Hot Tub: Perfect Centerpiece for Outdoor Living

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For a few years in the recent past, hot tubs fell out of favor (although they did star in quite a few jokes). Then came the rise in popularity of outdoor rooms — deck- or patio-type creations that provided a comfortable environment for relaxation, casual entertaining, and just plain enjoying the fresh air. Since a hot tub or Jacuzzi offers the ultimate in outdoor relaxation, it makes the perfect centerpiece for this kind of space.

Type of Tub

If you are considering buying a home spa system, you’ll have a number of options — in-ground versus portable, atop a deck or discreetly built in. Although an in-ground spa looks fantastic, it is the costliest route. Should you choose a portable model, you can craft a custom look with a hot tub case that matches your decking material. Be sure to select a comfortable size, and one that your deck can safely support — they range from two-seaters to units that can accommodate ten or more.

Surroundings

Whichever model you go for, always, always, have your hot tub installed to face a glorious view. No natural panorama to gaze at as you relax in the balmy water? No problem, just create your own. Install the hot tub as part of a sleek swimming pool. Alternatively, build an adjoining pond, stream, or waterfall, or a handsome fire pit or trendy fire-and-water feature. LED lighting adds a dramatic touch when you use your spa by night, and enhances the outdoor view from your window too.

Costs and Maintenance

Cost to install a mid-range hot tub starts at about $2000 and can run up to “the sky’s the limit” for a luxurious multi-featured home spa. The expertise involved in lifting the heavy appliance into place and setting up its electrical components make this a job for professionals only. Once the tub has been installed, it will add approximately $25-50 per month to your electric bill in winter if you keep it warm all the time.

A hot tub is easy to maintain. There’s no need to drain after use, although you may want to change the water once or twice a year. A chemical cartridge system ensures that the water will be kept sparkling clean and odor-free. Simple-to-use test strips allow you to check the water quality on a regular basis. You will occasionally need to clean or replace the filter.

Keeping it Green

The same eco-friendly technology that you use to save energy inside your home can be applied to your home spa. Use a solar thermal system to warm the water for less, and insulate the base of the tub to minimize heat loss. Turn down the default temperature a degree or two, and be sure to set the thermostat on “vacation” mode when you will be away from home for a while.

Spa Stay-cation

An enormous advantage of a home spa is that it allows you to access the ultimate stay-cation whenever you want. The warm water, combined with hydro jets, provides relaxation that will benefit physical and emotional health. It seems to naturally lower blood pressure and ease stiff joints and sore muscles. Of course, anyone who is pregnant or has a health problem must consult his or her physician regarding hot tub use.

While hot tubs do have a well-deserved reputation for inspiring a romantic atmosphere, they also provide wholesome family fun. When spa water is kept at a temperate 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it is safe for all ages. (Healthy adults can enjoy settings of up to 104 F.) Be sure to close up your tub with a locked cover when you’re not using it to keep children and pets out.

Your spa can be used year round. In fact, when you’re feeling next winter’s chill, you’ll be able to go outside to warm up! Just be sure that your hot tub install includes a sheltering windbreak such as a wall or nearby grove of trees. For summertime comfort, construct a pergola to shade your spa from the sun’s strongest rays.

(Networx.com)