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How a Hot Tub Cover Will Save You Money!

Burning Cash

The KLF aside (that’s a reference back to 1994), it’s not something most of us aspire too.  Without realising, your hot tub might be doing just that for you, merrily burning away your hard-earned readies, even when you’re not using it.

This sounds like a bad deal to us, so if your electric bills are heading skywards it could well be time to investigate further.

Check your hot tub cover

To start with the cover was your friend, keeping leaves and debris out of the water when your tub was not in use, and saving you money by providing insulation against the worst of the British weather.

But now things have changed.  The cover has put on weight and is now so heavy it’s too hard to for you to remove it on your own, unless you are prepared to risk your back – not exactly what you bought a hot tub for.

So, what’s gone wrong? 

Over time your cover has become water logged and saturated with water.  Perhaps there are some obvious signs of the wear and tear that led to this – tears and rips in the material, or the cover no longer fitting the way it once did.

“My hot tub cover doesn’t look as bad as this. 

Why should I change it?”

Damaged Hot Tub Cover

Once saturated your cover can lose up to 90% of its thermal value, meaning that your electricity costs will be much higher than necessary.  Don’t underestimate what this means in real terms – the cover protects heat loss from the critical area of the tub which loses most heat, i.e. ‘the top’. Depending on hot tub settings, other insulation standards of your particular hot tub & outside temperatures this could be costing you anything from £40 – £100 a month in wasted energy costs.  That sounds like burning money to us!

Is it just about heating bills?

Perhaps you’re on solar, or heating bills haven’t gotten out of hand just yet.  And you don’t mind the weight gain of your cover as you have a cover lifter installed.  True. these are nifty pieces of kit, but they are not designed to cope with saturated covers.  A water-logged cover might weigh in excess of 150kg – prepare for the steel bars in the cover lifter to bend and plastic brackets to break.

Is your hot tub used in a business setting (eg. a holiday let)?

If the purpose of your hot tub is to make money, rather than burn it, keep in mind that a heavy cover could result in legal action if a guest suffers from trying to use it.  This may seem unlikely but a US study showed that hot tub related injuries had increased by approximately 10% a year, every year over the 17 year study period.

“Lifting in excess of 100kg.

How hard can that be?”

My cover isn’t that bad!

If frost melts from your hot tub cover before it melts from other areas of the garden, this is a strong indicator that you need to take action to improve the insulation of the cover.  If your hot tub cover hasn’t reached the stage of needing replacement yet, there are a few of things you can do to both prolong its life and save money right now.

1) Add a thermal blanket: This will add another layer of heat protection to your hot tub and will be less expensive than buying a completely new replacement cover if your hot tub cover is still in good condition.  For example our 600 Micron Heat Retention Blanket can reduce water evaporation and heat loss by over 90%.  It’s possible that you will recoup the cost by energy saved within one year.  These blankets will also help protect the underside of the hard cover from chemically charged steam.

Hot Tub Thermal Cover - Silver

2) Fit a cover lifter:  Hot tub covers have an 80% better chance of surviving 5 years + with a cover lifter than without.  So does your back!

Cover Valet Rock-It Cover Lifter Understyle Mounting

3) Remove your hot tub spa cover: completely when you add chemicals – particularly ‘Shock’ or ‘Oxidising’ chemicals. Leave the cover fully open for at least 30 minutes. This is another good reason to use a cover lifter.

Cover Mate Easy, Spa and Hot Tub Cover Lifter

4) Give your cover some TLC:   The wrong cleaning products will strip the protective layer from the cover vinyl causing it to fade, crack and disintegrate.  Use a quality product like 303 Cleaner & Protector on your hot tub cover regularly. Not only will it look its best, but 303 adds UV protection. This is important because the original UV protection on Marine Vinyls will not last forever!

Cover Cleaner 303

5) Hose down (don’t jet wash) the underside of the spa cover once a month.

6) Handles and securing straps on covers are designed for ‘positioning’ and ‘securing’. They should not be used for carrying the weight of the cover – they will snap!

7) Always secure the locks when the cover is in place & always unlock them before trying to open/remove the hot tub cover.

8) Never drag the cover or scrape it against the floor, walls etc.

9) Don’t add too many chemicals:  Chemicals in the water vapour that comes into contact with the cover eventually causes the plastic wrapping around the inserts to become brittle and crack. Once that happens the foam inserts will quickly absorb moisture, become heavy and stop insulating properly. Poor water chemistry can also cause bleaching, puffiness within the vinyl and disintegration of the stitching.  If you use too much chemical this process can occur very quickly.

10) Don’t Delay:  If your hot tub cover is saturated, it will not dry out!  Waiting to replace it will not save you money, it will waste money.  A new cover will be an investment, if you choose wisely.  It won’t come as a surprise that not all hot tub covers are created equal.  We’ve written a guide that can help you understand the features that need to be considered when choosing a replacement cover for your spa.

Should I Install a Wood-Burning Hot Tub in my Holiday Let?

Wood burning hot tubs have a definite aesthetic appeal and offering a hot tub in holiday let setting is something of a must have.  If you’re considering installing a wood-fired hot tub in your holiday property – don’t decide until you’ve read our guide.

Read More

Hot tubs for holiday cottages are something of a must have.

For example, Sykes reported the following finding:

A hot tub will:

  • Boost your occupancy rates
  • Raise your property profile on web searches
  • Allow you to increase your rental charge
  • Increase guest satisfaction
  • Improve re-booking rates

They are a huge win.

Infographic - Properties with hot tubs make 54% more than other properties in the same region.

How do I create a point of difference?

One suggestion that we frequently hear, including from some Holiday Let agencies is that a wood-fired hot tub would be the way to go.  With their aesthetic appeal, they can certainly look more in keeping with a period property and might attract the eco-conscious holiday-maker.  For example, this hot tub from Skagards fits into it’s surroundings perfectly.

skagards

Are they a good idea for you as the property owner, or your guests?

The first thing to be aware of is that the use of any type of hot tub within a commercial setting is subject to certain rules.  If you own a holiday home that you let out to paying guests and supply a hot tub (that only one group of people at a time are able to use) then you will need to be compliant with the “Domestic hot tubs in a business setting” guidelines.   These guidelines are known as HSG282 and are designed to ensure that the hot tub water used by your guests is safe and clean and as the owner you are held legally responsible for compliance.  This isn’t the interfering nanny state – an improperly maintained hot tub can harbour serious infectious diseases, including the potentially fatal legionella bacteria.

HSG282 from HSE
Legionella Bacteria

As a guideline, in order for your hot tub to be compliant with HSG282 you should at least:

  • Have a built-in inline Chlorine or Bromine feeder or install one (SpaPal)
  • Empty the water after each hire (or after a week, whichever comes first)
  • Test the sanitiser (chlorine/bromine) & pH twice daily
  • Monthly microbiological tests
  • Quarterly Legionella tests

This is where the type of hot tub you install becomes critical.

HSG 282 Compliance with a wood fire heated hot tub:

With a wood fired hot tub, there is no filtration system.  The water is heated by a simple stove.  There are no pumps, no pipework, no water circulation or filtration system.  What this means when it comes to maintaining clean water is that you can’t install an inline dosing system for sanitiser as required by HSG282.  This doesn’t immediately rule out a wood-fired hot tub from a holiday let setting, but it does mean you have to adapt your approach.  Whereas for an electrically heated hot tub, you can leave the water in the tub for up to a week, with a wood-fired tub you need to drain down the water after every use.  You cannot leave it filled for the duration of the rental. Of course if your guests want to use the hot tub more than once during their stay, what is emptied must be refilled, and then reheated.

Heating a wood fired hot tub:

Ah!  Heating.  The joy of a wood-burning stove is the satisfaction of making and lighting your own fire.  The same joy isn’t always felt trying to get the fire to take, when it’s sub-zero temperatures and the fire keeps going out.  Fire making might be a relatively simple activity that humankind have mastered for millenia, but not all of your guests will be adept at building and making a fire.  Not forgetting the chores of clearing and resetting the stove after each use.  Depending on the volume and temperature of the water and air around it, a wood-burning hot tub might typically take 3 hours or longer for the water to reach temperature.  No quick spur of the moment dips then!

sauneco wood burning hot tub stove

A wood burning stove looks gorgeous

but is it safe in a holiday let setting if your guests have children?

Maintaining a safe water temperature in a wood fired hot tub:

Ah!  Temperature.  Most people enjoy a water temperature of between 36-39 degrees C.  Electrically heated hot tubs have a thermostat which stops the water temperature getting dangerously high (Above 40 degrees C).  This is important – if water is above this temperature, the excessive heating can cause heart attack, heat stroke, brain damage and even death.   This might sound a little extreme if you are one for a hot bath, but unlike in a hot tub, bath water gradually cools while you are in it.  Also in most baths you are not fully immersed in the way you are in a hot tub, so your core temperature can stay cooler even in hotter water.  With a wood-fired hot tub there is no thermostat and no circulation of the water, so in order to manage the temperature, you will need to provide a floating thermometer.  Not a big deal you might think, but you are relying on the guests to effectively manage this.  Would you be confident that your party of guests would keep a close eye on the water temperature?  An added complication is that the water may continue to increase in temperature even after the stove is shut down – it can get extremely hot!  First-time users may not understand how to safely manage a wood-fired spa.

steamy toes in a hot tub

Which type of hot tub is right for your holiday let?

How about the experience?  There is no denying that wood-fired hot tubs look good and have an olde worlde charm and appeal.  However, the user experience isn’t quite the same as with an electric hot tub.  They do just offer heated water.  No Jets or Pumps.  No hydrotherapy.  A relaxing soak is nice, a soak and a massage is nicer, in our opinion!

So can you get a wood-fired hot tub for your holiday let?  Yes!  You certainly can.  But for most holiday let owner / operators, the level of involvement and maintenance, coupled with safety concerns makes them unfeasible.  The reality is that they are also likely to provide a much less enjoyable experience for your guests than an electrically heated tub.

Our recommendation is that if the styling of an electrically heated hot tub is not to your taste, the best way to manage this is by concealing the cabinet with a gazebo, planters and other outdoor decorations that can soften the finish.  Making a real feature of the hot tub in your outdoor living space is the way to go!

BISHTA are the British & Irish Spa & Hot Tub Association.  BISHTA exists to promote high standards of safety, enjoyment and value within the hot tub industry.  They have also provided advice regarding installing Scandinavian type hot tubs in Business Settings.  Click on their logo to read the article.

The Shocking Truth About Hot Tubs!

Let’s face it, neither the term “shock” or “dose” are words that we associate with particularly pleasant events.  You might have heard that it is sometimes necessary to combine these two words into “Shock Dose” as part of your water treatment routine for your hot tub / spa or swimming pool.

Is this a bad thing?

Does it mean you’ve failed as a responsible hot tub owner?

We investigate and explain the shocking truth!

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Granular Shock Treatment, Relax 1Kg container. Non stabilised chlorine shock granules for shock dosing or oxidisation of hot tub, swimming pool & spa water

What is chlorine shock dosing?

A chlorine shock dose is when you add a larger quantity of chlorine to your hot tub water in order to break down waste products and contamination in order to re-establish clean water.

What is non-chlorine shock dosing?

Non-chlorine shock doesn’t contain chlorine itself, and does not disinfect the water.  Non-chlorine shock helps the chlorine already in your hot tub work better by oxidising the water and creating “free chlorine” – which is what is needed to kill bacteria.  For those using bromine as a sanitiser, Non-chlorine shock will also activate bromine, helping it work more effectively.

An image of 1kg Relax Non-Chlorine Shock
Legionella Bacteria

Why do I need to shock dose my hot tub water?

Shock dosing your hot tub water will help to prevent the build-up of bacteria, viruses and algae and it will prolong the life of your spa.

What are the benefits of shock dosing my hot tub?

Shock dosing your hot tub water will keep it clear, clean safe and comfortable to use for longer.  It helps reduce the need for excessive draining and re-filling of your hot tub.

When should I shock dose my hot tub water?

  • Before use, on the first fill of your hot tub
  • Any subsequent drain and re-fill
  • At the first sign of any algae or slime
  • After a period of heavy usage
  • After any loss of water clarity
  • If the hot tub hasn’t been used for a while
Green hot Tub Water

Should I use a chlorine shock or a non-chlorine shock?

Chlorine shock is suitable for commissioning a new hot tub, after a fresh water change or after very heavy use.  Because it will raise chlorine levels you may have to wait for the chlorine level to reduce before you can allow bathers to safely use the hot tub.  If you use Bromine as a sanitiser, you cannot use chlorine shock.

Non-chlorine shock does not disinfect the water, it helps the existing sanitiser (chlorine or bromine) to work better and more effectively.  You can generally use the hot tub sooner after adding non-chlorine shock.

Is it safe to chlorine shock dose my hot tub water?

Shocking your spa water is an important part of your maintenance routine.  But high chlorine levels can be dangerous, so it is very important that no bathers are in the water when adding chemicals.  To ensure that the water is safe, ensure that chlorine levels have dropped below 5ppm before allowing bathers back into the water.  Chlorine levels should be checked with test strips.

3 Way Chlorine Test Strips

How do I Chlorine Shock Dose my hot tub?

Dissolve the chlorine shock granules.  Add the chlorine shock mixture directly to the water with the filtration / circulation pumps running.  Never shock dose the water with the circulation turned off.  Leave the hot tub cover off for at least 20 minutes.  This will prevent chemical damage to the cover and pillows of your hot tub.

My hot tub water smells strongly of chlorine what should I do?

When chlorine combines with organic waste (body fluids, dead skin etc) it produces a compound called chloramine.  This gives off a strong chlorine odour.  This is often mistaken for too much chlorine but is in fact an indication that the chlorine has been “used” up.  A shock treatment will breakdown chloramine so it can be easily removed from the water, “freeing up” your chlorine to work more effectively.

My hot tub water is cloudy what should I do?

Us humans carry organic compounds on our skin, such as oils, cosmetics, lotions and dead skin itself.  This quickly accumulates in hot tub water and can cause it to become cloudy.  Shock dosing the water will help to remove these compounds and assist in clarifying and cleaning the water.

Cloudy hot tub water

We hope you have found our guide to shock dosing your hot tub, swimming pool or spa useful.  So don’t let the name put you off, it’s an important part of your water care routine.  Check back regularly as we add to our Water Quality FAQs!

How to Protect your Hot Tub in Storm Winds

The UK is set to reap the whirlwind of climate change with the huge damage caused by wind storms expected to increase sharply, according to the ABI (Association of British Insurers).  Our minds are focused when the MET office issues a severe weather warning, with named storms seeming to be ever more frequent – but the time to act to ensure the safety of your loved ones – and your valuable property is in the calm spells in-between.

As a hot tub owner, it makes sense to protect your investment.  A little time and preparation beforehand might just save you a lot of time and money later!

The Potential:

A hot tub cover is just the right size and shape to catch an aggressive gust of wind, ending up being thrown off the cabinet and providing a very effective sail, but causing a lot more damage when it eventually returns to ground.  The impact will damage your cover causing the vinyl and foam to crack and be compromised, making it less effective or even useless.  It it collects some garden furniture or plants or even worse ends up cartwheeling across the paintwork of your neighbour’s shiny new car things could soon start to get really ugly.

Prevention:

Replacement Hot Tub Cover Clips

Keep your hot tub cover in place using cover clips

Storm Straps

For more severe winds, peace of mind can be achieved by investing in storm straps.

EasyKlip Repair Kit

If you already have straps, check their condition from time-to-time.  Repair kits are available to ensure that in a time of testing, your storm straps will be up to the task.

Don’t be too over-zealous when tying down your hot tub cover – overtightening could cause damage to the foam core.  Make sure the straps are taut and that should be enough to keep things snug and in-place. 

If you don’t have time to get some straps and the weather bomb is imminent you could try to improvise straps that wrap around the whole cabinet.  The big no-no here is that you should never place heavy objects on the hot tub cover in an attempt to keep it from blowing away. Breeze blocks, bricks, and other heavy objects are more likely to harm your cover than protect it and are likely to be shifted anyway if things get really wild out there.

Damage from flying debris:

So, your hot tub cover is secure and you can relax and enjoy the show?  Not just yet…if you’re expecting a wind storm, you will probably need to think about protecting your hot tub from other potential debris flying around.  Tree branches for example can puncture your cover or damage your hot tub cabinet.

Protection from flying debris:

If your hot tub is near or under a tree (not the best idea for this reason!) you could consider placing a piece of thin plywood on the top of the cover and strap it down to protect it during the storm.   You could do the same around any exposed sides of the cabinet that you feel are at risk.  Remember don’t use heavy objects to hold the plywood in place.  If you’re taking the plywood option, it’s important to create a buffer between the ply and the cabinet / cover with a blanket or towel otherwise your shield has left unsightly scuff marks behind.  

During the storm:

Despite your best effort’s things could still go wrong.  In the middle of a storm, the most important thing to care about is your own personal safety, not your property.  Now is the time to stay indoors – do not go outside while the storm is in progress.  A replacement hot tub cover is cheaper and easier to replace than you are!

Interested in finding out more?

Read our blog on how to look after your hot tub cover.

A young couple sharing a drink and smiling in a hot tub.

Hot Tubs & Happiness

We have all become familiar with the concept of “Hygge”, the Danish word describing the quality of coziness that makes a person feel content and comfortable.  With March 20th being nominated as the International Day of Happiness, we would like to introduce you to “Lykke” – the Danish word for happiness. If you are a keen student of happiness (and who isn’t!), you’ll be aware that Denmark usually tops the World Happiness Rankings (o.k we googled this fact).  While the Danes are generally satisfied with their lives, they do not have a monopoly on lykke – we can all add a little to our lives.  How?

For everyone, the International Day of Happiness is a useful reminder that in general, happiness does not necessarily come from buying and consuming, or from being famous or glamorous – but often from friends, family and emotional well-being.

The Lykke mantra suggests that happiness can be found in six categories, Togetherness, Money, Health, Freedom, Trust and Kindness.  Is it possible that a hot tub could help you to cultivate any of these qualities in your life?  Consider:

1. Togetherness

A hot tub is the perfect place to spend quality time with loved ones. Immersed in warm water and soothing bubbles, you and yours can let the worries fade away. As you take time to talk about what matters, in this distraction-free zone, you’ll enjoy meaningful conversation; sharing special moments with the people you love.  We discussed this further in our blog, “It’s time to talk.

2. Money

Money-worries can easily over-shadow our happiness if we allow them too.  Purchases are better made with careful research, forethought and budgeting.  Don’t buy on a whim or impulse – these are often not our best financial decisions!  Hot tubs are available in a range of prices, with flexible payment plans to suit many budgets. Remember, once purchased a high quality, well insulated tub shouldn’t require expensive upkeep either. Following a check-list of simple, straightforward care procedures will ensure your hot tub provides long-lasting value.

3. Health

A catalyst for hydrotherapy, a hot tub utilises the combination of water, heat and air to promote health and wellbeing. In fact, these three elements can help to relax and soothe the body and can speed up the recovery of muscles too.  Add a little extra to the water to enhance it’s healing effects even further.  We supply a range of hydrotherapy crystals and dead sea salts such as the Hydro Therapies Crystal Sport RX range As you soak, your body is being stimulated, energized, protected, relaxed, rebuilt and elevated through a special blend of vitamins and natural extracts.  Click the link for more information on some of the health benefits of using a hot tub.

4. Freedom

Out in the garden, surrounded by nature, a hot tub can afford you the opportunity to observe what we often take for granted and the freedom of being outdoors is invaluable. Whether it’s starry nights, golden summers or dewy frost – you can feel and experience it all in comfort.

5. Trust

The physical benefits of hot tubs are clear: heat increases circulation by dilating blood vessels, buoyancy relieves joint stress by reducing your weight by 90% and powerful jets soothe away tensions with massage.  A soothed body can help lead to a soothed mind.  Trust in the healing qualities of warm water to lead you to a happier place!   

6. Kindness

Be kind to yourself by making the hot tub experience part of your everyday routine! Life today can be fast paced, unpredictable and stressful; creating a sanctity of your own, to immerse, disconnect and decompress, will breathe new life into your being – and a hot tub is a great place to do it!  A hot tub will inspire wellness to become your priority – as it should be.

Why not get in contact with one of our friendly team at Castle Hot Tubs today – we are always happy to provide you with good advice to help guide you on the best hot tub solution for your requirements. We now have a live chat feature on our website – click on the orange chat icon on the bottom left corner of the screen to connect with us right away!

Add a little romance...

A little romance benefits from a lot of planning.  Relaxing your mind and body in the hot tub with our naturally colourful and fragrant aromatherapy crystals can be a great way to start the evening off.  Captivate your senses and discover a whole new level to your hot tub / spa experience, with these aromatherapy crystals which are proven to be spa safe, oil free and will not clog filters, jets or affect water chemistry. Check out some of our guide to some of our most sensual products.

Romantic, sensual and stimulating fragrances for your hot tub.

How to pronounce it:

Let’s get this out of the way first – If you have been getting funny looks when talking about this essential oil it could be because you’ve been pushing a strong “Y” (phonetically “why”) sound.  It’s correctly pronounced “EE-lang EE-lang”. Impress your loved one by being in the know.

Where does it come from?

Ylang Ylang is a tree that is native to Indonesia, but now naturalized in many tropical locations.  The tree is particularly famed for its flowers from which the essential oil is extracted.

What does it smell like?

Ylang Ylang carries a uniquely powerful floral scent.  Some people can detect a slight banana tone and nuances of jasmine.  It’s also described as being sweet, somewhat “heady” or narcotic.

What are the benefits of using it?

There are many potential uses from Ylang Ylang.  It can help fight off depression and provide relief from stress and anxiety, uplifting mood and inducing feelings of joy and hope.  Now this is where it gets really interesting, as Ylang Ylang is well known for its use as an aphrodisiac, and it can be used to activate romance and improve your sex life.

The Essential Oil is exctracted from the
Ylang Ylang Flowers

AromaScents Musk:

Where does it come from?

Originally obtained from the male musk deer (and you really don’t want to know whereabouts, from the deer) the musk used in fragrances today is now a mixture of synthetic and plant-sourced materials, such as angelica. Phew!

How is it used?

Musk is the most commonly used raw material in fragrances and is found in many perfumes.  It is a fixative which means that the ingredients making up the scent last longer.

How does it smell?

Musk is often described as being earthy, animalistic and sensual.  Most people would say that is a good thing.

What are the benefits of using it?

Many scientists believe that the smell of musk closely resembles that of testosterone, which may act as a pheromone in humans.  It has been said that a women’s sensitivity to musk is 1,000 greater than men’s.  Definitely a scent that might work in favour of the gentlemen then!

AromaScents Sensual Blend:

How does it smell?

The sensual blend has the benefits of the single ingredient scents but is more subtle.

How does it feel?

All of the AromaScents range are made with natural Dead Sea Salt crystals which dissolve in the water and help to soften your skin, while the essential oils are released delivering the sensual and stimulating effects, leaving you feeling calm, refreshed and quite possibly, in the mood for a little romance.

Transport yourself to the City of Love, without leaving your hot tub!

Spazazz Destination: Paris  City Love

We will let Spazazz themselves describe this one for you, “Fall in love with the abundant fragrance of the beautiful flower carts and fresh fruit stands, the enticing aromas of the near-by Patisserie, and the intoxicating perfumes from passers-by on the Champs-Elyseés as night falls on the city of lights.” Destination: Paris – City of Love. Get ready for take-off!

How was it for you?

We would love to hear your feedback and reviews on our range of Spa & Bath Crystals. Not too many details though – some things are best left in the tub!

Click on this link to check out our full range

 

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