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How to Spruce Up Your Hot Tub Area


how to spruce up your hot tub area

Take a good look at the area where you keep your spa or hot tub. Are you happy with the way it looks? Most importantly, is it a setting where you can truly feel relaxed? If you find yourself thinking about possible improvements and wishing things were different, then this article is for you!

A well-arranged, decorated and accessorized backyard, deck or patio area offers many benefits, including a sense of pride and general peace of mind. It’s also a place to entertain guests and unwind at the end of the day. If your hot tub area is looking a little bare, there are many things you can do (large and small) to transform the space from “blah” to beautiful. Not sure where to start? Here are five easy ways to spruce up your hot tub area.


Cleaning & Maintenance

tropical hot tub settingYou can have the most beautiful, modern-looking hot tub area in your neighborhood. But if regular maintenance is neglected and the area isn’t kept clean and tidy, it’s just not going to look good. Keep chemicals and accessories stowed away when not in use. A stylish storage cube works great in these situations! Use a pressure washer to remove dirt and grime from concrete pads and/or stone walkways. Add a new coat of paint, stain or varnish to wooden decks and stairs. Regularly wipe down all surfaces in the area, including the hot tub and cover. If your spa skirt or cabinet is looking worn and weathered, consider restoring or replacing it. Use cover conditioner to keep your hot tub cover looking new, and replace the cover if it’s starting to crack, sag or warp. Keep plants in the area properly pruned and watered. Just a little cleaning and maintenance and cleaning can do quite a bit to spruce up and refresh your hot tub area.


Patio Furniture

furniture around hot tubAdding some outdoor furniture near the hot tub is the quickest and easiest way to make the area more appealing, both for you and your guests. Arrange a few comfortable chairs around a small fire pit, or set up a sofa and coffee table. If you’d rather lean back and relax, consider adding a couple of lounge chairs to the mix. If your hot tub sits in direct sunlight, a simple cantilever umbrella can help make your soaks be more enjoyable during the daytime. Place a stylish towel tree or hook near the spa to keep your towels contained.



Plants & Landscaping

hot tub in a carefully landscaped yardNothing adds character to a backyard quite pretty landscaping. Make sure there’s a good mix of plant life in the area – small, medium and large. If you plan on having flowers, make sure to keep a variety so you’ll have blooms throughout the year. Also pay attention to the natural layout of your hot tub setting. You may be able to incorporate unique landscaping features like an artificial waterfall or large rocks. Let your imagination run wild as you create your own backyard oasis. Build a few planter boxes and weave vines through an elegant trellis for an added touch.


Lighting & Audio

accent lighting around hot tubAdding outdoor speakers and accent lighting to the spa area is a great way to help set the mood, whatever that mood may be. Make it vibrant and jazzy for a social gathering, calm and soothing for relaxation, or keep it soft and dim for a romantic date night. Battery-powered waterproof Bluetooth speakers are a popular choice for many hot tub owners because they’re portable and don’t require complicated installation. If your hot tub sits underneath a gazebo, pergola or a similar type of overhead cover, drape a string or two of decorative lights for quick and easy soft lighting. If the hot tub sits on (or near) a deck, you can also string lights along the railing, or add stair lights for increased safety at night. Most newer hot tubs come with their own color-changing lights installed within the tub – turn them on! Pick a color that suits your mood, and let the party begin. If your hot tub doesn’t have interior lighting, you can also try a floating speaker and light show combo, which offers the best of both worlds in a small, affordable package. During the summer months, light some citronella candles or tiki torches to keep the mosquitoes, gnats, flies and other insects away.


Property Upgrades

home improvements around the hot tubThis one’s not exactly an “easy” option. However, in many cases, renovating your outdoor spa area can increase the overall value and appeal of your home. For example, you could incorporate the hot tub into a newly constructed wooden deck for the appearance of an in-ground spa. If you enjoy entertaining guests regularly, an outdoor fireplace, kitchen or grilling station might be exactly what you need. Constructing something around the spa, such as a gazebo, pergola or even a small bar with stools will also enhance your hot tub setup. On the simpler side of things, a decorative walkway to the hot tub made of carefully arranged bricks or flat stones will help keep your feet clean and make hot tub maintenance easier. It also won’t cost as much as other more complicated renovation projects.

