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How to Cut Up a Hot Tub

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If you’ve got an old tattered hot tub that is taking up space, you might be tempted to take a sledgehammer or a chainsaw to it. But cutting up a hot tub is a bit more complicated than just destroying it and taking it out piece by piece. 

Hot tubs can be cut up and demolished with a Sawzall saw. Before the hot tub is disassembled, all electrical and gas hookups must be disconnected, the hot tub must be drained, and the hot tub’s skirt must be detached. Safety gear should be worn while demolishing the hot tub to prevent injury. 

Cutting up a hot tub seems like a massive chore, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you take it in steps and keep the process organized. Keep reading to learn more about how to demolish and remove a hot tub from your property.  

Read Your Hot Tub Manual First

Before you even get into the process of cutting up the hot tub, you’ll need to pull out the user manual that came with your hot tub and check to see how the internal components of the system are laid out. This will tell you the following things about the hot tub: 

  • Where the electrical hookups are
  • Where the hot tub’s gas lines are (if gas-heated) 
  • Where the hot tub’s pump system is and how it is connected

Knowing where all these electrical connections and gas lines keeps you safe when you’re in the process of demolishing the hot tub. Even though you’ll be cutting power and gas to the hot tub before you do any demolition, you should avoid cutting blindly into the hot tub to keep from damaging your tools or causing an accident. 

Often a hot tub user manual will show you exactly how to turn off the power to your hot tub and can generally give you an idea of what to expect before you start cutting it up. If you don’t have the original user’s manual for your hot tub, related specifications and diagrams should be available online once you locate the model number or brand on the hot tub. 

If you are having a hard time locating the manual for your hot tub, check out this digital list of owner’s manuals with many different hot tub companies. Chances are, you should be able to find your hot tub’s manual here if you don’t have a physical copy. 

Disconnect the Power

After reading up on your hot tub’s layout, the next step in cutting up a hot tub is to disconnect all the electrical connections to the hot tub as well as any gas lines that might be connected. You’ll also need to disconnect the pump system and related machinery since these components will have to be disassembled and removed after the hot tub skirt is removed. 

Making sure that the hot tub is completely shut off from any electrical connections is crucial for safety. Cutting into the live wires of a hot tub can result in electrocution. Making sure that any gas lines are disconnected is also important. The tools used in demolition can spark a fire in an environment with leaking gas. 

Drain the Hot Tub Before Demolishing

Before the hot tub can be cut up, it must be drained of water. Here’s the procedure you need to follow if since you’ll need to get all of the water out of your tub:

  • Make sure that the electrical connections to the hot tub are turned off before you drain it. The electrical components of hot tubs are meant to be submerged and can overheat or short circuit when exposed to the open air.
  • A portable sump pump is the best way to pull water out of the hot tub quickly. A garden hose can also be used if a sump pump isn’t available. If a sump pump isn’t available, attach a garden hose to the hose spigot on your hot tub (check the user manual for location) and turn the spigot to drain the tub.
  • Be sure to drain the hot tub out onto asphalt or into a gutter rather than onto a lawn. Large amounts of chlorinated water dumped on the lawn at once can cause damage to the grass and can also cause flooding.

Once the hot tub is drained, it is ready to start disassembly. Also if you have a pool, you can actually drain the water into the pool.

Take Apart the Hot Tub Skirt

Before you start demolishing the fiberglass body of the hot tub, you’ll need to disassemble the hot tub skirt. This is the wooden square surrounding the hot tub that houses the mechanical components and acts as a border to the hot tub. 

To remove the hot tub skirt, go around and unscrew the screws holding each of the skirt panels in place. The user manual of your hot tub can show you any screw locations that aren’t readily apparent by visually inspecting the hot tub. 

After the hot tub skirt has been disassembled, the mechanical components of the hot tub, such as the pump, filter, lighting, and heater, should be accessible and can be removed. At this point, the only thing left of the hot tub should be the body. 

With most hot tub designs, you should be able to take apart the skirt of the hot tub without having to do any demolition. Since they are typically screwed together, they can usually be broken down section by section without too much trouble. 

Cutting Up the Hot Tub

Breaking down the body of the hot tub is the most labor-intensive part of the demolition. Since most hot tub bodies are made of fiberglass, a reciprocating saw or jigsaw is the best saw type for cutting up this part of the hot tub. You need the strength of this type of saw to get through the fiberglass. You’ll also need a deep saw blade to be able to penetrate the body of the hot tub. 

Cutting up the hot tub can be started from any end if the hot tub has been drained and powered down. Cut up the hot tub by using a saw on low speed and cutting it out a section at a time. You’ll want to keep pieces small enough so they can easily be put aside or carried to the road.

Cutting up a hot tub involves kicking up a lot of dust. This insulation and fiberglass dust can be irritating to the eyes, skin, and lungs, so the following safety gear is recommended for cutting up a hot tub: 

  • Safety goggles: Goggles protect the eyes from dust and flying debris during a hot tub demolition.
  • Respirator mask: The same dust that can damage your eyes and skin during a hot tub demolition can also damage your lungs, so wearing a mask with a filter is important for protecting your respiratory system.
  • Work gloves: Work gloves are always the safest option when operating a saw of any kind, so be sure to choose a sturdy pair. This can also help prevent you from cutting yourself on sharp, sheared fiberglass pieces when you begin hauling them away during the demolition.
  • Long-sleeved shirt and jeans: Wearing long pants and long sleeves can help prevent you from being injured by flying debris. This layer can help prevent scrapes, bruises, and cuts while moving the cut-up pieces of the hot tub out for disposal. 
  • Earplugs: Wearing earplugs can help prevent you from hearing loss caused by operating loud power tools like reciprocating saws

Taking precautions while cutting up a hot tub can prevent injuries, so don’t be afraid to gear up to prevent long-lasting damage. It’s useful to keep a wheelbarrow or rolling cart nearby to help haul away pieces of fiberglass and other debris.  

Can You Use a Chainsaw to Cut Up Hot Tubs? 

Some people might recommend a chainsaw to cut up a hot tub, but a chainsaw isn’t a good choice of tool for this job. The chainsaw blade will end up getting chewed up.

Instead, you’ll want to choose a reciprocating saw to remove the hot tub body piece by piece by cutting it into manageable pieces and disposing of it piecemeal. 

Cutting Up a Hot Tub Is Hard but Not Complicated

Even though cutting up a hot tub can be tedious and time-consuming work, this doesn’t mean that it’s complex. It’s just physically demanding and requires some planning along with the right tools. If you’ve read through this and decide you would rather disassemble the hot tub than demolish the hot tub, we can help with that as well.

If you refer to the user manual, make sure the hot tub is disconnected from electricity, and wear the proper safety gear during demolition, even a DIY amateur can safely remove a hot tub from their yard. 

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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