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ratchett last won the day on September 22

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Hot Tub Aficionado

Hot Tub Aficionado (4/5)



  1. Your hottub doesn't have any lighting whatsoever? Now I'm curious, what brand doesn't install lights in their spa? I can't imagine soaking in my hottub at night without underwater illumination (seriously, I'd freak out knowing all the snakes and frogs I have running around my yard at night.....) The risk of shocking yourself is extremely high. I would not install any hardwired lighting under the water line due to the high risk of electrical shock if/when something failed (like a seal). This would not be covered under any insurance policy and you would be liable for any injuries or death resulting from modifying the spa (imagine a child playing in the water and something happening - you would be 100% liable) They sell battery powered pool lights all over the internet including amazon. Even Ryobi sells a kickass 18v floating pool light with bluetooth speakers, although it's a bit too big for hottubs) Something like this is only $18 for a two pack, and have suction cups so you can submerge them under water. They won't be high quality and last forever (I'd remove when not using the tub), but they would be a million times safer to use without the risk of electrical shock
  2. Most hottub manuals are useless and don't contain much info of any value to people in your situation. Aside from a bunch of warnings and such, the only thing they'll really tell you is how to operate the topside control panel and which knobs are used controlling which jets in the spa (like the diverter valve and air valves). There normally isn't too much about water chemistry or troubleshooting aside from the basics. Fortunately there are only a few brands which use proprietary parts, and yours isn't one of them. Your spa likely uses very industry standard off-the-shelf components with the only special parts being the exterior cabinet design and to a lesser extent, the shell design (lots of brands but not all use the same thermoforming molds for the shell haha) Instead of hunting for a useless owners manual. I suggest you start by grabbing your camera and photographing the spa, specifically remove the access panel and photograph the wiring diagram, then snap some photos of the equipment and control board (try to get some close up shots of anything which looks suspect - like burned electrical marks). Then start a new post, tell us what you know, and what you've done so far. "not working" can mean a lot of things. The more info you give, the better chance someone can get you started in the right direction. Are you comfortable using a multimeter to test electrical wiring? I'm sure the guys will have you test some stuff to see if you're getting voltage or continuity where needed. If you're not comfortable using a multimeter, It might be worth calling in a general spa technician to perform some diagnostics and give you the rundown of what it'll take to get your spa fixed up and running again.
  3. I wouldn't do that - you're trying to remove this stuff from the water. I use a few paper towels and a pair of gloves, scoop up the scum and throw it into a trash bag immediately (try not to gag at how nasty the scum can be haha) Run the pumps for 20 minutes. Then turn off the pumps, let the foam/water settle and then clean off the scum. Turn pumps back on for 20 minutes to purge again. Repeat until after a 4th or 5th time, no scum settles at the water line after running the jets for 20 minutes. That's a topic for another thread, I'd post that in the water chemistry section. Loaded question with lots of variables. In my experience with Ahhsome - the better I purge, the less chemicals I need to keep the water clean when I'm not using the spa for a week or two. Purge your spa every time you drain/refill, and you shouldn't have too many problems. Good luck!
