Hot Tubs & Spas
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Hot Tubs & Spas
Hot Tub heater needs replacing
Any advice would be welcome, I've been calling electricians
and HVAC places all over town to no avail. We have a wooden
hot tub that sits recessed into the deck on the second
floor, that reaches to the ground underneath. The heater,
which is located underneath, below the deck, is broken. A
spa-repair guy looked at it and said that there's a big rats
nest inside, wires all chewed up, etc. So that's probably
the end of that heater. We'd like to have another natural
gas heater installed properly. Are there venting issues that
we need to worry about? Since we have tiered pricing for
electricity, we don't want an electric heater since we
couldn't use it at night when the electricity price is
sky-high. Maybe combine a solar heater with an electric
heater? If anyone has experience with this, please feel free
to contribute. Mice mama
A natural gas heater will run about $150-$200. You will have
to have it properly vented. Could get quite costly. Solar
thermal would not heat the tub enough. Solar photovoltaic
(or solar electrical) would cost on the order of $20k and
your roof would have to be the size of a tennis court.
You might want to do the math on this one. A hot tub
electrical heater will cost you about and costs about 30 a
Hot Tub Repair Person or Company Needed
As much as I hate to admit, we have a 13 yr. old tub/spa,
that's in need of a good repair person or company. The tub
has been empty and off for about the past three year.
We use the Pool Doctor. http://www.thepooldoctors.com/
For years I have depended on John from Satori Hot Tub (510)
339-1566 for hot tub maintenance. When I had an older hot
tub he made it last longer by keeping the motor going. With
my current hot tub he has been a great source of maintenance
advice. He is capable and knows everything about hot tubs,
including how to repair the older ones. Ann
Hot tub needs fixing
We have a hot tub that's about 14 years old. We don't use
it often, but it's been kept clean etc. The keypad that
controls the temperature is busted and needs replacing. Are
there folks that fix such a thing? The hot-tub maintenance
recommendations on the site are pretty old. Does anyone
have a more recent recommendation?
We're in Oakland. Thanks!
I use Sean Sullivan and recommend him to my customers as
well. We have all been very satisfied with his work,
Sean is at (415)420-1481 and firstname.lastname@example.org
his website: http://www.sullivanwaterworks.com/.
Hot Tub: wood or synthetic?
I am purchasing a hot tub for a house in Tahoe and would
love to get recommendations for this pricey and often
*delicate* machine. I know hot tubs are reknown for how they
break down, and as this is a vacation rental it feels really
important that it holds to the test of time. I am first
deciding between a wood tub and one of those synthetic fiber
tubs with jets, and then need to decide on brand, style,
etc. All I know for sure is that I want a 6 person jetted
hot tub. Would love to know your experience with tubs you
have used, read about, etc. and things to avoid , pitfalls,
that I may know in advance. thanks so much! Sarah sarah
Having had both kinds, especially for a rental, I would
recommend skipping the redwood. It is harder to keep clean
and actually less comfortable, I think. With the molded tubs
you can even include a stereo system, cool lights, etc. You
can get redwood around the outside or as the deck if you
want the smell and more rustic look. We were very happy with
our spa from Sundance. It lasted a good long time.
We've had both. Currently we have a cedar hottub. It is
aesthetically more beautiful than the plastic ones, and is
"greener" in the sense that when you eventually replace it, you have
a stack or wood instean of a big blob of plastic.
Once we got past the first year, our cedar tub has had fewer problems
than the two plastic tubs that preceded it.
But this may be because it has far fewer bells and
whistles than the plastic hottubs. The wood tub has a heater and a pump that
shoots water through two outlets only. The plastic
tubs had multiple jets that could be adjusted in multiple
ways, and all kinds of knobs and buttons and cushions
and lights. You sit up in the wood one. In the plastic
one you needed to partly recline to be submerged. The
wood one has a smaller footprint so less water surface, so in theory
it is more efficient, and we did see our PG&E bill decline
somewhat. The downsides of the cedar tub: 1) Cedar gives off tannic
acid which is not harmful but it does turn the water the color of
tea. This is supposed to subside as the wood ages but we still
see it. 2) Wood hot tubs are engineered to take advantage of the
fact that wet wood swells. So the wood panels are not glued
together, they are just aligned side by side and they swell when
wet to form a watertight container. In the first 6 months after
we got the wood tub we had some water seaping out - we couldn't
see a leak but we noticed the water level going down slightly. It
took two tries to fix this. We have not had water seepage in the
10 years after that.
