Enjoying your Spa in the Winter

Envision this…soaking in your steamy spa, sipping hot cocoa while the snow falls lightly around you. What could be more relaxing? In order to make this relaxing moment a reality in the cold winter months of Upstate NY, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure proper operation and efficiency of your “little oasis” all winter long!

  1. Stock up on Supplies – Check your supplies and make sure you have an extra filter cartridge and plenty of sanitizer, chemicals, test strips, and any other spa supplies you use to last you through the winter. You don’t want to be all set to jump in and relax and realize that you don’t have the supplies you need.
  2. Protect Your Pipes – The winters in Central NY tend to be very cold and with this weather comes the risk of the pipes freezing in your spa. All you need to do is make sure that your spa’s freeze protection system is activated. This will help to maintain a constant water temperature even when you’re not using the spa. If your spa doesn’t have freeze protection, don’t worry, you can set your timer to cycle on for 15 – 20 minutes every hour, this will keep warm water circulating through the pipes and decrease the chances of them freezing.
  1. Keep it Covered – Use your insulated cover whenever you are not using your spa. This is an essential step to help reduce the amount of energy used during the winter. Consider using a thermal blanket under the cover to help keep the heat in, reduce chemical use, and decrease moisture build-up on the cover. Remember to spray your vinyl cover with a protectant to safeguard against the harsh winter weather. If your spa is in an area outside where snow can accumulate on the cover, put a tarp over the cover each time your are done using it, then if snow does accumulate, just pull the tarp off and the snow is gone. Remember to periodically inspect your cover for tears, leakage, or other deformities. Make sure your cover fits well and is in good condition as this is the number one way to preserve your spa’s cleanliness AND save on energy expenses.
  1. Watch the Water Level – Check the water level in your spa regularly, especially if you do not use your spa every day. If the water gets too low, the pumps and heater may stop working which may lead to freezing water.
  2. Maintain the Water Temperature –The colder it gets, the longer it takes for your spa to heat up. It is less expensive and more efficient to maintain the water temperature of your spa on a daily basis than it is to let it get extremely cold and then reheat it when you want to use the spa. It also keeps water from freezing in the pipes and reduces chemical use.
  3. Turn off Air Jets – The air jets inject cold air in to the spa, thus cooling the water and requiring more energy to heat it back up. So, during the cold winter months, keep the jets turned off. If you still want to use the jets, make sure they are turned off after every use.
  4. Call now for service to fix anything that’s not working 100%.   It’s no fun to head out to the spa for relaxation and find out that it isn’t working.  Complete a check of the entire spa and if something isn’t working, get it fixed right away.
  1. Add music and accessories!  Make your spa area frosty and festive. With the right spa accessories, you can make your spa experience extra enjoyable. Why not add a new step, safety rail, spa caddy or a towel rack?  Visit our website at http://www.tarsonpools.com/pages/spas.htm for more information on these products.

If you currently do not own a spa and would like more information on purchasing one or have questions in regards to the spa that you own please give us a call today at (315) 458-8800, or stop into our North Syracuse or East Syracuse location and we would be glad to help.

Have a great winter!



Hot Tub Myths: The Facts Behind the Fiction


It’s easy to fall for some of the myths about home hot tubs. Tarson Pools and Spas has been in the hot tub industry for over 30 years, so as experts in the field, we are able to dispel the false information about owning and maintaining a hot tub. Here are some of the most common myths and the truth behind them

Myth: Purchasing the least expensive hot tub in the store will save me money.
Fact: This statement is misleading because although you may save more money during the purchasing process, you might end up spending more down the road in maintenance. Low price spas can have less efficient insulation, pumping, heating or other essential actions. We recommend purchasing a hot tub with a higher MSRP during a promotion so that you get a quality spa for a price you can afford.
Tip: When purchasing a clearance hot tub, ask why it’s on sale. If it’s a discontinued model, ask your sales rep if you’ll still be able to purchase necessary parts in the future.

Myth: All jets perform the same function, so the more the better.
Fact: Jets are a great hot tub feature, but did you know they serve more than one function? There are massaging and pulsating jets, which perform two beneficial, but different functions. If you’re looking for the jets to massage certain areas of the body, find a model with jets that are located in the target areas. If you want jets that pulsate without a target area, find a model with the proper amount of jets for the size of your family.
Tip: If you’re purchasing a hot tub for health reasons, ask your sales rep about strength, position and function options on the spas they carry.

