A hot tub with a view. Kelly Funk/Getty Images
Finding Just the Right Spot for Your Spa
Portable or freestanding hot tubs and spas can go wherever you desire–near a pool, on a deck, in a corner of the garden, or even indoors. When choosing the perfect spot for your tub think about how often you’ll use it. Because of its size and temperature, a spa can be enjoyed throughout the year; for some, it’s a smarter choice than a swimming pool.
The Convenience Factor
While it can be positioned pretty much anywhere, if you do have a pool, makes sense to install it nearby. When it gets cool, swimmers like to soak in the hot tub, and appreciate the short walk it takes to get there when it’s right near the pool. From a plumbing and electricity standpoint, it also makes sense to locate a pool and spa near each other.
Also think about convenience to your house, especially at night or in the winter, when a long trip from the hot tub to the house becomes even longer when you’re dripping wet and it’s freezing outside.
Sun, Shade, and Weather
Whether you live in a warm climate or one that experiences four seasons, it’s smart to consider the weather when choosing a location for your spa. Ideally, a hot tub should be placed in a spot facing southwest, to take advantage of the maximum amount of daylight hours. with a southwest exposure,
If you live in a desert region, a spa that faces north or east (or northeast) might be preferable, since it will bring relief from the sun, even during the cooler winter months.
Those who reside in northern regions that experience fairly cool summers should consider situating a hot tub to receive a southern exposure, to receive as much sun as possible. This will cut down on the cost of heating the spa.
Another important consideration is wind: too much can make sitting on the edges of the hot tub almost unbearable; too little can leave everyone unexpectedly overheated and make the area stagnant. If possible, it’s best to find a happy medium. A cover and fence can also help lessen the intensity of an otherwise-windy location.
That Thing Called Privacy
What you do in your spa is your business, but nobody wants it situated in a spot that can be in full or even partial view of neighbours. Think about it: if you’re surrounded by two-story houses, your neighbours can look down and witness the action. Keep this in mind when looking for the right spot in your garden. If privacy is important, think about building an enclosure or putting it in a gazebo– like structure with curtains that can be closed or open.
Strategic landscaping can also make the hot tub more private without having to house it in a separate structure. Vines, shrubs and small trees can all be placed surrounding the spa to offer privacy from any angle.
Make sure the spa has a properly installed cover to avoid any mishaps or tragedies if unsupervised children are in its vicinity. If you have children or grandchildren, position the hot tub where it can be viewed from indoors and outdoors. Install handrails for safe entry and exit of the spa.
Hot Tub Etiquette and Common Sense
Kelly Funk / Getty Images
If you’re lucky enough to own a hot tub or spa, then you probably know all the things you should and shouldn’t do in and around the tub, like issues of safety, care, and maintenance. Or do you? How long can you soak in a hot tub? Is it OK to have two glasses of wine, but no more? A little sand tracked into the tub won’t hurt, right? Will kids be fine in the hot tub as long as an adult is somewhere around?
We help you review smart things to do before stepping foot into that steamy tub.
Consult Your Physician
Southern Stock / Stockbyte / Getty Images
People with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or other cardiovascular conditions should consult their physicians before using a spa. Same goes for any medical condition: don’t just consult an online medical site–get the OK from the doctor.
Take a Shower
Blend Images / Trinette Reed / Getty Images
Always shower first with soap and water to reduce the likelihood of contaminating the spa water and minimizing health risks. Lotions, oils, and other things contribute to build-up in your spa. In cold climates, it’s not advisable to drain it — so save yourself the extra cost of a possible repair bill by rinsing off before and after. Besides: isn’t it nice to get into a really clean tub?
Limit Your Soak Time
Chris Clinton / Getty Images
Limit your soak time to no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Cool off, then re-enter if you like.
Ventilate Your Spa
If a spa is indoors and inadequately ventilated, some users may experience slight throat and eye irritation. Ventilate it naturally or mechanically with an exhaust fan. Find another place rather than the spa’s equipment compartment to store chemicals.
Limit Alcohol Use
Despite all of those stereotypes and hijinx we see in movies and hear about with celebrities, hot tubs and drinking don’t go hand-in-hand. Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages before or during spa use. Alcohol can make you drowsy and lead to drowning. Anyone taking prescription or certain over-the-counter medications should consult their physician before using a hot tub. Enjoy the soak in the tub, don your toasty terry cloth robe, and enjoy your glass of pinot grigio while sitting by the fire pit.
Consult Your Doctor if You’re Pregnant
Women who are pregnant should consult their physician before using a spa.
Tie Up Your Long Hair
People with long hair must tie it up to prevent the hair from being caught or pulled into the filter or drain. As a responsible owner, your spa should be equipped or retrofitted with drains or drain covers that meet code.
Install and Use Handrails
Handrails and non-slip surfaces will help to minimize the risk of slipping and falling. Remember that wet surfaces can be slippery. Take care when entering and exiting the spa. Only enter via the spa steps. Do not step or climb on spa edges or filter lids.
Install an Anti-Entrapment Drain Cover
You may have heard about the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, and you know your pool, spa or hot tub should be equipped with an anti-entrapment drain cover. It will prevent a tragedy.
Use the Cover
Use the thermal cover when the spa is not in use, empty or full
Ask Guests to Leave if They Can’t Play By the Rules
Ask people to leave if they’re unwilling to follow safe behaviour.
Test the Water Before Entering
Test the water with your hand before entering the spa to be sure it is comfortable and not too hot.
Make Sure the Spa is Connected to a GFCI
Make sure the spa is connected to a Residual Circuit Device protected circuit. This RCD is required by the Health and Safety Executive and must be installed by a licensed electrician. Test the RCD monthly.
