Types of spa
Spas are large tubs filled with water that can be heated to 40 degrees, the spa then uses jets of water to massage and relax the body. They can accommodate anywhere between 2-8 people, have moulded seating to help you relax comfortably, and can be used all year round. There are two types of spa to choose from:
Inflatable models are the most affordable way to get into a spa. These spas are easy to set up, comfortable to use and some models are even portable. Inflatable spas are also a lot sturdier than you might think, too. Set up is easy; simply inflate the spa, connect it to the pump heater, fill with water and you are ready to start heating the water to your desired temperature. After that all you need to do is climb in, turn on the air blower and enjoy a relaxing massage.
For a more permanent spa, look for a rigid hot tub. They can be fully integrated into your garden, either by being set into the ground, or by having decking built around them. They do require a little more work to install, but once in place they simply connect to a standard electrical outlet and are ready to use at any time. Rigid spas have contoured seating set into them that allow you to choose between sitting upright or lounging comfortably with your feet raised. They also offer a wide variety of extras to enhance your experience – everything from aromatherapy systems that release scents to underwater LED lighting systems. Some models even feature Mp3 audio systems and bluetooth connectivity.
Heating your spa
Once your spa is set up it will heat up by around 1.5-2 degrees per hour. Once heated to the desired temperature, the heater will switch off and only come on again to get back up to the set temperature, just like central heating in your house. If your spa is left on to maintain the heat, the estimated running costs are typically between £7-£10 a week.
The health benefits of using a spa
Spas aren’t just for relaxing after a tiring day – they can provide genuine health benefits too. Just as athletes often use hydrotherapy as part of their training regimes, you too can enjoy the benefits that come from regular spa use.
Hydrotherapy works by using warm water to allow your blood vessels to open up, helping to reduce blood pressure. At the same time, the spa’s massaging jets stimulate your circulation, allowing your muscles to loosen and relax. In this way, a spa can help control or regulate a variety of medical conditions, from headaches and stress, to bursitis, tendonitis, scoliosis and fibromyalgia. They’re also particularly effective in the treatment of arthritis and joint injuries, as the water helps take pressure off the affected areas of the body.
How to look after your spa
Spas don’t need as much maintenance as you might think, but you will want to carry out a little work to keep your hot tub in top condition. Like any other pool, you’ll need to add chlorine to the water in your spa, as this prevents bacteria from growing in the water. For spas, you’ll want to use quick dissolving chlorine granules – simply sprinkle it over the water, or pre-dilute it in warm water before pouring it in. Allow the chlorine to dissolve, and after a couple of hours check the pH and chlorine levels of the water – they should be somewhere around 7.0-7.6.
If you’re buying a rigid spa, look for models made from microban acrylic, as this material is actually designed to inhibit the growth of microbes. Also look out for those that offer an ozone generation system, as this will help kill bacteria and reduce the need for chemicals.
Whichever type of spa you choose, it’s also a good idea to regularly change the water and the filters in the pump: if they get clogged it can constrict the water flow and eventually lead to damage to the motor. When you’re not using your spa, make sure you use a cover to prevent anything from falling into the water.
For more information take a look at our how to look after a lay-z spa guide.
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