Buying Guide to Spas and Hot Tubs Buying Guide to Spas and Hot Tubs

Nothing in the world would be better than coming home after an especially stressful day at the office and jumping into your own hot tub. Maybe the kids have given your wife an especially demanding day, and you would enjoy having her join you for an hour of relaxation. The hot water and pulsing jets can go a long way in erasing the cares of your day. First, though, it is probably a good idea to take into consideration what the joys of your own home spa entails.

A hot tub is defined as a large tub, usually made of acrylic or fiberglass, designed to hold heated water. There are also hot tubs made from wood, but these are not as popular as the fiberglass and acrylic tubs. A hot tub often has water jets for massage therapy. It is used for relaxation, hot soaking, massage, or hydrotherapy. These tubs can hold up to eight people, and up to 800 gallons of heated water.

Here are some things to consider when planning on purchasing a hot tub:

  1. Where will it be located in your home?
  2. What size hot tub would suit you needs?
  3. What is your budget? A large hot tub can be expensive!
  4. What level of comfort do you desire in your new hot tub?
  5. What safety features are important?
  6. What considerations need to be made on installation?

Let's take these areas of concern and explore them. When you are considering a hot tub, remember that a gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds, and even a small hot tub holding approximately 125 gallons will weigh a little over 1,041 pounds. Figure into this the weight of the tub itself, and the weight of the number of people using it, and you will see that a good solid foundation will be needed for installation. Generally, hot tub manufacturers will stress placing the hot tub on a cement slab outdoors for safety's sake. It wouldn't be a good idea to put a hot tub in the upstairs of an older home!

When you consider size, ask yourself if your perfect idea of owning a hot tub is for you and your spouse to have a place to relax and enjoy one another, or do you wish to entertain several couples with a hot tub party? Consider that the larger the tub, the more water it will hold, thus putting more weight on your structure. It is wise to remember also that the larger the tub, the higher the cost.

Budget is a prime consideration for anyone. A survey of manufacturers shows that a two-person hot tub or spa will run approximately $4,500, and a six-person hot tub can run as high as $10,000. You must then take into consideration the cost of installation, and the energy costs for heating and running the various jets and accouterments.

Many people get hot tubs or spas because they have back problems. Nothing beats a hot soak in a spa with air or water jets massaging your entire body. There are basically two types of hot tub - the lounger style and the non-lounger. The lounger style is perfect for people with back or joint pain, as the user can lay back on the lounger and receive the full benefit of the hot tub. Non lounger styles are more often used for a group of people to sit in and relax.

Safety considerations should be a top priority when considering a hot tub or home spa. It should have a locking cover to keep unattended children and pets out of the tub. The spa should have good thermostat controls to insure that the heat does not exceed the normal limits of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Hand controls for the jets and massagers should be easily accessible. Hand railings should be an integral part of the tub to insure there is no slip and fall. Steps going into the tub should have non-slip treads. All electrical equipment must be properly installed and grounded.

When you install your hot tub, be sure that you take privacy into consideration. Many people like to sit in a hot tub in the nude, and it is probably not a good idea to go running through your backyard naked to jump into your hot tub! You should also be careful not to place the tub where overhanging trees will shed leaves and debris into the water. Access to a faucet for filling and considerations for drainage should be considered.

Owning a hot tub can be an enjoyable experience for anyone. Whether you just need a place to ease the stress and cares of the day, or enjoy entertaining family and friends, a hot tub or spa is a great asset to consider.

Read About Hot Tub Accessories and Maintenance >

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.

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