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Making Cool Nights Hot

Sep 10, 2012 12:53PM ● Published by Anonymous

Picture this—it's a cool autumn evening, the leaves have changed color, brisk breezes blow, and you're in need of some relaxation after a long day at the office. Typically, you might reserve yourself to indoor couch comfort. But cue the hot tub, and you can enjoy both enveloping warmth, and crisp, refreshing air. It is the perfect place to melt your stress away.

Sounds great right? It is, and partly why millions of American households have installed a hot tub. Others reasons include medical and therapeutic benefits, entertaining, and family enjoyment. According to the International Hot Tub Association, there are a multitude of medical studies—conducted by the Journal of Physiological Anthropological Applied Human Science, the Sleep Foundation, and the Mayo Clinic—suggesting the benefits of aquatherapy for a variety of ailments, from chronic back pain to arthritis. And we all know soaking in a hot tub can reduce stress and anxiety.

But when choosing a hot tub, there are many considerations other than personal enjoyment, such as type, location, cost, and maintenance. Here's a guide to help you discover the perfect hot tub experience you are looking for.

Type

Hot tubs come in all different shapes and sizes, so it is important to research the differences in order to choose the best for your home. The first type is a factory-built, portable, self-contained hot tub. These are pre-built by the manufacturer, include all of the equipment, and require no on-site plumbing hook-ups (you fill it with the hose). Often, these types of hot tubs are installed above ground, although it is not uncommon for them to be installed into a deck or patio. However, specialists do recommend allowing easy access to the hot tub for maintenance.

Family in Hot TubAn in-ground spa is another type offered. Typically, these have a pre-plumbed structure with an external pump, heater, and filter components. It may use electric-, gas-, or solar-powered heaters and a variety of filtration systems. Installation for this type of hot tub must be done on site.

Most modern hot tubs are made of acrylic and equipped with many features, including air or water jets, molded seating fixtures, and lights. Inflatable spas are also now available for installation. Traditional units are made of wood; usually teak, cedar, or redwood. Although more expensive, wooden hot tubs are known for their durability and longevity.

For indoor hot tubs, acrylic or plastic tubs can be custom built into a bathroom.

Not all types of hot tubs, whether outdoor or indoor, are suitable for every home. It is important to consider where you want your hot tub to be to ensure there is enough space, ventilation, and structural support for the unit.

Location

Most hot tub owners look to have their unit installed outdoors. Outdoor hot tubs offer the ability for entertaining, as well as a view of your backyard and the outdoors. A tip for picking the location of your outdoor hot tub is to choose a place close to your house and near a doorway. This allows for easy access, especially during the winter so you don't have to run across the snow just to enjoy your hot tub, and privacy.

A hot tub indoors is also a great option. When picking the location, be sure to avoid carpeting or hardwood floors, in case of splash over water. Also, make sure there is enough space for the Jacuzzi, as well as proper ventilation.

Cost

In order to get the most for your money, there are many aspects to weigh, such as type, energy efficiency, basic-to-luxury features, size (how many do you want to entertain?), and maintenance requirements.

Heating the hot tub is another expense to factor into the total cost. It may be helpful to look for an energy efficient hot tub that won't increase your electricity bill too much. Naturally, the larger the unit, the more it will cost to keep heated.

Any additional features you want in your hot tub—such as extra jets, advanced filters—could add to the cost.

Hot tubs require a good amount of upkeep, so it is important to make sure the company you are buying from offers excellent customer service and a valuable warranty, not just the cheapest price, in case something goes wrong.

Maintenance

Finally, maintenance of your hot tub will be important to ensure it lasts as long as possible. When draining your hot tub, usually once every three or four months, it is recommended that you also clean the shell surface. Scum lines, scale lines, and mineral deposits will build-up on the shell over time. It is also important to keep plumbing lines clean. Although it may sound like a major chore, it is actually quite simple. There are plumbing line cleaners specifically formulated for this task, as well as cleaning the jets and fittings in your hot tub. All you have to do is add the cleaner to the water before you drain the tub, run the jets to make sure the cleaner circulates throughout the tub, and drain normally.

Though it may sound daunting to pick a hot tub, choose a location, and maintain up-keep, the potential benefits of ownership will likely outweigh any temporary anxiety. Once you install your hot tub and slip in for the first time, that stress will melt away.

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