Hot Tub has an internal leak. Not sure how to proceed. Details inside.
October 3, 2012 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Hot Tub has a internal leak. Hot Tub company quoted $3500 to fix it. I decided to move & take the foam out myself. Some advice needed.

My hot tub has a internal leak. I was quoted $3500 to attempt fixing it "no guarantees". A vast amount of that figure was simply moving the tub and taking out the foam.

I hired a freelance moving company that did it for $190 and I took most of the foam out myself with a pressure washer $56. The next step is for the hot tub company to come and repair the leak at $85 an hour. I can't be home while they are there as I am working. It's probably also worth noting I filled the tub prior to all this and added 15 bottles of red food coloring. I have seen none of it on any of the foam.

I used a high-pressure power sprayer to get most of the foam off. I also covered the electronics board with plastic bags and some wood planks. It's been raining / snowing the last few days and I'm concerned the water might have got to it or the exposed part of the hot tub.

Some ideas I've had:

1. Spray down the electronics part with isopropyl alcohol and then re-wrap in plastic.

2. Spray down the exposed underside of the hot tub with isopropyl alcohol and cover with plastic.

3. I'm concerned that they say they find the leak, then I put the tub back (another 175% + foam to insulate ($300-600) and it starts leaking again). Then I have to repeat this nightmare again. I was thinking maybe it made sense to put it down on some kind of cinder blocks and fill it / check for leaks using a flashlight then move again.

I'm not really sure if I should do the above steps or just "trust" the hot tub company.

posted by audio to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I applaud your enterprise. If they don't provide a guarantee, you are wiser to do it yourself, IMO. (This isn't rocket surgery, Einstein!)

Food coloring is water soluble. Could explain why you did not see it if you used a power washer to remove it.

Testing always beats guessing. How is it that you determined you have a leak in the first place? Did the floor rot? Does it self-drain? If it's draining, you should see some leak evidence on the floor below, helping to localize it.

Blocks and testing are smart. If it's any kind of leak, you've got a one hour job to find it once it's elevated and dripping. Newspaper on the floor for contrast and detection. That, or kitty litter.

Good for you for DIY-ing it. Impressive. (My personal level of value to not-ignore something is $7. (Not $7K... $7!) Fix that sucker.
posted by FauxScot at 11:32 AM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

WD-40 for the electronics if you suspect they're wet. Make sure everything is powered down and discharged and use WD-40; the WD stands for "water displacement," no kidding.

After that, allow plenty of time for evaporation.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:44 AM on October 3, 2012

@Fauxscot - Thanks for the help! I removed the majority of the foam by hand and then power-sprayed the rest away (inbetween pipes / hard to get to). All the foam was white. I was surprised none was pink. Half the tub foam was soak, so I know its isolated to one side.

Discovered it was leaking because water was wetting a board plank near the electronics panel. And of course all the water in the tub would literally drain away within an hour.

I agree with the blocks. It seems the wisest. I will have to get some man power again to help me get it on the blocks. As you might imagine its very heavy. Also like the newspaper idea.

@sunburnt will that cause any problems once I get it hooked up again?
posted by audio at 11:55 AM on October 3, 2012

Would it make sense to spray the underside of the tub down with anti-freeze to stop ice?
posted by audio at 12:01 PM on October 3, 2012

Antifreeze is deadly, and tasty, to dogs. Be warned.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:15 PM on October 3, 2012

WD-40 is flammable as a vapor, but it flashes quickly and it's a cool flame. (It's hot enough to burn things, but not necessarily hot enough to ignite other things.)

Remove any sitting/standing liquid WD-40 (puddles and drops) that hasn't gone away by itself before firing up any power to the electronics.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:09 PM on October 3, 2012

WD-40 on electronics!? You are mad.

Water isn't harmful unless there's impurities in it. Just let the electronics dry completely. Flush with either tap water or isopropyl alcohol if you really want, but don't use WD-40.
posted by flimflam at 2:37 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

The only thing I worry about is you mentioned putting the tub on blocks and filling it. Sounds like you know what you're doing, but I just want to flag that the tub design should be such that where you're supporting it, the tub can take the weight of the water, check that it doesn't need to distribute it's load through the floor or something. (ie support it in the same way that it's supported when it's installed for use)
posted by defcom1 at 5:25 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sympathy! My hot tub is on the fritz as well. I fixed my leak myself but electronics were messed up and out of my league so I needed a guy.

If your DIY fails, you need a guy (or gal). Not a spa company, who is incentivized to total your hot tub in repair costs so you buy a new one. You need a hot tub saavy handy man, who is referred to you by some other dude, who drives a truck and has gear and is a competent with hot tub guts. It takes some diligence and asking around town, because he's the local handyman who can fix most electronics/plumbing etc and is an independent contractor. Find that guy. Your guy will show up after work or on weekends.

Then negotiate a flat fee way under $3500, which the hot tub companies will not do.

Good luck, I'm rooting for your DIY. Post back and let us know how it works!!
posted by slateyness at 8:12 PM on October 3, 2012

Oh and FWIW the food coloring trick didnt work for me either...
posted by slateyness at 8:14 PM on October 3, 2012

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