Jump to content

ratchett

Members
  • Posts

    362
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    22

Everything posted by ratchett

  1. Love my 2019 Hotspring Highlife spa. However I opted NOT to use the saltwater system in my hot tub - instead I run an ozonator with a silver mineral cartridge and dose with chlorine as needed. Note I have a saltwater pool sitting next to my spa - so I have plenty of experience with them. Here are a few notes I'll add about Hotspring Saltwater system: This is the second-generation saltwater system from Watkins - it's the best implementation of a salt system out there - and it's only available on Hotspring and Caldera spas. If you *MUST* go with saltwater, this is the best system out there. There is a ton of documentation about the system, the salt cells are easy to replace, and the topside interface control gives you the ability to regulate chlorine output and know when it's time to replace the cell. The salt cells are rated to last four months, but lifespan can be greatly impacted by things like high phosphates (which can come from fertilizers, lotions on skin, soapy bathing suits, etc) - high phosphates can kill a $100 salt cell in less than a month. You'll read many complaints from people who can't seem to generate adequate chlorine with the salt setup and that's usually either because their phosphate levels are too high, they didn't sanitize enough initially (new tubs are filthy things - a trickle feed of chlorine isn't enough to clean internally), or their water is too hard. Salt systems require the water to be specifically balanced (softer than usual) to generate adequate chlorine. If you have hard water you're going to need to use a water softener unit or softening pillows every time you refill. The salt cells are a proprietary part. Watkins distribution agreement with retailers prohibits the resale online (this prevents a pricing war dropping the price). This means you're stuck buying replacement salt cells from your local dealer. This makes great sense for the manufacturer and dealer - guaranteed residual income from customers. However this makes the spa expensive to operate - figure on $300+ a year in salt cells, not including any other chemicals and salt to maintain the water. For reference with my setup I'm spending less than $50 total on my chemicals (plus $90 in silver mineral cartridges, which are often suggested even for saltwater setups). With that in mind - of course many dealers will push the saltwater setup. Overall with my Ozonator setup I am dosing the spa with a bit of granular chlorine after each soak (I use a dosed sugar dispenser so it's easy for my wife and guests - one click of the trigger per person per 30 minutes of use). Once a month I clean the filters and test pH (boost if lower than 7.5) - the granular chlorine is acidic so it pulls the pH down with usage. Every six to eight months I purge/drain/refill the spa. Almost 32 months into ownership and I have zero complaints - my water stays crystal clear with minimal maintenance. I might consider the saltwater system in the future once the replacement cells are more widely available at a lower cost, but for now I'll skip the hassle. That's the nice thing as Castletonia mentioned - the tubs are pre-plumbed and compatible with every accessory even if you don't order them - IE you can add the CoolZone system after delivery if desired, you don't *need* to get it now. Same with the Salt system and ozonator - these are accessories which can be added or removed after delivery. If you opt for the salt system and loathe it, you can swap it out if desired.
  2. Yeah for sure pressure treated lumber doesn't hold up like it used to decades ago (when it still contained arsenic). I'm in Central Florida with my Jetsetter and have zero regrets (although that far south, you might need to add the coolzone system to maintain temps in the summer time if you're in direct sun (my tub is already heating up one or two degrees a day when out in the sun (and I have the temperature turned down to 100 for the summer time lol). Hotspring's biggest claim to fame is their motomassager jets. I highly suggest you try wet-testing a spa with these jets if you haven't already. Jet pressure and oscillation speeds can be controlled by closing other jets around the spa (to send more pressure to these jets). Motomassager jets are only available on Hotspring Highlife spas (and two hotspot models - the SX and TX) - you won't find anything like them on any other brand of spas (Dimension1 tries to get a similar sweeping feeling by using a solenoid to fire off a row of jets in sequential order, but it's not the same thing). Motomassager jets are the whole reason to buy a Hotspring - if these jets don't interest you, there are other brands worth considering.
