Shopping Guide For Hot Tubs
Broomfield, Co 80023
Copyright 2000 -2013
You may download this for personal use. Commercial use is strictly prohibited without
written permission from Havenmade
list for your hot tub search.
1/ Look for hot tubs that are easier to repair. As the hot tub ages, you do not want to spend extra money on labor, especially on leaks. The equipment should be spread out so one component is not in the way of removing the other. All of the side panels should be removable, and the hot tub should not be filled with dense foam to interfere with repairs. (Don't buy a luxury car and fill the hood full of foam!).
"the hot tub should not be filled with dense foam to interfere with repairs."
The smaller tubing needs support with lightweight foam or tied in bundles to keep it from shaking as necessary, so some tubing support may be needed. In Haven Spas the pumps run so smooth the tubing does not shake. The shaking on most spas comes from the "standard" inadequate plumbing. The standard design from 35 years ago is to stuff the cabinet with foam, then place the equipment in a small box in front of the hot tub. This is not only a poor design for repairs, bad plumbing alignment, it is also bad in terms of heat build up on the pumps and the plumbing has multiple concessions in design. It is much better to allow air space around the equipment. If you place the equipment in a large container as in a thermal sealed hot tub, the heat is dissipated and the equipment is easy to access. If you have a leak in the plumbing, buried in the foam, in a fully foamed hot tub, it is very expensive to fix. How do you find it?
2/ Look for hot tubs with standard parts. There are several companies making readily available high quality parts. The word "EXCLUSIVE", means just what it says. You are excluded from buying parts from other suppliers. If they have exclusive parts that you like, check around to see how much they cost to replace. I certainly would not pay $600 for a heater manifold or $350 for a plastic jet. Most all the major brands have some ridiculous prices on parts. All of the manufactures of hot tubs use outside manufacturers for the various parts. If they buy enough parts, then they can have the parts "bastardized" so that they cannot be replaced with the standard part. There is no reasonable difference in quality between "exclusive" parts and non-exclusive. In most cases the non exclusive parts are stronger. One large company places the motor frame on the pump on a 45 degree angle, so that you can't even replace it with a better brand of motor. You are stuck with an inferior part and "pay through the nose" for it.
3/ Look for hot tubs that are fully insulated and not fully foamed. A fully foamed hot tub is not, by any stretch of science, the most energy efficient hot tub. Spas that capture the heat from the equipment and keep cold air off the components and plumbing are efficient. A fully insulated hot tub may have lightweight foam on the shell, warm air chamber, and the walls of the cabinet have foam boards. The best tested design now is the thermal sealed with rubber seals on the cabinet doors and multiple layers of "space age" insulation on the cabinet walls. The cabinet is closed with no vents that allow cold air to enter the cabinet except by vacuum. DAIT Click Here
4/ Look for hot tubs
with acrylic backed by vinyl ester bonding resin and
hand rolled fiberglass with glass cloth or chop.
This is the shell with the most history for
strength, reparability, and beauty. (When something
better comes along I'll be the first to let you
know.) The cheaper hot tubs will use a
composite of Acrylic and ABS, or another plastic and
ABS with no structural fiberglass. The
cheapest is polyethylene (roto molded).
If the cabinet is stuffed with structural foam
to hold it up, don't waste your money. This is
a cause of many problems that result in expensive
repairs and more expense to heat the water.
As soon as the
salesman says "our spas are fully insulated" or
"fully foamed" walk away from that disaster waiting
to happen to you.
5/ Look for quality
electronics. Right now Hydro Quip Gecko and ACC make
the best (in my experience) and Balboa is very good,
but not with plastic
boxes. The safest is to use steel
boxes. If you put a 50 amp or a 60 amp sub
panel in your home, you would never pass code if the
panel was made of plastic for fire reasons.
Steel is by far best container for electrical panels
and control boxes. Aluminum is OK but not as
safe as steel. (We have always used steel or
aluminum, and in 14 years we have had three boxes
with electrical arcing. You could not even see
the evidence of it until the box was opened. Then
you saw all the black and melted parts. This can
happen in any control box. You do not want any power
junctions exposed outside of a metal housing. This
stops the possibilities of fire.)
6/ Look for hot tubs that have good clean plumbing. If the pump can put out 200 gallons per minute and it is running at 150, there is something wrong with the design. If a diverter valve is used, make sure it is NOT the first thing the pump hits in the plumbing path. If the diverter valve is the first plumbing part after the pump, then the hot tub is poorly plumbed. I call this "diverter first" plumbing. Look for few turns in the main plumbing. A poorly installed diverter valve means that people have to wait their turn for the jets. The diverter valve is similar to driving you car with the brakes on, in which the engine works harder to do less work. If you cannot run all the jets at full pressure at the same time, then the hot tub has a diverter valve, restricting the flow.
