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Refurbish or replace? Down East spa


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Hi everyone, 

I used to be on here a long time ago, but had to re-register since my old account became inactive many years ago.  I have a 2003 Down East (Master Spa) 8'x10' spa, I think it was called the East Hampton model back then.  It hasn't been used in about 10 years, and has just sat there under a tarp for that whole time.  I stopped using it because it had a small leak at one of the pipe joints near the second pump, and it was annoying me.  I've always thought that I would get the leak fixed and get it running again, but now that the thing has sat for so long, and it's so old, I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble anymore.  The unit was always a bit of an energy hog - I'm in Minnesota and it was costing me around $100 a month to run it during the winters - and I'm wondering if I should pay to get it up and running again, or just scrap it and look into new ones. 

What are your thoughts on these older spas?  Worth refurbishing, or is it better to get a new one with newer features?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.  

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  • rej727 changed the title to Refurbish or replace? Down East spa
On 6/28/2022 at 11:58 PM, rej727 said:

  It hasn't been used in about 10 years, and has just sat there under a tarp for that whole time. 

Rubber seals can dry/shrink/crack in as little as one week after a spa has been drained.  Air can also cause internal metal components like the heater to rust.  Overall hot tubs have the best lifespan when left filled with water and running.

The *only* good thing is that being a 2003, it possibly still has the old pressure-treated lumber framing (which still contained arsenic) - arsenic infused PT lumber has a much longer lifespan than modern copper-infused PT lumber, especially when exposed to moisture and wet conditions (like a leaking pipe in a hot tub lol).

 

On 6/28/2022 at 11:58 PM, rej727 said:

  I stopped using it because it had a small leak at one of the pipe joints near the second pump, and it was annoying me.  I've always thought that I would get the leak fixed and get it running again, but now that the thing has sat for so long, and it's so old, I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble anymore.

From the various people I know who have had hot tubs and how they maintained them, I know you're not alone.

Heck my best friend bought a home two years ago and it came with a hot tub in the backyard.  It had developed a leak so the owner shut it off and stopped using it.  Without any protection from the elements, it has gone through multiple snow-loads and freeze/thaws over who knows how many years.  Given that it was a lower-end brand I told him to trash it - not worth the hassle.

Given the size of your tub, it may be worth fiddling with. I'd do the bare minimum to repair the plumbing and see if it even holds water - you might have more leaks than the Titanic!   Once you get the unit holding water at ambient water temps, then you get to try powering the sucker up and getting it to run and heat up to temp - you might find more leaks once things heat up.

I think it depends on your local climate - do you live in a very dry arid climate, or relatively moderately humid all year long?

 

On 6/28/2022 at 11:58 PM, rej727 said:

The unit was always a bit of an energy hog - I'm in Minnesota and it was costing me around $100 a month to run it during the winters - and I'm wondering if I should pay to get it up and running again, or just scrap it and look into new ones. 

The better insulated a hot tub, the more energy efficient the tub (because the heater will kick on less frequently, so less power consumed to maintain temp).  A cheap budget grade modern spa will be just as energy inefficient (or worse) than the tub you have.  You can always increase energy efficiency by adding extra insulation between the cabinet and shell walls, as well as replacing the cover (which will most likely need a new cover).

On 6/28/2022 at 11:58 PM, rej727 said:

What are your thoughts on these older spas?  Worth refurbishing, or is it better to get a new one with newer features?

Really depends on a lot of factors - the condition and how much money you're willing to throw at fixing the spa.  Master Spas uses mostly off-the-shelf components so you won't have  hard time finding replacements or upgraded components for all the electronics and jets/plumbing.

And if you have copper-infused pt lumber, or the older arsenic infused PT lumber (which was discontinued in 2002).  I'd open the access panel and check the condition - how's the framing and insulation look? Any infestations? Or is it all rotted away?  How about the exterior of the cabinet?

Holding water at ambient temperature is one thing, holding water without leaks heated to 100F is a different story.

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