  3. Connextion was phased out two years ago with the intention to release a new wireless system in 2020 - then the pandemic hit and R&D was halted. (Note the old Connextion system still functions for existing owners - no clue when they plan on shutting down the service). I have no doubt Hotspring will release a new wireless connection device in the near future - but the pandemic threw a wrench in things. And since Hotspring/Watkins builds all highlife spas compatible with all accessories (so you can easily upgrade later if desired), I have no doubt that any new wireless system they release will be compatible with a 2022/2023 model Highlife spa. For what it's worth, the only time I'm really interested in remotely monitoring my tub is when I refill and heating up (so I know when I can hop in and use it again!). Note that the wireless remote has a very long RF range and can be charged using a wireless QI phone charging pad. So whenever I refill, I'll bring the wireless remote in the house and toss it on my phone charger to remotely monitor the temperature during the day. The Envoy is an awesome tub - best therapeutic spa in the whole Highlife collection, I have a small Highlife Jetsetter and planning to trade in/upgrade to an Envoy once I rebuild my back patio.
  4. Yup 2002 as mentioned, if I'm reading that serial correctly, it was built in the first quarter of 2002 - 362nd tub made in that quarter. I'd link to the serial number decode post - but the forum doesn't seem to like when I add a url of another forum post
  5. Hot tub jets use the venturi principal to increase nozzle jet pressure. It's possible something is clogged and there is inadequate air at the intake. Luckily the spa is a year old - it should totally be covered under warranty - most manufacturing defects tend to present themselves within the first year of ownership.
  6. Could have shorted something internally when unplugging the unit from the original outlet. It *could* be something simple like a blown fuse internally, but I doubt even customer service would know where/how to replace it on that unit 😄 Inflatable spas are built to be cheap budget-friendly items. They are not built to be serviced or repaired for an extended lifespan. You're lucky to get several "seasons" before the the spa is worn out and needs replacement. If I were in your shoes, I'd reach out to Mspa and see if they can offer any advice, but I doubt you'll get very far because like I said inflatable spas are not built to be serviced/repaired and they lack adequate documentation to help owners. Sadly, If history on this forum and other sites has taught me anything - it's that this post will go unresolved - even if you figure it out, people rarely take the time to update the post with a resolution. And then in a few years someone else will join the conversation to say "I'm having the same problem with my inflatable spa, did you figure it out?" - which of course you'll be long gone and never reply. But that won't stop dozens of other people from also replying over time saying "I'm also having this problem, anyone else figure it out". 🤦‍♂️
  7. Yeah old pressure treated lumber made before 2002 contained arsenic - it's far less susceptible to rot/infestation. Modern PT lumber is infused with copper which helps but not quite as good as the old arsenic treated lumber. That's why many top brands are moving away from wood in their flagship spas - my 2019 Hotspring Highlife has an ABS basepan, composite cabinet panels, and tool-grade (polycarbonate?) framing. Literally no wood used in the entire spa from what I can see
  8. Industry average is 7-14 years on a hot tub (you can get longer with proper care/maintenance, but that seems to be pretty much the average these days from what I've gathered). Dimension One makes a quality tub, but they aren't the easiest to service from what I have heard. If I were in your shoes, I'd look into a mid-grade tub from either Nordic or Marquis (depending on which local dealer you like more) - Nordic offers a good bang for the buck by skipping on the bells/whistles. And then I would take photos of your current hot tub and list it in the local classifieds (Facebook, Craigslist, etc). Assuming your tub holds water and works, you could get a few thousand for the tub (maybe $3000 to $5000), and if it's not in working condition you might get less - if it's priced right, it will sell within days on the classifieds. Assuming you can sell your existing tub to *someone*, that would free up cash to buy something nicer than a budget entry-level hot tub
  9. I'm not a professional, but it sounds like a temperature sensor has failed. The control board thinks the water is too hot, so it won't kick on the heater. If you have a multimeter, you can test the temperature sensor to see if it's reading correctly, but given the age of the tub it's likely the sensor has failed. They are a common point of failure so they are easy/cheap to replace. I had one fail on my two year old Hotspring Highlife tub - luckily for me the tub was under warranty so the techs came out and replaced it free of charge.