  4. The dealer plays a huge role in your experience as they are usually responsible for warranty labor costs. Marquis makes some good spas, although I am a Hotspring Highlife fanboy personally. Be sure to research the dealer's online reputation - what to previous customers say about service - are they satisfied or do you read complaints about their repair techs? Also ask dealers about the warranty call-out diagnostics fees. Some dealers may give you a 5 year warranty, but only include 6-12 months free callouts before they charge to come out and even look at the spa, my hotspring dealer provides five years free callouts which does seem to be on the higher end, although I have seen some dealers include more. Industry average lifespan of a hottub seems to be 7-14 years depending on care/maintenance. A budget grade spa might see the lower end of that average, and a flagship top-tier spa might see twice those lifespans. However a lot of it depends on how you care/maintain a spa - water chemistry needs to be balanced, letting pH drift too low can cause an acid bath eating away at all the seals in your spa and excessive sanitizer usage can cause wear and tear on internal (and topside) components. Also winterizing spa, allowing air into the plumbing can cause things to rust and rubber seals to dry/shrink/crack. Are you the type of person who routinely cares for their stuff to keep them in tip-top shape, or do you prefer to buy and replace as needed? Also know, pressure-treated lumber is the industry-preferred framing material (cheap and easy to handle). However all pressure-treated lumber produced after 2002 no longer contains arsenic and is far more susceptible to rot & infestation when exposed to moisture. Spas built with PT lumber framing before 2002 have very different lifespans than spas built since. That's why you'll see many brands utilizing polycarbonate tool-grade framing on their top-tier models which brings me to my next point.... Most brands these days build multiple product tiers to fit every budget. Sometimes these changes between product tiers are bells & whistle upgrades (more jets, more power, more LED lights, etc), but sometimes there are changes under the hood to increase product lifespans. Don't expect a budget grade Jacuzzi to have the same lifespan as a top-tier flagship model. Before covid, the general rule of thumb was to wet-test a lounger before buying. Although not all dealers allow testing these days. In general loungers are built for average height and body mass for average Americans. You may have buoyancy issues if you are shorter or have a higher BMI. However if you're the type to recline on a couch, I would certainly suggest considering a lounger. You can use boosters or weighted belts to keep yourself in the lounger if you do have buoyancy issues. When shopping for my spa, I had no idea loungers existed before buying but knew I had to have one. I'm glad I did because the lounger is my favorite seat in the spa - I spend 90% of my time in it even when soaking solo. First thing to know - the saltwater systems are generating chlorine from the sodium chloride in the water. Your salt concentrations in a Hotspring are almost half that needed for a saltwater pool setup (1750ppm), and way less than the ocean (which is around 10000-35000ppm) My 2019 Jetsetter has the latest Freshwater salt compatibility built in. I can easily switch over to it if desired, however after researching, I personally have opted NOT to use it currently. (NOTE - even if your dealer installs the saltwater setup, they can easily disconnect and switch to another system if you desire in the future). Hotspring has the best saltwater system on the market with topside controls and some error reporting if the cell is not working properly (or needs to be replaced). It also has the best documentation in the industry for saltwater hottubs. However there are some cons to the Hotspring Saltwater setups from my perspective... Requires water to be balanced before system will generate chlorine - if your tap water is properly balanced and soft enough awesome you'll have few headaches getting started. If you have HARD water or well water, you're probably going to have to spend extra $$ getting the water properly balanced with things like a water softener before the system will generate adequate chlorine Expensive - the salt cells retail for around $300 for three cartridges (one year supply), and you can only purchase them from your local hotspring dealer (proprietary part, not sold online currently). To me, this sounds like a scheme by Hotspring to retain dealers by offering guaranteed residual income from customers. (By comparison, my Ozonator + Silver Mineral & chlorine setup runs about $35 a year in chemicals plus $90 for the silver mineral cartridges per year) I personally am not a fan of any continuous-feed system. I think it makes people lazy. I prefer dosing my spa with sanitizer after each use based on my usage at that time (I utilize a dosed sugar dispenser - takes me seconds to click the trigger and dispense just the right amount of granular dichlor chlorine). Bromine is an older method of sanitizing a spa - it was popular decades ago because bromine is far more stable at hottub temps. However bromine can be more harsh on the equipment compared to chlorine. These days there are many accessories and options to reduce your need for sanitizers (things like ozonators, uv lights, silver ion minerals, and enzymes) so you don't need as much chlorine to keep things sanitized. Tons of people still use bromine, but I don't. Like I said, I'm a Hotspring Highlife fanboy. I love the styling and those motomassager jets which you won't find on any other of brand of spas in the industry. But that doesn't mean avoid Marquis - they do make great spas for the price.
