Congratulations on your decision to join the world of hot tub owners! You have many hours of fun and relaxation in your future. Before you buy, though, you want to answer a few questions to be sure you get the right hot tub for your lifestyle. Should you take it out for a test soak? Does it come with a warranty? How about cleaning, does it require a lot of cleaning? Answering the following questions when buying your first hot tub helps ensure you enjoy your new purchase for many years to come.
Can You Test a Hot Tub before Buying It?
In a word, yes. Taking your hot tub out for a test soak is called "wet testing" and it's something you do with a demonstration model at the dealer. Most spa dealers offer demo models specifically for shoppers to do a wet test.
During your wet test, pay attention to the seating and the jets. If the seating is uncomfortable, or the water goes too high or too low, you don't get the full hydrotherapeutic value. Also, make sure that the positioning of the jets is comfortable.
Aim for a 15-minute test soak to get a true feel for the spa.
How Much Does it Cost?
Before conducting your first wet test, determine your budget and decide what you are willing and able to spend. Once you have your figure in mind you can start shopping. When you begin dealing with sales reps, remain confident in your predetermined price range. Most of them work on commission, so they often push larger models or extra features that you don't necessarily want or need. That's okay, they're just doing their job, but if it's more than you're willing to spend, don't let yourself be talked into more hot tub than you want. And, if you want to haggle, go for it. Most hot tubs have a decent markup, so there's usually a bit of wiggle room.
Where Should I Put My Hot Tub?
While the majority of hot tub owners choose to put their tubs outside, they can also be installed inside. Installing a tub inside comes with three main concerns:
- Will it fit through the door? Will it fit through my gates? Will I need to pay for a crane service?
- Will the floor support the spa's weight? Hint: a full, 3-person tub typically weighs around 2,500 pounds; larger tubs can weigh four times as much.
- Do you have proper ventilation to avoid moisture buildup?
If you choose to go the more traditional route and install your spa outside, your main concerns are electricity and support. The closer the hot tub is to your home, the less it will cost to install, since it will be closer to any electrical outlets or wiring and you don't have to worry about underground wiring. As for support, it is important to make sure that whatever surface you place your hot tub on can support the extra weight.
If want an in-ground tub, you need to place it at least four feet deep, or below the frost-line. Since the ground will thaw every spring, you want to make sure that you have the support in place to keep the spa's shell from cracking once the ground shifts.
What about the Warranty?
Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so request a copy of the warranty for any hot tub you are considering purchasing. The main things you want to keep an eye out for when it comes to the warranty are the:
- Hot tub shell, usually covered for five years against leaks and failures
- Plumbing, usually covered for three years
- Electrical components, usually covered for five years
Although these are your main areas of concern, read all the provisions of your warranty carefully.
The dealer you choose also plays a role. If they go out of business or have a reputation for bad customer service, you may have a harder time getting warranty items handled. You want to be happy with the retailer, the hot tub, and the warranty before making your final decision.
How Often Should the Hot Tub be Cleaned?
It is usually recommended to clean your spa no more than three or four times a year, but it depends on how frequently it is used and how well the water is maintained. Typically, cleaning your hot tub takes about an hour. Proper water care is vital to your enjoyment of the hot tub and fairly simple, but it's even easier with pHin.
Should You Shower before Using the Tub?
If you are perspiring, have recently worked out, or have any creams or lotions on your skin, it is a good idea to take a quick shower before hopping into your hot tub. Any contaminants that enter the water can upset the chemical balance and lead to more frequent cleanings or maintenance issues.
As you look at these questions to ask when buying your first hot tub, there are many great tools to simplify the maintenance process. If you want an easy way to ensure the water in your hot tub is always safe and ready for a relaxing soak, consider pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered right to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.