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OT: Hot Tubs & Sport Court Tiles

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A bit off topic but I can find enough credible user reviews for these. I'm hoping some of the members here have experience on buying hot tubs and sport court tiles.

 

Hot Tubs 

This will be my first one so I'm clueless.

What brand to consider?

What nightmares to avoid?

What features are worth it?

What features/options are useless.

Integration to C4 is the least of my concerns, it will be nice but not a priority.

I'm building a deck around it.

Is there really a difference between spending $9000 or $18000 on brand name with bells & whistles?

Full foam insulated or not?

Salt water or chlorine?

Lounger or not?

How many HP, how many jets?

 

I'm currently liking this double lounger by Hydropool. http://www.hydropoolhottubs.com/en/Shop/Products/Hot_Tubs/Self-Cleaning/HPHTSC0700__700

 

 

Sport Court Tiles

Along with this backyard project is a basketball court.

I've read the bounce of the ball is bad

I've read very slippery when wet even from sweat.

Likelihood of scraping your self with the sharp edges of the tiles are high?

The paint/sticker lines go quickly

 

I'm currently favoring Versa court http://www.versacourt.com/basketballcourts.html

 

Any good solid suggestions and experiences highly, highly appreciated.

 

 

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I have a Bullfrog Spa (http://www.bullfrogspas.com) which I've really liked. Their jet paks are really nice and reduce some of the potential plumbing issues.

I sunk it down on the deck. I got a cover lifter, ozone, and app control which can be tied into control4.

I felt like it was the best value - quality and price.

I'm curious about the sport court too. We have it on cement now but was planning on adding tiles someday.

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I decided on Artesian Spa.

I looked at Artic, Hydropool, Beachcomber and many more. I initially wanted to stick with a Canadian mfg, tested in Canadian winters but the features of the Artesian and models they have fit my needs better. (translation the Artesian salesperson was really good). To be honest after looking at so many tubs for so long, they really start to all look the same to me. I even looked at mid range tubs (I'm so glad I didn't go  with those)

Hopefully Eric will come up with a driver that will integrate the wi-fi module with Control4

Got the court tiles too.

Snapsports I feel is really the only way to go. I got the bounce stuff really makes a diff in ball handling.

If you need any advice on the court tiles I'll be more than happy to help.

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Sorry for the late response, but in case anyone else is reading this... (by the way did you go with salt water?)

 

I am in Toronto as well and I have had a Jacuzzi brand tub for about 8-9 years.  Mine isn't integrated into C4 and I don't know why I would want to do that, other than to turn down the temp when I was going to be out of town and no one would be using it for a few days.  I guess you could also turn down the temp in hours where no one is likely to use the tub as well which could save on electricity (midnight-6pm on weekdays, midnight-noon on weekends).  I am happy with the tub although we have had some minor things break through the years and the coloured LEDs stopped working a few years ago as well.

I didn't really have the salt water option at the time but my pool has salt water and I love that so I would go with that if it is an option.  Our tub uses bromine.

One piece of advice is to have the tub close to the house to facilitate usage in the winter.  Our tub is under our deck which is great since it means that you don't have to trudge through snow to get into the tub in the winter (not that it is a concern in this non-winter).  We probably use our tub more in the winter than in the summer.  Also putting it where it isn't in view of the neighbours might be a good idea if you don't want to always bother with a bathing suit.

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8 minutes ago, zaphod said:

Sorry for the late response, but in case anyone else is reading this... (by the way did you go with salt water?)

No I didn't but the dealer told me I could do that in the future if I wanted to. What's the diff? Still new at this. I haven't mastered maintaining the water yet. I was given Lithium & SpaShock from SpaBoss to maintain.

I did go to the Jacuzzi store in Vaughan, pretty high pressure sales. I didn't mind them but they didn't have the size that I liked. I think they were telling me they use to be an Arctic store and bashed Arctic left and right. I did like their sauna's though (maybe next year)

I did place it as close to the house as possible. I'm building a deck around it this spring. I'm finding out now that I'm using the tub this winter that wind is the enemy. But as you said this non-winter helped a lot.

For Control4 integration, its not so much scheduling when not being used. It already actually comes with built in scheduler for filter cycles and High/Low range for when it is not being used. And of course with the Balboa Wifi Module you can even control it from your phone on the fly.

