Spas and Stuff

  • A Few Facts About Salt Water Hot Tub Systems

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    Many people are switching from using chlorine to clean their hot tubs and spas to saline (salt) solutions. There are many reasons to make the switch (fewer chemicals in the water, for example). Here are just a few facts you should know about switching to saline.

    • A salt water system (essentially) creates its own chlorine or bromine to circulate throughout the hot tub. A chlorinator or brominator cell creates the separation of sodium and chloride or sodium and bromide. This process culminates in the sterilization of your spa.
    • Some hot tub users are allergic to the chemicals in chlorinated spas. This may also be the result of ancillary by-products existing in the chlorine solution. Those who are known to be allergic or have sensitive skin may benefit from the new bromine salt water system for spas.
    • Kids love to submerge themselves underwater. Saline solution is much easier on the eyes than chlorine. This lets little ones play longer without getting red, itchy eyes.
    • Saline systems do not come cheap. Presently, saline hot tub systems are more expensive than traditional spa chlorine.
    • Saline cleaning does not warrant as much diligence, but a hot tub owner must still occasionally add acids or base to equate the pH levels in the hot tub.

    Going "green" and being more aware of our individual impact on the environment is something that increasingly concerns consumers. Certainly, using saline solution rather than chlorine to clean your hot tub is a greener way to go.

  • Electricity Can Get You Into Hot Water

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    Outdoor hot tubs and spas are wonderful products, but they do require an electrical current to run. Besides the obvious hazardous implications of mixing water and electricity there are other safety precautions to consider when enjoying your spa.

    Around the hot tub

    • Think about installing outlets with covers that protect connected plugs.
    • Do not touch any electrical appliance around the spa or hot tub while your body is still wet.
    • Do not place cords or plugs in close proximity to your tub, as well as damp pipes and puddles.
    • Do not try to be a hot tub repairman (unless that is your profession, of course). Make sure a licensed electrical professional addresses any repairs or electrical concerns.

    Electrical appliances

    • Do not leave any tools or appliances running unattended or left for small children to find.
    • Do not move around with appliances while they are plugged in and turned on.
    • Check for cracked or broken wires because they can quickly become hazardous.
    • Do not carry appliances or tools by their cords.

    Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)

    A ground fault is an unintentional electrical path existing between an electrical current's source and a grounded surface. Currents sometimes "leak," enabling electricity to escape into the ground. If a person's body approaches the leak, it can facilitate its connection to the ground, in turn providing shocks, burns, and electrocutions.

    GFCIs were created to circumvent such hazards from occurring. A GFCI continuously monitors a home's wiring system and finds sources losing current (or leaking). When a GFCI senses a disparity in regular electrical currents, it cuts the power to that specific circuit. A GFCI can be the difference between something feeling like a "static shock" and a painful electrocution.

  • In-Ground vs Portable Hot Tubs

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    If you're in the market for a hot tub, you must decide whether you want to purchase an in-ground or portable tub. Here are some of the major considerations in purchasing either:

    In-ground
    An in-ground tub can rest idle or be attached to a swimming pool. There are not a lot of options with its location as once it is in, it is permanent. The tub can be molded of concrete or a material matching that of a connected pool.

    The heater, jets, filter, and pumps associated with an in-ground tub can be more powerful than those of a portable tub because of the connection to an adjoining pool. The necessary equipment most likely will be out of view (being underneath the tub, enclosed in a remote unit, or built within the tub itself), so the sounds of operation can be less noticeable.

    There is a trade-off -- the hot tub can be more powerful, but the energy bill may be much larger.

    Portable tub
    A portable hot tub provides its owner with more choices in regards to its location. The location does need to be sturdy in order to hold the weight of the tub and its occupants. Portable hot tubs come in many sizes, ranging from two-person tubs to those that can fit up to ten people.

    The pump, filter, and heater are smaller for a portable tub in comparison to in-ground hot tubs. Portable tubs are usually made of fiberglass or acrylic material. This gives you a more options for the tub shape and color.

    Though a portable tub is free standing, you can really create an ambiance around the hot tub using any number of available hot tub accessories: bright sunlight can be avoided with a spa sun umbrella, patio benches or a spa bar can decorate the perimeter of the tub, or spa steps can be installed to ensure safe entry and exit from the hot tub. There are many other accessories available to personalize your hot tub, from aromatics to colored lights. Check out these options at www.spasandstuff.com

  • How to Buy a Hot Tub

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    You know you want a hot tub, but you aren't sure where to start. You aren't even sure what sort of questions you should be asking. Here are a few to get you started:

    Where?
    One of first things a consumer should think about is where they would like to place the tub--inside or outside? Manufacturers make models suited for both locations. A bathroom or extension room may be ideal for indoors, and a back porch or yard can host a tub outdoors. Consider an area away from hanging leaves or debris.

