What to Know About Buying a Hot Tub
As the mercury plummets and snow drifts pile up in your yard, many people turn to a hot tub to weather the winter. If you’re considering joining them and buying a tub of your own, be aware – purchasing a hot tub should not be taken lightly.
A faulty or improperly installed tub can lead to serious headaches for homeowners – flooded basements, frozen pipes, cracked pavement. But not to fear! We’ve broken down all the questions you need to ask yourself before buying a hot tub, along with some tips to get you started on your search.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Hot Tub
Before you walk into your first hot tub dealer, there are a few questions you need to consider.
Why do you want a hot tub?
People buy hot tubs for many reasons – from therapeutic needs to socializing. Thinking about why you want a hot tub will help you decide everything from the size to the type of tub you buy. Consider how you think it will be used on a daily basis along with how many people will use it and how everyone will use it.
What’s your budget?
Hot tubs range in price from $350 for an inflatable to as much as $10,000 or more, depending on the features you choose. Modern hot tubs come with an array of features from customizable color lights to speakers and jets. Find out what features you’re looking for, shop around online, and discuss what options you have with your dealer.
Don’t forget to budget for ongoing maintenance costs, including the electricity used to heat your tub. Depending on location, type of tub, and local electricity prices, keeping your tub warm could cost anywhere between $10-$100 per month. Here’s a great breakdown of the costs of maintaining a hot tub.
Where is it going to go?
Location is one of the most important aspects of buying a hot tub. If you plan to put it on a deck, make sure the deck can handle the weight – a recommended capacity of 100 pounds per square foot. The same goes for concrete – your hot tub should be sitting on thick enough concrete to prevent cracks, usually around four inches thick. Either way, the surface should be perfectly level or you risk damaging your tub.
Beyond a level platform, your hot tub will likely need access to a power source. Some can run off a basic 120V plug, most run off a 240V socket, which will need to be installed by an electrician. If you don’t want to run a cord into the yard, you’ll likely want to keep your tub close to the house.
Finally, it’s worth considering how exposed your hot tub will be to the elements. Wind can strip heat from the tub, forcing it to eat more energy to stay warm while snow and rain can damage the cover and components. Homes, fences, and walls all make great windbreaks and even a pergola can keep the snow and branches off the cover.
Hot Tub Buying Tips
Once you’ve figured out your budget, what your tub is for, and where it’s going to go, it’s time to get out there and start shopping! Here are a few tips and pitfalls to avoid when shopping for a hot tub.
Buy from a place you can trust
Never buy a hot tub from a parking lot sale, carnival, or fair. Do your homework online to find a reputable hot tub dealer with an abundance of positive reviews. Check references and make sure the dealer offers guarantees, warranties, and ongoing support in order to protect your purchase. Dealers are also better equipped to get you exactly the type and size of hot tub you want.
Try before you buy
The other advantage of buying from a dealer is the opportunity to perform a wet test, in which you can bathe in the tub you’re thinking about buying. It’s an excellent way to make sure your tub is exactly what you’re looking for – it can be hard to figure that out sitting in a dry tub in jeans and sneakers.
Beware of buying used
Don’t be mistaken, used hot tubs can be great; they’re typically far cheaper than new and can be in great condition if maintained properly. Hot tubs that weren’t used often before their sale should be avoided – only look for hot tubs with dedicated owners that regularly maintained and cared for it.
Nothing is more soothing than a steaming hot tub on a blistery winter day. As long as you do your homework and find a qualified hot tub dealer, you should be right on your way to becoming a cozy marshmallow in a cup of hot cocoa.