Myth: If the water has a strong chemical odor, the water must be clean.
Fact: A healthy hot tub will have a very light chemical odor. If the odor is strong, this could mean the water’s pH is not balanced or there are chloramines, water contaminants such as body oils or perspiration in your spa. Check your water’s pH balance to see if it is between 7.4-7.6. If the pH appears to be balanced, consult with a chemical expert at your hot tub supplier.
Tip: Check your pH balance every day to avoid chemical odor and imbalances. Also, check your filter frequently because this affects the health of the hot tub.

Myth: It’s okay to use household chemicals like antifreeze and bleach for my hot tub.
Fact: To avoid the hot tub water from freezing, some have tried adding antifreeze to the water to slow the process. Antifreeze is not only toxic to the skin, but it’s also very difficult to pass through the hot tub’s system. You can avoid this problem by winterizing your spa.
Using bleach to sanitize your hot tub water or cover is not a safe practice. It can irreparably damage the hot tub’s finish and the cover material. Use only the chemicals recommended when maintaining or cleaning your hot tub.
Tip: High levels of bromine or chlorine can act similarly to bleach and damage the hot tub. This is another good reason to test the water’s pH every day.

Myth: Chlorine is what causes my eyes to turn red and burn in the water.
Fact: Chlorine can cause slight skin irritation, but it’s not what is causing your eye irritation. The irritation is most likely due to alkalinity or an imbalanced pH. High alkalinity leads to the water becoming caustic and a low pH causes the water to become acidic. This is true of hot tubs as well as pools.
Tip: If your eyes become irritated, rinse them with warm water and dry them off lightly with a clean towel.

Myth: I don’t need to use chemicals in my hot tub because I have an Ozonator.
Fact: Although having an Ozonator reduces the need for chemicals, you still need to use the chemical cocktail recommended by your spa retailer. Ozone must be used with another sanitizer to maintain healthy water.
Tip: There is no hot tub on the market that only requires an ozone system to sanitize hot tub water. Jacuzzi offers highly innovative hot tubs systems that give you choices on water maintenance plans.

We hope disproving these myths and providing helpful tips will make your owning or purchasing a hot tub  a lot easier. If you have any questions on the information given, or on other hot tub topics, give us a call at (315) 458-8800. Hot tub promotions are going on now, so ask a sales rep about the offers available!

Owning a Hot Tub: Easy Maintenance in 6 Simple Steps

Have you ever wondered if you could afford a hot tub?  Most people CAN! And they’re perfect for CNY (yes, even winters) and easy to maintain too if you follow these simple steps:

1) Make sure your chemical levels are within the guidelines. For example, maintain a balanced pH level according to the chemical maunfacturer’s instructions. Water should be tested about once a week or more depending on use. (Check manufacturer guidelines.)When adding chemicals, do so one at a time in two hour intervals.

2) Clean your filter regularly. Insects, leaves, etc. may make their way into your filter and affect how it runs.

3) Sanitize your hot tub with chemicals to keep it clean. Many people use chlorine, but for a less harsh smell and effect on your skin, try bromine instead. It can be placed in by granules, tablets or nuggets and kills bacteria and germs. Other options include a mineral purifier or ozone, which lower the need for bromine or chlorine.

4) On average, change your water about every 90 days. This ensures the health of your hot tub and that you have the cleanest water experience. Check your manual for the formula on how often you should change your water. It’s determined by usage.

5) Use shock oxidizers to keep your water looking clear and to help break down things such as lotion, sweat, dirt, skin oil, etc. There are chlorine or non-chlorine shocks to choose from.

*Helpful hint: detergent on a bathing suit can cause your water to foam, so before entering the hot tub rinse your suit.

6) Leave your hot tub on at all times. This will circulate the water and keep things from building up, such as algae or dirt.

* Helpful hint: set the desired temperature and then give your hot tub about 30 minutes before getting in to achieve the perfect experience.

The specific maintenance of your hot tub is unique to the brand, model and size, so you can purchase a spa that fits your lifestyle. The experience of enjoying a hot tub far outweighs the basic upkeep responsibilities that go along with being a hot tub owner.

If you have any questions we would be happy to hear from you.