    How big?
    Manufacturers make hot tubs for two people up to ones that can fit six or more people. You may be able to get a decent estimate with an eye, but there is a "rule of thumb." Think about each person as taking up about 70 to 80 gallons each. Multiply the intended number of occupants by 75 gallons.

    How much?
    The price of a hot tub is usually related to its size. Suppliers are always hosting hot tub sales--it is best to keep an eye out for them. A two- to four-person tub usually starts around the $4,000 price range. Like many large purchases, vendors typically offer payment plans.

    What extras?
    Hot tubs can come with a lot of "extras." Many customers are amazed to find that a hot tub purchase completely revolutionizes their backyard. Some begin building an "ambiance" in tribute to their tub. Customers have implemented spa bars, patio benches, spa sun umbrellas, and other accessories to complement their new hot tub. Think about the type of environment you'd like to create around your hot tub, and go from there.

  • OAS vs. Acrylic Hot Tubs

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    How much do you know about the materials your hot tub is made from? OAS--or Olefin Acrylonitrile Styrene--and Acrylic are two materials manufacturers use in making hot tubs. Both materials are celebrated, yet differences exist.

    Some differences between OAS and Acrylic:

    • OAS can be applied at a cost-efficient price by manufacturers, so hot tubs made of this material may be found at a better price.
    • The "finished shine" on a hot tub made of OAS may appear more modest in comparison to an acrylic tub.
    • Acrylic hot tubs are very easy to clean because of their non-porous finish.
    • Acrylic offers many colors and styles of finishes, such as simulated granite hot tubs.

    Enemies to the shell

    Inquire about specific information regarding a hot tub of your interest. Exact tub material composition can vary. The shell needs to be tenacious and resistant. Consider resistance to:

    • UV rays
    • hot tub cleaning chemicals
    • customer weight and number
    • stains
    • dirt
    • fluctuations in temperature
    • deterioration

    The more you know about your tub, the better you can care for it and the longer it will last.

  • Business and the Hot Tub

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    It may seem counter-intuitive to the workaholic but some people can save time by spending some of it relaxing in a hot tub. Here are a few business tips to implement from the relaxing space in your hot tub:

    #1 - Outline
    Unfortunately and fortunately, things change. This means you need to outline each day in front of you. Having a plan for the day can keep one disciplined and on track. Think of it like letting the hot tub get warm before getting in it.

    #2 - Where is it Wasted?
    One of the best ways to save time is to find more of it. Where can you save time? Spend time talking to coworkers about the weekend? Checking personal emails and sports scores on the Web? Leave work for work-related tasks. You can wait to check personal emails and you can catch the scores from your hot tub later in the day.

    #3 - Share Work
    Some workers (especially those in management positions) can have a hard time delegating responsibilities. Time waits for no one; share responsibilities in order to get more accomplished. Is it time to clean your hot tub, but it keeps getting put off? How about sharing the responsibility with one of the kids? It's a great analogy for your efforts in the workplace.

    #4 - Time is Up!
    Time never slows, so you may have to place a limit on the number of tasks you take on. Designating a certain amount of time for addressing particular business tasks can grant more time for other things. Staying in the hot tub for too long planning the day can leave one looking like a prune. After some time, it is time to put the cover back on and get to work!

    Share some of your insight with us: how do you use your hot tub to do business? Or do you have any hot tub/work ethic analogies to share? Talk to us below!

  • Aromatherapy in the Hot Tub

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    Autumn is here! Can you feel it? Many of you across the country are getting the first peek at autumn's cool mornings, crisp air, and orange leaves. With the cooler temperatures, the hot tub is calling to us, and there's no reason not to take the hot tub experience and ramp it up a notch with a little aromatherapy.

    Aromatherapy is loosely defined as the art of using natural essences to promote the body's health. Many believe using aromatherapy in your hot tub can facilitate psychological, physiological, and spiritual health.

    Additional benefits
    Implementing aromatherapy into your hot tub experience can enhance your mental and physical state. Advocates of aromatherapy have reported the experience alleviates stress; corrects skin irritations; battles depression; and curtails anxiety.

    Olfactory Aromatherapy
    Aromatherapy can take place using a few methods, yet hot tubs use 'olfactory aromatherapy.' When inhaled, the brain's limbic system is stimulated. The nervous, endocrine, and immune systems can be influenced, which elicits bodily responses. Depending on the scent, particular body parts and areas can be stimulated or relaxed.

