Spa Buyers Guide
For many people, purchasing and selecting the spa that is right for them is a challenge.
This guide will help with some basic facts and information to assist you in making the right decision when purchasing a spa. There are many producers of spas, many sizes, models, prices and different quality levels. Many spas look and feel virtually identical, even though they are not. Some manufacturers use different names to describe similar feature in an attempt to make their products appear distinctive.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep the water clean?
Proper water maintenance is vital to the enjoyment of your spa.Choosing a spa with an advanced filtration system, the intergration of a UV purifier with good advice from your retailer will significantly reduce the amount of chemicals used such as chlorine. Manufacturers recommend draining and cleaning your spa 3 - 4 times per year, depending on how frequently you use it and how well you maintain your water. in most cases this is a simple process.
How is the water temperature controlled?
Most quality spas have sophisticated digital thermostatic controls keeping the spas within 1 degree of any temperature you select. While this is important for comfort, it is also important for safety. You should pay particular attention to the control system is you have children who will be using the spa. Better systems have safety locks and digital readouts. A good indicator of the control system's quality is to read and compare the manufacturer's warranty.
Will I have to install plumbing for my spa?
No. All above ground portable spas are filled with water using a garden hose. Check that the spa can be conveniently and easily emptied.
What should I consider for the control panel?
Not every spa control panel has the same ease of command, so test a control panel to verify that it gives you the type of precision and control you desire.
What do I need to know about horsepower?
Efficient plumbing, better jets, and flow control are much more important than horsepower. A lower horsepower pump in an efficient spa will produce as much jet power as a higher horsepower pump in an inefficient spa. Many manufacturers use oversized, high horsepower, costly to run pumps. Other companies employ an incredibly cost efficient system.
Is the spa fully foam insulated?
All major manufacturers fill the spa cabinet with polyurethane foam insulation to significantly reduce heat loss, thus reducing the running cost of the spa. While this process adds to the manufacturing cost, research has showb that full foam insulation provides substantial savings to the spa owner. Some manufacturers eliminate full foam insulation in an attempt to provide lower cost spas.
How many of the spa's jets are adjustable?
Real, beneficial hydrotherapyis directly related to being able to adjust each jet where it is needed. This is the standard by which physical therapy and athletic hydrotherapy systems are judged. Some manufacturers confuse the situation by loading up a spa with lots of inexpensive, non adjustable, stationary jets. Look for advanced jets that feature inbuilt durability such as bearingless technology, which oscillates with no moving parts and so will not wear out.
What about the warranty?
This is one of the most crucial areas in the spa industry. A product warranty ia performnace and reliability agreement between you and the manufacturer. Avoid spa manufacturers who add prorated and deductible provisions. Make sure you read the manufacturer's warranty before buying, and compare coverage with other spas you are considering. Most quality spas will have a t least 2 years warranties on parts, plumbing and labour without any service call charges and up to 7 - 10 years on the life of the spa shell and spa surface.
How expensive is it to operate a spa?
The main cost of operating a spa is heating the water. If you have a full foam insulated spa with an insulating, locking cover, the average cost of holding a spa hot and ready for use should be less than $1 a day. Additional cost will be dependant on use and outside temperatures.
In addition to the energy cost consumers should look carefully at the total cost of ownership. An advanced filtration system in conjunction with ozone will significantly reduce chenical expenses. Bearingless jets will no wear and need replacing.
Do I choose a synthetic or a wood cabinet?
All cabinets used to be made of wood. A recent development in the spa industry is synthetic wood cabinets now provided by some spa manufacturers. The synthetic wood is durable and UV resistant which eliminates the maintenance associated with wood cabinets, and keeps your spa surround looking good for years. Synthetic cabinets reduce time spent on maintenance.
- Consider trialling a spa with water before purchasing (if possible). Look for and verify:
- That the seats provide lumbar support.
- The water should reach at least shoulder level. If it does not, you will not get full hydrotherapuetic value.
- Make sure you do not have to hyperextend your neck to rest your head against the pillows.
- If the spa has a Lounge Seat, make sure it is deep enough to keep you in the seat.
- Take notice of the alignment of jets with your muscles.
- Make sure they are massaging muscle tissue and not your spine.
- The controls should be convenient to use when you are seated in the spa.
- Stay in the spa with the jets on for at least 15 minutes. At the end of the that time you will know whether the seating and jet arrangement is truly comfortable.
Is the spa installed indoors or outdoors?
A spa can be installed indoors or outdoors, although over 90% are installed outdoors. The two main considerations for installing a spa indoors are:
- Is the structural strength of the flooring adequate.
- Most importantly, an indoor spa must have adequate and substantail ventilation.
The recommended foundations are: concrete pad of 75mm or thicker or wood decking with a concrete foundation.
How much should I spend on a spa?
Quality spas are available in a wide range of prices. Just like cars, spa prices reflect features, materials and workmanship. The information in this consumer guide will help you determine the best spa for your needs based on value and performance. No matter which brand of spa you finally choose, we want you to be an informed consumer.