Lets Take A Closer Look At Hot Tub Insulation…
Looking for a new hot tub can be very overwhelming; there is a lot of information to take in when trying to find your first hot tub or replacing an old one. One of the many things you should know about hot tubs is how they are insulated. Traditionally hot tub manufactures injected foam into the empty cabinet area to contain the heat of the water. This does one of two things; foam being very sticky will act as a glue to seal any small leaks that were present in fabrication and what it was designed to do and that is insulating the hot tub, making it more efficient resulting in lower energy bills. Sounds simple right? Well the down side to this type of insulation comes when the hot tub needs to be serviced. Many will say “XYZ’s hot tubs are the best in the industry and never break”, may be true but where does your hot tub sit? Probably outside where little critters need a nice warm place to stay when it gets cold.
From our years of hot tub service experience there are many reasons why leaks develop. Normally we get a simple call saying the hot tub is loosing water, everything runs fine, nothing out of the ordinary except it needs to be refilled every week. Once on site after removing the outside panels we find this;
Rodent holes are found in multiple spots in the tub (this one had eight)
The hot tub can be built to the highest quality but if something as simple as a rodent gets in, they will chew its way into the insulation to stay warm and that could mean chewing through a line. Next step is to find where this has occurred, sometimes its obvious like these pictures and some are hidden or underneath the tub. Good luck at this point, this is where a full foam hot tub can rack up the expenses. Having a hot tub technician out to search for the leak can take hours. Not to mention that this might not be the only leak the tub has.
Thus far we have discussed how foam is a very good insulator but when subjected to its environment, expensive and costly damage can occur. Either way the hot tub has to be insulated so what is our options? RTB insulation!
Clearwater Spas decided to build a hot tub a different way, not mimic other hot tubs and practices that have been around since the start. RTB insulation or (Reflective Thermal Barrier) is placed on the outside of the hot tubs cabinet. This foam contains natural salt borates which are undesirable to insects and rodents. With RTB insulation this makes the cabinet 100% serviceable compared to full foam. This insulation type has resolved many problems; rodents, serviceability, mold resistance, and proven to be 12% more efficient then traditional foam filled hot tubs.
This insulation seems to be the best are there any down sides? Well surprisingly this is an area that most hot tub salesman don’t go into detail about. They are going to discuss the advantages of full foam with energy efficiency and probably not mention the “What ifs” with full foam. After all there are millions of full foam hot tubs out there and a good portion wont experience this problem, but many will. It comes down to a roll of the dice wouldn’t you want to limit the possible risk if you could? Here are some points made against non foam hot tubs;
Statement 1. “Non foam filled is not efficient”
-Clearwater’s RTB insulation is proven 12% greater efficiency.
Statement 2. “Non foam filled is much louder then foam filled”
-When a motor is running full power foam or no foam its going to generate noise. Since the insulation is all the way around the hot tub, the motor’s sound has to penetrate through the insulation. Compared to foam filled every tub has the motors in a non foamed cavity for accessibility. So that would result in just a thin piece of cabinet muffling the sound of the motor. Seems like that would be louder to me.
Statement 3. “Non foam filled does not hold the plumbing in place”
-Clearwater Spas uses a metal retaining clip around all of their fittings that have a break strength of 1200psi. Other manufacture will simply glue the PVC pipe to the fitting.
Our business model encompasses quality products and service. We stand behind our products from the initial sale to the end of the products useful life. Selling a product that has quality and customer piece of mind in the forefront it makes our job that much easier. Keep in mind some manufactures have mimicked this “Non Foam Filled” idea but with different materials for one reason or another (cost mainly), please read the facts and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Unfortunately hot tub salesman are quick to throw out opinionated statements without facts so ask the right questions (efficiency, serviceability, possible risks) to avoid being influenced by high pressure sales techniques.