Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Costs of Running a Hot Tub

It's a key influence in the decision to purchase a hot tub, this influence is the cost of running a hot tub.

Firstly, we need to look at the specific costs of running a spa.....

Water -
A good place to start considering hot tubs wouldn't exist without its presence. With most houses in the UK expected to have water meters fitted within the near future, the days of relaxed water usage are over. With hot tubs averaging a water capacity of 1000 litres, the filling and re-filling of spas can be expensive, especially as draining is recommended every 3 months. However, water costs, in comparison to chemical and electricity costs are relatively low.

Electricity -
With an average hot tub running two pumps and a 3kw heater, clearly electricity is the main cost in the running of a spa. Most hot tubs have two, two hour filter cycles every day and this is separate to the running of the pump when the spa is heating. The main electrical requirement is the 3kw heater, however once the hot tub has reached temperature, this cuts out, therefore, the most expensive time on a hot tub, is the re-fill period, where the temperature rises for a period between 15 & 20 hours. The most effective way to save on this cost is to ensure your spa cover is in top condition and not waterlogged, as this can lead to heat loss, which requires the heater to kick in.

Chemicals -
This cost has significantly decreased in the last 10 years, as chemical prices have dipped. However, it is still key to consider the costs of maintenance products. This cost really depends on what the hot tub is maintained with, is it chlorine, bromine or a chemical-free system such as Aquagarde. Chlorine is the cheapest sanitiser to run your spa on, and a 5kg tub of granules can last 2 years if used correctly, this is the main chemical needed to ensure water safety. Bromine is the second cheapest, but significantly more than chlorine due to less popularity and its softer touch on the skin. Chlorine-free systems such as Aquagarde & Aquafinesse are significantly more expensive compared to the standard sanitisers of bromine and chlorine, simply because the technology contained in them is unique. Other water chemicals, which assist the standard sanitisers are not strictly required but products such as No Foam can make maintenance easier. Generally, chemical costs are less when you shop around and do not get fooled into the "unofficial chemicals will invalidate warranty" scam. This scam is so easy to be fooled into as a new hot tub owner, but it has no ground to be based on, most chemicals come from the same factory in South Africa, this factory simply re-labels the products to the appropriate brand.

Go HotSpring Spas, Go Highlife!..

The HotSpring Highlife collection contains the SilentFlo circulation pump that draws the same as a 40 watt  lightbulb! With full FiberCor insulation and a top quality spa cover, Hot Spring Spas are the most efficient hot tub on the market.!

Happy Hot Tubbing !

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Hot Tub Myths...

Chlorine causes my eyes to sting in the hot tub...
MYTH - Chlorine does not cause your eyes to sting in a hot tub or swimming pool. An incorrect PH level can contribute towards over-acidic or alkali water stinging your eyes. Another contributor towards eye sting is bacteria from other people, which is not being killed by chlorine, this suggests a low chlorine level and poor sanitisation rather than chlorine itself causing eyes to sting. Evidence of this is at public swimming pools, where eye sting is usually most severe due to the number of bathers using the pool compared and an inability to chlorinate sufficiently with so many users.

Hot Tubs are best in summer...
MYTH - Whilst it is a matter of opinion whether hot tubs are best in summer or winter, a general consensus within the hot tub industry suggests you cannot beat hot tubbing in the snow, wind or rain. The popularity of hot tubs in Northern Europe & Scandinavia reinforces the popularity of bathing in arctic conditions, whats better than relaxing in a hot tub at 40 degrees, whilst the snow falls around you. The winter/summer debate lives on!

The More Jets, the Better...
MYTH - Its the top sales feature of most hot tubs, the amount of jets, yet usually this does not affect the quality of massage. When a salesmen hits you with jet figures of 100-150, your initial reaction is "wow", but when you realise that the same amount of pumps power an 100 jet hot tub as a 40 jet spa, you should realise that power in a spa with a large amount of jets is simply spread more and power is less in each jet. Also, remember the saying..."Quality, not Quantity", well this is key, our Astro Spas are produced to give your muscles a precision massage rather than a weaker, less directed massage, which simply wastes pump power.

I need to run plumbing lines to my backyard hot tub...
MYTH - In all portable spas, the equipment & plumbing is built into the cabinet and shell, meaning you simply have to fill the hot tub using your hose pipe and no external plumbing is required. For draining, you can simply use a built in gravity drain (if your spa has one) or use a submersible pump to drain the water.

