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Things to Look for When Buying a Used Hot Tub

Buying a used hot tub can be a daunting experience, especially because there are so many options out there.

We’re often asked by our customers for advice on second-hand hot tubs because it can be so confusing. To help you make the right decision, our team of experts have put together their main considerations and top tips when buying a used hot tub below.

Is it Worth Buying a Used Hot Tub?

Buying a second-hand hot tub is a great way to spend a little less money while doing your bit for the environment, especially because hot tubs are often scrapped, even when there’s just a small amount of repair work needed.

Pre-owned hot tubs have grown in popularity over the last few years. Many websites allow people to sell their hot tubs privately at competitive prices and retailers, such as ourselves, offer part exchange, swapping your old hot tub for a newer model.

We always recommend purchasing a used hot tub from a dealer, as they will have inspected and serviced the hot tub before putting it back up for sale. To provide peace of mind when purchasing, a dealer will often sell a reconditioned hot tub with a limited warranty in case an issue occurs – something private sellers simply cannot offer.

What is the Best Used Hot Tub Brand?

Many people prefer to purchase a used Jacuzzi because of the heritage behind the brand name. At Outdoor Living, we are selective over the brands we take as part-exchange because our experience has taught us what hot tub brands to avoid.

We recommend finding out where the hot tub was manufactured. The most reliable hot tub brands tend to be American and Canadian as these countries have been producing hot tubs significantly longer than other countries. Their markets are 10 years ahead of most others and through their experience, they know what works best.

There are a lot of hot tub brands that are no longer manufactured, resulting in it being difficult to source replacement hot tub parts.

How Many Years Do Hot Tubs Last?

Don’t be put off by the age of your used hot tub, it isn’t always a bad thing as the quality of the tub and how it’s been maintained are the two main factors for hot tub durability.

If a hot tub is made by a reputable manufacturer, using quality materials, and has been properly maintained through cleaning and regular servicing, it can last over 20 years.

Although, please be aware, the older the hot tub, the more difficult it can be to find replacement parts and get the support needed to fix specific hot tub errors. Some manufactures have also moved to China, resulting in parts becoming almost impossible to get hold of.

How Much is a Used Hot Tub?

Typically, the starting price for a used hot tub from a dealer is £2,000.00, although if a hot tub has been kept in perfect condition you can expect to pay more than this. You will find private sellers will often have pricing a lot less, as they do not have to pay VAT on the product and will not offer a warranty. Private sellers will usually be ‘sold as seen’ and will not have done any or limited work on the hot tub.

As hot tub technology has improved over the years, you should also factor in the running costs as they will be higher on an older hot tub when compared to a brand new hot tub.

What to inspect on a used hot tub before purchasing

It is important to view the hot tub in person so that you can thoroughly check its condition, sometimes a photograph does not tell the whole story.

If you are purchasing a used hot tub privately, always ask to see it filled and running. When it’s running, make sure to listen out for any concerning noises such as rattling as it could indicate a fault. 

 We recommend asking the seller the following questions:

  • Why are they selling the hot tub?
  • When was the last time they had it serviced?
  • Do they have a full-service history?
  • Have they ever had any problems with the hot tub?
  • Do they have the original user’s manual and installation guide?
  • How old is the hot tub?

Our list below tells you what you should be looking at before purchasing a preowned hot tub.

Consider the Cabinet Condition

A hot tub cabinet is not just there to be aesthetically pleasing, it provides vital insulation to ensure that your hot tub remains energy efficient and houses the electrical components of your hot tub.

There are two main types of hot tub cabinet, each with different elements you should check:

  1. Wooden hot tub cabinets – the most common issue with wood is rotting and damp. If a cabinet is rotten you will find it almost impossible to move the hot tub to its new home without pieces falling off.
  2. UPVC hot tub cabinets – Whilst UPVC cabinets do not rot, they can become brittle. This means they can easily snap or crack if not handled carefully during the hot tub moves.

When choosing your next hot tub, always check the cabinet is in a reasonable condition, making sure it will hold together and support the shell.

Look out for Issues with the Hot Tub Shell

Most hot tub shells are made of acrylic, which is difficult to repair and often irreplaceable. Over time, continuous exposure to water temperatures between 30°C – 40°C and regular use of harsh chemicals will eventually result in issues with the shell.   

