Your Hot Tub Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank!
We’ve written about the health benefits of hot tubs in the past, but many people presume that installing a hot tub is prohibitively expensive. Or they think they don’t have enough room for a quality spa or hot tub. Or they are concerned about the maintenance requirements.
So while people recognize that they would love to have a hot tub to enjoy on a clear Santa Cruz night, or as the fog settles in over their Aptos or Capitola homes, they aren’t 100% convinced that the benefits outweigh the costs.
I want to assure you that there are definitely affordable options for your hot tub. So whether you are up in the mountains of Soquel, or close to the beach, you CAN have a wonderful hot tub (‘spa’) at your home–one that fits your location and budget.
Now, I am not going to tell you that if you live in a high-rise you can install a hot tub on your balcony. Nor am I going to suggest that you put inflatable hottubs in your bedroom (dorm or otherwise!)
As far as maintenance goes, keeping your spa clean and safe is not that difficult. We offer some maintenance guidelines, provide the supplies you need, will support you in any major maintenance or repair needs–and we’ll even do routine maintenance if that’s what you want.
Location: Choose a spot for your hot tub that will give you the experience you are looking for. Some people feel having their spa right near the bedroom is very important, while others want their bedrooms to be as quite as possible, therefore having any mechanical items far away. This is especially important to consider if one member of the family might want to use the spa while others are sleeping.
Think about privacy if that is an important factor for you. If your neighbors can see you while you are enjoying your hot tub, will that make you less likely to use it? Some of that can be fixed with privacy fences or plantings, but only you know how public or private you want your spa experience to be.
Size: If you have a larger family or entertain a lot, you might want a larger spa. On the other hand, if you are a retired couple a 4 person system might be just perfect, allowing for an occasional guest, but cozy for the two of you.
Another point to consider in size is, well, your size and how you like to use your spa. A 7 foot tall athlete who wants to be able to stretch out will have different hot tub size needs than a 5 foot tall amateur gardener who wants to be up to her neck soaking.
You could also consider a swim spa–which is a bit bigger than most traditional hot tubs, but it is more cost effective than a traditional swimming pool, and might just be the ticket for you.
Features: This is where you can make your hot tub unique. You can add all sorts of features. Some may be integral to the spa, such as if you want pulsating jets to reach specific aching muscles, or watefalls that create a nice relaxing, ambient sound.
Some folks like to have lighting integrated into their spa experience, while others create their mood lighting on the deck or with movable lamps or candles.
Other features you might choose to add later, such as above ground speakers, aromatherapy, storage for towels, pool toys or beverages and ‘glassware.’
Another “feature” that is important to consider is your cover. Think about how you will use your hot tub–and for how many years. An energy efficient cover can be pretty heavy, so it may be worth the investment to have a cover removal system that makes it easy to take off the cover (and put it back on) and holds the cover in place while you are using the spa. Of course, this can be added in the future–as long as you have enough space around your hot tub to accomodate the unit.
Heating: Wood-fired hot tubs are just not too common any more–for good reason. But you do need to be able to heat your hot tub. Whether you are going to use electricity, gas, or solar power, the energy to power both the heat and the jets is an important consideration. If you really want to heat with solar then we need to be sure that we can have a solar heating system set up at your location. If you live deep in the Santa Cruz mountains and get limited sunshine at the spot you want your spa, this might be a challenge. But, if you have a sunny spot on your property and are willing to consider having your hot tub in that location, then we can make it work.
Sanitation: Many people are used to the smell of chlorine, and they associate hot tubs and pools with that smell. But for some people chlorine is too hard on the skin, or they don’t like the smell. Fortunately there are other options. We often install salt water sanitation systems which are much easier on the skin–and no smell. (We also install salt water systems in swimming pools, which are so gentle on your eyes and body that most people find they don’t need to wear goggles! Something to consider for sure.
Budget: I don’t like to start with the budget only because I don’t want you to limit yourself. Truth is, we can probably figure out something that will work with your budget, so although it is certainly important, we want to have a complete picture of what you would like and how you will use your hot tub so we can best advise you on what are the most important features.
For example, we might suggest a slightly smaller spa if it is mostly going to be used by just a couple–whereas that wouldn’t be a good compromise if you have a large family that will be tubbing together. And you might have a spot that you think will be perfect but because of the terrain would make installation significantly more expensive. In that case, we can help you with alternatives.
We also offer refurbished hot tubs or equipment which can save you a bundle. They are still fantastic units that no longer suited the previous owner–and we have fixed up all the components. So you might be able to get that larger spa with all the jets you wanted, at a much lower price point.
Another point to consider when you are looking into a hot tub or spa for your home because of medical reasons, is you may be able to deduct some of the costs if you get a prescription from your doctor. Be sure to consult your accountant or income tax professional, but if you have joint pain that is relieved by the hydrotherapy, this might make a big difference in your bottom line.
OK, so we’ve reviewed several things to consider when looking into getting a hot tub here in Santa Cruz County. But in case you are one of the few folks we meet who aren’t sure you actually want to own your own spa–be sure to read this earlier post on why you might just NEED a hot tub in your life.
YOU are the biggest variable, and the most important consideration when selecting the right hot tub for your Santa Cruz County home. Give us a call and we’ll be able to help you walk through the steps of selecting the right spa for your location, family, and budget.
Hot tub cover photo courtesy of Heavenly Times Hot Tubs and Billiards of Dillon, Colorado