Shop Talk is a feature in AQUA in which we ask a question to a few pros from all corners of the industry. Today's question: What's the worst hot tub you've ever encountered?

Eric Cassidy

Vice President | Valley Pool & Spa
Pittsburgh, Penn.

This past spring, my tech Jim went out to conduct a quote for an insurance claim on a customer's hot tub. Upon arrival, Jim knew at first glance that he was getting into a 'rats nest.' The saying ended up being literal. Rats actually turned the hot tub into their home, living in the lines like a hamster cage and making nests all throughout the plumbing. The insurance quote was written up as 'non-repairable' and the insurance company paid a small percentage claim to replace the spa.

The story didn't end there. Upon delivery of the new spa, the customer had our delivery team move the old spa into a field (they were farmers and had hundreds of acres) because they wanted their new 'rat family' to be able to live in the spa that they renamed 'Rat Village.' You can't make this stuff up...

Ryan Johnson

Owner | Suburban Pool Supply
Folsom, Calif.

I got a service call a couple months ago, and the guy asked what we could do to disconnect his spa from his pool. Somehow, he'd taken an aboveground spa and plumbed it in-line with the pool stuff. It must have been hooked up that way for 20 years or something, and he said it got to the point where it was leaking all the time. They decided not to have it function anymore, but they left the plumbing there and simply put in a couple valves. The thing is, there was mud in the spa because it rained and the runoff got in — it was sunken down lower than the pool in the yard!

I gave him a price to fix it and I think the price was more than he was willing to go forward with. A lot of times, if you throw out a number over $500, that happens. It costs $500 to have somebody come take it away. So do I fix it or have somebody haul it away? I think [he decided to scrap it] because the gel code inside was cracked and it'd been exposed to the sun and heat for what looked like years.


Kathryn Howard is Assistant Editor of AQUA Magazine.