Hot Tubs – nearly everything you need to know

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STRESS RELIEF & RELAXATION

According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of visits to physicians for primary care are for stress related disorders.

Seeking a way to disconnect from the day-to-day frenzy of work, family, fitness, and social obligations? Recharge your batteries and achieve mental and physical rejuvenation with the healing effects of hydrotherapy and hot water.

Use Cases: headaches, neck pain, back pain, depression, fatigue

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ENTERTAIN & RECONNECT

How many times during the day do you wish that time could just stop? You may not be able to turn back time, but with a hot tub you can feel like you’re getting some of those minutes back!

Not only that! But don’t you want to connect with your family and the hubby again? A hot tub gets everyone outside and cooperating with each other. Finally!

Use Cases: Reviving the backyard, Hosting, Getting outside

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REDUCE INFLAMATION

The arthritis foundation says, “research has shown that warm water therapy works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal complaints including arthritis, fibromyalgia and low back pain.”

This method of holistic healing loosens your joints, reduces the effects of friction on your bones and decreases inflammation in the body.

Use Cases: Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Joint pain

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RESTFUL SLEEP

The National Sleep Foundation found that approximately 132 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia.
Experiencing this more than once per week? It can begin to cause depression, mood swings, jitters and poor performance. An easy fix is to hop in the hot tub! The soak in a hot tub before bed raises your temperature; the drop of temperature from getting out of the tub makes it easier for you to fall asleep.

Use Cases: Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Joint pain

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BLOOD PRESSURE & CIRCULATION

The use of a hot tub increases blood circulation in the body allowing more nutrient-rich blood to reach your muscles. This can lead to a reduction in blood glucose levels and minimize symptoms of type 2 diabetes. The hot water therapy has also proven to lower blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease.

Use Cases:Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Low Blood Pressure

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INCREASE HOME VALUE

If you’re looking to increase the value of your home a hot tub isn’t a bad place to start. By adding a hot tub to your listing, you are increasing the traffic to your ad and boosting the value of your home by 5-8%.

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PHYSICAL THERAPY

If you have experienced an injury that leaves you with chronic or lingering pain, a hot tub can be a part of your road to recovery. Hot Tubs are a sought-out method for medical care and rehabilitation in order to ease pain and bring you back to you.

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SKINCARE

Steaming in hot water pens up pores and increases blood circulation resulting in the production of collagen, giving you brighter, firmer, and more youthful skin.

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WEIGHT LOSS

Research has found that spending an hour in a hot tub is the equivalent to a 30-minute walk. In addition, scientific journal Temperature has connected thermal therapy with having an influence on glycemic regulation and metabolic disease.

Sarah Minick
Tacoma, Washington

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“I have fibromyalgia, and my son has a medical condition. Our hot tub means an ease of pain that we struggle with daily. I am a Forklift Driver for shipping containers, so my job is physically demanding. I have thrown out my back a few times and being able to soak in my tub at the end of a hard day of work really makes a world of a difference. Aside from the quality of the product, I also feel that the individuals at Black Pine Spa are a upfront, honest and a pleasure to work with. I still keep in touch with my sales rep, Sondra. The whole experience felt personal and like family. If we needed something, they would bend over backwards to help us.”

Sarah’s age: 35 - 54
Size of Household: 3 people including Sarah, her husband and son.
Sarah’s Tub: Captiva 46 SFB

Nathan M
Seattle, Washington

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I do a lot of athletic activities year-round in Seattle, including cycling, hiking, and kayaking. I use the hot tub after these activities as a way to get warm (especially my hands and feet!) and help my muscles recover. Sometimes in the warmer months, I will hop in the tub in the early morning as a way to ease into the day. My work schedule can be pretty demanding, especially as I work internationally across time zones, so I also use the tub as a way to decompress and de-stress after a long day. We've noticed that we sleep better after an evening soak.
Santi helped to break down all the complexity of the hot tub industry and the process of choosing a hot tub. He also made the sales process seamless by always being available to answer my questions and maintaining good vibes without any pressure. Plus, the pricing of the tub was competitive with other tubs we considered. Choosing Santi and the tub at Black Pine ended up being an easy decision for us."

