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Daniel Lara's Posts

Spa Foam: Eliminating Hot Tub Foaming

March 6th, 2014 by

foamy-hot-tubMy family and I took a short holiday recently, to a large theme park in Anaheim – I think you know the one I’m referring to. Well, we stayed in one of their theme hotels, which had a nice pool and spa. The spa water looked a little cloudy, but we got in anyway (after I checked the sanitizer level, lol). Turned on the bubbles, and whoa – did we get bubbles! Foam was nearly a foot high off the water. My kids thought it was hilarious fun and my wife didn’t seem to mind. I was disgusted, quite frankly.

Spa and Hot Tub foam is just plain nasty, when you know what has created the foaming water. A hot tub is not just a small pool – think of it as more of a large bath tub. When several people hop into a hot tub, the water becomes saturated with chemicals and soaps used on our skin, hair and bathing suits.

Causes of Hot Tub Foam

Every time you use your spa, the warm water absorbs dead skin cells, perspiration and dirt, and also lotions, oils, soaps, cosmetics and hair products. Over time, these invisible solids build up in the water, making the water ‘thick’.

Spa water chemistry also plays a role. A high pH and alkalinity and/or low calcium hardness levels creates an ideal condition for foaming. Add spa calcium increaser if you have soft water in your area, and your calcium hardness level is below 150 ppm. And, maintaining your pH level at 7.4-7.6 and your alkalinity in the range of 80-120 ppm will not only help prevent foaming, but has many other advantages.

Solutions to Hot Tub Foam

Spa Shock can break down many of these substances and reduce spa foaming in most cases, but spa shock has trouble removing oils and phosphates from the water.

Spa Enzymes can be used to break down oily, soapy substances, naturally. Enzymes actively seek and consume oils and scum which contribute to hot tub foam.

Spa Defoamer can be used to instantly remove spa foam. It’s a silicone solution that when sprayed on the surface, reduces surface tension, and spa foam disappears (if only temporarily).

Preventing Hot Tub Foam

The options above will do well to control a foamy hot tub, and keep the foaming to a minimum – but, it’s not really solving the problem.

Draining the Spa is the ultimate and inevitable solution to hot tub foaming. To prevent foaming caused by BioFilm, use Jet Clean before draining, at least once per year. If you can’t do a complete drain, you can drain half of the spa, and refill – and although it’s not a full drain & clean, you can fix a foaming spa problem, at least temporarily, in this manner.

Taking a shower before using the spa is always recommended, especially if you need to shower – and I think you know what I mean. Don’t use the spa as a bathtub.

Don’t Submerge if you have long hair, put your hair up to keep hair products out of the tub. Even those with short hair can bring in shampoo, conditioner and hair gel into the tub when they go under water.

Rinse your swimsuit in hot water if you have laundered them. Avoid wearing T-shirts or clothing that has been washed with soap. Trace amounts in your clothing or bathing suits will cause spa foaming.

Maintain Water Balance, with particular care to your pH, calcium and sanitizer levels.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Parts: Spa and Hot Tub Valves

February 17th, 2014 by

hot-tub-and-spa-valvesSpa & Hot Tub Valves come in two forms – water valves and check valves.

Spa water valves are used to control the flow of water or air – to partially or fully shut off the flow, or to redirect it in different directions. Water valves placed before the pump control the suction inlets, like the skimmer and spa drain. Valves after the pump control the flow of water through different banks of spa jets. Valves also allow you to shut off the water flow when cleaning the spa filter or repairing spa equipment.

Spa check valves are used to keep water from flowing backwards through certain pipes. Check valves are also called one-way flow valves, because that’s what they do, allow water to travel in only one direction. Tiny check valves are also used on spa ozone systems, to keep the gas flowing in the right direction, and keep spa water out of the ozonator.

Spa Water Valves

Controlling the flow of water in your spa requires a valve that can handle temperature, chemicals and pressurized water. Spa valves also need to be able to hold a positive seal, or completely shut off the flow of water.

There are 3 types of spa valve design – Ball valves, Guillotine valves and Diverter Valves used on spas and hot tubs.

spa-ball-valveBall Valves

Ball valves have a ball shaped diverter inside, and are made with or without unions (the large nut that allows you to open the valve for repair or service). The pipe connections can be slip or threaded. Ball valves are only available as a 2-way valve – one pipe in, one pipe out. They may be installed on either side of the pool pump, to allow you to service or repair the pump or spa pack. We stock two sizes of a spa union ball valve, to fit 1.5” and 2.0” pipe.