If you’re still having trouble thinking of what to do around your spa or hot tub, don’t worry! Inspiration photos are posted online on sites like Pinterest all the time. Find something you like, and start exploring how to make that idea become a reality for your own spa area. We also have an archive full of creative ideas, including decking ideas, chemical storage ideas and an in-depth look at exterior design principles in the Landscape & Patio category of our Hot Tub Works blog.

Hot Tub Enzymes: Frequently Asked Questions


hot tub enzymesThere are many chemicals that help to keep your spa water clean and clear. However, one of the most effective products for boosting sanitizer efficiency and removing organic materials from the hot tub technically isn’t a chemical at all – it’s a protein! We’re talking about hot tub enzymes.

What are Hot Tub Enzymes?

Enzymes are biological catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without undergoing changes themselves. In the case of spas and hot tubs, enzymes attach to non-living organic materials in the water, including body oils, lotions, cosmetics, dirt, sweat, dead skin cells and other unsavory substances. The enzymes work to break these down into smaller particles, helping reduce sanitizer demand and prolonging the life of your filter.

How do Hot Tub Enzymes Work?

Once an enzyme attaches to the organic materials in the water, it becomes much easier for sanitizers like chlorine and bromine to break them down.Think of enzymes as a natural digestion aid for your hot tub. Since they don’t attack living organisms like algae and bacteria, enzymes are not considered a sanitizer. However, they do supplement your existing sanitizer in keeping the water clean and clear. Without an enzyme, organic contaminants start to accumulate at the water’s surface and along the waterline as a greasy layer of scum. Not only does it look bad, but this scum can also clog up your spa filter over time.

How Long do Enzymes Last in a Hot Tub?

Once organic material has been broken down in your hot tub, the enzymes are free to move on to the next contaminant. Their molecular structure is not changed during this chemical reaction, so the enzymes remain in your water for continued use. They don’t get used up in the same way that sanitizers do. Most hot tubs only require a small weekly dose to maintain an effective level of enzymes.

Will Enzymes Work for My Hot Tub?

Yes! Hot Tub enzyme products are compatible with most popular sanitizers, including chlorine, bromine, ozone, biguanide, saltwater chlorine generators and mineral systems. They are specially formulated to tolerate the warm water temperatures.

Why are Hot Tub Enzymes so Popular?

Enzymes are incredibly useful as a clarifier, foam preventer, odor eliminator and a remover of surface scum and waterline stains. They also help to prolong the life of your filter, slow the rate of biofilm buildup in plumbing and reduce sanitizer demand. To top it off, enzymes are non-toxic, non-corrosive, hypoallergenic, biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Why not give ‘em a try? Hot Tub Works carries leading enzyme products from brands like Natural ChemistryLeisure Time and Rendezvous.

Can a Hot Tub Be Tax Deductible?


hot tub medical deduction Thinking of purchasing a new hot tub this year? If so, you may be able to deduct a portion (or in some cases, the total amount) of the expenses from your tax returns by claiming it as a medical expense.

Medical expenses are defined by the Internal Revenue Service as “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and for the purpose of affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.”

According to Publication 502 from the IRS, some medical expenses can be deducted when filing an income tax return. In its opinion letter Index No.: 213.05-00, “Section 213(a) allows as a [tax] deduction the expenses paid during the taxable year for medical care of the taxpayer, spouse, or dependent.” If a medical professional has diagnosed a medical condition that can be cured or relieved with hydrotherapy or swimming, a consumer may be able to claim a medical deduction for their hot tub and hot tub supplies.

The general health benefits of hot tubs are not enough for it to qualify as a medical expense; you must get a prescription or written treatment recommendation from your physician. Conditions that may qualify for a prescription include arthritis, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic depression, restless leg syndrome, as well as other diseases or injuries. Because a hot tub is of a particularly personal nature, the consumer must establish that it is primarily for the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease before the cost can be deducted. Bear in mind that if people other than the one prescribed will be using the hot tub, or if it will be used for enjoyment purposes in addition to the prescribed treatment/therapy purposes, you won’t be able to deduct 100% of its cost. The value of your deduction will also depend on your tax bracket. Keep good records and discuss with your tax professional to make sure you can provide adequate proof of your medical needs to the IRS.

