how to cut up a hot tub for removal

Have you got an old hot tub you don’t use anymore? If so, you’ve probably wondered how to remove a hot tub from your backyard.

Here’s what to do:

Cut the power at the disconnect. Remove the panels and power cord from the control box. Use a crowbar to remove the wood braces except for the 4 corners. Remove all equipment & cut PVC pipes as needed. Use an electric saw to cut the acrylic shell in half. Then remove all pieces and discard.

And make sure to use safety goggles when breaking apart the frame and shell!

But of course, before destroying the hot tub, decide first if you want to try and sell it. Selling it is a great way to put a few hundred dollars in your pocket, and you can leave the hassle of spa removal to the buyer.

Or you can simply throw money at the problem and find a junk removal team or other hot tub disposal services. That might be the best way to get rid of an old spa.

But don’t despair.

You’re not the first person to be in this situation, so why not sit back and benefit from my experience and that of others who’ve had to dispose of an old hot tub at some point.

There are lots of things to consider, such as the cost of junk removal services, electrical disconnection, and physically getting the hot tub off your property.

If you’re replacing your hot tub, you may be able to get the supplier to take the old unit away, but if not, you have a few options to consider.

Read on to find out what’s best for you and your unwanted hot tub.

Some highlights from removing a hot tub for a Salisbury University staff member this past weekend

— Reynolds Hauling Services (@ReynoldsHauling) April 26, 2018

How much does it cost to remove an old hot tub?

Generally speaking, hot tub removal jobs will cost approximately $350 for the whole process. But depending on the exit path and how much space there is to work around the old tub, it could range between $150 and $650. 

Always ask for a free estimate before confirming!

But you can get your hot tub removed for free if the professional junk hauler thinks they can sell it. Usually, it will depend on the value of your hot tub to the removal company and the cost to them in stripping it down.

If you opt to do it yourself, you should be aware of any hidden fees such as landfill charges or the dump charge at a recycling facility.

If you’re paying for junk removal services, make sure the cost includes everything.

Most companies base their charges on weight or volume so get them to work this out for themselves before giving you a price and don’t add to it later.

Don’t just accept a cost over the phone.

Get them to come out and give you a proper estimate based on the physical conditions they can see for themselves, including any steps to encounter, fences or gates to negotiate, etc.

Also, you should be aware of what is expected of you before the junk haulers turn up.

Do they want you to:

  • Disconnect electrical?
  • Drain all the water?
  • Form a clear path for them from the hot tub to the curbside?
  • Provide a firm surface to run a hand truck over?

Make sure you get all this in writing to avoid any arguments later.

Moving a hot tub…. What could possibly go wrong?

— NorthernTails (@NorthernTails1) October 25, 2021

Is it worth it to move a hot tub?

It is worth it to move a hot tub as long as the hot tub shell and frame are in good condition. Even if a new control box and/or pump need to be purchased, it is much cheaper to move a hot tub to a new location than it is to purchase a new hot tub.

And installing the new equipment can be done by most homeowners. But there are a lot of things to consider, so let’s explore those things. The factors to be considered are:

  • The condition of your hot tub
  • How old your hot tub is
  • Distance to the new location 
  • Availability of a hot tub removal team in your area

How old is “old”? A hot tub is made up of 4 components, each having a different lifespan:

  • The shell 
  • The equipment 
  • The PVC plumbing 
  • The hot tub cover

So how long do hot tubs usually last?

In a recent article, I explained in more detail how each of these components can deteriorate and what to do to preserve them for as long as possible. Find out how by clicking on the link and reading it here on my website.

On average, you should get 10-15 years out of your hot tub, although during this time, you may have to replace or repair 1 or 2 of the items listed above.

You may have no option but to move your hot tub when you’re moving. The new owners won’t be pleased if you leave them with the problem to deal with, especially if the old hot tub is unusable.

I once sold a house in Dallas that had an almost brand-new hot tub.

But the new owners didn’t want it and put into the contract that I had to remove it. So, I took a huge loss in getting it removed. But some home buyers might actually want you to leave it.

Once you’ve decided that the hot tub must go, you can then look at the various options. If it’s in reasonable condition and not too old and provided there’s room for it in your new home, you may decide to take your hot tub with you.

