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Hot Tubs

Old 02-28-2012, 04:46 PM
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Looking at adding a hot tub out by our pool. Any good brands or brands to stay away from? I'm in MN so insulation will be important. Our pool is inground but we'd like to be able to use the hot tub during the winter so this will be a self contained free standing unit and will not share any of the pool equipment.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:33 PM
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I'd stick with a name brand that's been around for a while. We looked at a Canadian brand that had better price/performance specs, but settled on a hot spring. Eight years after the purchase, the control board went on it. Had we bought the other brand, we would have been screwed trying to find parts as they are no longer sold anywhere I could find on the east coast. Last year we needed to replace the cover, as teh foam gets waterlogged over time and grows quite heavy. Again, covers for Hot Springs spas were very easy to find.

I thought we would only use it a lot for the first year and then the novelty would wear off, but we've had it for 12 years and still use it constantly, especially in the winter. I have it just outside the basement door, and move the plastic stairs inside if it's going to snow. Then when we want to use it we open the cover, put the stairs out, and then go get changed. That way it's a quick open of the door and step right onto the steps and then into the hot tub. We keep it right at 101 degrees year round, and it's worth the $1/day we pay in added electricity costs.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:44 PM
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I just went to a local home show were they had a bunch of dealers. Strong, Hot Springs, Jacuzzi and a couple no names. I loved the Jacuzzi tubs. With their filter and UV light the they don't need ANY chemicals but they are also the most expensive. I like Strong, been to their factory and they are built like a tank, I really like their hard cover. Hot Springs is the only manufacture to offer salt water from the factory. With this system they use a lot of the other chemicals, they have a great warranty and service. Jacuzzi had the best and longest warranty with service all over the place. Another plus with Jacuzzi is they manufacture all of their parts.......from the pumps to the boards. Nothing is made in China, at least thats what the sales guy told me. Their tubs are also the cheapest to run. Don't get sold on a tub because it has a massive amount of jets or high HP motors. Theirs a reason why some tubs need higher hp motors. They have some many dam miles of plumbing it takes a big motor to push the water.


http://www.strongspas.com/
http://www.jacuzzihottubs.com/
http://www.hotspring.com/
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:12 PM
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I had a Hot Springs Vista for 7 years. Sold it this year and it looked and worked like new.

Very reliable. Original cover still on it.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:38 PM
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Sundance. Love it. Have had it for nearly 10 years. Check 'em out.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:30 AM
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Forgot to mention........keep away from ANYTHING that has sprayed foam incasing the plumbing. Its a nightmare if you have a leak and a great place for critters to live
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
It's funny, they all claim to be the best.

In Canada I'd say Beachcomber is hard to beat, but Arctic Spa sure tries. If I were to buy another hot tub it Would be another Beachcomber. I also find it funny how those towing the line find ways to gimic their models up.
When we researched spas the Arctic seemed to be on top, but I don't think we looked at or knew enough about the Beachcomber. Is there somethng in particular that you feel sets it apart or does it come doen to your personal experience?

We will finally be buying one this year. The difficulty I have found is that being short (5'8"), many of the spas are a bit too deep in the loungers. Arctice does have a shallower longer on one of their styles, but I think my wife will win the war on who gets that seating position.

Do you find you use it to entertain guests at all? Some designs are better suited for that purpose but we are leaning towards one with recliners that cuts the positions to 6 max on an 8' model. I am thinking this ill be fine. Any thoughts?

DO you have the ozone system or standard chemical treatments? Not really sure which way to go on those options.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:32 AM
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Master Spa. I looked at Sundance, Hot Springs and a few others. Master Spa was the only one that had multiple 5hp pumps in addition to a 1hp circulation pump. When you go around looking at the various tubs have the salesman turn on ALL features at the same time. It never failed that all the others got weaker as you turned and left on each feature. The Master Spa has a 5hp pump for each feature so no dissapointments. Their warrantee was the best in the business and I also liked that their tubs were deeper than the others I looked at. I will pay shipping if needed to get my next one....I think they're out of Indianna. BTW...the pumps were 2 speed which was also unique in the industry at the time which was nice for my wife who would get almost blown out of the main therapy seat at full pressure....



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Old 02-29-2012, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by FASTFJR View Post

. With their filter and UV light the they don't need ANY chemicals but they are also the most expensive.

Hot Springs is the only manufacture to offer salt water from the factory. With this system they use a lot of the other chemicals]

While the UV light element is considerably expensive it only kills the bacteria while the water is flowing through the UV unit. Contrary to popular belief you still need bromine in your hot tub. Bromine is a preferred disinfectant as chlorine does not hold up as well to the higher water temperature. Believe me you do not want an under sanitized hot tub. Hot tubs are breeding grounds for bacteria. Personally, knowing what I know, I would not go into anyone's hot tub other than my own let alone even think about entering a public hot tub.