I need to empty my hot tub after each use...
MYTH - All portable hot tubs have built in flow-thru filtration systems to ensure the water is constantly filtered and by adding chemicals, you will not need to empty your hot tub regularly, just like a swimming pool. However, we do recommend emptying your hot tub about once every three months, as the water becomes over-saturdated with chemicals.

I need to turn my hot tub off after use...
MYTH - Although this is possible, it is a common myth that hot tubs should be turned off every time after use, as the filtration cycles keep the water fresh and in order to maintain temperature to save costs, the flow-thru heater must be on. Most hot tubs have various modes, such as Economy, to save energy.

Myths....Busted !


Monday, 12 September 2011

How to Drain a Hot Tub ?

It is recommended that you empty your hot tub roughly every 3 months, as the sanitisation of water can only go so far before chemicals do not affect the quality of water. So, this leads onto the question of, how do i drain my hot tub ?

Well, the first and most simple way would be using a built-in gravity drain, usually situated on the outside of the hot tub, either coming out of the base or panel. These are available on certain models, but not others, so ensure you check with your retailer to see if you have one built in. These drains usually work very simply, by either pulling out the drain to activate it, pressing the centre of the external adapter or simply turning a handle to allow water flow. The hot tub will then drain using gravity, this can be slow in some models, yet is increasingly efficient with newer models, draining hot tubs in less than 10 minutes. The main issue with these drains is their vulnerability to breakage and leaking, simply due to them being external and under high pressure from water. Once the hot tub is fully drained, ensure your drain is left open to prevent the pipes cracking due to freezing in winter.

If your hot tub does not contain a drain, don't worry, some hot tubs do not have drains due to the issues mentioned above, but there are still two simple ways to empty your hot tub.

Firstly, you can empty your hot tub using the traditional method of siphoning, using an existing hose pipe to slowly drain the hot tub. This is the more cost effective way, by using a hose pipe, one end in the hot tub, the other in the area you want to drain the water to, you then must get a flow of water going, by either sucking on the hose pipe or lifting up the hot tub end of the hose pipe and quickly placing back into the spa. Once the flow is going, you can leave the hose to drain the hot tub in its own time.

If you need the hot tub emptied faster than it would by siphoning, you will need to invest in a submersible pump (Image-Top Right). This is a water pump, with a floating cut-off switch, used to drain hot tubs in minutes. Simply plug in, place in the hot tub and wait for it to finish. The pump uses a lay flat hose to drain the water out, so you can customise the hose length to your requirements. To see the submersible pumps available from us see our website- ( or call us on (UK-0845 366 1122).

Happy Hot Tubbing.
Eddie. HHT.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Hot Tub Headrest Problems

Damaged hot tub pillows, Its probably the biggest warranty issue for
hot tub manufacturers and the most bugging thing for hot tub owners.

The truth is, its inevitable that a soft, rubber/vinyl item, in a warm, damp & chlorinated environment will eventually deplete. The main problem being the chlorination of hot tub water in affecting the condition of the spa pillows. As you may know, Chlorine attacks everything, whether its skin, lungs, eyes or even rusting metals. So, when a soft vinyl spa headrest is enclosed in a chlorinated environment, the laminate on the pillows breaks up and eventually the internal rubber will start to flake off. So what can you do ?
Well, we sometimes recommend removing headrests from the hot tub when it is not in use, this obviously removes them from the damp, chlorinated environment, prolonging their life. The one issue that arises from constantly removing headrests is the lugs on the back ripping off upon removal, this means the pillow cannot be secured properly, so if removing headrests, you must be careful and ensure the lugs do not rip. If this is too much of a hassle then we try to reinforce the idea of leaving the spa cover off for 10-15 minutes after chlorination, this gives time for the nasty chlorine gases to disperse in the air, not directly onto the hot tub cover or headrests.

So, your hot tub pillows are totally unusable and are flaking into the water, what now ? Well, you really need to remove them totally, or purchase new ones. Headrests have always been a high-cost spare on hot tubs, due to their specialist moulds and variation, meaning manufacturers can charge astronomical prices. So, it would be sensible to look after the pillows whilst they are still usable, saving money in the long-term.

We are happy to help over the phone (Tel:0845 366 1122) or e-mail us with any questions about headrest care ( We stock a variety of headrests, from Master Spa to Spaform, so if you require a quote, e-mail us a picture and we will get back to you with a price.

Happy Hot Tubbing !

