My partner and our children love hot tubs. When we go on vacation, we typically rent a house on the beach in the outer banks (In the off season of course- we could never afford it in the high summer) and one of the things all four of us seem to enjoy the most was spending time relaxing and goofing off in the hot tub (OK maybe there is a little fooling around in there after dark when the kids are asleep too). So last year we started considering buying one for ourselves. Could we afford it? Kinda, sorta, maybe, not really? We could get a cheapie, but we really wanted a bigger one. We could swing it, but we would have had to forgo a few other things, such as a couple of vacations and some projects around the house. There is also another thing: We sort of hate things that we consider to be conspicuous consumption, and so we kept hesitating, and hesitating....and more than a year has passed by.

A month ago my partner had a friend approach her with what was something of an odd question. She had inherited her mother’s home and it came with a hot tub. Apparently the friend and her boyfriend had tried to get the hot tub running but were unsuccessful and now they just wanted to get rid of the thing. Now for some reason I have this strange reputation in our community for being able to take care of odd things. So this friend wanted my partner to ask me how I would dispose of a hot tub. I gave it a thought and stated what I would do, but then I gave it some thought and said hey, why don’t we go look at it? So we did. It was a big 7 person hot tub with a jet configuration that had to have been pretty pricey when it was new. Taking a look underneath, one pump and the filter housing had obviously broken due to freezing, and the heater was damaged by an attempted repair that they had made. We told them that we thought it could be fixed. They had no interest. We borrowed a trailer, loaded the thing up, and brought it home. Free. We downloaded the manual and parts list. It is about 8 years old. We spent the better part of the day taking it apart and inventorying parts that needed to be replaced. We will be ordering a part with each paycheck. Amazingly, there are youtube videos that clearly show how to replace all of the parts. We figure that we will have the hot tub up and running by mid August, and that it will cost us about 1/7th the price of a new one, and that includes all of the stuff we need to prep a spot for it and to install the electrical wiring and components needed to run it, along with a bunch of additional insulation to minimize operating costs.

Today we repaired the filter housing. It is basically a big plastic tube with a couple of pipe fittings at the bottom. It had cracked because water was left in it over the winter. We fixed it with a $15 fiberglass repair kit that we bought at Walmart. A replacement part would have cost about $200. We have since noticed that there are always hot tubs being offered up for free on Craigslist. So I think anyone could do this if they did not mind investing the time to learn the very basic mechanics in a hot tub and making the repairs.

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Things like this have been the story of our lives since we got together over a decade ago. We have a few nice things in our home that people have thrown away because they did not wish to repair them. I often bitch about the throw away culture we have, but to be honest, it has benefited us many times.

I thought about posting photos, but there really is not anything to see other than a bunch of parts and an empty hot tub.