The Complete Hot Tub Buyers Guide - PART 2

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Diverter Valves

Diverter valves are an essential feature. Generally there is one diverter valve per pump.

Say for instance that a spa has 4 seats and 1 pump, with a diverter valve fitted. If there are only 2 people using the spa, the water can be diverted into just 2 of the seats, boosting pressure to the selected seats. If there are 4 people using the spa, the diverter valve can be set to the middle position where each seat receives equal pressure, and everyone gets a massage.

Diverter valves enable the user to change the water pressure from 0% to 100% and anywhere in between, so you can have a relaxing tickle, or a pummelling massage.

Our spas use manifold plumbing, meaning that each individual jet is pressurised equally. This helps to reduce friction between the water and pipes, reduce the use of 90deg angles, and generally improve the flow of water through the spa.

Electricity Supply

Most of today's spas use electricity to operate and run the spa. All such spas must be installed by a qualified, registered electrician in accordance with British Safety Standards. The supply must be protected by a 30mA RCD and an MCB of the correct rating.

Spas generally come in a variety of power configurations.

a) 13A (suitable for a domestic plug socket or spur with RCD protection),
b) 16A,
c) 20A,
d) 32A
e) 40A

All configurations other than a) will require a dedicated cable running through (or around) your house from the consumer unit (fuse board) to the spa often the cable is routed or buried to avoid it being seen.

13A spas generally don t have a heater (see above) or use load shedding to keep the total current drawn by the spa under 13amps. Load Shedding means when pumps are activated at the same time as the air lower, the heater will simultaneously switch off, keeping the load under 13amps. This is great for ½ hour sessions, but in winter or for longer sessions, you’ll have to turn the pumps/blower off to re-heat the spa.

For your protection you must use a NICEIC registered electrician. Ask to see their card to ensure the person is qualified and competent to carry out the electrical works safely. You should also receive a certificate signing-off the completed work.

Concrete Base, Paving, or Decking

There are many ways to integrate your spa with its surroundings by using a terrace, walls, screens and plants. If your garden slopes, this is an ideal opportunity to sink the spa slightly so that you can step down into it.

A concrete base for a spa should be at least 100mm thick, preferably reinforced with welded mesh. Swim Spas or larger spas may require up to a 200mm thick base with reinforcing.

In some instances, properly laid patio slabs are sufficient for all but the largest spas. This means compacted hardcore, with a mortar bed, surfaced with at least 1 thick slabs. If you are concerned about subsidence, you must use a concrete pad and pave over it.

Decking should be 8” floor joists if there is any kind of span. Otherwise, 4 joists with suitable supports of an adequate spacing should suffice. As an alternative, simply deck over a concrete pad.

The only drawback of sitting your spa directly onto a concrete pad is that they absorb huge amounts of heat just like a giant night storage heater. So make sure your spa has an insulated base if you opt for this.

Wet Test Facilities

Many spas on the internet look very nice from the outside and by changing the type of jets installed or location of the jets to just below the water line, can produce fast moving water on the surface with nothing below, however to feel the real benefit of spa hydrotherapy you need to feel what is happening underneath the water line, this is why we recommend that all customers should wet test their spa.

Spas on auction sites can be very cheap, but this is often due to a number of factors. In a photo where a 2.3m spa is reduced to a 2.3” picture (which may even be a library picture), it is literally impossible to get an idea of how large or deep it is, or what the quality and finish are like.

Whatever spa you buy, make sure you see it before you part with any money.

Warranty and after sales support

UK legislation dictates that any supplier must warrant their products for a minimum period of 12 months. However if you buy a product and the shop closes down the following week, you do not have any warranty at all.

Look out for Parts-Only warranties this means you have to remove, return, re-fit the part and that’s after you have diagnosed the problem and located the part yourself! Make sure you get an on-site parts and labour warranty.

