BACKYARD LIFE

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FAQs

Whether you already have a hot tub on your deck or patio, or you are considering purchasing a new model, you may have questions. This list of Frequently Asked Questions, and answers, is meant to assist you. We believe that well-informed buyers will choose a hot tub. Feel better, spend more time together, and relax. Visit our store to ask about how easy it is to own a hot tub.

What should I consider before buying a hot tub?

You may consider "wet testing" a Jacuzzi® before purchasing. This means getting into a spa with water in it. Many reputable spa dealers maintain filled demonstration models just for this purpose. Here is what you should look for: Verify that the seats provide comfortable support. You do not want to have to scoot down in the hot tub like you do in a bathtub. When sitting in any seat, the water should reach shoulder level. If it does not, you will not get full hydrotherapeutic value. Stay in the hot tub with the jets on for at least 15 minutes. At the end of that time you will know whether the seating and jet arrangements are comfortable.

Do I have to use chlorine in my pool or spa?

NO. There are several alternatives to chlorine. One alternative for pools is to use bromine. It is, however, costly and somewhat difficult to keep in pools, so unless it is an indoor pool or one that is primarily covered, we do not recommend it. Another alternative is a salt-chlorine generator. While this isn't an "alternative" to chlorine in the truest sense of the word, it is a much more comfortable and natural way of chlorinating the pool. Another alternative is Baquacil, which is the only "true" alternative to using chlorine. In fact, Baquacil and chlorine are completely incompatible. If you were to add chlorine to a Baquacil-treated pool or spa it would turn to gelatin! Baquacil uses polymer chains, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonia, the same basic sanitation used by hospitals. For spas, bromine is a more viable option since you are dealing with a much smaller body of water that is covered most of the time. BaquaSpa, similar to the Baquacil product for pools, is another option that works very well in spas. Another popular alternative for spas is Ozone, but this usually has to be coupled with some other type of sanitizer since Ozone is primarily an oxidizer. A final option for spas is a Nature 2 system in which you use silver and copper ions to kill both bacteria and algae, but this has to be coupled with an oxidizer.

During construction, who is responsible for removing excess debris and cleaning up my yard?

We are. If either Johnson Pools or our subcontractors leave garbage, we will keep it neatly piled or remove it immediately. We do not consider our customer's yard a garbage can.

How much should I spend?

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 as you are shopping you will consider a hot tub. No matter which brand of spa you finally choose, we want you to be an informed consumer and find the right spa for your needs.

What can I do to assure my family's safety?

  • Check to be sure that the hot tub you buy is listed by a recognized independent testing agency such as ETL.
  • Use a qualified electrician to connect the electrical service to the hot tub.
  • Make sure the cover comes with a locking system to prevent unauthorized use. Many hot tubs feature locking control panels, as well.
  • Keep appliances and other electrical devices away from the hot tub area.
  • Always observe the warnings about hot tub use by small children, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions and people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What about 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. Avoid spa dealers who add prorated and deductible provisions. Make sure you read the manufacturer's warranty before buying, and compare coverage with other spas you are considering.

Do I need pool service or can I take care of my pool myself?

Since pool care is primarily about preventative maintenance, it requires diligence and consistency. It requires approximately 30 minutes per week without fail. We like to say that if you are the type of person who changes your own oil and filter on your automobile you are a good candidate to maintain and care for your own pool. You will need the support of a qualified water testing center at your local pool store, like Johnson Pools, to help you solve problems that may arise with water chemistry. If, however, you are not able to provide this diligence and consistency, then pool service is the way to go. If you choose to have Johnson Pools service your pool, all you have to worry about is using your pool. While Johnson Pools weekly service contracts start at $90/month, the cost difference if you factor in the chemicals the average pool owner buys per year is as little as $40-$50 per month. Plus, you have the added benefit of having a professional service technician maintaining your pool and its equipment on a weekly basis.

Will you be responsible for landscaping my entire yard or are you just a pool builder?

We specialize in pools, so we like to work "from the coping in" and focus on the pool and its related issues. We can, if you would like, contract the decking (or hardscape) of your pool, but this is not our specialty. If you choose to have us do so, we add on to the price of the bid to manage that portion of the project, so you are generally better off dealing directly with the concrete company. As far as landscaping goes, we do not contract the landscaping but we would be happy to refer you to landscape contractors we often work with. By focusing on just building, remodeling, and servicing pools we believe it makes us a better company. We are not overstretching our boundaries or our resources by trying to do too many things. By focusing on pools and pools alone, we have become an expert in our field.

Is it installed inside or outside?