Look up hot tub removal teams in your area.

You can find these listed under “Removal Services” or just Google “how to get rid of a hot tub”. It’s worth getting a few quotes, as these services vary depending on the team’s capability. One company worth a try is 1-800 Got Junk? – they have franchises all over America.

The process is pretty much the same whether you want to relocate it or scrap it, it’s just the cost that will change.

Moving the Hot Tub day!!

— Hedd Dafydd 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿🇵🇸🇮🇪 (@H_Dafydd) June 13, 2021

How do you get rid of a hot tub without destroying it?

To remove a hot tub without destroying it, disconnect the power first. Then drain the water with a garden hose or submersible pump and use a wet-dry vacuum to remove all remaining water. Then remove the electrical cord from the disconnect box. Sell it online on Craigslist or a local Facebook group page.

I once bought a used hot tub off my local neighborhood Facebook page.

I found a hot tub mover who moved it (within 40 miles) for $350. The previous owners had lied a little about the age and condition of the hot tub, so when I got there and saw it, I talked them down from $500 to $150.

Want to know more about my story and the step-by-step moving process?

In a recent article, I got into everything, including the 1 crucial mistake I made, which almost cost me $3,000 extra in electrical work I hadn’t planned on. But I found a solution!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Once drained, you may decide to have a go at moving the hot tub yourself. This is perfectly doable with 2-4 people. But you must fully understand the implications of this. You will find some typical hot tub weights in the next section.

You must consider where you want it to go and how you are going to get it there.

JOYSPA Outdoor Super Luxury Spa Pool Water Hot Tub Balboa Spa 6 Person.

— Bill (@Bill00711030) January 13, 2021

How heavy is an empty 6-person hot tub?

On average, a 6-person hot tub will weigh 700 pounds when empty. But depending on the brand and shape, the empty weight can range between 500 and 1,000 pounds.

The owner’s manual that came with your hot tub should tell you the weight of it.

But if you no longer have this, you can get some great advice on weight from a recent article here on my website. I even show you how to calculate the weight with just a few simple measurements.

Just click on the link to read it.

Here are some examples of dry weight from different brands:

Model Size of the tub (inches) Weight (pounds)
Beachcomber 550 80 x 88 x 38” 650 lbs.
Clearwater Spas ES84 84 x 84 x 34 500 lbs.
Hudson Bay HB19 76 x 76 x 34 600 lbs.
Hydropool 670 84 x 84 x 39 794 lbs.
Signature Spas SS-5 80 x 80 x 34 750 lbs.
Sundance Optima 880 89 x 89 x 37.5 924 lbs.

These variations result from the specification of each model, taking into account:

  • Materials, e.g., acrylic or fiberglass shell, wood or metal frame
  • Number of jets
  • Weight of the pump and heater 
  • Built-in sanitizer – e.g., Ozonator
  • Other accessories such as lighting, water features, music system, etc.
  • Cabinetry – e.g., acrylic or wood

If you intend to scrap your hot tub or sell it off for parts, you can reduce the weight considerably by removing some of these parts.

You can even cut the shell up into smaller pieces. But don’t use a chainsaw for this; a reciprocating saw works best – and don’t forget your PPE!

I haven’t included the weight of the hot tub cover in this because it can easily be removed, but it is worth considering that this can add around 50 to 70 pounds to the overall weight to be removed or relocated.

Great pic of our Klaas crane lifting a hot tub over into someones back garden in Derby #Klaas #hottub #craneoperator

— Crane hire solutions (@SolutionsCrane) May 28, 2019

How do you lift a hot tub over a fence? (or is it easier to temporarily remove a section of the fence?)

As a general rule, it will be easier and far less expensive to remove a section of a wooden fence to remove a hot tub than it will be to hire a crane. But on its side, most hot tubs can easily fit through a typical backyard gate.

As long as they are trustworthy, take the advice of your hot tub removal team, as this largely depends on the equipment they have and their manpower.

When moving a hot tub, you should tip it on its side, pump side up.

That’s because the pump access panel is a weak point and could give way under pressure. One way to tip a hot tub on its side is to use an inflatable lifting cushion.

