We talk about hot tubs and spas every day and sometimes forget that our customers can get overwhelmed by the industry jargon our staff uses like it’s a second language. Below are some common terms to help you understand the basics in hot tub lingo. If you’re not sure what a term in a product description means or have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to call us at (518) 878-3132.
Balanced Water – Water that contains optimal amounts of calcium hardness, total alkalinity, pH and dissolved solids that combine to prevent scale-forming or corrosive tendencies.
Coping – The top lip on the hot tub wall that provides a finished edge. It can be formed, cast in place or precast, or prefabricated of aluminum or vinyl.
Corrosive Water – Water that has a low pH (acid condition) that can corrode metal pipes, spa fixtures and pumps.
Drain – A plumbing fitting installed on the suction side of spas and hot tubs. It’s located in the deepest part of the hot tub, but it doesn’t work like the drain in your kitchen sink. These drains connect to a pump for circulation and filtration.
Ergonomic Seating – Often associated with your office chair, ergonomic seating is just as important in a spa. It supports the natural curvature of the spine, which prevents slumping and reduces stress on the spine and the pelvis.
Filtration Rate – The rate at which the water is traveling through the filter, measured in gallons per minute (GPM) per square foot of filter area.
Flow Rate – The amount of water flowing past a specific point within a certain time, such as the number of gallons flowing past a point in 1 minute. Often abbreviated as GPM.
Foam – Bubbles on the surface of water that generally occurs when people shed soap, oil, deodorant, hair spray, suntan oil, etc., after they enter a spa.
Full synthetic bottom pan – This spa design feature keeps heat in and pests out. It provides a solid foundation that seals the bottom of the spa to lock in heat, seal out moisture to protect from rot.
GFI – A ground fault circuit interrupter is a safety feature that interrupts the electrical circuit when it detects excess electrical current going to ground.
Hot Tub – The term “hot tub” is often used interchangeably with “spa.” Most hot tubs are constructed from of redwood or cedar and can have an internal vinyl liner to keep the water away from the wood.
Hydrotherapy – Refers to using water as therapy in any form. For instance, it may act as a treatment chronic health conditions, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Hot tubs and spas offer plenty of benefits for individuals in need of hydrotherapy to treat a wide range of health issues with heat and jet massage.
Hydro Jet – A fitting in a spa on the water return line that mixes air and water to create a high velocity turbulent stream of air-enriched water.
Jacuzzi – Jacuzzi is used by many people as a generic term for spas. It’s actually the name of a company that manufactures whirlpool baths and spas.
Jets – In a hot tub or spa, water or air powers the jets and are designed to massage your body for a more therapeutic soak, with an emphasis on providing you comfort.
pH – This is the abbreviation for potential hydrogen. It indicates the level of acidity or alkalinity of water on a scale ranging from 0-15. A low pH can cause metal corrosion and eye irritation. A high pH can cause scale formation, chlorine inefficiency and eye irritation. The ideal range for pH in hot tubs is between 7.2 and 7.8.
Pump Capacity – The volume of liquid a pump is designed to move during a specified period of time. This is usually listed in gallons per minute or GPM.
Sanitizers – Chemical compounds designed to kill bacteria, algae and other living organisms. They also protect water from the effects of the sun.
Scale – Mineral deposits that form on spa surfaces and equipment due to excessive calcium in the water when the pH level is high.
Spa – Basically, the word “spa” is used to describe any jetted, heated, water-filled tub. Most spas are made out of either fiberglass or acrylic. Hot tubs are made of wood, sometimes with a liner set inside.
Swim Spa – These are perfect for people looking for a hybrid of exercise and relaxation. Swim spas are usually built with a small pool area and a separate, seated hot tub area. The tank area of the swim spa includes a high-powered jetting system that generates enough resistance for a user to swim laps against.
Turbidity – This is a cloudy water condition triggered by extremely fine particles that can’t be trapped by the filter because they are too small. Adding a clarifier, such as an organic polymer or alum, will coagulate the particles and help the filter handle the particles more efficiently.
Test Kit – A device that monitors chemical residuals, levels, constituents or demands in pool or hot tub water. Common hot tub water tests include: pH, total alkalinity, free available chlorine, water hardness, cyanuric acid, iron and copper.
Whirl Pool – A whirl pool, refers to any spa or hot tub’s circular water action which is generated using jets and air or water pressure (or both).