Capital improvement expenses can also be deducted for the installation of special equipment in the home. The purpose of its installation should be for medical care of either yourself, your spouse or any of the dependents living in that home. If it’s a permanent improvement that increases the value of your home, the increase in value would be directly reflected in a decrease of your medical expense deduction. If the improvements have no effect on property value, the entire cost of installation can be considered as a medical expense. Consumers may need to have property appraised to determine if the value has or has not increased.

In summary, it you want to write off a new spa or hot tub, including covers, chemicals, equipment and other supplies, you must have a doctor’s prescription for it. If you feel that you could benefit physically or mentally from warm water therapy, we encourage you to discuss the benefits of a hot tub or swim-spa with a qualified medical care professional and see if you’re a candidate for prescribed spa therapy. Before you run out and buy a new spa, you should first check with a tax professional in your area to make sure your hot tub, related supplies and other expenses can be included as a medical expense write-off on your federal or state tax returns.

Celebrating National Hot Tub Day


national hot tub dayFUN FACT! Did you know that we hot tub enthusiasts have our very own holiday? Well, we do! National Hot Tub Day is celebrated each year on March 28. There’s no denying the therapeutic benefits of a relaxing soak in your spa or hot tub, and this fun holiday gives you yet another excuse to go enjoy it.

Just one week after the first day of spring, National Hot Tub Day is the perfect time to do a bit of “spring cleaning” and general maintenance on your hot tub.

Test, balance and sanitize the water, and clean or replace your filter cartridge. If it’s time to drain and refill the water, take a moment to purge biofilm buildup from the lines, and wipe down all spa surfaces with a cleaning or polishing product to keep it looking like new.

Next, carefully examine the hot tub cover for signs of wear and tear. If it’s still in good working condition, clean it off with a vinyl cleaner and conditioner to protect your cover from the sun’s harsh UV rays. On the other hand, if your cover is cracking, coming unstitched, getting waterlogged or sagging in the middle, it may be time to replace the old cover with a new one. A well-fitting spa cover in good condition is an important factor in maintaining a healthy hot tub.

If you don’t yet own a spa cover lift, you should strongly consider buying one. A cover lift is a valuable tool for quickly removing the cover, protecting it against accidental damage and helping to prevent mildew. Not only will it save your back, but it can also save your cover and help it last longer.

After you’ve spent some quality time cleaning and maintaining your hot tub, it’s time to enjoy the benefits of owning one! Add a dose of your favorite spa aromatherapy, and soak away your stress, aches and pains in the softly bubbling water.

In our opinion, every day should be National Hot Tub Day! Although it only comes once a year, don’t let that stop you from enjoying your hot tub as much as possible.

Can You Put Epsom Salt in a Hot Tub?


Can you put epsom salt in a hot tub?

Hot tubs and Epsom salts are synonymous with relaxation and pain relief for sore joints and muscles. Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine the two? Of course! In fact, many people use pure Epsom salts in their bathtubs at home. But can you put Epsom salt in a hot tub? In most cases, the answer is NO. Here’s why.

Chemical Reactions

Pure Epsom salts are an alkaline compound also known as Magnesium Sulphate. The mildly acidic properties of Epsom salts can very quickly disrupt the total alkalinity and pH balance of the water in your hot tub. Unbalanced water can launch a cascade of other problems, including reduced sanitizer performance and corrosion of your hot tub equipment (metal parts, plastic pieces, seals, gaskets, etc.).

Total Dissolved Solids

When using a regular bathtub, the standard recommendation  is to add 2 cups of Epsom salts to feel the full therapeutic effects. Now, let’s think about that for a minute. The average bathtub holds about 80 gallons of water. On the other hand, the average hot tub holds about 400-500 gallons. To reach the same concentration level in your hot tub would require 10-12 cups of pure Epsom salts. That’s a lot of solids being added to the water! A bathtub can be drained quickly and easily, and the water is only used once. Unfortunately, a hot tub can’t be drained as often or as easily, which leads us to our next point.

To avoid scale buildup on spa surfaces and equipment, many spa manufacturers recommend draining and refilling a hot tub when the level of total dissolved solids (TDS) reaches 1500 ppm or higher. Failure to do so can potentially void the warranty. High TDS levels can also cause problems with cloudy water. Using our previous comparison, adding 10-12 cups of Epsom salt to your hot tub will quickly raise the TDS reading far past the 1500 ppm maximum threshold. Spa heaters usually sustain the most damage from scale buildup, but water lines, jets, pool pumps and tub surfaces can also accumulate scale if proper water balance is not maintained.


