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Take the plunge: Top tips for your perfect hot tub

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Chilling out in your hot tub with a glass of wine in hand is an image of delightful delux indulgence. No longer possessions of the rich and famous, owning a hot tub has become, for many homeowners, a serious consideration to enhance their home, lifestyle, health and wellbeing.

So, where do you start?

What are people buying?

Before deciding on which style to buy, give some thought to how you will use it. If you want to entertain a large group of people, a family-friendly model with plenty of seating might be the way to go. A deeper, less contoured hot tub is ideal for exercising, or you may consider an exercise spa if fitness is your thing. Whereas if relaxation is your goal, products with various massaging jets and comfortable ergonomic seating will provide the best experience.

Also, consider installing a convenient cover removal/storage system (cover lifter) and easy water-care methods to assist with maintenance and servicing.

Location, location, location

Portable acrylic hot tubs require very little site preparation. You will need a dedicated electrical outlet, a standard garden hose, and a firm, level, solid surface that can support the weight of your unit, water and occupants without shifting. Patios with good foundations are generally perfect.

You will want to consider your hot tub location's privacy aspect to ensure a relaxed bathing experience if any neighbours are in close proximity

Find the right dealer

This cannot be overstated. Whichever way you look at it, a hot tub is a high-ticket, luxury, item. Therefore, you must buy a reputable product from a retailer who can help you through the entire buying process and offer comprehensive on-site warranty coverage for many years.

Make sure you try before you buy! Most retailers encourage you to test soak before you buy. This is the best way to ensure you choose the hot tub that is perfect for you. Each one has its own unique feel. When you do a wet test, note the water's depth, the seating capacity and location of seats, and the jets' variety and power. Look for a hot tub with a seat deep enough to cover your shoulders; others should be high enough to let you cool down. Make sure you can stretch out and get comfortable. You should check the power available to each jet in each seat and how controllable that power is. If you have a particular condition that you are looking for your hot tub to relieve, check how it feels to you. All hot tubs and swim spas will come with a warranty, and your dealer will be able to advise you on how to keep high-quality water in the hot tub.

How much will it cost?

Like any consumer purchase, there is a wide range between the cheapest and most expensive products. There are many factors to consider, including the size and style of the equipment you would like. There are products which can be purchased from under £5,000, but the higher quality, more reliable hot tubs which come with full service back up usually cost in the range of £11,000 to £20,000, while swim spas can cost anything between £10,000 to £30,000.

What are the most important things to consider when choosing a hot tub or exercise spa?

You want to make sure that your new hot tub suits your requirements, so you need to think about what it is for? Is it to ease some of the symptoms associated with a particular health condition, just for relaxing after a hard day working? Do you want to be able to sit or lie back in the hot tub (or both), and how many people will there be at any one-time bathing?

How much, on average, can it cost to run different types of Hot Tubs

Some hot tubs are more energy-efficient than others. Hot tubs advertised very cheaply can be poorly insulated, so always ask your retailer how cost-effective they are to run and ask them to provide any published figures to ensure that the hot tub has good insulation properties.

Several factors will affect the running costs of hot tubs and swim spas, including heat losses and usage. Firstly, the water volume that needs heating will have a bearing. The greater the volume that needs heating, the higher the running costs. Some hot hubs may hold around 1,000ltr, whilst exercise spas/swim spas can often be in excess of 10,000litr.

Water temperature is typically set between 36°C to 40oC. The greater the difference between the water and ambient air temperatures, the more rapidly heat is lost.

What do people get wrong when cleaning them?

A hot tub is one of the most wonderful, therapeutic and lifestyle-enhancing home improvements. However, it is essential to ensure the water in your hot tub is clear, clean and hygienically safe, as some potentially harmful micro-organisms could otherwise cause problems if left unchecked. There is a wide choice of water treatment products available that are safe, easy to use and reliable. The most common water treatment products are sanitisers (disinfectants), oxidisers, minerals and pH balancers. When you purchase your hot tub, a reputable dealer will provide you with water hygiene management advice when your hot tub is installed, and they will demonstrate how you should look after your hot tub. Many dealers are also able to provide maintenance support packages.

How often do I need to change the water?

It is recommended that depending on usage, the hot tub water will ideally need to be changed monthly (not less than quarterly), but it may be more often, if necessary, due to heavy usage.

The good news is that this is neither expensive nor time-consuming. There is a wide choice of water treatment products available that are safe, easy to use and reliable.

What about maintenance or servicing?

Regular maintenance will help keep your hot tub/exercise spa in good working order and save you time and money. The thought of having to maintain a hot tub can be a little concerning for some people, but with the right type of advice from a reputable dealer, this does not have to be an issue and, once you get into the swing of it, will only take you a few minutes a day (or you can choose to have your hot tub maintained by a BISHTA member).

Are you looking for advice?

The British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association (BISHTA) were established in 2001 to ensure that companies engaged in displaying and selling hot tubs are adequately trained in water hygiene management and understand the importance of maintaining these standards by working to the trade associations world-renowned Standards and Code of Ethics.

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