What's the Best Hot Tub

Author Topic: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?  (Read 1534 times)

wcmorris

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« on: March 05, 2021, 09:46:20 am »
I'm a first time hot tub buyer and I've been researching Bullfrog, Caldera, and Hot Springs as those are what my local dealers sell. I'm pretty set on the Bullfrog at this point and will likely submit my order for one this weekend which my dealer is saying would be August delivery.

Anyway, my question is does anyone know specifics about the construction of the newer Caldera and Hot Springs? Bullfrog has all of that information showing you details about the frame and full insulation, but the others do not. Both Caldera and Hot Spring just have little blurbs about being energy efficient blah blah blah. Nothing in regards to if they have metal, wood, composite frames, full insulation or not... Can any owners or folks knowledgeable about these brands speak to the construction?

This is one of the main reasons I'm choosing the Bullfrog over them. It seems they're doing themselves a disservice by not detailing more construction related information on their websites. 

Hot Tub Forum

Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« on: March 05, 2021, 09:46:20 am »

cranbiz

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2021, 10:50:45 am »
Hot Springs and Caldera use closed cell foam. The problem with closed cell foam is it gets hard over time and can become a bear to get thru if a leak occurs.

I believe (but I honestly I'm not sure of this) that Bullfrog uses an open cell foam. Both types work for insulation but a tub with open cell foam is easier to work on and in the event of a leak, the leak is easier to find.

castletonia

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 832
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2021, 12:38:18 pm »
Hot Springs and Caldera use closed cell foam. The problem with closed cell foam is it gets hard over time and can become a bear to get thru if a leak occurs.

I believe (but I honestly I'm not sure of this) that Bullfrog uses an open cell foam. Both types work for insulation but a tub with open cell foam is easier to work on and in the event of a leak, the leak is easier to find.

All of Caldera and Hot Spring Hot Spot and Limelight use FiberCor, which is not a foam.  Only the Highlife Collection uses foam insulation.

wcmorris

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 12:44:57 pm »
Hot Springs and Caldera use closed cell foam. The problem with closed cell foam is it gets hard over time and can become a bear to get thru if a leak occurs.

I believe (but I honestly I'm not sure of this) that Bullfrog uses an open cell foam. Both types work for insulation but a tub with open cell foam is easier to work on and in the event of a leak, the leak is easier to find.

All of Caldera and Hot Spring Hot Spot and Limelight use FiberCor, which is not a foam.  Only the Highlife Collection uses foam insulation.

So I would assume foam is the better option if they only use it in the highlife collection which I believe is their top tier?

castletonia

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 832
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2021, 12:51:04 pm »
Hot Springs and Caldera use closed cell foam. The problem with closed cell foam is it gets hard over time and can become a bear to get thru if a leak occurs.

I believe (but I honestly I'm not sure of this) that Bullfrog uses an open cell foam. Both types work for insulation but a tub with open cell foam is easier to work on and in the event of a leak, the leak is easier to find.

All of Caldera and Hot Spring Hot Spot and Limelight use FiberCor, which is not a foam.  Only the Highlife Collection uses foam insulation.

So I would assume foam is the better option if they only use it in the highlife collection which I believe is their top tier?

Is it more efficient, yes, but it is also not traditional 1/2# foam that most manufacturers use.  In their internal testing, the FiberCor was more efficient than traditional 1/2# foam while providing the benefit of easier service since it can be removed by hand or with a wet/dry shop vac.

All Caldera Spas along with Hot Spot/Limelight Hot Spring use a pressure treated wood frame.  Highlife is a full synthetic frame.

I'm a Hot Spring / Caldera dealer so I have my bias.  Bullfrog makes a quality product and I would be that the efficiency between the brands would be similar and you probably wouldn't notice the difference on your utility bill.  I personally don't care between wood or synthetic frames because the hot tub should outlast both.  Buy the hot tub that best suits your needs from the most reputable dealer.

