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Frequently Asked Questions for Spa Buyers

Hot Tub Benefits

Why do I need a spa?

Buying a hot tub is a sizeable investment in you, your family, and your health. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. The stress-relief, pain management, and time for quality conversation that comes with buying a hot tub is well worth the investment and effort up front.

  • Relief (pain management)
  • Connection (quality together time)
  • Escape (stress relief)

Can a hot tub treat muscle soreness?

Recent research has shown that post-exercise hot water immersion aids in muscle recovery as it increases circulation (oxygen flow to tissues) and reduces inflammation. Benefits such as decreased muscle spasm, stiffness, and increased range of motion have also been reported following the application of heat.

Can a hot tub reduce stress?

Growing external pressures and information overload have resulted in an ongoing issue with stress today. Over time, elevated and rapidly shifting levels of blood pressure caused by stress can lead to damaged arteries, plaque formation, and suppressed immunity. Warm water immersion, on other other hand, has been shown to decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 11%. This same research found that those who soaked in a hot tub for 10 minutes had “increased feelings of well-being and decreased state anxiety.”

Can a hot tub treat arthritis?

A study by Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that “hydrotherapy is often recommended to patients with arthritis as water provides a range of benefits, including the reduction of edema, pain relief, and reduced loading on damaged arthritic joints.” By soaking in warm water, the heat helps reduce the force of gravity which can place additional stress on joints, decrease swelling, and increase blood circulation. It can also relieve the symptoms of a variety of other ailments including high blood pressure, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal distress, and a lowered immunity.

Can a hot tub improve family time?

For families who are are looking for ways to unplug and reconnect with each other, a hot tub is a wonderful option everyone is sure to approve of. Studies have shown that families who spend time together have children who are happier, healthier, and perform better in school. Quality family time also fosters positive emotional health in children, which in turn correlates to less likelihood of risky behavior and poor choices. Hot tubs take away the distraction of technology, making room for games, laughter, and great conversation.

Hot Tub Placement

What kind of foundation is required?

Select a structurally sound flat surface that is reasonably level to serve as your spa’s foundation to prevent serious damage to your spa. A foundation that shifts or settles may cause stress to the spa shell. The foundation that your spa rests on must have a weight bearing load capability of supporting the weight of your spa, its water, and the people using it. The maximum filled weight of a spa can be as much as 6,000 lbs (2,722 kg), plus the weight of the occupants that use the spa.

If your spa’s pad is slightly sloped it will not affect the performance of the spa or its structure, however, there should be no dips, sags, or unevenness in the pad. Most patios are built to slope away from the house for drainage purposes. There should be no more than a ½” (1.27cm) slope in an 8‘ (2.44m) run. Recommended flooring materials include a concrete pad, concrete pavers or bricks, pea gravel, or crushed rock (1.5” [3.81cm] or more), or a reinforced deck. Additionally, your authorized Bullfrog Spa dealer should sell or recommend pre-formed spa pads.

NOTE: Concrete foundations should be a minimum of 4” (10.16cm) thick and should be reinforced with either rebar or mesh. For electrical grounding purposes, the rebar or mesh should be attached to a bond wire.

WARNING: Because your spa pad must provide continuous support for the entire base of the spa, you should never level it with shims. If it is necessary to level your spa, make sure the entire spa’s structure is fully supported, both in the center as well as the outer edge. When leveling your spa, there should be no voids beneath it. Contact your authorized Bullfrog Spa dealer before making any leveling adjustments. Structural damage to the spa resulting from incorrect installation, placement on an inadequate foundation, or improper leveling will void the spa’s warranty.

Elevated Installations: Be certain your deck or elevated structure can support the maximum filled weight of your spa along with the total weight of occupants that use it. You must know the deck’s weight-bearing load capacity and ensure that it is greater than the maximum filled weight of your spa combined with the occupants using it or serious injury or structural damage could result. Consult a qualified Structural Engineer or Contractor before the spa is placed on an elevated structure or deck.

What are the electrical requirements?

