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Leaking Tub Data?


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What percent of hot tubs leak each year? Are leaks going to occur in every tub and it is just a matter of when and if you own it long enough? I have not been able to get a sense of this except that it seems like repair people are busy and leaks are one of the things they address (top thing?).

Besides the obvious reasons why I am wondering is that I like the maax 480, but the blue jean insulation has me choosing another tub. I really like this insulation and used it in a room addition that had almost no plumbing anywhere and in a warm climate.

But, now the tub will be in a very cold climate and if this insulation gets wet on the bottom of the tub especially, it seems to me that it will never dry out between the cold and inability to get any air flow to that part of the tub. So, this will kill the insulation value while it remained soggy, making the tub more expensive to run and need to run it more often to keep pipes from being damaged if it was in winter during a week where the high temps may be 10.

I can not gauge the risk of this happening because I have no clue about frequency of tub leaks. If over a 10 yr period there is a 1% chance of developing a leak, that risk level of potentially developing into a nightmare may be one answer. However if it is 20%+ of hot tubs develop leaks over a 10 yr period, that risk level is too high, for sure, for me.

I am all, but convinced that the risk is too high for my situation, but wanted to know, if anybody has stats, data, an educated guess based on something?

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First, you're assuming that all leaks develop in the plumbing, buried in the insulation. This couldn't be more incorrect. Most leaks, probably 95% or more, occur in the equipment, and have no effect on the insulation.

Over a 10 year period, with a quality manufacturer, I'd say the type of leaks you're concerned with, are far below 1%.

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I'd agree with Doc on this. 99% of the leaks I have fixed are in the equipment bay. 1 leak in the plumbing for every 100 in the equipment bay. However freeze damage is different and caused most likely by a failure in the equipment bay (control panel, pumps, electrical) Do they all leak, yes eventualy. But leaks are not catastropic if you check and maintain your tub.

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Thanks for your responses!

Is the equipment bay partitioned from the rest of the tub's floor/base (sorry not sure what's the right word) so that a leak in the equipment bay will not be absorbed by blue jean insulation that is attached to the floor bottom? I could easily have missed this as I didn't become spooked by this until later after everything rattled around in my head for awhile.

Sort of for my future tub ownership awareness:

Are leaks typically noticed by equipment failure, abnormal noise, or water level change?

What volume of water typically leaks before noticed? Before it can be repaired?

Thanks!

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Maxx hot tubs do not have a separate equipment bay, as far as I know. Any leak will likely get the bluejean insulation wet. Honestly, if you are in a cold climate you would be better off getting a full foam spa. It will be significantly more efficient and will have a separate equipment compartment.

The maxx sales guys talk a great game, but you will never convince me that less insulation is somehow more efficient. They scare you with leak talk, but as stated above, leaks in the foam are not very common.

I agree with Roger. There are at least 5 to 7 manufacturers that I would choose before Maxx. I'm not saying that they are garbage, but you can do a lot better for the same money.

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Thanks! I was looking at the maax mainly because the noise rating is 7+ db quieter than every other spa I looked at and it is super quiet, hilly neighborhood and sound can carry really strange, so wanted to get the quietest tub, but that isn't the only factor.

Hot Springs is the only dealer within 30 miles and they have full foam, but they are ruled out because I have too much 2nd hand info that they abandon people after the sale.

*aside* I have been doing the leg work on line and visiting dealers and everyone of them claims that their brand has the best warranty in the business. I was telling my wife about this before I took her to the hotsprings dealer (because I am leaving no stone unturned). One of the first things in his pitch was we have the best warranty in the industry. My wife almost laughed in his face!

Why do sales people do this? The warranties are all online (hotsprings is average) and easily comparable.

Some of the warranty is a complete joke, one company warrants their LED light bulbs for a year...Wow! Technology that is supposed to last 20-30 years. I am really reassured about the components you are using now!

That is what a warranty comes down to for me - a gauge for the quality of the components used and assembled.

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Technology that is supposed to last 20-30 years? Says who? And why did you choose to believe it? I replaced 11 bulbs in my home with LED's about a year ago. Only 6 work today.