The Wizard of Spas

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 494
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2021, 11:05:12 am »
Not at all an attempt to derail or otherwise inject unhelpful snark to the thread so please take this next bit in good faith:

Insulation is only as good as the cover, and how well the tub is sealed between the cabinet / frame / acrylic.  So much time is spent dissecting  the subtlest of nuances in insulation but it always was strange that nobody talks of (example) how dense is the foam is on the cover, is there a full pillow down the seam, is there a full seal around the lip that keeps the heat in and the cold out? 

If the tub is off the ground (on a deck), is there insulation on the floor to keep the loss of heat mitigated? Is there a vent on the tub? 

Then there is the whole concept of what is the electrical draw based on the motors, etc. and how does that effect your monthly costs?

Again - sorry if I am off topic a bit but it just is something that is always bothering me since it never seems to be addressed. 

EDIT: Spelling
« Last Edit: March 06, 2021, 02:19:43 pm by The Wizard of Spas »

wcmorris

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2021, 02:54:30 pm »
Thanks for all the comments. They were helpful.

We looked at American Whirlpool, Hot Spring, Caldera, and Bullfrog. I went to the dealer today with the intention of putting a deposit down on a Bullfrog A7L but I wanted to see some in person and this dealer also sells Hot Spring so I wanted to take a quick look at those even though I didn't think it was what I would want. Long story short I actually ended up putting a deposit on the Hot Spring Envoy. I liked the lighting and overall look of the tub better than the Bullfrog and my wife wasn't a fan of the jetpacks. She wanted something more traditional. My initial draw to the Bullfrog was it's construction but I didn't realize the Hot Spring Highlife collection is all composite frame and full insulation. Seems like a well made tub and we think it'll fit our family well. Now just need to get through the likely many months long wait.

Sammi

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 71
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2021, 06:00:17 pm »
Thanks for all the comments. They were helpful.

We looked at American Whirlpool, Hot Spring, Caldera, and Bullfrog. I went to the dealer today with the intention of putting a deposit down on a Bullfrog A7L but I wanted to see some in person and this dealer also sells Hot Spring so I wanted to take a quick look at those even though I didn't think it was what I would want. Long story short I actually ended up putting a deposit on the Hot Spring Envoy. I liked the lighting and overall look of the tub better than the Bullfrog and my wife wasn't a fan of the jetpacks. She wanted something more traditional. My initial draw to the Bullfrog was it's construction but I didn't realize the Hot Spring Highlife collection is all composite frame and full insulation. Seems like a well made tub and we think it'll fit our family well. Now just need to get through the likely many months long wait.

I was in the same boat as you last fall. I golf with a Bullfrog dealer who used to work for a Hot Springs dealer. He was selling me hard on Bullfrog. He didn't have one for me for at least 7 months and didn't have anything to wet test. To be fair the Bullfrog could have been great - I wouldn't know as we didn't went test - but looking at them dry and sitting in them it didn't look or feel really comfy. Not a fair assessment but it is what it is.

We were able to wet test an Envoy. Looked comfy, felt comfy, and we were able to get exact specs we wanted in 3 weeks. We use it daily and have zero regrets. Its a fantastic spa.

We live where it gets cold - really cold - like -30F for days cold. Still used the spa even then with no issues. You won''t regret your decision.

If you are at all a music lover spend the extra grand on the speaker system. So many people say to pass on it but I can't imagine the spa without it. My wife and I absolutely love it. Sound is amazing and is a huge upgrade from competitor spas systems.

Red MC

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2021, 08:53:33 am »
Not at all an attempt to derail or otherwise inject unhelpful snark to the thread so please take this next bit in good faith:

Insulation is only as good as the cover, and how well the tub is sealed between the cabinet / frame / acrylic.  So much time is spent dissecting  the subtlest of nuances in insulation but it always was strange that nobody talks of (example) how dense is the foam is on the cover, is there a full pillow down the seam, is there a full seal around the lip that keeps the heat in and the cold out? 

