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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 23, 2020
With people not going away on vacation this year, many East Coast homeowners have instead used their money to turn their yards into their own oasis.
“People are realizing too, they can enjoy the small things again, and so they want to make their homes a very enjoyable relaxing space,” says Jane Smith from Mahone Bay, N.S. “I also see a big boost in wellness and people taking the time to look after their health.”
This increased interest in health and relaxation, combined with turning backyards into a staycation resort has led to a bumper year for the hot tub industry.
Katie Schofield, manager of the hot tub, swim spa and barbecue divisions at Holland Home Leisure in New Minas, N.S. says their business has definitely seen an increase in the number of people purchasing hot tubs.
And because demand is high, it means the product is not always available.
“We have run into some supply issues, as there have been production hold-ups from all manufacturers due to increased demand from retailers, as well as temporary production shut downs in March or April at the height of COVID-19,” says Schofield, noting that many tubs will be delivered to homes on the East Coast in the next couple of months.
Smith, who co-owns BayTubs in Mahone Bay with her husband Knut Weissbach, is experiencing the same shortages with the hot tub product they sell - soft tubs - which are selling out faster than they can get the new stock in.
Softub Canada, which supplies product all over Canada, used to average production of 25 Softubs a week before COVID-19 and has since upped that to 35 a week - and still can't keep up with demand.
“This problem is not just local, or in Canada, it's worldwide,” says Smith. “People are realizing staycations are where its at.”
Why hot tubs?
Ed Rushton, Fall River, is fairly new to the hot tub world. He always enjoyed using them when he travelled and wished he had one of his own, but always assumed they would cost more than he was willing to spend, so he never pursued the idea.
Then, he found a used Softub online, which allowed him to literally test the waters without spending a fortune. Now, he uses it four to five days a week in all seasons.
“Given how much use and enjoyment I get from it, I’ll be willing to spend more next time around,” he says.
When looking for a hot tub, there are a variety of options, features and price points to take into consideration.
Schofield suggests buyers to consider how many people would be using the hot tub at once and whether they want it for relaxation or for specific hydrotherapy benefits. She recommends consulting with a trained hot tub sales associate who can help you find the best fit for your needs.
Based on his own experiences, Rushton suggests talking to people who are knowledgeable of each type of hot tub available and, if possible, trying them out to see which style, size and features you prefer. The size, experience and price will vary dramatically.
He also suggests considering the space and set up available at your home. Will your current deck support the weight? Will you need to prepare a special surface for the tub? Is there an electrical outlet close by? Will it be sheltered from rain and snow?
“You also need to make sure you have a spot in mind near an exit, as hot tubs that are further away from the house are used less often in the winter,” explains Schofield.
“Whichever direction you decide to go, be sure to consider the total cost of ownership before purchasing, looking at the electrical setup, deck/surface preparation, electricity costs, and chemicals.”
Schofield adds that homeowners need to make sure there is a power supply available to run a hot tub. This will determine if you should be looking at 220-volt or 110-volt model.
Softubs - a soft, round, fully portable, squeezable polypropylene foam-based tub - are an easy option, says Rushton. It uses a regular 110V electrical outlet and consumes much less electricity than a traditional hot tub.
“You can put it almost anywhere near your house and you don’t need to pay an electrician to add a special 220-volt plug.” Rushton said.
Smith adds that the Softub is one of the most eco-friendly hot tubs on the market, averaging a monthly electrical bill of $5 to $10. As they only weigh 65 to 80 pounds without the water, it’s easy for one person to set up.
If, however, you want 10 or more people to use the tub and want features like a stereo system in it, you may want to consider a more traditional model.
Quality hot tubs typically last between 15 and 20 years, but Schofield has customers who have tubs that are still going strong after 20-plus years.
Regardless if you get a hard or soft hot tub, the benefits are great for not only your health, but relationships, too.
“Over the years, we have had so many customers say that their tub provides them a space where their kids open up to them without any distractions, and that makes their purchase worth every penny,” says Schofield.
Or, as Laura Lahey, a hot tub owner from Timblerlea, N.S. says, in the wintertime when you want to be warm, hop in the hot tub
“It’s so nice to be in it when it is snowing,” she says, adding that it can also be “very romantic.”
Lahey also appreciates the health benefits, as the hot tub helps soothe aching muscles.
“Recently, we hiked Cape Split and needless to say, were very sore,” she says. A quick dip in the hot tub soothed the aches and pains.
Smith notes other hot tub benefits include helping to reduce headaches, improving sleep, aiding with sports recovery, back pain relief, and reduction of stress and anxiety.
Dana Harrison, a registered massage therapist with the Julie Skaling Physiotherapy Clinic in Wolfville, N.S. confirms these benefits.
“Heat gives a feeling of relaxation as it opens up blood vessels and creates better blood flow. The increased blood flow can help flush out toxins, reduce stress, relieve aching joints and muscles,” she says. “It can also be helpful for those with sleep issues because of the relaxation benefits.”
Rushton, who was also finally prompted to get his hot tub because of back pain, encourages others to do their research and considering making the purchase.
“I didn’t think I’d have time to use it as much as I wanted to, but I made the time and it’s become part of my routine,” he says.