Nate’s age: 35 - 54
Nate’s size of Household: Nathan and his wife.
Nate’s Tub: Captiva 45 Dual Footblaster

With so many options in the marketplace, shopping for a hot tub can feel intimidating but it doesn’t need to be that way!

First, let’s explore the basics of hot tubs so that you can educate yourself on how to make the best purchasing decision possible.

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THE PORTABLE HOT TUB

Easily the most popular option is the portable hot tub. Reliability, durability, and cost-efficiency are the main reasons why first-time buyers choose this model. This type of hot tub is also very versatile as buyers can customize the tubs to their liking while still maintaining high standards of performance and ease of use.

OTHER TYPES OF TUBS

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Rotationally Molded

This hot tub is molded from a single piece of plastic and as a result, not as visually appealing as others. It is really for a user that is looking for hydrotherapy on a budget. But be aware, these tubs are not known for their energy efficiency.

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Wood

Talk about classic. A wooden hot tub is the original way to reap the benefits of hot water therapy. Although aesthetically pleasing a wood tub is the minimalist way to enjoy a soak with fewer features, jets, and options for comfortable seating.

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In ground

If you have the budget for it, an in-ground hot tub is the most personal, customizable, and permanent type of tub you can purchase. Having the power to make it right for you makes it a worthy investment if you get a crew to install it. However, it’s hardly convenient unless you have a luxury yard to match or need to make repairs.

Industry pricing across models can be tricky. Generally, hot tubs are priced on a scale of GOOD, BETTER, and BEST.

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Luxury

Exclusivity on the best technology, systems, and efficiency models.

Peak hydrotherapy performance.

PRICE RANGE $14,000+

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High End

Evolved selection of features, higher-quality hydrotherapy technology

PRICE RANGE $9,000-$13,000

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Mid-Level

Improved Efficiency, Reliable Quality

PRICE RANGE $7,000-$10,000

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Standard

Standard Parts, Quality, and Lifespan.

PRICE RANGE $4,500-$6,000

OPTIONS

DETAILS

PRICE

BEST FOR

Plug & Play 110V/120V

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  • Affordable, standard-feature hot tubs

  • Most models connect to a typical home outlet

  • Light and portable

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The standard hot tub enthusiast

Couples

Easy, plug-in access

220V/240V Hot Tubs

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  • Cuts hot tub heating time in half

  • Runs more efficiently, reducing future mechanical maintenance.

  • Enhanced performance, therapeutic jets

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Hydrotherapy

Families

Entertainers

Swim & Exercise Spas

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  • Fit for exercise and physical therapy

  • Economical, easy installation

  • Command center control

  • Compact size

  • Preferred by physical therapy patients and athletes.

  • Perfect for family leisure.

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Hydrotherapy

Rehabilitation

Dual Temperature

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  • A hot tub and swim spa combined

  • Versatility in entertainment

  • Combines athletic swimming and relaxation

  • Combines hot and cold therapy

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Athletes

Individuals who need or enjoy cold & hot water therapy

GET THE BEST PRICE

Now that you know a bit about the world of hot tubs, let’s take you through the process of going to buy one. There will be some key questions to ask yourself, but we hope to empower you with the answers to make the process as seamless, transparent and enjoyable as possible.

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ONLINE

One-click checkout.

Generally, cheaper options than a spa dealer.

Customization options are available.

Cannot test the hot tub prior to the purchase.

Typically, limited customer service, installation and maintenance options.

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SPA DEALER

Local, trusted customer service.

Try the hot tub in person.

Get information from industry experts.

Take advantage of promotions.

Customization options.

Customer service and hot tub maintenance options.

Installation assistance available.

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BIG BOX STORE

Generally, cheaper options than a spa dealer.

Typically, limited customer service, installation and maintenance options.

Cannot test the hot tub prior to purchase.

Size & Features

The larger the tub the more expensive it is.

Features such as lighting, massage jets, and hot tub controls all contribute to the price when included with the tub.

Accessories

Accessories such as cover lifters, steps, and entertainment systems can drive up the price.

