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Hot tubs???
Old 02-07-2019, 07:56 PM   #1
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Hot tubs???

We have made the decision to get a hot tub and have been shopping online and in person for about a month. I think we are more confused than ever. What a wide range of prices, obscure specifications, conflicting reviews etc...

So what is your experience?

We would like something that would comfortably fit four adults, extras like waterfalls, bluetooth and LED lights don't interest us, and we want a reasonable but not excessive number of jets.

We live in a moderate climate and are willing to self install including getting it from the truck to backyard, etc. Under $5K.

Recommendations or what to stay away from would be very appreciated.


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Old 02-07-2019, 08:09 PM   #2
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Watch out for the salesmen! I got oversold on a pretty high-end hot tub. I wish I'd have stuck with something more basic. I think the general experience is just as good. You seem to be in tune with that, just don't be a pushover like I was.

A better (thicker) cover will probably pay for itself in heating costs, though maybe not in a moderate climate.

I bought mine 18 years ago, so I don't know which brands are better, etc, right now. Mine is out of commission, long story, haven't taken another shot at repairs or replacement and been without for 3-4 years. The occasional friend/houseguest is disappointed, but I'm still not too motivated.

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Old 02-07-2019, 08:27 PM   #3
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Pricing is opaque to say the least. Huge markups and NEVER pay anywhere close to what they quote at first.
Be sure to include in cost the electrical requirements. Your home may not have sufficient capacity for the circuit usually 50 amps
You also have to put in a . Concrete or similar pad for it to sit on.
If you are really a do it yourself order online and do it all but buyer beware. Lots of ways to stumble.
Lots of crap out there.....
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:28 PM   #4
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Iíd buy through Costco. If you have any problems with it, you can return it.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:10 PM   #5
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Have had Viking round tubs over twenty years. I find it the emost economical and simplest. Well they were until the gummint bureaucrats madated 104 F on the control panel. Mine is modified to go to 115F I like it at 110F in the winter. I keep mine outside, and yes use it year around. Do get icicles on hair if outdoor temp is 14F or less.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:21 PM   #6
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Make sure your Homeowners covers freezing. Happens a lot here in MN.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:53 PM   #7
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I was shopping for a hot tub a couple of years ago. After much reading, they are not all created equal. And the big name hot tubs are often built with garbage components. The best ones are built and then sprayed with foam all over the hoses, etc.

The best info and suggestions online I found at the following website. He speaks the straight truth: Spas from The Spa Guy - THE SPA GUY Hot Tubs

I just cleaned my tub today while draining for a water replacement. I had no idea that the electrics going to hot tubs require heavy wire through conduit to a special hot tub CFI breaker box--cost $1K to get installed. I had to cut 5 holes in my man-cave ceiling to snake the wiring, but I completed the installation myself.
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Hot tubs???
Old 02-07-2019, 09:54 PM   #8
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Hot tubs???

Choose a good brand, as the local place can change. We are very happy with the performance of Sundance brand. Our model was on sale, and the local dealer delivered and got it up and running. I recommend you do the same if you can. And I donít think you can get a good 4 person tub for 5K installed.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:45 PM   #9
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We've owned 3 of them over the years in different houses. You'll need to put in an 8x8 ft concrete pad (we did it the hard way with 40+ bags of concrete from Home Depot mixed in a wheel barrel). For electric, most ordinances require an emergency shutoff within something like 10 ft of the hot tub. While the fiberglass shell is basically indestructible, be prepared to replace your cover every 5 years or so (they deteriorate and get water logged). And, we've gone through 2 pumps and 2 controller panels over 15 years. That's where your real expense comes from. With that said, here in the Pacific NW we use ours almost daily, and I could never live without one. Lots of times we just soak and don't even run the jets, so having lots of nozzles is not necessary. We chose a brand that was local (Clearwater) but had been around for a long time knowing that we would need to get replacement parts over the years.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:57 PM   #10
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About 15 years ago, after a lot of researching, I bought a 5x7 Hot Springs hot tub.

