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Anyone own a hot tub/spa?

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  • Anyone own a hot tub/spa?

    I can't think of anything that would feel better on a hot day/night after farm work.

    I am getting one for my birthday, and am having second thoughts about what I ordered.

    I bought the Roto Eclipse from Rec Warehouse. It's about 6.5' in diameter. Fully self contained and portable. Molded of high impact poly, etc. It has state-of-the-art controls at your fingertips - no panel to open, etc.

    It was ok for me to get in and out of, but you sit practically on the ground, so kinda difficult for daddio and his bum knee. The seating is molded but not the comfort of bucket seating. It says 4 person, but it would be 2 slim adults and 2 skinny little kids. There is hardly any knee room even then. I was told because of the computerized controls which we could set, it would cost only about $1/da to operate, running ALL the time.

    don't have any plans to use it in the winter months & plan to winterize it and turn it off then. Early and late in *my* season, I might want to use the heater, but generally it's for summer (in place of a pool) and will be used as cool as possible.I basically want the water and the jets.

    HOWever, they had another *real* resin/wood base one that was several hunderd $$ cheaper, but it doesn't have those fingertip controls. I guess they are hidden in the front panel? Is this a royal pita to change? I would generally set it and leave it set for long periods of time anyway. Can I run any spa w/o heat if I choose? This one is traditional with wonderful bucket seating w/lumbar support. Not sitting on the *floor* and easier to get in and out. It's a *real* 4-person and very roomy at that.

    Both use regular house current. The fellow said the second one is a lot more expensive to run I think because the temp cannot be set *anywhere* I want it (degree by degree) to run more efficiently. When I am not running the heater and it doesn't have a chance of getting near freezing - doe that matter?

    Now, do these things really have to be powered up 24/7/4 for as many mos. as you want to use them? Can the filter pump run say 12 hrs. a day and be fine? We are ok with the cost of elect. A pool would probably use the same energy. I just want to know how *bad* it can get and be prepared.

    What does it cost to run your spa and what % of the day are you running the filter? This will help me a lot.

    Just tell me everything you know so I can make the best decision.


    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

  • #2
    I think a buck a day is wishful thinking. How many amps does it draw? House current yes, but they typically take either a 50 amp or 60 amp circuit and require a Ground Fault breaker "somewhere near the tub". A friend of ours has an 8'x8' one in their bathroom at a comfortable entry height, but it was very expensive to install it like that-they built the house around it-and it draws 43.9 amps. It's a pretty large volume of water and not an especially large heater, so it's not efficient to just heat the water before you use it. Any one I've seen has a timer on the heater, so you can plan ahead and save some electricity.

    We went with a Jacuzzi in our new master addition just because we knew we wouldn't use one often enough to keep 150 gallons of water heated all the time in a full sized hot tub. I have two water heaters in series, that I can turn the second one on 20 minutes before we plan to fill the tub, so it's not so much extra energy burned. It's nice when you feel like you need to use it, but we don't end up using it that often. When we do, it's really nice for sore muscles, but it would be the last thing I'd want to get into at the end of a hot day, but we have the lake for that.

    The seat being hard doesn't matter since you get so much bouyancy from the water. Digital controls are nice but I wouldn't pay a bunch of extra money for them. My friend's is from the mid '80s, has a dial on the thermostat, and works just fine. I thought they ALL had a "topside control panel". The buttons that control the pumps and lights on the topside panel use air pressure to activate so there's no risk of getting shocked.

    How often you run the filter depends entirely on how much use it gets. When everything is cut off, it's not burning electricity/dollars.


    • #3
      We have the Dreammaker spa which is basically the same as the Roto except it's square. It's also 110V. We're in Florida so don't use it as much during the summer, but it was quite nice to sit out under the stars last winter. You'll love sitting out and watching meteor showers.

      I don't notice much difference in the electric bill. Electric is just plain high here in Florida no matter what, either running the AC or the heat in the winter, so a lil ol' hot tub isn't much. Mine heats and filters whenever the motor runs, like when you're sitting out, and it cycles when the temperature drops below my setting. Make sure you buy the lid for your hot tub to keep the heat in and then go on over to eBay and snag a cover lifter so you can open and close it without a struggle. They're a lot cheaper on eBay than through the dealer. We bought a $12 2-step stool from Walmart to make getting in and out easier...again cheaper than through the dealer.