These are wedge-shaped cushions that you slide under the edge of your hot tub and inflate using the pump supplied.

Use a spa dolly or hand truck to maneuver the tub toward the fence.

If you or the removal team have a small crane – these usually come fitted to the truck – it’s a simple matter to lift the tub over the fence.

Without a crane, you could man-handle the tub over maybe a 3-foot fence but certainly no higher. For 6 people to lift a 900-pound tub, that’s still 150 pounds each.

Think about that before you invite your friends around.

Using a crane is a specialist job. Although the weight of a hot tub is nothing to a small crane, there are many factors to consider – not a job for the Weekend Warrior!

To transport a hot tub, you’ll need a flatbed truck or trailer on which the tub can be laid flat.

You can hire one of these for around $200 per day. Ensure the tub is securely strapped down and pack around any equipment that could work loose under vibration. Better still, remove it and transport it separately.

Gonna try disconnecting the hot tub myself. Hope I don’t die and junk.

— Kim (@KimOfAllTrades) November 19, 2015

Is it easy to disconnect a hot tub electrical cord?

It is easy to disconnect a hot tub electrical cord as it is typically just connected inside the hot tub control box with 3 screws holding 3 wires in place.

But don’t go digging in yet.

We want to be safe, and you may determine (unless you have a small 110v plug-in hot tub) that you need to call in a licensed electrician for this.

But if you are competent enough and know how to turn off the supply, there is no reason why you can’t do this yourself.

In a recent article, I described how a hard-wired hot tub is connected through a circuit breaker to your main electric supply, and you can read it here on my site by clicking on the link.

When your old hot tub was first installed, it was most likely wired up to a disconnect box, which is a type of circuit breaker located near the hot tub (usually within 5 feet).

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Cut the power off at the disconnect box
  2. Flip the breaker to the disconnect box on the main breaker panel
  3. Open the front panel on the hot tub
  4. Open the control box (often requiring a Phillips screwdriver)
  5. Using a screwdriver (often flathead), disconnect the wires from the control box that are coming in from the power cord)
  6. Using a wrench, where the power cord enters the control box, loosen the nut holding the cord in place
  7. Pull the power cord out from the control box
  8. Pull the power cord out of the hot tub shell and set it aside
  9. Mark both the breaker and disconnect box to indicate not to turn them back on. A lock on the disconnect box in the off position may be required by your local code.

Hot tub removal? Yeah, we do that. See more at: #junk #hoarding #PDX

— Junk It Store It (@JunkItStoreIt) July 25, 2015

Do local junkyards take hot tubs?

In many areas, local junkyards will not take hot tubs, at least in 1 piece. However, some will take a hot tub if broken up into several smaller pieces that can fit in their containers more easily.

Hot tubs are made up of a lot of materials, most of which are not biodegradable. Take a look at these components:

  • Pipework – PVC
  • Shell – acrylic
  • Insulation – polyurethane
  • Cover – PVC, and Styrofoam
  • Jets – heavy-duty plastic
  • Cabinets – wood pulp and plastics

It is your responsibility as the owner to make sure your hot tub is disposed of correctly and legally. Getting someone in to dump it on your behalf does not relieve you of that duty.

Responsible contractors will break down your old hot tub into bits that can be reused, recycled, and repurposed. The remaining parts will be cut up and disposed of at local specialist landfills, where they cannot cause harm to the environment.

If you decide to try this yourself, don’t think you can just drop the chopped-up bits into your trash can either. If those parts can be traced back to you, you could be in big trouble.

Final thoughts

Whether you have ordered a new hot tub or are looking to move your old hot tub to a new location, search the Internet for a reliable hot tub removal team and get everything agreed in writing before making a commitment.

If you’re looking to scrap your old hot tub, check out restrictions at local landfills, look up junk removal services in your area and compare costs. There may be things you can do yourself to get the cost to a minimum, so don’t be afraid to ask.

I hope this covers everything you wanted to know about removing a hot tub from your backyard, but if I missed anything, feel free to reach out. I’m always here to help.

And don’t forget to check out those links to related articles here on my site.

Photo which requires attribution:

Tub19 by Dave Stone is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.

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