  5. I check to ensure my pH is within range and add a bit of extra chlorine to my spa since my Ozonator burns off most chlorine. First time I tried to use Ahhsome, I didn't have sufficient chlorine in the water and that seemed to affect the performance. I prefer to dilute the gel AhhSome in a cup of hot water and then pour it into the spa. I run my jets for 20 minutes, then turn the jets off for 10 and clean the scum at the water line. Run the jets AGAIN for 20 minutes, and then off for 10 while cleaning any fresh scum. I repeat this process 3-4 times until essentially nothing new is coming out of the plumbing. And then I drain/refill. NOTE: Do not let the biofilm scum dry/harden on your shell - big mistake I made my first time. This stuff is nearly impossible to scrub off after it hardens, so be sure to wipe the scum off the water line before you start draining.
  6. Not all hottub covers are created equal. Heat rises, so a well fitting quality cover is essential from an energy efficiency standpoint (the more heat lost from the water, the more frequently your heater needs to kick on). I'm a huge fan of buying direct from the local dealer - find out who sells/services Bullfrog spas in your region and order one from them - they'll have all the specs they need to ensure your new cover fits properly
  7. Unscrew and remove the battery - this is the one rubber seal you can definitely remove. Then to avoid damaging the other rubber seal any further by completely disassembling, I personally would grab a small tupperware bin and fill with desiccant packets (everyone hoards those free reusable desiccant packets they find packed with electronics and other stuff, right?? lol) - place the remote in this bin and leave it for a week or longer to suck out all the moisture from the remote. Re-install the battery, and try re-pairing. I don't know if this will work - it's likely the digitizer layer of the screen has been shorted out - but there's a small chance drying it out completely will help.
  8. Very true. Removable stuffed fiber insulation has it's pros and cons. Stuffed fiber insulation does have a lower R-value rating for insulation than full spray foam used on some Flagship models from some brands which means a bit lower energy efficiency - you'll pay a few dollars more per month in electrical operating costs especially in the colder months. Although stuffed fiber insulation is MUCH easier to remove/replace when hunting/fixing a leaking spot on the hottub several years from now. For me - the question over stuffed fiber insulation verses full spray foam insulation comes down to who you plan to fix/service your spa after the warranty period is over. Are you the type of person who takes your car back to the dealership for maintenance, or are you a weekend warrior who wants to try fixing almost everything themselves before they ever consider calling out a professional. Personally, I don't have the time to DIY fixing my own hottub, so I made sure to find a reputable Hotspring dealer who'd been in business for decades with experienced technicians on payroll. I have faith they will do the repair job right if/when my spa needs major service to fix a slow leak somewhere in the far distant future, and not send out the lowest-bidding random spa tech in town to "see what he can do". Also note, authorized hottub technicians working on higher end flagship spas often have access to information weekend warriors don't - things like plumbing schematics, software/firmware updates, or service repair documents/kits to fix known issues. But hey, I get it - there are also lots of people who want to buy a cheap used spa, fix it up themselves and save big $$ - that's fine too, in that case naturally I'd highly advise staying away from fully spray foam insulated spas haha. But again, just my $0.02 since these topics do come up often (hopefully someone browsing in the future will stumble across this thread for info lol)
  9. Sundance is Jacuzzi's sister brand (funny story, Jacuzzi actually acquired Sundance about twenty years ago right after SD finished building their state of the art manufacturing factory). They share many components under the hood (even the websites are powered by the same "engine"). The Sundance 800-series Optima is one of the best blast-your-ass-outta-theseat therapeutic spas in the industry, and this coming from me a Hotspring Highlife fanboy lol Lol, same - seats feel too "flat" to accommodate the jetpacks - not as comfortable as other spas I've wet-tested. It also sounds like their construction quality has slipped as they scaled up operations (they signed a huge contract with Costco last year right before the pandemic, that was a messy situation) Smart move. The dealer you buy from is usually responsible for warranty labor costs, not the manufacturer. The dealer you buy from is almost as important as the brand you buy. My local Jacuzzi dealer was much the same - sales reps on commission telling me what they thought I wanted to hear and not the truth. Their prices were also ridiculous, but that's what you get shopping with a big-backyard makeover store - hottubs are just one of their big-ticket items for a blank-check backyard overhaul. Be sure to ask the dealers more info about their warranty - how many years free call-out diagnostics do they include with the warranty? Industry average is 6-36 months depending on the dealer, some go up to 60+ free callouts.
