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Dan The Spa Man

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  1. With Artesian Island Spas (and Island Elite spas, which incorporate Direct Flow), everything is an add-on, technically speaking. You do not have to buy a cover, ozone, valves for pumps and heaters, so on, so forth. Its kinda nice as a dealer as you really get to customize a tub in a total fashion. Though the standard ozone on Artesian lasts 5 years, I personally am not a guy that pushes ozone. And we have Crystal AOP that that is awesome b/c blah blah blah [insert sales pitch]. Most dealers will have a base package that, say, includes ozone, some sort of water feature, some sort of LED (anywhere from an LED bulb in the footwell up to their DynaBrite LED that is awesome b/c blah blah blah [insert sales pitch]), and delivery, etc. I have other brands that has X, Y, Z features as standard and that is neat (ala what Marquis and others do). It'd be cool if Artesian did that and frankly I can say they do if I wanted to. However, I do like the flexibility to adapt to my specific competition in my specific market, and to be able to adapt from competitor to competitor. That is something that I never thought I'd say. So its fun to really get down to the nitty-gritty if I just have that customer that really wants to customize (whoo-hoo!) or are just trying to penny pinch b/c they know everything so they think features X, Y, Z are worthless (ugh... we've all had that customer and they're the worst. Its like "Why am I working here, you should have my job as you're so smart and I am just a big ol' dummy). I digress... As for the motors- They're just like swim spas and other multiple motor units- after you kick on the 4th motor the heater cuts out. They do indeed use variable speed motors tho on Direct Flow units so you are able to throttle down immensely and thus aren't pulling the amps to the degree that a single or dual speed pump will. Its pick your poison really: Island Elites have 2 Direct Flow pumps and 1 or 2 additional motors. There is usually a diverter on the bigger motor that isn't on Direct Flow so you can spread it out across one or all remaining seats if you have more than three users. But the point of Direct Flow is to have your own seat, with its own motor, and its own ability to adjust the flow. As most tubs are used by just 2 people it works nicely. The Platinum Elites have 4 or 5 Direct Flow seats/motors and that to me is overkill. But when I looked at pricing of Island Elites and their switchless motors and 5 year parts and labor warranty at 100% for all 5 years I jumped. The Direct Flow controls are the exact same as the H.O.T. controls and like the pool industry, I bet most high end brands incorporate variable speed motors in the future. So I hope this helps you sell against Artesian going forward. I like Artesian and any good salesman can sell against anything if they frame the argument right. But who cares really- I just like forums like this one and the other one I wont mention where I can just learn about the industry as a whole and help customers get get solid information that helps them make the best decision for them. Hence- Why I don't mind letting you know what Artesian does. You're probably a quality operation as you sell a quality product so this does nothing but help the reputation of the industry as a whole.
  2. The @ease info I received pertained to both in-line and floater, so apply that (info that was in a post that seems to have gone missing) to you overall consideration process. Chlorine level, measured in ppm, is completely different w/@ease. Reg chlorine-based tubs run 1-3ppm. @ease runs .5- 1.0ppm for FREE chlorine, with TOTAL chlorine running 10-15ppm. The point is for their to be a huge reservoir in reserve to draw from but to keep the chlorine levels as low as what you'd find in your tap water. Cost is relative: Usage once a week vs 2x per day, how many people, how long, etc. all play into that. I'd say its similar to Spa Frog/Nature II in overall cost. Bromine is cheaper and chlorine tends to be cheapest overall. But water chemistry is the same regardless of the brand or model you choose. So this is very low on your list. Personally, and others may disagree, I tell a person buying their second spa that if it aint broke, don't fix it when it comes to water chemistry. If you previously used chlorine, and used it the right way, and were good with balancing pH, alkalinity, etc, then stay with it. But that is just me.
  3. Artesian uses CMP & Balboa. CMP (jets) are out of Tennessee, Balboa is out of California (pumps, control panel and motherboard). Most companies use either Waterway or CMP for jets and Balboa or Gecko for the control panel/motherboard. Gecko is out of Montreal but everything else i mentioned is in the USA. Some smaller spa companies or lessor quality brands will use foreign made products, and Apollo Group and Watkins are made in Mexico. Coast is in Canada and I believe Arctic is too.