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Success of the Swim Spa

Its the perfect combination, that has been seen in commercial pool areas for many years, yet, now it is portable, competitive on price and sales are on the up ! Its the portable Swim Spa, the concept of a resistance swim jet and hot tub combined, to offer the connection between fitness and recovery that all can enjoy.

Most spa manufacturers now offer a variety of different Swim Spa models, with others simply offering one model to backup their hot tub range. Some models contain dual controls & heating, with a swim end and hot tub end separated, others are single controls and simply contain seats at the rear end of the swim spa to relax after a swim against the resistance jet. But its the dual-purpose that seems to attract customers so much, without spending £20,000-£50,000 on a pool and a separate £4,000-£9,000 on a hot tub, the customer can purchase a swim spa at prices ranging from £12,000 to £20,000, getting the 'Best of Both Worlds' in terms of leisure, relaxation and fitness.

With technology continually advancing the leisure industry, the Swim Spa has seen recent additions such as stereo systems, rowing equipment, resistance equipment and improved efficiency of swim jet control. These advancements have turned the basic portable hot tub into more of a portable leisure center ! You can improve your fitness in one end, then use the hot tub as a recovery method to relax post-workout.

At Hot Tub Care, we have seen sales of our Astro Swim Spa & Swimmer rapidly increase over the last 2-3 years, with customers torn between a pool or a spa seeing the Swim Spa as an ideal aid to their decision. To see more on our Astro Swim Spa & Swimmer see this link ( or to see images of a Swim Spa delivery on our Facebook page, see this link (

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Hot Tub Moving

Moving house is a time when you may gather the possessions you want to move onto your new property and cull any that are not needed or wanted. But where in this process does your outdoor spa fit in ?

Some people decide to leave their garden hot tub at their old property, in order to add value and encourage a sale. This is common, as the hot tub value can extend the likeliness of a sale in the same way that a swimming pool would. It can also be used for bargaining power, informing the buyer that you want to take the hot tub, but then changing your mind and convincing the buyer to purchase, with the hot tub thrown in.

Others decide that their hot tub must travel with them to a new property. This is an increasingly popular decision, with hot tub moving services, such as ours, becoming cheaper and more convenient. If you search "moving hot tub" on YouTube, you will begin to realise that some people choosing to move their hot tub themselves are met with lots of problems and struggle intensively.....But there is a solution.....

Our hot tub moving service was one of the first in the UK, and with our experienced engineers who have moved thousands of tubs and the increasingly sophisticated equipment available to us, moving a hot tub has never been simpler. Why struggle ? when we can move your hot tub with ease, speed and at a convenient low price.

For a quote, contact us on the Hot Tub Helpline - 0845 366 1122 or you can e-mail us on

For pictures showing exemplar deliveries & hot tub moves see the pictures on our Facebook page -

Monday, 20 June 2011

Facebook / Twitter !

Follow Happy Hot Tub blog via the two best social networking mediums, Facebook & Twitter.

Twitter -

Facebook -

Special offer, if our Facebook page reaches 50 likes by the end of the week, all members of the page will receive 15% off chemicals & accessories from us ! Join In !

Happy Hot Tubbing !

Waterlogged Hot Tub Covers

Its the most vulnerable part of your hot tub and most long-term spa users will know that it can be one of the first things to be damaged after warranty expiration. Despite steel reinforcement and double layered protection over the foam inserts, most spa covers start to feel waterlogged or the foam physically damaged after about two to three years of ownership.

So we all know that its not worth having a hot tub if you cannot enjoy it, but if you take care of your spa cover from the offset, you can ensure it will not become damaged and should last much longer. The first thing to ensure is that you have an easy method of removing the cover for spa use, without it being dragged along the floor. The best method to stop this is a cover lifter arm, which attaches the hot tub and lifts the cover back to be stored on one side of the spa, this prevents the cover ever touching the ground and also adds to ease of removal.

The other issue with spa covers is damage through the foam protection polythene, which is used to prevent moisture entering the high-density foam. Once a split in the polythene has occurred, moisture begins to get into the foam and this is the reason for a heavy-waterlogged cover. This can also occur through broken zips on the seam, which are a tight fit. We recommend to never remove the foam inserts, as zip problems can mean your spa cover becomes faulty.

Another common issue with hot tub covers is where lock-down storm straps pull off in heavy wind. This is caused by stitching weakening gradually over the spas lifetime due to exposure to the elements. Even though lock-down straps are sold as heavy duty wind prevention, these should not be relied upon and we recommend placing something heavy like a garden chair upon the hot tub cover to preventing it blowing off, rather than relying on weak lock-down straps that could easily rip off once the cover catches the win.

