floating on my back (planking!), supported by my hands on the spa bench. Breathe.


Hot tub yoga – this has been a fun experiment. I have to say – after 2 months of doing spa yoga, my hot tub and I have reconnected, and I am toned in areas that just aren’t touched with other forms of exercise. As an added benefit, the meditative breathing really takes the stress off, and gives me such an energy boost.

I hope you’ll try hot tub yoga soon – if you have, and have some tips to share, please comment below!


Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works


yoga pose graphics created by AskAboutHugo

Top Spa and Hot Tub Accessories

April 18th, 2013 by

Every year, I review the the best accessory items for spas and hot tubs. Hot tub style doesn’t change as fast as clothing fashion, but it does change! Each year, inventive manufacturers look to provide the next big product for the 5 million spa and hot tub owners in North America.

Your spa or hot tub was installed for the enjoyment that it brings as a tranquil relaxation zone. This year, our top hot tub accessories list includes items that make it easier to enjoy your spa, or add a new dimension of interest and delight. Maybe one of these items will rekindle the flame between you and your tub?

My Favorite Spa and Hot Tub Accessories

Spa Umbrella

Spa-Side Umbrella

These umbrellas, which used to cost thousands, are not in the reach of every spa owner. I have one of these over my spa – although¬† it’s not always open, I keep it folded most of the time.

Spa umbrellas are nice to block the low sun on a summer evening, or if it starts to rain while you’re in the spa you can wait out the storm safely underneath.

Spa umbrellas can also be rotated 360 degrees, to shade adjacent areas, and it pivots to an almost vertical position, to add a bit of privacy.



Spa Console Table & Stools

Having a spa-side counter is helpful to store snacks and drinks, lay towels or magazines. I know many people that use more than one, a friend of mine uses 3 of them, all filled with beautiful herbs and flowering plants.

The stools of course, provide a place for friends and family to sit and talk, while not getting into the spa. It’s so convenient for guests at a party. My grand children sometimes have a Sunday snack there, after their soak in the tub.


spa step with planters

Spa Steps with Planters

DreamMaker Spa Storage Steps Another hot tub accessory that I love, even though, most of the time, the flowers in my spa steps are “artificial”. They beautify my spa entrance nonetheless! The top step also opens up for additional storage.

You can plant real plants in these if you wish, they have a drain hole in the bottom of each plant area. Some people I have heard of are using these as coolers! Great spa party idea – fill each one up with ice and a different beverage of your choice!



Omni Rocks

Omni Rocks are artificial rocks that look like the real deal, but they are light weight molded faux rocks. The step is available in 2-step or 3-step for today’s taller spas. The corner rock has a lift off lid, with a storage compartment for towels, or spa care items. You can also use it as a cooler, or convert it into a planter!

The Corner Rock Planter Unit holds enough soil to accommodate a medium sized bush or bunches of seasonal flowers or herbs. Frames two sides of your spa as it hugs the corner.


Color Glo Raydiance - LED bulb for spas

Color Glo Raydiance LED Spa Bulb

24 LEDs fill even larger spas with dense, rich hues of intense color. 8 standard colors, and two color light shows. Rotate just by flipping the switch, or hitting your light button.

This LED spa bulb works on 12V spa light systems, with a wedge based lighting socket, and without dimming capability. It only uses 2.5 watts, but you may find it to be twice as bright as your old white light, or earlier generation LED spa bulbs.



Water Proof Playing Cards

When’s the last time you played cards? In the tub, playing a game can be a lot of fun. Texas Hold-Em is the game we like to play in our hot tub, but you could play Go Fish, Gin Rummy or BlackJack, anything you wish.

Our Water Proof Playing Cards may seem silly, but it could be the kind of thing that gets you out in the spa more – “…how about a game of cards in tub?” I can hear you saying now…


Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

Spa Water Chemistry – Test and Balance

April 2nd, 2013 by



Testing your spa water regularly is the best way to really understand your water chemistry. It’s always changing, your water chemistry – and usually very rapidly, when 3 or 4 adults jump into 500 gallons of water.

” Balanced spa water” means that your pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness levels are correct. Each of these 3 can need adjustment, but in terms of stability – Hardness stays fairly stable, followed by Alkalinity. pH can have the quickest and widest swings in level, so pay especially close attention to your spa pH levels.


Testing Spa Water

Test strips are the most convenient way to test spa water, in part because anyone can use them – without much instruction. Even my 4 yr old grand daughter can test the hot tub! Just dip and swirl, then compare the colors – it’s almost fun!

I use the AquaChek “Red” test strips, and check the water nearly every other day, or at least 3 times per week. These spa strips test for Bromine, pH, Alkalinity and Hardness – everything I need. digital-strip-tester

The AquaChek Digital Strip Reader is great for us older folks with tired eyes, or maybe for my color blind husband (who claims he isn’t). Just dip the strip and then insert it into the strip reader. Colormetric scanner determines the reading, and displays an exact digital readout of your spa water chemistry levels.

When your spa water is not in balance, your sanitizer is unable to work effectively, and algae and bacteria may thrive. Besides helping to keep your spa water safe and sanitary, balanced water also protects your spa shell and equipment from scaling or corrosive water conditions.

Test your Spa! It’s the only way to know what is too low and what is too high. Test your hot tub every time you use it, or at least once per week.

Balancing Spa Water

After testing the spa water, adjust your Calcium Hardness levels first. If your water is very soft (less than 150 ppm), you should add a small amount of hardness increaser (Calcium Chloride) to the hot tub. This buffers the water, and can help prevent spa foaming. Next, adjust your Alkalinity level, if it’s outside of the range of 80-120 ppm. Add baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) to increase it, or use a pH decreaser chemical (an acid) to lower

With calicum hardness (Ca) and alkalinity (Alk) levels correct, move on to pH. When pH is too high (above 7.6), your sanitizer is very weak and sluggish. When the pH is too low (below 7.0), the bromine is very effective, but the water is dangerously close to acidic range. Over time, acidic water can be corrosive to the spa finish, spa filters and to your spa heater. Add pH increaser or pH decreaser, to keep your hot tub pH level in the 7.2-7.4 range.

Finally, with the spa water balanced, we can address the sanitizer level, and make any adjustments necessary, and shock the spa. It’s always important to have balanced water first, before boosting bromine, or shocking the spa.

How Much Water is in my Hot Tub? To adjust your spa chemical balance carefully, you need to know how much water is in the spa, so that you can add the proper amount of spa balance chemicals. If you know the make and model, find the specifications sheet online for “water capacity”. If you can’t locate this information, you can calculate your spa’s capacity by measuring your garden hose flow rate, and then monitoring how many minutes it takes to fill the spa. To do this, time how long it takes to fill a bucket of known size. If your hose takes 1 minute to fill a 2 gallon bucket, for instance – and it takes 150 minutes to fill the spa – you can deduce that your spa holds 300 gallons.

For hot tub adjustment chemicals, see our Hot Tub Chemicals section. When you maintain water balance in your spa, you won’t need so many other chemicals. Not only that, but hot tub maintenance is reduced, and your spa components can last longer. Just from testing and balancing your spa water chemistry!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works