Hot Tub Facts
What is the difference between a hot tub, spa, whirlpool and Jacuzzi®?
A hot tub is an open-topped tank filled with circulated, filtered and chemically treated water. A hot tub is considered portable, as it is a totally self-contained unit that is typically found outdoors. On average, the water in a hot tub is drained once a quarter for regular maintenance purposes. A spa typically refers to an in-ground unit that is constructed on-site, and is most often part of a pool/spa combination. A whirlpool tub is commonly found indoors in the master bathroom or in other indoor facilities. Whirlpool tubs are filled and drained after each use and are not chemically treated. Jacuzzi® is a brand name that describes only those products manufactured by the Jacuzzi Company.
How do I know what type of hot tub to purchase?
Evaluate what the hot tub will be used for. If exercise and therapy will be the focus, consider a hot tub with depth and room for movement. If the hot tub will be used recreationally, choose a model with four or more seats. HotTubLiving.com’s interactive “Your HotTub Profile” program allows users to learn about the variety of hot-tub options and features that are available to best suit their needs.
How should I prepare the location where I plan to install my hot tub?
There is very little site preparation for a self-contained hot tub. Decide on a strong, level area that can support the heavy weight of the unit once it’s filled with water. If you’re placing the hot tub outdoors, do not place the unit within 10 feet of overhead power lines and ensure that the installation meets all city and local safety codes. Homeowners will also require a dedicated electrical outlet (110- or 220-volt outlet) and a nearby garden hose. Many people choose to install tile, gazebos, custom wood decking or flora around their hot tubs to create a private oasis.
If you install indoors, pay close attention to flooring and wall construction as it could possibly cause moisture damage. To ensure adequate ventilation and safe use, you must also ensure that you comply with ANSI (American National Standards Institute) / ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Standard 62-2001.
Are there any hidden costs?
A local retailer should specify all of the costs associated with the purchase of the hot tub unit, any necessary equipment or parts, installation, shipping and delivery. Ask a local retailer for an estimate on maintenance costs to ensure the hot tub is being kept in optimal condition.
How will the addition of my hot tub affect my electric bill?
While electrical costs vary by region, model and quality of insulation, a recent study found that the average hot tub costs only $10 to $30 per month to operate. A local retailer can provide more specific information.
Will it be difficult to maintain the proper chemical balance in my hot tub?
With just a little reading, users can easily and quickly maintain the proper chemical balance in their hot tub. Most manufacturers recommend chlorine tablets be used about once a week. A local retailer can aid in chemical selection.
I have small children and I’m concerned about installing a hot tub in my home. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) recommends that all portable hot tub owners have a safety cover that locks. Check to see if such a cover is included in the price of the unit, and make sure the cover meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) F1346-91 safety standard. A local retailer can identify options that complement specific hot-tub models. And, always remember that there is no substitute for constant adult supervision when children are around water.
Are outdoor hot tubs limited to certain seasons?
Outdoor hot tubs can be used year-round in any climate. For especially cold climes consider a winterizing kit. A winterizing kit is comprised of insulation for the unit, pipes and equipment, an insulated cover to retain heat and a device that is monitored by a thermostat or timer that will protect the hot tub from freezing.
Are hot tubs difficult to clean or maintain?
How often should I clean my hot tub? In a recent survey conducted by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, 77 percent of current hot tub owners said they think their hot tubs are easy to clean and maintain.
In addition to quick and easy water testing before each use, hot tub manufacturers recommend using sanitizing or chlorine tablets once a week. The filter should be cleaned at least once a month with a hose and, if needed, filter cleaning solution. The safety cover should also be wiped down about once a month. Drain and refill the hot tub with fresh water once every three months. Wipe down the hot tub skirting with a sponge as needed. To prolong the life of the hot tub follow the manufacturer’s instructions for water and filter maintenance.