Like you, I wasn't looking for all sorts of bells and whistles (sound systems, waterfalls, colored lights). I merely wanted a solidly-built tub with a reasonable amount of jets built by a company known for their quality.

The showroom where I eventually bought it encouraged us to bring our swimsuits and towels and try out the tubs in their showroom and out on their deck. I'm glad I was able to experience a variety of tubs, as it allowed me to eliminate the styles and sizes and color schemes that were not appealing to me and to narrow the field down to the couple that I liked.

I bought one that was designed for both 110V or 220V. Initially, I used it on the 110V, but found it didn't keep the water warm enough in the dead of winter, so I had a 220 box installed on my patio which was direct-wired to the tub.

I only used it in cooler weather (late fall, winter, and early spring). The best times were on a still, snowy, moonlit night..looking at the stars and cloud formations above. It's also fun to sit out there and watch moon eclipses in cold weather...while staying toasty warm.

If your area gets very cold or snow, I'd suggest locating the tub very close to an entry point into your house. My tub is literally one step away from the sliding door to my family room. That makes a huge difference, as I can look forward to using it on the coldest of nights, knowing I don't have to worry about freezing in a bathing suit going to and from (in a wet bathing suit!) the tub.

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Old 02-08-2019, 05:53 AM   #11
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We bought a HOTSPRINGS Sovereign 28 years ago, and are still using it weekly. We had it in our first house (in an enclosed, unheated back porch) for 3 years, then moved it to the farm we have owned for 25 years. We moved it in February, and the pump develop a leak from accidentally freezing. We have replaced the cover twice, other than that, the spa is always ready for a dip, and stays at 105* without using much electricity (dedicated 30 amp 110V circuit with GFCI) because the whole underside is expanding foam insulation, that really improves the structural integrity.

A weekly spoonful of chlorinating granules, and a quarterly filter cleaning keeps the water purchase we have ever made without a doubt.

We have the spa on an enclosed, unheated backporch where it gets cold, but is out of the elements, which has kept the outer wood appearance looking like brand new.

Ours is simple, and old school with 1 main jet that will literally move your body away from it with the force of the water, an end lounger with a sweeping back jet, and 4 seats each with one jet, no aerator system, or dozens of small jets, or a waterfall.
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by tulak View Post
I’d buy through Costco. If you have any problems with it, you can return it.
I would also recommend Costco (mostly for price - not familiar enough with brands). We bought one about 10 years ago for a prior house. FWIW, we had to move the delivered hot tub a fairly long way. 8 foot sections of 6 inch PVC pipe worked well as rollers. Might be helpful since you are installing it yourself.
"Oh, twice as much ain't twice as good
And can't sustain like one half could
It's wanting more that's gonna send me to my knees" - John Mayer
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:52 AM   #13
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We've had two hortsprings brand and they were awesome. In below zero weather they're great. Try that in many tubs and you won't appreciate the cold bubbles being blown by your butt.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:25 AM   #14
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Service is very, very important in that hot tubs do have problems "spring up." It's the only item in my house that service is so important and frequent.

I'm sorry, but Costco and Sam's Club just don't have servicemen where you can receive personal attention. Price is not everything, but the quality of the individual components is. Delivery and setup is also important.

Buy your tub only from someone that can give service. It's not like you can just pickup a 3,500 pound hot tub with water and take it in. Mine weighs 850 lbs. not including 350 pounds of water.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:49 AM   #15
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I never thought I'd get a hot tub. When we moved to this house I lost an awesome soaker tub and a lot of bathroom space. I had wanted to redo the retaining wall on the side of the house and that's the only way we could get it into the backyard.

So, we went to a home & garden show and got one at a great price. It's considered a 3 person and sets low to the ground as we didn't want to black any view from the basement windows. Had to grind some concrete to level but it was set up quickly and we having been using it more than we ever thought. Our home has wood floors throughout the upstairs and it can get cold. So we just go downstairs and head out the back door and jump in.

