We have listed a few of the most common issues that spa owners face when it comes to basic hot tub service. The good news is that many times these issues can be resolved simply and quickly by the homeowner. Please remember that hot tubs are electrical, and if you are not comfortable or qualified to undertake these suggestions, then leave it to someone that is well-versed in hot tub repair.
Please note: Hot tub owner / operator accepts all risks for following any of the information below.
How do I reset the GFCI breaker? ▼
Breakers have three positions: ON, OFF and TRIPPED. It is usually easy to identify ON by looking at the other breakers in the panel. If they are ON when switched to the left then all of the breakers in that row are ON to the left. If there are two rows of breakers in the box they are typically ON when switched towards the center of the panel. OFF is also easy to recognize as it is the opposite direction of ON. TRIPPED will look like it is ON. When a circuit is overloaded and TRIPS off it does not go to the OFF position. Usually, you can identify a TRIPPED breaker by trying to push it in the ON direction. While an ON breaker will feel firm, a TRIPPED breaker will feel as though there is a spring to it. To reset the TRIPPED breaker you need to first switch it OFF and then firmly back on. Then test the circuit. SEE IF HOT TUB IS ON If the breaker TRIPS. If this doesn’t work, call Mountain Leisure Hot Tubs and we will arrange for hot tub service.
What can cause the GFCI to keep tripping? ▼
A properly functioning Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) activates when it senses even a very small voltage leak or short to ground. They are designed to react very quickly. The cause can be many things. To isolate the culprit, shut-off the power source, then disconnect the system’s major components including: blower, ozonator, pumps, heater, etc. Power on. If it now trips, your problem is isolated to the wiring or circuit board. If the GFCI does not trip, plug these things back in one at a time until the GFCI trips again. (Make sure power is off whenever connecting or disconnecting components.) When it trips, you’ve located the culprit. If it is not one of these, check for bad wire connections, missing or burnt insulation or chafes, and loose screws or corrosion on terminals. If that is not the problem, sometimes a heater element that is going bad will cause the GFCI to trip.
Another cause may be a defective GFCI unit itself. They do not last forever, and especially in damp locations, they can fail and cause erroneous tripping. Other electrical devices in your home, especially those with motors, can send a pulse through the circuit that can actually trigger a GFCI to trip. These include washing machines, garage door openers, air conditioners, furnaces, and house fans. Monitor your spa’s GFCI to see if it trips when one of these devices is switched on. Make sure that the supply circuit to the spa is adequate.
At Mountain Leisure Hot Tubs, we are experts in hot tub wiring and maintenance. Contact us if you feel at all uncomfortable with repairing your hot tub.
My spa is not heating or I have an FL/FLO Error. What’s wrong? ▼
First, check your filter. Dirty or clogged filters are one of the most common causes of heating problems. Try to operate the spa with no filter in (you may need to push the reset button on your spa pack). If everything works correctly at this point, then the filter was your problem. Next, check the heater indicator light. If it is not glowing, then you are likely not getting power to the heater. You could have a defective or stuck thermostat, high limit switch (check by pushing reset button), pressure switch, or flow switch. If none of these components is the culprit, it may be a bad relay or contactor. If the light is on, but water is not circulating, the heater will not work. If the indicator is on, and water is circulating, then you most likely have a defective heater element. It’s time to call a professional for hot tub service.
I can hear the motor running, but there is no circulation or heat. What is going on? ▼
If you can hear the motor running but can see no water flow through the jets, you most likely have Air Lock. This is common after a spa has been drained and refilled. Try this method first:
- Open all jets by turning the faceplates counter-clockwise.
- Turn down the heat so the heater does not try and fire.
- Press the Jet BUTTON to turn on jets, twice for high speed, let run for 10-15 seconds.
- Repeat step 3 a total of 3 TO 10 times, increasing run time by 10-15 seconds each time UNTIL YOU SEE AND HEAR WATER FLOWING THROUGH JETS.
- Once you see air bubble starting to be released from the jets leave jets running until all air is released.
If the above method does not work, you will need to bleed the air out this way:
- Remove the front panel of the spa (usually a Phillips head screwdriver is needed).
- Locate large union nut connecting spa plumbing to the motor.
- Loosen nut on the pump by hand or by using a large set of channel lock pipe grips.
- Once water starts leaking out, all air has been released, you can now re-tighten the union nut.
- Turn on jets and see if the problem has been resolved (it may take 2-3 times of doing this before all the air is released).
- Make sure union is tight and is not dripping.
Also, check your filter. A severely clogged filter can greatly restrict water flow, and with little or no flow, there will be no heat either. Try running the spa with filter out. If water now circulates properly, replace your filter(s). If an air lock or clogged filter proves not to be the culprit, the cause could be blocked plumbing or a damaged or obstructed impeller blade. At this point, it would be best to call a professional for spa maintenance.
My pump quit pumping, and now it just makes a humming noise. What happened? ▼
A common cause is a jammed or broken impeller, or the bearings may have seized. If the motor shaft can be rotated by hand, then the problem may be a dirty pump switch, defective starter capacitor, burnt motor windings or other electrical problem with the motor. Unfortunatly, this could mean you are in need of hot tub repair.
How often should I drain my spa? ▼
Depending on usage and type of sanitizing system, a spa or hot tub with well-maintained water, which is treated with non-chlorine shock, should be drained and refilled every two to four months. This is necessary because of the amount of total dissolved solids becomes excessive, making it difficult to maintain sanitizer effectiveness and water balance. If you don’t want to deal with these issues (or even have to think about them), consider a hot tub maintenance package.
How do you recommend that I drain my spa? ▼
We recommend that spa owners use the following method for draining their spas, as most drains are very difficult to locate and many times the drain plug can be misplaced or forgotten to be put back. Place a garden hose in the tub and allow it to fall to the lowest spot in the spa. Fill the tub for about 4 to 5 minutes, then turn the spigot off, disconnect the hose from the spigot and place that end in the yard away from the house. As long as the other end of the hose remains at the bottom of the spa it will cause a vacuum and suck the water out of the spa automatically. Once empty, clean the spa and refill it.
How often should I clean my filter cartridge? ▼
Depending upon bather load, it is generally a good practice to rinse your filter cartridge every other week with fresh water from a garden hose to dislodge hair and other foreign matter. Every 3 to 4 months, and with each water change, your filter cartridge should be soaked in a filter-cleaning compound designed for this purpose. We recommend the rotation method: have two filters on hand, one in the spa and a clean, dry spare. Remove the dirty filter and rinse thoroughly, being careful to spray between the pleats. Soak the filter in a 5-gallon bucket of cleaning solution overnight or according to the instructions on the package. You can now install your clean spare while the dirty one is soaking. After soaking, rinse again and set aside to dry completely. With this method, your filters will last much longer, and you will never have to wait to use your spa.
When should hot tub filters be replaced? ▼
Filters are generally good for about a full year of usage. After that, they become less efficient in trapping foreign matter because of the deterioration of the media. With the filter rotation method described in “How often should I clean my filter cartridge” (above), this means you would replace a pair of cartridges every 2 years.
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