For centuries people have sought the comfort of warm water to help them relax, and today more and more people are choosing to have their own hot tub or spa for relaxation and therapy.
"This is a great time of year to buy one,"says Justin Johnson of All American Spas on Washington Boulevard. One reason is that they are used more during the cooler months of the year, and you can get some super deals. There are the 2011 models left over from last year, he said, and there are also introductory offers on the 2012 models.
"You can get great deals on the new models at home and garden shows like this (Standard-Examiner Home and Garden Show), because they are a season kickoff," Johnson said.
Not only can the customer get a good deal on the price, but often the companies offer financing opportunities.
"The customer gets lower interest on financing during promotion times during home and garden shows, and many offer at least six months interest free," Johnson said.
Last year was a heavy snow winter, so residents couldn't see their yards and patios, and not many spas were sold. But Shawn Maynard, of Bullfrog Spas in North Ogden and Layton, said this year has been great and many homeowners have purchased spas because they can see where they want it placed. Most companies will go to the customer's home to help determine the correct location of the tub, he said.
Because of the economy, many families are forgoing a vacation and finding things to do at home.
"The trend is toward a 'staycation'" said Maynard. "People purchase spas to make their home life nicer."
And people are not buying the huge, elaborate hot tubs that were so popular in the past.
"They used to buy big, fancy ones that were impressive and more social. Now they're looking for therapy and customization. More than ever, they are looking for the efficiency of the tub," Maynard explained.
Most of the tubs purchased now are 7 1/2- or 8-feet and are designed for four to six people.
"That is the typical size of a family. Eighty percent of our sales are in that category," Maynard said.
Johnson agreed on the size of tubs customers are buying, and he added that empty-nesters are often looking for two- or three-person hot tubs.
Customers are not interested only in size and efficiency, but in where the tubs are built.
"We like that question, because Bullfrog Spas are built in Utah," Maynard said.
The spas now are built of different materials than they used to be.
"Historically they were made of fiber glass but have evolved to acrylic," Maynard said. "It is more expensive, but it is better and longer-lasting."
He added that the more prudent shoppers also look at the inside to see what it is made of. Some are made of wood or metal while others are of composite material. According to Maynard, the wood can rot, the metal can rust, but the composite will last nearly forever.
Maynard said his company is often paid to move older hot tubs to a new location, but when they try to move them, the tubs fall apart because of rot or rust.
In general, a new hot tub will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $14,000 and can be delivered and set up almost anywhere. A device with wheelbarrow wheels is used to bring the tub across grass and into a backyard, but in winter, if there is snow on the ground, a toboggan is used. Once in a while a crane is needed to lift one into place, but that is rare, Maynard said.
Sometimes a concrete slab is required for the tub to sit on, but if it is made of a composite material, it can sit right on the ground.
Johnson said the tubs he sells are priced from $2,999 to $12,000, and the ones he will focus on at the Standard-Examiner Home and Garden Show will be the ones most people are interested in buying, in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. He said some smaller tubs will also be at the show.
"The big features we pride ourselves in are the jets and the power of the jets the tubs come with," Johnson said.
There are many things to look at when investing in a spa or hot tub. Using an ozone system means using fewer chemicals, Johnson said.
He said he sees the tubs lasting for decades, and, "there are a lot of fun features, such as LED lighting, stereo systems and waterfalls that make a nice ambience."