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Petoskey, Michigan 49770
Phone: (231) 347-1134
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Investing in a Hot Tub 101

By Charlie Philliben
Published in Michigan Home Resource Guide, Autumn 2009

hot-tubs-101Hot tubs or spas, when used and maintained properly, can quickly become a central feature of the home. They offer unparalleled levels of stress and muscle relief. In addition, they provide a relaxing environment to share quiet time with family members and are a great place to simply unwind with your favorite beverage. They invoke deep thinking and allow people solace and spirituality. Interested? Simply block off a 10-foot square area and you are ready to begin.

The first step in your journey to owning a hot tub is to pick a spot where it will be located. It can be a deck, patio, sun porch, basement, or garage. Almost anywhere works. The most important thing to consider is weight. Buy a 6 to 7 person hot tub and you are parking the equivalent of a truck on top of that area. Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon and you can quickly have 6,000 pounds out there. A strong solid base is essential. Level, concrete pads that are 4 inches thick are best. Decks should be built on 12-inch centers to 115 pounds per square foot. Patio blocks need compacted pea gravel and sand placed underneath. Of course, the smaller the tub the less your base becomes a factor. Most above ground portable spas are for 2 to 7 people. Portable means they can be moved, while permanent spas are the in-ground variety that most hotels have next to their swimming pools.

The second physical component is water and its supply. Tubs are filled with hoses and are self-contained. Hose bibs should be close by and accessible year round. Spas are filtered a minimum of 8 hours a day, (24 hour filtration is better) and are chemically treated to prevent bacteria growth. Water at 102 degrees is a perfect environment for bacterial growth, but please of not panic!

Your tub will take less than five minutes a week to keep clean and beautiful. The two basic components for clean water are sanitization and pH balance. They are easily tested for and your spa dealer will teach you how to do this with confidence. Ozonators can also be very helpful in reducing chemical usage. It is your job to do your best to understand water chemistry and not be ashamed to ask questions if something is not making sense to you. One person should be put in charge of spa maintenance. That way nothing will be overlooked. Finally, and the most obvious thing that is overlooked, is things are going to get wet all around the tub area. Plan for this.

Hot tubs are electrically wired and are either 115-volt or 230-volt. A 115-volt spa can run either the heater of the jets. A 230-volt spa will run both at the same time and heat up quicker at start-up and are highly recommended in colder climates for outdoor spas. larger tubs are 230-volt only.

Price points for spas run from $2,500 to $15,000 depending on size, features and warranties. Always remember, you get what you pay for and educating yourself, by online references or a trusted friend's referral, will serve you best. Visit a local spa showroom and speak with their professionals. They will be able to help guide your decision and give invaluable advice that they have learned by helping hundreds of customers such as yourself. Through their expert guidance and your research, you will end up with the spa that is perfectly suited for your needs.

Operating costs are an important factor to consider. Spas can cost more than $100 monthly if you are not careful in watching what you purchase. Cheaper is sometimes exactly that. Quality and service reputations also go a long way in the longevity of a spa. 

Portable hot tubs have virtually no safety issues when common sense is used. Covers are always included with a hot tub purchase and all come with locks. The suction or water intake on spas are so small that being stuck on an intake is practically impossible. Every year millions of hours are enjoyed danger free in hot tubs. Much like driving, when accidents occur around spas, alcohol can play a factor. Hot tubs magnify the effects of alcohol and should never be used to excess.

Water temperatures in hot tubs can go up to 104 degrees. Most tubs automatically set at 102 degrees. Anything above your body temperature makes it a hot tub; when the temperature is set below your body temperature, it becomes a cool tub. Many people turn off tubs in the summer months when they could in fact turn down the temperature to 94 degrees and enjoy it as a refreshing cool tub. The hydrotherapy provided by the jets would be the same in a cool tub. Jet action in a hot tub is what relaxes tired overworked muscles and there are many different style of jets offering relief to aching feet, backs, necks calves, hips and even wrists for carpal tunnel pain. 

Hot tubs can provide a simple solution to many of today's stressors, while adding enjoyment to your living space. Take a vacation in your own backyard, 365 days a year with a spa to call your own.

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Featured Specials

LA Spa close-out sale! LA Swim Spa: MSRP $25,999.00. Selling for $16,999.00! Come check it out here at Northwoods or online at LA Spa's website!

Trade In Value

Find out what the Trade In Value may be and consider trading in your old hot tub for an additional discount!