By Doug Cantwelldcantwell@taosnews.com"The FBI is jealous of our database," said Neil Collins, co-owner with his dad, Wolfgang, of Wolfgang's Spa Works at 1210 Salazar Road."The homeowners may move …
By Doug Cantwell
"The FBI is jealous of our database," said Neil Collins, co-owner with his dad, Wolfgang, of Wolfgang's Spa Works at 1210 Salazar Road.
"The homeowners may move out after seven years, but the hot tub stays, and we maintain all the specs and maintenance records. So if you buy a house with a tub we installed or maintained, we've got you covered."
A half-dozen hot tub dealers have come and gone since Wolfgang started the business in 2001, but it's currently the only survivor in the area. There's also Angel Fire Hot Tub, which services and maintains tubs but doesn't sell them.
Despite their "lone wolf" status, Wolfgang's doesn't capture all the tub business here. "Some people believe we hold a monopoly in Taos, but we actually have tons of competition," said Neil, "between Santa Fe and Albuquerque and the online vendors."
"You can go online, or go to Costco," said Wolfgang. "But if you buy local, your warranty actually means something. If you have a problem, you won't be dealing with some handyman they send from Albuquerque; you'll have professionals right here to take care of you."
They "spend thousands" training their service people at the factory to get them certified. "That way, they're not guessing," Wolfgang added. "They take out their meter and figure out what's going on in the first 10 minutes."
How to keep your water sparkling
One of the latest trends is using salt water in your spa to avoid the harsh chlorine-based chemicals. Has this approach taken off in Taos?
"To some degree, but our water's so hard here it can create other problems," said Neil. "It's not as easy as in areas that have soft water. What a salt sanitizer system does is oxidize the salt water, which basically makes chlorine from scratch. It's a purer form of chlorine, so it feels a little better on your skin than the commercially made stuff, but it's still chlorine."
If you're looking for the most natural solution, hydrogen peroxide is, surprisingly, your best choice. Peroxide is not the most effective for keeping your water germ-free, but neither is it as harsh as chlorine-based products. The stuff sold for hot tub use is much more concentrated than what you buy at the grocery store, so remember to wear rubber gloves when you're pouring.
But what if you want to go totally natural and use no chemicals? You can invest in a system that aerates the water with ozone, a fairly effective bactericide. To enhance the ozone, it's a good idea to use a silver ionizer as well, which releases nano-sized particles of silver into the water to inhibit bacterial growth.
"As long as it's your own private tub, you can use Jell-O if you like," said Neil. "People in Taos tend to go their own way on this issue, so we don't dictate what they should use. But we do generally encourage using at least a small amount of chemical sanitizer on a regular basis."
To counter the effects of hard water and whatever biocidal agent you use, Wolfgang's has started carrying a product called Silk Balance®. "The manufacturers won't tell us what's in it," said Wolfgang, "it's a big trade secret. But more and more of our customers are swearing by it. It feels great on your skin and you don't get that itching after you soak. It also reduces mineral buildup in your pump."
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