Hot tub and spas will need repairs and replacement of defective or worn out parts from time to time. This is unavoidable because spa components work hard and break down with age.
This guide aims to help you troubleshoot malfunctions of your hot tub or spa by isolating and identifying the problem so you can get the best solutions.
In some cases, the problem lies with the spa control. When shopping for a new spa control, you will find affordable bundles which include all other components such as the circuit board with electronics, heater and controls, blower, and pump. They come in various models, including 220 volt systems or 110 volts. Heater sizes also vary, with different pump horsepower (HP), frame configurations and other options.
Read on to know more about troubleshooting problems with your hot tub or spa control.
IS IT TIME TO REPLACE YOUR SPA CONTROL?
Most of the working parts of your spa are included in the spa control. When something stops working, it is possible to replace only one part of the spa like the heater or the spa pump. At other times, it makes more sense to replace the whole spa pack.
Below are ideal situations when you should consider replacing your spa control.
- If your spa is frequently used or over 7 years old, you need to replace a major part such as a spa pump or spa control. It is safe to assume that some other parts are also worn out and may need replacement, too.
- If you spa has air system with air button controls, you may need to upgrade it to a digital topside control. Air-switched controls and packs are offered for customers who wish to keep their old-fashioned system. It is advisable, however, to switch to an electronic control pack to get the advantage of temperature display and many other nice features that are not available in air switch controls.
- You need to replace the heater assembly for a second or even a third time and you pop the breaker now and then without really understanding why.
- You system is running non-stop with no filter cycles. This will cost you a lot of money in energy bills and cause a lot of wear and tear on your main pump.
- You have been paying a lot on service calls because of problems with your spa control.
- A repair estimate for replacing your circuit board is around $450. You will be better off just replacing your complete spa control.
EASY TIPS FOR COMMON HOT TUB AND SPA PROBLEMS
The hot tub control panel is like a timer that keeps the spa’s temperature constant. It turns off the spa when you forget to and troubleshoots problems. Thus, it is very important to have a spa control system in good working condition.
Many issues could face your spa, including electrical issues. There could be problems with your breaker or circuit board. There could also be issues regarding your thermostat or heating element, wiring, or fuses.
Your spa controller handles the blower and pump. They can last for 10 years and is part of what is called a spa pack. Depending on the issue, the spa control can be repaired or replaced.
What are common problems spa owners encounter with control panels?
Control Panel is Not Working
If the control panel is frozen or dead, you have to check if the problem is the control panel or the circuit board. Examine if there is moisture in the display. Check if there are cracked buttons or if a part is wet. If only a part is not working, look for error messages or blinking lights.
As a first step, reset your breaker. If the problem persists, turn the breaker off and disconnect the panel to examine the circuit board.
Turn the power on and check if the hot tub heats up or starts to filter. The surest way to check if a control panel works is to use one you know is working and connect it to the circuit board.
Once you have tested the control panel and it does not work with one you know is in working condition, you may need to replace the circuit board. A few examples of circuit board issues are partially blank display, delay in displaying messages, or LED lights don’t work properly.
If the board has low voltage, it is also a sign that the circuit board needs replacement.
Dashes Displayed Instead of Messages
Reset the control panel if it only displays dashes and not error messages. Turn the power off for one hour and then turn it back on.
Blinking Lights, Strange Messages
If the control panel is displaying strange messages or have lights blinking at the same time, it could be a software issue with the circuit board. Check if there is corrosion or condensation.
Red Lights Blinking
Blinking red lights on the control panel means it needs resetting. Many models require turning off the power for a few minutes and turning back on. For hot tubs powered by 240 volts, turn on the lower amp breaker. If your hot tub is 120 volts, unplug and re-plug after two minutes.
Red and Green Blinking Lights
Red and green blinking lights mean low water flow. Reset your spa by turning the power off and turn back on. This will probably solve the issue.
Should problems continue, you can contact qualified spa technicians for assistance or consult your owners’ manual.
A few issues that could result in blower problems include:
- Inconsistent blower and jet speeds
- Wrong voltage
- GFCI circuit issues
- Insufficient power to the blower
- Broken blower
- Air switch problems
The spa controller controls the blower, pump, and heater.