A spa can be installed indoors or outdoors, although over 90%, including those in cold weather climates, are installed outdoors. The two main considerations for installing a spa indoors are: will it fit through the door, and is the structural strength of the flooring adequate. A typical 3-person spa weighs approximately 2,500 lbs/1,150 kg when filled.

Do I need to install plumbing?

No. All above-ground portable spas are filled with water using a garden hose.

How do I clean the water?

Proper water maintenance is vital to enjoyment of your spa. Maintenance procedures are not difficult, and knowledgeable Jacuzzi® retailers will provide the start-up kit and instructions you need.

How often do I clean the spa?

Most manufacturers recommend draining and cleaning your spa no more than 3 or 4 times per year, depending on how frequently you use it and how well you maintain your water. In most cases this simple process will only take about an hour to accomplish.

What precautions should I take if I'm leaving on vacation?

When a customer comes into our retail store with a problem, the four words we hear more often than not are, "I went on vacation…" If you are leaving for even a week's time, it pays to have Johnson Pools or another pool service provider come by for a one-time service call. If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, it may be cost-effective for you to sign a one month service contract with Johnson Pools or another service provider, as the monthly rates are less expensive than the one-time service fees.

How is the 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.

How many jets are adjustable?

Truly beneficial hydrotherapy is directly related to the placement of the jets and to some extent, being able to adjust each jet where it is needed. These are the standards by which physical therapy and athletic hydrotherapy systems are judged. A common point of consumer confusion occurs when manufacturers load up a spa with lots of inexpensive, non-adjustable, stationary jets. It doesn't make any difference how many jets a spa has if they are not properly located and plumbed to provide the correct balance of water, air and horsepower.

Is the price you quoted the final price, or are there any potential add-ons or hidden costs?

The price we quote is the price you pay. However, if you ask to have changes made during the design or construction phase of the process, the price can go either up or down. Also, in our bid there are some allowances. One is an allowance for excavation time because that is the biggest unknown in the construction process. We allot a certain amount of time for excavation based on our many years of experience, but that may change based upon what we run into once the digging begins. The second allowance is for tile. The per linear foot price we quote covers all of the 80+ tile patterns we offer. If, however, you would like a custom tile not offered by Johnson Pools, this cost can go up. The same rule applies to the coping. The allowance we give in the original bid is generous enough to cover most typically used materials such as a pre cast coping stone or a bull nose brick. If, however, you choose to use, for instance, a Connecticut bluestone or an Arizona flagstone and have it cut, milled, and manipulated, we will back out the allowance from the original bid, have you pay for the materials, and we will be happy to install it for you.

As a salesperson, will I see you during the construction process to make sure I'm getting what you sold me?

We will be with you every step of the way from design, through construction, to completion. At completion, we will instruct you on the use of your pool and either set up a service contract with Johnson Pools or instruct you on caring for the pool yourself. You will always have access to the person you originally met with (either Matt or Stan) to make sure you're getting everything you were promised.

What does the pump's horsepower rating mean?

There are two kinds of horsepower ratings applied to spa pumps: "Continuous Operating" horsepower and "Brake" horsepower (also called "Marketing" horsepower). Continuous Operating 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.

Is the spa full foam insulated?

All major manufacturers agree that filling the spa cabinet with polyurethane foam insulation significantly reduces heat loss, thus reducing heating costs. While this process adds to the cost of manufacturing, research has shown that full foam insulation provides substantial savings to the spa owner over time. Some manufacturers eliminate full foam insulation in an attempt to provide a less expensive product.

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 by 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.

How do the jets and jet systems allow me to customize my hydrotherapy experience?

Many jets are adjustable, giving you an amazing number of options. The jets adjust from oscillating to targeted; rotate clockwise, counter-clockwise, or stationary. You can control the flow, volume, and movement of other jets as well. In addition, controlling the amount of air mixed with the water with the air control valves changes the dynamics of the massage. Conveniently placed massage selectors let you divert water from one seat to another to increase or minimize the water flow. Ask us to show you how the strategically placed and uniquely designed jets make the hot tub experience the ultimate in relaxation and therapy.

Isn't a bigger pump going to give me a better massage?

Many manufacturers talk about the horsepower of their pumps. Horsepower can be measured using a "service factor" or a "true rating" 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, and not looking for acceleration up a mountain road or a punishing hot water experience!

What's the purpose of a circulation pump?

Today's finest spas feature a small circulation pump that continuously filters the water to keep it clean and clear. It also provides the necessary flow to allow the heater to constantly maintain your set temperature. Hot tubs without circulation pumps must rely on the low speed of a larger horsepower pump turning on periodically to provide filtration and the flow required for heating. The circulation pump is the most efficient method to provide flow for filtration and heating.

