5 Tips for Planning your Hot Tub Deck

With spring just around the corner, it’s likely (we hope!) that a lot of folks are looking out at their backyards and starting to plan to pull it out of hibernation for the coming season. Some folks will also (we know!) finally live the dream of owning their own hot tub.

Quite a few of those lucky hot-tub-owners-to-be will also be thinking about a deck for the tub. We’d like to offer up some tips for planning your hot tub deck oasis.

  • Pick the right spot. You’re fulfilling the dream of a hot tub that you’ve had for years. Make sure you put it in a place in your back yard that will optimize your use of it. The best place for a tub is near an exit from the house. The further away from the house it is, the less likely you will find yourself to head out and take a soak.
  • What about privacy? Sometimes the best spot isn’t exactly the one that affords you the most privacy from nearby neighbors. Think about the placement and whether additional privacy needs to be designed into your deck plan. The type of cover lifter you select may play into this consideration as well. While a cover lifter is pretty much a must-have, some of them (like a Covana) will provide extra privacy when they’re in the up position while you soak. The lifter you choose may solve some of your privacy needs.
  • How much ongoing care do you want? A deck is terrific…but of course it will need some attention over time. You can pick a traditional wood like cedar or redwood—those will require cleaning, staining and ongoing attention to keep them in great shape. If you are willing to invest some extra money in a more exotic wood that will require less maintenance over time, consider ipe. Composite options (like Trex or Timbertech) available today are certainly far improved over options in years past and will also be a lower maintenance answer.
  • Recessing the tub? It’s critical to realize that any tub recessed into a deck will require access to the ENTIRE equipment bay in order to be able to service it as time goes by. Most folks aren’t aware that electrical codes often make it necessary to create enough clearance that goes back three feet from the front of the equipment bay. It’s actually easier to enter and exit a tub that is not recessed—it’s also easier on your back & neck and there are fewer chances to take a tumble into a tub that is above deck. Think on these things when setting out on your deck planning.
  • Pick your tub FIRST. We still occasionally run into someone that gets the deck built and THEN selects their tub. Sometimes that leads to a deck not built to hold the appropriate amount of weight, didn’t take electrical conduit and location into place, and access issues that weren’t considered when the deck was built. Get the tub figured out before the deck is started! It could save you a lot of headaches and money in the long run.

We’re here to help answer any questions and give the best guidance we can to make sure your new tub will be perfect on your new deck (that is also perfect!). Visit us today so we can provide the counsel and advice to put you on the path to a magical addition to your back yard—and your life! You’ll really love owning the hot tub that’s been on your wish list for so long.

Five ways to guard your hot tub from the harsh winter weather

J425_no_people_nostereo_SnowWe’ve seen snow already this year—far earlier than we normally do! There’s no telling what lies ahead in the next few months, especially since winter doesn’t officially start till December 21st. One way to survive the cold is to make sure your hot tub is always hot & ready for revival. Here are five ways you can make sure your hot tub is in perfect working order for that soak escape.

  • Keep your hot tub cover in shape. Since your cover is designed to keep the heat in (and the heating bills low), do what you can to keep it in shape through the winter months. During wind storms and heavy rains, make sure you go out afterwards and brush any excess debris off the top of the cover with a broom. Snow is also not a cover’s friend—it will weigh it down and could cause one of the foam cores to crack. Do not limp a cover through the winter if it accidentally gets pierced by a flying branch. Once that happens, the cover will take on water rapidly, become heavy and water logged, and starts the energy meter running. If that happens, be sure and get a new hot tub cover. You can arm your cover against absorbing unnecessary water by treating it with 303 Protectant. This will help the cover repel water absorption, and keep the vinyl from getting brittle. It will also provide UV protection to keep the vinyl from degrading.
  • Get a winterizing blanket. With periodic power outages, your hot tub’s equipment bay becomes prey to bitter cold temperature that could cause freeze issues to your heater, jet pumps, plumbing and circulation pump. A winterizing blanket tucks behind the tub equipment bay door, adding an extra layer of warmth for the compartment for extra protection.
  • Get new filters. Nothing is more disheartening than to head out to the hot tub to find out the water is tepid. Your tub relies on clean filters that aren’t as old as the hills to get proper flow to the heater and circulation pump. This in turn insures your tub is always up to temperature. (Note–# 1 reason for tub not heating: old filters!) Replace old filters now for a tub that stays hot (never mind stays clean!).
  • Keep your water balanced. Infrequent use of your hot tub can also lead to laziness in keeping the alkalinity and pH levels in the correct balance. Be sure you are testing your water weekly, even when you’re not using it on a regular basis. (Hint—Be sure your test strips aren’t expired! Testing supplies do have a shelf life for effective testing.)
  • Consider a Smartop. Remember the stuff discussed in the first point above about vinyl hot tub covers? How about ditching all those issues for good with a new Smartop for you tub? Smartops are now the rage, and will be the last hot tub cover you buy. A Smartop cannot get pierced by a branch, chewed by a critter, can hold up to 800 lbs., and are designed to not take on water! It will also help lock more of the heat in your tub, increasing efficiency. (They also add a great designer touch to your hot tub’s exterior.)

Keep using your hot tub this winter! And make sure it’s in great working order to enjoy it.