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Advice and Tips for Buying a Hot Tub

What could be more relaxing after returning from a hard day’s work than taking a dip in your very hot tub? Whilst garden hot tubs are a relatively recent innovation, the practice of communal bathing in hot water dates back to ancient times so our modern-day relaxation technique has an historical precedent.

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It’s been reported recently that one in every 10 households in the UK have installed a hot tub. It seems we’re mad for hot bubble baths so if you’re thinking of diving in (sorry!) to purchasing a hot tub, here are some tips to get you started.

Indoor or Outdoor?

We tend to think of hot tubs as being outside in the garden, but many people are opting for an indoor bath. There are obvious advantages: privacy and less dependence on the weather, for example. However, an indoor hot tub does come with some potential problems.

Most of the issues arise out of the steam and evaporation from the warm water. Chemical treatments to prevent bacteria only work while the water is in the pool so as soon as it starts to evaporate or splashes, the bacteria can multiply and cause mildew and mould. Condensation can form in poorly ventilated or insulated rooms, with the risk of mould and mildew. Slippery floors from splashed water can also be a hazard.

Outdoor hot tubs can offer less privacy and are less appealing in the rain or cold weather but have fewer problems with mould and mildew. However, your garden needs to be relatively level where you want to put the hot tub and it will need to have access to a power source.

Types of Hot Tubs

Theoretically, a hot tub is a just that – a wooden tub or barrel with bench seating and no aeration for the water. However, the term has become interchangeable with a hot spa, which is what most people mean when they refer to a hot tub.

Spas are usually produced from synthetic materials moulded to offer a range of different seating options. They usually include jets and blowers for the water and sometimes have lighting or other features. There are three main types of hot tubs or spas:

- above ground spas made from acrylic;

- above ground wooden hot tubs;

- in-ground spas.

Health Benefits

The buoyancy is thought to help aid people to exercise who otherwise couldn't without the weight support. Can help increase blood circulation by raising body temperature
The above ground acrylic spa is the most popular and can be designed to fit from two people to more than 10. It is usually a self-contained unit and needs a solid base such as a concrete slab or decking to sit on. All the spa components are built in, including the filtration system and the heater. You can stick with a basic model or you can opt for extras such as jets, lighting, pillows or audio systems.

Wooden hot tubs can look attractive and are often deeper than a normal spa but tend to come without the jets and aeration. As the heater is outside the wooden structure the water can be heated in a variety of ways, including a wood fire, making it more environmentally-friendly.

In-ground spas are more expensive but will add value to your property as they are a permanent structure. Modern in-ground spas have an acrylic shell and include all the features of spas above ground but tend to be better insulated and are obviously much more solid.

How Much Do Hot Tubs Cost?

You can pay anything from a few thousand pounds to £20,000 or more for a hot tub or spa, depending on the size and the number of features. However, there are many other costs to take into account such as installation, maintenance and running costs. As their prices are high and it is not something you buy often, consider having expensive one but spread the cost by buying on finance. Some suppliers offer hot tubs with 0% interest. And one more tip - prices of hot tubs usually drop down in the winter, so it might be the right time for you.

Don’t try to install a new hot tub yourself. The wiring and plumbing isn’t particularly complicated but the units are extremely heavy and you could find yourself liable for damage or personal injury costs if something goes wrong. It’s worth paying to have the unit installed professionally.

Once the hot tub is in place, the spending doesn’t stop. The water needs to be treated with chemicals regularly and that can cost around £8 a month, or almost £100 a year. Also, the water needs to be kept warm. The advice is that it is cheaper to keep the water at a constant warm temperature than to warm it up from cold each time you want to use the spa. Hot tub manufacturers and suppliers estimate the running costs to be around £200 to £300 a year but manby hot tub owners report spending nearer £600 a year.

If you are considering purchasing a hot tub or spa, make sure you do your research first. Talk to experts and read up about the options before taking the plunge to ensure you don’t make an expensive mistake.

Enjoy and relax in the hot tub and always be aware that it is not suitable for children under 7 years, as they may overheat their bodies very quickly.

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