  10. Yep, you're spot on. Steel is corrosive and will rust when exposed to water and moisture. As an engineer, using steel in a hottub frame always sounded like a bad idea. But hey, steel is cheap and cost-effective from a manufacturing standpoint. The problem is 5-10 years later just out of warranty, you've got a rust buck staining your patio - and it's worse if your spa develops a slow leak somewhere which you don't catch right away. Also know that screw holes and such will rust out - so removing and reinstalling access panels will become an issue over time. (NOTE for anyone curious - they do use what's called "Galvanized Steel" for the framing which is essentially steel dipped in an acid bath - this helps prevent the steel from rusting immediately. But galvanizing does not make it not 100% rust-proof) I'm a big fan of circulation pumps, especially when paired with an ozonator to continuously inject O3 into the water. Additionally I like to enjoy soaking half the time peacefully without the jets running - the circ pump keeps warm water flowing through the vent in the footwell. Also in the summer time I use the circ pump to help bleed off heat for an hour or two before hopping in to enjoy a lower-temp soak (I use my spa year-round lol). Not all insulation is created equal. What's the density and r-value rating? They likely don't provide that info so you really can only go off the energystar power consumption ratings. Needless to say, the better your spa is insulated - the more energy-efficient your spa will run - a well insulated flagship spa from the 90's is still going to be more energy efficient than a budget grade spa built last year (assuming both have a proper fitting cover in fair condition, natch). Many brands such as Hotspring, Jacuzzi, Sundance, Caldera, Marquis, etc build multiple product tiers to fit every budget. Currently, the industry average lifespan of a hottub these days seems to be around 7-14 years depending on care & maintenance. Buying a budget grade spa even from a top name brand might get you towards the bottom end of that average, while a mid-high grade model might be towards the top end of that average lifespan. Some of the top-tier flagship spas from Jacuzzi, Sundance, Hotspring, Bullfrog etc have started to utilize fully polycarbonate tool-grade framing, and composite cabinet paneling to dramatically increase product lifespans on their flagship spas. Two or three decades lifespan is not unreasonable if you properly care for the spa (spas have the best lifespan when left filled with balanced/sanitized water and maintained as needed. Winterizing and draining a spa does risk decreasing lifespans) I think you should go back and figure out how long you plan to keep this investment and how much care/maintenance you're willing to dedicate to water upkeep. For me after waiting twenty years for the right time/location to buy, I wanted something built to last decades since we have no intention to leave this home (although my dealer does offer trade-ins on spas they sell. They'll buy back my 10 year old Hotspring highlife spa to flip/resell in their showroom next to new spas - so I can get a nice upgrade in a few years if I really wanted). However you may have different plans, maybe you're thinking about maybe selling/moving in five years and leaving the spa behind - in that case I would certainly avoid a top flagship tier spa unless you have a large budget lol. Do you have any Nordic dealers in your region? Might be worth getting some quotes from them. I hear they make a really nice quality spa for the price. They seem to focus more on quality construction over bells & whistles like some other brands.
  11. All spas have a limited lifespan. The lifespan however is greatly affected by care & maintenance. Don't expect any spa to last 20 years if you use excessively harsh chemicals and fail to properly balance/change your water as needed. In general, flagship spas from the top name brands will be constructed to have a longer lifespan than their budget grade models at least from what I've seen. Brands like Hotspring and Bullfrog for example utilize thicker shells, polycarbonate framing, and ABS basepans on their top-tier models, while their entry-level models have pressure-treated framing and a sheet of vinyl plastic stapled to the bottom as a moisture barrier if anything at all lol. Note - Pressure Treated lumber (the industry-preferred building material for framing up a spa) no longer contains arsenic (since 2002) to prevent rot and pest infestations. All new pressure treated lumber made after 2002 contains trace amounts of copper which is far more susceptible to rotting faster when exposed to water/moisture. While many spas built before 2002 with PT lumber are still going strong, you'll see most of the top brands have started moving towards a polycarbonate tool-grade plastic framing to greatly extend the product lifespan. Currently the industry average lifespan seems to be 7-14 years depending on care/maintenance, you can expect to be on the lower end of that lifespan with a budget grade spa or maybe even double that max lifespan with a top-tier flagship spa (to put it into perspective - some of the top-tier spas before the 80's and 90's are STILL in use today). I'm personally a Hotspring Highlife fanboy, but they have their pros and cons just like any other brand of spas in the market. Jacuzzi, Caldera, Sundance, Cal Spas, Bullfrog, Marquis, and Nordic also make some really good spas depending on your budget and availability. Lastly - keep in mind the dealer is a really important part of your buying experience. Be sure to research the dealer extensively as they are usually responsible for warranty labor costs on your investment. Not all dealers are created equal, some provide much better white-glove service to customers buying a top-tier flagship spa than other dealers who have a much more cavalier "have at it hoss" approach to customer service.
  12. Copied from another post I made a while back but it applies here...... The dealer you buy from is just as important as the brand you buy - because what most people don't know is that in most cases the dealer you buy from is responsible for warranty labor expenses, NOT the manufacturer. You want to find a dealer which has decades experience selling and servicing whatever brand of spa you buy so you can trust them to do the job right if/when your spa needs service under warranty because you'll be stuck with the dealer. That's important because some smaller dealers (hotspring included) do not have technicians on payroll - instead they outsource warranty labor to a third party (for hotspring, it's often a larger regional hotspring dealer) - sometimes shady dealers from other brands will hire the lowest-bidding spa tech in town to come out and service your spa (sometimes doing more damage in the process of "fixing" a leak or whatever else lol). So the cheapest dealer in the region is not always the best dealer for a brand. Although in my experience with Hotspring (I visited several dealers in my quest to buy a Hotspring), the smaller dealers charge MORE money for the spa to cover their warranty costs later outsourcing to a larger hotspring dealer, and the larger hotspring dealer charges less because of the volume they sell and they have technicians on payroll (making their warranty service expenses cheaper). When shopping for my 2019 Hotspring Jetsetter, the smaller dealer was 20% MORE expensive than the larger regional dealer (both were equidistant from my rural home) - no haggling needed, no demo or floor model sale - both dealers operated on very different profit margins (not just the warranty thing, one dealer had sales reps on salary while the other sales rep was clearly on commission telling me what he thought I wanted to hear, etc). Prices for any name brand spa will vary entirely from dealer to dealer. Even if you found someone who ordered the exact configuration you're ordering last week for $5k less and you show a receipt to the dealer he won't care - they might be out of business selling spas that cheap. The Grandee is a large spa, and I've seen prices within the past six months vary wildly around the country anywhere from $15k up to $22k depending on the dealer. But again - not all dealers are created equal. After waiting twenty years, I spent months shopping for a spa before buying in 2019 before the pandemic. Prices have gone up, and availability has declined but even before the pandemic you didn't have much room to haggle with dealers on top name-brand spas. The biggest change I've seen since the pandemic is lead times shifting from 4-8 weeks on special orders up to 12-18+ month lead times. However, I have learned some shopping tricks which might be useful As mentioned, don't expect to haggle thousands off the price because you found a dealer across the state charging thousands less. If you don't like the dealer's pricing and sales pitch, walk away and find another dealer - don't settle. Most dealers include a 4% processing fee into the listed price for a spa - this avoids sticker shock later for customers paying with credit card (for points), or people financing the spa (processing fees). If you are paying full cash money you can often haggle 3% or 4% off the total price using processing fees as the justification Many states have sales-tax exemptions for products like hottubs. In my state all I did was get a note from my chiropractor (on his letterhead) stating the spa was "medically necessary" (no specific reasons given, just that). Handed this note to my dealer and they removed the sales tax from the invoice.
