Is It Worth Fixing a Hot Tub? (Yes, here’s how!)

Deciding to replace or repair an old hot tub can be challenging. While it’s definitely going to be cheaper to fix it, it can take a lot of time and effort. So is it worth fixing a hot tub?

Here’s what I learned fixing up an old one:

A hot tub is still worth fixing unless the shell or frame is cracked. Replacing a heater element, control pack, pump or blower is relatively easy and significantly less expensive than buying a new hot tub.

In this article, I’ll cover the life expectancy of a hot tub.

The overall cost to fix a hot tub varies depending on what the issue is, so I’ll be covering the cost to replace individual components. And while I don’t recommend it, I’ll also give you a how-to on lifting your hot tub for repairs.

Lastly, I’ll even cover the cost to repair frozen pipes, so keep reading to get all the details.

What is the life expectancy of a hot tub?

The average lifespan of a portable, hard-sided hot tub is between 15-20 years. The quality of the hot tub manufacturer also determines its lifespan. But proper water chemistry and regular maintenance are the biggest factors in longevity.

Ultimately, don’t expect a cheap hot tub to last more than ten years.

Plastic compartments of your hot tub that are easily corroded by harsh chemicals have the shortest lifespans. Pumps have a lifespan of 5-10 years, while heaters have 5-7 years.

The things that wear out the quickest in most hot tubs are:

  • Rubber gaskets in the union fittings on either side of the heater tube
  • Gate valves which close off the flow of water on either side of the pump and heater
  • The heater element
  • Topside panel stickers
  • Pillows

Luckily, all of those things are easy to replace. I know, I’ve done all of them with no previous experience. So once you’ve figured out the issue, watch a YouTube video, get the right parts, and you’ll be good to go a short while later.

How much does it cost to fix a hot tub?

The average DIY cost to repair minor issues on a hot tub will be under $200. Hiring a hot tub repair person typically starts at $400 for just labor costs. Troubleshooting leaks encased in the foam can be one of the more expensive charges due to the labor involved.

But really there are a lot of things that can go wrong, and the costs can vary widely.

I do want to encourage you to only hire a repair person as a last resort. It will cost you 2-3 times as much as it would cost you to do the work yourself. 

As an example, a typical hot tub pump costs around $300-400.

But a hot tub repair person will likely charge you $1,200 to replace that. And in most cases, you could replace that yourself in under 30 minutes.

But let’s look at some specific things that can go out and what those replacement and repair costs would be.

Control Pack

Your control pack might be expensive to replace because it’s like the brain of the hot tub.

The truth is, even the best control pack will need to be replaced at some point. They have a much shorter lifespan than the shell of the hot tub.

Before purchasing a new control pack, you’ll need to find one that matches your hot tub. You need to know how many pumps your hot tub has and the voltage. The type of heater it uses is also important. A control pack can cost anywhere from $232.00 to $850.00.

The price will depend on the brand and the components in the pack, and you can easily get one from Amazon.

Heater 

If you’ve had your heater for five years, then chances are it’s showing signs of deterioration.

Common issues include improper water chemistry and failing to heat the water. Before purchasing, you’ll need to find the correct heater for your hot tub.

The heater output is measured in kW, and these are usually 1kW, 4kW, and 5.5kW. It’s worth mentioning that the larger the heater, the faster your hot tub is heated. Replacing a heater costs between $200 to $600.

But that’s for the whole silver tube that sits below the control pack. The heater element itself (the part that’s bad) will be under $50.

Pump

There are two types of pumps used in a hot tub, so the replacement cost will depend on which is damaged.

The circulation pump is a low-flow pump that circulates filtered, heated water in your hot tub. While their lifespan is usually 5-10 years, an early sign of this pump not working is foamy water.

A circulation pump can cost between $150 to $200.

The jet pump is what powers the hot tub jets and is more powerful than the circulation pump, making it more expensive.

Replacing a jet pump can cost anywhere from $300 to $500.

Blower

A blower causes the bubbles in your hot tub.

To replace one will cost between $175 to $400. Choosing a blower size is relatively easy. Blowers come in three sizes, 1, 1½, and 2hp. Most manufacturers have helpful information on appropriate sizing.

But it’s worth pointing out not every hot tub has a blower. Some just have 2 pumps.

How to lift a hot tub for repair

Once drained, cover removed, and with the power off, a hot tub can be lifted to allow for repairs on the underside by wedging 2 hand-trucks under the lip of one side. Once pried up, with 2 or more people, carefully lift the hot tub up onto the opposite side. 