Using Your Spa in Summer

A Spa Can Cool You Down or Warm You Up.
This summer is already one of the hottest on record in Central New York. When outside temperatures reach into the high 80‘s and 90‘s some people may think it’s too hot to use their outdoor spas. Quite the contrary–a hot tub can be a great place to chill out during a heat wave!
You can operate your spa at a lower temperature and still  receive the benefits of stress relief and muscle relaxation on those hot summer days. Any temperature above the body temperature will have a warming effect, so as the temperatures dip in the evening, you might want to turn the temperature up a bit. Any temperature that is colder than the body temperature will have a cooling effect. Some customers who don’t have swimming pools tell us that they turn their spa heater off completely and use their spa like a pool! The bubbling water adds to the refreshing feel of the cool water.

To maintain your spa’s cooler water temperature be sure to leave the spa covered during the day when not in use. Your spa is naturally insulated and will maintain the cooler water temperature. Proper water balance and circulation will be extremely important to maintain with the water at  a cooler temperature. To learn more about spa maintenance read this post.

Water Safety Tips

May is National Water Safety Month.

As a pool or spa owner it is extremely important to understand know how to keep  those using your pool or spa safe so everyone can enjoy a fun experience.

Drowning and injuries are very avoidable when safety rules are followed. Simple steps save lives.

The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) suggests creating a pool/spa safety kit that includes these basics:


  • A first aid kit
  • A pair of scissors that can be used to cut pool covers, clothing and other apparel if needed.
  • A charged telephone to call 911
  • A floatation device

These simple steps can save lives:

1. Supervision: Always watch your children in the pool. Children no matter their skill level should only swim when accompanied and supervised by an adult.

2. Fencing: A fence that is at least 4 -5  foot tall completely surrounding the pool is ideal. The fence should not be easy to climb and should contain self-latching locks. If your home serves as one side of the pool fence you should also consider window and door alarms.

3. Safety Covers: Covers are an extremely important part of pool/ spa safety. Spas should be covered and locked when not in use. Pools that are covered when not in use offer an added level of security. Children should be encouraged to stay away from both pools and spas with out adult supervision.  Most pool covers are designed to carry the weight of a small child. Safety covers should not be used alone using all safety steps is ideal for a fun pool or spa experience.

4. Alarm: Install alarms  in your pool and spas as well as access points. These alarms will notify you that someone is in the pool/spa or in the pool area.

5. Drain Covers: While they may not top your list on the pool and spas safety list ensuring your pool is using proper drainage covers can eliminate the risk of entrapment. Be sure that your pool and spa is using the proper drain covers and they are correctly installed by professionals.

6. Learn to Swim: It may sound too obvious but being able to swim as well as teaching your children to swim plays an important role in pool and spa safety. Did you know swimming is the only sport that can save a life, and lessons are available to people of all ages and skill levels.

7. Learn CPR: Knowing the basics of CPR can save lives. Should any of the earlier steps of safety fail knowing CPR is a crucial skill for pool owners. You may never need to use it but keeping up to date on your CPR skills can save lives and maximize your pool/spa safety.

If you have questions or want additional information about pool and spa safety please visit any of our six locations. Our staff of pool and spas professionals can assist you with anything you need. Please stop in our showroom or visit our website.

Know Your Chemicals:

We’ve already helped you understand the basics of proper water balance for your pool (You can read more about that here.) Now we want you to know your chemicals!

Pool chemicals are a very important part of pool/ spa ownership and maintenance. But how much do you really know about the chemicals you keep in your home?

This post is designed to help you have a better understanding of the chemicals you will need to use to care for your pool and spas!

Chlorine: The most common of all pool chemicals. It comes in liquid, tablet and powder forms. Did you know that this is similar to the very chlorine you clean your homes with? The concentration level in chlorine for pools can be up to 95% the strength of home cleaners. Keep this in mind as bleach should not be used as a substitute to the pool grade chemical chlorine. Chlorine is used to kill bacteria in your pool and help prevent algae from growing and keep your pool safe foe swimming. Store chlorine in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. When adding chlorine to your pool or spa be sure to follow the manufactures instructions.  Keep away from eyes as well as avoid direct contact with skin and clothing.

Bromine: Is a  disinfectants that can be used as an alternative for chlorine. In swimming pools, bromine is used against the formation and growth of algae, bacteria and odors in swimming water. Did you know in the United States, bromine has been used since 1936 to treat swimming water. Bromine comes as a powder of tablet form. Bromine is more stable than chlorine at higher temperatures and is more commonly used in Spas because of that. For spas it is used for sterilizing and disinfecting the water. Store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. When adding Bromine to your pool or spa be sure to follow the manufactures instructions.  Keep away from eyes as well as avoid direct contact with skin and clothing.

