All The Types of Hot Tubs You Need To Know

Nothing screams luxury and relaxation like a soothing hot tub. It is the ultimate in comfort for your backyard or bathroom as well as the perfect place to entertain and unwind. Also known as a spa or Jacuzzi, hot tubs are small pools that are filled with hot water and most have jets for massaging purposes. They are intended for meditating, calming, massaging and hydrotherapy. Hot tubs are perfect for easing pains, loosening muscles and can even help with congestion. The hot water increases circulation and lowers blood pressure, making them the perfect addition for relaxation in your home. However, do you know all the types of hot tubs?

Regardless of the regional climate, hot tubs are most commonly located outdoors. Many homeowners will shelter it for protection from the elements as well as added privacy. However, indoor hot tubs are available and are more often referred to as “spas” when located inside the home. For outdoor hot tubs, it is most advantageous to position it at the closest distance to the home as possible on a flat surface. Some people build a deck that surrounds the hot tub for safety and convenience. Certain hot tubs are warmed with a wood fire heater, while most need to have access to electricity to warm the tub. Therefore, a nearby electrical outlet is required for electric and natural gas heaters. Additionally, the National Electric Code requires the power cutoff switch to be positioned at least 5 feet away from the hot tub.

For the perfect hot tub that best suites your home, there are a few different styles to consider:

Acrylic shell hot tub

This is probably the most common type of hot tub and consist of a water-filled, acrylic shell that is then supported by a steel or wooden sub-frame, which contains the tub’s pumps, heater, control system and other anciliary devices. Attached to the frame is either real or synthetic wood cladding, to form a sealed enclosure or ‘cabinet’ around the shell. Hot tub shells are contoured in many different ways to provide a variety of different seating positions with massage jets strategically placed to give different massaging effects. The shell is also available in a variety of different colours, which can then be matched with a choice of cabinet colour/style depending on the buyer’s taste.

Acrylic hot tubs come in all shapes and sizes. From single massage pump, 2-seater rectangular or oval style, to massive 8 or 10 seaters that feature multiple pumps and seating positions. Relatively newer types of hot tub that are now available on the market and are much longer and deeper than the norm are called ‘swim-spas. Swim-spas feature a single, powerful jet at one end of the spa for the user to swim against and may also have a separate area or zone with contoured seating for more traditional bathing.

Acrylic hot tubs can have different types of thermal insulation material applied to the underside of the shell in order to minimise heat loss and keep running costs as low as possible. Spray on foam, bubble wrap, silver foil reflective blankets are all types of insulation that can be used. Some manufacturers often use a combination of all three methods of insulation to keep the heat in. To further assist the heat retention, some of the better hot tub manufacturers also apply additional foam or heat reflective material to the internal facing wall of the hot tub’s cabinet.

Acrylic hot tubs are almost always electrically powered to provide water heating, circulation/filtration and massage jet pumps. Depending on the heater rating and the number of water pumps fitted means that the electrical supply to the hot tub can be anything from 13 to 40 amps.

Installation of an acrylic hot tub is nearly always carried out by a spcialist. They are cumbersome and heavy to move and may also require a dedicated and fused electrical supply to hook up to.

Acrylic hot tubs can range in price from £2000 to over £20000 depending on size and specification.

Wooden hot tub

These are the more traditional types of hot tub that tend to be predominantly circular in shape and made from Cedar wood. They can feature a simple wooden bench seat that the user sits on when in the water.

Cedar, although light in weight, is one of nature’s most durable timbers. Its fibres contain a compound called thujaplicin, a natural preservative that is toxic to decay-causing insects and fungi. It is these compounds that give the wood the distinct but subtle aroma, so pleasantly noticeable when wet. Fallen cedar trees in forests will last many decades before decaying fully. Because it is straight grained and uniformly textured, cedar is less likely to warp and twist than other woods, especially so as we only select knot-free heart wood.

The low density coupled with millions of tiny air spaces makes cedar an unrivalled insulator. For those in the know, its R value is 1.35 per inch of thickness and it has a thermal conductivity factor K of 0.74 BTU in/ft2hF, far superior to stone, concrete and brick. This is extremely important in keeping running costs to a minimum.

It is because of these excellent properties that cedar has been used for centuries to make shingles for houses, window frames, boats and canoes, poles and posts. It can even be used to make rope and clothing and has medicinal powers also.

Cedar hot tubs consist of a series of staves (side pieces), which are individually machined to a high standard with a profile that mean they all lock into one another. Stainless steel bands are then forced around the outside the tub, these force all the staves in close to each other to close up the gaps.

The equipment used to filter and heat the water in the tub is contained in a separate enclosure normally situated next it and, in most cases, forms a step for the user to climb onto to ease entering and exiting the water. The tub’s water can either be heated electrically or with a wood-burning stove.

Due to the modular nature of their construction, wooden hot tubs can be supplied in ‘flat-pack’ form for the customer to assemble and self-install. However, like acrylic spas they may also require a dedicated and fused electrical supply to hook up to.

Cedar hot tubs can range in price from £6000 to over £10000 depending on size and specification.

Soaking Wooden Hot Tubs

This hot tub design is assembled from wooden planks, also called staves, and held together with steel bands in a form of a large barrel. The staves are usually constructed from cedar, redwood or teak wood. Since they are in barrel form, these tubs are generally deeper with taller walls making it more comfortable for taller people. A wooden bench surrounds the interior circumference of the tub for convenient seating. Many people build a wooden deck around the tub for ease when entering and exiting. It is usual that wooden hot tubs may leak for the first few days of initial use as the wood absorbs the water and expands to fill the gaps. The main downfall of wooden hot tubs is the chance of decomposition since it is mostly constructed of wood. This can be avoided by periodically draining the tub in order to prevent decay and help eliminate bacteria.

Plastic Hot Tubs

These hot tubs are the most popular on the market today. They are less expensive to produce, more energy efficient and easier to install. Jacuzzi hot tubs and spas are molded in one full piece out of fiberglass reinforced plastic material. They are available in a variety of different shapes that provide different seating arrangements inside the tub. They are equipped with several water jets, usually one or more per seat, that flow water onto various parts of the body. These hot tubs can require one to four water pumps with one performing the circulation of water and filtration, while the others power the water jets. Most updated models of plastic hot tubs include sophisticated computer controls that can adjust the water flow as well as move and rotate the jets for a massage-like feeling. Some are so technologically savvy that they come complete with lighting, sound systems, flat screen televisions and DVD players.

Stainless Steel Insulated Hot Tubs

The interior of this hot tub design is a stainless steel base that is usually surrounded with cedar wood for support. This provides extra durability as well as supports better hygienic advantages with the use of stainless steel. The steel suppresses the collection of bugs and is easier to clean than plastic and wood based tubs. Many stainless steel hot tubs are warmed by a steel burner that is powered by a wood fire and can take up to three hours to heat up. It is best to used salt water or pure water with no added chemicals with these tubs.

Indoor Hot Tubs

These designs are a bit smaller than outdoor tubs so they can be installed into an ordinary bathroom. Indoor tubs or spas are similar to a common bathtub and are filled with fresh hot water from the faucet. Since they are drained after every use, indoor tubs have no need for a filtration or heating system. Indoor spas are favorites among homeowners who are fitness fans to relax sore muscles after workouts as a form of hydrotherapy. They are also excellent for any person who just really enjoys a hot, soothing soak in a comforting bath.

About the Author Stephen Butler

Howdy! I am Stephen Butler, nice to meet you all If you need any consultancy in buying hot tub and jacuzzi spa, do not hesitate to contact me! We can have a coffee or 2 when choosing a good match for your home

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