I have been an avid Hot Tubber for over 20 years. My HOT SPRINGS spa is my second hot tub. I had an off-brand for over 15 years and kept it going with duct tape and baling wire. I finally decided to junk it and buy the BEST tub I could find. After hours of research on the internet I finally decided to look at HOT SPRINGS tubs. The local dealer had a very nice show room with most models on display filled with water. I was invited to come by after closing time to "try out" any and all of the models if I cared to do so.
I selected the Soverign model because I wanted as large a tub I could accomodate on my deck. The Grandee was to large so I went with the Soverign.
The 5 year warranty was a definate selling plus as was the local service availability. I paid $6500 for the tub with cover, delivery, setup, etc. In addition to this I had to pay an electrician (recommended by the dealer) another $500 to run the 220 wiring from my house to the tub location. My investment was $7000. A lot for a hot tub but supposedly this was the best tub I could buy. After all, the Indianapolis Colts and Pacers each had two Hot Spring Spas, so they must be the best! Right?
Not so fast chlorine breath, lets review the "service" history over the past 5 years. My warranty ran out this past February 2006.
First, I have had a new heater installed 5 times! That is one a year. I am waiting for the one I have now to fail. I am told that they cost around $500 to replace. Why did the previous heaters fail? The only information my dealer would share was "they have had a problem with the supplier".
Second, I have had the tub returned to the dealer twice for leaks. The first time I had a leak was in the third year. I noticed the water level was dropping faster than normal and after looking under the deck, sure enough, water was leaking from under the tub. My dealer came out, picked up the tub and had it for three (3) weeks. I was told by the dealer that carpenter ants had eaten into the foam insulation around the tub and chewed into a water line. These must be HUGE ANTS! The dealer "repaired" the tub and returned it to me. About three (3) months later the tub began to leak again. I called the dealer and the tub was picked up again. Four weeks later the tub was returned to me with the explanation that when the tub was repaired for the first leak, one of the water lines was not securely fasten causing the second leak. When the tub was returned to me it was visibly apparent that one side of the spa had been removed to gain access to the inner workings. The replacement of the spa sheeting was done very poorly and it is today still very apparent that a section was removed and reapplied. I had to glue down a section where it came apart after the dealer had returned the spa to me. There were also numerous nicks, scrapes, and cuts where the tub had been abused in the handling of the tub to and from the dealer. I complained to the dealer and he told me the tub was in that condition when it was picked up. To that I said "B---S--t!", but I received no recompense from the dealer.
Third, I experienced an ongoing problem with the heaters tripping the hi-limit thermostats. After coming out multiple times to correct, the dealer finally showed me where I could reach into the "guts" of the thing and reset the switch being careful to not either burn myself or get electrocuted (this is 220 stuff!).
All in all, I am still happy with the Hot Springs spa but I am loath to call the dealer any more. They no longer treat me like a customer but more like a pain in their rearend. Its not my fault they have had to service the product so frequently but I can tell by how they speak to me that they wish I would go away. If I ever buy another Hot Springs tub, I will NOT purchase it from the same dealer.
Customer service directly from Watkins, the maker of Hot Springs has been less than enjoyable I am sorry to say. I have telephoned them and also sent email. I have always had to follow up on phone messages I have left and emails I have sent, as it seems Watkins is very slow to respond. Frankly speaking I have been less than impressed with the answers I received.
In closing let me say that while it may appear that I am a demanding customer I have simply wanted service that was promised or indicated by the warranty. I am extremely thankful that the Hot Springs warranty was for 5 years since I have needed it repeatedly over that time frame. I do realize that hot tubs in general, by the very nature of the things, are prone to problems. Hot tubs are very simple products when you consider the system is simply a tub filled with water, a pump, a heater, and a motor. The product can only be as good as the components used to produce the product. Hot Springs is almost there but could still use some improvements.
I am still searching for the "best hot tub".