  4. Full Disclosure: I am an Artesian Spas Dealer. However, I went last year to the Int'l Pool, Spa + Patio show last year for the explicit purpose of adding a new spa line. The two brands I zeroed in on were incidentally Marquis and Artesian. I was very pleased with both for many reasons. And I will not disparage Marquis in any way as they are a fine product, and I hope a Marquis Dealer will be on this thread to expound on their brand so you can get solid, unbiased info (relative to your situation: Ultimately you should decide what is best for you. I don't care what brand or tub you pick, I just like to help out). I like the upper end of Marquis spas and most of their units throughout their 5 lines were ergonomically pleasing, and I am 6'2" and that is hard to be in this industry, as most tubs are made for people at least 4" shorter than myself. They had some pretty neat features on their upper end lines but overall I just preferred the Artesian Line for a few reasons. Direct Flow (on their Island Elite or Platinum Elite lines) had me hook, line and sinker. Marquis does something similar with their H.O.T. zones: Isolate the flow from the pump to a few unique jets. And that is pretty cool. They even have their own controls for said feature in the station the user is sitting in. But I preferred Artesian Spas' version, Direct Flow. It has the same control but instead of isolating the flow into a few select jets, the WHOLE STATION is plumbed directly to a variable speed motor. Everyone else has a single or dual speed pump. But the Direct Flow stations have actual variable speeds motors where you control the RPM. That was awesome. I also like that Artesian uses several smaller motors and has them stationed very close to where the water is going. This maximizes the pumps efficiency. The Captiva/Antiqua Elites have a 6.0 & (2) 3.0 BHP motors that are very, very close to the Direct Flow stations or the other parts of the spa where the plumbing leads to. Also- I like that Artesian has switchless motors in their Elite lines. This allows for 10-15 less moving parts. Its also part of why they offer 5 year warranties on BOTH parts AND labor. And that is not pro-rated either. I don't think that the Platinum Elite series is worth the difference in price vs what you can get out of the Elite series, and that is saying something b/c the Platinum line is waaaay more expensive and I could make a ton of money on them.. And that is also why I chose the Island Elite line: The Signature Series was Marquis high end line and their units would start at $10K whereas I could do the 7' Island Elites in the mid-$8's. That was also appealing to me. The 748 is a South Seas product (make by Artesian Spas). This is their mid range line, and isn't a good comparison when you match them against the Marquis units you mentioned. It'll be a cheaper price than any of the units you mentioned. I like them as they move water and have been reliable. 748 is 3 years parts and labor (100%) and if I were you I'd go Deluxe vs Standard: More features that are better overall. However, it seems you are looking more at the high-end units. If that is the case remove the 748 from the list. Again- Marquis is a fine brand and if you went that way, you'd be fine. There is a reason that Marquis was the runner-up. If I lost Artesian Spas today for some strange reason, I'd bring in the Marquis brand in a heartbeat. I am just giving you the reasons why I chose, as a dealer, to carry Artesian Spas. As far as ozone/water chemistry: I would never pay extra for ozone. Nor would I pay for an upgraded ozone system. I see all the advantages of it and yes- they're pretty cool. But nothing replaces water chemistry. If you don't take care of your water chemistry, an ozonator or a filter cartridge wont turn you spa from cloudy/green to clear. I always am being sold on the "story" I can tell the customer to differentiate my product from another's. But it is only a accessory to you- the user- and how good or bad you are at maintaining your water. There are other differences that I am sure I could point out but this is becoming a manifesto. Thus- I hope this helps. Either way I think you'll be pleased with whichever of the aforementioned spas you listed in your opening statement. Good luck moving forward.
  5. As an Artesian Spas dealer, I have not had any of the experiences you're encountering. Not all tubs are perfect but for you to be experiencing this is obviously unfortunate. I'd reach out to the dealer and make sure that they take care of you. Keep up the pressure on them and they'll make it right. Make sure you let them know you'll write reviews and the likes that reflect how you've been treated. Again- I know this doesn't help you personally but I've dealt with Artesian Spas a long time and I can say that I have never had a tub that has had several issues from the onset. And when a tub has, say, a bad motor, or bad board, Artesian Spas overnighted me the parts at no charge. So it has to be the dealer. And again, that is unfortunate for you. I'd walk into their store and not leave until I spoke directly with the salesperson or a manager and make sure you get what you need. At the very least they have 3 years parts/labor at 100% if you bought a South Seas Spas or better. And they're very good at paying out to the dealer for all warranty work. So get what you deserve and don't let the dealer push you around. The manufacturer does not keep your personal info on file. They won't be able to help you as its the dealer who is supposed to keep all of your info, etc. Try those things out. If that doesn't work, get in contact with the BBB and maybe then try to reach out to the manufacturer. I hope this helps. Good Luck moving forward.
  6. Pretty simple fix: Take out the cartridges and let it run for a while. I bet your cartridges are dirty/clogged/old and need to be replaced. The OH is for OVERHEATING, which is due to low water flow. If the cartridges don't fix the problem, you likely have air in the lines and need to reprime the pumps or your water level simply isn't high enough and your system is cavetating (or however its spelled).
  7. Additionally, some ozonators only last for one year. You may need to also check it and replace it when you're fixing your other issue. Just a heads-up.
