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Hot Tub Control

s and Power
Home :: Hydrotherapy :: Power & Controls

The Seat of Hot Tub Control

Spa Control System: Think of the spa control panel as the "dashboard" of your spa. This is the place where you'll customize your massage, your temperature, and your spas' filtration cycles. With a good system, you have complete control - you can create your spa experience exactly as you like it.

It's important to determine what you really need in a hot tub control panel<>. Are you the type of person who wants to adjust your spa's performance down to the tiniest element? Spa controllers that offers a high degree of control are available. If you'd rather have settings taken care of for you, you can choose a simpler hot tub controller system, or one that allows for both custom and pre-programmed cycles set by the hot tub manufacturer.

  • Does the hot tub control panel show actual temperature and set temperature (like a good home heating thermostat)? This is important, because you don't want to enter a hot tub if you can't see the actual spa water temperature.
  • Is there an auxiliary spa control panel? Two panels allow you to adjust the pumps and water flow from multiple positions in the hot tub, so you don't have to stand up during your massage.
  • Does the hot tub controller have a locking system, so your hot tub temperature control can't be changed without your knowledge?
  • Are there pre-programmed filtration cycles on the control panel? Or, if you prefer, can you program the cycles yourself?
  • Is the spa control system simple to use? Do you understand the operations and would you feel comfortable performing them?
  • Does the spa controller system come with an energy-saver or efficiency mode?
  • Can you see the hot tub control panel clearly in the dark? Does it have three dimensional buttons you can feel?

Hot Tub Power: Many hot tub manufacturers talk about the horsepower of their pumps. Horsepower can be expressed using something called a "service factor" or another measurement called a "true rating system."

Each method yields different results, so hot tub comparisons can be misleading. In the real world, efficient plumbing, high quality jets, and flow control are more important than horsepower. A lower-horsepower pump in an efficient hot tub will produce just as much jet power as a higher-horsepower pump in an inefficient hot tub or spa. Here's the best way to measure hot tub power:

  • To gauge over-all hot tub power, take a soak, or just stick your hand in the water and use the controls to check the water flow from the various jet groupings. This should tell you everything you need to know about a hottub's pump power.

Creating Flow Power

Many consumers - and some hot tub dealers - will focus on the size and horsepower of pumps when comparing the flow power of a hot tub. While pump size may be important, it cannot be properly examined out of context. Imagine comparing two boats: both boats have the same size motor, but one has a bigger propeller. Of course, the boat with the bigger propeller will move more water. The same is true of hot tub pumps.

Hot tub pumps have two ends. The first end houses the electrical components in the pump. This is the end that receives a horsepower rating. The second end is the impeller end. This end pushes the water, and is every bi as important as the end that creates horsepower. Both of these components work together to provide you with water flow volume. And volume means power.

So, if pumps can't be rated alone, how do you judge flow power? Ask about how the hot tub or spa is built. How does the hot tub create water volume? A combination of good pumps, plumbing, jets, jet formations, and versatility options creates good water flow.

If jets are installed in a series or a straight line, it's difficult to get full and equal pressure to each jet. Does the hot tub or spa have manifold plumbing that allows precise clustering of jets and an equal amount of water pressure to each jet?

Does the spa have options that allow you to adjust the flow of air and water? Are those adjustments simple and easy? Can you make the adjustments from any position? Is there enough versatility to provide you with the flow and power to meet your needs?

Adding Heat

There are basically two ways commonly used to heat a hot tub: electricity or gas. Most portable hot tub models today use electric heating elements. They range in kilowatt power from 1kW to 11kW. Obviously, the higher the rating (kW) of your heater, the faster your portable hot tub will heat up. A 6kW heater generally raises the water temperature about 6 degrees an hour.

The most efficient heating elements come in contact with the water and transfer the highest percentage of heat produced to the spa water. Although they may be susceptible to corrosion, properly balanced water will prolong your heater's life. Several hot tub manufacturers have addressed the issue of heater problems by switching to high quality heating elements made from titanium. Other manufacturers have incorporated heaters that don't allow water to touch the heating elements. Instead, the heating elements are wrapped around stainless steel tubes, through which the water flows. These heaters can increase the cost of the hot tub, and are not as energy-efficient.

With inground hot tubs, you have more of a choice of heaters. You can use either an electric or gas heater with an inground hot tub. Gas heaters will initially be more expensive than electric heaters, but they heat much faster and in the long run they will be less costly to run on a monthly basis.

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