Rather than pour pounds and pounds of pure Epsom salts into your spa, risking long-term damage to the tub, plumbing and equipment, why not try a safe yet effective alternative instead?

spazazz aromatherapy productsHot tub aromatherapy products offer many of the same benefits as Epsom salts. In fact, most aromatherapy crystals use Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom salt) as the primary ingredient. The key difference is that spa aromatherapy crystals have been specially formulated for use in spas and hot tubs. Smaller quantities are needed to achieve the same effects, and they don’t negatively alter the water chemistry or cause problems with spa equipment. Most spa crystals are also formulated with vitamins, minerals, moisturizing nutrients and natural herbs and botanicals. And of course, there’s the unique aromatherapy experience that can elicit any desired benefit or mental state. De-stress, detoxify, rejuvenate, reduce pain and inflammation, breathe easier, boost energy levels or promote a better night’s sleep – anything is possible with aromatherapy.

There are also alternatives to aromatherapy crystals that promote the same therapeutic benefits. Spa elixirs help you to relax while also softening the water and moisturizing your skin. Revolutionary new spa bombs offer the same benefits as the increasingly popular bath bombs. However, unlike standard bath bombs, spa bombs won’t damage your hot tub equipment, alter the water chemistry or clog up your filter.


In most cases, you should never add pure Epsom salts to your hot tub. Despite this warning, if you still want to try, just be sure to drain and thoroughly clean the hot tub immediately after you’re done soaking to avoid long-term damages to your spa. You can achieve the same therapeutic effects by using spa aromatherapy products, which are specifically formulated for use in spas and hot tubs. These products won’t upset fragile water balance, harm the equipment or cause scale buildup on tub surfaces. Hot Tub Works carries dozens of aromatherapy products from top brands like Cover Valet, PharmaSpa, Spazazz and Zodiac. 

Hot Tub Works LLC Receives 2018 Best of West Chicago Award


2018 Best of West Chicago Award presented to Hot Tub Works LLCWEST CHICAGO — Hot Tub Works LLC has been selected for the 2018 Best of West Chicago Award in the Sporting and Recreational Goods/Supplies category by the West Chicago Award Program. This marks the third consecutive year that Hot Tub Works has received this prestigious award.

Each year, the West Chicago Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the West Chicago area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2018 West Chicago Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the West Chicago Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About West Chicago Award Program

The West Chicago Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the West Chicago area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The West Chicago Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Press Release Courtesy of West Chicago Award Program

Troubleshooting Hot Tub Temperature Fluctuations


troubleshooting hot tub heater problemsOnce you’ve entered the desired temperature on your hot tub’s control panel, you expect the heater to keep the water heated consistently. You don’t want it to get too hot, then cold, then get too hot again! Temperature fluctuations of more than a couple degrees are not normal, and often indicate a problem with water flow or a faulty switch.

For example, let’s say that you set the heating level to 103º, and the temperature falls below 100º before the heater kicks on. Once it does, the heater keeps going until the water reaches 105º or trips the high limit switch. Likewise, if you set the thermostat and find that your hot tub water is consistently hotter or cooler than expected, you may need to start troubleshooting common hot tub heater problems.

Verify the Water Temperature

First things first – make sure that your control panel is showing the correct water temperature. Stick a thermometer in the water to see if there’s a discrepancy in the temperature reading, which could indicate a faulty temperature sensor or thermostat. On most hot tubs, this sensor is located just inside of the filter housing. The temperature probe should be pushed down securely into the thermowell, and the capillary should not have any kinks. A faulty thermostat is one of the most common reasons for hot tub temperatures to bounce around.

Check Water Flow

Once that’s done, check that the filter is clean and not impeding water flow. Water levels in the hot tub should be high enough, and the pump impeller and lines should be free of obstructions and/or air to prevent flow problems. Make sure that the spa pump is working properly and there is adequate pressure coming out of the jets.

Test Switches, Sensors and Heating Element

Next, check your other switches and sensors. The high-limit switch can be found on the heater itself. The high-limit switch is a safety feature that prompts a heater to turn off when a certain maximum temperature is reached, and improper adjustment or failure can cause excessive temperature fluctuations, or the heater may not work at all. Likewise, a pressure switch or flow switch that is too sensitive or going bad can also cause a spa heater to malfunction. The thermostat, which we discussed in the first section, also impacts your hot tub’s heating ability. Adjust as necessary in small increments, secure any loose connections, or replace the part if it’s no longer working. If the switches seem fine, check to make sure that the heater is still working and that the voltage reading across the leads of the heating element is correct.

