Hot tubs and spas offer a number of potential health benefits. Soaking in warm water increases circulation, which, in turn, has positive effects, including healthier skin and lowered blood pressure. Hot tubs and spas contain adjustable jets that direct water to certain parts of the body, acting as a sort of massage. The buoyancy provided by the water also relieves pressure on joints.
This combination of warmth, near weightlessness, and massaging jets of water is sometimes called hydrotherapy. Studies have shown that hydrotherapy can aid in relaxation, help reduce or eliminate insomnia, and temporarily relieve joint pain and body aches.
Originally, hot tubs and spas could be considered distinct, with each one having certain features. Today, the terms hot tub and spa are used interchangeably, due to a merging of the features offered and materials used.
Special features. Most hot tubs and spas are made of acrylic or fiberglass and come in a wide range of sizes. Some models have features such as color-changing lights, digital displays, and integrated seats and benches. For most people, the purchase of a hot tub or spa represents a significant expense, so it’s important to research different brands and models before finalizing the deal. Ask about any specific features you’re interested in and how much maintenance a particular unit requires. Ideally, arrange to see the spa in action—or better yet, ask if you can try out the spa yourself to experience the seating arrangement, jet configuration, and noise level firsthand.
Freestanding or in-ground. Freestanding hot tubs are a cost-effective option, while an in-ground spa can help increase your home’s value. An advantage of a freestanding unit is that you’ll be able to take the hot tub with you if you decide to sell your home. If you choose an in-ground unit, your spa dealer may be able to recommend contractors who can help with installation and any necessary construction work.
Sanitizing system. Another element to consider before purchasing a spa or hot tub is the sanitizing system. There are several options for hot tub sanitizers, each one with pros and cons. Chlorine and bromine are traditional sanitizers, but mineral sanitizing systems, such as those using copper ion technology and saltwater chlorine generators, are growing in popularity. The best choice for you will depend on your desired level of maintenance and any chemical sensitivities in your family.
Operating costs. Homeowners living in colder areas may see higher electric bills; more energy is needed to maintain the hot tub or spa’s temperature when the ambient air temperature is lower. Cold weather also means that strict adherence to routine maintenance is necessary to prevent damage to the spa and unwelcome spikes in energy bills.