Do Remove Contact Lenses
Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot. Despite all of those chemicals in the water, wearing lenses puts you at greater risk for developing a serious eye infection. Plus, they can get steamy.
Spa Safety and Etiquette: 10 Things You Should Not Do in a Hot Tub
Roughhousing in a hot tub is not a smart idea. Compassionate Eye Foundation/Steven Errico/Getty Images
Hot Tub Don’ts
A couple enjoys some “us” time in their spa. Getty Images
If you’re fortunate enough to own a hot tub or spa, then you probably know all the things you should and shouldn’t do in and around the tub, like issues of safety, care and maintenance.
Or do you? What’s the highest temperature at which the water should be safely set? Is it OK to have two glasses of wine, but no more? Just a little bit of sand tracked into the tub won’t hurt, right? Will kids be fine in the hot tub as long as an adult is somewhere in the vicinity?
Better find out.
Don’t Use Alcohol or Drugs
It may be fun, but partying can get dangerous with drugs or alcohol in the mix. Getty Images
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but drinking and hot tubbing are not a good mix. Despite all of those movies scenes depicting characters cavorting in hot tubs with their favorite beverage in hand, physicians and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) don’t recommend it. Sports stars and politicians have been known to imbibe while entertaining in a spa, but that doesn’t mean we should follow their example. The same caution should be used with drugs—check with your doctor before soaking in extremely hot water while taking a prescription.
One reason is that both alcohol and some drugs (prescription and recreational) can cause drowsiness or disorientation. Check the water temperature before entering (it should not exceed 104 degrees), observe reasonable time limits (10 to 15 minutes), and enter and exit the tub slowly in case of dizziness or to prevent falls.
Wounds, Sores, and Spas
Apply first aid to a bleeding wound; don’t rinse it in pool water. Cultura RM/Charles Gullung/Getty Images
People with open sores or any type of infection should not use a spa. The hot water is the perfect environment for spreading an infection, especially if sanitizer levels are not properly maintained. The same goes for rashes and other injuries. Consult a doctor to get the green light before stepping back into a hot tub.
Can You Get Pregnant in a Hot Tub?
Couple gets passionate in spa with all the extras. Getty Images
Don’t let someone convince you otherwise. Be smart, prepared, and use birth control if you think you might be having intercourse in a hot tub.
Is it Me or is it Hot in Here?
A definite don’t: getting overheated in a spa can lead to trouble. Heath Korvola/Getty Images
Newer spas have factory-set temperature maximums of 104°F. Most bathers find that 100° F to 102° F degrees is a comfortable and therapeutic level. Higher temperatures can place undue strain on the cardiovascular system. Be sure to accurately monitor the temperature. If you or your guests feel “funny”, lightheaded, or get overheated, step out of the tub. Check the temperature before returning and make sure you cool off and drink plenty of water.
Kids and Hot Tubs
Be vigilante and make sure kids are supervised in hot tubs at all times. Jeff Speed/First Light/Getty Images
Parents and caregivers should never—not even for a moment—leave children alone near open bodies of water, such as lakes or swimming pools, nor near water in homes (bathtubs, spas), according to the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP).
Spas and hot tubs are dangerous for young children, who can easily drown or become overheated. Don’t allow young children to use hot tubs, the AAP advises. Parents should learn CPR and keep a mobile phone and emergency equipment (i.e., life preservers) at poolside.
A young child’s risk of drowning should be taken seriously. Children can drown in just a few inches of water, and every year several do. Probably the greatest drowning danger arises when a child climbs unnoticed into an unsecured or unattended spa.
For this reason, hot tubs pose a constant source of danger. Like pools, spas should be properly fenced or covered, and an open tub should never be left alone by an adult—even for a minute or less.
Horseplay and Hot Tubs
Teens engaging in horseplay in a spa is a bad idea. Compassionate Eye Foundation/Steven Errico/Getty Images
It starts out innocently enough: a little flirting, teasing, and water play. Everyone becomes a kid again in the water, and casual horseplay can quickly get out of hand, with someone getting hurt. In the limited space of a hot tub, there’s no place to contain the action. Yes, it may be fun, but someone can slip easily, hit his or her head, twist an ankle, etc. Just, don’t.
Don’t jump or dive into a swim spa, spa, or hot tub. Climb in carefully; do not allow anyone to run or play while in or near the spa.
Spas and Drain Covers
Drain covers in a spa, attached to a pool. Getty Images
Every public pool and spa in the United States must be equipped with an anti-entrapment drain cover. Learn pool and spa safety, how to install a compliant drain covers, and regularly maintain your pool and spa.
Storms and Spas
During an electric storm, stay indoors. Aaron Siaw / EyeEm/Getty Images
Never use your spa during extreme weather conditions (i.e. electrical storms, tornados, hurricanes etc.). Go inside and reschedule your hot tub party for a clear day.
Don’t Soak in Hot Tubs Alone
While it is relaxing, soaking in a spa alone is not a good idea. Leon Harris/Getty Images
While those rules posted near public spas don’t seem exactly scientific, some just make good sense. Like not using the hot tub alone. If you’ve been drinking, take meds, have high or low blood pressure, or any other medical condition, it would be wise to wait for a companion to join you for a soak. Consult a doctor before using a hot tub regularly.
Etiquette: What to Do Before Entering a Hot Tub
Now that you know what not to do, discover what you should do before entering a hot tub. It never harms your reputation to be known as someone who is clean, reliable, and has impeccable manners.
By Lisa Hallett Taylor