Many spa controllers have the heater built in so technically, the controller is the spa heater. For heating problems, either the spa heating element of the spa controller has issues. The heating element is a minor repair and easily replaced.
In case the heating element is fine, a spa technician can diagnose the problem. If the spa control can be repaired, it might cost around $150 for repairs. For more than that, you might consider just buying a new spa controller. For systems more than 8 years old, you should buy a whole spa pack.
In many cases, a hot tub technician can handle electrical issues. If the blower isn’t working anymore, you can replace it. Replacing just the blower could cost about $100 to $200.
In order to know the right solution to spa malfunctions, you will need to determine the cause of the problem.
You will need some basic hand tools such as needle nose pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and wire cutters. You will also need a multi-meter to measure resistance and voltage. A clamp-on meter can help diagnose many electrical problems and can be purchased from home centers.
Make sure to shut off the power at service panel and as an additional safety measure, disconnect the power for the spa, too. Never attempt electrical repairs if you don’t feel qualified or have no experience.’
CHOOSING YOUR SPA CONTROLLER – PNEUMATIC OR DIGITAL CONTROL?
There are several things you have to be specific about when buying a spa pack that matches your spa shell. A spa pack consists of the spa controller kit and pump. You can also buy a replacement pump, sensors, heater, and spa controller for a complete spa pack.
Remember that the spa pack is the brains of your spa and has complete mechanical and electrical working components. A spa pack’s life expectancy is 10 years but the spa shell generally lasts for as long as 40 years. As you can see, you will need to replace spa packs a few times during the lifespan of your spa.
It is not required that you buy exactly the same spa pack in your spa. Majority of manufacturers don’t make their own spa packs and buy them from specialists.
A spa pack has these major components:
It consists of water flow sensor, high limit sensor, filtration cycle, jet and temperature controls, temperature sensor, and spa lights. It is common for older spas to have some items separate from the controller.
This could be remotely mounted or attached to the controller.
A spa may require 2 or more pumps.
The blower is usually optional when you purchase a spa pack.
When purchasing a spa pack for replacement, you will need to make an important decision. Do you want to buy a pneumatic controller or an electronic one?
An electronic spa controller allows you to control everything with a topside control panel that provides the owner with a digital water temperature reading. This type of controller is the most convenient and only cost a bit higher than a pneumatic one.
A pneumatic spa controller has push buttons to control a spa. There is an air hose between the spa controller and the button. You can’t adjust temperature of the water from the topside of the spa. You will need to get out of the spa, open the panel access door, and adjust it from the dial on the spa controller.
One major advantage of pneumatic spa packs is that they are simple and less likely to have problems. Consider the fact that moisture and temperature are not good for electronics. Since electronic spa controls use electronics, you should avoid weather exposure.
COMMON QUESTIONS BEFORE PURCHASE – FIXING YOUR SPA
Why is my spa heat inconsistent?
It is common for spa systems to lose heat when the system is not well maintained or old. The spa must have a good heater, pump, sensor, and controller.
Heat problems typically come from bad pump, controller, or heater. If the controller does not supply correct power to the heater, the sensor, controller, or pump may need replacement. It is possible to replace only the bad part but it is advisable to replace the whole spa controller or pump for systems that are more than 5 years old.
Why does water in my spa get too hot?
If the heater contactor is not welded shut and moves freely, the thermostat has to be replaced. Thermostats are found either in a control box where the equipment is or on top of the spa. In some cases, both parts need replacement. Also, leaving the jet pump on for extended periods can cause overheating.
Why does nothing happen when I push the activation button?
If only one of the air buttons work, the clear air tubing connected to the bottom of the air buttons may have become disconnected. It could have been chewed through by a rodent. Ensure that there is no water in the tubing as this also affects the switches’ performance.
Contact a licensed electrician or spa technician to check on proper fuses and line voltage.
What do I do if I keep getting error codes?