      You might think about going with the Dreammaker since it has a lounge seat and 2 corner seats with jets. It's lightweight and easy to move.

      Hot tubs rule.
      Last edited by DakotaTA; Jun. 15, 2010, 11:33 AM.
      Everybody lies - Gregory House, M.D.


      • #4
        We have had a hot tub for 20 years. Winter is actually the most fun time for a hot tub. It is so much fun to be out in the hot tub with snow falling, wearing hats and being perfectly warm and cozy.
        Enjoy your hot tub!


        • #5
          As it was explained to me by the hot tub salesperson, you can't set the hot tub temps lower than the ambient air temp will allow. I'm not sure if you turn the heater off if you need to use different types of chemicals to make sure the water stays clean and safe to use. I do recall my plans for using the hot tub as a small swimming pool dashed when I looked into this.

          That being said, our hot tub is awesome! As others have mentioned, it's even better to use in the cold weather. On bone chilling days when I can't get warm is when I love the hot tub the best-as well as for aches and pains. And yes, ours is outside so I have to make a mad dash from the hot tub up the stairs of the deck and into the house in icy temps!! Actually, it's not so bad if you buy microfiber robes-not cotton. Microfiber wicks the water almost immediately so you don't have that cold clammy robe against your skin in freezing temps.

          If you have a farm, a hot tub is a great investment!!


          • #6
            We have had a Thermospa for about a year. It is very well insulated with a good cover and has not done much damage to the electrical bill. We set it at 101 in the winter and 99-100 in the summer. We got it at the same time we put reflective film on our west facing windows and we noticed our house staying cooler so the two tended to balance out

            You really shouldn't hop into it filthy and sweaty from the barn though
            I wasn't always a Smurf
            Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
            "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
            The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


            • #7
              We love our hot tube and use it year round. I swear by it - after riding - and I am sure it made my broken leg heal faster.

              Nothing better than sitting in the tub after an exhilerating ride - especially in the winter (when I get cold after a ride).

              We really feel it makes us a better couple - we go out there and talk with no tv, no kids, no phone. Best 5000 we ever spent.


              • #8
                I love mine. Words are not enough!
                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by prodomus View Post

                  We really feel it makes us a better couple - we go out there and talk with no tv, no kids, no phone. Best 5000 we ever spent.
                  I wasn't always a Smurf
                  Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                  "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                  The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks everyone. We went back tonight and asked a lot more questions about the more comfy one I liked. It will not be as convenient and easy to change the filter, and the controls are not on top, but it was way more comfy, so I changed my order. I'm getting the bigger more comfy one and will sacrifice ease of operation. No big deal. I know I'll want to use it more often if I can lay back on the chaise and veg. I can't remember the brand, but it has a chaise on one side, two bucket seats in the other 2 corners, and a higher, smaller seat for a child if one ever comes over.

                    It needs a designated circuit which the Roto did not, but the electrician needs to visit anyway, so we'll know what to ask for.

                    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx


                    • #11
                      Our hot tub is a big cedar hooped barrel with a wood stove in it. The stove is snugged up against the side, with a picket fence to keep you from burning yourself. The seats are cedar. It smells so good-the cedar, the wood smoke, good beer...

                      It's on the deck outside our bedroom.

                      ETA:No, we don't have neighbors anywhere close by!
                      Last edited by lesson junkie; Jun. 15, 2010, 01:56 AM. Reason: Clarification


                      • #12
                        At my last house I had a large 6 person spa made by Sundance. Would use it all year long, but out here in Cali you can do that pretty easily. Even in the summer I would keep it at about 101, it would go up to 104 but didn't have any settings cooler than maybe 95? The filter was easy to change, seats were comfortable, and it even had a built in radio/cd player. I know, fancy huh?! There was nothing better than slipping into it after a long day at the barn and looking up at the stars and listening to the waves crash on the beach nearby. Now, well, I live in a condo and while I have a community spa to use I miss my big private Sundance Spa!!


                        • #13
                          This may sound like a crazy idea, but do you have the opportunity to do a "wet test"? That means to actually sit in the model with water and motors running. Yes, we felt like fools sitting in the showrooms testing out spas, but it really helped us make a decision-some motors were too loud, some seats not as comfy, etc.

