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This is a recently updated spa care tips with some of the latest
published on the web by
The Spa Specialist Inc.
Havenmade Inc. Broomfield, CO
(303) 404-AAAH! (2224)
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(updated Aug 2008)
Insulation, Heat Retention, and Freeze Damage
I often get letters and questions from people about this subject. One
of the most important question for most people is; "How much is it
to cost me?" (Read
What Our customers say.)
There are two answers to that question. One is the
price of the spa, and the other is the cost to operate and repair the
over time. You can save as much as $2500 or more over a period of ten
by buying a spa that costs $500 to $1000 more than other brands, simply
it is made better. However, not all higher priced spas are better.
is not the only determining factor is spa choice.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN COST OF OWNING AND
A SPA IS: How the spa is made!! ( The second is the
The $9,000( and on up) wonder
machine (you know
the one that the nice salesman said with "the best") with all the
for awards and expensive advertising brochures, that costs another
$5,900 to keep running over 7 years in electricity, chemicals, filters,
and repairs, will not be clear to you until long after you bought it.
spas look wonderful on the showroom and they are all "the best spas"
to the sales people who earn a living by selling them.
(Used spas are all over the place, now. The add say: "Free
Spa, come take it away!")
I just wanted to make that clear. It
doesn't matter anything that
the spa sales person says! All of those "BEST BUY" lies and so
It is using your knowledge and common sense of spas that
the only thing keeping you from wasting your own money on a poorly
product. You must learn about spas first before you buy one!
cannot trust anyone in the spa industry to know what they are selling
because they don't. Even the largest of all the spa
does not know how to build a well made super energy efficient spa.
go look at them after you learn about spas.
Get a copy of the book "How
Spas Are Made".
Or get a copy of "Spa Secrets" from our catalog or from
I have found, from working in spa repair for the last
years, that people really want a spa that doesn't cause problems and
don't like spending extra money on chemicals to clean up a poor
spa. When our service customers have a spa that is less than 5
old, and the repair bill is over $1000,00, I feel bad for them. The spa
company that built that piece of trash IS THE PROBLEM!. It is a real
for me, because now our service company is involved. I usually
they get rid of the spa, and buy one of ours. If that isn't possible,
we will fix it (or, very common, it sits there for years until it
to the dump). The four common expensive repair problems are (1)
especially expensive is fully structurally foamed leaking spas, (2)
out poorly designed equipment and (3) cracks and blisters on the
of the spa shell or discoloration on the spa shell. Sometimes a spa
have all three problems.
(4) There is one other really bad problem, freeze
damage. If severe, it is the worst single problem a spa owner can have,
of nearly $2,000 to find and fix all the broken jets, pipes, pumps,
heaters and blower channels and blower manifolds. Sometimes it is
to completely rebuilding the spa, by stripping out all the parts and
There is a difference between a "manufacturing defect"
defective manufacturing! If a manufacturer is using good sound
and manufacturing methods and an individual spa has a warranty problem,
is one thing. If the manufacturing methods are developed only to insure
a high profit, and the manufacturer knows that the spa will not last
more than the length of the warranty without major problems, that is
Some spa builders have determined that by filling the
cabinet full of foam, they can make a really cheap shell and support it
by foam. The sales people will tell you it is for heat retention, but
is not the reason for all that foam. It simply saves manufacturing
costs. One person with a spray gun and about a half an hour, and the
is built. They call it "structural integrity". I am almost sick
that phrase, because it is really a BS sales "buzz word" that really
very little meaning. They use a lot of carefully concocted
to sound good so you are driven by your emotions to buy the spa.
sales person's job is to feed your brain "logic" to give your emotions
go ahead to lay out thousands of dollars on a product that you don't
"diddly" about. Why are people buying a product that they don't
anything about, without researching???? The only thing I can
is that the consumers really want one very bad (emotions) and they give
to the "nice" salesperson's concocted sales pitch. "Oh! That nice
would not mislead me, would they?" You are damn right they would
$300 to $1500 or more in commissions. I hear that the ThirmolSpas
get up to $3,000 in commissions if they sell the spas at those
Isn't it ironic that two of the most popular spas made today are also
the cheapest manufacturing methods available! But the real irony is,
sell them at premium prices. Some of the most expensive spas available
use the cheapest shell manufacturing methods possible, mediocre
equipment, poor filtering and bad designs on the suctions, according to
To a lay person, it sounds reasonable when salespeople
that a spa cabinet which is full of foam "gives the best thermal
but that is far from the truth.
Independent tests from Colorado State and Arizona State
Universities, and my own test have shown that to be false. The best
insulation is done in layers and is called thermal pane or thermo-loc.
In thermal pane insulation most of the electrical energy is conserved.
It is a dynamic insulation
and is not measured as a stagnant R-Value. It is measured at the
There is one "catch" to thermal pane insulation. The
shell has to be made strong and self supporting. It costs more to make
I always ask people this question when the subject of
comes up: "When two inches to four inches is the thickness of the
foam spa cover, where the heat loss is the greatest (heat rises), why
we need so much foam on the bottom and sides where the heat loss is so
If a person holds a styrofoam cup in one hand and pours
boiling hot coffee in it, then places a finger in the coffee, in less
a minute, second degree burns occur. (A million dollar law suit
When less than 1/16 inch of foam can keep the cup so
on the outside, how is it that you need 10 to 34 inches of foam in your
Almost all of the insulation value in a full foam spa
wasted. It is used as a low cost way to support the spa and that is
The effect of the foam is psychological for people who know
about insulation, like spa sales people with no engineering training.
Freeze damage is much more likely to occur in a full
spa. If the entire cabinet is full of foam, the equipment compartment
to be vented to the outside air. (The compartment is too small for warm
the air to circulate and be transferred into the spa water, so heat is
lost.) When the equipment stops for any reason, the cold air in winter
compartment and freezes the water inside the equipment and exposed
pipes. One of the most assured laws of chemistry is that water expands
freezes. As it expands, it breaks things, namely, full foam spas' pump
heater housings, and any exposed pipes. If you think that full foam spa
was a deal, just wait until you have to replace those items. Freeze
is not covered by any warranty!
One of my favorite things to do is to ask full foam spa
people this question: "What will happen if the spa is left unattended
two days at zero degrees, while the electric power is off?"
I have gotten some rather unusual responses, red faces,
just plain BS. One spa salesman told me that they "have self
parts that break to save the rest of the spa". I thought to myself: How
noble of those parts, the heater manifold, the pump housing, and the
most expensive parts in the spa.
Email the author: email@example.com
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