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Matt Gohlke

Matt Gohlke: These tips can help when purchasing a hot tub

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Matt Gohlke

Earlier this year, our family purchased our first hot tub. We have had swimming pools that had spas attached to them, and we have even had a jetted bathtub, but we had never had a standalone hot tub until recently. It is the first time in 30 years we have not had a swimming pool, but thus far our family is really enjoying having a hot tub.

Hot tubs have continued to increase in popularity in recent years. There are many reasons for this recent trend. Unlike swimming pools, hot tubs can be used year-round. In addition, hot tubs take up less space and provide a good alternative to a pool in the smaller backyards of many homes being built today. Especially when compared to in-ground swimming pools, hot tubs provide a more affordable option. But the number one reason is that soaking in a hot tub is extremely relaxing and is just about as good as life gets.

When we purchased our hot tub, we became aware of all of the options available and all of the decisions that need to be made. Following are some answers to some of the most common questions about hot tub ownership:

What is the difference between a hot tub, spa and Jacuzzi? Typically, a hot tub is considered portable, as it is a totally self-contained unit that sits above the ground. One of the advantages of a hot tub is that you can move it (much like you move furniture).

When someone refers to the term spa, they are usually referring to an in-ground unit, and it is often part of a pool/spa combination.

Jacuzzi is a company that manufacturers hot tubs and jetted bathtubs. Due to the fact the Jacuzzi family manufactured the original hot tub, the term Jacuzzi is sometimes used to refer to a hot tub.

How much does a hot tub cost? Just like cars, houses, hotels and restaurants, hot tubs vary in price. Expect to pay $5,000 to $15,000 for a hot tub, depending on brand, quality, size, number of jets, warranty, etc. And just like cars, houses, hotels and restaurants, quality hot tubs cost more.

How much will operating a hot tub affect my utility bill? Since most hot tubs are all electric and the water that a hot tub uses is minimal, your electric bill will be the only utility adversely affected by operating a hot tub. Electrical costs to operate a hot tub are approximately $1 to $1.50 per day.

Are hot tubs difficult to clean or maintain? Hot tubs are easy to maintain. In a survey conducted by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, 77 percent of current hot tub owners said they think their hot tubs are easy to clean and maintain. The worst-case scenario is simply draining and refilling, which isn't difficult or costly.

How do I know what type of hot tub to purchase? There are many different hot tub manufacturers and prices vary for many reasons. Like all products, prices correspond to features, materials used and overall craftsmanship. It is important to take your time and ask plenty of questions. 

As with most major purchasing decisions, knowledge is everything and purchasing the dealer instead of the hot tub is probably the best advice. The following are some questions that you should consider when shopping for the hot tub:

— How was the hot tub constructed?

— How is the seating and loungers configured?

— What is the warranty on the shell of the hot tub?

— Are the controls user-friendly?

— Do the jets and controls allow you to customize what jets are operating?

— How loud are the jets and the pumps?

— What are the electrical requirements to operate the hot tub?

— What is the warranty on the equipment and control system and are there exclusions?

— How long has the manufacturer been in business?

— What is its reputation?

— How are warranty claims handled?

Is financing available for hot tubs? Yes it is. Financing offered by banks and finance companies make hot tub ownership possible, allowing you to pay out the purchase of the hot tub over several years.

Hopefully this information helps clarify some of the questions and concerns that you have concerning hot tubs.

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or