Whether you already have a hot tub on your deck or patio, or you are considering purchasing a new model, you may have questions. This list of Frequently Asked Questions, and answers, is meant to assist you. We believe that well-informed buyers will choose a hot tub. Feel better, spend more time together, and relax. Visit our store to ask about how easy it is to own a hot tub.
What should I consider before buying a hot tub?
You may consider "wet testing" a spa or hot tub before purchasing. This means getting into a spa with water in it. Many reputable spa dealers maintain filled demonstration models just for this purpose. Here is what you should look for: Verify that the seats provide comfortable support. You do not want to have to scoot down in the hot tub like you do in a bathtub. When sitting in any seat, the water should reach shoulder level. If it does not, you will not get full hydrotherapeutic value. Stay in the hot tub with the jets on for at least 15 minutes. At the end of that time, you will know whether the seating and jet arrangements are comfortable.
How much should I spend?
Quality spas are available in a wide range of prices. Just like cars, spa prices reflect features, materials and workmanship. Of course, we hope that as you are shopping you will consider a hot tub. No matter which brand of spa you finally choose, we want you to be an informed consumer and find the right spa for your needs.
What about the warranty?
Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind: A product warranty is a performance and reliability agreement between you and the manufacturer. Avoid spa dealers who add prorated and deductible provisions. Make sure you read the manufacturer's warranty before buying and compare coverage with other spas you are considering.
Is it installed inside or outside?
A spa can be installed indoors or outdoors, although over 90%, including those in cold weather climates, are installed outdoors. The two main considerations for installing a spa indoors are: will it fit through the door, and is the structural strength of the flooring adequate. A typical 3-person spa weighs approximately 2,500 lbs/1,150 kg when filled.
Do I need to install plumbing?
No. All above-ground portable spas are filled with water using a garden hose.
How do I clean the water?
Proper water maintenance is vital to the enjoyment of your spa. Maintenance procedures are not difficult, and knowledgeable retailers will provide the start-up kit and instructions you need.
How often do I clean the spa?
Most manufacturers recommend draining and cleaning your spa no more than 3 or 4 times per year, depending on how frequently you use it and how well you maintain your water. In most cases, this simple process will only take about an hour to accomplish.
How is the temperature controlled?
Most quality spas have relatively sophisticated digital thermostatic controls. These highly reliable modern systems are capable of keeping the spa water within one degree of any temperature you select. While this is important for comfort, it is also important for safety. You should pay particular attention to the control system if you have children who will be using the spa. Better systems have safety locks and digital readouts. A good indicator of the control system's quality is to read and compare manufacturers' warranties.
How many jets are adjustable?
Truly beneficial hydrotherapy is directly related to the placement of the jets and to some extent, being able to adjust each jet where it is needed. These are the standards by which physical therapy and athletic hydrotherapy systems are judged. A common point of consumer confusion occurs when manufacturers load up a spa with lots of inexpensive, non-adjustable, stationary jets. It doesn't make any difference how many jets a spa has if they are not properly located and plumbed to provide the correct balance of water, air and horsepower.
What does the pump's horsepower rating mean?
There are two kinds of horsepower ratings applied to spa pumps: "Continuous Operating" horsepower and "Brake" horsepower (also called "Marketing" horsepower). Continuous Operating is the horsepower the motor is capable of producing while the spa is in operation. Brake is the amount of horsepower the motor produces on start-up before dropping to the Continuous Operating rate.
Is the spa full foam insulated?
All major manufacturers agree that filling the spa cabinet with polyurethane foam insulation significantly reduces heat loss, thus reducing heating costs. While this process adds to the cost of manufacturing, research has shown that full foam insulation provides substantial savings to the spa owner over time. Some manufacturers eliminate full foam insulation in an attempt to provide a less expensive product.
What is hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is the combined effect of heat, massage, and buoyancy. Warm water dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow to sore or damaged tissues, allowing oxygen and nutrients to help overworked muscles recover faster. Massage, provided by the spa's jet system, relaxes tense muscles and relieves pressure on surrounding nerves. Massage also improves circulation and accelerates the body's natural healing process. Buoyancy reduces your body's weight by 90%. This relieves pressure on strained joints and muscles. Hydrotherapy is widely recognized as an effective method of alleviating the tension commonly associated with stress.
How do the jets and jet systems allow me to customize my hydrotherapy experience?
Many jets are adjustable, giving you an amazing number of options. The jets adjust from oscillating to targeted; rotate clockwise, counter-clockwise, or stationary. You can control the flow, volume, and movement of other jets as well. In addition, controlling the amount of air mixed with the water with the air control valves changes the dynamics of the massage. Conveniently placed massage selectors let you divert water from one seat to another to increase or minimize the water flow. Ask us to show you how the strategically placed and uniquely designed jets make the hot tub experience the ultimate in relaxation and therapy.
Isn't a bigger pump going to give me a better massage?
Many manufacturers talk about the horsepower of their pumps. Horsepower can be measured using a "service factor" or a "true rating" system. The first describes the initial thrust as the pump first engages, but immediately the pump output falls to a lower, continuous horsepower level. When a spa manufacturer claims they have a 6-hp pump, they are describing the "initial thrust," not the horsepower the pump delivers as it runs.
Efficient plumbing, better jets and flow control are more important than horsepower. A lower horsepower pump in a more efficient spa will produce just as much jet power as a higher horsepower pump. And remember, you are looking for a comfortable but strong massage, and not looking for acceleration up a mountain road or a punishing hot water experience!
What's the purpose of a circulation pump?
Today's finest spas feature a small circulation pump that continuously filters the water to keep it clean and clear. It also provides the necessary flow to allow the heater to constantly maintain your set temperature. Hot tubs without circulation pumps must rely on the low speed of a larger horsepower pump turning on periodically to provide filtration and the flow required for heating. The circulation pump is the most efficient method to provide flow for filtration and heating.
How long before I want to use the hot tub should I start heating it?
The control system can keep your hot tub hot and ready to use. Or you may prefer the "economy" setting which allows you to tell the system when you are most likely to use the hot tub and the water will be hot and ready at your designated times.
I understand that the heater is usually the most vulnerable component of any spa. How is yours different?
The heater employs a titanium coil that directly heats the water, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Titanium prohibits heater corrosion and nearly eliminates failure. The Sentry Smart™ Heater carries a 5-year unconditional warranty.
Can any hot tub on 120V electrical service?
Most hot tubs must be connected to 240V electrical service, but some offer the option of operating on either 120V or 240V. While connecting to 120V can be less involved, most customers prefer the benefits of the 240V spa, which include quicker heating time and better temperature maintenance during cold weather use. This is because the heater output is four times as great in a 240V spa versus a 120V spa. If you choose to connect your spa to 120V service, you must be certain that it is a dedicated circuit, not shared by any other appliance, and has amperage rating appropriate for the spa you select.
What can I do to assure my family's safety?
- Check to be sure that the hot tub you buy is listed by a recognized independent testing agency such as ETL.
- Use a qualified electrician to connect the electrical service to the hot tub.
- Make sure the cover comes with a locking system to prevent unauthorized use. Many hot tubs feature locking control panels, as well.
- Keep appliances and other electrical devices away from the hot tub area.
- Always observe the warnings about hot tub use by small children, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions and people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.