SoftSwim: Softswim is similar to chlorine but different in that it kills bacteria differently. Softswim acts as microscopic fly paper. The bacteria (and algae) are attracted and stick to it where they die. Millions of other microscopic particles also accumulate on the it  and the chemical  is ultimately trapped in the filter. These “sticky” particles accumulating in the filter make chemical cleaning of the filter  essential. When adding Softswim to your pool or spa be sure to follow the manufactures instructions.

Algeacides: Is a pesticide used to kill algae. Algeacides come in liquid for and are a very high concentration pesticide that is designed to be diluted in your swimming pool.  It is normally used in addition to other pool chemicals for maintaining the balance of the water. Store in a cool dry place. Be sure to follow the manufactures instructions for application.  Safety is key for proper use keep away from eyes as well as avoid direct contact with skin and clothing.

Pool Shock: There are several different types of Shock treatments.  Before using any of these treatments  you should always check with your pool professionals to know which type is best for your pool and spa. Be sure to follow the manufactures instructions.  Keep away from eyes as well as avoid direct contact with skin and clothing.

CALCIUM HYPOCHLORITE: Calcium Hypochlorite is a popular and effective chlorine-based type of shock.

LITHIUM HYPOCHLORITE: Although not as widely used as Calcium Hypochlorite, Lithium Hypochlorite is also an effective chlorine-based type of shock, particularly for those regions with typically high amounts of calcium in the water.

DICHLOR (GRANULAR CHLORINE): A powder form of chlorine, which is sometimes used a chlorine-based shock. Granular chlorine is a popular chlorine-based shock to help kill algae and for winterizing a pool.

POTASSIUM PEROXYMONOSULFATE: Potassium Peroxymonosulfate, which is almost universally packaged and sold as “non-chlorine shock,” is typically used with bromine. Once added, non-chlorine shock will oxidize the ammonia, killing Bromamines, while at the same time, reactivating the existing bromine, allowing it to continue to sanitize and disinfect the pool water.

It is always best to consult with your own pool professional before using any chemicals in your pool.  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific products you are using and handle with care. If you have any questions our experts would be more than happy to help you lean more at any of our 6 locations.
If you are interested we are holding a Pool School this week on  Thursday, May 3rd at 7pm at our North Syracuse Location, 6071 E. Taft Road. We do ask you RSVP for the event by contacting Joanne at 458-8800 X326.  There is no charge for this class. Learn from the professionals how to properly open and treat your pool. If you’re THINKING about buying a pool, come learn how easy it will be to maintain.  Refreshments will be served. We hope you can join us to learn more!

Fall and Winter Hot Tub Maintenance

The temperature is falling,  and the leaves changing colors. Fall is great time for apple cider as well as planning  your fall and winter hot tub maintenance routine.

If you’re not planning to use your hot tub this winter, you will want to properly winterize it.  If you will be using your hot tub during the chilly winter months here are some  quick tips for maintenance to keep your hot tub working properly. Disclaimer: these are tips for proper care. Please consult your manufacturer recommendations as well.

Regular maintenance is important to extend the life of your spa. And it only takes a few minutes a week.

Weekly Check List:

  • Test Chlorine Levels.  Be sure they fall between 3-5 mg.
  • Test the PH level. You want to be right between 7.2-7.6.
  • Is your water foaming? Use Anti Foam. Be sure to follow the instructions on the   bottle and use a spray bottle to apply.

If your spa is exposed to the elements, it is also important to care for the cover. Air drying is best when it is possible.  We also suggest using cleaners specifically for cover cleaning.

Other reminders for winter maintenance.

Monthly Check List:

  • Shock you Hot Tub with a suitable agent for your unit. It’s important to keep your water clean and clear.

Periodic Check List:

  • Clean hot tub cover with a cover cleaner.
  • Change water
  • Replace Hot Tub filters (6 months- 1 year)

Proper hot tub maintenance will help your spa retain its beauty and performance, and ensure it continues to be a source of stress relief, relaxation and family fun for years to come.

If you have questions or want additional information we can supply you with all the information, supplies, and accessories you need.

Want to learn more consider attending our Spa School on November 10, 2011 at the East Syracuse location. RSVP with Angel at 315-463-7727.  More details can be found here: Tarson Pools