Ideas & Resources

 

Choosing the best hot tub for you, your budget & your lifestyle.

Nobody really needs a hot tub spa; but nearly everyone wants one. A hot tub spa is pure indulgence and unabashed luxury; it is an investment in your leisure, a direction for your down-time, an avenue for your relaxation. A hot tub spa encourages you to take time for yourself, to enjoy worthwhile interludes with your family and friends, to ease away your tension, to eliminate your aches and pains and to eradicate the soul-sucking grind of day after day after day on the same relentless work schedule. Wait; you do need a hot tub spa! But which one? Family Leisure will help you wade through the details to make the best possible choice for you, your budget and your lifestyle.

There are a variety of hot tub spas on the market; the most ubiquitous and popular being the portable spa with an acrylic interior shell.  These spas can be installed easily, moved when necessary, and offer a huge range of hydrotherapeutic features. They are attractive, hard-wearing and easy to maintain. Portable spas come with an assortment of cabinet options, including treated wood, faux stone or brick, resin or other weatherproof synthetic alternatives. Portable spas also come in every shape and size and will accommodate from one to ten or more people.

Another choice is a soft or inflatable tub. This is an ideal solution for someone who has limited space, lives in a rental property, has a limited budget and is looking for a low cost temporary tub. An inflatable tub can potentially be used in or outdoors, and, since it deflates, it is easily transported. Inflatable tubs can even be taken to a party or on a family camping trip.

Some opt for a built-in option; hot tub spas can become permanent features of your home. You will need the help of a qualified contractor to help you determine the best location and alternatives for your taste and needs if this is something you are considering.

hot tubs

BEFORE YOU BUY

Consider Your Options:

Number of Seats – How big does your hot tub spa need to be? Think about who will, realistically, be using it. If you have a large family or you are a party animal, you will want to go for maximum accommodation. If you are single, or shy, you may just need one or two places to sit or lie down. Bigger is not better; smaller tubs will deliver just as much satisfaction as larger tubs – so get the size that suits you and your lifestyle best.

Number and Kind of Jets – Hot tub spas can come with any number of jets; and they all have various purposes and specializations. To avoid jet confusion and overload when you are shopping for your hot tub spa, think consider the experience you hope to have. If you are anticipating a deep tissue massage effect, think about the placement and power of the jets. Do you want the focus on your neck, your shoulders, your lower back or your feet? Do you want to be able to adjust the position of the jets to maximize their impact? Maybe you are more interested in a gentle, bubbling soak; the number of and power behind your jets doesn’t have to be as strong. Tell your hot tub spa professional about the experience you prefer and allow him or her to help you plan the ideal configuration.

Filtration and Purification – You will need to keep your hot tub spa clean and sanitized. This is accomplished by a combination of mechanical devices and chemicals. The size and style of the pump and filter system you end up with has a great deal to do with the size and style of the spa you choose. The chemicals you use is ultimately a subjective choice; you may eventually find you prefer one type or combination of sanitization over another. For example, both bromine and chlorine can be used as a sanitizer in your spa; chlorine tends to have a stronger odor and bromine is generally longer-lasting; both will do the job. It just depends on what you like. There are also mineral options for your spa purification like the Nature2 Mineral system by Artesian Spas. You will still need to use sanitizers, such as bromine, but you will be able to cut that usage by up to 80%. Another option that will decrease your use of chemicals is the addition of an ozonator. Ozonators oxidize microorganisms and chemicals and will also help boost the performance of your bromine or chlorine. If this sounds complicated, it won’t be once a spa professional talks you through your options and helps you to make the best possible decision.

