Suggestions for diy hot tub sourcing parts

new2pools16

Member
May 26, 2016
6
Manitoba, Canada
I want to build my own hot tub using blocks and rubberize it paint / rubber liner. Looking at purchasing the equipment like pumps, control panel, etc. It all adds up to more then a stand alone fiberglass tub for about 5 or 6 grand.

Is there a place anyone can recommend to order all parts I would need at a reasonable price? I want this to be economical and inground so I was expecting half the cost all said and done like 3,000 if I am doing labor and buying materials/ parts. I'm even ok buying lower end or refurbished pumps.

Or should I skip a control panel and just buy / set everything separately and just turn on pump, set heater. Etc to save money? It looks like I can buy a single 2 speed pump for jets and circulation I just assumed I needed the control center too, and a good one that supports pumps, blower, heater is itself like 1,000 so that's a big cost right there.
 

Kneedeep47

Member
Aug 11, 2017
10
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Perhaps you ought to buy a small outboard boat motor to circulate the water. In fact, if you route the exhaust into the water, it would also serve to heat the water and provide aromatherapy. Eh?

Be safe!!!! Don't scrimp on a jury-rig approach. Buy a well made spa/hot tub, heater and controller. The money spent will save you a LOT of future headaches!

Check your local dealers for "turn-in" spas someone might have exchanged out for a up-grade. A used spa might be just the thing for you--and if you don't like the spa design itself, then perhaps you can salvage and reuse the pump, controller, etc from such a unit. In addition, there are people who buy spas, then loose interest in them, and decide to sell as a used spa for fairly reasonable prices.

(Personally, I prefer the "outboard motor" solution..... can also be used as a clothes washing machine and a dishwasher.......)
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
682
South-Central WI
I want to build my own hot tub using blocks and rubberize it paint / rubber liner. Looking at purchasing the equipment like pumps, control panel, etc. It all adds up to more then a stand alone fiberglass tub for about 5 or 6 grand.

Is there a place anyone can recommend to order all parts I would need at a reasonable price? I want this to be economical and inground so I was expecting half the cost all said and done like 3,000 if I am doing labor and buying materials/ parts. I'm even ok buying lower end or refurbished pumps.

Or should I skip a control panel and just buy / set everything separately and just turn on pump, set heater. Etc to save money? It looks like I can buy a single 2 speed pump for jets and circulation I just assumed I needed the control center too, and a good one that supports pumps, blower, heater is itself like 1,000 so that's a big cost right there.
It really sounds like you should just buy a spa then. Except for being in-ground, a stand alone fiberglass tub for less than it costs to make one? Yeah that's an easy choice.

Trust me, I get the DIY urge. I like projects, but I've started to learn though that many projects aren't worth it. The first question is "what will the project cost" vs something pre-made. If I can but it pre-made for the same or less (or slightly more), that's better than building it myself, unless what I build myself is better than what I could buy. Sorry, but I don't see a block built, liner hot tub as something that will be better (comfort wise) then a standalone fiberglass tub.

If in-ground is a must, then DIY may make sense, but otherwise I would say buy the stand alone fiberglass tub. They are nice.

How did your DIY block pool work out BTW?

Perhaps you ought to buy a small outboard boat motor to circulate the water. In fact, if you route the exhaust into the water, it would also serve to heat the water and provide aromatherapy. Eh?
On 99% of small boats the exhaust is already routed into the water. Doing this uses the water as a muffler instead of requiring an actual muffler (plus they often spray water into the exhaust headers to cool them so it acts like a drain for that water). If you are near an idling boat you'll see and hear a "blub blub blub" from the exhaust bubbling up.

Except for ocean (saltwater) models, marine engines also pump water from whatever lake/river they are on through the engine to cool it and dump it back out again. So an outboard should heat a spa quite effectively...just as effectively as it'd take off your leg. :oops:
 

BravoRomeo

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 15, 2012
58
San Juan Islands, WA
Some years ago I was quite interested in the DIY hot tub idea. You can buy the mechanicals from various suppliers online. It's been a while since I looked, but you should be able to search around and find several pool / spa parts distributors. There are these kits called "spa packs" that put together the basic pumps, heater, sensors, and controls. Seems like those were really set up for upgrading older classic fiberglass tubs that were popular in the 70's and 80's.

In my research, I found people were starting with livestock watering tanks from the local farm & feed co-ops. No built-in seats or anything like that, but they're cheap and durable in metal or plastic. You can do in-ground or dress up the outside. Lots of options for heat, including external wood-fired. On the other end of the DIY spectrum: the classic cedar tub, lined or unlined. You can even get a cedar tub delivered as a kit. My neighbor has one and loves it.

If you DIY it, definitely keep safety as a top priority... that includes construction, operation, and sanitization. Nothing worse than saving a few bucks to end up injured, ill, or worse. Don't forget your operating cost. A modern portable hot tub with decent insulation and cover can consume $15-20/mo in electricity. If you skimp on insulation and a tight fitting cover for your DIY tub, you may spend quite a bit more keeping it hot.

In the end I bought a used Hotspring two-person tub from a relative, repaired/replaced a bunch of parts (a.k.a. "deferred maintenance"), and enjoyed it for about 5 years. I realized it was super nice having a modern tub with seats and a lounger. Now I have a Bullfrog 2-person tub. At one time Bullfrog made a drop-in unit for in-ground applications. You just had to prepare a "vault" and set up their framework. That said, I can see the appeal of the deep cedar tub my neighbor has, but I know it is nowhere as efficient in operating cost.
 
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