Not to be argumentative, but there may be times when getting that spa
up and running again in a timely fashion is pretty critical.... such
as when it's -25C and you're potentially looking at one big and very
expensive ice cube :-) That's when you really hope your local dealer
has that one part you need and maybe the technician to install it
(especially true for those of us, like myself, who can't tell one end
of a screw driver from the other).
Also, if you live in Canada, ordering parts from a U.S. supplier is
just this side of a nightmare. If a part takes two days to ship
anywhere in the States, count on ten days to Canada. Then be prepared
to fork over big bucks for shipping, custom charges and brokerage fees
(UPS has got to be the worst in this respect). When all is said and
done, a local spa dealer may be able to provide you with the necessary
part for less.
On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 22:48:50 GMT, Mys Terry
I own a vacation rental. It rents for $300 per day. One of the drawing
cards is a spa. If the spa is not running, I have complaining guests. Not
a heart lung machine situation as one dramatic poster stated, but to me, a
potentially money losing situation.
Not to mention they may just decide to confiscate the item pending the court
When all is said and
We have a cabin at 7,500 feet in elevation in Utah. It gets down to around
0 degrees F. It is a royal PITA if it is not working, and a potentially
expensive situation to let if sit for days waiting on a part that may or may
not come via the Internet. The Internet is many things, but foolproof it
I fully appreciate what you say. In the case of a vacation rental,
clients demand (and rightfully so) everything to be in proper working
order. If the tv wasn't working, I could live with it, but the hot
tub is a different matter altogether!
I know of one spa manufacturer (it happens to be my "preferred brand")
is working on something that could be of interest to people, like
yourself, who own rental properties or spas located at remote,
unattended, locations. The spa will monitor itself and in the event
the heater fails, a filter clogs or something falls outside its normal
operating parameters, it will dial its owner or page the local dealer
(cellular or land line). In addition, it can be linked to the home's
security system and remotely monitored by Chubb or whichever company
you use. A service tech can then be dispatched to correct the problem
before the condition becomes an even bigger problem (i.e., the big,
expensive, ice cube I spoke of earlier). Pretty impressive, indeed.
On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 19:12:00 -0700, "Steve B"
We have this system/service on our cabin. So far, only one call when a
window blew in during a storm. We have a local resident who runs up and
checks on such things, as we are 175 miles from the cabin.
Yeah. Pretty nifty.
On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 23:41:47 GMT, Paul M. Eldridge
It's easy enough to drain the tub and use a shop vac to blow out the lines if
your tub will be unheated for a few days in freezing temps.
In -25C temps, you are not going to get parts fast enough to prevent freezing no
matter how you get them, and that technician may be booked up a week in advance.
I'm confused. You first said that it was no big deal to have it down for a
week. Then you said it was no big deal to get parts off the Internet to
avoid being gouged by the local shop. I assumed you were talking about
doing your own labor, because most repairmen won't do the work using
customer parts because they won't give any warranty, and they want to make
all the markup like the evil shop owners do.
Which way is it?
OK, I trust none of us will actually have to put this to the test, but
there are a couple things you can do to hopefully avoid the "big
Assuming your tub is fully foamed/well insulated, I would advise
against draining it unless you can properly winterize it with
non-toxic antifreeze (the type used by RVs). Your owner's manual may
have specific, step-by-step, instructions on how to do this, at least
mine does.... follow them to the "T".
Now, 400 or 500 gallons of water at 100F or so, is a considerable
amount of thermal mass and a good, well insulated, tub should be able
to retain much of this heat for several days, even at below freezing
temperatures. The one weak spot is the equipment compartment.
Assuming you haven't lost power, stick a trouble light inside the
equipment compartment to keep the pumps, heater and exposed plumbing
in this area warm. If it happens to be a CFL you are using, replace
it with a 40 or 60-watt incandescent bulb depending upon the size of
this area and outside temperature... now is not the time to be energy
Be **very** careful to properly secure the light and ensure its heat
won't damage any plastic piping, electrical wiring or electronic
components; the object here is to keep this area warm, not burn down
your spa down. An electric blanket or heating pad might also work,
if one is available; without question, this would be the safer option.
If you have one of those indoor/outdoor temperature gauges, stick the
external probe inside the equipment compartment and monitor the
temperature (frequently) and if it's getting too hot or too cold
inside there, bump up the bulb to the next higher wattage, or unplug
the trouble light periodically to allow the area to cool down, as the
case may be.
The next weak spot is the cover. The R-value of a good quality cover
is probably less than half that of the spa cabinet. Protect the cover
with as many old blankets or quilts as you have at your disposal.
Secure them with a tarp or plastic sheet. If there is snow available,
bank the sides of the spa to help reduce heat loss and minimize
exposure to wind. If there is no snow, construct a makeshift shelter
by leaning plywood against the spa; again, you want to protect the spa
from the prevailing winds as best you can.
No electricity? If you have a natural gas/propane stove or even a
BBQ, warm up as many bricks as you can find (if no bricks are
available, hot water bottles, pots of water, whatever you can use) and
place them inside the equipment compartment. Again, be careful not to
damage any components. If the temperature of the water inside the spa
is falling dangerously low, dump some of this water and refill with
water from your home's domestic hot water tank or even pots of water
heated up on the stove.
Be creative and do whatever it takes. If, for example, you have a
portable propane heater, build a plastic tent and surround it with
warm air (and if you don't happen to own such a heater, you might be
able to borrow or rent one).
And now might be a good time to check your homeowner's policy. Often
you can buy extra coverage for hot tubs and for a few extra bucks
you'll have the peace of mind of knowing that your investment is well
Hope this has been helpful.
On Sun, 16 Apr 2006 12:05:05 GMT, Mys Terry
Before passing judgement, you might ask for clarification or
Page 46 of the HotSpring Owner's Manual states:
"For maximum protection against freeze damage to your spa, Watkins
Manufacturing Corporation recommends contacting your HotSpring dealer
to schedule an in-home Propylene glycol (anti-freeze) Winterizing
A copy of these instructions were provided to me by my dealer as part
of my start-up package.
For more information on how to properly winterize a spa, see:
On Mon, 17 Apr 2006 00:24:46 GMT, Mys Terry
Be aware most spas are NOT U/L listed as an assembly and your
inspector may not let you hook it up if you get a permit.
Most say they are "listed" by a famous lab but if it is not one of the
"Nationally Recognized Testing Labs" like U/L, TUV and ETL the
inspector does not have to approve it. They are starting to look.
Just because some of the parts are listed does not mean the whole
assembly is. Make sure you can get your money back if you can't use
Houses are inspected when they are built (or should be). The spa is
sold as "equipment" A spa can be field evaluated but the AHJ has no
obligation to do it himself. I have never seen one that would pass
inspection using the NEC rules. Wiring in equipment generally does not
follow the same rules as building wiring. (smaller wire, different
splicing methods, voltage separatation issues etc) He could tell you
to call a NRTL for a certification or he could simply red tag the
thing. Your AHJ may not be looking at these but if he does it could be
I get the IAEI magazine (electrical inspector trade rag) and I go to
the meetings. I am only relating what I am seeing.
Some areas may be ignoring this but it is a valid violation if they
want to call it.
On Sat, 15 Apr 2006 20:57:07 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I just did a little google search on "Hot Tub" and "UL Approved" and
found that virtually ALL free standing hot tubs are UL approved these
days. Even accessories such as covers are UL listed. It looks as
though it would be very difficult to find one that was NOT UL
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