Examine Other Factors

Other things to consider include the outside temperature, the insulating ability of your hot tub and hot tub cover, and whether the daily fluctuations in ambient outside temperatures are negatively impacting the water temperature inside your tub. If your hot tub frequently gets too hot in summer or consistently loses heat on cool evenings or during the winter months, insulation ability and/or the circulation schedule may be to blame. The inside of a spa cabinet can get warm very quickly, making it easy for water temps to fluctuate or overheat. Friction of the water circulating through the pump and plumbing lines also raises the temperature somewhat. An excessively warm spa cabinet may just need more ventilation, whereas a spa cabinet that’s too cool may need more insulation to help keep the heat from escaping. Use caution when adding insulation to the cabinet; placing it too close to equipment like the heater or spa pump can become a fire hazard. Hot tub covers should have the correct foam density for your climate and be well fitted to the hot tub. If your cover is sagging, heavy or starting to wear out, it may be time to buy a new hot tub cover.

Once you’ve found the source of your hot tub temperature troubles, you can work on fixing the problem at hand. Has troubleshooting indicated a faulty part? Check out the Top 5 Hot Tub Heater Problems for more info on diagnosing and repairing hot tub heater parts.

How to Troubleshoot Common Hot Tub Problems


hot tub troubleshootingUnfortunately, hot tubs don’t always work the way we want them to. Heaters may not heat, water flow will be low or nonexistent, leaks can pop up and water chemistry can go awry. The good news is that most hot tub problems can be remedied with a little bit of troubleshooting and a quick fix or two.

Heater Not Working

Problem: What’s a hot tub without hot water? That’s an easy one – it’s not much fun at all! If your hot tub heater doesn’t seem to be working properly, it’s often the symptom of another underlying issue.

Solution: The first thing to check is your water flow. Is there enough water going through the lines to close the flow or pressure switch and prompt the heater to start heating? If not, continue reading in the next section to resolve the flow problem. If there is adequate water flow, it may be one of the electrical components of the heater – flow or pressure switches, thermostats, high limit switches, heater elements, loose wiring, blown fuses or a tripped breaker. For more information on getting your heater up and running again, check out this article about the Top 5 Hot Tub Heater Problems.

Low Water Flow

Problem: You turn on the jets, and the water pressure flowing through the lines just isn’t as high as it should be. You may even be seeing flow-related error codes popping up on your spa’s control panel. Low water flow is actually one of the most common problems hot tub owners have to deal with. With flow troubles, there could be several different things going on.

Solution: First things first – make sure the filter and drain cover are both clean. A dirty, clogged filter or drain cover won’t allow water to pass through very easily. Also check to see if water levels are where they should be, since low levels can negatively impact flow rates. Open up all of the jets to determine if it’s just a few malfunctioning jets (which will need to be repaired or replaced) or if it’s all of the jets (which might indicate a faulty gate valve). Other potential causes include blockages in the pump impeller, blockages in ozonator valves (if you have one) or air lock, which is next on our list. If your hot tub jets aren’t feeling as strong as usual, you’ll want to read up on this informative blog post: Hot Tub Jets Not Working?

Air Lock

Problem: Air lock happens when air gets trapped in the plumbing and has no way to get out, so the pump is unable to work properly. This often happens after a hot tub has been drained, cleaned and refilled.  If you turn on the hot tub and hear the motor running, but nothing is coming out of the jets, chances are pretty good that you’re dealing with an air lock problem.

Solution: To get those jets flowing again, you’ll need to “burp” the air out of the lines. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first method involves opening the jets and turning the jets on and off a few times, increasing the duration each time. If no air or water is coming out of the jets after three on/off cycles, you’ll need to release the air directly from the pump. More detailed instructions can be found in one of our recent blog posts, How to Fix Hot Tub Air Lock.


Problem: You may have stumbled upon a leak as the result of troubleshooting other hot tub problems, such as low water flow or air lock. Or, in some cases, you may not even notice a problem until you see water leaking from the bottom of your hot tub. Rest assured, this is usually an easy problem to resolve.

