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Spa Advice
updated: Feb 15, 2014, 10:40 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I have been considering an above ground spa purchase for several years now. I feel that it would be used frequently with my family's lifestyle and bring enjoyment and much needed relaxation to make the purchase worthwhile. I've read past referrals on edhat, visited a local dealer, but looking for suggestions and testamonies from real owners. Already prepared for 240V electrical and a pad for it to sit on. The newer spas seem to be quite maintenance free, is this true? Any pitfalls, things to avoid or recommendations? How much could I expect my electric bill to increase? How much was your electric bill before and after installing a spa? TYIA

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 495059 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 11:06 AM

I have had a couple spas and a big fan. They do require some maintenance, basic spa chemistry & cleaning the filter but easy stuff. I also tried all the non-chlorine products and that is a waste of money. all you need is a little bit of chlorine (as long as kids aren't peeing in it) to keep the spa water fresh & clear. The most bells & whistles for your spa buck comes from ordering through Costco. You can get a 8x8 top of the line spa for $6K, delivered! Enjoy


 COMMENT 495061 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 11:19 AM

1. Buy local & have it installed by the vendor or the vendor's installation contractor.

2. Make sure the spa runs on a dedicated electrical circuit.

3. Buy Quality and your spa will break down less.

4. Buy Quality and you won't have a mini-pool that sits there filled with mucky water because it's broken down and too expensive to fix.


 COMMENT 495063 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 11:23 AM

If you can afford a spa and have a big enough area to put one then why worry about the electric bill. You said you wanted to relax


 COMMENT 495070 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 12:02 PM

my guess is that your electric bill will at least double.


 COMMENT 495072 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 12:09 PM

We have a smaller one. It bumps us up 25 to 35 a month.


 COMMENT 495073P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 12:09 PM

Best advice: DON'T get one!

We have many friends who have HAD them & eventually gotten rid of them for a slew of reasons.

High gas bills, high electric bills, LOTS of maintenance, & just far too much fussing around to get it right.

The next thing is they soon get weary of using the spa, so it sits & turns into frog pond complete with green algae.



 COMMENT 495079P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 12:35 PM

They are well worth the time, effort and occasional hassle. I am on my third house and third spa. I have back problems and a high stress job. The spa is a must for me. I agree to spend a little extra up front for the best warranty or buy a cheaper spa and pay for the longest extended warranty money can buy.


 COMMENT 495080P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 12:37 PM

There is a family owned and operated spa manufacturing company in Nipomo. They are great. We just bought one from them. Company is Xtreme Backyards in Nioomo.


 COMMENT 495083 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 12:46 PM

I'm in mine for morning coffee and evening drinks - totally disagree with 073. I love my tub!


 COMMENT 495085 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 12:51 PM

go solar, then get a spa (and an electric car too). We gave our spa away - consistent maintenance and higher electrical bills ($40-50 a month).


 COMMENT 495090P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 01:03 PM

You'd probably get more use out of an indoor fancy tub with jacuzzi jets. My neighbors installed a state-of-the-art Gordon & Grant type wood spa, about 10 years ago. I bet they've used it once per year since then.

Ants can be a problem, too.


 COMMENT 495093 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 01:15 PM

If you use it everyday, maybe it's worth getting a spa.

But consider this: everyday you will need to pay to circulate the water at least 20 minutes to avoid algae growth. Every couple of days you will need to test the Ph and add soda ash or chlorine to have clean water, and you will need to remove the leaves, insects, and dead lizards. Before you use the spa, you'll need to turn on the heater for 2 hours before the water is hot enough to use.

I estimate for every 30 minutes you spend in your spa, you'll spend twice that time maintaining it.


 COMMENT 495095 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 01:20 PM

Yes go for it. Nothing more therapeutic. Just use Ph test strips and stay on top of it. My very hearty reccomendation is the Lay-Z Spa "Miami".


 COMMENT 495102P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 02:13 PM

I love my hot tub. Get in there at night w my three kids and watch the stars. Dunk in it in after surfing to raise the core temp back up. Low electricity- burns about 100w/hr during the day. I have solar with a surplus so that's not affecting my bill. I do have a pool and the pool guy just does both.

Because they are covered and in direct sunlight, there is very little heat loss through evaporation. Zero problems with the spa itself.

I got my Hot Spring spa because of the features and warranty as well as the store owner's representations and I've been 100% satisfied. A friend of mine liked the brand and dealer from using ours and bought his own and loves it. We got them from Hot Springs Spa of Santa Barbara off of upper state. http://www.hotspringspaandpatio.com/contact.html

If the house we moved into hadn't already had a pool, I also would've considered one of those Endless Pool spas. Combines both elements although more costly. But for just a spa, Hot Springs is excellent.


 COMMENT 495104P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 02:18 PM

Don't get the huge fancy tub as 409p suggests! Those hold from 80-140gallons of water for each use! At least not unless you have the tub hooked up to gray water system and irrigate your garden with it or something. 100gal is equal to a 25min shower with a low flo shower head.

A hot tub requires very little refilling during the year. And it requires nowhere near the maintenance being suggested. I'm the same poster who mentioned Hot springs.


 COMMENT 495108 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 02:28 PM

Be courteous to your neighbors. Buy a quiet unit, and respect the county's set back ordinance.


 COMMENT 495133 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 04:13 PM

I believe you won't be able to fill up your pools and spas when/if more strict drought controls are imposed. If those controls are put in place, that would be the time to b-u-y a spa, but you'd have to hold off using it until restrictions are lifted.