 

guillotine-spa-valveGuillotine Valves

Also called slice valves, a guillotine type spa valve has a flat blade that slides down to block water flow; pull up to open the valve. The end connections can be slip or threaded, male or female, with or without unions, and are only available as a 2-way valve.  Slice valves are the most commonly used valve on hot tubs, and we carry 3 brands: Magic, Valterra and Waterway, to fit 1.5″, 2.0″ and 2-1/2″ pipe.

 

jandy-space-saver-Diverter Valves

With a rotating diverter design, the Jandy valve revolutionized pool and spa plumbing, by creating an easy to use 3-way valve. This design allows for configuration of 2 pipes in, 1 pipe out – or 1 pipe in and two pipes out.  The Jandy Space Saver valve is used in many spas and swim spas, and has 3 slip ports to accept pipe size of 1.5″ or 2.0″. ortega-valves

We also carry Waterway diverter valves, 2-way, 3-way and even 4-way. The Ortega spa valve has a unique internal diverter design, available in 2-way, shown right.

 

Spa Check Valves

spa-check-valvesIf your inground spa drains when the pump shuts off, you may have a bad check valve, designed to keep the water from gravity draining. Your spa air blower also likely has a check valve, to prevent water from entering the blower motor. Ozone check valves are used to keep water out of the ozonator unit.

Spa check valves are spring loaded, and use springs of different thickness, to keep the valve closed until a pressure minimum is reached. Available in 1.5″ and 2.0″, there are spa water check valves, and spa air check valves.

 

If our spa tech support personnel can be of any assistance to you in identifying, or troubleshooting the valves on your spa or hot tub, please call us, or send an email for a fast response.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Parts: Ozonator Parts

January 27th, 2014 by

ozone-molecule

Ozone is used in spas and hot tubs for sanitation and disinfection purposes. It’s widely known to be the world’s most powerful sanitizer, and when combined with good filtration, can almost provide all of your spa sanitation needs.

But alas – ozone is not a stand-alone sanitizer. Many people with an aversion to chlorine or bromine supplement their spa ozonator with a mineral purifier and non-chlorine shocking. You can also use ozone with about half of the bromine or chlorine normally required.

Ozone systems are fairly simple devices, and thus can be simply understood by most people, which makes troubleshooting easier. This article is about the ozonator parts that may be needed in common spa ozone repairs.

There are two types of ozonators for spas – Ultraviolet systems (UV) and Corona Discharge (CD) systems. UV systems create ozone by using an ultraviolet light bulb, which converts oxygen molecules (O2) into ozone molecules (O3).

Corona discharge ozonators create ozone by using a small electric charge through the air, which also converts O2 into O3. CD systems can outperform UV systems in ozone output by a factor of four, and with far less energy consumption.

Is My Ozonator Working?

Fair enough question – ozonators work silently with the usual exception of a small stream of champagne bubbles coming from one of the spa returns. Your unit should have an indicator light, or you may be able to smell the ozone gas if you remove the discharge hose. There is a spa ozone test available that you can use if you want to check the spa for the presence of ozone. Ozonators don’t last very long however, most UV systems need a new bulb within 2 years, and for newer CD ozonators, it can be shorter and can require a new CD chip every 12-18 months.

Which Type of Ozonator Do I Have?

SideTypicalUVCD

Most CD ozonators tend to be boxy units, with a hose than connects to an injection fitting, or a larger injection manifold. UV ozonators tend to be long and cylindrical, housing a long UV tube bulb. They will also have a hose to inject the ozone gas from the generator unit into the water stream. UV systems can also be identified by their strange blue glow.

To buy parts for an ozonator, you’ll need to know the brand, or more specifically – the make and model. The easiest way to ID your spa ozonator, is to look closely for the label that’s on the unit. A flashlight and maybe reading glasses will be necessary.

Repair or Replace?

repair-or-replace your spa ozonator

It’s not uncommon, with the low price of spa ozonators nowadays, for spa owners to just replace an ozonator with new, for less than $100. So consider that an option, after obtaining your ozonator make and model. Every two years or less, order the exact replacement model. Switching to a different model could require plumbing in a new mixing chamber or injection manifold, which is usually not a big job, but may require draining of the spa.

Common Spa Ozone Parts

If you do want to make your own ozonator repairs, you can save a few dollars in the process. Spa ozone problems usually boil down to either ozone production or ozone delivery. Either not enough is being made, and you need a new UV bulb or CD chip – or the air pump, air hose, check valve, or injectors have clogged or failed.

The most common spa and hot tub ozone parts fall into one of these categories.