7/ Look for bypass filtering with check valves on the main jet pumps. This insures proper water flow to the jets. It also follows the ANSI standards for safety. (The worse design is the no bypass plumbing on hot tub jet pumps because it limits the water flow and as the filters get dirty, the jet pressure drops. These hot tubs have weak jet pressure to begin with and water diverters. The natural water pressure going into the pump is weak when the water is drawn from only a filter housing)
8/ Look for pumps that are mounted to reduce noise. We recommend using rubber mounting pads, solid 2 x 4 frames and lag screws to hold the pumps solid and get rid of "sounding boards" (thin plywood or plastic). Listen to the pumps running on high with all the equipment going. If you can't have a conversation, don't buy it. All you should hear is water!
9/ The length of a
warranty on the hot tub should not be the primary
reason for buying. Warranties are hidden "insurance
policies" in the hot tub that you are paying for. It
is built into the price of the hot tub. For
instance, our least expensive hot tubs have a one
year parts and labor warranty for a reason. It is to
make them affordable. Our high end hot tubs have 10
years parts and labor. The same brand of components,
same shell construction, same plumbing parts brands.
Haven Spas have the longest history of the least
10/ Look for
reasonable prices. A cheap shell stuffed with foam
to hold it up with a one horsepower (1.65 hp), one
speed jet pump hot tub with no air jets (air
injection) being sold for $10,000 is a rip
off. (We have better ones for $9000) Look for
the features per dollar of the hot tub as well as
design and construction materials. Do
not purchase any hot tub that you do not understand
about the equipment being used. Find out the
real HP, motor size, brand of motor, brand of
electronics and jets. Don't
fall for fake awards
11/ Avoid hot tubs
that use a tiny 24
hour circulation pump that produces less than
18 GPM. (Unless of course you want to buy scum
balls, scum bags, scum bug, extra shock and water
clarifiers, and enzyme treatments to help get the
scum out of the water.)
12/ Look for hot
tubs with a flat surface on the upper shell. I
hate to sit up on hard rounded or convoluted shells.
It hurts my butt!! At some point you are
going to want to sit up on the shell and cool down,
especially in summer. I have been using hot
tubs for nearly 30 years and I hate rounded upper
shells and would NEVER own one. If there isn't
multiple places to sit then don't buy it. The worst
is convoluted with the stupid hand grips all over
the top of the shell. The rounded ones simply put
pressure on your bottom and it hurts. The
tangent of the circle is a hard pressure point on
your butt. Large flat areas on spas is best .
It also gives a table to place drinks as well as a
serving area over the filter. No loose filter lids
13/ Don't be "sold" on a hot tub by a salesman. If you feel pressure and manipulation, get up and walk out. The deal they have now that is so good, may be even better tomorrow. Research the products and take some "salt" with you so you can take everything as they say with "a grain of salt". Make your decision to purchase at a later time based on knowledge. ( There is a company that goes around with trailers and RV's with a sign on the trailer saying "LIQUIDATION SALE". The hot tubs they sell are lacking in cold weather insulation, not fully finished, and are being sold for about $1000 more than a comparable hot tub. They say if you don't buy now, you will miss out on the best deal. They also don't take care of the customers. They are unethical. This is the epitome of high pressure sales.) If you go to a home show, you need to know about hot tubs and prices before you go, otherwise, you most likely will be taken advantage of. HOME SHOW WISDOM CLICK HERE
14/ Buy hot tubs that
are ANSI/NSPI(Click here) conforming.
largest manufacturer of portable hot tubs does not
follow these engineering design rules.
These rules are their to protect consumers and are
not subject to interpretation.
15/ At the present time, there are no valid rewards or awards in the possession of any hot tub company. Do not fall prey to awards that are paid for advertising. Do not fall for the Consumer's Digest logo used on brochures, because that too is paid advertising. Do not fall for the NSPI awards to the hot tub company that gives the most money to the organization. Do not fall prey to "Star Ratings on Pool and Spa" it is paid advertising. The hot tub industry is full of tricks to play with the uninformed consumer. The more out of date and rich the company is, it seems the more money they have. That is only because hot tub shoppers do not know anything about hot tubs. All of the advertising on earth cannot change a poorly designed products engineering.
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