My old college pal Kathy just bought her first house. “It has everything I want,” she rhapsodized, “and one thing I don’t — a big pink spa in the backyard. I shudder to think.”

“When people buy a house with an unwanted spa,” said Lando Fehrenbach, owner of Spa Removers (858-997-2090; sparemovers.com), “they sometimes think, Oh, I’ll just give it away. But then you tilt it on its side to move it and the old motor falls apart. Or it’s rodent-infested or full of termites or spiders. We’ve dealt with six units just this year where beehives had taken over the inside of the spa. If you buy a house with an old spa and it’s not working, it can cost up to $6000 to repair. People don’t want a hole full of filth just sitting there; they want space in their yards. It’s best just to get rid of it and to use a professional company. And if you do give it away, make sure the other person uses a professional company. I just got called in last week to save the day after some college students tried to move a spa with a skateboard for a dolly.”

Spa Removers takes out in-ground and above-ground spas. “In-grounds are hooked up the same as swimming pools, with the same equipment. The shell is usually fiberglass, and we can cut it out of the ground, cut back the piping, and do various things to reverse everything. But we specialize in removal only, so you’ll need another contractor to fill in the hole.”

Some of the bigger above-ground spas were originally craned in, he explained. “Once, I did a job in San Francisco where it had been helicoptered up onto a mountain. They can weigh from 700 to 1100 pounds. You can save a lot of money by not craning it back out. But even if there aren’t access issues, that can be difficult. If it’s old, it can just fall apart while you’re dollying it out. Or it can fall and damage something or someone — it’s just this huge, awkward thing. We’ll cut it into pieces and remove it. Plus, spas are usually hooked directly to 220-volt electrical lines, or even gas lines. You need a licensed professional to disconnect them safely.”

Because he’s been at it for a long time, he sometimes doesn’t even need to cut. “We now have techniques and equipment — special jacks and things — that help us keep mess and fiberglass in the air to a minimum. With in-ground, we’ve cut fiberglass mess 70 to 80 percent. We can usually get your spa out in 45 to 90 minutes, and we pressure-wash the area where the spa was.” Cost varies by job, but Fehrenbach estimated $300–$350 for above-ground spas and $450–$475 for in-ground. “That price includes removal, clean-up, electrical work, and dump fees.”

Amanda at Ace Hauling and Demolition (800-720-4285; acehauling.com) told me her company has been doing “swimming-pool demolition for over ten years. We’re licensed and insured. Above-ground spas cost from $350 to $450 — the higher price is if we have to drain it and cap off electrical, or if access is difficult. Usually, the spas have to be cut up. In-ground spas require us to come out and give an estimate. We can fill the hole with dirt when we’re done, but we don’t do concrete work.”

Avalina at Diaz Service (619-534-8819; diazservice.com), a professional spa-moving company, said, “We move spas as well as disposing of them. If the spa is in good enough condition and there’s easy access, we won’t have to cut it up. If we don’t need to cut it, the removal takes about 30 minutes. If we have to cut, it will take longer. Price depends on size. An 8´x8´ spa that doesn’t need cutting would be $190, and that includes the spa cover and landfill fees. If it does need cutting, the price starts at $240 and goes up, depending on access. Above-ground spas don’t usually have gas lines, but if they do, you’d need to have the utility company disconnect the gas first. As for electrical, we don’t have a licensed electrician, but they do know how to disconnect spas. You just need to turn off the breaker so they can pull the cables.”

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