K. Scott's Hottub Project

First off, let me warn you that building hottubs in your spare time is not a project to be done by mortal man. If you want a hottub go to your local spa retailer or hardware store humungus and just buy one. Don't do what I did. There is a reason why hottubs come in one simple plug-in-and-go design; they are a pain to put together. That having been said, here is what I did to put together my hottub.

On about June 2000, a friend of mine's parents had an old tub that they were willing to give to anyone crazy enough to drive to Boulder CO to get it. That person was me and my friend in insanity Cort. So, the two of us got in his full-size truck and headed north to retrieve the beast. Amazingly it fit quite well in the bed of his truck. Driving home was interesting. Pulling into gas stations along the way produced some very entertaining questions. About half of the people wanted to know if they could jump in, and the other half wanted to know when the gin would be ready. Personally I thought it looked a bit big for a still, but with weird pump parts about and several hoses strung about the four corners of the truck bed, I could see their confusion.

Once home, I had to decide where to put the silly thing. I decided on a nice spot in the back yard bewteen two trees. This would provide a good amount of privacy, and also provide natural towel hangers, namely the afore mentioned trees. It was also near the wall, which might be good for running electrical lines or hanging lamps or cannonballing into the tub from if necessary.

There was an old well-head near there, and I had hoped that electricity would be available because of the old well-head. Boy was I wrong. The well had been disconnected years ago, and the wire and electical box were not safe for hottub use. I wasn't really keen on electricuting myself or my hottub guests, so new wire it was to be.

Being a procrastinator at heart it was now spring of 2001 when I started digging a ditch in the yard to lay electical stuff. Please note, I am not an electrician nor do electricity and me get along very well either. So, the most useful thing I could contribute to energizing the new tub was to dig a big hole; something I felt qualified to do. This took about two months. Partly because of bad weather and some rough spots and partly because I am a slacker. Once this was done, it was a matter of getting the contractor over to do his thing.

The electrician I finally found did an excelent job. He installed GFI breakers, installed my heater for me, and even wired the water pump. I was very happy. And by June 6, 2001, about one year since I started this process, I had an almost working hottub. At least the electrical end was working. There was still the problem of water leaking from several places, and my ignorance of water chemistry to overcome.

Now here is where the real pain began. When I first started replacing the PCV I had purchased many 1 1/2 inch unions from a certain hardware store. These unions allowed easy connect and disconnect and interchangability of my flexible PVC. Little did I know that the hardware store I bought them from would go out of business after a couple of months. Littler did I know that every PVC manufacturer makes their own diameter and thread style of unions. Even littler still did I know that nowhere else in town or on the web would I be able to find more of these little rat-bastards. I have found one from B&K, but have not been able to find a retailer for more. So, I used some other unions that don't interchange with the ones I like, but It does the job. *sigh*

Most of the original equipment still remains. The tub, filter and pump are all still in use. I replaced all of the old PVC with new flexible PCV and purchased a new heater. I also had to get a new filter cartridge. It is a very old filter and I could only find one cartridge for it in all of Albuquerque. The pink cover you see is two pieces of foamboard glued together. It will eventually be covered with canvas for water pretection.

I now have a working hottub. It does not have Jacuzzi type jets yet, but it is a hottub. I don't remember the exact date, but sometime over the summer (2001) I had an official Hottub Warming Party. Yes that is an intentional pun. We fit seven people in the tub, which is like three more then it is designed for. Lots of water spilled out, but everyone had a good time. Unfortatly, I was stupid and forgot to get photos of the occasion. The photo you see here is from the Crap! I Forgot To Take Photos At My Hottub Warming Party Party. Not as many poeple to be sure, but other then being a bit pigment-challenged things also went well.

On Oct 5, 2001 I decided to fire up the hottub. Some people were over and figured they might want to use it too. Unfortunatly, there was an air buble in the filter which was causing it to leak because the pressure was too high. No problem I said. I'll just open the pressure release valve at the top, and let the air out.

I did this without incident. But when I began to screw the valve closed again the plastic tip ripped right off in the wrench and watter immediatly began streaming out the filter right at my awaiting guests. Drat!

Fortunatly a trip to the local hardware store the next day solved the problem. Now I have stainless steel instead of plastic. Once again proving that anything is cooler when it is made out of stainless steel.
kscott Mar 2 2002: About three weeks ago Joel wanted to use the hottub. Well apparently while I wasn't looking, my old filter sprung enough leaks that it resembled more a sprinkler then a filter. Dang, and I just put a new filter cartridge in it too. Anyways, since it has had several problems in the past I decided to order a new filter.
This new filter took two weeks to show up, but is smaller and has a pressure gauge on it; makes it look like a pressure cooker to me. It seems to be working well, and hopefully will last a long time. And perhaps someday it will snow and I will be able to sit in my hottub and watch it.
kscott Mar 24 2002: Today I installed my new pump. About a week after I installed my new filter, the pump seized. So, a quick trip to Ebay solved the problem. The new pump is a Hayward EP 1.5HP and looks very nice.
This is my old pump.

Here are all the hottub photos I have.

URL: http://infohost.nmt.edu/~kscott/hottub/hottub1.html
Today's Date: Thursday, 24-Apr-2014 05:07:32 MDT
Last Modified: Wednesday, 15-Mar-2006 11:57:22 MST
K. Scott Rowe