You might remember a certain secret spa from our June issue, discovered beneath a renovated office room in one Wisconsin family's home. At the time, the hot tub wasn't functional – but after many months of hard work, the Ronsmans now have it running.
As soon as he heard about the hidden gem from the home's previous owner, Mark Ronsman got right to work tearing up carpet and breaking apart a wooden platform that covered the tub. From there, his to-do list kept growing: hours were spent cleaning and resealing the room's pebble flooring, scrubbing hand-painted tiles, whitening grout work and removing the plaster that had once sealed the spa.
"Once we were satisfied the tub was clean and shiny, we hired a hot tub maintenance company to work on the outdated pumps and sanitation system," Ronsman says. "We ended up replacing everything except our heater and filter system."
The hot tub was equipped with a Pentair Intelliflo VSF circulation pump, a SuperFlo 1.5HP jet pump and a Pentair Basic Control system to run everything. Old, broken drain covers were replaced with domed covers, and the family opted for a Clear Comfort system to help with sanitation.
"Around mid-summer of 2020, we thought we were ready to roll," says Ronsman. "The project — unfortunately, for our excited family — took the better part of the year to complete. It wasn't ready until late November."
Once the new equipment had been installed, the Ronsmans filled up the spa and planned to use it right away. But the next morning, they noticed that 4 to 5 inches of water had disappeared.
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The water didn't leak in our basement, thankfully, but we were stumped as to what was happening or how to fix it," says Mark. "It took us a long time and several consultations with specialists to figure out the source of the leak. This was by far the largest and most frustrating hurdle in the process."
Ultimately, the hunt for the leak led to fittings on the jet ports. Luckily, this meant that the pipes themselves weren't leaking, so there was no need for expensive drilling into the concrete.
"We replaced all the jet ports in the tub, and just like that, the leak was fixed," says Mark. "It was agonizing to have such a long delay and face the possibility of a large expense, but we lucked out in the end. Overall, the project included more updating than we anticipated, but we can't argue with the results."
For Ronsman, two highlights of the project were the first glimpse of the tiles beneath the wooden platform, and his family's first swim in the water together.
"We enjoy the hot tub almost every night, and our daughter could not be more enamored with it," he says. "This room has really been a blessing for this little family who, like most of the rest of the world, doesn't get to leave the house very often."
This article first appeared in the March 2021 issue of AQUA Magazine — the top resource for retailers, builders and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Subscriptions to the print magazine are free to all industry professionals. Click here to subscribe.