Specialty Store, On-line or Big Box - There are nearly as many ways to buy a hot tub spa as there are spas themselves. Specialty stores carry specific products, such as pools and spas, and tend to be experts in these fields. Some specialty stores, like Family Leisure, also offer an on-line option for purchasing hot tub spas and accessories. There are companies who are completely on line and do not have a “brick and mortar” store. Big box stores, like large hardware stores, also offer a limited line of spas and hot tub accessories. Obviously we want you to buy from us, but if you choose not to, make sure that the vendor you buy from has adequate knowledge, enough options for you to make an educated decision, an impeccable reputation and superior customer service. The last thing you want is to feel like you’ve been abandoned in your backyard with a big tub and no idea how to use it. Here is what to expect when purchasing a hot tub from Family Leisure. 

viking spa


Family Leisure handles a wide variety of portable, acrylic spas. Premium manufacturers such as Artesian, Viking, Tropic Spas, Garden Spas, DreamMaker Spas, Lumi-O International, and Family Leisure’s own brand.

Artesian Spas: Artesian offers ergonomically constructed seating designs to ensure comfort and even weight distribution.  Their spa frames are assembled from pressure-treated lumber and have an ABS foundation. ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a polymer that is renowned for rigidity, insular properties and strength, which makes it ideal for this purpose.  The frames are then covered with attractive, maintenance-free cabinets. Full-foam insulation fills the cavity between the spa shell and the frame, allowing for extraordinary heat retention while also rendering the entire structure sturdier, quieter and more resilient.  The spa shell is acrylic and comes with Artesian’s lifetime “Diamondbond” backing. Their jets use bearing rotation, which makes them easier to adjust. Artesian Spas use 3” diameter plumbing with no right angles to allow for superior water flow. Even the pillows are exceptional , featuring dyed-through, closed cell foam that won’t crack or absorb water.

Viking Spas: This is a great place to look for a budget-friendly spa that offers outstanding quality and features at an affordable price. Viking Spas are energy efficient and have the singular distinction of being recognized by the president of the US for the high content of American manufacturing in their products. All 2015 Viking Spas feature their exclusive “Soft-Touch” Slip Resistant Satin Series surfaces and are constructed with “Fortifex” high density polyethylene (HDPE). The under-spa has heavy poly-urethane 2 pound density foam which offers layers of condensed insulation as well as extra support to any load-bearing areas.  Viking’s plumbing features Waterway jets and their cabinet is a maintenance-free, one-piece injection molded panel. They trust the power of their spas to Balboa and Waterway, two of the most established suppliers of power systems in the industry.

Tropic Seas: Tropic Seas offers feature-rich, luxury spas for every budget.  From their no-maintenance cabinetry to their antimicrobial protected Lucite acrylic shells, Tropic Seas spas are a practical extravagance.  Each spa comes with double-layered Arctic Pac insulation that keeps the spa energy- efficient and the water as warm as the tropics. Tropic Seas is proud of their environmentally green  features, including the AOP Water Purifier, Ozonoator, Crystal Pure Ozone Mixing Chamber, Crystal AOP ProPure Advanced Oxidation, Nature2 Water Purification and a Micro Filter circulation system. Options include full-foam insulation, which delivers some of the most effective heat retention available. This lycene brand foam secures the plumbing to the shell and provides a complete air barrier which boosts the resilience of the complete structure.

Garden Spas: Want a spa but afraid you don’t have the room? The Garden Spa line by Family Leisure was created just for you. These two-person spas are packed with power and offer the same hydrotherapy massage you find in its bigger brothers. The Garden Spas by Family Leisure offer ergonomic seating, digital controls and individually controlled seats so you and your guest can get just the jet pressure that suits your individual tastes. Optional add-ons include LED lighting, full foam insulation, and purifying ozonators. Garden Spas by Family Leisure allow you to turn your little piece of ground into a little piece of heaven.

