Purchase & Operation

What should I consider before buying?

You may consider "wet testing" a spa before purchasing. This means getting into a spa with water in it. Many reputable spa retailers maintain filled demonstration models just for this purpose. If your favorite spa model is available only dry in the showroom, still crawl into the seats and consider the following:Verify that the seats provide comfortable support and a size that fits your body. You do not want to have to tuck yourself down into the spa to stay in the warm water; the water should reach shoulder level. If it does not, you will not get full hydrotherapeutic value and may become chilled during the cold winter months when enjoying your spa is prime. For a wet test, stay in the spa with the jets on for at least 15 minutes. Move around in all of the seating arrangements. At the end of that time you will know whether the seating and jet arrangements are comfortable. Remember that just because a spa looks comfortable it may not necessarily be for your body-type. Also keep in mind that your body becomes buoyant in the warm moving waters and a deeper knee angle on lounges helps you to stay in place during your soak.
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How much should I spend? How much is too much or too little?

Quality spas are available in a wide range of prices. Just like cars, spa prices reflect features, materials and workmanship. Of course, we hope that you will compare many spa brands to a PDC Spa and realize that they are of the highest quality and value on the marketplace. No matter which brand of spa you purchase, you should be an informed consumer and find the spa that is right for you. Remember that if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many spa builders cut corners in their manufacturing to offer a lower price forsaking the strength and reliability of the unit. Look for a good warranty, a manufacturer that has been in business for a long period of time, and a retailer that is knowledgeable and provides service after the sale.
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Where should we install the hot tub?

Many buyers do not get the full enjoyment from their new spa because of poor site planning. Privacy from neighbors, distance from the home and many factors contribute to the appearance and ultimately the use of the spa. Think about the location and sit in chairs where you plan to place your spa and observe your surroundings. You will be glad you took the time to plan properly while sitting in the perfect spot on your property.A spa can be installed indoors or outdoors, although over 95%, including those in cold weather climates, are installed outdoors. Main considerations for installing a spa indoors, in a screened porch or a sunroom, are: will it fit through the door, is the structure strength of the flooring adequate, and is drainage and ventilation adequate. Be sure you have adequate ceiling height for cover removal. A typical 3-person spa weighs approximately 2,500 lbs/1,150 kg when filled. Be sure that the hot tub will fit into the space and that the path to the area is possible not only for the size but including a dolly and delivery men needed to move the spa into place. The best case scenario for any hot tub in a room is a tiled floor with a floor drain. We also recommend a dehumidifier to get all of the moisture out of the room. The flooring should be outdoor water friendly materials. You will get water on the floor through splashing, every time you exit the spa, and with each person in the spa that much water is displaced and could end up on your floor. You should also consider the unlikely event of rapid spa drainage. You can use a wet vacuum to get the puddles up or with a floor drain you can squeegee the water into the drain. Always check the load characteristics of your floor. The structure must be able to withstand at least a constant load of 100 pounds per square foot. Contacting a professional to confirm this is recommended.

For an outdoor hot tub, a level concrete slab or wood deck is appropriate. This surface should be able to withstand a minimum load of 100 pounds per square foot. Pavers and or a stone base deserves consideration as they have a tendency to shift over time. Do not place your spa directly on sand or grass. Your spa should be on a concrete pad at least 4" thick and have footers on the edge below frost line. The standard size for a concrete slab is 8' x 8' although depending on the size of your spa, arrange for a considerable amount of the base to extend beyond the cabinet sides and end cabinet, to allow for easy mobility around the unit. Also consider additional space required for the cover removal device. Installing your spa on a wooden deck is probably the most common spot for installation. A concrete slab is not needed if the deck is of adequate strength.This question is answered in more detail in our Planning Guide found on this website. Download the file and print the document for reference.
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What should I consider when positioning the spa?

Our units look fantastic and are easiest to service when access is available from all sides of the hot tub when the unit is sitting above grade. If you feel you must sink the hot tub in a deck or limit the access to the unit you may incur costly repair bills and inconvenience when attempting to gain access to its components. This type of install is not recommended at Outlet Hot Tubs. Since we make such a variety of hot tubs it is always best to check with your PDC Spas consultant before you decide on a restrictive location or paint yourself into a corner. Call us, we will be glad to help you find the right model that suits your location needs. If you choose a unit with an end cabinet, leave ample access for servicing and with a slimline unit, the best scenario is to have all four sides of access panels within easy reach. Also consider the seating arrangement of the spa for an easy "step into" spot and also the view from each of those seats. If you purchase a cover removal device, allow for an additional 24 inches in the back and at least six inches on each side for the pivot bar.
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How much will it cost to operate?