Hot Tub / Spa options -- Softub?
I am interested in buying either a Softub hot tub or
something like it. We rent our home and do not have a large
backyard. Softubs seem ideal because they are easily
portable and plug into a regular 120V 15 amp socket. I
guess another similar vinyl liner type spa is the 'Super
I would love to hear people's experiences with Softubs
(pros/cons) and/or recommendations for a similar spa or hot
I bought a 2-person Softub 7 years ago, and have been really
happy with it. It's on the ground, under trees, and has held
up incredibly well--there have been no issues at all! It
really is true that you just roll it into place, connect its
powerpack (easy), and fill it--it's truly that easy. (As
with any hot tub, once you have it in place you need to get
the chemistry right, drain and refill periodically, etc.)
I'm not familiar with the other tub you mention, but would
definitely recommend Softubs
Hot tub cover
We recently moved to a house that has a hot tub. The cover
is the usual sort--vinyl over styrofoam, like this:
http://www.rhtubs.com/covers/insulate.htm . This is the
only type of cover that the two local hot tub stores offer
(and they have to order them).
The cover on our hot tub, which is only about three years
old, is disintegrating--the vinyl on the inner side is
coming apart, the styrofoam is sodden with water, and bits
of the styrofoam are falling into the tub. We would prefer
to replace the cover with one that would not suffer a
similar fate in a few years, but we don't know what to get.
(We are not really interested in getting an additional
'blanket' to float on the water--too much hassle to have two
things to remove when we want to use the tub.)
New hot tub owner
There's a place at Central Ave on Jacuzzi St (aptly named).
5327 Jacuzzi Street, Richmond - (510) 527-5547 They should
have a cover for you or be able to lead you somewhere you
can get one. If you know the dimensions, have you looked
online? But one tip--buy marine vinyl conditioner. We got
ours at Wal-Mart in the fishing/boat section (that's the
only place we could find it). I use this 2x/yr to condition
the vinyl so it doesn't get cracked from the sun. (Probaby
4x/yr would be better!) It really helps to extend the life
of the vinyl. If your kid is of the right age, it's the
perfect wax on, wax off exercise.
Looking for a good used hot tub
Anyone want to get rid of their hot tub that they never use? I am looking to buy
one for my back yard. Thanks!
Lots of them are offered for free on Craigslist. Even more
in the For Sale section.
One problem is moving 'em. Figure that you'll need a lot of
friends to help. The owner is very happy to get rid of the
hot tub, but never so happy as to be willing to help lift
Oh, you'll need a 220 volt electric hookup. Maybe a gas hookup.
And periodic cleaning. Water changing. Chemicals. A new
cover every few years. Figure out what's wrong with the pump.
Then, after a year, you may discover that you don't use the
hot tub but once every few months. Around this time, you
may worry about your high electric and water bills. A little
later, you post a note on craigslist saying, ''free hot tub''...
signed: Gave mine away
Converting a redwood hot tub to a water garden
My old but water-tight redwood hot tub sits unused on the deck. Rather than removing
it I would like to give it a new life as a water garden. I've searched books and the
web for information regarding treatment of the tub to make it safe for plants and
fish, use of the current pump vs closure of the jets, and other such questions. But
I find very little and conflicting information. Has anyone done this successfully
who can give me some pointers? Thanks very much.
I took out my hot tub and built a 1000 gal water garden, i would say to get a rubber
liner, your redwood tub i would think would be contaminated. I used 2'' PVC for the
filter system and i think your tub is 2'' PVC? Cutting the holes was the easiest, i was
scared of leaks but had none. The water garden is great, never thought it would be
so much fun. Its 1.5 years old with 60 different plants, 10-coy, 2 turtles, and 2 Cat
fish to keep the bottom clean. Filtering is the most important, don't go to Orchard or
Home Depot. Connie Pond Supply in Castro Valley was one place i got stuff
Low-chemical maintenance options
We are thinking of purchasing a used ''soft tub'' hot tub, as an
inexpensive energy efficient option. We are hoping to keep it
clean with an ozone system and little or no chemicals... Any
body have experience and opinions about ''soft tubs'' and/or low
I don't know about soft tubs but my parents use ozone cleaners
and UV cleaners on their hot tub. It works great for most of the
time, but every 3 months they get an algal bloom that needs
treatment with chlorine. But every 3 months is better than every
week which is how many people do it. I'm not sure if non-chemical
approaches work flawlessly in all scenarios so be prepared to go
back to bleach when necessary..
Which hot tub?
We are considering installing a hot tub and are somewhat baffled
looking for an esthetically pleasing, affordable,
environmentally friendly option...
I prefer the look, feel and simplicity of the wood ones, but
have been told that they are less efficient and require more
chemicals. Does anyone know of a simple plastic tub (not bright
blue, weird shaped, with a gazillion jets) or any other kind of
tubs that are energy efficient and work with no chemical or low
chemical cleaning systems?
We found a used redwood hot tub on craigslist and we love it!
It's worked great for the 3 years we've had it and doesn't
require a bunch of chemicals. I'd like to recommend John
Satori of Satori Hot Tubs (510) 339-1566, who is a great
resource for parts, chemicals and advice. Try out wooden &
plactic tubs before you decide.
Luv the tub
I would love to have a hot tub. My husband says he had one 15
years ago and they are expensive to install in old Berkeley
houses and expensive and ''a pain in the butt'' to keep running.
How expensive are they really? What about service and repairs?
My parents had a hot tub that after years of neglect is now a
planter. Do those of you who have hot tubs use and enjoy them?
Do you find they are worth the care and upkeep?
We just recently replaced the hot tub in our old Berkeley house
so I can give you some estimates on cost. A new hot tub will
cost you between $3000 and $6000, depending on size and style.
Add more for the delivery and installation. If you don't have a
level cement pad to put it on, you'll need to budget for that,
maybe another $1200 or so. You will need electrical wiring done
for the pump, and if you want to be safe and up to code, you need
to hire an electrician for that. They will put in a shut off
switch and make sure it's the required distance from the house.
We got a wood hot tub, and had to run a new gas line to the hot
tub to heat the water. If you want something like a deck, or a
trellis or screen around it, then more. The main ongoing cost is
going to be in your PG&E bill, for heating the water and running
the pump. The pump, which circulates and filters the water, has
to run several hours a day to keep the water clean. We estimate
that the hot tub adds an additional 15% to our PG&E bill, even
with a heavy insulating cover. We've actually had to cut back
dramatically on our other electrical use in order to keep the hot
tub without going broke. Other maintenance: you need to test the
PH and put in chlorine or some other bacteria killer once a week.
And you have to change out the water periodically, every few
It sounds like a lot of trouble and expense, but my husband uses
it every single night, rain or shine, to soak and read. It really
is important for him so that's why we have it! Personally I'm not
a fan - I'd rather have the garden space - but it is a big thing
for him. If you think you would use it at least 3-4 days a week
then it is probably worth it.
I hate getting wet
We installed a hot tub on the side of our hill in Montclair 3
years ago. The tub was expensive and we had to put an
electrical box up there just for the tub. We also had to have
a concrete pad installed to make sure it didn't slide down the
hill. Those 3 added up. However, the maintenance was
We had it serviced twice a year and I think that was at most
$200 to clean it that often (I'm talking deep clean, drain and
scrub the tub). My husband maintained the chemicals, he did
that once a week, but it wasn't a big deal at all.
I think it's completely worth the expense, but I love hot tubs!
We have a modest area of dirt in our back yard where we'd like to
build a wood deck and install an outdoor hot tub. We already have a
hookup on the side of the house where the hot tub would attach.
