Home spas bring the ultimate in relaxation right into your own sunroom or backyard. Modern hot tubs continue to develop and improve, based upon a simple concept that can be highly customized to meet individual needs and desires. With a little research and exploration, you will have no trouble finding a perfect match for your home.
For more people than are likely to admit, having a private, in-home hot tub is the stuff of dreams. As simple as the idea may be, there is just something about a long, relaxing soak in the spa that holds an almost universal appeal. Add this allure to the proven capacity of spa treatments to ease muscle tension and increase general wellness, and you have the rare treat that is at once both pleasurable and healthy. Evidence of early spa technology dates back to the Ancient Egyptians and a lot of heated stones, but the private hot tub, as we now know it, is a relatively recent development of the last fifty years, which has given rise to two basic styles that feature a standard functionality, but still with a wide range of customization.
The first, modern hot tubs were simply that – large, wooden, barrel-like containers filled with water and connected to a heat source, often a small stove. A bench for bathers was common, but consistent water filtration and temperature were not, which meant that these earlier hot tubs were often terribly inefficient and difficult to clean. Despite the proliferation of new designs and materials over the years, improved models of the classic wood-staved soaker continue to be popular. Typically made of cedar, teak, or redwood, these are generally deeper than one-piece spas, and are found almost exclusively outdoors. Old-style wood hot tubs tend to have fewer jets, options, and seating designs, but present a strong aesthetic appeal that makes them an excellent choice for backyard patios and built-in decks.
Though much newer than their wooden counterparts, synthetic, one-piece (or unibody) hot tubs have evolved to become the standard for today’s in-home spa, as many owners prefer their diversity, flexibility, and variety of available features. Unlike the individual staving of traditional tubs, unibody spas are formed or molded in a single piece, called a shell, composed of a finished surface bonded to an understructure. The surface is what you see and sit on, and in most spas it is given a sleek, plastic coat. Since the surface is also what you must keep clean, almost all exterior coatings on new spas are specifically designed to resist sun damage, bacteria growth, and water-related decay. Beneath the surface plane is the understructure, most commonly composed of fiberglass, which is responsible for supporting the weight of both the water and the bathers.
Most hot tubs, and all unibody spas, are then further contained within an external casing called a cabinet, which holds the plumbing and heating apparatuses safely out of the way. A filtration system, similar to those used in in-ground pools, is the one essential component, responsible for cleaning and recycling the water, but pressure and suction systems have also become standard. These components work together in alternation, first forcing water out of the tub’s jets, and then pulling it back into the pipes. Like spas themselves, cabinets can be constructed using either wood or synthetics, and though the largest difference between materials is simply one of aesthetic choice, plastic and fiberglass cabinets are sometimes seen as easier to maintain, and much slower to show their age. Higher-end spas will often have any number of extra features in addition to the basic systems, from forced and induced air systems (for an extra bubbly massage) to mood lighting and audio visual systems (for the complete experience), all neatly packaged into the cabinet.
In the end, your choice of hot tub will likely depend on nothing more than what type of experience you hope to have in your new home spa. Before making a purchase, be sure to consider where your hot tub will be situated, who exactly will be using it, and how much money you are willing to spend. Get in touch with your local installer, try out (this means get in!) a variety of tubs with disparate styles and seating configurations, and then select the perfect home spa to set you on the bubbly road to wellness and relaxation!