Solution: The first step is to locate the source of the leak. Check any connections that utilize a gasket or o-ring to form a seal, including spa jets, lights, pumps, unions, filter housings, chlorinators and ozonators. Leaks can also happen where PVC pieces are glued together. If you can’t locate the leak by quickly looking in the equipment bay, you may need to do a bit more digging. Once the leak is found, you’ll know what kind of repair is needed. Hot Tub Works has many helpful articles on hot tub leak repair and how to do it properly.

Error Messages

Problem: The nice thing about error messages popping up on the control panel is that you have a clear direction for focusing your troubleshooting and repair efforts. The bad thing is that there are a LOT of them, and some codes can indicate a variety of different issues!

Solution: The owner’s manual for your hot tub will usually have its own troubleshooting guide paired with a list of error codes for your specific model. But if you’ve misplaced this guide, error code meanings aren’t too hard to track down. They generally pertain to three categories: water flow, heating and sensor errors. Lucky for you, we’ve gathered “The Big List” of Hot Tub Error Codes to help you out on your troubleshooting journey.

Noisy Pump

Problem: No one likes noisy neighbors, just like spa owners don’t appreciate noisy pumps! It’s not relaxing at all, and those noises are a red flag that something’s going wrong with your pump. If your hot tub pump is banging, rattling, squeaking or  squelching, it’s time to open up the spa cabinet and take a look.

Solution: It’s fairly common for bearings to wear out on pump motors, especially if the motor is older than five years old. A screeching, high-pitched whine coming from the motor is usually a sign that the bearings are failing. If so, either the bearings, the motor or the entire spa pump will need to be replaced as soon as possible. On the other hand, if you’re hearing a low-pitched grumbling noise, your pump may not be getting enough water. Make sure the intake valves are open and your lines are free of clogs and debris. Rattling noises are often caused by vibration of the pump while it’s running, which can be fixed with a rubber pad to reduce the rattle. If the pump hums for a little bit before popping the circuit breaker, you’re likely dealing with a faulty capacitor. For more help with troubleshooting various pump issues, check out this article about Hot Tub Pump Problems.

GFCI Tripping

Problem: If no power is reaching your hot tub, the first thing you usually check is whether or not the GFCI or circuit breaker has been tripped. When you reset the button or switch and it keeps tripping, there is something else awry with your hot tub or the electrical wiring.

Solution: It’s best to start at the source, making sure that the breaker is not worn out. Moisture and corrosion on electrical components can also cause a circuit switch to trip, so thoroughly check the GFCI box and the inside of the spa cabinet for signs of a problem. Wiring can also come loose or become damaged, causing incomplete circuits or a short in the system. If all of this checks out and no problems are noticed, it’s time to look at the different electrical components of your spa. The heater is the first place most people look, since it’s the most common culprit when a breaker continually trips. If the heating element is tested and appears fine, you’ll need to narrow down the faulty component through process of elimination. Disconnect everything, then reconnect them one at a time – lights, pump, sound system, ozonator, air blower, etc. until you determine which one is causing the problem. There are many reasons power may not be reaching your hot tub. Some of those problems are best left to an electrician to handle. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek out a professional’s opinion!

Cloudy Water

Problem: This is a common hot tub problem, and it’s a good indicator that something is “off” in your water balance or hot tub equipment. Not only does cloudy water look bad, but it’s usually not good for you OR your hot tub, either.

Solution: Calcium levels, total alkalinity, pH and sanitizer can all play a part in water cloudiness. Excess organic materials, biofilm buildup, dirty filters and plumbing malfunctions can also be a source of cloudy water woes. It’s sometimes difficult to figure out why the water gets cloudy, so Hot Tub Works put together a handy detailed guide: 10 Reasons Why Your Spa Water is Cloudy.

Smelly Water

Problem: Just like cloudy water, smelly water often stems from poor water chemistry or hot tub maintenance practices. Foul smells coming from the hot tub indicate that bacteria is taking over, and it’s time to act fast!

Solution: Make sure pH and total alkalinity are balanced, and keep the sanitizer levels consistently within the recommended range. Shocking a spa will quickly kill off any bacteria lurking in the water. If this doesn’t help, it may be time to deep clean your spa. Purge biofilm from the lines with a cleaning product like Jet Clean, drain the tub, clean all surfaces, clean or replace the hot tub filter, and refill with properly balanced and sanitized water. If your hot tub still reeks when you’re done cleaning, check the cover. Mildew loves to grow on the underside of hot tub covers, which can make the whole tub smell musty. Keep your hot tub and cover clean, and maintain proper water balance so you’ll never have to hear, “Your Hot Tub Water Smells Bad!”

