Getting You Your Perfect Spa

How to buy the perfect spa for relaxation and recreation

A hot tub is no small purchase, but the therapeutic and recreational value can be priceless. Whether you are hoping to behold the bright stars above Central Oregon in comfortable warmth, or aiming to loosen up sore muscles after a long bike ride, a spa can make high desert life that much more enjoyable. As with any large purchase, there are many factors to consider. Cascade Journal interviewed two spa retailers to get their take on what to look for when you are ready to spend the money to relax in style.

“There is not just one important thing to know when purchasing a hot tub,” says Mike Sundberg of Emerald Hearth, Spa, Pool and Patio in Bend. “You should look at size, your electrical supply, your budget for the project and whether you want the spa for recreational use or physical therapy.” You should have some idea of your own preferences and needs to help narrow down your options when you begin to search for a tub.

To that list Shawn Evans of Oregon Hot Tub in Bend adds that water treatment options are also a top concern when people are considering the purchase of a spa. There are a few different options to choose from. Besides traditional chlorinated hot tubs, saltwater tubs are also available. “Saltwater hot tubs are a great way to sanitize your water while reducing your maintenance costs and time spent treating your water,” says Evans, though he adds that saltwater systems are expensive, so they are not suitable for everyone. Sundberg of Emerald also cautions that while saltwater works well in larger pools, it may not be ideal for smaller tubs. “The salt-to-chlorine converter can be very expensive to maintain. Chlorine in a spa is good, just in the proper amount,” says Sundberg. For those who are allergic to chlorine, but cannot afford the saltwater system, he suggests using hydrogen peroxide-based sanitizers as an alternative.

Once you know your budget, size requirements and water filtration preferences, it is time to let the shopping commence. Evans recommends making your search hands-on by visiting showrooms, scheduling an in-store soak, or a home visit. Having a spa professional close at hand can help you with your decision. There are a few valuable cautions to consider when purchasing your spa. “Look for very large dollar amounts discounted off the spa (two to four thousand dollars). That means the price was inflated to show a big discount,” warns Sundberg. A little bit of research can go a long way. “Read online reviews, check with your area Better Business Bureau and read the hot tub warranty prior to making a decision,” says Evans. “Who you buy from is just as important as what you buy.”

Now you have done the research, found the spa and made the purchase. But how do you keep your hot tub in mint condition? “The most common issues with hot tubs are related to proper water chemistry. Taking care of your water balance and properly maintaining your hot tub will prevent most issues,” says Evans. He also recommends cleaning your filters and covers, and regularly draining and refilling the tub. “Keep the spa running year round and, if you drain it in the winter, be sure to have it winterized,” says Sundberg, adding that any spa company can send a person to your house to do it properly. “Also, never leave the spa empty with the cover off on a hot sunny day. You can damage the shell.”

Get started with some research, know what you want and take a hands-on approach to your hot tub shopping experience. And remember that if you have questions, the associates at any good spa retailer are ready and willing to supply answers and help you get the perfect fit for your unique brand of high desert living. Happy soaking!

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