Buying, Soaking, and Maintaining
Every time I get into the hot tub, which is not as often as I should, I say the same thing. “This is the smartest thing we ever bought.” That probably isn’t it true but it sure feels good. The wife and I always sampled the spas at vacation destinations and decided that if we ever had enough room and money we’d get one of our own. We shopped at a nearby spa store, researched on the Internet and eventually plunked down a chunk of cash for a Sundance five–seater. If you’re ever thought about taking the plunge yourself, here’s some things to consider.
When we originally bought the house it needed everything but because of it’s connection to the outside spaces, the first thing we actually built was a set of retaining walls, and a deck to go around a hot tub. We never considered putting the spa indoors but I’ve seen people who do it. Even in the middle of winter with snow on the ground the spa is totally usable, as long as you don’t mind the quick freeze of jumping in and out. When we know we’re getting in, we crank the temp to 102, anything higher is uncomfortable and when we’re done, we turn it down to 92. Depending on how cold it is outside it takes 60-120 minutes to heat up.
Spas are usually priced by how big they are, meaning how many people they will hold, and how many jets they have. While all hot tubs get hot and bubble, the jets are what actually blasts sore muscles and renders therapeutic benefits. Generally speaking, the more people the tub will hold and the more jets it has, the more it will cost.
There are several bells and whistles that are offered with a spa purchase including built-in stereo systems, waterfalls, cover loading devices, lighting, and aromatherapy. That’s right, aromatherapy. We steered away from the stereo systems because when you’re in the tub, with the jets on you can’t hear much anyway. Instead, we mounted some outdoor speakers on the exterior wall of the house.
The aromatherapy came standard with ours and works with a little basket of “flavor balls” that heat up when you turn the bubbler feature on. The balls come in different aromas including mint and lavender – but lavender seems to be the only one that you can actually smell. As long as the cover doesn’t get waterlogged, it’s not that hard to slide on and off so we didn’t get the loader.
The tub also came standard with a waterfall feature, which is kind of hokey and an underwater light that turns different colors – which is pretty cool. Maintenance isn’t that tough, we change the water three or four times a year and the filter about once a year. Bromine tablets drop into a little basket in the filter compartment and occasionally I have to adjust the Ph with chemicals.
If you’re ever thinking about buying a hot tub for yourself, I would advise a test-drive. The store we shopped had a number of tubs in the showroom with water in them that you could try before buying. I know they are expensive toys, but if you’re like me, I think that you’ll agree that once you slide under that steamy water and get your backside positioned just right you’ll discover that it’s actually the smartest thing you can buy.
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