We have a 110 outlet right next to it and use that. Probably adds $10/mth to our electric bill but so worth it.
Jump in, the water's warm.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:39 AM   #16
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Maybe the best memory of our Florida over 55 community.
Hours spent in the hot tub next to the pool. An 8 person tub that was permanently set at 104. A social center. After 10 minutes in the tub, 50 minutes in the 84 degree pool... again a social circle. We called it "bobbing"...
then, back to the tub. Twice a day. Three times on a cool day.
Neighbor just got a quote of 16K, for a tub... based on current life expectancy, that would work out to about $7/min.
Sadly, will have to stick with our shower.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:10 AM   #17
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I love soaking in a hot tub but the prices of commercial tubs put them out of reach for us. So I built my own soaking hot tub many years ago with a plastic stock tank, some pipe fittings, a water heater element, and a pond pump.

My DIY hot tub served us well for several years. I dismantled it when we moved to our new house, with plans to set it up again once we were settled in. Unfortunately, it is still sitting in pieces 14 years later. I have worked on some upgrades on and off over the last several years, but then it goes back on the shelf till I get motivated again.

We've used a variety of hot tubs from the typical fiberglass/acrylic models, to the old school wood tubs, to the round foam and vinyl tubs. They're all equally enjoyable. My wife and I prefer soakers, the jets are just noisy and the movement makes my wife nauseous.

When we have hot tub cravings we occasionally visit a place in the city that rents hot tubs by the hour. It's expensive but it's a fun treat every year or two.

When we were younger we used to make the long drive to hike in to natural hot springs. Those were the best, but unfortunately we don't have the time or motivation to do that anymore.

One of these days I need to get my DIY tub up and running again.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:30 AM   #18
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I bought a second-hand tub for well under the cost of new. Former owners had it in their living room and I think were glad to get it out of the way. We had nine trouble-free years from it, but left it behind when we moved. The cover was shot by then though. It was a 110v model, which worked fine for us in Florida.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:19 AM   #19
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We had a jacuzzi hot tub for years, held 6 people, jets and bubbler, lights, waterfalls, ozone (so less chemicals). Do get the thickest cover for it as it helps retain the heat. We also had to have an electrician install a higher amp plug in and redo our old electric panel .
The good: wonderful for aches and pains and just plain relaxing. I loved it late at night after the kids were in bed!
The bad: took time every week to check ph status and adjust if needed, cleaning or replacing the filters about every 6 months, ours kept having a slow leak so we had the spa repairman out almost yearly to figure out what was wrong(something different each time).
We eventually stopped using it and it sat on the deck for years before we got rid of it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:31 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Mango1956 View Post
Choose a good brand, as the local place can change. We are very happy with the performance of Sundance brand. Our model was on sale, and the local dealer delivered and got it up and running. I recommend you do the same if you can. And I don’t think you can get a good 4 person tub for 5K installed.
What Mango 1956 said, especially about the cost.

We've had three in 20+ years. First one (Artic Spa) was a maintenance nightmare, and the dealer moved their office to 50+ miles away which generated a "travel service charge" even though it was still under warranty. Sold it to a do-it-yourselfer for $500.

#2 and #3 were both Bullfrog, and we've been VERY happy with them. #2 became a bargaining chip when we were selling our megahouse, as the buyers' kids wanted it desperately, so we let it go with the house. We bought the same model a few months later after we had the pad poured and the electrician wire for it at our forever/retirement home.

DH is just about immobilized if he doesn't get his twice a day soaks, and the dog looks forward to being splashed in the face while he watches dad, sitting on the steps. I rarely get in as my internal heater is always on high, and that hot water makes me sick, and the chemicals are hard on my old lady skin.

SUGGESTION: If you're on Facebook, or use Nextdoor, ask people in your area who they recommend. Good service is absolutely essential. Good luck & happy soaking.

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