Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Purchasing a Used Hot Tub

Buying a used hot tub is a great way to enjoy a spa without the cost of a new model. This option is also good for the environment as many hot tubs that are scrapped simply need a small amount of work to get going again. The trend of buying used hot tubs has rocketed in recent years, mainly as a result of consumers having less money and sites such as Ebay offering great deals on luxury spas. As experts in the industry, we would like to offer some useful advice to those seeking to purchase a used hot tub. This advice will cover potential problems with second-hand hot tubs and the issues you will face when collecting or moving such spas.

What to look for...

The list below contains the variables to consider when purchasing a used hot tub, the further information explains why these variables are so important to consider. We are not suggesting you don't buy a hot tub that has such issues but simply highlighting what to look out for.

  • Age.
  • Cabinet Condition.
  • Shell Condition.
  • Pumps/Blowers.
  • Control System.
  • Headrests.
  • Filters.
  • Cover Condition.
Age
An old hot tub is not necessarily a bad hot tub. We have seen many hot tubs that have been looked after well or kept inside for many years and are in perfect condition. The issue with age is the availability of spare parts and support for certain errors. With many hot tub manufacturers going bust and others moving production to China, parts will slowly become less available for older spas. Note this when purchasing an old hot tub and be prepared for high costs if changing electrics or plumbing to fit different parts.

Cabinet Condition
The hot tub cabinet is important for aesthetics within your garden. Hot Tub cabinets can be wooden or polymer and both these materials can lead to varying issues. Wooden cabinets are structurally strong when kept in good condition but it is very common for these to rot in the damp conditions of most gardens. A rotten cabinet can make moving the hot tub impossible as sections of the cabinet fall away when trying to manoeuvre the spa out of the garden. If you do manage to get a rotten hot tub onto a truck or trailer, it will need to be secured well to ensure that it holds together during the journey. Polymer cabinets do not rot in the same way as wooden cabinets but become brittle over time and this makes them very difficult to manoeuvre without snapping or cracking the panels. In either case, it is important to ensure that the cabinet is in a reasonable condition as this holds the hot tub together and supports the shell.

Shell Condition
One could argue that the shell of a hot tub is the most important aspect but it is difficult to repair and irreplaceable. Although hot tub shells are made of tough acrylic, the exposure to 30-40 degree water and harsh chemicals like chlorine means that inevitably issues will arise. Blistering is a common problem with hot tub acrylic and such blisters emerge after a few years with limited options to repair them. It is important to find out any problems such as blistering as the hot tub shell is difficult to repair and could be expensive. Problems such as scratches are less important but if you want an aesthetically pleasing spa then multiple scratches around the top of the acrylic could be an eye sore to the perfectionist. 

Pumps/Blowers
Probably the second most expensive component of most hot tubs after the control board, it is important that you know whether these are working or not and if not, ensure these parts are available to purchase. If a pump has been discontinued, such as the J250 that was common in many spas, it may require a large re-plumb in order to fit an equivalent pump. This should be researched and considered if you are able to access the codes of any pumps that may not be working. Some pumps that have been discontinued can be serviced and refurbished, we offer this service at Happy Hot Tubs so contact us prior to purchasing a spa to see if we can offer you this service. 

Blowers are usually broken through water damage so a thorough drying out can usually get them working again. If not, they are relatively cheap so again, it shouldn't be something to put you off a good spa. Remember also that you can run a hot tub without a blower without any issues, simply unplug it and use the rest of the spa as usual.

Control System
The control system is the most expensive part of any hot tub. The board can be replaced or you can change the whole pack depending on the error. Water damage is the most common problem for most control boards, usually caused by flooding. This needs to be considered when purchasing a used hot tub as certain control boards or spa packs could cost more than you paid for the hot tub and therefore make the purchase less cost effective. 

Headrests
Although headrests may seem to be a necessity within a hot tub, I personally do not believe they are fatal to the enjoyment of your spa. Headrests wear over time due to the exposure to harsh chemicals like chlorine and the temperature of your spa water, therefore old hot tubs usually have damaged headrests that may be unusable. Some headrests are very rare and this increases the price of the headrests available.

Filters
Most filters are very common and available due to scale of manufacturing from companies such as Pleatco. However, in recent years we have experienced some customers looking for very uncommon filters and therefore it is important to ensure the hot tub you are purchasing has a filter to be matched. See our vast range of filters at www.happyhottubs.co.uk

Cover Condition
All hot tub covers can be custom made, a service we offer for £299 including VAT and delivery, so add this cost in when analysing the cost effectiveness of purchasing a used spa. If a hot tub is waterlogged and heavy you will struggle to remove it from the hot tub, therefore a replacement is necessary. You also need to consider the cost of having a damaged old cover, as lots of heat will be lost through seams that are split or damaged heat lock pads. Again, this is not to put you off a hot tub but to be priced in when considering the cost of refurbishment. 

I hope the above information is of some use when looking for a used hot tub. We will happily check over images on an auction site to see if we can spot anything and if local to one of our branches, we can visit to check the hot tub at a cost. Please contact us on 02380 812769 or e-mail us admin@happyhottubs.co.uk for any help you may require.

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