Any hot tub advice?

So I’m thinking about splurging on a hot tub sometime soon. Anyone have any advice on brands to go with or avoid? Do you wish you had gotten a bigger/smaller one? Are they a major pain to maintain?

Any advice is welcome. Also, ladies, at what point in a new relationship is it safe for a guy to invite you over for some hot tub relaxation. I imagine if it’s too early it would come off a little creepy. Do you think there’s an assumption that hot tub = sex?

Anyone with useful advice is welcome at Casa de Jose to come over for a dip this winter.

Sorry, but, 100% of my hot-tub advice consists of the following words: non-water-soluable lube.

Don’t do this. (link with sound, mild NSFW language).


Yeah, I have a few items for you to consider.
Look at all the tubs on the market. There is quite a variety. Decide how big and what features you want. You can get spas with radios and TV in them now. I might consider a radio if I were doing it all over again.
I bought a spa with what is called a cool down seat. This is a seat that is just out of the water, and allows someone that has gotten overheated to cool off and dangle their legs in the water. This has been a very popular feature with our guests.
Once you decide on a unit look at it closely and decide how to orient it in your backyard. This may not be as obvious as it looks. I set my tub so that we climbed in over the control panel. The floor of the tub right there was not flat and several people slipped getting in or out. So I built a staircase on the side to make it easier for people to climb in and out (the tub has a flat bottom there) Knowing what I know now, I would have rotated the tub 90 degrees when I set it.
Consider a tub with an ozone generator, it will cut down on the chemicals needed, and won’t smell like a public swimming pool.
Decide which type of chemical you will use. I use bromine, not chlorine due to the smell.
Buy your chemicals and filters at a local swimming pool supply store, the price will be about half of what the spa store gets, even with your preferred customer discount.
The first time you buy a new filter, take the old one with you to match it up. It will make your life easier.
Buy a cover lifter, you will be glad you did.
Grind the salesman on price. Sales are slow, they will throw in all kinds of free stuff. I got about 3K off when I bought my tub.
Good luck, if you have any further questions feel free to ask.

Things to think about -

How many people do you want to fit in it?

What kind of seating do you like? I’ve decided that I really dislike the recliners. If it’s not something your going to use, and takes up lots of space, avoid it.

Do you want bubbles? The tub I bought years ago had both jets and air bubbles. I hated the air bubbles, as it piped in unheated air. Goodie, cold bubbles up my back.

Consider a tub with a timer - Do you envision yourself using the tub every evening at 10PM? Then a timer that starts the heat up process at 9pm automatically might be the way to go.

Insulation - you don’t show where you are located. The tub I bought went in northern Michigan. Having a well insulated tub was a requirement.

I’ll second Rick’s suggestion of an ozone generator. It’s rather nice being able to use a lot less chemicals. Also a good call on the lift cover. Who wants to wrestle with the cover after getting out of tub?

Also take a look at used tubs. I’ve been hearing that there are a fair number of people who find they don’t actually use the hot tub, and decide that rather then letting it rot in the backyard, they would sell it. I also know that one of the local dealers takes trade ins, so I’m assuming they sell them off somehow.

Google ‘Softub’ and see what they offer. We’ve had their product for nearly 14 years, and love it.

Easy, low maintenance, meets our needs.

I bought one of these last year and have been happy with it.

Excellent advice so far, keep it coming. I would have had no idea about ozone generators and cold air bubbles. BTW I’m in Richmond VA, it’s in my profile but for some reason it doesn’t show for guests. I feel like I’m in message board purgatory having been a “guest” for 3 months now. :wink:

It’s difficult to measure, but try to find the quietest one that fits your needs. I’m not sure how large a range of sound level they come in, but mine is moderately loud and I feel guilty about the neighbors as it comes on every 12 hours to cycle the water and pumps. I actually researched this when I bought mine and tried to get the quietest one.

Living in California, I had to buy one. It seats eight easily, and sits in our back yard outside our bedroom window. Ours has one side where you can lie down, which is what I use the most. We had a big light mounted on the wall over it, which is a plus for reading.

Put it someplace where you can drain the water. We run the hose to some ground cover when we drain, and only have to move it a few times. One hint - get a wet dry vac. We found one at a yard sale and it made cleaning the last bits of leaves out of the bottom much simpler.

Maintenance is not bad. We’ve had ours for about 12 years, and the pump has gone out a few times, but the repair cost wasn’t bad.

The big problem is your electric bill. When our electric rates soared thanks to Enron we started turning it off if we weren’t going to use it for a long time. We’ve had it off now for about six months, but maybe we’ll turn it on for the winter. If you are going to use it every day, it’s fine, but it was about a third of our total bill, and that was hard to swallow for weekend use only.

this is what i am getting=]

Great advice so far, remember to figure in the cost of a qualified licensed electrician to do the installation. You don’t want Jack the handyman who thinks he can do it messing it up and paying twice as much to get it done right.

That’s a cute one. Nice lid, also. Ditto on getting the electrician - we had to add a circuit breaker for ours. We also needed a permit for the concrete pad it went on, but yours is a lot smaller, so I don’t know if one is required. It will cost more than you think.

this particular one is double walled with insulation inside plastic, think of a giant igloo cooler with jets and a pump =) and it just plugs into a standard household outlet, no plumbing and no electrician. It is technically ‘portable’. They had it out on display at the Big E [New England States Exposition] so we got to crawl around on it and check it out in person. Very sturdy, cooling seat and the whole lot. Ozone is one option we are going to get =)

Paris gave the world fashion. London gave the world banking. Sudbury gave the world Softub. [Sniff]As an ex-Sudburian, Softub does my heart proud.[Sniff]

My sister, however, was dismayed to learn that the four-man Softub did not actually come with four men.

Aside from that initial disappointment, she has had one for the same number of years as QtM, without any problems at all. When she moved from one home to another, moving the Softub was very easy – I drained it, unplugged it from the regular household wall plug, unscrewed the heater hose, and carried it over to the truck – no major disassembly was required, and no moving crew was required.

While searching for pool pumps I found quite a few salt water systems for hot tubs. I would think this, plus ozone, would help quite a bit with low maintenance sanitization.

I got ours from Craigslist for $2000. There were two leaks that were easily fixed and could have happened while moving the unwieldy beast. I wired the last one myself (spa2go) but hired an electrician for the new one. Maintenance isn’t really a chore. I wander over after work with a beer to check the chemistry when I get home.

We fit 10 people in our five seater during its inaugural weekend. Hot tubs deliberatley invite lewd and licentious behavior and that is a good enough reason to invest in one.

If you have firewood and don’t want to pay an electric bill, you can always try the wood-fired hot tub. The stove is actually submerged in the water.

The wait for warm water tends to spoil the thirll of that one.

Need company, neighbor? :smiley: