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Hot tub report-after one year of ownership
Old 04-27-2015, 02:45 PM   #1
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Hot tub report-after one year of ownership

I thought this post might help others who are thinking about getting a hot tub. We bought ours locally, which seems to be the way to go. I had a friend really recommend the Sundance brand, as he has had his for 20 years, and is sold on the quality/value of the brand. The shop we bought from has an interesting business model. Auto repair in the back (the bread and butter of the biz) sporting goods store in the middle, and the Sundance tubs are right in the front as you walk in. I was looking for a 2 person small tub, and the Dover model seemed to fit the bill. As luck would have it, the floor Dover model was last years, and he was discounting it by about 1500 dollars. We bought it. The owners of the business plus one of the owner's sons delivered it themselves, hooked it up and we turned it on and filled it up. A year later, we are thrilled with the purchase, and I wonder how I got along without it all these years.
The good:
I use it every day, twice a day (morning and evening)
We save on water, because I don't take baths anymore.
We save on heating gas, as when I'm cold, I jump in the tub and get my core warm
It adds 25 dollars per month to our electric bill-not too bad
Less maintenance than I thought (no clothes policy-keeps the tub cleaner.
Great for a sore lower back-the jets hit right there, so great hydrotherapy
Foot massage as well-for after those long hikes.
Small tub means less water use (240 gallons)
Height is short enough no step is needed. I just swing my leg over and get in.
If for some reason I need maintenance done, the shop where I bought can work on it themselves-they'll just put it up on the rack like they would a car!
Great warranties on the shell, etc. Compares favorably with other top brands.

The bad:
Still requires attention even though maintenance is low. You have to keep the chemistry balanced. I have had to add calcium twice in 12 months, and baking soda (to raise PH) a couple of times as well. Other than that, just chlorine and shock a couple time a week. But all in all, not too bad.

Site the tub near your bedroom door if you can-having to trek long distance to and fro in the dead of winter can be drafty!
Site it where you have a view of the sky-watching birds, clouds and Venus, the moon, contellations, etc is wonderful.
Site it where you have a view of your garden if you can. I can watch the hummingbirds sip from my flowers-delightful!
Site it with a partial overhang if you get rainy winters-that way, you have the option to stay "dry"

I think that's about it! Any questions, let me know. Would love to hear others experiences as well.

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Old 04-27-2015, 03:21 PM   #2
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That sounds awesome. I've always wanted a hot tub and prefer them very warm in the 105 deg+ range. When I retire and move to Florida later this year, a hot tub is on my list. Does anyone out there have an inground pool with a hot tub whirlpool attached? I wonder if they can make the water hot enough?

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Old 04-27-2015, 03:30 PM   #3
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Good report Mango. I very much want one for above reasons except for one glaring one. But I first will have to spend money for an additional deck and all that costs as my backyard has severe slope.
No baths anymore? Whenever I use a hot tub it forces an additional shower to me. That chlorine needs to be washed off instantly with this old skin.

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Old 04-27-2015, 03:49 PM   #4
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The hottest ours will go is 104. We like ours too but I also have to shower afterward or my skin gets dry.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mango1956 View Post
Would love to hear others experiences as well.
Don't fall asleep in that thing

DW & I have owned ours (a Baja spa) for 15yrs now. All the + things you mentioned, and a few lessons along the way.

1. Change the water at least twice a year, more often depending on use. It ~will~ go stale.

2. Wear out parts - I've replaced the ceramic bearings in the pump housing (yes, ceramic). The blower had a winding short one day_ever see someone fly out of a hot tub when the bubbles start to smell burnt?

3. If you leave it without water for more than a few days the PVC joints may weep. It might be because we live in a hot (desert) climate but just be aware. The condition clears itself up after a while.

4. Don't use any of those scented oils or toilet mint type things, they leave a residue and stink for quite a while.

5. Evaporation is a concern so don't leave the insulated top open when you're not using it.

Replacement parts are relatively inexpensive via the internet, and usually everything is accessible. And, most important of all, you can fart to your hearts content and no-one will ever know (I'm speculating of course).

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Old 04-27-2015, 04:07 PM   #6
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Our Sundance Dover can be set as high as 104, but it will often overshoot to 105 or 106. So you should be fine with that. Re: our site, we are fortunate to have a concrete raised patio right outside our bedroom door. So we didn't have to pour a pad, or build a deck, which obviously raises the cost. I might add to recommendations, if you go away and leave for a week, turn the temp down to 80 degrees ish. Beyond a week, you'll have to have someone add some chlorine and shock and turn the jets on for a half hour, But that's pretty easy stuff. Changing the water twice a year is good advice, but YMMV, especially if you have a heavy bather load and wear clothes in the tub.
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Old 04-27-2015, 04:45 PM   #7
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Our hot tub, is for the community, 104 degrees... chemical tested every morning... view of the sky... (screened in pool), the pool activities, the marina, and the lake... and it has a capacity of 9, though never more than 6 use it. Immaculate, with entry stairs and comfortable seats with strong jets at hip level... A total joy to use, and no expense.

Pool and hot tub care is the key to senior comunities. In our intiial search for the right place to live during our retirement, this was #1 on our list of needs, and likely the single item that was at the bottom of the list of the managment of communities that we visited. I hope that has changed...

As one grows older, (for people who enjoy "bobbing" in the pool... comfortable pool temperature is above 85F) and Hot Tub Temperature is 104F.

One of the "details" that gets overlooked.

Of course, living in Florida, and going to the pool and hot tub, is quite different from what it might be in Minnesota...
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:23 PM   #8
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My first was a Viking round one, 30' from the house outdoors of course. Left it with the Maryland house when it was sold. DW got to like it as well after a while. Once moved to PA we bought another one just the same as it was in at the old house. It is about ten feet from the back door, outside of course. Pure decadence when it is 14F outdoors and tub is at 109F. Love it.

Ubfortunately by the time we bought the new one some gummint nitwit decided that the max temp shall be 104F. Weeeeeell, I had a fix for that idiot rule. A few calculations, digging through my precision resistor pile, a bit of soldering and the max temp was set to 115 F. I like around 110 F, DW prefers 109F. Seems one degree more and it is beyond her comfort level.

The Viking tub is now going on 7 years, one pump rebuild, and last summer had to do some sealing job on the plumbing. Works fine.

When it is no longer repairable, another 6' round Viking will be ordered.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:03 AM   #9
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We had a hot tub for 7 years, upkeep was minimal - changed the water about 3 times a year, kept the bromine floater filled, kept the cover on when not in use. I preferred about 100 degrees. I might put a smaller 2 person tub in some day.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:10 PM   #10
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I'm on my second tub after the first one went last summer after 20 years. Love it!

When we first got our original, our neighbor said: "oh, you'll use it for about six weeks and then it'll just sit there". Not us! We use it year-round 3-4 times a week for the past 20 years.

It's tucked out in a perfect 15 foot space between the garage and a stone wall (wilderness behind us) so we have lots of privacy.

Add chlorine twice a week, change the water 3 times a year.

We like it better than a pool because we can use it even in the middle of a snowstorm!
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:57 PM   #11
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We've had a six person "Barefoot" hot tub for about 7-8 years now. I built part of a screened-in porch around it, so that the second step from the Master Bath exterior door puts you in the water without having to step up.

We use it three months of the year; main use is DW to warm up after post-run cool downs, being at the cold hospital/office, or just because. I think she uses it 4-7 days a week? Hard to beat sitting in it with icicles forming in your head on the few real cold days we get around here.

chemical maintenance is same as others report; have had to replace one jet, but no other hardware. We drain it each summer.

OH--one convenience to think of is to run a hot water line to a hose-bib a few feet from the tub. Makes it easy to top off while maintaining temp. (Just make sure to include shunts and a drain pipe at the low point of the run to avoid freezing the pipe. Luckily, I was able to run mine through the garage.)
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:00 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cbo111 View Post
That sounds awesome. I've always wanted a hot tub and prefer them very warm in the 105 deg+ range. When I retire and move to Florida later this year, a hot tub is on my list. Does anyone out there have an inground pool with a hot tub whirlpool attached? I wonder if they can make the water hot enough?
Our spring/fall house has an inground pool with attached spa that can get to 105. There is some sort of limit on the switch. It is easy to operate from a control panel inside the house. Turn it to spa, and it automatically turns valves and adjusts the water level. The water for the spa only flows through the heater. A separate jet pump supplies the bubbles.

Out condo in Florida has a separate spa that no one ever uses. We don't use it either, because it is not the same to be in the spa when it is hot outside. For us, the time to use it is when it is chilly.
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Old 04-29-2015, 12:06 PM   #13
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Our Hot Springs Envoy is about 7 years old - we love it as well. I will say that changing the water is a pain (we are in CT) and wish that was not necessary. I also find we may go weeks without using it and I don't keep up with chemicals as often as I should so I end up shocking more often than others.
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Old 04-29-2015, 12:32 PM   #14
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You are all so experienced with hot tubs! I'm impressed.

The last time I was in a hot tub was in 1978 at my uncle's house in north Hollywood. It felt delicious, but when I got out my muscles were like rubber bands! I was so relaxed that I could barely walk.

If I ever had a hot tub, I'd put it less than 20 feet from my bedroom, that's for sure. There is one at my gym but I have never actually used it.

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