Three things you should look for in the hot tub shell condition are:

  1. Blistering or de-lamination - the most common problem and depending on the size of the blisters, the hardest to resolve. If you see a hot tub shell with blisters it is usually best to avoid as it is very expensive and often impossible to repair.
  2. Scratches and marks - not an issue and can often be easily repaired by an acrylic specialist if you want your second hand tub to look more pleasing to the eye.
  3. Cracks - for obvious reasons, a crack is a huge no, just walk away.

Have a Peep at The Hot Tub Pumps

After the control board (some can cost up to £1,000), the pumps are often the most expensive part of any hot tub. With this in mind, you need to make sure it’s working properly and ensure a replacement is easy to purchase. If a certain pump has been discontinued, there will often be a replacement available that has superseded it.

Do your research before purchasing, ensuring the hot tub parts are easy to buy if they need replacing.

Don’t Worry about the Hot Tub Blowers

Blowers on a hot tub are not always the best idea. They blow cold air into the hot tub which cools the water down, resulting in higher running costs as the heater has to work harder to reheat the water.

Any hot tub can run without the blower. Simply unplug it and use your remaining hot tub features as normal.

Check out the Hot Tub Headrests

Headrests create comfort when relaxing in your hot tub, but they aren’t necessary for its use. From time-to-time, headrests will need replacing due to the chemical exposure and constant water submersion.

Many dealers will stock a range of replacement hot tub pillows and headrests. If you are unable to find a replacement you could always try using an inflatable hot tub pillow as a cheaper alternative. Just make sure they’re removed from the water when not in use, so they can stay in a better condition for longer.

Find out about the Hot Tub Filters

While hot tub filters are relatively cheap and easy to replace, you should still inspect their condition to see if they are due a replacement. You can find out more about filter maintenance in our article on ‘how to clean a hot tub filter.

As with all spare parts, you should check to see how easy it is to source them.

Our sister company, Hot Tub Filters Direct, is one of the largest filter distributors in the UK and you can purchase from their wide range of filters in our online store.

If your hot tub filter has been discontinued, you may be able to use one that still fits within the filter housing. Check the measurements or call Jacuzzi Direct who will be able to help.

Examine the Hot Tub Cover

Hot tub covers need replacing every three to four years, something you will need to factor into your running costs. If a cover is waterlogged and heavy, you’ll struggle to remove it from the hot tub and it will need replacing. Damaged, old, and saturated covers also contribute to heat loss, increasing the running costs of your hot tub.

We offer a wide range of hot tub covers including Jacuzzi, Sundance and Artic Spas as well as a bespoke made to measure hot tub cover service.

Moving a Used Hot Tub

Before considering moving your hot tub, ensure it fits within the desired location and that this location can be accessed from the main road.

We always recommend using a professional hot tub moving service (like ourselves), as they have years of experience re-locating hot tubs.

Before the move, make sure the hot tub is drained completely and disconnect the tub from its electrical outlet. For more information on draining your hot tub, read our beginners guide here.

How to Clean a Used Hot Tub

If you have decided to go ahead and purchase a second-hand hot tub, you will want to give it a good clean before use. Do you research and make sure you purchase the right selection of hot tub cleaning products and follow our steps below.

  1. Flush out the pipes – use a specially designed hot tub pipe cleaner to remove dirt and bacteria. You should do this before cleaning out the shell, the hot tub will need to be filled for this to be done.
  2. Drain the hot tub – once you have flushed out the pipes you will need to drain all the water from it, make sure you turn it off at the isolator first.
  3. Clean hot tub surfaces and jets - remove any remaining dirt and debris with a damp cloth and then use a surface cleaner to safely remove any marks.
  4. Clean hot tub headrests – remove and wipe clean using water and a cloth.
  5. Clean your hot tub cover – remove loose dirt and debris and then wipe using a non-abrasive cloth before using a hot tub cover cleaner spray.
  6. Clean the hot tub panels – use a soft cloth and clean water to wipe down all panels.

Read our full hot tub cleaning guide for more information on cleaning a used hot tub.

There are many things you need to consider when buying a hot tub, regardless of its condition, including electrical outlets, how many seats you need, and what additional features you would like. Read our article on what to consider when buying a hot tub to help you decide what hot tub is right for you.

 

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