                          If you are able to do so, I would recommend it.


                          • #14
                            absolutely the best $3500 I ever spent on a non horse related item. I bought my hot tub in 1986 and 24 year later, I have replaced the pump and the controls once and used it nearly every single day, often multiple times a day.

                            It is a godsend in winter when I hobble over to it at 6 AM and emerge warmed up limber and ready to clean the barn.

                            It is outside and I keep it powered up 24/7, and I live in Canada, but completely foam insulated and has a heavy duty foam cover. I run it around 41 C ( 104 F) in winter and around 37 C ( 98 F) in summer. It is on a 220 circuit although it can be run on 110, but the jets are more powerful on 220. I had it turned off for a couple of months last year and the difference in the electric bill was about $20/month. The pump circulates water for filtration but it only really gets expensive if you turn on the jets.

                            Because it is really cheap to pickup an older hot tub with fewer jets, etc, I don't know why anyone would buy those softtubs where you practically sit on the floor. Having a lounger chair and proper seating is essential to those of us with injuires and bad backs. You can often pick up a sound hot tub for free from the local want ads, pay the $200 to move it, the extra $500 for a new pump and heater and wiring and off you go.

                            You can turn it off for 12 hours a day, but it needs to be on part of the day to filter the water and keep the heat going. The heat you lose in 12 hours is noticeable and an electrician said to me its about the same amount of money to keep it heated as to heat it back up again. So no real savings by turning it off.

                            For comparison about running a pool versus a spa? My bro, who lives 1000 miles south of here in Los Angeles has a small outdoor pool with solar heating and auxilary gas heating. For him to run his pool, heated, for a month in April cost him close to $600. My spa cost me about $30, including chemicals.
                            "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mkevent View Post
                              This may sound like a crazy idea, but do you have the opportunity to do a "wet test"? That means to actually sit in the model with water and motors running. Yes, we felt like fools sitting in the showrooms testing out spas, but it really helped us make a decision-some motors were too loud, some seats not as comfy, etc.

                              If you are able to do so, I would recommend it.
                              yes, this really is the best way to try them out! we did it when we went to purchase ours!


                              • #16
                                wet test

                                We bought a Hot Springs Vanguard several years ago and are very very happy.

                                We spent a month sitting in hot tubs. Often they were set up in a private room so we could take off our clothes and figure out which tub worked best for us. Occasionally they were on the showroom floor so we had to change into a suit.

                                Be aware that they are different when the water is in them. My wife and I are different sizes and it was important to get the water in them to see where the water level would be.

                                Hot Springs provided warm towels as well.

                                The pump runs all the time. It is very quiet. The heater runs as necessary. We keep it at 101.

                                We had it craned over the top of the house which was pretty cool to watch.
                                A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks, everyone!

                                  CatOnLap, I never thought of it running better on a 220 circuit. I wonder if yours can be run on either. Mine said 110. We nbeed an electrciian to put in a new circuit, so I'll ask him if it's safe, etc. and about cost of operation. Wish I had the manual for it now so I could learn all this stuff.

                                  I looked for a used one on CL and there weren't any at the time. My friend got one for $300 many yrs. ago and just gave it away when she was offered a newer one for free. The old one is over 20 and still running great. She's running her newer one with an aquarium pump till the electrician comes out to give her the 220 she needs.

                                  "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx


                                  • #18
                                    There was a hot tub in the house (master bath) of the previous house that we owned and got to where we LOVED it. Never been thrilled about the idea of going outside to the cold to get in. Was very easy to care for and didn't seem to affect the electric bill very much. Had to have a good cover. In this new house we built over our barn, definitely put one into the master bath. I use it year round. Nothing quite like that glass of wine, a good magazine or book and that hot tub at the end of the day!!!


                                    • #19
                                      A hot tub is in my five year plan. Mostly for home value and the novelty, but to be honest, my poor broken down rodeo cowboy would benefit from it. He's early-30s and already takes Rx arthritis meds .

                                      Also, carolprudm, can you tell me more about the reflective film you installed??
                                      COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                      "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                      • #20
                                        we ran a 220 line
                                        A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton