Re: SPA Help



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Go to a cheapo store and buy a cheapo spa, and that is what you get. I own two Catalina Spas. After educating myself regarding spas, I wouldn't own anything else. We have a local guy who buys and sells used spas. He is great on service after the sale, too. Better spas have better parts. More jets. Longer lasting equipment. One of those cheapo spas from a cheapo outfit is a bag of snakes. You might consider a good used spa for less than a bad new one. I paid $3,000 for each of mine, and they both were two years old. They retailed new for $6,000 each.
Or, you could buy an off brand and gamble your money.
Steve
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I disagree with the others about the "big box" spas. We have one that the previous owner bought from Menards (sort of like Home Depot). It's made by Jacuzzi, not exactly a "no name". The control pack is made by Balboa, who makes control packs for the biggest names in the business. The spa is nicely insulated and doesn't cost much to run.
Does it have as many jets as a $6000+ spa? Heck no. But is it relaxing to sit in? Definitely. And the previous owner paid less than $2500 for it.
As to "who will service" -- any spa dealer worth their salt will service. I replaced a faulty pressure switch from a local dealer that ONLY deals in parts and repair, I don't think they sell spas at all. The parts are all standard across many spas, especially with Balboa control systems.
Just my experience.
-Tim
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wrote:

The key to the spa differences are warranties, both on shell and mechanicals, plus the construction. The longer the warrantry, the better the quality, and in many areas, wood constrcution is less preferable than all plastic/ABS. That includes both cabinet materials and frame. Beyond that, two pumps (actually three for most two-pump spas since the filtration pump is separate) will seem more powerful, and the rest is jets and adjustability. The best way to check is a wet test, and the discount stores often don't have them available.
Check your code, but most will require a GFCI protected circuit with a cutoff switch in sight of the spa and at least five feet from the water. Your electrician will often install a "spa panel" which is a 50 amp GFCI breaker in a box, mounted on a wall that meets the above conditions. Then it's three wires (Red, Black and Green, no neutral past the GFCI) to the spa controller on the spa itself. Note that there are 110 V "plug in" spas available that just use a GFCI outlet. Locally, code allows you to install your own wiring (with a permit) but the spa dealers won't make the actual electrical hookup since code requires a homeowner or licensed electrician to do this.
Do some Googling, there are plenty of spa and pool sites with advice forums. Also, the manufacturer sites provide decent comparison info.
Gotta go, I'm actually off to order a Jacuzzi(tm) spa this morning, the one I chose after all the research. It'll be about $1,500 more than the discount store model of the same size, but has a much longer warranty, second pump, and no wood to rot/attract insects. Plus I get a reputable dealer with local service. Been through too many discount store horror stories in the past...
Jeff
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We've owned our LifeSprings spa for four months. We bought it on the recommendation of friends who have owned and been happy with theirs for two years. We dealt with the dealer in Jurupa, CA.
We've been very pleased. We're running it on 220-volt and the electricity is running less than $20 a month -- a little hard to tell since we're running the air conditioning so much right now. With about 25 jets and the waterfall we added, we get a nice, stimulating environment, but it doesn't blow us out of the spa -- pleasant enough to sit in for a half hour or an hour without going numb from being pounded by bubbles.
Our's is the 9-foot spa (the basic is 8-feet). The only thing we regret is that the walls aren't taller because, at 5 feet 8 inches, I need to slide down at a slight angle to use the seat with the neck jets. I'd prefer sitting up. My husband is 6 feet 1 inches and slides down a lot but still enjoys it.
We're convinced that this is comparable or higher quality than most spas under $6000. We've talked to more than 20 dealers, both before and after purchasing, and we feel we made a good choice. If you have the money, you can jump into the best spas -- Hot Springs and Jacuzzi. Recommendation: I've been impressed with a Riverside dealer I got to know after we made our purchase because I believe they will follow through with excellent service: Cal Spas on Indiana Ave. near Tyler. I buy my Baqua Spa chemicals from them and they are consistently professional. They also have a great showroom.
Good luck.
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