spa parts, hot tub parts and repair help
spa parts, hot tub parts and repair help
spa parts, hot tub parts and service help
spa parts, hot tub parts and repair help
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Spa-Buyer's Guide, Used Home New-Spa-Buyer's Guide

The majority of this section is dedicated to buying a used spa. However, most of the information will apply to evaluating a spa at a home you are about to purchase.
Buying a used spa, much less moving one, can be a very risky proposition. Before you make the decision to spend the money on one, be sure that you have addressed the issues that will immediately confront you once you have acquired it:
  • The move of the spa from the seller's location to your home
  • Electrical hookup
  • Repair expenses to be incurred once you get it set up
Now the last one may seem to be unecessary, because you’ve seen it, operated it, and it heats up at the seller’s home. But even if that spa is only 3-5 years old, you can bet the next $400 in your check book that you’ll need service sometime with the next year or two.  Oh yes…it’s a great deal. It’s a self-contained spa that has been meticulously maintained for the last 3 years when the owner purchased it.  And I’m only going to pay $1500…. Take my word for it folks: A few of you will be rather lucky to buy it, move it, hook it up, and operate it for the next 5 years without a cent going to maintenance expense. 

But be aware that virtually anything can happen, and once you move that spa, the entire burden of maintenance is on your shoulders. And if you have to pay a spa service professional to repair it, it will cost you.

One way to deal with this situation is to have the spa inspected by a professional service company, or an individual who performs spa service.   It may cost you between $75-$115 to have the spa fully checked out, but the expense will be worth it in the end. Believe me, paying $100 for someone to tell you not to buy a hot-tub that is going to cost you $1000 to purchase and $1200 to repair is a wise investment.

Without the on-the-scene advice of a professional service person, here are a few tips:

  • Browse SpaSupport’s  troubleshooting and problem identification sections here and get an idea of  potential problems that you should be looking for.
  • Be sure that the spa is operational, with water, and the temperature set to the maximum, and operational in this manner for at least the last 24 hours.  Using a digital oral thermometer, check the water temperature to ensure that it is at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check all the functions that are available: jets, blower, water diverter valves, and air valves.  Have the homeowner brief you on all the operational parts of the spa.
  • Look inside the equipment cabinet, and ensure that there are no active leaks.  Simple leaks, of the very very slow drip type are usually not a big problem to solve, unless they come from the pump motor seal, in which case will have to be replaced right away.  Pump seal leaks are common, and can be repaired for $150.00 to $250 (depending on the degree of wear and corrosion at the pump), except in the case of an original  Jacuzzi ® brand pump wet end, (wet end is white plastic), which, depending up on availability and local price structure, can cost between $275 and $425 to replace. 
Corrosion from a leaking heater. Leaking filter canister, could be a $5 O-Ring, or a $185 canister replacement.
  • If the spa has a blower, be sure that it is running and that it sounds like a smooth running vacuum cleaner. Anything outside of the normal motor/air whining sound, then you’ll probably need to replace the motor or blower assembly very soon. This can run somewhere in the $225.00 range or more.
External Blower Example
Underskirt Blower Example
  • Pumps are an entirely different animal altogether.  If the pump motor sounds like anything other than a nice strong and steady hum while running, then you can expect to replace the motor. And this can have a rather large price range, depending on the pump frame type, flange type, horsepower, single or two speed, and availability.
Standard spa pump. Looks good, but note the white chalky area at the pump shaft; pump seal needs replacement. External spa pump. Note the brown haze under the clear strainer cover, indicating rusted headers in the gas heater... a $350 repair.

Overall, if any area in the equipment cabinet shows evidence of white chalky powder residue, or wetness, then you can expect repairs to be necessary.

One last and very effective observation to make is whether the spa, when it is inspected,  is connected to an operational Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) supply circuit.  I’m not referring to a small GFCI that is mounted in the spa control pack, but one that is actually the main circuit breaker to the spa.  If this is the case, then that will usually you an excellent rating of the electrical integrity of the spa.

The shell shouldn’t have any "hard"cracks or delaminated areas in it.  Surface acrylic "checking" (small thin cracks) is ok, and can almost be expected on an older spa shell. 

If the spa shell does have any cracks or breaks, then be sure that it does not leak at all from those areas, and that it has been repaired.  The issue here is that once a spa shell that has been cracked and repaired and is moved, the potential for rupture is very high. 

The best advice in this case is not to pay very much for the spa, or just don’t purchase it at all. If there are areas of delamination, as long as they are aged and small in size, it is probably not going to bother you much in the future, but be aware that it does detract from the physical appeal of the spa shell. Since the spa shell integrity comprises the majority of the value of the spa, it is wise to steer away from spas with defects of this type.

Metro Atlanta Spa/Hot Tub Service
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