  10. It would be hard to shave down the wood platform so it's perfectly level/flat on the concrete pad - a gravel base and and wood frame base on the ground NEXT to that pad might be an easier option. However modern pressure treated lumber has a shorter lifespan than older arsenic-infused pressure treated lumber. You'll still get 5-10 years out of wood platform, but your Hotspring Highlife spa is made with composites and tool-grade plastics and would outlive the wood platform (with proper care/maintenance) - but that's not a major issue - just rebuild/replace the wood frame if/when needed. Grinding or pouring self leveling cement might be an option, but that's beyond my expertise. If you really want to use that concrete slab, I personally would call out an expert who can tell you the cheapest/easiest way to solve the problem while still supporting the weight of the tub
  11. I would drain the spa until you have a flat surface. With the current setup - the weight of the water alone will stress the shell and eventually something will "crack" or tear. Friend of mine had a cheap spa from the local pool chemical supply store which worked great for several years. It cracked within months after he moved it onto a new set of pavers he'd installed himself in the backyard (incorrectly and not level) - the shell started to crack from the underwater light to the step they used to get into the tub. I'd drain the tub to eliminate pressure on the tub, and then flatten the surface or move somewhere else. Also note - do not shim the hot tub either - this will put more stress on the tub causing it to crack (Pretty sure the manual specifically states shimming the tub will void the warranty)
  12. Question. Do you use non-chlorine oxidizer shock in your water (MPS is the main active chemical in these non-chlorine oxidizers). There is a *small* percentage of people who have allergies to the MPS chemical - and the allergic reactions vary wildly from person to person - some people can't touch the water or they break out in hives, while other people simply have minor discomfort. But like you - the irritation only affects the one person with the allergies to MPS, it won't affect other people in the hot tub. If you do use an oxidizer shock, then it might be worth trying to avoid using it. With my setup I have an ozonator hooked up to a circulation pump which is constantly injecting ozone into the water. Since the ozonator is oxidizing the water constantly, I don't use any MPS in my water.
  13. That's an older Hotspring Vanguard. Based on the serial number, I'm thinking it's a 2002 model? These are higher end hot tubs built to last decades with proper care/maintenance. A new 2022 model Hotspring Highlife Vanguard would retail for around $15k these days - in used fully working condition that tub would sell for around $3000. The trouble is that Watkins doesn't share plumbing or technical documentation with owners - they want you to hire a local Hotspring authorized technician to service these spas. That's not to say you cannot fix these tubs by yourself with some help from experts on these forums, but just know that Watkins doesn't make life easy for the DIY weekend warrior. Personally if that sucker is a 2002, I say keep it and try to get it up and running - the pressure treated lumber in that spa still contains arsenic and likely to last much longer than modern tubs made with pressure treated lumber (because arsenic was phased out in 2002, and replaced with copper infusion which is more eco-friendly, but more subject to rot when exposed to moisture).
  14. Prices vary wildly from dealer to dealer. Even if you find someone who paid $5000 less for the exact same make/model spa last week across the country, your dealer won't care and won't haggle - especially since the hottub industry saw a huge surge in sales during the pandemic. Every dealer operates on their own profit margins - some dealers have more competitive pricing than other dealers. Be sure to research the dealer thoroughly - you'll be stuck with them for the duration of the warranty, so be sure you trust them to do a good job if/when the spa needs warranty repairs. The dealer is almost as important as the brand you buy. Be sure to review customer feedback online about the dealer, and find out what the dealer charges for callout fees (and most importantly - how many years do they include free dispatch/callouts for warranty service). If you really want to haggle on a new tub, your best bet is if you're paying full cash money. Dealers often include a 3% or 4% processing fee in the advertised price to account for people paying with credit card (for reward points), or people financing the tub (processing fee). You have a good chance to haggle that 3% off if you are paying full cash money for the tub. Also know that some states offer a sales-tax exemption if you have a doctors (or chiropractor's) note stating the spa is "medically necessary" - that could save you hundreds off the final price.
