You may be considering buying a new spa this spring and this quick little guide to help you in your search. Here are some things to look out for when you’re shopping for your new hot tub.
This first one I feel is one of the most important aspects of a good hot tub especially here in the north east. Full foam insulation is always my number one recommendation to customers looking for a new spa. Full foam gives you the best R value for keeping the heat in your tub and saving you serious money when it comes to running your spa year round.
The other argument to make for full foam insulation is support and structural integrity. There is a lot of flexible plumbing inside of a hot tub and full foam gives that plumbing support and keeps the plumbing from vibrating within the tub. Spa pumps can get up to 5hp when running on high speed and if the flexible pvc plumbing within the spa is not supported it can vibrate and over time possible loosen up glue joints throughout the spa.
2. Pressure Treated Wood or composite frame
Over the last few years more and more spa manufactures are switching to composite frames for their spas. Most spas have always been made with pressure treated 2x4s. Although the pressure treated has held up well the choice between wood and composite materials should be obvious. If your spa is made completely with composite man made materials you can be sure the spas frame will hold up over time, and when you are spending that kind of money on something you want it to last. Although some manufactures like Coleman spas utilize a sealed cabinet with a strong bottom armor tray and a solid cross braced 2×4 pressured treated frame to excellent results.
3. Warranty service
Beyond finding out the details of the spas warranty, like how many years, and what does it cover, you should know how is going to be performing the warranty service. Is the dealer you are purchasing the spa from sending out their technicians or will you have to wait for a manufacturer’s technician to come from who knows where? I highly recommend buying from a dealer who performs their own service, this way you know who is coming to the house, you know they are local, and you know it will be done in a timely fashion.
4. Ozone sanitation included
If you are looking at buying high end quality spa ozone sanitation should come standard with your purchase. Ozone is the best self-sanitizing systems in the spa industry. It lets your use less chlorine or bromine in your spa, saving you time and money while keep you spa clean.
5. Type of jets
Notice how this says types of jets and not number of jets. Most people when shopping for a spa get set on buying a spa with the most jets that they overlook a lot of other important aspects of the spa they are buying. The best hot tubs in the industry don’t have the most jets, they have the best jets. The top of the line tubs have their jets placed in specific spots ensure the highest possible hydrotherapy effects. Also you want most if not all of your jets to be adjustable, meaning you can control the flow of the individual jets from inside the tub. A lot of lower end tubs fill the spa with small “bullet-hole” non-adjustable jets just so they can claim they have 100 jets in their tub. Good jets are full size, adjustable, and upgradeable, meaning you can pull the jet out and pop a new, different style jet in its place with ease.
The other thing I need to mention about spas with 50+ jets in them is pump size. The more plumbing you have in your spa the more back pressure and resistance you have which thus slows down your jet flow. Tubs loaded with too many jets need huge pumps, 5-7hp to supply enough flow to all of those 90 jets, these pumps will end up costing you a lot more in electricity month to month. This is another thing you need to keep in mind if you ar buying a tub based on how many jets it has.
6. Does the spa fit your body?
This comes down to try before you buy, make sure you get in the spa and make sure the seats actually work for you. This is especially true for spas with neck and shoulder jets, a lot of taller people cannot fit under most neck jet setups in hot tubs. Also does the lay down lounge seats might not fit you so get in the tub full or not and make sure it is comfortable and is something you are going to want to relax in for years to come. Even if you can’t wet test the tub make sure you at least get into a dry tub, sit in the seats and make sure the fit your body.
7. Does the dealer have a local brick and mortar store?
This is big question to ask if you are buying a tub at a fair this year or a home show. A lot of hot tubs these days are being sold at offsite events and it is important that you have a place you can visit after the purchase for chemicals, water test, and technical support. Having a local spa professional nearby to help you with your hot tub when you have questions will make your spa ownership more enjoyable. Yes you can buy chemicals online but who are you going to call when the water turns on you or your jets stop working?
These are just a few of the more important things to look for when searching for a new hot tub this spring. A lot of the higher end tubs utilize much of the same technology and that is why finding a good dealer, and spa company to work with locally is what should determine you purchase.