Quality

Ensure that all the parts of your hot tub (filters, heaters, pumps, jets) are made by reputable companies that are known for quality.

Design

What your tub is made from (acrylic, stainless steel, fiberglass, etc.) will affect the price. Get a quality construction that will last as long as your tub does.

Delivery

Delivery and setup fees associated with your hot tub can drive the price up depending on your dealer and the distance you live from them.

After buying your hot tub there will be costs that accrue regularly overtime, costs that you will need to be aware of before buying your spa so you can save some money while helping to save the planet.

The larger the tub the more expensive it is.

Features such as lighting, massage jets, and hot tub controls all contribute to the price when included with the tub.

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COSTS VARY ACROSS DEALERS FOR THE SAME PRODUCTS

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You might be wondering why the hot tub you want has so many different price tags depending on where you buy it or who you buy it from. Why is that? We’ll tell you.

Some dealers purchase more product in bulk from their manufacturer and as a result they get better pricing.

Some dealers inflate pricing and offer discounts as a marketing ploy.

Freight Costs: These are separate from your installation fees. This is how the hot tub gets to your dealer. On top of this installation costs will be added later.

Dealer overhead and store costs. A larger store with multiple locations has larger overhead and therefore that drives price upwards.

Geographic location. Shipping hot tubs is costly because they are so heavy. Demand in your location also affects the price.

ENERGY COSTS ADD UP

Attention to energy efficiency is going to cost you some extra pennies in the short term although in the long term the perks include saving you money on your electric bill.

Some Factors to Consider

Spa covers are the easiest way to save energy when you’re not using your hot tub. A well sealed cover will trap heat in, keep the cold out and protect from the elements.

The more jets you decide to have in your hot tub the lower the water pressure. You will want to get a larger pump, but this will increase your electricity bill.

Compared to reflective and perimeter insulation, Icynene foam is the most expensive way to insulate your tub but it is also more cost efficient in the long term and effective at keeping your tub warm.

OTHER FAQ’s

Before you take your hot tub home, make sure you know how it will get there and if your home is prepared to handle this much luxury. Here are some questions that will be useful to you and the installation crew so that you can get to enjoying your hot tub sooner!

Questions to Ask Yourself

Spa Destination – Where is the spa going to live?

Path to destination – Is the walkway to the destination a dirt, grass, gravel or paved walkway?

Narrowest point in the walkway (inches).

Is there a slope/grade?

Is the tub being installed into a deck or structure of any kind?

Are there overhangs, railing, gates, plants, etc. Anything that might impede access.

Lowest height clearance (inches).

What power source does the tub require and what is available for use in my home.

Receiving Your Hot Tub - First Steps

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1. FILL YOUR SPA WITH WATER

Know the water capacity of your tub. The information will be in your manual. Fill the tub through the filter with a common garden hose up until a few inches above the jets or 2 finger lengths below the neckline. Plug your tub in and let your spa heat up. This should take a few hours.

2. BALANCE YOUR WATER

It is crucial for a long-lasting tub that water balancing is top of mind. This means that you are going to balance the PH, Alkaline, & Calcium of the water. All the chemicals needed will be found in your startup kit. After filling your tub, then take your test strip and dip it in the water. 

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Alkalinity - Always start with balancing total alkalinity before water hardness (calcium). Alkalinity should read between 80 and 120 ppm on your test strip. If you have a low TA, you need to add a product found in your starter kit called TA Increase or TA Up. Only proceed to pH when Total Alkalinity is between 80 and 120 ppm. 

pH is important for maintaining clean, clear water that doesn’t attack surfaces or irritate skin. When you use the Frog@ease test strip to test your pH levels, they should be in the range between 7.2-7.8. Readings above or below those suggested markers could cause corrosion or foaming.  To adjust pH or Alkalinity use a booster or pH UP/DOWN. 

Water Hardness (Calcium Level) - The hardness of hot tub water depends on how much calcium is present. Too much calcium means your water hardness is too high resulting in cloudiness, foaming, scale buildup, and can lead to corotated plumbing. Calcium levels should be kept between 150-300 ppm 

Always wait a minimum of 30 minutes before checking the levels again.

