7 Common Mistakes when Purchasing a Hot Tub
Before you buy a hot tub, there are several things you need to know! Many customers have misconceptions regarding the features you “need to have” when you purchase a hot tub. Let us inform, clarify, and help dispel some of those hot tub buying myths.
Jet Count in a hot tub is one of the biggest misconceptions. Counting jets during your research is a way to compare a spa by the numbers, it can be very misleading.
Hot tub jets come in various sizes and flow rates. Just because a spa has lots of jets doesn’t mean it is better. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Higher quality spa manufacturers focus more on giving their spas a variety of jets rather than on quantity and strategically place them for the best experience. Why? When a spa has more jet variety, the user will get a different massage with every different kind of jet. Better spas allow the user the ability to control the water flow and pressure which delivers a better spa experience. Many inferior manufactures play the numbers game since it is actually cheaper to put in a bunch of small jets, but they get the benefit of being able to say they have “more jets’. Many of these jets, large and small are fed with the same size lines from the pump and offer no increase of jet pressure. This high jet count will, in turn, provide a less stimulating experience in the hot tub.
Higher quality hot tubs usually have lower jet counts but improved jet size, quality, and variety.
HotSpring’s exclusive proprietary jets like the Moto-Massage DX, which moves water up and down your back and the SoothingStream jets provide a hydrotherapy experience like no other brand can offer. HotSpring Spas also feature a SmartJet system which allows the user to concentrate water flow in multiple areas of the spa… maximizing performance for the least energy cost.
A second mistake that is common among hot tub buyers is only looking at the outside of the hot tub instead of asking about what is inside. The fun should not end when the electric bill arrives. Make sure that the hot tub has proper insulation and can withstand the climate you are in.
Many spas today are “fully foamed” with polyurethane insulation. Often this “100% insulation” is achieved with a cheap 1⁄2 lb. density open cell foam, which, by itself has very little insulation value. Your best insulation occurs with a multi-layered variety of polyurethane foams in different weights, each chosen for a specific reason. This will not only save you money on your electric bill, but it also provides extra structure for interior plumbing. HotSpring’s Highlife and Limelight series spas use multiple foam layers with different densities to maximize energy efficiency. Ask your hot tub dealer for a spec sheet to see specifics on the tub you are looking at.
Sealing Thermal Cover
Hot tub covers aren’t all the same. Many competitive spas offer low-density foam, low-cost exterior material, and loose fitting covers that don’t seal well and that literally allow heat (and money) to escape from the hot tub. HotSpring covers are made with high-density foam and are covered with marine grade vinyl to stand up better to the elements. Through HotSpring’s meticulous engineering, measurement, and design, it ensures that all of our covers seal better. For an extra measure of efficiency, a special hinge seal is installed in the middle of the cover which helps lock in the heat at the center of the spa cover.
An easy way to understand this seal is to walk up to any closed cover on an operating water filled spa and open it. The initial suction you feel, or don’t feel confirms the cover’s sealing capability and therefore its contribution to energy efficiency and ease of ownership. Try it for yourself.
While shopping for a new hot tub, don’t overlook one of the most important features of a spa purchase: the warranty. Take time to review and compare different manufacturers’ warranties. A hot tub warranty should cover all of the necessary parts and labor to replace those parts, if necessary. (Many manufacturers cover parts but not labor, which can run upwards of $100 per hour.)
Be sure that any limitations and exclusions are made very clear on the warranty to avoid surprises. Avoid pro-rated warranties and restrictions. Restrictions are disclaimers and vary by brand and they may include clauses that allow the company to deny coverage if, for example, “you don’t follow their instructions for routine maintenance.” Fully understanding what a warranty covers, excludes, and any warranty performance details will help you in comparing warranties from different hot tub manufacturers.
Also, beware of buying extended protection plans, sometimes called service contracts or protection policies. Extended warranties can have many gotcha’s, relying on contract fine print to deny coverage for almost any reason. They’ve become a major source of complaints to the Better Business Bureau and elsewhere.
Knowing what to look for in a valuable warranty can show you which hot tub manufacturers stand behind their products. HotSpring Highlife and Limelight series spas come with a 5 year parts-and-labor warranty and with their exclusive “no-fault” heater warranty that no other manufacturer offers. It is the best and most simple warranty on the market.
Buying a Hot Tub from a Home Show or Online
This is probably one of the biggest mistakes a spa buyer can make. Products sold online and at home shows can be a great deal… as long as you don’t need any service after delivery. That is simply not the case with a hot tub. Hot tubs are generally outside in the elements 12 months a year. They have hot water running through them 24/7 and consist of various motors, heaters and moving parts.
Buying from a transient home show company or online usually becomes a very frustrating experience if service is needed. In addition, most of these companies do offer free delivery but it is usually “curbside” and leave you and your friends to wrestle the hot tub into place. You risk damaging the spa and possibly your back. Delivery is best left to professionals.
At Backyard Oasis, we have our own in-house service department that is highly experienced and have been servicing the hot tubs we have sold for over 30 years. One call to our service department is all you need to do to initiate service if needed. We also deliver the hot tubs we sell and set them up, fill with water, add chemicals, and review the operating procedures, and chemical schedule.
Not Trying It Before You Buy It
Most customers go out and buy a hot tub without even getting into it and seeing if they like it first. Compare that to buying a car without sitting in it. A hot tub is something that will last many years and it is important to avoid the mistake of getting a hot tub which has seats and jets that are not comfortable. Many customers are convinced which model they are going to purchase before a test soak and end up buying a completely different hot tub after they test different tubs.
Backyard Oasis always welcomes you to test soak before you buy. Contact our store to set up an appointment today to try out our hot tubs and decide which one is best for you.
Not Getting Service After the Sale
Purchasing a hot tub is an investment that will provide fun and relaxation for years. It is important to purchase a hot tub from a dealer that provides service before and after the purchase. Buying a hot tub is NOT like buying a car where you can take it to any dealer for service. In fact, most dealers only service the spas they sell or charge very high prices to service spas they do not sell. The
perception of a “great deal” will be long gone if service is ever needed and who has the time for that. With a full-time team of certified spa specialists and a knowledgeable sales team, Backyard Oasis stands behind each and every hot tub we sell. We have been in business since 1983 and have thousands of satisfied customers.