CHEAP SPA PRICE, HIGH COSTS
For most people buying a spa, price is a significant factor. That makes sense – most of us don’t have unlimited funds and need to make sure we’re not overspending. But it’s important that price isn’t the only factor – otherwise, you could end up with a low-quality, poorly-designed, cheap spa that costs you more in the long run.
At Hot Spring Spas, we only sell high quality, energy efficient spas that are designed to last. Unfortunately, many low-cost, cheap spa companies don’t meet these standards. If you opt for a cheaper spa, you could end up spending more on installation, repair work, water costs, and heating. These costs aren’t insignificant either – just the electricity required to heat a poorly insulated spa can cost up to $2,000 more a year!
Here’s why that bargain, cheap spa might just be too good to be true:
MANUFACTURING AND MAINTENANCE – QUALITY COUNTS
When you’re selecting a product that should last for decades, quality manufacturing is essential. Cheaper spas tend to be manufactured in unregulated markets, which means you have no guarantees as to their quality. This means you could run into problems with materials cracking or degrading more quickly than you expect. Worse, many low-cost manufacturers don’t supply spare parts, which can make it impossible to repair or maintain your spa.
Our spas are manufactured in the US and must meet high quality control standards to achieve our ISO9001 rating. US regulations also require us to keep spare parts available for 20 years, for every spa we make. We do better – we have spare parts (or workable equivalents) for every spa we’ve ever made. This means you’re sorted if your spa needs replacement components.
PEACE OF MIND, GUARANTEED
In New Zealand, spas are covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act, which means you should be able to get a repair, replacement, or refund if anything goes wrong. Although they should technically refund or replace if the spa breaks, many low-cost, cheap spa retailers try to get around the act by offering a very short warranty period – or none at all. This puts you in a tough spot if something does break down – you can complain to the company and take your case the Commerce Commission or Disputes Tribunal if they don’t honour their obligations, but this can be complicated and time-consuming.
You can avoid these issues by checking the warranty when you buy a spa. Even a repaired or reconditioned spa should come with at least a year-long warranty, and most should have longer warranty periods. At Hot Spring, we guarantee our shells for between 5-7 years, and other parts for 2-5.
LONG-TERM RUNNING COSTS
The real expense of a cheap spa isn’t the sticker price, it’s the ongoing running costs. Most spas will last for years, if not decades, if properly maintained, which means that yearly electrical and water costs add up over the life of the spa.
A modern, well-insulated spa – like a Hot Spring Spa with solid foam lining – costs around $1 a day in electricity for an average family of four – and you don’t need to just take our word for it. We’ve had this independently tested. Poorly insulated spas lose heat and need far more electricity to maintain their temperature – in fact, they can end up using five times the energy of a well-insulated spa. Added up over the course of a year, that can turn into around $2,000 extra.
Water is also a factor. Most cheap spas need to be emptied and refilled every month, so they go through a lot of water. Not only that, but the water needs to be heated at every refill, which is a huge drain on electricity. In contrast, Hot Spring Spas with our ACE® Salt Water system let you go for up to two years between refills.
Safety issues can also arise with cheaper spas. All Hot Spring Spas are fitted with certified plumbing suction outlets for safety. These units prevent children’s fingers, long hair, or clothing becoming trapped in the intake outlet by releasing suction when they sense a blockage. Without this feature, your family could be injured while using your spa.
Check that your cheap spa has this feature!
INSTALLATION AND ELECTRICAL ISSUES
Spas are a bit more complicated than many other consumer products. You need a place to put them, a water supply, and a power source. Most Hot Spring Spas are pre-wired, which means you can take them home, plug them in, and go.
Many low cost spas are not so simple. If you buy a spa without pre-wiring, you’ll need an electrician to come and install it safely. This can cost up to $1,000, depending on the age of your house and the type of spa.
You also need to consider electrical certification. Wiring in a new spa requires certified electrical approval, but this isn’t well enforced. If your spa doesn’t come with electrical certification, you could end up voiding your insurance if the wiring on your new spa causes a fire.
ASK FIRST, AVOID ISSUES
Of course, all low-cost spas are not created equal. Sometimes, you may be able to get a true bargain without astronomical ongoing costs. The key is knowing what to look for and what to ask the retailer. It’s important to look at independent reports and certification – don’t just believe whatever the salesperson tells you.
Before you buy, ask for:
• A certified, independent report on running costs
• Proof of suction outlet safety
• A list of dealers that carry spare parts
• A comprehensive written warranty that covers at least 12 months
• Information on installation costs