I'm not sure what Eric's driver will allow for control but I would find it helpful to know if the tub is on and someone is using it specially late at night, if not - (scheduled) Lights out, Doors locked, Alarm armed. Let's just say we've been locked out of the house in the middle of winter night with nothing more than trunks - no phones either.

Home integration would have been helpful, not to mention having one app to control the house and tub is nice but notification fo sho.

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I have my spa integrated (via pentair) with control4 and only really use the integration for turning it back on 24 hours before I return from a holiday (but the integration is worth it just for that). 

I use ozone which I find much better than a salt chlorination. Water is really soft and clear all the time.

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What about turning the heater down for hours when the tub won't be used?  On weekdays we never use the tub between midnight and 6pm.  Could you just turn the heater down by several degrees until 4pm, or is it not worth it to do that?

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Indeed! I turn the heater off from 10pm to 8am every day (I live in a relatively hot climate, so the jacuzzi is back to full heat by 9 every morning). However, I do this via the pentair software... It is just easier.  But the pentair software does not allow me to automate turning the heat back on after, say 10 days; whereas this is easy to do via control4. 

Edited by South Africa C4 user
Correction

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We've had our tub, a Caldera Cantabria for 6 years now. Here are a few tips I've learned:

- Invest in a quality testing kit, the dip strips are junk. This one by Taylor has everything you will need:

      http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=taylor+k-2006+pool+test+kit&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=89706191678&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2181274096078846904&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=t&ref=pd_sl_2rxk9j0ubg_b

If you don't get that kit, make sure that you get one that uses a titration method for determining your free available chlorine. 

- Don't buy into the pool/hot tub stores crap about needing to buy their expensive chemicals. Need to make pH go up? Use baking soda. Need to make it go down? Use dry acid from your hardware store. Need to increase your chlorine level? Use regular unscented household bleach. The "shock" you buy from the pool store is sodium hypochlorite - bleach. 

- Go to www.troublefreepool.com and do some reading in their chemistry forum. They also have a series of articles entitled pool school to teach you everything you need to know about water chemistry. 

- Don't bother getting the built in TV or speakers in your hot tub - eventually the water will get to them and they will be junk. If you want outdoor audio/video, invest in a decent setup once. 

- Buy extra terry cloth robes for guests that forgot one.

- Crocs are a good choice for going to/from the spa. 

- Guests that go in your spa wearing a lot of perfume, makeup, deodorant, etc will eat your free available chlorine faster than someone that just got out of the shower. 

- Never, ever, ever let your free available chlorine go to zero. You spa will start to grow things faster than you would believe. 

- Invest in foaming hornet spray because those suckers will think the inside of your spa is an awesome place to hang out. 

- Best option is to wet test the spa your are looking to buy, i.e. bring your bathing suit to the store. You might find the seats don't fit you all that well if you are very tall or short. If your dealer won't let you wet test it, find another dealer. 

These are just a few things that have popped into my head.  Good luck with your purchase. 

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CT -Mike, This is exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks for the feedback.

I  will get that Taylor kit, and I'm looking into the BBB method.

Sadly, I bought enough of this SpaBoss stuff at least for a few years

I'm getting the robes soon, so Terry cloth is suggested

The hornet comment is scaring me, it was a big problem for me last year. (it got into my exterior walls)

This tub will be sunken under a deck so I wouldn't even see if they are housing down there.

 

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I recommend terry cloth or any heavy cotton robe to help absorb water off the body quickly when you get out. That really helps when you are using the spa in freezing temps.

As for the hornets, I usually just spray the stuff around the base of the spa a couple times throughout the season and that seems to work.

www.poolcalculator.com is a good resource to calculate how much bleach, baking soda, etc you need to add to change a parameter a given amount. Just make sure you input the right volume of your spa and water temperature. Use an iterative process to change a parameter. For example, if the calculator tells you to add 1 cup of 6.25% bleach to raise FAC (free available chlorine) by 8 ppm, add 1/2 cup, let it circulate, re-sample, recalculate, and make another addition. Always easier to add more than it is to have to drain and dilute.

One thing to buy at the pool/spa store (or online) is cyanuric acid ( CYA - might be called stabilizer). This keeps your FAC from being broken down by sunlight. Not as important in a spa as it is in a pool, but still important. I usually run my spa at 30 ppm CYA or so. The Taylor kit above will allow you to test for CYA.

You'll want to shock your spa typically once a week. Your shock FAC level is set by your CYA level. More info on this at TFP.com. We typically keep our spa at 5 - 8 ppm FAC.

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