The rise of the internet hot tub forum has brought with it a rise in hot tub myths and misconceptions. With so many differing opinions out there it can be hard to tell what to believe and what not to believe. With that in mind, we thought we would help by listing off a few of the most common hot tub myths that we have come across.
HOT TUB MYTH #1 – CHLORINE / BROMINE IRRITATES MY EYES
While chlorine and bromine can irritate your skin and eyes at very high levels, chances are your hot tub will rarely, if ever, reach that level. If your eyes are bothering you either during or after hot tub use, chances are your pH and alkalinity are to blame. Your eyes have a pH level of around 7.5. The farther the pH of your hot tub water drifts from 7.5, the more irritating that water will be to your eyes.
To prevent eye irritation, test the pH and chlorine/bromine levels of your water 2-3 times per week with a home test kit. Adjust pH as necessary. If your pH is consistently out of balance, or if your chlorine/bromine level is very high, don’t use it. Instead, go to your local hot tub store and get your water professionally tested.
HOT TUB MYTH #2 – I DON’T NEED TO USE CHEMICALS BECAUSE I HAVE AN OZONE / UV SYSTEM
This myth seems to have been started by some less than ethical salespeople looking to sell a couple of extra hot tubs. While ozone and UV systems can reduce the amount of sanitizer (chlorine/bromine) that you use, you still need to add some sanitizer to keep the water safe and bacteria free.
On top of that, neither UV nor ozone systems help to keep the water balanced. Regular water testing, and adding balancing chemicals, is still required whether or not you have one of these systems installed on your hot tub.
UV and ozone systems are great for maintaining water clarity. They also help reduce the amount of sanitizer you need to add to the water to keep it safe. They do not eliminate the need for chemicals however.
HOT TUB MYTH #3 – HOT TUBS ARE DIRTY AND REQUIRE CONSTANT CLEANING / MAINTENANCE
Another popular myth is that hot tubs are always dirty, or at least that they require constant maintenance to stay clean. The truth is that hot tubs do require constant cleaning to stay clear and safe to use, the hot tub’s filtration system does almost all of the work for you. This myth seems to stem from people that were either sold on a “zero maintenance hot tub” or those that have set their filtration times too low in an effort to save money.
Your hot tub’s filtration system cleans the water at least 2-3 times per day, with some hot tubs able to clean all of the water in as little as 15 minutes! All you have to do to maintain clean, safe water is to regularly add sanitizer to the water and clean off the filters every few weeks. Chemically cleaning your filter every 3-4 months will also help keep it running at peak efficiency, and can extend the life of the filter itself.
No matter how good the filtration system is, all hot tubs do require a minimum amount of filtration time to properly clean the water. If yours can’t seem to stay clean, you are likely under this threshold. Consult your hot tub retailer to see how long your hot tub should run.
HOT TUB MYTH #4 – THE BIGGER THE JET PUMPS, THE BETTER THE MASSAGE
This is another myth that likely started with hot tub salespeople. The truth is that the horsepower rating of a hot tub pump really isn’t that useful when determining massage quality. There are two reasons for this:
- The “horsepower” of a hot tub pump is just a rating for how much energy it consumes and has nothing to do with water flow. For that reason, HP is actually a better measurement for how much power the pump will consume. The bigger the pump, the more energy it uses to run!
- Companies often list the “brake” horsepower of a pump, rather than it’s “continuous” horsepower. Brake horsepower is the rating given during the split second right after the pump has been turned on. The actual running horsepower of these pumps is often much less. For example, a 7BHP pump is often only 3-4HP when rated in continuous horsepower.
To really get a sense of how powerful a pump is, try to find out its gallon per minute (gpm) rating. This is the measure of how much water the pump can actually move. Well designed pumps will move a lot of water with a relatively low horsepower rating. If you want to know how good the massage is however, there’s more to it than just the size of the pump.
HOT TUB MYTH #5 – THE MORE JETS / JET PUMPS THE BETTER
It is easy to see why this is one of the most common hot tub myths out there. It makes sense that a hot tub with more jets and pumps will deliver a better massage than one with less jets and pumps. This is not always the case though.
Designing a hot tub that delivers a great massage is tricky. To do so requires a balance between the number of jets, the size of the jets and the flow coming from the pumps. Every jet you add to a hot tub takes power away from the rest of the jets. Adding more jets than your pumps can handle leads to a severely underpowered massage. Having too few results in a painful, high pressure massage.
The size of the jets also affect the quality of the massage that the hot tub will deliver. Large jets are able to handle more water flow. This makes them suited for larger muscles and deep tissue massages. Smaller jets are able to deliver a more targeted massage, making them more suited to relieve pressure points. Having the right jets in the right spot is what makes for a great hot tub massage.
Jets aren’t the only piece of the puzzle however. You also need to consider the pumps. Too much flow from the pumps can lead to high pressure massages that can get irritating in a matter of a few minutes (think of a shower head that has too much pressure). Too little flow from the pumps and the water will barely trickle out.
On top of jets and pumps there is also the plumbing to consider. Poorly designed plumbing can rob a pump of most of it’s power. Well designed plumbing efficiently carries the water to the jets with minimal loss in power.
So how can you tell if a hot tub has a great massage or not? The only real way to tell is to book a wet test before you buy one. Trying out the hot tub before you buy is the only sure fire way of knowing if the massage suits your needs.
HOT TUB MYTH #6 – BLEACH CAN BE USED TO SANITIZE HOT TUB WATER AND CLEAN THE COVER
While bleach does act as a sanitizer, do you really want to bathe in bleach? Not only is bleach harsh on your skin, it can also cause damage to:
- Your hot tub’s filters.
- The surface of the hot tub.
- The skin of the hot tub cover.
Not only that, adding bleach to the water also completely throws off the balance of the water. This means that any money you saved in sanitizer is immediately wasted on balancing chemicals, not to mention the wear and tear on your hot tub.
HOT TUB MYTH #7 – A $5,000 HOT TUB IS OFTEN JUST AS GOOD AS A $10,000 HOT TUB
The old adage “you get what you pay for” is never more true than when talking about hot tubs. While the “$5000 big box store hot tub” may seem like a great deal because it has 80 jets, 3 jets pumps, 20 lights, a stereo and a 30 year warranty, it is rarely that simple.
When you look deeper you will often find that these companies use cheap components, don’t insulation properly and are hoping to sell hot tubs based on big numbers like “80 jets and 3 pumps”.
The 30 year (or in some cases “lifetime”) warranties often only cover the shell of the hot tub. Parts like jets, pumps and lights are usually guaranteed for between 90 days and 1 year and rarely cover labour.
While you might not need a $10,000 hot tub, moving up to a $7,000-$8,000 will often make a massive difference in terms of quality, after sales support, warranty and long-term cost.