Yes, the cover can make a big difference, and the basic cover that the manufacturer or dealer provides when you buy a new hot tub isn't necessarily optimal.

Our last hot tub came with a 3" cover, and after a year one side became water logged and heavy and our electric bill started to go up.  After another year, the other side was starting to get water logged as well so we replaced it.  The second cover was good for a few years, but then the same thing started to happen.  This time, we ordered a custom cover from Robert's Hot Tubs, tapered in thickness from 6" in the center to 4" at the edge and 2 lbs/cuft density.  It was expensive, and too big for our existing cover lifter.  But it really dropped our electricity bill in the winter.

The new hot tub we just got at the beginning of Dec came with the typical 3" cover, and I'm looking forward to replacing it with another custom one.

wcmorris

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2021, 02:21:59 pm »
I was in the same boat as you last fall. I golf with a Bullfrog dealer who used to work for a Hot Springs dealer. He was selling me hard on Bullfrog. He didn't have one for me for at least 7 months and didn't have anything to wet test. To be fair the Bullfrog could have been great - I wouldn't know as we didn't went test - but looking at them dry and sitting in them it didn't look or feel really comfy. Not a fair assessment but it is what it is.

We were able to wet test an Envoy. Looked comfy, felt comfy, and we were able to get exact specs we wanted in 3 weeks. We use it daily and have zero regrets. Its a fantastic spa.

We live where it gets cold - really cold - like -30F for days cold. Still used the spa even then with no issues. You won''t regret your decision.

If you are at all a music lover spend the extra grand on the speaker system. So many people say to pass on it but I can't imagine the spa without it. My wife and I absolutely love it. Sound is amazing and is a huge upgrade from competitor spas systems.

Glad to here the Envoy is working out well for you. Makes me feel good about my decision to purchase one.

Do you have the Freshwater Salt System? If so, how do you like it? I'm debating on it but I'm concerned about the potential cost, maintenance required, and the salt water potentially damaging my stamped concrete patio. However, I would prefer to use the salt system if it works well.

Sammi

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 71
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2021, 12:08:06 am »
Yes we have the Freshwater salt system and a stamped concrete patio. The amount of salt in the spa is minimal. 4-5 cups for 400 gallons. I re-sealed my patio before putting the tub on it. When we get in and out of the tub there's white water lines that clean right up. I'm not sure about long term but I'm not worried about it as the amount ofnsalt is relatively minimal.

My first few months with the salt system were honestly a challenge. I had read that this can often be the case with the first time filling the tub. I finally drained the tub and started over fresh. Since then the system has worked exactly as I expected. I add 3 tablespoons of chlorine enhanced shock once a week, which is basically a 48% solution of chlorine and the rest oxidizer. I check and balance the ph and alkalinity every few days but only had to add balance about once a week. Other than that I add some stain and scale a couple times a month and clean the filters monthly.

We use the tub 5-6 days a week. When I read that people add 5 tablespoons of chlorine after each use in their non-salt system tub that right there makes me happy with my decision. 

vippoolsandspas

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2021, 08:09:22 pm »
If thats your only choices.  I would say Bullfrog.  I like Sunrise, but not sure if you can get those.  The other Hot tubs have parts that are proprietary too them.  Meaning, higher prices.  Eg.  Balboa topside $200-$300.  Same topside on the others could be around $600.  There's other reasons.  Stay with Bullfrog or wait till you find a SUNRISE hot tub (2010-2019 ONLY).  Easy to work on and easy to get the parts.  Not hard to work on.

Hot Tub Forum

Re: Caldera and Hot Spring Construction?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2021, 08:09:22 pm »

 

Home    Buying Guide    Featured Products    Forums    Reviews    About    Contact   
Copyright ©1998-2021, Whats The Best, Inc. All rights reserved. Site by Take 42