It will depend on the usage and size of your unit. On average, people spend about a dollar a day to operate their spa. Your usage, climate and cost per KW hour will all contribute to the operating cost. All hot tubs come with economy modes of operation and feature superior insulation to reduce energy consumption and make using your hot tub more comfortable all year round. If you were to ask, "how much gas am I going to use in this new car?" the answer might be similar. Depending on how often you use your spa, what the outside temperature is, how long each spa usage is, etc. The cost of operation varies. Most spa owners expect about $1 per day for electricity in the North East. That is about the same as a refrigerator. And since when did your refrigerator give you a massage?
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What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is the combined effect of heat, massage, and buoyancy. Warm water dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow to sore or damaged tissues, allowing oxygen and nutrients to help overworked muscles recover faster. Massage, provided by the spa's jet system, relaxes tense muscles and relieves pressure on surrounding nerves. Massage also improves circulation and accelerates the body's natural healing process. Buoyancy reduces your body's weight up to 90%. This relieves pressure on strained joints and muscles. Hydrotherapy is widely recognized as an effective method of alleviating the tension commonly associated with stress.
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How is the spa insulated? Is foam filled a better insulator?

Many of today's manufacturer's use an insulation technique known as foam-filling which consists of spraying the entire inner area of the spa with foam insulation that becomes a solid. This is done for several reasons, NONE of which are for the benefit of the customer. Full foam hides manufacturing defects that can cost the owner plenty of money during ownership. Poorly fitted plumbing can cause leaks and are hidden deep in the foam of which has to be removed to access the leak. Which ends in a costly repair bill and areas void of the removed insulation. Manufacturers that use this process depend on the solid foam as a factor of strength to save money on fiberglass and resin as the spa shell strength.The best insulating factor in all applications is a dead air space trapping warmth and recycling waste heat. PDC Spas builds their spas with this in mind with the TemperLock system utilizing a reflective thermal blanket that traps heat between the spa shell and the cabinet wall, and recycling the pumps heat generated during operation. This blanket is easily lifted to access all plumbing and keeps the spa stronger yet lighter in weight than a foam-filled unit.
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What does the pump's horsepower rating mean?

There are two kinds of horsepower ratings applied to spa pumps: "Continuous Duty " horsepower and "Peak" horsepower (also called "Marketing" horsepower). Continuous Duty is the horsepower the motor is capable of producing while the spa is in operation. Brake is the amount of horsepower the motor produces on start-up before dropping to the Continuous Operating rate. Beware of the claims of huge numbers of HP that simply refer to the Marketing HP and not the true reflection of the water flow during operation. The most important item to know is the proper pairing of number of jets and GPM (gallons per minute). This is a measurement of actual water flow and thereby a measurement of hydrotherapy. More horsepower does not mean more therapeutic value.
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Does the square footage of the filter mean cleaner water?

More filters or larger square footage filters do not mean cleaner water. Maximum water filtration on PDC Spas is accomplished thru a main filter located on the pressure side of the pump forcing the spa water thru the tine pleats of the filter trapping debris. Water does not bypass the filter as in other suction-side systems. A filter is simply used to take out contaminants, hair, skin cells and contaminants that have been burned up by the water sanitizer. Filters have nothing to do with sanitizing your water. You will notice that many manufacturers over compensate in filtration and have up to five filters in their units. Filters need to be replaced annually and this cost (up to $50 per filter) should be accounted for when you calculate the total operating cost of your hot tub. Maintain a level of ozone and bromine, when needed, and keep your filter clean for simple maintenance and assurance of crystal clean water.
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Does a bigger pump mean a better massage?

Many manufacturers talk about the horsepower of their pumps. Horsepower can be measured using a "peak factor" or a "continuous duty" system. The first describes the initial thrust as the pump first engages, but immediately the pump output falls to a lower, continuous horsepower level. When a spa manufacturer claims they have a 6-hp pump, they are describing the "initial thrust" not the horsepower the pump delivers as it runs. Efficient plumbing, better jets, and flow control are more important than horsepower. A lower horsepower pump in a more efficient spa will produce just as much jet power as a higher horsepower pump. And remember, you are looking for a comfortable but strong massage, not for a punishing hot water experience! Consider the GPM rating as a trued measure of effective hydrotherapy not the HP rating that is so often misconstrued by other manufacturers.
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Does an air therapy system provide a better therapy experience?

