Derek’s 12 Must-Have Hot Tub Necessities and Accessories
There is nothing quite like a soak in my outdoor hot tub as the winter snow flakes tickle my face and the icy chill prickles my skin. Add to that good company, gentle conversation and a soothing beverage to sip on and I can pickle out there for ages!
Here is my must-have short list of necessities and accessories that enhance my hot tub experience.
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1. Spa water treatment chemicals:
Many spa owners balk at the inconvenience of having to execute all sorts of water quality tests and chemical dosing in order to maintain their water condition. My water treatment regime is simple. I conduct no water testing and I use only 2 chemicals.
SpaGuard sanitizer: a lithium-based chlorinating product that controls bacteria and algae in spas and hot tubs. I dose my tub with a tablespoon full of this per person after every tub visit. After dosing I ensure that the water is well agitated and circulates for 15 minutes with the cover off in order to protect the cover from unnecessary exposure to excess chlorine that is liberated from the water during the dissolving process.
SpaPerfect: an enzyme-containing liquid that eliminates unwanted organic contaminants in the water such as body oils, cosmetics, soaps and skin lotions. I dose a capful of this directly into the filter area of my tub once a week. Although compatible with all sanitizers it should not be dosed at the same time as the sanitizer since the harsh chlorine environment can render this product ineffective.
Note: much to the chagrin of my hot tub guests I make sure that everyone showers prior to using my tub. This is the cheapest form of tub maintenance and hygiene. As inconvenient as this might be, it greatly prolongs the water quality by reducing the accumulation of body oils and scum generation in my tub. It also significantly reduces the quantity and cost of chemicals I need to dose. Besides, who wants to swim in body soup?
2. String lights
I love the warm glow of these LED light strings. They provide a cozy and inviting ambience for a perfect outdoor evening. This particular brand, designed for outdoor use, provides 15 hanging bulbs, only consumes 30W of power, and has a generous length of 48 ft which allows me to cover a significant expanse of decking.
3. Remote control for ambient lighting
I’m a bit of a gadget guy. If I can rig up a system to turn stuff on and off remotely then you can be sure I’ve considered it. My patio string lights are the perfect example. Connected to a power source that allows me to run electricity to different corners of my expansive deck beneath the decking boards, the remote control provides me with convenient capability to activate the lights from inside the home or even the tub without having to interfere with the wall plug-in.
4. Stainless steel candle lantern
Call me a bit of a traditionalist but I do like the good old candle lantern for outdoor décor and ambience. Although LED and electric versions might be available I still prefer old-school when it comes to this type of décor.
5. Scented candles
I avoid putting any type of fragrant oils in my tub. It causes the water quality to deteriorate, accelerates scum formation and oil residue, requires more chemical treatment of the water and clogs up my filters. So, for the added scent and ambience I lean towards using fragrant candles. Their scent is not as overpowering and, strategically placed around the hot tub, you can get a delightful variety of fragrance floating through the air during your soak.
I’m cautious about what stoneware or glassware gets used around the tub for safety reasons. These plastic “glasses” are just great because they still look elegant while being safe and practical for that celebratory occasion in the tub.
7. Outdoor towel rack
Having easy access to your towels after soaking in the tub is imperative. That final dash from the tub to the back door of your home could undo the enjoyment of your tub experience, so a strategically positioned towel hanger is critical! We have some awesome cedar posts adjacent to our tub where was can install a mounted towel rack. Some free-standing options may suit your set-up better.
8. Snow shovel
Let’s face it, living in Canada means it snows! So, what better time to hot tub than in the snow, right? A lightweight, easy-to-wield and easy-to-store snow shovel is invaluable for removing that accumulation from the deck, steps or hot tub cover. I avoid using any shovels with a metal blade in order to protect damage to those surfaces. As long as my back deck is clean I have even taken to topping up my hot tub level with freshly shovelled snow. It’s been a great help and saves me having to haul out my winterized garden hose and resume water supply to my outside taps for that mid-season top up! Why not?
9. Bluetooth waterproof speaker
Your neighbours may not love you for this, but a waterproof Bluetooth speaker can incrementally enrich your tub time. Whether to catch up on the news in the morning or turn up the steam in the evening, a robust speaker is a great accessory.
10. Decorative storage container
For the most part I store all my tub-related chemicals and accessories indoors during the frigid winter months. Having said that, though, a decorative weather-proof storage container near your tub is a very handy item for storing your lantern, candles and fire lighter. You may even choose to pop your towels in there while you’re in the tub in case you don’t want them hanging in the snow or rain. It also doubles up as a convenient, casual seat.
11. Bird feeder
This may seem like an unlikely hot tub accessory per-se, but a decent bird feeder positioned above your tub cover will provide a lovely accent to your back yard. What about the bird poop? It’s likely that’s an issue regardless of whether you have a feeder there or not – depending on where your hot tub is located. I loathe the fact that the birds create so much seed waste. When positioned over my lawn this spillage just sprouts into an unmanageable mat of growth. With your feeder over your tub, every time you raise your tub cover the accumulated spilled seeds and husks are “swept away”. It’s like an in-built self-cleaning system. This works well for me, given the location of my tub. It may not be ideal for every case.
12. Quick-drain siphon hose
Although your tub may come with a drain port, it’s likely that it takes forever to drain your tub this way. One of my best tub maintenance buys has been my Quick Drain hose. It’s light-weight, easy to store, has no complicated moving parts, and – best of all – it drains my tub within an hour! No need to source a fancy submersible pump that requires a power source. This, in my opinion, is the way to go!