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Thread: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

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    HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    The hubby has wanted a hot tub for years and we are finally ready to make the purchase! I'm excited but overwhelmed. The goal is to start out affordable to make sure we will use it as much as we think we will. We are a family of four. Also, my husband is 6'5 and I'm only 5'3 so my question is- can someone give me their more experienced opinion on which hot tub to buy? New or used? Plug in or hardwire? Size? My goodness they're are too many choices!!!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    My wife really wanted one too ... happened to have a friend that did not want theirs anymore. If you are not sure how much you will use it, I would suggest looking for a functional used one.

    We paid $300 for ours and it worked for us because it is a 115V model so I could just plug it into the outlets on the patio.

    Do you know where it is going? Do you need to install a pad for it? What about electrical supply?

    You need to answer some of these questions for yourself before you know what to look for.
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    My advice is similar to Jason's

    Buy a quality brand tub (Hot Spring, Jacuzzi, Dimension 1, Bull Frog, Arctic, etc.) either new or used, stay away from the bargain basement fly by night companies and the Costco hot tub special of the year even if it is made by a brand name. On the costco tubs they seem to be built by brand names, but are built to a price point that is just a bit too low, too many corners cut, so the "brand name" companies get tired of making them after about a year then it is on to the next brand. There can be some great deals out there on used and refurbished hot tubs, there can also be a lot of junk that people want you to pay them for the privilege of hauling away. Most of these junk tubs were junk when new, or have been sitting out exposed to the elements for 20 years.

    As a rule of thumb I if looking at used tubs don't buy anything over 10-15 years old (there are a few limited exceptions, for example I would put the cut off year at 1998 for most Hot Spring brand tubs as that year they introduced the first version of the digital controller they used for the next decade or so), hot tub designs have not fundamentally changed much in the last 10-15 years, most of the advances are either minor, cosmetic, or is a case of more bells and whistles. Mostly stuff like built in entertainment systems, color changing mood lighting, lighted jets, and water features (lighted waterfalls) as well as a trend towards synthetic or stone looking cabinets vs wood or fake wood and ever more colors for the tub shells, with more and more complex micro color flecks and specks mixes .
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    New or used, either way you'll want to use this to clean it out properly before your first fill - Ahh-Some for Jetted Baths, Hot Tubs Swim Spas - Ahh-Some Water Cleanser for Your Pool, Hut Tub, Jet Bath, Swim Spa and Washing Machine
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    Thanks so much! We are installing a concrete patio for it now and plan to hire a local electrician to secure power. I am not certain what to tell the electrician to do to prepare for the hot tub. I guess it depends on what type of hot tub we purchase. From what I can see, it looks like the plug in hot tubs do not get as warm. Is this your experience?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    They get just as warm, but the heater can not run while the Jets are on. So the water will slowly cool while in use, but not fast enough for us to care.

    You should run 230v if you are adding a power drop.
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    If you are doing power, most hot tubs require 60 amps at 220 volts.. the plug in ones do not and a few will use 110 volts but not many..

    I went with an old school, air ports to turn everything on, no fancy stuff, commercial tub.. I do use mine every night from sep to mar..

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    HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    Like others have said run 220 / 60 amp. I have a Sundance, and originally had it 220 / 50 amp and could not run both pumps and the heater at the same time. When I moved I wired it 220 / 60 amp and very glad I did. I bought a good hot tub after much research, and have had it for almost 5 years and never regretted it. Not one problem with it and I use it multiple times a week-year round. I have friends who bought cheap ones, and most of them are not even service anymore. My advice is buy a good one, or don't buy one at all. I would also have you and your husband sit in the model you choose to be sure it fits prior to buying. Last bit of advice from me, skip on the built-in radios and such, more things to go wrong and not needed. Your iPad or boombox or whatever over just fine with a lot less problem and a lot less spent money ....Good luck to you.


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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    My hot tub is a convertible 120V or 240V, in 120V 20 amp mode the heater runs at 1,500 watts and it only runs the heater or the jet pump, but not both at once, in 240V mode the heater runs at 6,000 watts and will run at the same time as the jet pump. Of course it is a small 3 person tub (really 2 if they are friendly), and I have it set up in 120V as I already had a 120V 20 amp outlet available. When I bought it I thought I would have to wire it up for 240V to be happy with it, but the truth is 120V works fine for me, it just means I have to always keep it hot and plan ahead for water changes as it takes nearly 24 hours to get back up to temperature from a cold water fill. Heat loss while the jets are running is a non issue for me, as the tub also has heat recovery feature from the running jet pump so it stays fairly stable, and does not drop more than 1 -2 degrees after 30 minutes with the jets running, which is about as long as I ever run them, even in cool weather.

    If at all possible I would pick out the hot tub before doing the electrical, there are just too many variations on what you need ran to the tub, the common ones are:

    120-15 amp (mostly small tubs, this is your common household outlet)

    120-20 amp (the is the one you find has the T shaped slot on one side that you can plug 15 amp or 20 amp cords into, most people don't even know what a 20 amp plug looks like though they are that rare) NEC code now requires 20 amp outlets in most businesses, although you will find some in homes.

    240V-50 amp, most common traditional hot tub requirement.

    240V-60 amp, some newer hot tubs, mostly larger models

    120/240V combination, such as mine if I were to convert it to 240V, it would require 50 amps of 240V service, however that would be split into a 240V 30 amp breaker, and a 120V 20 amp breaker. This is common on all 120v / 240v convertible tubs made by Hot Spring since they use a 120V only pump motor, but a convertible dual wattage heater.

    There are probably others out there too

    Ike
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    We have a 110/220 convertible tub and we converted it to 220v 50a the the first winter. The 1500w heater could not keep up with the heat loss when we spent a few hours in the tub outside watching TV when it was 30 degrees outside. The water got steadily colder.
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: HELP- buying our first hot tub!

    pooldv, probably a tub size issue, I see yours is 340 gallons, mine is about 215 gallons
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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