Topic: Hot Tub Lemons
It was my 30th birthday last week, so I threw a big party on Saturday. In preparation for that, I acquired a "free" hot tub from a friend's dad. Now if you're wondering why said hot tub was free, it was because the heater reportedly didn't work, and they had drained it 8 years ago and never used it since. Other than that, it basically "ran when parked." Here it is after we removed the shitty enclosure:
Here it is on Bob's trailer after he and I and 2 other dudes overhead-pressed it over a fence. That was unpleasant.
Here it is on my back patio, after I built a temporary cradle so some more friends and I could tip it onto its side and carry it through my back gate, and then I spent most of last week building a proper frame. Lots of boring rough carpentry is left out here.
Luckily, Bob and I were able to figure out how to get the pumps and jets working. Of course, this brand of hot tub ("Sun Wave") hasn't been made since 1987, and there is almost no info and no manuals available online, so I wasn't able to acquire a replacement heater element in time for the party on Saturday. Here's where the Lemons part comes in. I just happened to have a slightly dented but non-leaking aluminum radiator, which we pulled out of the race car last year after a "jacking incident." A few PVC fittings and some radiator hoses pulled off the rack at O'Reilly resulted in this:
The radiator was placed in series with a couple of jets on the back side, and it didn't seem to diminish the flow at those jets at all. Unfortunately, this first iteration of redneck spa heater didn't work too well, because my shitty old gas grill is basically broken and terrible. The above picture was taken after we added charcoal, which helped a lot, but we weren't able to really start adding BTUs until around the time the party started, so it was pretty lukewarm at first. Then Bob's wife showed up with a larger gas grill. Once the upgraded heater had some more time to work, it started to get warm.
After we displaced more water with humans and correspondingly reduced the load on the heater, the tub started to get downright hot. We actually had to turn down the grill around 1 or 2 AM. As I recall, we maxed out at 16 people in a hot tub that couldn't have been built for more than 9. The rest of the night is a little fuzzy. See below for my favorite picture of the night, which I like to call "Whirlpool of Souls." Identities censored for posterity.
The next day's aftermath. By my calculations, the average person in a hot tub displaces about 15 gallons.
All in, between pressure-treated lumber, deck screws, PVC fittings, and pool chemicals, this project cost me about $200. That should leave plenty of room in the budget for a proper replacement heater. Or a junkyard turbocharger.
Index of Effluency, Heroic Fix, Class C Trophy, now hopelessly gunning for Class B.
Currently 1-2 vs. Team Fairlylame in the Class of 1964 Championships