Warranties! Warranties have nothing to do with the actual quality. They're all about money (in EVERY industry). A warranty is NOT free. It's something YOU PAY FOR in the initial cost of a product. There are pretty set failure rates that can be calculated and determined for everything. I've yet to know a company that has a forest of money trees and can give away everything. Companies have to make money to stay in business. And that's where the key lies. The public wants a product for the least amount of money. For the majority of people, they want the biggest and the most, for the least amount of $. If they don't "feel" like they're getting this, they buy from someone else, and you go out of business (unless you have that money tree forest). So you add cheap bling, cut construction costs (which reduced quality), cut aftersales expenses by reducing the LENGTH OF THE WARRANTY, and taa daa, you are now competitive with the guy down the street...and you get to stay in.business.

Now I don't know where your 2nd hand info comes from, mine is from some 33+ years in the business, with no relationship what so ever with Masco (parent company of Hot Spring Spas), but my observations have been that they "usually" go far beyond what other companies will do to make a customer happy. It doesn't mean that they satisfy EVERYONE, that simply isn't possible...in any business or industry. And the majority of what few "problems" I've seen, are not related in any way to the manufacturer, but to the individual dealer.

The other, and probably more important thing to consider, is not the length of the warranty, but how it's handled. Will the company actually cover it? Or will they bend over backwards to twist things into one of the many exclusions their warranty states is not a covered issue (I can't even begin to count the number of times I've seen manufacturers deny what appears to be a legitimate warranty claim saying it was customer abuse, neglect or some other reason to not have to honor their warranty obligations...and interestingly, these seemed to frequently be the ones rthat came with the longest warranties.)

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A lot of warranties I know will only cover LEDs for 1 or 2 years. Usually these are considered minor components. Just like you have a bumper to bumper warranty on a car, and then a power train warranty on a car that usually lasts longer. The power train in a hot tub is usually pumps, heater, PC board, topside panel, and almost all of the major brands are going to offer a 5 year warranty on their upper end tubs.

If you're looking for quiet, I would check out Marquis if there is a dealer nearby. They run pretty darn quiet.

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I will echo a bit of what has already been said here- a fully insulated hot tub would be your best choice in a cold environment. In my opinion the fully insulated hot tubs usually run quieter. I'm not sure if this is fully a result of the insulation muffling the sound, or if it's partly due to the higher quality components generally associated with the brands who chose to use full foam cabinets. Either way, there are benefits.

The odds of having a leak from a glue joint inside of a spa are very, very low. Almost all leaks will occur inside of the equipment compartment. Water balance is often the culprit, so make sure to always keep your levels within their ideal ranges.

Hot Springs is certainly a nice brand, but unlike Dr. Spa, I have seen some leak issues and heating issues with them. The most common source for this is their Moto Massage design. If you can get a Hot Springs without that option, I would recommend that. One added benefit to some of the Watkins (Hot Springs, Caldera) spas is that a lot of them have a split breaker- 20 amp and 30 amp, instead of a single 40 amp or 50 amp. The advantage to that is that the heater and circulation pump are on a separate breaker from the jet pumps. So... if your heater trips to ground your spa doesn't shut off. If the temperature in the spa continues to drop, the spa will go into "ice mode" and the jet pumps will run to prevent the spa from freezing. If a jet pump trips out, the spa will still heat.

It sounds like you do not have much faith in your local Hot Springs dealer, and I think that it is important to buy your spa from someone who you can trust and who has a good service reputation. If you're buying from a dealer who is a bit further away you may want to make sure that you discuss how much warranty work on your spa is going to cost. Some companies may add a small travel fee for warranty work that is outside of their normal service range. I'd also recommend doing a quick Google search on whichever dealer you decide to go with to get an idea for how their current customers feel.

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As stated above, most companies only warrant things like pillows and LED's for a year or so. The important things are the pump, heater, control pack, shell, etc. The top of the line companies all tend to have a 5 year warranty on that stuff and longer on the shell.

And, as mentioned, more important is the company's track record for handling that stuff. Cal Spa, for instance, has a track record of using exclusions to avoid having to cover things. Hot Spring on the other hand, has a reputation for going above and beyond to take care of their customers. Their only black-eye is on the ACE system, as far as I know. If you ask most people in the industry to choose between a maxx and a hot spring, I'm willing to bet that hot spring wins hands down.

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