DreamMaker Spas: DreamMaker Spas offer simply designed, expertly manufactured spas that are some of the best value you can get for your money. Crafted in the USA in Lake Mary, Florida, DreamMaker Spas are rotationally molded, resulting in a unibody design; the shell and cabinet are one self-contained unit.  “Flex-Seat” seating comes with patented “comfort back stream contours” and a combination of stationary and dual port stainless steel massage jets ensuring extraordinary comfort and bodywork benefits. Another DreamMaker innovation is the patented “MoonGlo Waterfall” enhanced by LED lights; a perfect mood-setter. Digital Balboa controls, a “Dream Clean” filtration system, a two-speed pump and EZ access drain valve and a “Super Seal” cover make this budget friendly line of spas an economical indulgence.

 
The ABCs of Hot Tub Spas

Acrylic – the non-porous synthetic material used in the formation of hot tub spa shells; valued for its durability and adaptability.

Air Buttons – located topside on a hot tub spa, the air buttons propel air through a tube to a relay that activates spa features such as the jets.

Blower – an air blower is just that; an air blower. Small holes in the seats and/or floor of the spa are the outlets for an infusion of air into the spa water. The air blower is not a part of the water circulatory system.

Cartridge Filter – the type of cylindrical filter often used in hot tub spas which is crafted of pleated fabric with plastic end caps.

Control Panel (Controller; Spa Controls) – If the pump is the heart of your hot tub spa, the control panel is the brain. This is where you will control the speed of the pump, the heater, timers, and thermostat. Control panels can be digital or mechanical.

Electric Heater – the heater consists of an element that warms the water after it is propelled through the pump and filter.

Filter – the filter, usually a cartridge filter on portable spas, incorporated into the skimmer to ensure clear, clean water.  The pump pushes water through the filter; the filter itself is not mechanical.

GFCI – the ground fault circuit interrupter interrupts any fault to ground to prevent possible electrocution. When the GFCI “trips” there will be no electricity coming into your spa.

High Limit Reset – located on the heater or control panel, this will “trip” to prevent your heater from over-heating.

Impeller – the part of the pump that creates the centrifugal force needed to propel water forward.

Jet (aka hydrotherapy jet) – the jets are the main reason you want a hot tub spa; the jets introduce a mixture of warm air and water into the spa via the pump, filter and heater.

Pump – the pump draws water in and from the main drain and skimmers and sends it through the filter and heater where it will emerge from the jets. The pump consists of the wet end, a motor and the impeller.

Pump Motor – the pump motor turns the impeller inside the pump

Safety Cover – a spa cover which meets the ASTM requirements for construction, strength and anchoring abilities.

Skirt/Cabinet – the exterior protective “container” for the spa shell, often constructed of wood or some synthetic material.

Spa Pack – the integrated unit of mechanized and electrical controls which can include the GFCI, pump, air blower, heater and other devices.
 
The Best of Both Worlds

You want a spa for relaxation, but you also want a pool you can use for exercise. The swim spa is your one-stop-shop; you can work out and then sit back and unwind. The swim spa is designed to give you all the benefits of swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing, strength training, and stretching – all with no impact. Family Leisure carries the TidalFit Swim Spa by Artesian.
 
tidal fit swim spa

More Than Just A Pretty Face

Hot tub spas are appealing because they are fun and versatile; they provide a spot for quiet meditation and relaxation one day; the next they are an excuse to have a noisy party with a crowd of friends and family. But beyond that, hot tub spas offers something else – they are good for your body as well as your soul.

Heat – As the fabulously warm waters raise your body temperature, your blood vessels dilate, increasing the flow of blood through your body.  This results in a lower blood pressure. At the same time, your muscles relax. Your central nervous system also responds to heat; this neurological effect is a natural pain reliever.

Buoyancy – Since we are all at the mercy of gravity, getting our weight off our joints for a period of time reduces strain and pressure on your joints. The buoyancy of the average spa decreases your body weight by a whopping 90%; 

Hydrotherapy – the cherry on the sundae that is a hot tub spa are the jets which offer a warmed air/water combination resulting in a therapeutic massage that is good for your body and your brain.
 
Here is a great article explaining some of the therapeutic benefits of using a hot tub.


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