As far as salt systems go they are not "chlorine free" as most people think. Chlorine can be produced on-site utilizing a mixture of sodium chloride salt and water. Electricity is passed through the salt solution and chlorine gas is produced.

There are 2 basic types of chlorine generation systems. The first, called "in-line," produces chlorine utilizing salt that is disolved in the pool or spa water. The second, called"brine method," uses an off-line system to produce chlorine from a solution of salt and distilled water.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BACKTOTHESEA View Post
When we researched spas the Arctic seemed to be on top, but I don't think we looked at or knew enough about the Beachcomber. Is there somethng in particular that you feel sets it apart or does it come doen to your personal experience?

We will finally be buying one this year. The difficulty I have found is that being short (5'8"), many of the spas are a bit too deep in the loungers. Arctice does have a shallower longer on one of their styles, but I think my wife will win the war on who gets that seating position.

DO you have the ozone system or standard chemical treatments? Not really sure which way to go on those options.

I've go the opposite issue, I'm 6'3 and find most loungers too shallow unless I bought a very large tub. I was all set to buy a Strong 3 person tub until I sat in it.

Most tub companies have an ozone system standard. Be careful, these can be good and bad. If you have any type of breathing issues be careful when removing the spa cover. The gas will build up after a while.



While the UV light element is considerably expensive it only kills the bacteria while the water is flowing through the UV unit. Contrary to popular belief you still need bromine in your hot tub. Bromine is a preferred disinfectant as chlorine does not hold up as well to the higher water temperature. Believe me you do not want an under sanitized hot tub. Hot tubs are breeding grounds for bacteria. Personally, knowing what I know, I would not go into anyone's hot tub other than my own let alone even think about entering a public hot tub.
I'm only going by what the sales guy told me
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by FASTFJR View Post

I'm only going by what the sales guy told me
If the salesman told you that you don't need chemicals in a Hot Tub he should be selling used cars instead. He is doing a dis-service to his customers by endangering their health.

UV does kill 99.9% of bacteria but only during the time when the water passes the UV light. Once it's reintroduced back into the Hot Tub or swimming pool there is nothing to sanitize the water without any chemicals.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:45 AM
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I can only speak from experience from my last spa. The "tub" was sprayed with about 3/4 of foam. The plumbing was also incased in foam. Which is great if you don't have a failure........mine did. A slow leak from one of the fittings which started about 3 months after owning it. The service guy had to rip out about 1/2 the foam before he found the leaky fitting. He never did re-foam it. He used an insulating blanket instead.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:01 AM
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My guess would be the same as yours, it left the factory with the leak......just my luck
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:04 AM
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Hot Springs, Sundance, and Artic Spa seem to be the names which keep popping up (and Jacuzzi but not so much in our area). The salesmen all have their reasons why their tub is best but they all seem to be feature related while I'm more concerned about build quality, reliability (and insulation). Being that we already have a pool, I'm well aware that the equipment and maintenance can be a major PITA. I want to make sure and get something high quality while not paying for Dolby 7.1 surround sound complete with laser light show and synchronized fountains...........

The idea of the fittings being accessable and not encased in foam is something to consider.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
Just think about this for a moment, what takes less energy, to heat water to 104° or to heat water to 104° another 5 - 10 cubic sq. ft. of open air space plus the ground the hot tub sits on? Boy that's a tough one to answer in my books.

Now if you Don't heat that dead air space and the ground to 104° when it's freezing outside and you jump in and turn on your pumps/ jets you WILL get cold water blasting you....even if the dead space is heated to 75°. That difference in temperature is enough to make that water coming out of those jets to seem Very cold~! And if that dead air space is only reaching temperatures of 75+ degrees in the winter time then your heaters have to work harder to maintain the water temperature to what you've got it set at.

So what part of Arctic Spa's most efficient statement is true? Is it the design of the tub, the type of insulation used, the amount of insulation used and the type of motors used (AC vs DC?) or is it the cycling in the standby mode??? And then is Arctic Spa using the properties of one of their tubs to make a blanket statement that is implied to apply to all their tubs? ....I am always leary of smoke and mirrors.
Why would you need to heat the ground? Is there no insulation on the bottom of the unit? Is the pump and exposed plumbing on a more standard unit (foamed shell) in an insulated area or is there warm water which is being circulated though a cold pump and some plumbing which is exposed? I'm leary of new trends as well but I don't want to rule something out just because it's different. I talked to my pool guy and he seems to think pretty highly of them.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:44 PM
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I personally like the way Strong Spa's are built. You can see it on page 2 of the pdf file. Their foam is all around and on the bottom also, its kind of built like a whaler (foam injected). Who knows?

http://www.strongspas.com/phocadownl...2011_proof.pdf
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