By Tom Phillips
About 10 years ago, my sister got married. One of my
first expiriences meeting her husband was at his place in Colorado. We
were sitting in a wooden hot tub enjoying a spactacular view of the Rocky
Mountains. I told myself then and there that when I owned a house I was
going to have a hot tub.
Last June, my wife and I bought our first house. In setting
our budgetary priorities-first we pay for the house, then we
fix it up-there was not money available for a hot tub. I had priced them
in the past, and the least expensive was about $1100.
About a month ago, I was lying on the couch, slightly
hung over. Three beers is all it takes, and I'm foggy till noon the next
day. I thought, "What I really need is a good sweat." My choices were
limited to a long run-which I hadn't done since last September and our
cramped bathtub. Then, like the proverbial light bulb, realization came
to me. What exactly is a hot tub? It's a container with hot water in it.
So what do you need to make a hot tub: (A) a container and (B) some way
of heating the water in it (those pulsating jets never did much for me
I saw an insert for the Sunday paper, advertising a child's
inflatable pool (the container) for $19.99. This "tub" is approxamately
60" in diameter and 22" high. When I was at the toy store, I almost bought
the next larger model ($30), but in retrospect I am glad I didn't. The
60" model is the perfect size for two people who are comfortable being
very close to one another. If I were still single, I probably would have
gotten the 108" "party tub".
The next problem to tackle was the heat source. I figured
there were probably two ways to go: (1) buy a hot tub heater or (2) get
creative. Choice number one was again ruled out due to monetary constraints.
One of the hot tubs I had priced ($2000) had a unique heating system.
A very low wattage circulation pump was the heat source. The tub itself
was very well insulated, and while the pump was in operation it generated
heat. The salesman told me it took about two days for the water to get
up to temperature.
Using this design, I purchased two 4 x 8 sheets of 2"
polystyrene (R11) at a cost of approxamately $15. I cut the first sheet
to fit underneath the tub, and I cut the second to function as a cover.
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