How long before I want to use the hot tub should I start heating it?

The control system can keep your hot tub hot and ready to use. Or you may prefer the "economy" setting which allows you to tell the system when you are most likely to use the hot tub and the water will be hot and ready at your designated times.

I understand that the heater is usually the most vulnerable component of any spa. How is yours different?

The heater employs a titanium coil that directly heats the water, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Titanium prohibits heater corrosion and nearly eliminates failure. The Sentry Smart™ Heater carries a 5-year unconditional warranty.

Can any hot tub on 120V electrical service?

Most hot tubs must be connected to 240V electrical service, but some offer the option of operating on either 120V or 240V. While connecting to 120V can be less involved, most customers prefer the benefits of the 240V spa, which include quicker heating time and better temperature maintenance during cold weather use. This is because the heater output is four times as great in a 240V spa versus a 120V spa. If you choose to connect your spa to 120V service, you must be certain that it is a dedicated circuit, not shared by any other appliance, and has amperage rating appropriate for the spa you select.

Are there special precautions I should take before I have a pool party?

Other than making sure the pool is balanced, the chlorine level is adequate (if not on the high side of the accepted range), and all screens and baskets are emptied, there are not any special precautions you need to take. After the party, however, you would want to run the filtration system overnight and either manually add chlorine or, if you have an automatic chlorine dispenser, run this overnight as well. This will expedite the process of getting the pool back in shape for use the next day and thereafter.

Does an automatic pool cleaner really cut down on maintenance?

ABSOLUTELY. A good pool cleaner will do much of the work for you. There are two basic components to pool care: one is the water chemistry balance and the other is the physical cleaning of the pool. By automating a large portion of the physical cleaning you will obviously spend less time and simplify the process of maintaining your pool. We like to say that a pool without a cleaner is like a kitchen without a dishwasher.

Does it matter where I buy my pool chemicals?

Like the old adage says, "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is." When you buy pool chemicals at bargain prices from discount stores or your local supermarket, make sure you know what you are getting. All chemicals sold must have a list of their ingredients, so read the labels carefully. In those ingredients it will list the active ingredients and the inert ingredients. If you are buying chemicals with a high content of inert ingredients, those inert ingredients AREN'T DOING ANYTHING! You want to be sure you are getting chemicals with the higher active ingredients because that is what's giving you the "bang for your buck".

How long can I expect it to take to build a pool?

Generally we tell customers it takes 6 to 8 weeks from the time construction begins. In some instances it can take longer because we can be held up in completing the pool due to coordination with concrete contractors, landscaping contractors, or other subcontractors. We do all that we can to work in conjunction with these other contractors in order to streamline the process and minimize the amount of time it takes to build your pool.

How long will it take before I can use my new pool?

Once a pool is completed and full of water, the startup procedures can take up to one week before you and your family can be swimming and enjoying your new pool.

What is the best way to insure pool safety for my children and animals?

The best way is with an automatic cover. With an automatic cover, once the cover is closed and the key is removed from the locking mechanism that opens and closes the cover, no one is getting in the pool without scissors or some other sharp object. Fences can also be used, but these can be climbed or jumped. Aside from the safety considerations, there are other benefits of an automatic cover, as well. One is the overall cleanliness of the pool since the cover will keep most debris out of the pool. Another is the insulation of the pool. Ninety percent of the heat loss in a pool is through the surface of the pool, so by keeping the cover on the pool when it is not in use you will greatly increase the daily temperature during the swim season and extend the amount of time you can comfortably enjoy your pool.

How do I keep my kid's hair from turning green?

It is a myth that chlorine turns hair green because chlorine is a bleach. Rather, it is the presence of copper in your water that turns hair green because of the blue tarnish of copper combined with yellow (or blonde) hair. To prevent this, you can use a sequestering agent, which will help keep the copper ions in solution and prevent them from sticking to hair or other pool surfaces.

My long-haired dog(s) love to swim in my pool—what special considerations should I take?

While no special considerations need to be taken in advance of the dog(s) swimming, you should be aware that hair from the dog(s) will plug things like the skimmer basket, the pump basket, and the filter. As a result, you will have to be emptying those baskets more frequently, monitoring the filter pressure more closely, and, most likely, cleaning the filter more often.
 


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Contact us to discuss the different hot tubs that are available to you. Whether you’re in need of spa repair
or you’re simply looking for a new one, feel free to contact us. We’re more than happy to help!

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