Plug and Play Hot Tub

plug and play spaA plug and play type hot tub allows for 120 volt operation in North America.  These units most often come with an included power cord with integrated Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).  No electrician is usually needed as these plug right into a 120 volt power outlet with the provided GFCI cord.

Plug and Play hot tub models include the Dream Star, Mystic, Star Gazer, and Riviera available factory direct at www.HotTubOutpost.com.

These plug and play models are also convertible.  That means that at a later date, they can be field-modified to operate at 230 volts instead of 120 volts thereby making the built-in heater a 4 kw heater instead of a 1 kw heater, all without needing to exchange any components.  The upgrade is a simple dipswitch setting and the moving of 1 wire which can be done in a couple of minutes.  Of course if you choose to operate the convertible plug and play spa at 230 volts, you will need an electrician to install the main breaker, proper gauge wire run, gfci disconnect box and wire to the control box of the spa. The electrician will also need to unmount the GFCI cord as that is only for 120 volt operation.

See our other articles on how to convert a plug and play spa from 120v to 230v and how to choose a plug and play spa.

Not all plug and play spas on the market are convertible, but the ones at Hot Tub Outpost are.

Models that have this feature include the Mystic, Star Gazer, and Riviera.

The Mystic is a 4 person spa, Riviera is a 3 person spa and the Star Gazer seats up to 5.

The benefit of 110-120v hot tub is low initial cost and low installation cost.  Even the power cord is included, so no expensive external wiring is usually necessary.

The benefit of a 230v hot tub is that pump(s) can be run on high speed with heat still running, whereas at 120v the heater shuts off automatically when the pump is put on high speed so there is enough current to run the heater.  The heater is also 1kw at 120v but is 4kw at 230v, so the 230v spa heats faster.  A good solid cover will keep the heat in no matter which voltage you operate the spa at.

plug and play hot tub spaThe Dream Star is a 2 person hot tub that operates at 110v only.  It fits anywhere and is only about 250 lbs. so it is easy to set up anywhere or move.

The flex covers that are standard with this series come with a free hard cover upgrade from www.HotTubOutpost.com.

Getting into a hot tub is easy with a plug and play spa from Hot Tub Outpost.

Buying A Used Hot Tub

Used hot tub spasThinking about buying a used hot tub?  Found a hot tub in your new home or getting one second hand?  There are things to consider before jumping into that used hot tub for the first time.

It is a good idea to know about how old the spa is.  This can be determined from information on the spa pack or electronics box, or possibly listed in the owner’s manual if transferred with the spa.  Another method to determine a hot tub’s age is by serial number.  These are often date coded so that the month and year of manufacture can be determined.  The actual spa manufacturer also may be able to look up the serial number in their production database to help determine a spa’s age.

Typically a hot tub cover may need to be replaced after about 7 years.  Pumps that are older than 3 years or so and are broken may be better off being exchanged rather than repaired.  If the water quality was not maintained by the previous owner, then pump seals and other o-rings and gaskets in the system may wear, causing leaks.

At minimum, by filling and adding 2 capfuls of chlorine to attempt to kill bacteria in the lines are the best in super chlorinating the spa.  The new product is also available at www.HotTubOutpost.com for cleaning the pipes and inside lines of a hot tub and is highly recommended in addition to chlorine to give the pipes and hoses a new beginning.

Replace the cartridge filter with a brand new one for your model.  Determine if the cover is still good or needs to be replaced as well.

Used hot tubs can save money, but can also cost money to get them up to speed.  If the electronics and pumps work, and the spa does not leak, it is a good start, but the spa will need to be cleaned inside and out and brought up to proper operating standards. Note that if water chemistry was not properly maintained, another thing that may go wrong is that the spa heats slowly or not at all. This could be the result of a calcified heater element with calcium buildup on the element inside the flow through heater. This makes it harder for the heater to do its job and ends up costing the owner more in electricity.  The solution is to replace the heater.

buy used hot tubsThere are 2 types of heaters. Those with the sensors on the outside of the tube and those with sensors on the inside of the tube (like recent model Balboa heaters). The ones with sensors on the inside usually are not hooked up to a pressure switch, whereas older models have a separate pressure switch that makes sure the heater can only work when safe.

Get all your hot tub spare parts from www.HotTubOutpost.com.