We have a hot tub. We renovated our back deck area a few years ago, and the hot tub was my husband's bit of self-indulgence (along with a new storage shed large enough to house a pony). Once you make the initial purchase, a hot tub is not all that expensive to run and maintain. And it is a little bit of luxury after a long day, I admit.
The hot tub itself came with a six year warranty, of which we have used twice in four years - once for the radio (what? I didn't mention the hot tub has surround sound?), and once for a pump that stopped working.
We noticed this summer that we had little bits of black plastic floating in the hot tub, leaving an un-appetizing smell of warm plastic in the water. Not good. The hot tub cover (4 inch slabs of styrofoam) is wrapped in black plastic to prevent the styrofoam core from soaking up the water from the steam. Once that black plastic started to decompose, the cover got so heavy (water-soaked) that it took more than one person to get the cover off and on. (Not good for my quick afternoon soaks when no one else was around.)
I called to tell the seller of the problem, and was dismayed to find out the cover is NOT covered under our initial warranty, and it would cost $388 for a new cover PLUS $149 delivery charge. Ummmm.... no.
Jeff went to the hardware store and picked up a thick clear plastic tarp, 10 x 20 feet. The cover has zipper access to remove the Styrofoam slabs, so we got those out and took off all the old black decomposed plastic, and laid the slabs in the sun for the day to dry them out. Once they'd dried out, we wrapped the Styrofoam slabs in the new plastic (just like gift wrapping), sealed it with duct tape, replaced it in the hot tub cover and voila! A savings of more than $550 for about two hours of work.
In today's tough economic times it is worth the effort to stop, take a look at the cause of the problem, think of a solution, and fix things yourself.