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Frozen hot tub


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Hello all, I inherited a hot tub that use to belong to my uncle who passed away. After he passed no one checked on his hot tub and it happened to blow a breaker and froze. I filled it up to the level in the photos and it started to leak a bit, I only see it leaking on the pump face and maybe the heater, otherwise I didn’t see any leaks. Would this be worth fixing or am I better off just walking away from it? 

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Spa looks like it has been well taken care of however we have an old saying around here...free hot tubs are never free. Did you happen to get the GFCI? Hotsprings use a "special" GFCI with a 20 amp and a 30 amp 2 pole GFCI set up and can be expensive and hard to find. If you are handy you can replace the wet end of the pump (if needed) fairly cheap ($150cdn) and for the heater you might want to just bypass the heater and join in some hose to cap/connect the lines just to see if it holds water and if there are any other leaks internally before spending $$ on a new heater. There are oring/gasket kits available for those metal heater end pieces As you likely already know those side panels do not come off easily so if you have a leak anywhere other than the equipment area you will have to stand it up and work from underneath. Never fun. Good Luck and keep us posted on your progress.

https://www.spadepot.com/gasket-Kit-4-Watkins-Hot-Spring-Double-Barrel-Heater-P3111

https://www.poolandhottubdepot.com/end-cap-kit-for-watkins-double-barrel-heater/?gclid=CjwKCAjwgr6TBhAGEiwA3aVuIXXRUd9qdTGhIQMTvgnq1bUDMh7qpp7HrsTo79Gy0VpWArVMti3EvxoCOFIQAvD_BwE

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That's an older Hotspring Vanguard. Based on the serial number, I'm thinking it's a 2002 model?    These are higher end hot tubs built to last decades with proper care/maintenance.  A new 2022 model Hotspring Highlife Vanguard would retail for around $15k these days - in used fully working condition that tub would sell for around $3000.

The trouble is that Watkins doesn't share plumbing or technical documentation with owners - they want you to hire a local Hotspring authorized technician to service these spas.   That's not to say you cannot fix these tubs by yourself with some help from experts on these forums, but just know that Watkins doesn't make life easy for the DIY weekend warrior.

 

Personally if that sucker is a 2002, I say keep it and try to get it up and running - the pressure treated lumber in that spa still contains arsenic and likely to last much longer than modern tubs made with pressure treated lumber (because arsenic was phased out in 2002, and replaced with copper infusion which is more eco-friendly, but more subject to rot when exposed to moisture).

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Thank you for the quick responses, CanadianSpaTech - no I did not happen to get this breaker, however the wiring on the home is still in place and I can easily stop by to see if it's still there or in the garage. What got me thinking it was salvageable was finding that the pump end was replaceable and would be fairly inexpensive to try it. I plan on ordering this, by passing the heater as you suggested and ill see how it does. 

 

ratchett- thanks for the info, i know he bought it used in 2012 for a pretty penny. I was told it was a higher end Hotspring, i did talk with my local dealer and they basically said it would be around $3000 for them to fix it with labor. I am going to order that pump face like CanadianSpaTech suggested and go from there.

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Post photos of the white sticker on the pump that show the amps and we can direct you to the correct wet end. Where on the planet are you located? Can you tell where the pump is leaking from. If it leaks where the white union attaches to the pump face check at the bottom of the threads for a crack. I use a flat head and try to gently pry up the threads to see if there is a crack. If there is you can likely get away with just replacing the pump face and save a couple o bucks.

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Just a little update, I found a crack in the heater turn around. I ordered the repair kit, still waiting on the pump face before I tear it apart. I have filled it a few times to see if I can identify any other leaks and so far those seem to be all that’s leaking. Crossing my fingers as that would be the best case scenario, I really don’t want to pull all the panels off and track down leaking pipes

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14 minutes ago, yieldsign27 said:

I really don’t want to pull all the panels off

They don't come off. There is a post with a fix for the turnaround using hose...if you can find it or if any of the HotSprings guys remember.

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4 hours ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

They don't come off. There is a post with a fix for the turnaround using hose...if you can find it or if any of the HotSprings guys remember.

Oh, they come off. Not without breaking some, but they do come off. Easier to stand it up, or block it up, and go in from the bottom to locate the leak. Then at least you have an idea which ones need to come off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for the wait on an update, I finally got the wet kit in, as well as the heater turn around kit. Waiting for it to fill then will be monitoring it over the next few days. I am worried that the other end of the heater may have cracked as well, I had it full for awhile to see where the leaks would form, and I did not notice anything leaking around pipes. Maybe I got lucky, just have to wait and see.

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