Death of a hot tub? Update: Death of a hot tub.

We’ve all been there.  You have a good run..nothing major is turning your life upside down.  You feel you have a lot more free time to read or write music because life is working out pretty good!

Then you shovel the back deck for a few hours because the heavens have dumped about two feet of snow in the past week and then you decide to open up the hot tub after a month of leaving it on its own.

To find this.

Aww yeah baby!

Say goodbye to your afternoon nap folks, it’s time to get to work!

I honestly had to sit and think for an hour before tackling this project.  I wasn’t sure where to start.  After reading a few websites I decided I should see how thick the ice was.  If it was a giant block, I may as well shut that breaker off and wait until the spring.

Turns out that it was about an inch thick so after I broke through it with a hammer I thought it opened up some options.

Second up…let’s check the pumps!

That’s not the definition of a good sign.

I had a space heater running on the spa pack while I sat and thought about what my next steps were.  Honestly, my options were limited.  There’s water definitely coming out of the spa pack pipe.  Even if I ran the space heater for a day, what would it accomplish?

I can’t tell if there’s water coming from this pump or not.  I think the water from the spa pack may have just seeped under the pump and froze.  Actually, the pump sounded like it was running fine.

Then you encounter something like this and think “Well, that isn’t too good either.”

Time to pump the thing out and deal with it in the spring.

I’m not entirely sure I did the right thing by pumping out the water.  In my head I was thinking “The spa pack pack has water coming out of it, there’s water dripping out of various pipes, what can I really do while working in sub-zero temperatures?”  I was thinking that I may as well drain as much as I can so it doesn’t become a block of ice and potentially crack something else.

But Etienne sent me an article and it says I should have been filling the tub up with hot water and see if it would just melt everything.  Take a look for leaks and so on.  If there’s a steady leak, drain the thing and wait until the spring to replace the parts.  Maybe I should have done that?

At this point I’m sitting here thinking it’s already too late in the day to attempt another rescue attempt but I wonder if I’ve made things worse…there’s going to definitely be still water sitting in those pipes now.

Hey, in terms of perspective, no one died and I may have to repair a luxury item.  It’s not the end of the world.  Of course, I’m saying that with some hot apple cider after spending a few hours out in the cold.  My favourite moment was when the sump pump was pumping out the water and I was uncoiling the hose and at one point the hose had a split in it and started spraying my face with ice cold water.  Fantastic!  i looked and felt like a drowned rat.  I’m sure if the neighbours saw me they would have been rolling on the floor with laughter!

Update: Well, I figured I was a glutton for punishment so I decided to throw away all my plans I had on Sunday and sit outside in the freezing cold with the hot tub to try and breathe some life into it.

First up…fill it up with hot water!  To accomplish this I always run a hose from my basement sink up through the window and into the tub.  An ingenious method I devised a few years ago.

Hanging out with the tub on a Sunday afternoon.

Remember the agonizing amount of time I spent contemplating whether to block the bathroom window with the new deck and ultimately deciding against it since it would be a good emergency exit?  Yeah, those plans definitely collapsed as the deck rose an inch with the frost and now you can’t open the window all that much.  COME ON!!

I managed to squeeze the hose through the tiniest crack and then bring it to the hot tub.

The rest of my three hours outside (thanks the maker that is only -5 degrees outside and not -50 like up in Kapuskasing!) was spent watching the water go in, setting up a space heater near the pumps and generally just praying to the hot tub gods.

I was sitting outside all this time because I had this fear of the space heater somehow catching fire which is probably improbable and besides the point, maybe it’s due time the hot tub goes up in flames?

Around 4pm I realized that if I’m going to freeze my ass off, I may as well freeze it off with a beer in hand.  It’s a telltale sign that it’s cold outside when my porter froze into slush within five minutes.

Space heater doing its work!

As I type this, the tub is full of warm water.  It’s not piping hot because there was a lot of ice that was in the tub beforehand so that’s bringing the temperature down.  I also noticed that there was an inch of ice at the bottom of the tub so I’m not sure what to think of that.

Andreane thought it was amusing that I was coming in once in awhile and warming up.

What’s my best case scenario here?  The water defrosts the pipes and all works again.

Mid case scenario…nothing changes, I get the water out of the system and I just have to replace a few pipes in the spring.

Worst case scenario?  Star Trek style hull breach in the hot tub shell and we look for a new hot tub.

Like I said before, it’s a luxury item so it’s not the end of the world, but it still sucks nonetheless!  My bones are quite cold right now!  I warmed my toes near the exhaust of the gas furnace a few times today.

Will my next update have great success or great failure?

I guess I shouldn’t have tried to get that puck dispenser out of the block of ice.

Update!  Monday after work I went into the backyard to check on things.  Along the walk I encountered an ice patch on the path I have in the backyard.  That’s strange, I didn’t remember freezing rain that day.

I opened up the hot tub cover and there was no water in the tub.  Maybe an inch of water near the bottom.

So that’s that.  I now have a new skating rink in my backyard and a hot tub which will sit until the spring so I can take a closer look at it.  I can only assume that the hot water I put in thawed out some ice somewhere which was plugging a leak.  I still don’t know if the leak is in the shell of the tub or in the piping somewhere but let’s be honest…it’s on its last legs.  I drowned my sorrows last night by checking out new hot tubs online.

In honour of the good life that the hot tub has given me, here are some great photos of its life.

When Vero and I picked up the keys to our house on June 30, 2010, we jumped right into the hot tub!  I don’t even think I walked around the house yet.

First visitors to the hot tub.

I guess we have a seven person hot tub?

I still remember this night was ridiculously cold.

I love how this was for a bachelorette party for Melissa and I’m pretty sure the hostess (aka Vero) didn’t even have enough room to go in!

I have to admit that I don’t mind losing the hot tub, but I really mind losing the cool tub for the summer months.  The kids love it!  Have fun in hot tub heaven, we will miss you.

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