Problem is, we don't have any idea what the sequence of events should
be in proceeding with our project. I know we need to put in a
concrete slab, a deck, and a hot tub, but based on our past experience
working with separate contractors for a multi-step project, one
contractor will do his part of the job but not necessarily take into
consideration what needs to be in place before the next contractor
does his job--in their opinion, that's the other contractor's
problem. (In other words, the concrete contractor might put in the
slab without thinking about the wood deck that needs to be built above
it. And since neither my husband nor I are experienced general
contractors, we don't know enough details to communicate all necessary
information to the contractors.) Should we just hire one contractor
for the whole project? And if so, can anyone recommend a good
contractor who has experience with this type of project?
Hoping for a deck and outdoor tub before winter
We extended our deck to have a hot tub. It ended up taking a
year longer than we had expected. You have to have a permit,
which has to be signed off by ALL your neighbors, which means
detailed drawings, which means an engineering design for the
deck. We'd chosen and half-paid for our hot tub for months
before we got it, which created some confusion but did allow us
to know exactly how much space to design for it. We set the hot
tub into the deck because I liked that look and thought it would
be easier to get into. Actually it isn't, and if there's a
problem with it we'd have to rip the deck apart to get it out.
The hot tub people were in charge of delivery and setting it up
on the platform and using the wiring that the builders had made,
then the builders came back and completed the rest of the deck.
We had to creep over planks for two weeks to use it, but overall
that went very smoothly.
We chose an expensive portable electric system which has worked
well and has very low utility bills. Gas- powered wooden hot
tubs are less comfortable to use and require a separate place
for the gas heater and its concrete foundation.
You want to think about: screening from neighbors; lighting,
allowing lots of room for splashing and overflow. Also, a tap
installed close by for refilling and cleaning the filters is
convenient. Consider where you're going to drain it, such as:
away from your foundations.
My husband uses it every night and loves it. Generally a really
great investment, worth the trouble. Fiona
Does anyone have any advice about:
- where to purchase a hot tub in the Bay Area?
- what are the best hot tubs?
We recently had to replace our gigantic old fiberglass spa, which
came with our house, and now had a broken pump. We visited the
hot tub place on Ashby near the freeway and also a place in
Fremont: Crystal Springs Spas in Fremont,
657-4584. They have a good selection to look at, and the
saleswoman was very helpful and not pushy.
We also did a lot of research online.
We ended up buying a
wood hot tub from Robert's Hot Tub in Richmond.
http://www.rhtubs.com/ He ships them all over the world and is
famous for his hot tubs. We are very happy with our wood hot
tub. It has a smaller footprint than the big old spa we had
before, it smells really nice (it's cedar), it looks beautiful,
and when it wears out after 15 or 20 years, we only have wood
planks to recycle, not a big chunk of plastic (it was a pain
finding someone to take our old one but that is another story).
We were also interested in energy costs - the plastic spas do
have insulation where the wood ones are just wood. We think that
because the wood one has a smaller surface area, it loses less
heat, so they work out to about the same. In terms of cost, the
price of the wood tub was about the same as the small-ish plastic
spas we looked at, but there were additional costs for the wood
one - running a gas line for the heater, paying someone to put it
together, and building a little deck and steps into it. Roberts
recommended a contractor to do this and we were very happy with
the results. We felt the additional cost was worth it considering
the aesthetics and ease of recycling at the end of its life. Go
look at the website -- I think you can see examples of Robert's
hot tubs at the place on Ashby but it's not that much farther to
Richmond (you need to make an appt first though because it is not
a showroom - it's a workshop).
The most important thing that I would recommend is that you open
up the yellow pages, find several hot tub distributors, and then
go to the showroom to actually TRY OUT the hot tubs they sell.
When we were shopping around I thought that I knew what kind of
tub that I wanted, but after actually sitting in several I
discovered that I was wrong. Yes, it can seem kind of silly to
sit in your bathing suit in a hot tub in the middle of a
showroom. But it's a big investment and you don't want to regret
it. That said, we've owned a Hot Springs spa for 6 years. It's
had some problems, but they were all covered under the warranty.