And our last tip is....replace your spa cover before it becomes a huge hassle. Not only does a broken or waterlogged cover result in the loss of spa heat, it can also become so heavy that its removal becomes a draining and long-winded process. The best way to dispose of an old spa cover is to use a Stanley knife to cut the cover up and the take it to your local recycling center.

Remember.....replace your cover NOW ! Whilst you still can !

Happy Hot Tubbing !

Friday, 17 June 2011

Hot Tub Pump Humming ?

Its another issue we come across on a regular basis with spas. The first issue is a spa pump that hums and sounds like its working, but without any water actually coming through the water jets. The other issue is a pump "hum" becoming increasingly loud and to the point where it can be heard by neighbours.

The first issue, where a pump can be heard but not felt through the jets, is caused by an air lock in the hot tub. This usually comes about after a drain & re-fill, which allows little air pockets to emerge in the pipework. These air pockets then prevent the pump from pushing water through and can cause it to burn out. One method to clear the air is to turn the pump on and off repeatedly, slowly pressuring the air out through the jets, whilst this method is effective sometimes, it can also harm the motor, so we recommend not continually doing this if it didn't work the first few times. The second method to clear the air pockets, is to release air, either on a pump air release valve or by simply unscrewing the pump union until all the air is out and water starts to come out. These methods will clear airlocks and you will see air bubbles coming out of the water jets as it is pushed out.

The second issue, an increasing pump humming noise over time is less easy to diagnose and resolve, but some common issues have been found. The increasing loudness of a spa pump usually develops over a period of time, as the spa has settled in its position, the vibration of the pump motor gradually moves and loosens certain parts of the spa. The best way to diagnose a vibration issue is to remove all panels and listen carefully to the noise source, usually it can be certain screws, bolts or seals, which have slowly loosened over the hot tubs lifetime. Most spas have vibration pads underneath each pump to help reduce this at first, but again, these can become loose to the pump and be causing the base to vibrate. The best way to resolve this issue is to feel for vibration and tighten any screws or bolts, which you can see are moving. This humming noise can sometimes be due to an ineffective spa pump motor which is damaged, so ensure the condition of the pump is OK.

Happy Hot Tubbing !

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Chlorine vs. Bromine

The two most popular hot tub sainitisers (disinfectants) are chlorine and bromine, with chlorine being the most popular. But with many people judging chlorine as harsh, bromine, with its "softer" touch on the skin, meets the demands of spa uses that disapprove of chlorine.

Chlorine is by far the most popular sanitiser among hot tub and pool users worldwide. Chlorine was historically unrivaled until the growing popularity of bromine in the 1980's, due its fast-acting effectiveness in disinfecting spas and pools. It also has the added benefit of being cheaper Per KG than bromine, suiting smaller budgets. However despite effectiveness in sanitation and cost, chlorine has been labelled by many as "harsh" on the skin, eyes and lungs. This mainly comes down to association with "eye sting" and that sharp smell at public pools. The reason for this is the chlorine when it combines with organic compounds in spa water, so, in more simple terms, the dirtier the pool or spa, the more the chlorine will smell, hence the odour at public pools.

Bromine first became popular with pool and spa users in the 1980's, as scientists saw it as a more effective water disinfectant. The clear benefit was that, when bromine combined with organic compounds, the bromamines, unlike chlorine, helped to continually sanitise the water rather than cause odour. Many see bromine as "softer on the skin", but in my personal opinion, i believe this is more down to a distaste to chlorine, rather than bromine actually being less harsh. However, like all developments, issues with this bromine became clearer over time. At first, bromine was so stable, that chlorine had to be added to it, to speed up its sanitation of water. Even though developments have speeded up bromine sanitation, it cannot keep up with the Usain Bolt of chemicals, which is chlorine. Some strains of algae, such as black fungi, have been resistant to bromine, but affected by chlorine, limiting the effectiveness of bromine further.

In my opinion, chlorine is the safest and most effective hot tub sanitiser. But with bromine constantly being adapted and becoming increasingly effective, Its inevitable that the contest will go on. With more recent "non-chlorine" systems also being developed, such as AquaGarde, new competitors will join the race to be the top disinfectant.

Happy Hot Tubbing !

Hot Tub Flow Problems

As mentioned in the last post, flow problems are one of the most
common issues with portable spas. Most people panic when they see that a safety system such as "LF - Low Flow" is flashing on their spa touch pad screen, yet usually flow issues are easily resolvable.

