How to Buy a Used Hot Tub
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Would YOU buy a used hot tub? Two-thirds of people surveyed would buy a used tub, especially if they knew the person. You can always find someone trying to sell their spa, for one reason or another. You'll find used spas and hot tubs on craigslist and local papers by dealers and home owners.
Used spas and hot tubs can still have much life left in them, and can be purchased for less than half of a new spa. Even if you decide to invest in a new spa cover or cartridge filter element, the cost savings can be substantial.
Here's some tips on how to buy a Used Spa or Hot tub.
Buying from a Hot Tub Dealer
Many spa dealers take trade-ins, much like a car dealer may sell new and used cars. They may sometimes have older models or demo units they are trying to sell.
The advantage of buying from a dealer is that it will have some kind of warranty, and a thorough '29' point inspection and detailing. They can also sanitize the pipes for biofilm removal. Plus - they can also deliver it, set it up with proper power, fill it, and show you how to use it.
Just make sure it's a 'real' spa dealer, not a guy working out of a storage unit. And never buy a spa that you have not seen filled with water, hot, and fully operational.
Buy from a Friend you Trust
If you have a good friend whose personal grooming habits you respect, it might be worth a look into his or her gently used spa. There are those however, who say that you never should transact business with friends - if you want them to stay friends. Nonetheless, if you trust them that the spa was well maintained and is in good working order, you can help out a friend and get a hot tub for yourself at a good price.
Making the offer sweeter would be accessories such as a spa cover lifter, spa steps or furniture, spa chemicals and equipment. A spa cover in good shape, one that looks new and is not sagging, faded, water logged or broken - is also a nice asset.
Buy from Some Guy Online
So, you find a good deal, it looks good, but how do you know what kind of condition it's in? Take a look at the spa, and if it looks operational but you want to be sure, contact a local spa service company to perform a systems check on the hot tub. A spa inspection, along with other information such as overall condition, age or any necessary repairs. If you decide to buy it, the spa tech may also be able to move the spa for you, with specialized trailers and dollies made for the purpose.
Even if you are buying from a friend, having a spa tech do an inspection, and possibly move the spa and set it up in it's new location, would be a good idea - especially if you are a novice to hot tubs and spas.
How much Should You Pay for a Used Spa?
Unfortunately, there's no mileage indicator on a spa, to see how many hours of use it has, or how long it's been in service. There may or may not be a record of regular service, repairs and maintenance. If you can identify the spa model, you can try some online searches to find a retail price. If not, you can take some measurements, count the number of jets and other features and try to find comparable models to figure a base price for a new, similar spa.
Generally, the price for a used spa should be about 50% of the retail cost, or the cost paid by the current owner, for a spa less than 10 years old. If it needs a new spa cover, or the shell or skirt look worn and faded, or if the spa pack, pumps or blower look aged, the price should drop another 10% or more.
Moving a Spa to a New Location
Not as easy as it sounds, depending on the size of the spa. A 6 ft spa is much more manageable than an 8 footer, which hangs over the edge of most trailers and is too large for standard dollies. And they're heavy! Drained of water, and with the spa cover and spa pack removed, a large spa can still weigh 500-800 lbs and be quite unwieldy.
Moving a spa to an indoor location presents even greater challenges, involving moving through doorways and possibly steps. If it's possible to pull a large trailer right up to the existing location, and also pull it right up to the new location, the job is much easier.
Electrical for the spa will need to be planned for in advance. Most spas require a 230V plug, like what you have for a dryer or washing machine. In addition, you may need to have a power cut-off box installed near the spa. An electrician can power up a spa in most cases for under $300 dollars.
Deep Cleaning a Used Spa
When buying a used spa, you're gonna want to disinfect it really well, am I right?
Once in the new location, start by filling the spa with water, testing the operation of the spa, then super-chlorinate with a granular spa shock product. After circulating for several hours, use a purge product such as Tub Rinse to strip off hidden bacteria and biofilms that may be hiding in the pipes and hoses.
Drain the spa after this treatment, and use a hot tub cleaning product (never use household cleaners) such as Tub Rub or Citrabright to remove grime from the spa jets and surfaces. Refill again and adjust the pH, Alkalinity and Hardness for perfect spa water balance.
If the opportunity to buy a used spa or hot tub comes your way, you are now a bit more prepared for the conversation.
Happy Hot Tubbin'