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Wood-fired Hot Tubbing Basics

Elegant Simplicity
Our hot tubs are a study in functional simplicity. Unlike expensive plastic spas, we offer no multi-colored fiberglass, no pop-up plastic speakers, no molded-in seats or drink holders. Just pure, simple, natural materials and a clean, honest aesthetic that complements any style home. Because our wood-fired hot tubs require no electricity or plumbing, you can enjoy pure hot tub luxury anywhere.

Traditional Real-Wood Tub

Snorkel Hot Tubs are classically handsome because they are made of real, solid Western Red Cedar — one of the most rot-resistant woods known. Upright staves are precisely mitered and bound with strong steel hoops that draw all tub parts tightly together for a watertight fit.

Underwater Wood Stove

It's nothing short of ingenious: you heat your Snorkel Hot Tub with a wood stove — an underwater wood stove made of marine grade aluminum coated with a corrosion-proof finish for years of trouble-free service. Completely submerged except for air intake, fuel feed, and chimney, the stove transfers heat to the water so efficiently, the underwater portion of the stove stays cool to the touch. The heating efficiency of the Snorkel® and Scuba® Stoves is far greater than outside the tub stoves which depend on thermal convection and with no plumbing there are no concerns of plumbing freezing and bursting

Heating is Simple

Build a fire like you would in a fireplace or any other wood stove, crumpled paper, kindling and then small or well split firewood.. Light the paper and place the stove door to provide maximum draft. Once you have a good fire going you can fill up the firebox with wood. We recommend using cordwood that has been split one more time. This allows the fire to burn faster and heat the water more quickly. Heating times can vary depending on many factors such as the size, dryness, and specie of wood, the size of the fire and how frequently it is fed, ambient wind and temperature, whether the tub has an insulating cover, etc. Generally, our most popular combination, a 6' x 3' tub with the Snorkel® Stove will heat at the rate of about 31° per hour with a cover on the tub and good dried softwood for fuel.

Controlling Temperature

Remote Thermometer Alarm
Remote Thermometer Alarm

Controlling the temperature of water in the tub is really simple. It is much like the process of controlling the temperature of the water when filling a bathtub for a warm bath. The difference is instead of checking the water periodically and adjusting the hot and cold water entering the tub, you are checking the temperature of the water periodically and deciding whether or not to add more wood to the fire. After you have done it once or twice it will become second nature to you. Overshoot the temperature? Just add some water from the hose to cool down the tub. With our new remote thermometer/alarm it is even easier to control tub temperature.

Filtration & Circulation

Basic Filter Pak
Basic Filter Pack
Deluxe Jet System
Therapy Jet System

Our gas and electric heat systems come complete with pump, filter, and hydrotherapy jets. If you choose wood heat, you may wish to add our simple "Filter Pak" a 1/15 HP pump and filter system to filter the water and help keep it clean. The water movement created by the pump also enhances the heat transfer rate of the stove. Therapy jet systems are also available for our wood-fired tubs. Jet systems come complete with a 2-speed 1 ½ HP pump and filter, jets, and all other necessary components.

Water Sanitation

There are many ways now to keep your hot tub water clean and clear. Because our wood stoves heat the tubs so quickly and cheaply, many owners opt for the Japanese style tubbing. That is, showering before entering the tub and discarding the water after a few uses; giving the tub a light scrub in between. Basic water hygiene consists of sanitization – killing of bacteria, algae and other microorganisms – and oxidation – burning off or breaking down of organic matter and bather waste such as perspiration, body oils, soap, suntan lotion, etc. Traditionally, chlorine was the chemical of choice and to some degree is still the gold standard, but over recent years many new equally effective products have come on the market that accomplish the tasks of sanitization and oxidation without the downsides of chlorine products. We sell several such products including the spa pad and instant ions for sanitization and non-chlorine shock for oxidation.

Naturally Insulated

Unlike plastic, wood – and especially cedar – is a natural insulator. A tub's largest heat loss, though, is through evaporation from the water's surface so a good insulating cover is important. Enjoy an evening in your hot tub, cover it, and take another dip in the morning without lighting a match. Enjoy bone-warming hot tubbing with no worries about power outages or frozen pipes. Even if temperatures go well below zero in your area, it's easy to keep your hot tub from freezing. Give us a call – we've got anti-freezing solutions for every situation.

Tub Specifications and Heat Rate Chart

Tub Size Gallons Weight 11 kW Elec. Header 100 BTU Gas Heater Snorkel Stove Scuba Stove
  Approximate Temperature Rise (°F/hr)
4 x 3 209 1910 22 51   36
4 x 4 290 2596 16 37   26
 
5 x 3 336 3032 14 32 45 22
5 x 4 467 4129 10 23 32 16
 
6 x 3 495 4422 9 21 30 15
6 x 4 686 6028 7 15 22 11
 
7 x 3 683 5984 7 16 22 11
7 x 4 947 8174 5 11 16 8
 
8 x 3 902 7870 5 12 17 8
8 x 4 1251 10727  4 8 12 6
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