 COMMENT 495150 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 05:11 PM

My daughter purchased her hot tub from Gordon and Grant. They were excellent at the point of sale and in helping as questions came up about water quality over the past year. Hers is a smaller tub...I think about 340 gallons. Recommendation is that the water be drained every 6 months for light use, more frequently for higher use...not great as we get deeper into this drought. She has solar panels, but increase in cost has been about $15. It requires a considerable amount of maintenance and chemicals. It is very quiet. It has been my experience that people are more enthused at the thought of it and that enthusiasm diminishes over time.


 MISTA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 05:38 PM

Had one back in my single days...
It was an awesome ice breaker to invite hotties over to the house to share a tub and a bottle of wine :)


 COMMENT 495155 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 05:45 PM

My family loves our Gordon & Grant installed spa. Does not cost much at all. Very little maintenance as only the 3 of us use it. Wonderful on full moon evenings like tonight and after surfing. My daughter loves it whenever the mood strikes her.


 COMMENT 495201 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-15 10:21 PM

Sundance Spas. On our second one, the first one lasted over 15 years. The second one is running strong, now 10 years old. We love ours and the maintenance is uber easy. We keep it hot and ready to go 24/7…it doesn't cost that much at all.


 COMMENT 495219 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 07:28 AM

Buy local, not Costco!


 COMMENT 495220 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 07:35 AM

Mine ran on 110V outlet. You may want to consider that option. DEFINITELY put it on a dedicated circuit! When it occasionally shorted out (if it rained, and a contractor removed the outlet cover, or if overloaded by household use), I had to run all over the house looking for the tripped GFI! I've had the tub as long as I've had the house, & my electric bills have never been high. (I was long ago told that it might add $12/mo, but I don't know if it's even that much.)


 RED CREEK agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 08:08 AM

Hot Springs Spa. Local dealer. Have had two over the past 20 years, in three locations (moved our latest one once). Dealer service is important for the rare breakdown. That hot water will keep you young.


 COMMENT 495231 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 08:21 AM

We bought ours from Costco in 2007. It has worked flawlessly the entire time. We've love it, BUT.....we already have rather high electric use. Due to some financial struggles, we decided to drain it to save some money. We now have seen our electric bill decrease by $100-$150 per month. We were also spending about $50 per month on chemicals(Leslies pool supply) to keep it fresh for almost daily use. We also had to drain and refill about every 3 months- again we used it almost daily. We found the cost to be at least $1800 per year to keep operational and we did all the maintenance.


 COMMENT 495248 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 09:31 AM

The electric use is largely from the circulating pump and if it has the feature, an aeration pump. Your electric bill (if not on solar) will increase largely based on how long you are circulating the water. A certain amount of regular and periodic circulation is necessary to control algae and filter out dirt, vegitation material and insects even if you do not use it for bathing. Chemical balance is very important and will vary depending on how often you use it, what temperature you set for the water and how long it is uncovered and exposed to sunlight. When not in use, make sure it is lock/covered (by an opaque cover if it is in an area with sunlight) and ALWAYS make sure it is CHILD SAFE and on a dedicated electric circuit with a ground fault system.


 COMMENT 495254 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 09:50 AM

People get tired of these things after a few years and give them away on CL. Some of the freebies are old and beat up, but many of them are pristine. Wait for one of those rather than pony up $5k for a new one.


 COMMENT 495264P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 10:21 AM

Gordon and Grant Hot Tubs! Local and reliable. We've had them install 2 hot tubs in 31 years. That speaks for itself..


 SBARTS agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 11:59 AM

Got our first redwood tub from Gordon and Grant 20 years ago. Just replaced it with a Jacuzzi, also from Gordon and Grant. It's a wonderful way to relax and maintenance is minimal. The benefits are well worth it.


 COMMENT 495364P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 05:12 PM

Check and double-check on noise levels and set-backs. Our neighbors had an illegally installed one, that tormented us. The motor was only 12 feet from the head of our bed and we could hear and feel it every time they used it. (Ironically, they could neither hear nor feel the vibrations in their house.) It caused a lot of neighbor problems until they finally removed it.


 COMMENT 495378 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-16 06:25 PM

Had one about 15 years ago. Used it every day. However it raised our electric bill by more than $100 a month. We could not afford to keep it running. I really miss it.


 COMMENT 495482P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-17 08:25 AM

See if you can find a Hot Springs Spa. Go to the dealer and learn about why they are worth every penny. Had ours for 15 years, one motor change, two new tops, plus the filters. If you don't plan on hiring a pool service, you have to be the kind who will maintain--if you're not (be honest here) you will use more chemicals and become frustrated. Daily upkeep if used daily means checking and using chemicals when indicated. Drain, scrub (baking soda) and refill when the daily tests of water quality require extra chemicals or a "shocker" treatment. Drain before leaving for extended periods. Use a vinyl cleaner or saddle soap on the cover if it sits in the sun. Will last longer.

Hot Springs electric spas constantly recirculate (slowly) so no preheat is necessary, and keeps water cleaner too. Low energy use.

Don't use body oils or heavy makeup when tubbing--they clog filters and leave waterline marks. The Japanese wash before soaking--a good habit to adopt.

a 350 gallon tub will usually fit four with room, two for tub-hogging floating etc. The Hot Springs has an awesome "Moto-Massage" chaise set up for total bitchin massage relaxation.


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