Error codes mean there is a problem. They give you an idea of what is wrong and what to look for. Below are examples of error codes:
- FLO : Pressure switch failure, open switch
- Prr : Temp sensor failure
- FLC : Pressure switch failure, closed switch
- FrE : Possible freeze condition detected
- Prh : failure of Hi-limit sensor
Sundance Spa Error Codes
- ILOC : Interlock failure – possible pump or ozone spike
- CE : Potential freeze condition
- FLO : Pressure switch malfunction
- Sn1 : Hi-limit sensor failure
- Sn3 : Temp sensor failure
Consult your owner’s manual for simple troubleshooting or call in a Spa911 professional to check your spa.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO REPLACING YOUR SPA PACK
Below are detailed steps to replace your hot tub spa pack – controller, pump, and heater system that connect to the top side panel and controls all your spa functions.
- Remove the old spa pack. Drain the tub.
- Shut the power off. Completely disconnect the circuit breaker in the breaker box or panel and other secondary boxes near the spa. Use a voltmeter to make sure that power is totally off.
- Unplug the pack. Disconnect electrical wiring, remove front panel and unscrew nuts or wiring from the terminal block inside the spa pack. Remove accessories plugged into the spa pack like lights, blower, panel, ozone, sensors, etc. Color code so you know where the wires go. Remove or clip off a bare copper bonding wire that connects to the control box.
- Disconnect plumbing unions connecting in and out of the heater. The spa pack will slide out. If necessary, disconnect the blower or pump.
- Inspect the floor and look for rot or damage. Sweep the area for leaves or dust.
- Assemble the new spa pack. Connect the controller to the pump through the double 90 fitting arrangement. The heater connection consists of the white gasket while the pump union is sealed up using the black gasket. Ensure that the o-ring and gasket are in their proper place and do not tighten union nuts on the pimp or the heater too much.
- Connecting the plumbing in and out is easy. Just place the new spa pack in position so that the plumbing is properly aligned and connects into the heater and out of the pump. Bring water into the heater and then the pump and tighten the union with the old one or cut the pipe and glue into the new split nut union.
- A standard 2’ threaded PVC fitting or union comes out of the top of the pump. Place Teflon tape on the threads and tighten by hand snugly and it should be lined up with the pipe. Use the same fitting from the old pump.
- After connecting the plumbing, check skid level with a small carpenter’s level. Shim it with plastic or steel and secure with a running screw through the mounting base corners into the concrete directly or a wood frame.
- To wire the pack, make sure power is still off. Loosen the cover screws and open the cover of the spa control. Inside the panel door or cover you will find a wiring diagram for the receptacles and other components. The main wires should enter the upper left side hole below which are the grounding and bonding bar on the left outside of the cabinet.
New cords are provided for various components and it is advisable to use them rather than the old cords. Plug the cord in to the electrical loads including the topside panel, blower, ozonator, secondary pumps while the other end goes into a hole in the motherboard.
To test your new spa pack, fill your spa to its normal level and check for any leakage underneath. Turn on the power and follow start-up instructions.
Should you have any questions regarding replacing your spa controller, pump, or heater with a brand new spa pack, don’t hesitate to contact Spa911.
HOW MUCH DO SPA CONTROLS COST – EASY SPA 911 ONLINE ORDER SYSTEM
The controller and heater of a spa pack can be installed individually but for a complete upgrade, you can purchase a complete spa pack with 1 or 2 pumps, digital topside panel, spa lights, and new wiring.
The most popular spa controllers are Gecko IN.XE and Balboa brands.
Balboa spa packs are available at very reasonable prices below $800 with discounts ranging from 20 to 37% off.
Gecko spa controls are also available at the same reasonable prices from a little above $500 to less than $900, also at discounted prices with 20 to 25% off.
To get started with placing your spa control order online, choose the right model for your spa . Spa911 has an easy online order and payment system with 100% satisfaction guarantee and easy return policy.
We even provide free shipping within 48 hours anywhere in Canada. Take advantage of these unbeatable deals when you place an order for your spa control today.
You may also reach us by email or phone to request an appointment with a qualified technician.
As you can see, it is quite easy to end your troubles with your spa with easy spa replacement parts.