After nearly 20 years, our Softub has died. For $300 it was a bargain. That ain't happening again!
We returned from our Summer Sojourn and spend countless exhausting days pressure washing everything. Mildew and mold are a constant concern in the Southeast, and our screen porches need a scrub-down at least once a year.
I filled the Softub and plugged it in, and it just buzzed. The motor was stalled. I had hoped to get a few more months of use out of it. I took the pump module apart and it was a mess of corrosion and whatnot. Needs a whole new pump, and of course, the liner was already shot -wrinkled on the bottom and cracked on the top. On the motor housing was a date: 10/21/2001. The darn thing is nineteen years old! That's a lifetime for a hot tub.
The hard-sided "plug and play" tub we had thought about replacing it with, for $2000, is made in Central Florida, and they are twenty weeks behind schedule. Order now and you'll have it by May!
Yes, in addition to CoVid Campers are CoVid pool and hot tub owners. Everyone is staying at home, and trying to find things to do. So it is a bad time to buy a camper, a pool, or a hot tub. Whenever everyone wants to do something all at the same time, run away.
A brand-new Softub is over $3000, even "on sale". I can buy a new liner for it for about $800 (including new fittings and special tools), and a new motor is about $270. But I hesitate to throw $1000 at a 20-year-old tub, which may have something else go wrong with it, in short order. On the other hand, with a new motor and a new liner, it would be like a new tub, no? Walk away, Bob. It is temping to think you can rebuild things forever, but experience shows that eventually, things just fall apart. Even the plastic parts of the plumbing get old and brittle. I would be chasing one repair after another. I might get a few bucks for the control panel - sell it on eBay and walk away.
Maybe next year, when the stimulus money runs out and people lose their jobs, it will be a better time to buy a used Softub or its hard-sided replacement, for cheap. It might pay to wait.
When you want to "have it all, now" you usually pay through the nose. Patience pays.