Hot tub oasis built right in your own back yard. Dream it, Plan it and then Record it, steps to successful project management of your new Spa or Hot Tub.
3 STAGES TO SMART HOT TUB OWNERSHIP
STAGE 1: DREAM IT
Soaking in a warm tub with your partner of choice and a glass of wine in hand, provides a level of connection that is seldom experienced in our day to day lives.
It’s like taking an hour to recharge your soul go ahead, hit the pause button and disconnect from the craziness of everyday life.
Hot tub memories include some loud and crazy; some calm and relaxing. That hot tub has given warmth after a cold dip in the lake, hosted deep conversations between friends and provided a place to escape children that want something RIGHT NOW.
There is something about the physical closeness of sitting with someone in a hot tub which completely removes inhibitions to feel a connection with friends, loved ones and even yourself at a far deeper level.
How to start?
- Talk to your hot tub owner friends. Invite yourself over, bathing suit in hand and experience their hot tubs, the enjoyment and any struggles they may have had throughout their day.
- Imagine a hot tub in your yard. Is there privacy? Is there easy access from the house? Do you need a gazebo?
- Gather pictures of hot tubs you like from anywhere you see them. The pictures will help shape your dreams.
- Find an expert. Talk to your friends and family to find a referral, visit showrooms and find the person your can trust, then talk price.
STAGE 2: PLAN IT
Most of us would never go on a trip without knowing the destination, the cost and the time it will take to get there, this thinking goes with most major purchases. The budget has to not only consider the fixed cost to buy and install a hot tub but the variable and recurring costs associated to maintaining it.
OPERATING COST: VARIABLE AND RECURRING
Not meant to deter your decision, but just arm you with the proper information so that you can plan. If this reality check has you feeling depressed, go back and read Stage 1: Dream It.
Electrical: Depending on your climate, the daily cost to keep water heated can seem quite expensive but really is less than a cup of coffee a day.
Many manufacturers like to brag about the horsepower of their motor but please remember large motors mean larger electrical bills. Focus on the GPM (gallons per minute) or volume of water on the wet-side of the pump. The GPM, not the horsepower, is what determines the pressure at the jets.
Maintenance: Chemicals, filters and test kits can all add up quickly and, therefore, need to be part of the budget. Typically plan on 50 cents a day, but realize this cost will vary based on experience and usage.
Repairs After Warranty: Common challenges are motor failures, control panel issues, heater failures and jet replacement. It is impossible to predict or budget for these issues, your only recourse is to ensure the manufacturer and dealer have a good record in assisting when repairs are needed. Do your due diligence by checking references and online media posts.
FIXED COST: INSTALLATION & HOT TUB PURCHASE
You’ve spent considerable time dreaming about this project, don’t destroy those dreams by cutting corners on the install or spending beyond your budget on hot tub “lipstick” options.
Foundation or Base: Considering a hot tub loaded with water and people can weigh several thousand pounds, decks should be evaluated by a professional engineer to ensure they are up to standard. If your considering a deck, check out our series of on building a deck.
Concrete slabs, interlocking stone or gravel bases need to be level and in good condition. Ensure the area is properly drained so that rainwater does not sit around the tub skirt.
Delivery and Installation: Make sure details of delivery and installation are clear and in writing. Is the tub being put in place or road side/driveway drop off? Discuss any approach challenges that may interfere with accessing where the tub will be set.
Electrical Hook-Up: This is not a do-it-yourself part of the project. Talk to a qualified electrician or contact your electrical authority for information.
Permits: Often permits are required so check with local building department.
Fencing: For safety reasons (or tax revenue) more and more municipalities require perimeter fencing around a hot tub. Personally, I think the extra privacy is nice to have and you avoid that worry should you ever travel or need to be away from your home. Discuss the requirements with your local building department. Privacy fencing is a personal touch and may be added at any time. Take a look at this article on fence choices.
Price of Unit: This is a big ticket item. Take your time and get to understand your dealer and/or manufacturer. Be cautious to identify your wants vs needs and ultimately your total budget for the tub purchase not just monthly payments as unneeded options will be harder to say no to when seen as a monthly payment. Therefore, options from the number of jets, DVDs, TVs, remote controls, sound systems and LED lighting are still all available. Basically some of these tubs do everything but supply you with beer… wait, there are some with beer fridges!
WHY 3 SIMPLE QUESTIONS CAN SAVE YOU THOUSANDS
- What is my budget for the hot tub purchase _______?
Defining your budget keeps you away from an emotional purchase.
- How many people do I see in the hot tub at one time _______?
Knowing the answer to this gets you what you need and nothing more. No sense heating a hot tub for 7 when 2 is the most you see in it.
- Why do I want a hot tub ______?
A) connection with loved ones B) health benefits C) a party place
Question 3 may seem silly; however, writing it down and taking it with you to the hot tub dealer may solve an argument.
STAGE 3: RECORD IT
Like any major purchase or home renovation, it is so important to properly record the details during construction. Basically the Who, Where, When, What, How and How Much provides some insurance for the future.
Maintenance is relatively simple ensuring the unit is properly cleaned, heavy snow removed from the cover and the cover helper is in good working order, replacing filters and ensuring chemicals are at proper levels.
Hot tubs are not something that you simply wake up one morning and plan to have installed in a week. Careful planning to understand the true cost is the only way to really enjoy the hot tub experience.
Get a partner, your favourite beverage and enjoy like in a Hot Tub!