You will need to ensure that you have the appropriate space equipped with electrical source (dedicated 220/240v 30/50a circuit). You will usually need to hire an electrician to wire your hot tub before it can be used. Depending on codes where you live, an electrician can either hook up the tub once it’s delivered, or set up the wires ahead of time. Some hot tub companies can help finalize the wiring when your tub is delivered.

The installation of all spas must be in accordance with national and local wiring rules. Always have a licensed electrician perform the electrical installation. Each Bullfrog Spa is manufactured and tested to a standard that provides maximum protection against electrical shock. Improper wiring may prevent the spa from operating safely which could result in electrical shock, injury, or death. Improper wiring could also lead to a malfunction of the spa’s equipment and risk of fire. When considering a location for your spa, consult with a licensed electrician pertaining to the following:

  • Overhead Power Lines: Based upon the national and local wiring rules that apply to your area, you will need to install your spa at the required minimum horizontal and vertical distances from all power lines.
  • Service Disconnect: Based upon your area, a disconnect device must be incorporated into the fixed wiring in accordance with national and local wiring rules. If the national and local wiring rules permit, a GFCI Sub-Panel may be used to substitute the service disconnect, providing that it is located within the same parameters.
  • Electrical Outlets, Switches, and Devices Based upon the national and local wiring rules that apply to your area, you must install your spa at the required minimum distance from all electrical outlets, switches, and devices.
  • Bonding: Based upon the national and local wiring rules that apply to your area, the Control System Box located inside the equipment compartment of your spa must be bonded to all metal equipment, handrails, fixtures, enclosures, pipe, or conduit that are located within the maximum specified distances. The bonding is to be connected to the ground lug connector on the exterior surface of the Control System Box and all metal items previously described.
  • Equipment Compartment Access Make sure the spa is positioned so access to the equipment compartment will not be blocked.

What are the service access requirements?

Some people choose to install tile or custom wood around their spas. If you are installing your spa with custom trimming, remember to allow access for service. Should your spa need service, a technician may need to remove the spa’s equipment compartment door or side panels, or access the spa from beneath. Also, it is always best to design special installations so the spa can still be moved, or lifted from the ground.

For service purposes, also allow easy access to the circuit breakers in the electrical service panel (permanently-connected models), or to the interrupter switch on the end of the power cord (cord-connected models).

What extra space is needed for a cover-lifting system?

If using a cover-lifting mechanism, allow up to 24” (.61m) of clearance behind the spa. Check with your authorized Bullfrog Spas dealer for the exact clearance requirements for the cover-lifting mechanism.

What are the drainage requirements?

Avoid installing the spa in a pit or low area where water may accumulate and damage the spa or its equipment. Choose a site where water will drain away from the spa. Your spa contains an equipment compartment, which houses all of its electrical components. Allowing water into the equipment compartment can damage the electronics, or may result in tripping your spa’s circuit breaker. For 120V~/60Hz, cord-connected spas, avoid plugging your spa into an electrical outlet that is susceptible to water. Likewise, avoid positioning the spa’s electrical cord as to allow water to enter the cord’s interrupter switch.

Hot tub Prices and Costs

How much does a hot tub cost?

Since hot tub pricing is set at the local market level, we can’t get specific on the price for every model in every configuration. The very best place to get exact hot tub pricing is at your local Authorized hot tub dealer.

Most moderate to high-end hot tubs are built by the top manufacturers with quality acrylic shells, well-built frames and cabinets, reliable components, and proven engineering design. Where a specific hot tub falls in this price range depends primarily on the extent of optional features chosen. For instance, Bullfrog’s A series and STIL models fit this category.

Top quality hot tub manufacturers commonly offer a budget to mid-price spa line as well. These spas have fewer features and less complete hydrotherapy, but still offer good reliability and comfort. Bullfrog’s X and R Series are good examples of this range.

Manufacturers do make entry-level spas in the < $6,000 range, but it’s wise to beware. Many spas in this price range are made using methods that produce a limited usable life product with poor materials and workmanship from knock-off overseas companies. And many cost considerably more to operate.

Keep in mind that a well-built hot tub will last much longer than a poor quality spa, often a decade or more. This means your initial purchase price will be spread over more years of use.

