Questions regarding used spa

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  #1  
Old 02-18-03, 03:50 PM
utee94
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Questions regarding used spa

My parents are about to build an addition to their house, and consequently they are removing their old (1984) spa and have offered it to me.

The spa has an 8'x8' fiberglass shell with molded seats, and is in excellent shape with no cracks or other problems. The pump and air blower both work perfectly as well.

The problems are with the heater-- it's a gas heater (not sure of the brand) and it seems that the inside of the manifold must be rusting. Also, my father tells me that the heater itself seems to have a problem because the burners won't come on anymore. For a long time, you could flick the "On/Off" switch a few times and it would eventually kick on, but that doesn't seem to work anymore.

So, my questions are, would it be worth it to try to refurbish this old heating unit? Is there anyway to repair the manifold, or how much would a new one cost?

Also, since I would have to run a gas line about 40 feet from my existing gas connection to the proposed new location of the spa in my backyard, would it be better to just skip it and buy a new spapack with an electric heater? I live in Central Texas, so does anyone know how much more expensive electric heat would be compared to gas for a hot tub application?

Finally, are there any other "gotchas" I should be looking out for?

Thanks in advance!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-18-03, 07:38 PM
Master Electrician
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Indiana
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Free is the best deal you could get, But is it worth it ? Is really up to you.

It sounds, as if the orifices are plugging up, and gas is not reaching the outlet valves, as they should. A good cleaning might be all it needs. It's not much different then cleaning a old gas stove that is just dirty. But is it all worth the problem, Like I said that is up to you. Gas is not to common where I am from, And electric is. But you could build a deck to the specks of one the same size of electric. If you have no luck with the gas, then remove and off to the store for a new electric it is.
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-03, 07:41 AM
lestrician
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As far as the gas vs electric heat here in Texas, if you use TXU gas has gone up considerably, electric a little but not quite as much. Gas is still cheaper, but not extremely so... I had elec. last year... paid about $150 a month more in the winter. I have gas this year... pay about $120 a month. I don't think it would be very significant in your case.
 
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Old 02-19-03, 04:57 PM
utee94
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Thanks for the responses. I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to try out the gas heater, and then replace it with an electric spapack if it doesn't work.

Here in Austin, I have Southern Union gas, not TXU, but they're probably similar. If it isn't significantly more expensive to heat the tub with electricity, then it might be a good idea to just go ahead and do that, because it'll be easier to begin with.

Thanks again, and please let me know if you think of anything else I should be aware of. I'm going to finish this project in the next couple of weeks, so I'll let you know how it goes.
 
  #5  
Old 02-20-03, 07:55 PM
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"The problems are with the heater-- it's a gas heater (not sure of the brand) and it seems that the inside of the manifold must be rusting."

Why do you feel this is happening (what signs of this problem are you seeing)?

"Also, my father tells me that the heater itself seems to have a problem because the burners won't come on anymore."

It's HIGHLY unlikely this is cause by clogged burners. Gas pool and spa heater have multiple burner orifices and in my 22+ years in this business I have NEVER seen an instance where ALL of them became clogged. More likely it's a problem with lack of water flow or a bad safety switch (T-stat, hi-limit switch, pressure switch etc). If this is a millivolt heater it could also be a bad thermopile.

"For a long time, you could flick the "On/Off" switch a few times and it would eventually kick on"

This frequently is caused by an old or dirty contacts on a safety switch for a millivolt heater.

"So, my questions are, would it be worth it to try to refurbish this old heating unit?"

In my opinion ABSOLUTELY! Gas is always cheaper to heat with than electricity, AND it will heat 4 to 10 times faster than an electric "spa pack".


I would suggest that once you get it hooked up, to call someone experienced with pool and spa heaters to take a look at it. Repair costs to get it to fire shouldn't be over $200.00 (quite possibly a lot lower). As far as the rusting manifolds, I'd need a lot more info to give you repair cost estimates (brand and model, and why you think it's rusting).
 
  #6  
Old 02-21-03, 07:03 AM
utee94
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Thanks for the response, Dr. Spa.

I haven't personally watched the heater operate in about 10 years, and at that time the spa was running very well (aside from the need to flip the On/Off switch to get the heater going), but my Dad tells me that rust is being introduced into the water as it flows through the heater. As I recall, all of the other parts of the plumbing system are plastic or PVC, so it would seem logical that the heater was the source. He seems to believe that the mainfold was made of cast iron-- I couldn't tell you for sure. But I'll swing by their house today to look at the make and model, and I appreciate your input.

Thanks again!
 
  #7  
Old 02-22-03, 12:01 PM
utee94
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Dr. Spa,

I checked on the brand and it is a "ComfortZone." It didn't have a model name or number, but it's a fairly large, natural gas heater. It would have been manufactured some time around 1984, which is when they had the spa installed (brand new) at their home.

As I said before, my Dad tells me that the water in the system was getting rust in it as it passed through the heater, and he believes that the manifold was made of cast iron. I don't know anything for sure, since it hasn't been run in a while and not the tub has been removed.

Thanks again for everybody's help.
 
  #8  
Old 02-22-03, 03:04 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 201
1984 would be about right. The cast iron headers were glass lined. Eventually the glass linning cracks/wears off and they start to rust.

Unfortubnatly comfortzone is a brand I haven't seen much of here on the west coast. As I recall they were sold to Hayward.

The only catalog I have that lists parts AND prices for them is rather old, 1998. List price says $80 for the rear header and $109 for the front header. One of my suppliers does have a parts break down picture and says the parts ARE available (special order though).

You might want to check their pic;

http://store.gpspool.com/GPS/Store/P...Sshopper%5Fid=
 
  #9  
Old 03-03-03, 09:12 PM
utee94
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Thanks for the responses. I now have the tub and equpiment at my house, as well as a couple of weeks off, so I hope to get it up and running in the near future. I'll let you know how it goes!
 
  #10  
Old 04-07-03, 09:20 AM
utee94
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Spa is now installed and working

Thanks again to those who replied. I just wanted to update any who are interested and let you know that I have finally icompleted my project.

I refurbished and installed the spa without too much trouble. I decided to keep the gas heater, and I'm so glad that I did. It just needed to be cleaned up a little bit (pilot wouldn't light because of a little rust caught in the throat of the tube) and then I found some loose and corroded connections on the controls. I cleaned them up and re-seated all of the connections, and everything worked perfectly after I put it all back together, and I have since completed building a deck around it. It's fantastic, and cost me next to nothing!
 
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