Soaking for relaxation. A wooden hot tub is expensive, both to buy and to operate. A spa of molded fiberglass is somewhat cheaper, but still costly. Both require considerable maintenance. You may be able to deduct the cost from your taxes, but only if a doctor prescribes hydrotherapy for a specific illness. A tub or spa also raises the value of your home, thus increasing property taxes. Have a qualified appraiser estimate the increase in value.
You can have a wooden tub installed and assembled, or you can buy a kit and assemble it yourself. In either case, building permits may be needed, and a licensed electrician and plumber should make the final hookups. A spa needs no assembly, but installation is still a problem. Before installing a tub or spa indoors or on a roof or balcony, consult with an architect or structural engineer.
Kits are available for testing pH and disinfectant levels; you must take readings every 2 or 3 days. The pH level should range between 7.2 and 7.8. Any lower (acid) level can irritate eyes and skin and damage the tub, pump, and filter; higher (alkaline) levels leave deposits and reduce the efficiency of disinfectants. If your water is hard, a softener will protect against additional scale deposits.
Drain and clean the tub or spa every 2 months, using a stiff brush and a garden hose. Then scrub a fiberglass spa with mild detergent and rinse well. Do not let a wooden tub remain empty for more than 2 days. Caution: The use of a hot tub can be dangerous for the elderly; for those suffering from diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure; and for anyone under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication. Prolonged use is dangerous for anyone. Do not use the tub immediately after vigorous exercise or within 1 hour after eating. Do not use it alone. Keep it covered when not in use and never allow children to use it unattended.