These problems (and more!) happen to every hot tub owner at some point or another, so it’s nothing to be worried or embarrassed about. Hot Tub Works has you covered! With countless informational “How To” articles, hot tub parts and chemicals, we have everything you need to get your hot tub back on track.

How to Fix Hot Tub Air Lock


hot tub air lockIt’s a common scenario. You’ve just spent HOURS draining, cleaning and re-filling your hot tub, and you’re ready to take a soak. You turn on the jets, and although you can hear the spa pump motor running, no water is coming out of the jets. You may even notice an error code popping up on the display. It’s a dead giveaway – you have an air locked hot tub.

What is Hot Tub Air Lock?

Hot tub air lock happens when air gets trapped inside the plumbing, and the circulation pump is unable to prime. This keeps water from flowing through the water lines, preventing the pump(s), heater and jets from working normally.

Anytime a hot tub is drained for regular cleaning and maintenance, it’s easy for air to get trapped in the lines. But not to worry! Whenever hot tub air lock symptoms are noticed, it’s usually pretty easy to fix.

How to Fix Hot Tub Air Lock

There are a couple of easy methods you can use to eliminate air lock in your spa or hot tub. Before you get started, make sure the heater is either turned off or the temperature setting has been turned all the way down. If the heater kicks on while you’re purging the air, it can get damaged from overheating.

It’s worth noting that some newer hot tubs and pumps have a designated bleeder valve, which allows for quick and easy air lock elimination. Check the owner’s manual to see if your hot tub is equipped with a bleeder valve before trying any other methods.

hot tub jets

The first method involves “burping” the air out of the plumbing through the jets. First, make sure all jets are completely open by turning the faceplates counter-clockwise. Next, turn the jets on high for about 10-15 seconds, then turn them off again. Continue turning the jets on and off again, increasing the time by about 10 seconds each time until you see air bubbling out of the jets. When this happens, leave the jets on until the bubbles are gone or the jets are functioning normally. If you don’t see any air bubbles after three on/off cycles, you’ll need to try another method. Otherwise, you can damage your spa pump from allowing it to run dry.

fixing hot tub air lockAnother method is to remove air from the pump directly. This is actually much simpler than it sounds, and it only requires a screwdriver (to remove cabinet panels) and a set of channel lock pliers (to release the air). First, locate your spa pump, using the owner’s manual if necessary. If there is more than one pump, determine which one(s) is air locked. Remove the appropriate panel from the spa cabinet so you can access the pump, and very slowly loosen the large union nut between the spa plumbing and the motor to release the air. Once the air has finished leaking out, water will start to sputter out, and it will soon become a steady flow of water. When this happens, re-tighten the union. Turn the jets back on to see if the problem was solved. If not, you may need to call in professional help or try troubleshooting other hot tub jet problems.

Preventing Hot Tub Air Lock

One of the easiest ways to prevent hot tub air lock is to purge air from the lines as you are re-filling the hot tub. Instead of dropping the hose directly into the tub, stick the end of the hose into the filter well, and leave all jets completely open. This will fill the spa plumbing first, eliminating air from the lines as the spa is filled. But even this method has its flaws, and you may still run into air lock problems from time to time.

Sauna Benefits: Fact or Fiction?


sauna benefits

Around the world, people of all cultures have enjoyed the health and relaxation benefits of saunas and other sweat-inducing therapies for thousands of years. More recently, modern advancements in infrared technology have made it easier – and more cost effective – for people to experience the benefits of a sauna from the comfort of their own home.

When it comes to sauna benefits, it can be hard to decipher fact from fiction. To help you sort through the claims, we’ve put together this handy sauna introduction, including information on the different types of saunas, how they work, the benefits they provide, as well as basic “need to know” information and warnings associated with sauna use.

Infrared vs. Traditional Saunas

Traditional saunas are available in two main types: wet and dry. Both are powered by some type of heating stove, usually wood-burning or electric. Modern traditional saunas use these heaters to warm volcanic rocks to a high temperature and provide radiant heat. The main difference between the two types of traditional saunas is the temperature and humidity at which they operate. Dry saunas are exactly that – DRY. The humidity stays fairly low, and the air is heated upwards of 190 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, wet saunas (also called steam saunas) max out at a lower temperature around 110 degrees, and they use evaporated water to provide a more humid relaxation experience for the user.