  8. Nature II or Frog systems are softer on the skin, as noted by BackyardPoolnSpa, and is a great alternative to bromine. Additionally, Dr. Spa was very astute in recommending the "control" test, limiting variables. Kudos. A third option could be that you merely need to apply lotion/moisturizer after every use. I have customers who use the tub daily and simply are just drying out. If "daily" means every single day for up to an hour or more, then yes- I dont think there is a chemical system that wont dry you out. And as the others have noted, the itchiness is likely from dry skin and that varies from person to person. You have many options but doing a "control" test recommended by Dr. Spa would be the logical first step. Switching sanitizers or using lotion would be the second step. Good luck moving forward and let us know how it turns out.
  9. Vinegar and warm water solution is the gentlest on the surface and components.
  10. Jacuzzi and Caldera are solid brands overall. However, I am a huge fan of Artesian Spas (Also made in the USA, if that means anything, as the other two are not). I like Artesian for the zoned pumps (they don't have the biggest motors on the market but they do have many pumps and they work in smaller zones with a smaller number of jets that they provide water to). I am considering bringing that brand on in my store. However, and this is strictly my opinion, I think you can do fine with the Island/Island Elite units vs going the Platinum route. But again, that is just me. Good luck. I think that all three brands are up there in quality. Artesian and Jacuzzi a neat and Calderra aint so bad as well. Hope this works out for you!
  11. Most tubs in the industry range from 7'x7' to 7 3/4 x 7 3/4 (Commonly referred to as 8' tubs). Think about physical spacing and allot for steps and a cover lift, as well as room for service work if it ever needs it. You need to find a lounger that fits your body type. Do not skimp or settle when it comes to comfort: Isn't that the entire point of the purchase? When I lose sales to a competitor, as long as its a reputable competitor, Im at peace knowing the customer made the best decision for them and their body type. Don't be afraid to look at some $8000 tubs. After all: What is $500 over the life of 10, 15 years. That said- keep the majority of your inquiries in your price range. Again, the goal is to figure out what you don't want and what is left over is what you do want. Therapy: Feel the jets. Some lessor tubs tend to make you itch after 5, 10mins of hydrotherapy. Also look for spots you want highlighted. Note that below the waist is the toughest part of the body to accommodate. Every tub has back, neck and should jets. But below the waist is less common and therefor less options are available. Not saying you wont find jets for those areas. You most certainly will. But not in the abundance in what you'll find for above the waist. In my market, used tubs are such a coin-flip that I just don't trust it. Your market may be different. But, and I know this is self-serving to me, buying new is preferred in my opinion. You get a clean bill of health with a tub, a warranty, and more peace of mind. *IF* this was like the car industry, where you have hundreds of mechanics and fairly easily-available universal parts, I'd think differently. However, there are waaaay less universal parts in our industry and probably fewer places who can work on your tub. As long as the product is "new" or a "demo model" I think you're fine. But this is merely my point of view, based on my specific market, and may not apply to your market. And I am sure others will have additional information that may better help inform you. Good luck moving forward. Let me know if you have any other questions.
  12. Its not to say that a brand isn't important- It always is. However, there are other aspects you've failed to mention. As I tell all of my customers: A hot tub is only as good as the company you purchase it from. Yes- I am a Catalina Spas dealer. Obviously I am partial to that brand. But set that aside for the moment. Half of your decision should be "Who am I purchasing it from? Are they reputable or do they have a bad track record? How long have they been in business? How long have they carried that brand? Will they service it and stand behind the warranty?" and so on, so forth. Not all spas are the same. The brands you've mentioned are all over the spectrum. I'd try to narrow it down to not a money decision. I know, that sound ridiculous but hear me out... Ask yourself these questions: Pick out a spot where it is going. Is there any size restrictions associated with it? Do you want to have a lounger or all seats? What is the price range you are comfortable with? Buy the best you can afford is my motto (Keep a budget but don't be cheap!) Is this purchase for therapy or entertainment? Or both? Who do you anticipate will use it over 80% of the time? (Once the novelty of the purchase wears off, that is your target audience. Can you sit in the tub wet or dry? If you're not comfortable in it dry, you won't be comfortable in it wet. From there whatever units/dealers are left over is where you begin to make the decision. A hot tub isn't a *need* buy so do your homework. Talk to the saleman. Hear his presentation. Get acclimated with the brand. Once you have gathered all the information, narrow it down from there. Negotiate for the best deal possible and then you'll have your answer. I hope this helps. I am sure there are others who may have additional advice for you on how best to make a decision. Good luck moving forward.
  13. To piggyback on what the other two esteemed posters have said- The ozonator (if indeed attached) likely will only last (approx.) a year or so. Thus it may not even be functioning if your tub is older. Additionally, the ozone generator injects O3 into the water and kills about 20% of the bacteria in your spa, thus allowing you to use less chemicals. It is an assistant to your water chemistry, ala your filtration system.
  14. Most of the time in-line heat coils can be replaced w/o draining: Close the gate valves and pull out the element. Fairly simple fix if its the element.
  15. Anyone a dealer for Artesian Spas/South Seas Spas? Can anyone share their experiences with those brands as a dealer? I'd love to get some feedback. Thanks.
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