|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:
Now the last one may seem to be unecessary, because
youve seen it, operated it, and it heats up at the sellers home.
But even if that spa is only 3-5 years old, you can bet the next $400 in your
check book that youll need service sometime with the next year or
two. Oh yes
its a great deal. Its a self-contained spa
that has been meticulously maintained for the last 3 years when the owner
purchased it. And Im 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
- The move of the spa from the seller's location to your
- Electrical hookup
- Repair expenses to be incurred once you get it set
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 SpaSupports 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
|Corrosion from a leaking
||Leaking filter canister, could be a $5 O-Ring, or a $185
- 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 youll probably need to replace the
motor or blower assembly very soon. This can run somewhere in the $225.00 range
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
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. Im 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 shouldnt 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 dont 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.