Spa World (since 1983) is a global brand, with outlets world-wide, we are owned by the biggest spa manufacturer outside of America and have 30 stores in Australia alone. If you buy a spa from Spa World, you get the same peace of mind that our 500,000 customers worldwide benefit from every day, knowing that their spa and its warranty are in safe hands.

Buying your spa

Buying a spa from an action site can be a large gamble. You may never see your money or a spa again. To quote a recent BBC news article:

“In one recent case up to 10 people are thought to have paid a total of £15,000 for non-existent hot tubs…” 

Spas bought on auction site are often unbranded so don’t carry generic spares like other brands, if the seller goes bust or stops dealing with their supplier due to continual problems, where will you get a replacement part?

Prudent spa buyers should avoid:

·          Importing their spa from overseas - buy from a UK company, get a good warranty
·          Buying a spa at auction from overseas - you may have to pay VAT and shipping
·          Buying online without seeing the spa - always sit in a spa before you buy it
·          Unbranded spas on auction sites - most are from China without UK stocked spares
·          Upstart companies with only a year s trading history - may not stay in business
·          Parts-only warranties - Make sure you get an on-site, parts and labour warranty
·          Kerbside deliveries - you can damage the spa, and will not know how to safely use it
·          Short warranties - many eBay traders offer a 12 month warranty on a £2000 item
·          Using any spa that has not had the water tested the same day
·          Buying a spa without being shown how to maintain the water - this puts anyone using it at serious risk.

Spa World stock a complete range of spare parts used over the last 10 years, so that even after the  warranty has expired, we can still visit you and keep your spa in perfect working order for many years to come.

We have stores all over the UK who give you a local, personal service and can be on-site the same day if you have a problem.

Spa World is manufacturer-owned, so our UK stores deal direct with the manufacturer, keeping prices low, with a high level of customer service. We will:

·          Deliver your spa, position it, fill it, configure it, commission it and start it heating
·          Provide a full set-up service, with a chemical starter pack, and accessories
·          Demonstrate the spa maintenance, usage and safety procedures
·          Leave you to enjoy your new spa
·          Provide a full warranty service and backup that s just a phone call away

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will a spa cost to run?

A good spa, running 24/7/365 in the UK climate should cost between 50p and £1 per day or (£30 per month) for electricity and around £0.30 per day (£10 per month) for chemicals. Larger spas, those used more often, those in colder or exposed locations will use more electricity. Spas without an Ozone or UV system will use more chemicals.

BEWARE: Cheap spas can cost over £3 per day in electricity, while some companies make ridiculous claims on running costs:

One company claims that because their spas cost $X per day in the US, based on an exchange rate of Y, they cost £Z to run - This is nonsense!

The electricity price per unit in the UK is much higher than the US and the climate is much colder. Compare running an American car in the UK and look at the MPG, not to mention the price of fuel!

Is Maintaining Spa Water Complex?

New methods, technologies, and treatments are making testing spa water easier by the day.

Most of our customers are fine after we have demonstrated what to do, whilst the odd one will require a little hand-holding over the phone for the first week. After that, it’s very straightforward

Do ALL Spas Need Chemicals?

Currently there is not a hot tub in the world that does not need some form of water treatment, or chemical. The use of ozone or UV will reduce the amount of chemicals you use, however YOU MUST ALWAYS TEST AND BALANCE THE WATER before anyone uses the pool.

Chlorine and Bromine are still the products of choice for the industry, despite many new types of chemical coming on to the market which have made dubious claims of low maintenance and no more water testing.

Can a spa be dangerous?

The simple answer is: Yes, however, so can a flight of stairs, a pavement, or a car if they are not maintained, or supervised correctly.

A spa needn’t pose a risk to anyone if they are designed and manufactured by a major brand, correctly installed and wired, full of water that is balanced and safe.

Provided that you stick to the above guidance, and check with your doctor first if you have children, are aged, or have any medical condition, then there is nothing but an oasis of relaxation to be concerned about.

You can download our chemical trouble-shooter and maintenance guide from the SpaWorldUK website.

If in doubt about anything mentioned, please contact us via eBay or our websites.




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