When my hot tub was near its end of life I did not even consider rebuilding it. That is only because, being relatively dim, I wasn’t even aware that there were businesses that specialize in this. My solution was to purchase a reciprocating saw and chop it into bits and dispose of it like they did to so many characters in the Sopranos. The other option of rebuilding it myself, while possibly appealing to some readers of this blog, was not going to happen with me as the lead DIY’er.
Really all of these things are possible and pragmatic from where I sit today. Hiring someone to rebuild your existing tub, having the tub taken away free of charge by someone who will repair it for sale and of course purchasing a rebuilt tub.
The rule of thumb is under 10 years for the tub to be worth a major rebuild as 15 years is considered a long life for a hot tub. If the cost of repair is more than half the value of a new one, consider buying the new one. As with anything, you need to do your homework on the company doing the rebuild. Investigate how long they have been in business, what are their customer reviews, what is the warranty, do they use name brand or aftermarket parts and most importantly do they stand behind their work.
During the life of your hot tub you can expect occasional repairs. A few hundred dollars every few years is to be expected. But when repairs are frequent or a major item fails you may need to consider a rebuild. Preparing for repairs can be a major aggravation if you need to drain your tub just to be able to move it for access (think tubs built into decks). That routine gets old quick, so the second time it occurs you may want to pull the trigger on a full rebuild.
Some of the repairs that may be involved:
Cabinet. Sometimes it might actually be cheaper for you to replace it.
Pump. Seal repair or a rebuilt pump may be possible . I would recommend new
Heater. Low PH causes corrosion, if the tub is under eight years replace the element, over eight replace the complete heating unit
Blower. If the blower is behaving erratically check the controller output, relay and wiring. If these are good, replace the blower
Spa pack. This is the combo of pump, heater, blower and controller. Replacing this eliminates a lot of problems that may come if original parts are left in place during the rebuild
Weak or broken jets. The plumbing may be kinked or constricted with build up or the jets need to be replaced.
Flow switch. The original should always be replaced at the time of rebuild
Hot tub cover. This should be light as a feather. Soon after it starts picking up moisture it will need to be replaced.It still drives me crazy that these covers only last about 4 years (in Canadian climates)
Leaks. If your tub water level drops to the level of a jet and stops, the tubing clamps need replacement. Do all of them as a compression set of the tubing will occur at other places as well. If the water level stops at a random spot or completely drains you have a crack in your shell
Energy efficiency. If the foam insulating your tub (and the cover for that matter) are wet you will be losing a lot of energy and your monthly power bills will be noticeably higher. You may want to consider a new tub based on this fact alone.
Spa Ozonator and spa filter system. You definitely need your filter system but check with others to see if the ozonator needs replacement. Your regular sanitizer will pick up the slack if the ozonator is not working.
When buying a used hot tub:
Request the seller show you the hot tub full of water, water heated and functioning
Be prepared to have to purchase a spa pack if the original components are still in use
Make sure that parts are still available for the make and model of the hot tub you are considering buying
I hope this blog helps you decide if rebuilding or buying rebuilt is right for you. This is the shameless promotion part of my blog. My products can be found at www.scumray.com and our My Hot Tub is Always Clean program will keep your tub sparkling, save you money by minimizing your sanitizer use and allow you the most enjoyment your hot tub can provide for you, your friends and your family.