Always use furniture pads or cardboard to go under the side that will be on the ground to prevent scratching.

Lifting a hot tub is hazardous work even with professional help, so I would not recommend doing it on your own. There’s a high risk of damage to both your luxury spa and yourself as well as others helping you. With that being said, it’s possible to do this safely.

So let’s look at exactly how to do this in greater detail, step-by-step:

What you’ll need: 

  • Two 2×4 wood pieces 
  • 1 hand-truck with a thin, flat metal base
  • Furniture pads or a large flat piece of cardboard

You’ll also need three to six other individuals to assist you.

  • Prepare your hot tub for lifting

Disconnect and drain your hot tub.

You might want to refer to the user manual to ensure you do this safely. Do not drain your hot tub on your lawn. Secure all cords that are attached to the hot tub to prevent them from being damaged during the repair.

Give your hot tub a quick wipe down to remove any moisture or bacteria.

  • Carefully coordinate the lift

Place the hand-truck on one side of your hot tub and slide the flat metal foot under the hot tub. If needed, use a rubber mallet to wedge it under the hot tub and/or have 2 others carefully lift the hot tub.

Unless ready to immediately lift the hot tub on its side, place a long 2×4 under the side just lifted.

  • Turning it vertically 

To get it on its side, you’ll need to position it vertically by lifting one side.

It will take 2 or more people to lift. Be careful to go slowly and control the descent once it is most of the way up. Use caution to ensure it does not fall forward or backward.

Your helpers will also need to be bushing the bottom side to prevent scratches to the cabinet. You can use cardboard or furniture pads as an added barrier. Once it is on its side, you can begin repairs.

Of course, as I mentioned, make sure you remove the cover and set it aside first.

If you happen to tear your hot tub cover during the lifting process, you need to check out my recent article on how to fix a torn hot tub cover.

I’ll cover causes, how to fix them, and products you can use. Click that link to get the details!

What is the hot tub frozen pipes repair cost?

The average cost to repair frozen pipes is $300 – $500. In most cases, there may be 1 or more places where a PVC pipe is cracked and will need to be cut out and a replacement section glued in to replace it.

The hot tub will need to be filled up to better find other leaks.

However, if your tub is heavily insulated, then the leaks will be harder to find. Leaks from burst pipes that were previously frozen can also damage the manifolds of the tub. Therefore, you might actually spend well over $500 for a complete repair.

Before paying for expensive repairs though, as long as you are fairly certain it’s NOT  cracked PVC pipe, its a great idea to get some Fix-A-Leak on Amazon and try that first.

Marlig’s Fix-A-Leak is perfect for small cracks and leaks as large as 1/8 inches in diameter. I’ve used it many times for small, hard-to-find leaks, and it works perfectly almost every time.

Finding and fixing leaks in your hot tub can be stressful if you’re not sure what to do.

Here’s my recent article where I cover all you need to know about leaks in your hot tub. In it, I get into every possible place you might have a leak and how to fix each kind.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can I fix a hot tub myself?

It is very possible to fix most minor issues on a hot tub without having to call a professional repair person. Most issues only repair basic home handy-person type knowledge and basic tools.

You can fix cracks, leaks, and make component replacements without professional equipment.

Most of the tools and products you would need for repair can be purchased at your local pool store or a hardware store. And that’s if you don’t have them already.

Most of the time, all you’re likely to need is:

  • Cordless drill
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Hacksaw or other small hand saw
  • PVC pipe glue
  • Pliers and/or vice grips

I’ve had four hot tubs in my life, and I’ve never had an issue I couldn’t fix myself.

For more detailed information, check out my recent article on DIY hot tub refurbishment. I’ll cover how to repair and restore your hot tub based on my own experience.

I’ll also cover how to find a used hot tub as well as how to fix leaks, cracks, and replace parts. Lots more will be revealed.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

In this article, I covered the lifespan of a hot tub.

If your hot tub is under 15 years and the shell is not cracked, it might be worth fixing. I covered how much it costs to fix one using different components as examples.

Total repair costs will depend on how much repair needs to be done. You learned that you can fix your hot tub yourself as many tools you need are at your local pool store or can be purchased elsewhere.

I also covered how to lift a hot tub for repairs including how many persons you’d need as well as tools. You learned the cost to repair frozen hot tub pipes as well as the extensive damage they could lead to. 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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