An air therapy system often referred to as a "bubbler" is an integrated channel system in the spa shell that actually blows warmed air through a number of small outlets; up to 73 on some PDC Spa units, that deliver a soft "all-over" body massage. This is a general massage with total water movement as opposed to the often too strong pinpoint action of powerful jets. This soothing effect is something you should not miss in the whole hydrotherapy experience. This is more costly to build and most manufacturers choose to talk their customers out of it.
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Do I need to install plumbing?

No. All above-ground portable spas are filled with water using a garden hose. It is recommended to empty and refill the unit annually, at least. The procedure is simple and quick.
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How do I clean and sanitize the water?

Proper water maintenance is vital to enjoyment of your spa. While some salespeople may try to convince you that they can sell you a "chemical-free" spa, professional retailers and manufacturers most often recommend the use of ozone purification in conjunction with sanitizers developed specifically for spas. Maintenance procedures are not difficult, and knowledgeable retailers will provide the start-up kit and instructions you need.
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Can I use the spa during cold winter weather?

Your hot tub is an ALL season product. Use your hot tub anytime of the year and anytime of the day! Most hot tub enthusiasts will agree that the winter time is the best time to be in a hot tub. The cold winter air will not affect you when you are in the swirling warm waters of your hot tub. You may think that you will not use it in the winter time, but you will find that this is not the case once you experience the therapeutic benefits of a soak in frigid cold weather. Did I mention that it's cool to have snow accumulate on your head while the rest of you is toasty warm in the hot tub? Enjoy the daily benefits of hydrotherapy and know that your hot tub is constructed of the highest energy efficiency standards possible. Remember to keep your spa cover closed when not in use.
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What are the electrical specifications of the spa?

Typically all of our hot tubs are 220V - 50Amp requiring installation with an approved G.F.C. I. breaker. For specific information and an illustration of a typical GFCI installation, go to the support section of this site and download the document for your electrician's reference. A licensed electrician is required to properly bring power to the unit. The 50 amp requirements and installation of the spa may be more costly than a cheaper 110V plug-in unit, although for proper heating and simultaneous pumping action you will be satisfied with the higher amperage draw.
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How is the water temperature controlled?

Most quality spas have relatively sophisticated digital thermostatic controls. These highly reliable modern systems are capable of keeping the spa water within one degree of any temperature you select. While this is important for comfort, it is also important for safety. You should pay particular attention to the control system if you have children who will be using the spa. Better systems have safety locks and digital readouts. A good indicator of the control system's quality is to read and compare manufacturers' warranties. In the beginning, you should start your unit at 98-100°F. Once you are accustomed to this temperature, you can adjust up or down to get to the temperature that is perfect for you. This is mainly personal preference, although you should not stay in the hot tub for longer than 10-15 minutes at 104°F. If you are pregnant you should limit your time in the spa and reduce the temperature. If you have any health concerns, consult your health care professional before you get into the hot tub.
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Is the spa protected from freezing?

Most quality spas have built-in freeze protection with the modern digital control systems. With Outlet Hot Tubs, rest assured that all controls offered have this feature.Consult your owners manual (can be downloaded on this site) for further details and call 1-800-78-GECKO with any questions you may want to direct to the manufacturer.
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Do I need an electrician to connect the spa?

Yes. All spas require the unit to be properly installed according to all national and local codes by a qualified electrician.
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How important is the warranty?

Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind: A product warranty is a performance and reliability agreement between you and the manufacturer. Make sure you read the manufacturer's warranty before buying, and compare coverage with other spas you are considering. A lifetime warranty is very misleading and varies from state-to-state with most states limiting the coverage to seven years. Choose a manufacturer who has been in business for a longer period of time and therefore proven their commitment to customer care.
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How involved is the maintenance of the spa?

A minimum amount of care goes a long way in maintaining your hot tub. Regularly used hot tubs take minimal maintenance. Check your PH weekly and keep the PH balanced at 7.2. Clean your filters as needed with a pressure garden hose, cleaning between the pleats. A filter cartridge can last for months when properly cared for. You can use filter cleaner ( nothing that causes sudsing) and soak the filter overnight if necessary. It is recommended to replace your filter annually. Your spa will need to be drained and refilled on a regular basis. This time frame depends on your water quality and amount of use. It could range from as much as every three months to annually. Before you refill, swab down the water line with a non-abrasive, non-sudsing cleaner. The correct chemicals and accessories along with other tips on the proper maintenance of your hot tub can be found in your owners manual.Download your copy on this site.
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