The best way to understand flow is to, firstly, understand the flow cycle of spa water. The water which is heated by the spa, is firstly taken in through the filters then passed through
the heater element, which is then pumped back through the spa water jets. If the sensors on the spa heater are not getting sufficient water, it will send a signal through the control board to cut off the heater and present a safety message such as "LF" or "FLO", these are simple measures to prevent the heater burning out.

So, the main cause of flow problems in hot tubs is dirty, old, or clogged filter cartridges (As pictured, top right). As the water cannot pass through the filter cartridge quick enough to allow sufficient water in the heater, flow protection modes are initiated. So, firstly, ensure your filters are clean, use your garden hose to see how easily water can be passed through the filter media, if the media is over-clogged, new replacement filters may be required. After cleaning or replacing your filters, turn the spa off and on again, running it with NO filters for a maximum of 5 minutes, this will allow the flow protection mode to be cleared and identify the filters as the issue. Then simply place your filters back in the spa and all should be back to normal.

In some cases, customers have experienced flow problems even with squeaky clean or brand new filters. This has been put down to sensor issues. In extreme cases, scale has actually layered the sensors, preventing an accurate reading and enforcing them to signal flow error messages. This problem is easily resolved by removing the heater, cleaning it thoroughly and ensuring PH levels are correct in the future, as well as using "No Scale" to break up any other existing scale in spa water.

In very rare cases, the control system has been the result of flow issues, with a faulty PCB board incorrectly reading signals from the sensors and being unable to clear any error messages, such as "Low Flow". This however is rare and any flow issues are usually simple to address and resolve. If a spa repair company simply claims, within 5 minutes, that a PCB board is the result of flow issues, you can ensure they have not checked thoroughly enough.

At Hot Tub Care Ltd. we receive calls from customers regarding flow problems on a regular basis. Our two-step policy is Step 1, tell the customer to check/test their filters and any potential blockages in the filter housing (e.g. leaves). If this has no luck. Step 2, organise an engineer to come and resolve the problem. We NEVER book an engineer at a customers' cost for flow problems before we can confirm it is nothing simple.

If you are still experiencing flow-problems after "Step 1". Feel free to contact us on
0845 366 1122. or Visit our website

Happy Hot Tubbing !

Hot Tub not heating ?

Whether you have a Balboa, Gecko or any other brand of control system, a spa, which is not heating can be diagnosed easily.

Step 1. Are there any errors ? Check the control pad of your spa to ensure it is set to whichever mode you prefer (usually STD, Standard, or ECN Economy), if a mode such as SLP is flashing on screen, the temperature will be kept at the lowest possible temperature before the spa freezes, therefore the heater will not appear to be working. Check for error messages such as LF or FLO, these are issues with the flow of spa water getting to the heater and this as a safety feature, most spas will cut off the heater, when insufficient water is flowing through it. To overcome flow issues, check your spa filters are clean and nothing is blocking the pipework within the filter housing. To overcome a flow issues, remove the spa filters, turn the hot tub off, then turn it back on again and run without filters, to diagnose the issue, if the spa runs fine without filters for 5 minutes, it is a problem with your filters, if it doesn't.....

Step 2. If all the above steps are OK and the spa is still not heating, it could now be an issues either with the control board not getting power to the heater element (rare) or the heater element itself damaged by scale and not operating (more likely). The best way to test a heater element is using an electrical tester. Turn off and remove all power to the spa, then remove the heater, you can then test hot tub heating elements for integrity, use an ohm meter on its lowest setting. With the meter's test leads, measure the resistance between the two terminals. The acceptable resistance range for heaters used in most hot tubs is between 9 - 12 ohms (a few may be as high as 25 ohms, depending upon kilowatt rating).A reading which is too low indicates a bad unit: short circuit. A very high (or infinite) reading indicates a bad unit: open circuit or limited conductivity. You will see either a burnt out element or scale damage which is limiting the heaters capability.

Step 3. If, after checking for any control errors, and inspecting the heater element, the error is still not visible, it is more than likely that it is a control board issue. By removing the faceplate to the control board you will see the layout on the back, you can then check the power source to the heater and see if any issues are present on the board itself.

These steps are more than likely to diagnose heater issues on a portable hot tub.
For any other queries, questions or advice, Contact us on (+44) 0845 336 1122 or follow us on twitter/facebook. @HappyHotTubs.

Happy Hot Tubbin' !