  • Top-tier: $15,000 - $18,000 with 10+ year life expectancy
  • Moderate to Top-tier: $12,000 - $15,000 with 10+ year life expectancy
  • Budget to Moderate: $8,000 - $12,000 with 10+ year life expectancy
  • Budget: $6,000 - $8,000 with 8-10 year life expectancy
  • High Quality Entry-level: < $6,000 with 8-10 year life expectancy
  • Low Quality Entry-level: < $6,000 with 3-5 year life expectancy

How does hot tub pricing work?

Every hot tub is different, not just in model but features and accessories that work well in local conditions. Plus, manufacturers frequently offer promotions that change throughout the year. Sometimes they even offer more than one so the dealer helps ensure you’re getting the one that gives you the best overall value. Special customer discounts, financing opportunities, and trade-in programs are also factors that go into the pricing of each hot tub. Given all these variables, it makes sense that there isn’t just a fixed price on every spa. They’re a lot like cars, RVs, and boats in that regard.

What does it cost to own and operate a hot tub?

Operational costs related to actual power consumption can vary depending on the quality of your spa, how well it is insulated, how efficiently it operates, how often you use the hot tub, your level of maintenance, how cold your climate is, and the utility rates in your area. High quality spas are usually full foam insulated except for the area where pumps and heaters are located. This helps to isolate the hot water in the spa from the cold and keep warmth within. Full foam insulated spas require much less energy to keep them ready to use.

One way to find energy efficient hot tubs is to look at the data compiled by the California Energy Commission, which keeps hot tub energy use statistics. Pay attention to the spa brands that consistently show at the top of these lists.

Other Common Questions

What size spa should I get?

Most hot tubs are square or rectangle and between 6 and 8 feet in external dimensions. The larger the spa, the more people it will generally accommodate. It’s good to measure the space where you intend to place your spa before shopping. Also, keep in mind it’s sometimes necessary to leave an additional space of 1 to 2 feet around at least 1 to 2 sides of the spa to accommodate accessories like cover lifters and to allow for access.

Hot tubs come in sizes that accommodate anywhere from 2 to 10 people. Your intended use will determine how many people you need your hot tub to accommodate. A common size seats 5 or 6 people. However, if you are just using it for yourself and another guest or two, a small spa with a capacity of 2 to 3 will be perfect. If you are looking for something you and your kids or a group of friends can enjoy together, look for a spa that fits 8 or more people.

How hard is it to take care of a hot tub?

Learning how to manage the chemistry in your hot tub is not overwhelming and anyone can do it. In order to maintain clean water ready to use at any time, regular use of these items is commonly required to balance spa water: test strips, pH Increaser, pH Decreaser, bromine sanitizer, chlorine sanitizer, oxidizer, and anti-foam treatment. Water should be tested at least every time the spa is used. The cost of maintenance supplies depends on frequency and volume of use (how often and how many people), so it can vary from one owner to another.

The most common water sanitizer is chlorine, the same sanitizer used in many municipal water systems. Bromine is also used. Sanitizer usage can vary by how often you use your spa and what water care accessories you have. For example, if the spa has an ozone generator, that can significantly cut down on how much chemical maintenance your water will require.

What else should I buy with my hot tub?

Most spas come with a cover and most spa dealers can provide a water care starter kit. Replacement can depend on your climate, your cleaning and maintenance schedule and how exposed the cover is to the elements. Most covers can last between 3 to 6 years.

Where should I buy my hot tub?

The internet’s a good place to start your hot tub search, but not necessarily the smartest place to buy your spa. These online products are typically made overseas with minimal service support and lower quality, cheaper components that limit the spa’s reliability. Hot tubs are also available at big box stores where they typically carry off-brands or stripped down versions of better spa brands produced by large manufacturers. Sales staff may know the basics about how the hot tub works, and service support may be provided but at the store rather than onsite. Because spas are their focus, local hot tub dealers serve as experts on their products, how they work in local conditions, and all you need to know about hot tub ownership. Additionally, local dealers provide delivery, installation, and comprehensive after-purchase service support.

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