There’s a Hot Tub for Every Buyer

Filed in Recreation by on June 27, 2014

Twilight Series Spas

Twilight Series Spa

Hot tubs have been around since the first human discovered a cozy nook in a hot pond. The Romans took their soaks seriously and elevated the spa to an art form. “Spa” is said to be a Roman acronym for “sanus per aquam” or Latin for “salus per aqua,” both of which translate as “health through water.” Or, maybe it comes from Spa, the town in Belgium. At any rate, a roman spa was found at the end of most Roman roads. The recent trend has been to bring the spa home rather than to trek to the spa.

Whether prospective  hot tub owners are looking for hydrotherapy, relaxation or social saturation, they’ll find what they need in the ever-warm waters of modern hot tubs. Sized for an individual or big enough to accommodate a crowd, the multi-jet marvels, starting at about $3,000, can be installed indoors or out.

“They’re about 50-50,” says Chad Scheman of Minnesota Warehouse Furniture in Erhard. “Maybe a few more outside than in,” he adds, even though Minnesota winters might intimidate the cold souls among us. Scheman’s own hot tub is an outside biggie top-of-the-line.

Photo Source: Clarity Spas

Clarity Spa

“I installed it 10 years ago when I wanted it for a party place,” he says. Like many others, he now appreciates it more for soaking away aches and pains.

Hot tubs, also known as spas, hold hot water. Older varieties tended to have one yet per person, but modern ones can roil the waters with more than 100 jets. LED lights add sparkle and pizzazz, and wired-in sound systems complete the social scene. For those seeking therapeutic solace, an indoor spa with the ambient sounds of a waterfall is just what the doctor ordered.

Travis Bjerke of Alex Recreation in Alexandria says people in the market for a spa should carefully consider why they want one; by determining a family’s needs, he can help each buyer find the right spa. He recommends buyers pay attention to service, too, because all spas will eventually need servicing.

“Buy from someone you trust,” Scheman agrees.

Look for a three-year warranty on electronics and motors, and ask about a spa’s efficiency.

“Pumps and heaters are much more energy efficient than they used to be,” says Troy Derheim of Tubs of Fun! in Fargo. “California is the leader in energy efficiency, and we use that standard.” Insulation, whether full-foam or sprayed on, increases the R factor and reduces the cost of operation to as little as $14 a month.

The three dealers say that the most popular size accommodates up to six people. They also agree that hot tubs are great tools for bringing families together. “It’s an awesome tool for families,” says Bjerke. “Hot tubs combine therapy and social time and give people the ability to sit together every day.”

H2X Jetted Swim and Fitness Spa

H2X Jetted Swim and Fitness Spa

Derheim points out the latest thing in hot tubs: swim spas. These larger spas are more swimming pool than tub. Made of fiberglass, steel and vinyl, they can be portable or permanently installed, just like their smaller cousins. Wiring is required for the electric components, but no plumbing is needed since they fill with a garden hose.

Except in new construction, options for indoor installation are limited by available space. A few things should be considered for placement of outdoor spas:

  • How much wiring will be needed to connect the tub to an energy source?
  • Where are the property lines?
  • What will the tub’s position be in relation to trees, leaves and power lines?
  • What is the predominant wind direction and what will block it in the cold months?
  • What is the length of the path from the house to the tub?

Buyers should also be aware that:

  • Testing the water to monitor chemical use (chlorine, bromine or peroxide) should be done weekly.
  • Tubs are typically drained and refilled every three months (some units, much longer).
  • The color of the cover in more important than the color of the tub since it will be covered all of the time except when it’s in use.
  • Most dealers also sell pre-owned tubs (and may extend the warranties).

Scheman has one final tip: “Make sure you home insurance covers the tub. Talk to your insurance agent. It might cost more, but they just need to know it’s there.”

by Nancy Leasman | Photo Source: Master Spas

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