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Water World: Shopping for Spas and Whirlpools

To Keep from Taking a Bath, Shop for Spas and Whirlpools with Your Mind and Not Your Passions
Edward Kiersh
From the Print Edition:
Michael Richards, Sep/Oct 97

(continued from page 5)

Finally, in this stressed-out world where quick muscle relief is everything, don't get saddled with a whirlpool that moves like that Miata. To really appreciate the luxurious values of a whirlpool, it must be filled quickly, and according to Baum, that means buying optional, high-volume faucets that "do a far better job than built-in fill systems.

"At minimum you want three-quarter-inch valves with 20-gallon-a-minute flow, and these type faucets are usually separate from the unit," says Baum, the self-crowned "Faucet King," who offers buyers more than 2,000 types of decorative faucets.

"You just don't want to go with the built-ins, since they take forever to fill. Plus, these fancy faucets, spouts, cascading waterfalls, whether they cost $300 or $3,000, really give a unit some pizzazz. It pays to spend the money to add these decorative touches."

Even though Baum praises Americh, Vita and Kohler for making top-of-the-line whirlpools, "to me, comfort is king, and that means the ability to luxuriously move around in a lot of water," he says. "While whirlpools have their advantages, a spa is synonymous with space, socializing and relaxing."

Whether it's a spa or a whirlpool, shop around. Get dealer references. And remember, both will be fun and soothing, if you avoid the many sharks that infest these waters.

Edward Kiersh is a frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado. Spa Safety

A few tips for keeping your spa experiences happy ones

* An essential for safety and overall spa efficiency, a protect-ive cover prevents children from hopping into the spa, keeps leaves from clogging the system and conserves water heat. Buy a lightweight one. After seeking muscle relief in a spa, it doesn't make sense to sabotage these efforts by lifting 25 to 30 pounds of vinyl.

* Sanitize, sanitize. Spas are sexy, but only if they are rigor-ously purified, either by a bromine, chlorine, ozone or silver catalyst and other technology, or with newly popular "alternate sanitizers" that greatly reduce the dependency on chlorine and bromine. Automatic floating dispensers and monitoring systems are highly recommended to ensure water purity.

* Besides creating a romantic mood, night lighting is another vital safety feature. Spas have built-in lights, but stairs and decks should also be illuminated.

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