How to Eliminate Your Soaring Hot Tub Cost
If you’ve ever owned or thought of owning a hot tub, you may have failed to consider the cost of keeping that hot tub running. There’s an electric-powered pump to keep the water circulating, which keeps the water from becoming stagnant. Plus an electric heater to keep the water warm, even in the winter. These electric devices need to be kept running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Needless to say, this becomes very expensive in a real hurry. You might even consider it a money pit, even if you used it regularly. Many people, who at first blush thought it was a fabulous idea, end up having regretted their purchase, and shut if off, drained the tub, and left it sitting idle on their outside deck. Meanwhile it gets dirty and unsightly. Now it isn’t worth anything, and it’s too difficult to move it. So…what to do?
Here’s a clever idea…turn that unwanted hot tub into a very large planter. So that’s just what I did.
Shutting Down Your Hot Tub
The first thing to do is turn the pump and heater off, preferably at your main electrical panel. Then completely empty the hot tub of water. Be careful where you drain the water to…your flowering plants won’t like the chlorine you may have put into the hot tub. Same goes for a pond with goldfish in it. Your lawn won’t mind so much, though it’ll be wet for a couple of days.
You can use a sump pump to drain most of it, then a shop vac (heavy duty vacuum cleaner) without the filter, to suck up the remaining water. Or..if you’ve got lots of time and patience, a bucket. Let the tub dry out completely, or use towels to mop up what moisture is left.
Preparing the Tub for Planting
Since the plants won’t need more than a foot (30cm) or so of soil, you’ll need to fill up the variable spaces in the hot tub with something. In my case, I had an excess of logs for the fireplace. I arranged the logs so they evenly filled the hot tub to about 14 inches (36cm) from the top edge.
- Unfortunately, I didn’t get the idea of taking pictures until the next step, so just use your imagination for filling your hot tub with ballast.
Then I put a large fibreglass tarpaulin over the logs, and draped the excess tarp over the edges of the hot tub. This was then filled with soil from my composter, and other areas of the back yard, plus some bags of topsoil. It’s hard to say how much soil, but it’s considerably less than filling the entire space of the hot tub, if I hadn’t filled most of it with logs.
I then stapled the excess tarp onto the wooden sides of the hot tub frame, and cut off the excess.
A Decorative Frame for the Tub
The next step was creating a top frame. Mostly to cover the last visible signs of the hot tub’s former self. Since the hot tub has many areas where I couldn’t put any soil, I had to create a multi-faceted top frame. This was made from spruce 2x12 lumber.
I figured out the many angled pieces, then cut the pieces to fit together perfectly. These were then screwed and glued together, with the whole frame upside down, sitting loosely on the hot tub. This was done so I could put on some temporary strapping to hold the pieces together while the glue dried.
The next day I removed the strapping pieces, and with some help, turned the top frame right-side up. I then used some 2x4 lumber beneath the outside edge of the top frame, to hide the remaining tarp and hot tub from sight.
The next step was to paint the top frame. I first used an exterior primer on all surfaces. This was followed by a nice red exterior acrylic semi-gloss latex paint. This completed the construction.
Choosing Plants for the Tub
For plants, I decided a large number of Oriental lilies would fill the planter nicely. I also added quite a few gladiolas. I’m still waiting for the gladiolas to flower. I’ll add a picture later on.
A New Lease on Life for the Unwanted Hot Tub
As you can see, it’s quite a transformation. My electricity bill has also been transformed…downward. The hot tub was nice once in a while, but ultimately it really wasn’t worth it. This is a much better solution than throwing it out, and it adds beauty to the backyard deck as well.
This article ©2014 by timorous+