When Total Alkalinity is 80-120 ppm, pH IS 7.2– 7.8 and Water Hardness is 150-300ppm YOUR water is balanced!

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3. SANITIZING YOUR SPA

After Balancing your water, you will add your chlorine and mineral cartridges to your spa. Each cartridge has a different level that should be set before adding. This is based on the size of your spa. Please speak with a professional or refer to your manual to set the levels properly. 

Making the sanitization process one step almost guarantees that you can’t get it wrong if you’ve balanced your water correctly. Do the right thing and make your life easier when you use Frog@ease sanatizer. If you are going with a traditional method of sanitizing, do not combine chlorine with a bromine shock system.  

Always balance your spa before sanitizing it. Adding sanitizer before the pH is balanced might dull the effects of the sanitizer). 

Use a Chlorine or Bromine sanitizing system or go the easy route with the one-step FROG@ease system. 

WATER BALANCING TIPS

Three Girls in a Hot Tub

Balance before you sanitize.

Adjust chemical levels in small increments.

Wait for chemicals to completely mix between pH adjustments. Wait for up to 6 hours.

Add chlorine shock if balancing takes longer than 2 days to maintain sanitizer levels.

Circulating water through the filter for at least 8 hours a day keeps your hot tub water in the best condition.

Disclaimer: DO NOT use Chlorine shock with a Bromine system. Disclaimer: DO NOT use Chlorine shock with a Bromine system.

SEE IT IN ACTION

You have your tub and are enjoying all that it has to offer. However, maintenance is an important part of protecting your investment and getting the most use out of your hot tub.

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Check Chemical Balance

Check Water Level

Wipe Down Cover

Rinse Filters

Clean Cover & Protect Neck Pillows

Deep Clean Filters

Replace Frog @ease Cartridge (if applicable, otherwise sanitize as preferred.)

Replace Frog @ease Mineral Cartridge or sanitize as preferred.

Drain & Refill Tub

Clean Filters

Clean Pillows

Replace Filters

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED

YOUR TUB’S MANUAL

ALKALINITY BOOSTER

WATER TESTING STRIPS

pH UP/DOWN

SANATIZER (BROMINE OR CHLORINE) GRANULES

Instructions:

  1. Turn your spa off at the breaker

  2. Remove your filters & Clean them with a garden hose (make sure to get in between the pleats). 

  3. Turn your breaker back on

  4. Check water level and top off as needed

  5. Test your water and adjust your chemical balance as needed

  6. Add spa shock (non-chlorinated shock) weekly, this helps oxidize and clear up cloudy water.

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Circulating water through the filter for at least 8 hours a day keeps your hot tub water in the best condition.

Weekly Maintenance

Monthly Maintenance

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Why you need to purge your hot tub?

Why is my water foamy?

What if my water is cloudy?

Why aren't my jets turning on??

What do these error messages on my control panel mean?

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Why you need to purge your hot tub?

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While you might be doing everything to ensure your water is clean and properly balanced, there is something else you need to do to keep chemical buildup in your hot tub from clouding your experience. 

HOW TO PURGE A HOT TUB

Biofilm Buildup

When you wear lotions, cosmetics or even sunscreen contaminants can build up as you use your hot tub. 

Why these are Important to Get Rid of

Some biofilms cannot be passed through the filter, and this can be detrimental to your hot tub if it is not properly maintained. Cosmetics and lotions can cause corrosion in you tub and  throughout the tub's plumbing if water is not properly filtered and cleaned.

When to Purge Your Hot Tub

Even if you are shocking your water, to avoid cloudy, foaming, and even viscous water, you should be sure that swimsuits are rinsed thoroughly, even if they have not just been washed. If you do not wear a swimsuit in the privacy of your own home oasis, then skip this step!

DOES YOUR TUB STILL LOOK DIRTY?
You might have to repeat this process multiple times if it’s really been a while since your tub’s last cleaning.

Why is my water foamy?

Ducky in a Foamy Hot Tub

You might think bubbles are just a feature of hot tubs but there’s a difference between bubbles and suds or foam!