    Different scents, different response
    Using particular aromatherapy scents can elicit different responses in one's body. Here is a handy list taken from the Essortment Web site, three brief scents and effects:

    • Vanilla scents can lower your stress levels and heart rate
    • Peppermint, jasmine, and citrus can make you feel invigorated and recharged
    • Green apple can help with headaches

    Maybe explore the olfactory world a little and put together some scents for the season: pumpkin, spice, cedar, pine, cranberry, or apple.
    About Aromatherapy - Source: NAHA.org
    Aromatherapy Overview - Source: WebMD

  • Hot Tub Cover Basics

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    Is it really necessary to cover a hot tub? Couldn't you just scoop out debris and call it good? The answer is yes, you really do need a cover and no, you can't just scoop out debris. A hot tub cover does so much more than simply keep out leaves and bug. It's a very essential part of hot tub ownership and maintenance.

    It keeps unwanted elements out
    Yes, basically a cover keeps stuff out of the tub. No one wants to relax in their hot tub with dirt, leaves, insects, and other undesirables. In addition, living entities such as birds, squirrels, and the neighborhood kids will also be kept at bay. But this is just the cover's most basic purpose.

    It keeps wanted elements in
    Now we're talking: using a cover keeps in water and temperature. This saves you money. You refill the tub less often and it takes less energy to maintain the water temperature.

    What kind of cover do you need?
    The cover of your tub needs to fit tightly all the way around. Remember - you don't want heat escaping or bugs and other unwanted elements getting in. Choose a well-made cover. You don't want to host dance parties on your cover, but it should be able to support the weight of mischievous pets and children. Insulation is gauged by an "R Value," so find a hot tub cover with a high value.

    Maintenance
    Covers serve the purposes of covering and insulating. Direct sunlight can deteriorate your cover; over time, look for signs of dilapidation. Washing the cover with warm water and soap, then hosing it down, can prolong the life of the cover. Keep your cover and the inner liner dry; if they become wet, it will decrease the cover's ability to insulate the hot tub. If your cover becomes heavier over time, it is probably wet. The inner lining will need to be detached and left to dry.

    Most of our hot tub models come with the covers included, but if you have a tub already and need a cover, you can view our available models here.

  • How to Hot Tub Safely

    The idea of needing to be safe while relaxing in a hot tub may initially seem silly, but a little care and caution is mandatory. It can actually be quite easy for a hot tub to become the site of unfortunate accidents. Whether you own a small tub or a large multi-person tub, following a few simple tips can keep everyone safe.

    Safety Tip 1 – Supervise Hot Tub Use

    Anyone using a hot tub should be supervised, and not just children; adults can inadvertently come to harm while soaking. Children should be directly supervised at all times and if you can't soak with a buddy, at least make sure another adult knows where you are and when you got into the tub. Groups of teenagers and the elderly also require a cautious eye to prevent mishaps due to carelessness or health.

    Safety Tip 2 – Limit or Ban Drinking

    Drink responsibly (or not at all) while using your hot tub! The hot water can cause lightheadedness or dizziness. Combine that with alcohol and you have a recipe for a terrible accident. Inebriated tub users can easily pass out and suffer from increased heart rate or may even drown.

    Safety Tip 3 – Be Aware of the Tub’s Structure

    All hot tubs are not created equally. For example, a Free Spirit hot tub may differ in shape in comparison to a BellaGrande hot tub. Make users aware of the location of drains, jets, filters, and other elements of your hot tub in order to avoid burns and suction injuries.

    Safety Tip 4 – Respect Mother Nature

    We know – the chances of getting hit by lightning are slim to none. Well, we would rather see you win the lottery, so we encourage you to please stay out of the hot tub before, during, and immediately after a storm. Also probably a good idea to avoid the hot tub during weather events such as hurricanes and blizzards.

    Safety Tip 5 – Be Prepared

    Keep a first-aid kit somewhere close to your hot tub. Make sure it is stocked with burn cream. In addition, knowing CPR would not be a bad thing. It is best to seek certification, but even just knowing the basics would be good. Keep emergency numbers close at hand, as well.

    As we head into the cooler weather, we know many of you will eagerly uncover your hot tubs and start enjoying the benefits of long soaks. Just stay safe, and you'll be enjoying your hot tub for years to come.

  • Getting Back to the Spa Post-Partum

    With the Royal Baby finally making his appearance, we've all got a case of baby fever! Which leads us to wonder about hot tubs and pregnancy care. It's known that using hot tubs while pregnant is not advised, due to a variety of concerns for the developing fetus. However, what about post-pregnancy?
    While sitting in a warm bathtub after labor can be therapeutic, caution is encouraged when using a hot tub. The water isn't drained after every use, the only way it would be safe before six weeks post-partum is if the tub is meticulously clean. (We have some great cleaners here!)You don't want to risk an infection during the early weeks while you are still healing. There is also a risk of contamination and creating a health risk for others, too, if you are still bleeding.

    So wait at least six weeks after giving birth to get back in the hot tub. Luckily, cooler autumn temperatures are on the way, which will make the reunion with your hot tub that much more enjoyable.

    Check out our line of hot tubs with great lounger seats here at Spas and Stuff.

    Read through some reviews on our website to pick one that is right for you.

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