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My spa won’t heat up

This problem jumps to the top of the list of “things you definitely need to fix” when you head outside on a gorgeous, brisk evening only to find your hot tub is colder than glacial spring melt off.

Generally speaking, if you discover that your spa is lacking in the heat department, your first thought is going to be “my heater is on the fritz.” This thought process makes sense and it may well turn out that the problem lies with your spa’s heater. That said, there are some other potential culprits that you’ll want to investigate and rule out first.

Make sure you check your water level and verify that there are no clogs in your spa’s circulation system. You can also rinse or change your tub’s filter. Sub-optimal water levels or poor flow through your spa’s plumbing, trigger safety features in place that disable the heater to prevent burning out the heater and/or causing a fire.

You can also go ahead and cycle your heater breaker, or hit your heater’s reset button — if it has one. Unfortunately man spa’s don’t have a reset button.

If none of the above seems to do the trick then you may in fact be dealing with a broken heating element. This is when you’ll want to start considering hiring a professional to come in to diagnose the problem and perform a repair or replacement.

My spa’s jets aren’t working

Nothing can put a damper on your quality spa “me time” than discovering that your hot tub’s jets just aren’t… jetting. This is a relatively common hot tub problem and it’s definitely not the end of the world, but finding a solution can sometimes be tricky.

Step one:  check to confirm that the jet pumps actually come on when you push the buttons to turn them on. If the pumps don’t come on (you should be able to hear them) then it’s almost always time to call a professional. 

If you do hear your jet pumps, make sure your jets are configured to their widest open setting. This may sound silly, but it’s possible that you closed some jets or they got nudged a bit tighter than they should be. Check to confirm your spa’s jets are in fact open. Most jets can be opened or closed by turning them a quarter turn. Which way? Depends on the tub model. Also be sure to check to make sure they haven’t been obstructed by any gunk or grime buildup. When in doubt, clean your filter regularly to avoid gumming up your jets or your tub’s plumbing.

There might be air in your spa’s plumbing. This happens from time to time after refilling a hot tub. Try to cycle your jets (off and on) a few times to get things moving. If you know where to find your spa’s air lock valve, go ahead and slowly open that valve to bleed off any air in the system. This will help water refill the system and could provide the extra kick your jets are missing.

If you’re still having problems you may have a flow issue that’s related to your pump, your pump impeller, or a more serious clog in a pipe somewhere in the spa’s circulation system, or a blockage on a water intake or near your filter. If you can’t seem to identify the problem or fix it yourself, your best bet may be to call a professional.

My spa control panel is giving me an error

We’re going to dive more deeply into the world of spa control system errors in a future post. For now, here is a quick summary of the most common types of errors you don’t want to see flashing on your control panel.

  • DR, DRY: Believe it or not, this one doesn’t just mean your tub is empty. A DRY error indicates that your heating element isn’t receiving adequate water flow. This can be solved by simply adding more water to your spa. You’ll also want to make sure that there aren’t any clogs in the system preventing water from properly circulating to the heating element.
  • FLO, FLOW, or FL: A flow error occurs when — you guessed it — you spa’s control system has detected an issue with water flow in the circulation system. Again, check for blockages or obstructions (which could also be indicated by weak/non functioning jets). Check your filter, too, to make sure it isn’t completely blocking water flow.
  • OH, OHH or OHS: This error usually means your hot tub is running too hot and the water in the system may be well above a normal operating temperature. Check your filter and your circulation system. If your spa’s water isn’t actually overly hot, you may have a faulty or worn out temperature sensor. This isn’t an error you want to ignore — you may end up dealing with potentially scalding water, which can be dangerous.
  • COOL, COLD: This error indicates your spa’s water temperature is lower than the desired temperature you have set it at. You may need to let your spa heat up longer (leaving the cover on will help). If your spa won’t heat up to the proper temperature after ample heating time, you may need to get in touch with us to provide some assistance.

My spa is loud and the noise is driving me crazy

Very few spas are perfectly whisper quiet, but you can usually expect your hot tub to not kick up a huge racket when the pump or heater turns on. That’s why it can be so jarring — and frustrating — when you have to deal with any prolonged mystery sounds that really get on your nerves.

If you notice that your spa is making more or louder noises than usual, or if you suspect your pump is to blame for a low growling/rumbling noise or perhaps high-pitched squealing, there are a few things you can try before it’s time to call in a pro.

If you’re dealing with low-pitched rumbling or growling, your pump may be having a hard time pushing water through the spa’s systems. You might have an obstruction somewhere in the spa’s circulation system, so check your plumbing and filter as thoroughly as you can. Make sure your spa has the right amount of water in it, and double check that any valves near your pump or filter are open.

If your pump is making a high pitched squealing sound, you may have a worn out part, bad bearings, or your spa’s mechanical components may need some lubricant.

My spa keeps tripping the breaker and I don’t know why

Recurring breaker tripping is no fun at all. Most spas draw their power from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breaker nearby that was installed specifically to serve the tub. Resetting the breaker is one thing, but if you find that your spa’s breaker is tripping regularly, troubleshooting the problem may be outside the scope of an every day’s users capabilities.

Electricity is no joke. If you don’t know what the problem is, steer clear of the breaker and any of your spa’s integral electrical systems.

If you want to try to troubleshoot the problem, make sure the breaker is turned off and you’re not touching anything wet. You can then try to disconnect your spa’s individual electrical components one by one, like the pump, heater, or blower, and then turn everything back on again. If you’ve disconnected the pump and the breaker stops tripping, you’ve narrowed down the problem.

All that said — this is one area where we strongly recommend you call a professional. We’re here to help you figure out and solve any electrical problems with your spa or your spa’s breaker. If you don’t feel comfortable trying to tackle this type of problem, that’s just fine! Just get in touch with us and we’ll be there to help.