Your Lotions / Cosmetics / Hair Products

Shower before getting in your swim spa or hot tub, this will take off things from your body such as oils, lotions, hairspray, hair gel, dirt, perfumes and colognes and deodorants etc.

It’s Your Laundry Detergent

You should be sure that your swimsuits are rinsed thoroughly and not just with detergents, but with water and then dried, as detergents cause foaming. If you do not wear a swimsuit in the privacy of your own home oasis, then skip this step!

Too much Calcium
 

The higher the calcium the more basic your PH level is. As a result, the water will be less acidic and more prone to foaming.

What if my water is cloudy?

If you’re worried about water being too cloudy or foamy, here are some tips to help your mind rest easy.

Check out this video for more helpful tips!

Some Solutions!

Your personal products like body oils and lotions can cause the water to get hazy or cloudy and detergents from washing bathing suits can even make water foam up.

Use Bright and Clear to get rid of suspended dust particles and oils on the surface of the water.

Is the pH balanced? You might need to use an Alkalinity booster or pH UP/DOWN.

Have you sanitized? Add sanitizer as needed. We recommend using the granular kind for more precise distribution or use our Frog @ease In-Line Sanitizer.

If balancing your water takes longer than 2 days, shock the water with a chlorinating shock oxidizer.

Clean your filter(s)! Cloudy water can be a result of filters being dirty. A rinse or deep clean with filter solution may be needed. 

Why aren’t my jets turning on?

Could be due to an airlock

Your jets aren’t working? Or they’re making that “mmmmmmmm” sound. It may be because your jets have an airlock. What that means is that air gets trapped inside of the hot tub plumbing and prevents water from flowing through the pipes. Don’t freak out. This is a simple fix.

An air lock is most likely the result of air getting trapped in hour hot tub jets when draining and refilling your tub. In simple terms your tub just needs a good burping. 

STEP 1

Take off your tub's access panel and notice two PVC pipes. That is a part of your plumbing.

STEP 2

Select the intake collar, which is the horizontal PVC pipe. You will see a coupler connecting the pipe to plumbing.

STEP 3

Loosen the coupler and you will hear air passing through. Tighten back up and repeat if you have multiple pumps.

How to Clean Your Jets

STEP 1

Spray jet inserts with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to two parts warm water and let soak for 10 - 15 minutes.

STEP 2

Periodically rotate the spinner nozzle to break up residue in the jets.

STEP 3

Rinse the jet inserts with a standard garden hose.

What do these error messages mean?

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Don’t stress about those error messages. Most of them are harmless. More scared of you than you are of them, even.

Check out this video for more helpful tips!

ERROR LF

Error LF is usually referring to an issue with your filters. This is a simple fix. There is probably debris in your compartment. Give it a quick once over or spray it down.

GENERAL ERROR

If you’re getting a vague ERROR message it might have to do with your Airlock. Watch this video to learn more about how to release an airlock. The process is as easy as easy as turning a handle.

ERROR OHH

If you’re getting the message “ERROR OHH” on your control panel it’s probably because it’s not topped off completely even though it might look like it. Just add water.

Additional maintenance faq’s

No matter what you need these products for, there’s a strong chance you’ll need them in the future! Cleaning should be easy! Let us make this process quick and painless for you!!

BRIGHT & CLEAR

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NO MORE CLOUDYNESS

Leisure Time Bright & Clear limits the amount of sanitizer you need in your hot tub by using a unique polymer to neutralize dirt, oily films, and suspended particles to achieve sparkly clean water. 

FROG@ease

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ONE STEP SANITIZING

The FROG@ease sanitizer combines all the steps of sanitizing into one. The efficiency and potency of a FROG@ease takes care of a whole month’s worth of sanitizing allowing you to sit back and relax more often by maintaining comfortable pH levels with the ability to use less Chlorine, keeping those nasty smells out of your tub.

ORENDA

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SPA PURGE SCRUB SOLUTION

SPA-500 is a powerful concentrate packed with enzymes designed for scrubbing the spa and its internal systems (pipes, jets, etc.). It helps flush non-living organics out of the tub when draining.

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