  15. Did you recently refill the tub? Try removing the filter, does the issue persist?
  16. Think of it like driving a car - do you get better gas mileage driving down the highway with or without cruise control activated? When your spa is well insulated internally (which as a sundance 800 series, is well insulated), and with the cover closed - the heater is only activating in short bursts to maintain the set water temperature. When you increase temperature, the heater must remain on until the tub reaches desired temp - this consumes a substantial amount of electricity and takes time to heat up. With how well your spa is insulated, the electrical running cost difference between turning down the temp and leaving it at set temp is negligible - less than a dollar or two per month. In the winter, I crank my tub up to 104/105 so I can enjoy a nice hot soak on the rare night where it actually chilly in my subtropical climate. In the spring/fall I run around 101F, and in the summer I set it to 99F so it's just a smidge warmer than body temp.
  17. I'm no expert - but that almost sounds like a priming mode where the jet pump is trying to push out an air-lock in the system. When you refilled, did you fill through the filter well? Did you bleed any air out of the plumbing internally? That's the first thing I'd try
  18. First, that sounds like a reasonable price for that size and product line. Jacuzzi's J300 series is a mid-grade product from Jacuzzi. It'll get the water hot, and the jets will produce some therapudic spa experience, but not the *best* that jacuzzi has to offer. Have you looked into Sundance Spas? They are Jacuzzi's sister brand - built in the same factory and share many of the same components. I bet you could step up to a Sundance 800 series like the Optima which would be a step up from the J385, but you would loose the "jacuzzi" brand name on the logo. I personally am a Hotspring Highlife fanboy - they are a step up from the J300 series, built to compete more with Jacuzzi's J400 series spas. The Grandee or Vanguard is probably large enough for your needs. However, pricing varies WILDLY around the country as all dealers operate on different profit margins. In my own experience I saved 20% on my desired Hotspring spa by visiting two dealers equidistant from my rural home - one was a big backyard makeover shop selling many big ticket items, and then the other dealer was a small family business selling only one product for decades - hotspring hot tubs. No haggling needed - this was their pricing. As I'm sure you've read before - the dealer you buy from plays a huge role in your ownership experience. Be sure to read reviews online about the dealer and get thorough with the warranty coverage - what parts are covered for how long and more importantly - how many years does the dealer include free dispatch/callouts for warranty service? Lastly - WET TEST! If at all possible - wet test a spa from the same product series you want (doesn't have to be a J385, just something in the J300 series). Things like seat comfort and jet comfort are very subjective - you might find those tiny bullet jets used by some cheap brands to be too itchy and uncomfortable (they use these small cheap jets because it increases jet-count which gets a shopper's juices flowing because surly more jets = better experience). Also horsepower ratings can be heavily manipulated for marketing purposes - do not trust that one tub is more powerful because it has a 3.0hp jet pump while another brand has a 2.5hp jet pump. Wet testing is the only way to know for certain if you like XYZ brand of tubs and that product series.
  19. Are you certain you have a matching set of topside controller and main control board? I'm a little hazy on the details, but right around 2012/2013 Watkins/Hotspring had a problem where the manufacturer of the original control boards (Orca - 76082) went out of business and Watkins had to rebuild a new control board (Orca 78039) to replace it. From what I gather, the new Hotspring control board, sensors, and topside controller are not cross-compatible. This was a fiasco for Watkins/Hotspring as a lot of owners didn't want to spend the $1500+ to upgrade their spa pack on a tub just out of warranty when something went wrong. By this point most of the old stock has been bought up from online dealers, and hottub junkyards are picked over for these old parts frequently making them very hard to find. Depending when your tub was manufactured, you might have the older control board and that might be why the sensors and topside controller aren't working correctly. I'm not a Hotspring technician, so I could be completely wrong, but I believe the age of the tub makes it a possibility.
  20. To me that sounds like maybe a failing capacitor which isn't producing enough juice to fully start up the motor. But I could be wrong. @RDspaguy or @CanadianSpaTech - what does that sound like to you?
  21. Yep, that's correct - Hotspring Hot tubs utilize two breakers - if you have an existing subpanel you can grab a 20 amp and 30 amp breaker and wire it up. Be sure to study the wiring diagram on the hot tub thoroughly. Many novice electricians mistakenly wire up a Hotspring tub like a standard hot tub and it doesn't work correctly (but they often try to wire up to a single 50-amp breaker - unlike you who actually did your research first lol)
  22. You could have a clog in the plumbing. There is a pressure sensor which is designed to monitor water and ensure your hot tub heater doesn't kick on without adequate water in the tube to prevent damage to the heater. Either you have a legitimate flow issue due to a clog, or you have a failing pressure sensor (which can happen - they do fail eventually and it's not uncommon). If you're handy with a multimeter I believe you can test the pressure sensor to see if it's working and reading correctly or if it's failed. If it's failed, it's cheap/easy to replace. If the pressure sensor is working correctly, that means you either have a dirty filter (which is preventing adequate water to flow through plumbing), or you have a clog somewhere in the line. But I could also be wrong - I'm still a novice learning the technical workings of a hot tub. I'm by no means a professional.
  23. Image doesn't show up. Hate to say it, but for most hot tubs, the owner's manuals is usually extremely limited in information (mainly showing the buttons and how to operate) - most of the manual is full of legal mumbo-jumbo and warranty info. Basically the manual is useless for most customer's needs. Instead of hunting for that, why not post a question here about what you're trying to figure out. Coast Spas uses off-the-shelf industry standard components so even if someone doesn't have the exact same make/model they can likely point you in the right direction.
  24. That's why wet-testing is always so important - jet count numbers can be inflated using tiny bullet jets and horsepower ratings can be faked using higher voltage on the testing bench making it basically an irrelevant number these days. Wet testing is the only way you can know for sure if you'll enjoy the therapeutic spa experience of those jets. I'm a huge Hotspring Highlife fanboy, but you might also want to try wet-testing some Sundance/Jacuzzi, Caldera/Hotspring spas to see if you find anything you enjoy. I'm glad I had a chance to wet test some spas in 2019 before the dang pandemic ruined things for everyone lol. Dealers only recently started allowing customers to wet-test spas again
  25. First, not all loungers are built the same. Also buoyancy changes in this lounging position - From what I understand here in America, most loungers are built for the average height (around 5'10") and average BMI (20-30). If you're too short or have a higher BMI you might have trouble staying in the lounger without floating out when the jets are running. Some would say if you like to recline on a couch/chair, you'll like lounging. But lots of dealers will claim that many second-time buyers who had a lounger in their first tub skip it on their next tub because it was unused wasted space. I personally had never had used a lounger in a hot tub but knew I had to have it because I enjoy lounging on a recliner in general. I was torn between two models - a three seater with a lounger, or a four seater without the lounger around the same price price and glad I opted for the lounger because it's our favorite seat it he spa. I use the lounger 95% of the time I'm in my spa. That said, it's generally advised to wet-test a lounger from the brand you're interested in before buying (all loungers from the same product tier/class should have the same design and shape profile). Because if you have buoyancy problems, you're going to hate the lounger haha. People suggest that if you can't wet-test a lounger, you should skip it because the last thing you want is a large unused lounger taking up one side of the hot tub.
×
×
  • Create New...