A reader requested a long time ago (like maybe January?) that I write an “all about hot tubs” post, and I totally forgot!!! Something made me think of it this morning while I was sitting IN our hot tub. Megan, if you’re still reading, I’m sorry!!! Here you go!
Our Hot Tub Story
We bought our hot tub in June 2020, from a hot tub show.
We weren’t really “planning” on buying a hot tub, but I had grown up with a hot tub as a kid, and we’ve always really enjoyed them on vacations. My parents still have one today, and my sister had recently bought one also.
So, we’d been sort of talking about it, too, but not that seriously, for a while. I saw an ad on TV for the local show, so we decided we’d “just go take a look”. (We know how that usually turns out….)
Long story short, the hot tubs (especially the filled-with-water demos) looked very enticing. A couple months into the pandemic, I was already envisioning this could be THE ANSWER to any stressful days. 😉 It also seemed like a great family alternative to sitting around watching TV together- a great place to sit and have a drink and talk.
The salesman did his thing, and we left to go home and “think about it” and re-measure our space. Ultimately, we decided on a bit of a whim to pull the trigger. I would like to say we did oodles of research into this purchase, but, that would be false. Honestly, we didn’t. I read some online reviews and that was about it. Maybe a bit rash, but sometimes that’s the way to go. Just do it.
So the next morning, I called the sales guy back and ordered our hot tub: a Master Spas Clarity Series Balance 7.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the grey model delivered until early fall (only brown was in stock). Oh well!
We actually needed the time, anyway, because the space we wanted to put it really kind of needed a little makeover first.
We had the above little concrete patio behind our house, down the steps of our deck. Technically the hot tub would fit there, but it would have been very tight. I have no idea what that little circle cut out was ever for. It was there when we bought the house. This concrete patio was old and ugly and pretty useless anyway. Its main purpose at the time was mostly setting bags of grass or lawn waste there. lol.
In order to make more space, we had that patio ripped out and a new larger one poured.
Hot tub size: 84″ x 84″ x 36″.
It seats “6 people” (though I’d say for max comfort, probably just 4 adults + 1-2 kids). Depends on how cozy you like to be. 😉 It’s a good sized hot tub, though, plenty big for our family of 4 + a guest or two. I’d highly recommend getting the biggest hot tub your space and budget can allow. It’s very nice to have room to spread out and not feel squished (or be playing footsy with someone).
– A lounger seat where you can spread out (these can be controversial- some really short people don’t like these, because they float up/ can’t touch the other side. I love ours though, but I’m somewhere between 5’8″- 5’9″ with long legs.)
-A waterfall. A water feature is a must, IMO! Very fun and festive. Obviously not essential, but fun. 🙂
-A Neck + Shoulder StressRelief seat (blows extra jets up at neck level in one special seat)
–LED lights (can change to all different colors. Not used by us adults much (we prefer….dark!) but the boys love to change the lights around.
–cup holders, all different types of seats (different types of jets in each one/ placement), and a “cool off” seat (so you can sit mostly up out of the water, if you get too warm). I love this option in the summer.
-Oh! A great feature of this hot tub that I love, and something to pay attention to: It has an extra large footwell. Some hot tubs have a very small space in the center for everyone’s feet to….gather. Ok if it’s your family, but a little awkward if in with anyone else. I love that ours has a really big center space.
-It should also come with a set of steps, and a cover lifter (delivery guys will install this). It’s a necessity- makes opening the heavy lid a piece of cake. Even one of the boys can open it alone. Make sure to allow enough space between house and hot tub to scoot the lid off.
Also, be aware that prior to installation, you need to have an electrician out to wire your space for the hot tub! I’d check into this ideally before you even order your hot tub (we didn’t….). Also be aware the electrician cost will run you at least another $500-$1,200, probably, on top of the hot tub price, depending on your set up/ space/ how far they need to run wire/ etc. Everyone has to have an emergency shut off installed within 6 feet of the hot tub, too.
A few misc. points:
-Keep in mind your entrance/ exit points, especially if you are in a cold climate. Make sure you have quick access to indoors somehow! And somewhere to lay your towel/ robe. Wear sandals out to avoid getting dirt in your hot tub!
-Give lots of consideration to the location/ where you’ll put the steps/ which side you want the cover lifter on/ etc. You basically get one shot to set this thing down. They’re HEAVY.
-Water maintenance takes a lot of learning. I’ve got it down pat now, but it took me a while (plus lots of internet reading/ calling the hot tub store with questions, etc.) Everyone ends up with cloudy or green water at some point while you learn the ropes. Don’t overstress. (I did, though. 😆Story of my life.) But once you get it down, it’s really very easy- and minimal maintenance. I probably spend less than 10 minutes per week caring for the hot tub. This involves testing the water with strips several times a week, balancing the PH if needed, rinsing the filters, adding shock and chlorine as needed. I also have to add a little water periodically if it gets low.
-I do a full water change 2-3 times per year, so far. With good weekly and daily water maintenance, it lasts a long time with no issues. It does take me several hours start to finish to drain, clean and refill the hot tub.
-Fall is the best season to use it!! But we use ours all year long. I’ve been in it when it’s been below zero outside (with a hat to cover my ears). Yep, it’s very cold for about 2 seconds while you get in, but then it’s ahhhmaaaaazing!!! (Tip: GO OUT and open it first, while in your winter jacket and boots! Then go back inside, put your suit on and just scoot out in a bathrobe to jump in!) People in hot climates will often keep the temp lower. We like ours HOT and keep it at 103-104 degrees most of the year, down to maybe 102 in the heat of summer. These things go great alongside a pool, if you have one! (We do not.)
-Use a broom to brush snow off the top! Makes it very easy to clear.
-I use it the most of anyone in our family. I love it in the early morning, or late at night. Or anytime, really! I’d say we (or I) use it on average at least 3-5 times per week. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
-It will add a bit to your electric bill, but I honestly don’t even really know how much. These new models are quite efficient. It’s not enough that I’ve really even paid attention!! Maybe like $20-30/ month? If that. I don’t actually know. Our bill varies anyway, so I haven’t really tracked it closely.
I think that’s the gist of it. Feel free to drop me any questions or shoot me an email if anyone wants more info! I LOVE OUR HOT TUB and it is something I literally feel immensely grateful for every single time I go in it.
Bonus older pic that cracks me up:
I am grateful for a lazy Sunday morning. Really needed it today. Ivan went off to his 8 am middle-aged man soccer league game 😉 so the boys and I have just been hanging out here.