How To: Build Yourself a Hot Tub for $200
Just like California. Hot tubs are expensive and big projects to undertake, but if just want a tub of hot water, you can achieve this simply with a little ingenuity.
At right is the one we have put together out on Long Island. It is a 300 gallon horse trough by Rubbermaid which has been sunk into the earth with flagstones set around it. To get the water hot, we have built a small oven right next to it out of cinder blocks, and placed a tight coil of copper hose inside through which the water runs. To get the water out and back into the tub, we use a simple household pump (115 volt transfer pump), which is used to pump out flooded basements and can be found in most hardware stores. The pump will cost you about $89, the copper will cost you about $40 and the tub, depending on size, will run you $80 to $300. Besides hoses and water, hose clamps are necessary for securing the hose to the copper piping.
Things to watch out for: don't run the pump for too long when the water gets really hot as it can melt down the pump seal and always watch your fire.
Now you may ask, "How do you get this into an apartment?" We think that it could be easily adapted for use on roofs, terraces or gardens and the copper pipe could be run through a charcoal grill (such as a Weber). And best yet, once you get it sorted out, you will be able to run it in the midst of winter and really impress your friends. MGR