  13. Jetsetter ❤️ - best three seater in the market IMO haha I'm betting this is where the foaming issues came from. I've had suds issues when I didn't adequately flush my filters after cleaning (although that was before I invented a widget to powerclean my filters..... can't wait to share this widget with the market - it's been extremely effective for my needs cleaning the TriX filters monthly)
  14. Hotspring is one of the top brands in the industry. Their Highlife series is built to compete with Jacuzzi's flagship products. The Jetsetter LX is one of the most powerful luxury three seaters on the market, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better in that size. Catalina is an LPI brand product. LPI is known to sell the same inferior grade products under multiple brand names to obfuscate the customer reviews making it harder to research feedback from previous customers (seriously, look on Catalina's website - they make no indication they are built by LPI Inc). Construction wise, it's not even in the same ballpark as a Hotspring Highlife spa (I should know, Catalina was one of the brands I viewed in person when searching for my spa in 2019). There are other 3 seaters worth considering from brands such as Jacuzzi, Sundance, Caldera, Nordic, and Marquis, but I would seriously suggest you avoid Catalina, and every other brand listed on this site - https://lpiinc.com/shops/ Hotspring's motomasager is unlike any other jet in the market. I highly suggest you try to wet-test a Hotspring Highlife spa you sou can experience this jet. The oscillation speed and jet pressure can be varied by closing other jets around the spa. I like to send full pressure to the lounger seat with the diverter (AND closing off the jets in the other seats) for a deep tissue massage which is awesome to work out knots after exercising. Although truth be told - my wife hates the neck jets in the lounger seat (too strong) - so she always turns those off, but I like them. I say skip it - more of a PITA than it's worth. I am a big fan of an ozonator setup. Shoot me a message if you'd like to see my dealer's cheat sheet for the Jetsetter running with an Ozonator + Silver mineral cartridge setup. Prices vary greatly from dealer to dealer as they are responsible for warranty labor costs (in most cases). Your dealer won't care if you found a friend who bought the same spa for $5k less last week across the country (or even across the state) - they might be out of business at those margins. The Jetsetter price is on the higher end, but if the dealer is reputable it might be worth it. I personally got quoted a similar price for a Jetsetter in 2019 but really got a bad vibe from the dealer so I visited another dealer equidistant from my rural location and saved 20% - no haggling needed, just very different business models and operating margins. Based on what I was quoted for a 3-seater Catalina in 2019 (around $6k), that $9k price is insane for the low quality product it is (mid-range off-the-shelf electronics, thin grade shell material, cheap pressure treated lumber framing, no ABS baseframe, etc). Again, do your research on the LPI brand - I highly suggest you avoid them. That said, I am a Hotspring Highlife fanboy - I love my jetsetter, but I still suggest you try wet-testing to see if you like the Motomassager jet, as that's Hotspring's real claim to fame. If you don't care for those jets, there are many other brands worth considering for a 3-seater.
  15. What do you mean "lost it's function" - do you mean the screen isn't responding? What do you currently see on the display screen and does it change/respond to anything? Have you tried: Press and hold the top right corner of the screen (near the battery icon) for 10 seconds - this should reboot the wireless remote Remove battery for 20 seconds then reinstall battery Activate pairing mode on the charging dock and then remove/replace battery in remote I really haven't heard of a blown fuse taking out the wireless remote so I'm curious now lol. @castletonia any other ideas?
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