Hot Tubs 101 Part Three Jets Pumps and More

Pump Size/Horse Power

Many first-time buyers believe the bigger the pump/horsepower, the more water I will get through the jets. The quick answer is no, the simple explanation is the more jets you have, the more you divide up the water flow, leading to less pressure. It would be no different in your own home. If you turn on every sink, bathtub, shower, dishwasher, clothes washer, and garden hose you would hardly any coming out compared with only one of those turned on. The other factor is the plumbing lines. For every 90 degree and manifold connection, you have, the more you reduce the overall water flow.

One way to overcome both the number of jets and connections is more horsepower. But it will cost you both electric consumption and repair cost. A good manufacturer will balance the number of jets with a moderate amount of horsepower to achieve the maximum amount of pressure at the jets. When in a store, if they have tubs set up with water, turn one on and put your hand in front of it. Do this with multiple brands. Even better yet, ask if you can schedule a Wet Test to try it out before you buy.

Check out this post on this website Hot Tub Horsepower is confusing!

Find out how to read and understand the horsepower listed in a manufacturer’s brochure or specification sheet.


The basic definition of Hydrotherapy is the use of soaking or exercising in water to treat aches and pains. Depending on the treatment, the water can be hot or cold. This term is often misused to describe the jets in a hot tub.

Hydromassge is a variety of powerful jet streams of warm water mixed with air to massage the neck, shoulders, lumbar, legs, and feet, etc. The combination of immersion, in heat water (hydrotherapy), and hydromassage improves blood circulation, reduces muscle tension, promotes relaxation, and offers a variety of health benefits.  My point here is that the jets in a hot tub are not medical (hydrotherapy) therapy, but a means of massage that can improve the way your body feels, performs, and improve your mental health.

Many manufactures try and confuse this by promoting their products jets as hydrotherapy when in reality it’s the hot water that is the therapy, the jets provide the massage that most customers are really looking for. That being said, jets are an important part of the equation. More than 70% of the jets in the hot tubs are the same from manufacture to manufacture. While the jets themselves are only made by a few different suppliers. What you need to consider is where they are placed, type (rotates), and power or amount of water coming through it.


Jet placement can either make a hot tub great, mediocre, or just plain underwhelming. As stated above, jets are for massage and should be located in places that relieve a problem and not something to increase the jet count that looks good on paper.

Jet type is equally important. Jets come in different sizes and styles. As I mentioned before, most jets are only made by a few suppliers, so many hot tubs look alike, and it’s the placement by the manufacture that can cause one to stand out from another. Some best hot tubs on the market have custom jets that can only be found on their product and can offer a truly unique massage not found on any other hot tub.

Jet Power is something that some customers want a lot of or very little, depending on their needs. In my experience, most customers like strong jets. This again depends on the manufacture and what their end goal is. If you put in a lot of jets then you sacrifice power, if you add more horsepower you will use a lot of electricity. A good hot tub will strike a balance between the two and maximize the true benefits of owning a hot tub.

The unique approach is from Bullfrog Spas. They have brought the hot tub industry to a whole new level. Instead of cutting a hole for each jet into the shell and then running a plumbing line to it, they built all the plumbing and jets into a removable pack that can be put into any seat, even with water in the tub. This allows you to customize the tubs with the jets you want in any seat you want.


Keeping Your Hot Tub Clean

There are many ways to keep your hot tub clean and free of bacteria. I am only going to address systems that are optional or included by the manufacture. Theses are Ozone, UV, Minerals, and Salt

Ozone is the most popular of the four. Ozone is produced by a small box inside your hot tub that makes small bubbles that when in contact with bacteria kills it. The Ozone device itself is good for 3-4 years before it needs to be replaced.

Ozone works best when combined with granular chlorine. After using your hot tub, it is like a bathtub. Everything that was on your skin is now in the tub, including any germs and bacteria. The best way to eliminate this is with chlorine. The chlorine will kill your unwanted guests and make it safe to use again. This nice thing about chlorine is when it does its job, it is used up. The next time you get in your tub, the chlorine is gone with fresh and crystal clear water. When you are not using your tub it will run short cycles to move water through the filter and turn on the ozone killing any new bacteria with no need to maintain a chlorine level.

See may Post Hot Tub Ozone Explained

UV is an older form of sanitizing used hot tubs. At one time this was very popular with customers. It fell out of favor when Ozone came along. This was due to three reasons. One is the UV bulb gets weaker and less effective over time. The second is the cost over the lifetime of the tub. Because UV bulbs fade over time, they should be replaced every year. The third is for UV to work best when the water flows past the chamber slowly, achieving better results. So in order for it to work well, the tub would need a separate pump to do this job.

Minerals systems have seen a bit of an upgrade in recent years. The idea behind minerals is the use of fewer chemicals, mainly chlorine and bromine. For example, if you were to use just chlorine, you would maintain a level of 3-5 ppm of chlorine. With a mineral cartridge, your chlorine level goes down to 0.5-1 ppm. The drawback is you have to add chlorine each time you are done with the hot tub. The upgrade is an automated system that maintains chlorine automatically for an entire month.

The @ease automatic sanitizing system

Salt sanitation has been around in the in-ground for quite some time but is relatively new to the hot tub business. A system despite its name is still a chlorine system. In short, the way it works is by breaking salt apart into its base chemistry, creating chlorine. In a hot tub, a normal salt system would quickly destroy it. Watkins Manufacturing has developed a system that can be used in their hot tubs. Mainly on their Hotspring Highlife and Limelight collections.

Hotspring Freshwater Salt System


An add-on can be anything from a TV to a Towel rack. What I would caution you on is do you really need it. Think about where the tub is going and how you are going to use it. Is going to be during warm or cold temperatures, how long peruse will you be in it, and so on. The longest I can stay in my tub is 20 minutes, not long enough to watch any TV program or movie. Other things like an app to run your tub, it’s fun, but it’s just another gadget that after 6 months will probably be forgotten about. Also, keep in mind it stops working it means a service call for us to remove it and shipped it back to the company that made that add-on. The easy and most cost-effective way to add a music system for example is a simple waterproof speaker set up on the corner of your hot tub.


While a warranty is a good thing to have as it holds the manufacture accountable for workmanship and component failure. On the backside of that is the fine print. As true with most warranties, it’s about how much does the manufacture wants to pay out if it stops working.

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