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FAQ Hot Tubs

FAQ about our wooden hot tubs

How do wooden hot tubs hold water?
At Zen Bathworks we use high quality clear cedar and our tubs are made with care and precision. Just like a wooden boat, the wood swells in the presence of water to form a tight seal.

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What is the best way to heat my tub?
The answer depends on your situation.  That is why we offer three types of heating systems.  Electric heaters (most popular), Gas heaters (for very cold climates), and Wood heaters (for economy).  Find out more about heaters.

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How do Zen Bathworks chofu wood heated tubs compare to inside-the-tub wood heaters?
The exterior Chofu heater has many advantages over submerged inside-the-tub heaters such as the snorkel stove. Inside heaters can take up  as much as 1/3 of the interior space of your tub! The Chofu does not take up any room inside the tub.  This means you have 1/3 more space in the same tub - or you can get a smaller tub and have the same space. Inside heaters prevent the use of a full coverage insulated top so heat is lost. The Chofu heated tub can use a full coverage thermal blanket and cover so less heat is lost. Water level must be kept over the tube of a snorkel heater to prevent warping the metal box - an approach that is prone to problems and wastes water.  With the Chofu, water level can be set much lower to eliminate wasted overflow. Unlike interior wood-fired heaters the Chofu introduces no wood debris or ash into the water - helping to keep things nice and clean.

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What is the heat rate of the various types of heaters?
Electric heaters: 6-10 degrees per hour, Gas heaters: 20-40 degrees per hour, Wood heaters: 10-20 degrees per hour.  The electric and gas heaters keep the tub hot continuously, so heat rate is generally not an important consideration unless you plan to turn the tub temperature down between uses.

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What is a safe temperature for hot tub water?
Most people will find that 100 to 104 is about right.  The factory setting on most tub heaters has a limit of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  There is some room for adjustment, but temperatures higher than 104 can be hazardous to your health.  Children should use a tub that is no hotter than 100 degrees.

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How much does it cost to operate a hot tub?
There are three factors that effect the cost to operate a tub:   Size of the tub.  Climate.  Cost of energy or fuel.  Our simple Chofu wood heater is the most economical to operate.  Our electric and gas heated tubs run between $1.50 and $3.50 per day to keep hot.  Not bad for a spa in your backyard! 

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How hard are tubs to assemble?
Our tubs are designed to be easily assembled by the owner. Each tub comes with a detailed step by step illustrated instruction manual. Typical assembly time is about 3-4 hours and requires minimal tools: a couple of wrenches, a level, and a rubber mallet. The heating system will take 2-4 hours to install. If you are not comfortable setting up your tub, you can hire a contractor or handyman to do it. If you have an electric or gas heater, these connections will need to be made by a qualified professional.

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What do I need to do to prepare my site for a wooden hot tub?
The three most common sites for a wooden hot tub are on the ground, on a patio, or on a deck. 

  On the ground:  Site should be level and compact.  Use fine gravel or coarse sand to prepare a well-drained level base.

  On a patio: Existing patios or a poured concrete pad are a good place for installing a tub.  

  On or in a deck:  Deck installations are a great choice. You use a deck to provide easy entry into a wooden tub.  If the tub is to be placed on a deck, be sure it is engineered to handle the weight. Have a professional check for proper support. A tub full of water is very heavy - refer to the tub specifications for actual weight of each of our tubs.  Filled weight for an average tub is over 4000 lbs.

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Can a wooden hot tub be installed below ground?
Our tubs are easiest to install above the ground.  Below ground tubs will require a retaining wall and cannot be backfilled. We recommend above ground installations.

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Where is the best location for my tub?
There is no definitive answer to this question of course, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The closer your tub is to your house, the more you may use it. A deck with a tub right outside the bedroom is very convenient. Proximity to power or gas sources may be a requirement. Privacy and setting are important. If you want to set your tub in a secluded spot away from it all, consider how to get power to the site for the heating system.

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Can I install my tub indoors?

Indoors is generally not the best place for a hot tub because of the large amount of water vapor they release into the air. Outdoors is best and is what we recommend.  

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How heavy is the tub when it's full of water?
Our tubs range in size and weight.  You can find full details on approximate capacity and weight here.

How hard are wooden tubs to maintain?
Cedar tubs are easy to maintain. Unlike tubs made of artificial materials, wooden tubs don't blister or fade. We recommend brushing on an occasional coat of teak oil on the outside only to keep the cedar looking glorious! Cleaning the inside amounts to an occasional washdown with a soft brush, a little soap and a good rinse.

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What is the recommended way to keep the tub water clean?
Fresh clean water is what you want in your tub. Warm water in a hot tub will get dirty quickly unless steps are taken to keep it clean.  Our recommended method involves three things working together.  A filter, a UV water purifier, and limited use of a special type of chlorine.  When you purchase a tub kit from us we include what you need to get off to a good start. The details are included in the instructions that come with your tub.  

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Do you make custom sized tubs?
Yes we do. Different size?  Different type of wood?  Contact us to discuss your plan.

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What about freezing temperatures?
Cool and cold weather was made for hot tubbing! It is crucial to have a good thermal cover and a floating blanket. Cedar is a good natural insulator - and our tubs have been performing very well from Alaska to Maine. Our SmarTouch (electric or gas) heaters have a thermostat and freeze protection that keeps the water warm and moving during cold weather. In some areas bitter cold winter weather makes use of the tub impractical during the coldest times. Heating costs will be higher in winter because of the additional heat times required. If you expect to be away or don't intend to use your tub during freezing temperatures the tub can be drained and shut off. Refer to your owners manual for details on how to drain and winterize your tub.

 

How does the tub drain?

Each of our tubs includes a floor drain.  With a simple fitting, you can attach a garden hose to the drain and dispose of the water into your landscape or down a storm drain.  We recommend draining and refilling the tub every 6-10 weeks or as needed. The water is safe to use for landscape plants, but not for your vegetable garden.

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Do you have a guarantee? 
Our tubs and equipment have a limited warranty for a full 2 years against defects in material or workmanship. Because of the natural resistance of Western Red Cedar, your tub will give you up to 25 years of service. Covers have a limited 4 year warranty.