Tell Me I Should Open My Hot Tub

Plettschner

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Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
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We moved into our house about 3 years (maybe 4, I can't remember) and there was a pool and hot tub. The pool has been open every year, and spectacularly clear thanks to TFP, but I have not tackled the hot tub and it has sat empty and idle. The brand name appears to be Tiger River Spas.

I'm thinking about getting it going this year. Probably once weather cools off a little bit.

Drains have been sitting open. The cover is pretty much trashed, but is at least keeping the sun off of it. Inside is a little mucky from some residual water in low spots. The filter needs a cartridge, and the headrests are badly faded/deteriorated.

1. Definitely need a new cover. Suggestions welcome.
2. Definitely needs a thorough cleaning inside and further inside.
3. Definitely need to check out the plumbing, pump, etc.
4. If all goes well, I'm putting a throw in SWCG so I'm not going nutty chlorinating the pool and the tub (pool may get one too for next year once prices drop). Suggestions welcome again.
5. Anything else I need to know?
 

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jseyfert3

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I'm thinking about getting it going this year. Probably once weather cools off a little bit.
I'd highly recommend not waiting. Do it now. See if it is working, check for leaks. You can always drain it after functionally checking it out, then re-fillit when it cools off. But filling/checking now allows you time to figure out what is/isn't working, buy parts and fix, or find someone to fix it, etc. Winter is the best time for hot tubs IMO, you want the tub running then, not trying to fix it while the snow is flying.

1. Definitely need a new cover. Suggestions welcome.
I got a cover from BeyondNice at the suggestion of @cowboycasey. It's nice. I'm sure most places make decent covers. Verify the tub is working or at least repairable before you order a cover, but you should order a cover as soon as you've determined that. I ordered mine Dec 22nd, shipped Feb 12th. Granted winter is the busy season (plus COVID), but you want to get your cover before the temp drops or you will hemorrhage money on your electric bill.

Get the thickest insulation, steam stoppers, etc. Thin covers are for hot states.

4. If all goes well, I'm putting a throw in SWCG so I'm not going nutty chlorinating the pool and the tub (pool may get one too for next year once prices drop). Suggestions welcome again.
Myself and many here use the Saltron Mini. It's reasonably priced and gets the job done. $230 from Spa Depot right now, replacement cells are $120. I got estimated life of 1.5-2 years from members here on a cell. I bought mine April of last year, still running to date, but I think I'll buy a replacement cell soon so I have it on hand. I love having this for the spa, especially in summer when the tub is on but used much less. It maintains the FC between uses, and after we use it (usually for several hours) I manually dose with chlorine to take care of bather waste.

Also I second the Ahh-Some purge. Your tub is probably 400-500 gallons? I'd recommend getting like the 6 oz jar. 2 oz jar doesn't last long on a bigger hot tub.
 

jseyfert3

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Any suggestions where to buy parts for a Tiger River Spas tub?
I ordered my Saltron Mini and a few small parts from Spa Depot. No issues.

Ordered a bunch of valves and such to do some work on my tub from Spa Care. Came quick, got a couple wrong valves. Contacted them and they got the correct valves shipped out with expedited shipping. I want to use them in the future, everybody makes mistakes, but some people fix those mistakes properly.

@RDspaguy may have some suggests too.
 
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YippeeSkippy

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Jan 17, 2012
17,528
Evans, Georgia
I've always heard that If you even dont want to use the hot tub it probably is a better idea to keep it full and covered. Dry fixtures, seals and gaskets can dry out and be useless if left dry. You can deal with any algae later.
 
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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,382
Cabool, Mo
I've always heard that If you even dont want to use the hot tub it probably is a better idea to keep it full and covered. Dry fixtures, seals and gaskets can dry out and be useless if left dry. You can deal with any algae later.
Well, as long as it is maintained. Bad water is worse than no water.
 

Plettschner

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Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
Pool Size
17000
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OK, I started on it this afternoon. Is there an easy method for getting the dirt and leaves out of a hot tub? I basically used my bug skimmer net to get out the large floating debris and then sloshed the remaining water off of the seats into the middle/bottom and it's draining out. There's still going to be a ton of crud in the bottom.
 

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Plettschner

Gold Supporter
Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Also, what's the first thing I should be checking once it's cleaned out? Anything to check before I fill it?
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,382
Cabool, Mo
I use a shop vac. Put it over each jet too and suck out any water you can.
You could check that the pumps work by spinning them by hand. You might replace pump and heater union gaskets, and pump drain plug o-rings (likely leak points on a tub that has been empty). Maybe even get bearings and a seal in the pumps and a new heater element (also likely problems).
Make sure the valves are open and the drains are closed. Fill it through the filter pipe, turn it on and see what it does. Have your fingers crossed when you do. ;)
Then, if it's working, purge with ahhsome several times until it stops making goo. And be sure to wipe up the goo as it appears, it's sticky stuff once it dries. Drain and refill, then enjoy.
You will want to do a little research on spa water chemistry if you aren't familiar and decide how you plan to do it.
 
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Plettschner

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Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
Pool Size
17000
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Vinyl
Chlorine
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Engine compartment doesn't look too bad. I expected snakes or rodents.
 

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Plettschner

Gold Supporter
Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I use a shop vac. Put it over each jet too and suck out any water you can.
You could check that the pumps work by spinning them by hand. You might replace pump and heater union gaskets, and pump drain plug o-rings (likely leak points on a tub that has been empty). Maybe even get bearings and a seal in the pumps and a new heater element (also likely problems).
Make sure the valves are open and the drains are closed. Fill it through the filter pipe, turn it on and see what it does. Have your fingers crossed when you do. ;)
Then, if it's working, purge with ahhsome several times until it stops making goo. And be sure to wipe up the goo as it appears, it's sticky stuff once it dries. Drain and refill, then enjoy.
You will want to do a little research on spa water chemistry if you aren't familiar and decide how you plan to do it.
Oooh! The Shop Vac worked brilliantly!

Just need to wipe it out now.

Can't really get at the pump shafts to see if they spin. Will I kill anything if I plug it in for a few seconds?
 

Plettschner

Gold Supporter
Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
Pool Size
17000
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Vinyl
Chlorine
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OK, so the tub only holds about 300 gallons, so I decided to fill it. Of course, part way to full, I couldn't resist and plugged it in... and soaked myself when I hit the jets button. The jet pump works! The control panel works. The circulation pump also works. The light even works! The only thing I'm not so sure of is the heater. I have a feeling that may not be doing anything as the return water seems just as cold as the rest of the tub and the heater itself is not even the slightest bit warm.
 

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Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
10,848
NY
is not even the slightest bit warm
Your hose water is probably 55-60 degrees after it runs for 5 minutes. The tub is probably only making a small dent in it at first and it goes quicker at the end.

Leave it for a few hours and when you come back to 65 (?) You'll know it working
 
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Plettschner

Gold Supporter
Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Ooop. Forgot about the melted plug... it was just about smoking. I think the heater is working. I unplugged it for now. Probably should switch it over to 240v anyway.
 

Plettschner

Gold Supporter
Jun 4, 2019
267
Connecticut
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
So if I buy a "hot tub" GFCI plug, it's over $100. If I buy the Leviton GFCI plug, it's $28. Am I missing something?
 

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