New infrared saunas are a type of dry sauna, but they’re able to work at a lower temperature – around 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Why? Infrared heating technology warms the body more directly instead of heating the surrounding air, causing the same intense sweat but with less energy. Not only does the lower air temperature provide a more comfortable experience for the user, but it also saves quite a bit of money on monthly energy bills.

FUN FACT: On average, traditional saunas use about three times more energy than infrared saunas (4.5-6 kw traditional vs. 1.5-1.7 kw infrared)!

How do Saunas Work?

Saunas work by heating the body, causing the skin’s pores to open and release sweat at the same time blood vessels dilate near the skin’s surface. This boosts circulation to the skin, which helps cool the body as heat is transferred to evaporating sweat. The heart accelerates to around 120-150 beats per minute in order to keep up with the increased circulation and maximize the transfer of heat outside the body. Core body temperature will increase slightly, but your body works to keep this change within a healthy range. The combination of heat, increased circulation and accelerated heart rate helps the body release endorphins, which induces a relaxed, tranquil feeling and can reduce muscle and joint pain.

Sauna Benefits

There are numerous studies on the benefits of sauna usage. However, studies that focus on specific health benefits (such as lowering high blood pressure) have revealed conflicting information. That said, regular sauna use has been shown to produce the following positive results:

at home sauna benefits

  • Physical and mental relaxation
  • Stress relief
  • Increased, improved circulation
  • Feeling of refreshment and rejuvenation
  • Muscle pain and tension relief
  • Arthritis and/or joint pain relief
  • Reduction in chronic fatigue
  • Better, more restful sleep
  • Clearer, firmer skin
  • Improved sense of well-being

Some people claim that sauna use also helps with weight loss. However, the truth is that the immediate weight loss you notice is mostly just water weight. The average person loses a pint of water (or more!) in a single sauna session. You may have lost a pound from that pint, but now your body is dehydrated. Remember to drink plenty of fluids before and after each sauna session to prevent any negative health effects. When used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program, saunas can help enhance your weight loss efforts, in addition to relaxing sore muscles after a strenuous workout.

You may have also heard claims that saunas help to detoxify the body. While there is a small amount of truth to this, the amount of toxins and heavy metals excreted in through the sweat glands is minuscule compared to what your kidneys, liver and other organs are doing already. Saunas are not the cure-all for eliminating toxins in the body, but they certainly aren’t hurting anything.

What You Need to Know

Before using a sauna for the first time, it’s important to understand the associated risks. Because saunas increase your core temperature, they’re not recommended for people with heart disease or respiratory difficulties. There are a handful of studies that indicate saunas may actually help reduce high blood pressure. However, as with any serious health conditions, it’s important to get feedback and approval from your doctor before starting. You should not use a sauna if you are pregnant, have epilepsy, are sick and running a fever, or if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sauna use may also cause negative reactions with certain medications. When in doubt, ask a healthcare professional.

sauna benefits

As we mentioned earlier, saunas make you sweat – a LOT. Drink plenty of water before and after using the sauna to replenish your fluids. Be on the lookout for signs of dehydration or overheating, including dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, extreme thirst or the onset of a sudden headache. If you feel any of these symptoms, leave the sauna immediately, sit down and sip on a cool glass of water until symptoms subside. In extreme cases, medical attention may be necessary; listen to your body!

Above all else, remember to relax! Enjoy your time in the sauna. If you’re new to saunas, start slow with 10 minute sessions, and gradually work your way up to longer 15, 20 or even 30 minute sessions. Just don’t overdo it, and again, listen to your body to know when it’s time to quit! To pass the time, you can read a book or magazine, listen to music, talk with friends, or simply meditate and allow your mind to unwind in silence. Many newer saunas come with a built-in sound system to play your favorite music or relaxing, ambient tones.

Hot Tub Works carries a broad selection of top notch infrared saunas, from single user portable saunas to more extravagant four-person cedar saunas. With so many different options and our everyday low prices, it’s now easier than ever to have your very own in-home sauna. In no time at all, you too can experience the many benefits of owning – and using – an infrared sauna.