Does anyone have a spa repair person they trust? All the
recommendations on the website quite dated. Has anyone had
experience with Greg Taylor from Spa Repair Plus?
John from Satori hot tub has been repairing and maintaining our hot tub for over 20
years-- 7 years for us and 15 years for the previous owners. He is knowledgeable and
pleasant to work with. He is good at presenting options for repairs. His number is
Someont to repair heater on hot tub
Any recommendations out there for someone to repair
(problems with the heater) and help us maintain a 15 year
old Sundance hot tub/spa? Has anyone had Rick Dykstra
work on their spa?
We have used Hercules Pool Care for the last 10 years, and
have been very pleased with the work. Tracy is honest,
punctual, reasonable, and does a great job maintaining both
pool and spa. He has done a better job than any of the
previous companies we used. He can be reached at 510-410-
Our extended family is researching buying a hot tub, we're hoping
to find a round, attractive tub that has jets good for arthritis.
Any suggestions on dealers or tubs you love?
Sundance Spas are the best. The only two to even look at are
Sundance Spas or Hot Springs. (The ones at Costco and Home Depot
are poorly constructed.) The jets on Sundance Spas are the
superior. Sundance is on Jacuzzi Street in Richmond (close to
Costco). The closet Hot Springs retailer is in Marin.
What ever you do, wet test them. Bring you bathing suit and a
towel to the store and GET IN! This is the only way to really
try them. Don't be shy. This is an investment that will be with
you for a long time and will improve the quality of your life.
Considering buying a house with a hot tub
Hi -- we are considering buying a house that has a hot tub-
- a luxury item that we have no idea what it involves...
Is there a lot of maintenance that needs doing? Chemicals
that need adding? Cleaning? Do you have to heat it all the
time or do you turn it on a day before you want to use it?
Do they take a lot of energy to run (it does have a
cover). OK, I have exposed my ignorance, now someone
please take pity ...
We bought a house last year with an existing hot tub. Our
agent insisted on having it added, at the seller's expense,
to the one year home maintenance policy they gave us.
Otherwise it would have cost us about six hundred dollars
to get working properly - the previous owners had not
maintained the water quality properly so it was leaking,
heater switch was burned out, needed new filters and so
forth. Gary from Spa Repair Plus was absolutely great and
gave us lots of advice on how to maintain it properly.
Other spa repair people didn't even return phone calls, and
those who did refused to have anything to do with a
Jacuzzi - they're hard to work on, apparently, and the
parts are expensive. In the long run, actually, we'd be
better off with a smaller tub with an ionizer instead of
chlorine, and a gas heater I believe is cheaper to run, so
sometime when we're rich and famous we'll probably exchange
it. We love it, though, and its been great to have.
I am looking for a cover for our Hot Tub. Does anyone have a suggestion as
to where to find a used? I would appreciate any information about non
chemical water treatment for hot tub use as well.
I think you may have trouble finding a used one because the shape and
size of the tops can vary so much. Also I think by the time people
decide to get rid of their covers, they are pretty mildewed and
watersogged and beat up. We recently needed a new one, and we just
went on the web and found a place in So. California that made it to
our specifications and delivered it. We are very happy with it. Just
go to http://google.com and type in ''hot tub cover''. One thing I
wanted to recommend was getting a ''spa cover lifter''. It's hard to
explain, it's basically a metal bar that attaches to the side of the
tub that the cover hangs on when you've using the hot tub. You raise
or lower it to move the cover off and on, and it keeps it off the
ground and out of the way. Here's a picture of the one we got here:
http://www.specialtyspacovers.com/coverupspacover.html I think this is
also the place we ordered the cover from but I'm not sure. For us, the
cover lifter was a big improvement over lifting the heavy
waterlogged cover off and on. Good luck.
Hot Tub Repair person you like?
Anyone out there with a hot tub repair person they have
been happy with? Thank you.
We use Jim at Jim's Spa Service. He helped us get our
wooden hot tub into good shape when we first bought our
house, and continues to help us when we need something.
Very nice, down-to-earth guy, extremely knowledgeable. His
number is 547-2301.
Happy hot tubbing, Heidi
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