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Matt Gohlke / Pools

Questions to answer before buying a hot tub

What a year 2012 was! Between the West Nile virus, the presidential election, the fiscal cliff and other events and tragedies, many of us are just ready to escape from it all.

Tradition says that we should take a vacation, but even vacations come with their own problems: cost, time and travel pressures, security, pet care, crowds, etc. Many of us enjoy going places but increasingly just want to be at home with our families.

One way many people solve this is by relaxing in a hot tub (also called a spa or Jacuzzi). Many see owning a hot tub as going on a vacation and relaxing at home, without the hassles of traveling. It allows them to spend time relaxing with the people who matter most, their family and friends.

Few of us can deny the pleasure of relaxing in a hot tub, but many owners find their hot tub also offers a break from joint and muscle pain as well as potentially better health. We have all known someone who’s used a hot tub for rehabilitation, such as for joint care or for fighting lower back pain. (Of course, people should check with a physician before using a hot tub.)

Couple the relaxation benefits with the health benefits, and the question becomes: Why not own a hot tub? There are many things to consider when deciding on just the right hot tub for your needs.

Buying a hot tub is a decision that you should not feel rushed or pressured into. It is important to take your time and ask plenty of questions. As with most major purchasing decisions, knowledge is everything.

Following are some questions you should consider.

•  About the hot tub: How was the spa constructed? How is the seating configured? Are you able to move about easily in the hot tub? What is the warranty on the shell of the hot tub?

•  About the equipment: Are the controls user-friendly? Can you customize which jets are operating? How loud are the jets and pumps? What are the electrical requirements? What is the warranty on the equipment and control system, and are there exclusions?

•  About the manufacturer: How long has the manufacturer been in business? What is its reputation? How are warranty claims handled?

These are just a few of the purchasing decisions that consumers must consider. Taking your time to really research the purchase will pay dividends over the long haul, allowing you to create a “vacation in your backyard” that will last for many years.

Regardless of whether or not you are able to spend time in a hot tub in 2013, I hope that you have a great year!

MATT GOHLKE, certified building professional, is the owner of Gohlke Pools and a member of the National Spa & Pool Institute, Aquatech and the Better Business Bureau. His firm has received national awards, certifications and recognitions in the swimming pool industry. He may be reached at 940-387-7521.