Ozone  Injection Manifolds

If the ozone bubbles cease in your spa, but when you remove the hose from the injector fitting you can smell it, you have a clogged or failed injector or manifold. Or you may have a clogged or failed check valve within the ozone hose.

spa-ozonator-manifoldMost modern spas and hot tubs will use a 3/4 inch injector, threaded on both ends, which connects to a dedicated ozone line or to the heater pipe. The internal injector can become clogged. Replacing the cap will usually fix your ozone trouble, or you can replace the entire injector assembly.spa-manifold

Larger inground spas or pools will use a 1.5 or 2.0 inch manifold that plumbs into the return line or a dedicated ozone line. These allow excess water pressure to bypass the ozone mixing chamber. Repairs to these larger manifolds are usually limited to replacing the injection fitting.

Ozone Diffusers

dimension-one-diffuserA diffuser is device that diffuses the ozone gas, creating smaller bubbles which allows it to come into contact with a greater number of contaminants. It’s commonly attached to the end of the ozone hose, and is most common on older, over-the-wall hot tub ozonators. Prozone and Dimension One are two ozone systems that use a diffuser

Air Pumps

Not so common on most modern spa ozonators, but a few dimension one ozone systems use a small air pump to inject the ozone gas into the pipe. These can be external mounts, or more commonly mount inside of the ozone unit. If your bubbles quit coming, check that manual air valves are closed, which could reduce suction. Replacing an inline check valve, the small one-way flow valve within the clear ozone hose is a very common spa ozone repair.

UV Lamps & CD Chips

spa-cd-chips-uv-bulbsAs mentioned above, neither of these items last for long. When the bulb quits working that can be obvious, as you no longer see the strange blue light. Most UV bulbs will last for 2-3 years. For a CD system, each CD chip is rated for a certain number of hours, so you could do the math. Running a CD system daily will usually give it an average lifespan of about 2 years. Larger ozonators using a CD electrode can be in service longer, usually around 3-5 years.

Hose and Clamps

Ozone tubing or hose will eventually dry out and deteriorate from the ozone, becoming brittle and discolored. Generally speaking, it will need replacement every year or two. In a pinch, you can use hose from Home Depot, but it won’t last as long as the manufacturer ozone hose.

Replace your clamps every few years as well to prevent them from cracking and the hose slipping off of either end. Loop and hang the hose in such a way so that it won’t crimp or bend.

Renewal Kitscd-renewal-kit

A renewal kit is an ozonator repair kit, made to fit Del ozonators. They typically include hose, fittings, check valve, CD chip and hose clamps. They come with full instructions and is a rapid renewal, only taking 15-20 minutes to replace these spa parts.

If you have any questions with troubleshooting your spa ozonator or finding the correct ozone parts, you can always call or email our spa tech supporters!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Preventing Freeze Damage to a Spa or Hot Tub

January 20th, 2014 by

frozen-spaFreeze damage  is when water freezes and expands inside of spa pipes or spa equipment, like your filter, pump or heater.

Water expands about 10% when it freezes. For pipes or equipment that have a small amount of water inside, for instance a pipe that is less than half full of water, unused space inside the pipe allows for some ice expansion.

When pipes, pumps or filters are more than half full of water, there is little room for expansion, and even very thick materials can burst from the ice pressure inside.

Today’s lesson centers on how to avoid freeze damage in a spa or hot tub, which can be a complicated and expensive spa repair, and in some cases, could ‘total’ the spa, with repair costs of thousands of dollars.

There are 3 ways to prevent freeze damage in a spa or hot tub

1. Winterize the Spa

We don’t recommend that you winterize your spa, unless you are sure that it won’t be used for at least 3 months, or it cannot be maintained (at a vacation home, for example).

Winterizing the spa is a process that takes a few hours, to drain all of the water from the spa, and use air to ‘blow the lines’, to force water from the pipes, hoses and equipment.

We did an article on How to Winterize a Spa, if you are thinking about winterizing the spa. It’s not difficult, but if you want assurances of a proper winterization, most spa service companies offer this service.

2. Use Freeze Protection

Modern spas packs will have a freeze protection mode on the spa that will turn on the circulation pump when temps get close to freezing. If you don’t see this available in your control options for the spa, you may not have freeze protection.BALBOA-SPA-PACK

Freeze protection works with an air temperature sensor that communicates with a controller, wired into the pump power circuit. Freeze protection is standard equipment on all of our Digital, Flex-Fit and Balboa spa packs, which is the simplest way of adding freeze protection for older spas with air activated spa packs.

For help adding freeze protection to your spa, feel free to call our spa techs with some information about your spa.

3. Run the Pump

As long as water is moving through the pipes – all of the pipes, the water won’t freeze. Open up all of your jets, if your spa has the ability to isolate banks of jets. Low speed can be used, as long as all pipes are utilized.

The water need not be hot, or even heated at all – in most cases. As long as it’s moving through all of the pipes and equipment when temperatures are below 32 degrees. The heat from the spa pump, under a closed skirt, is also helpful to heat up the equipment. Of course, a spa cover should be used during winter to avoid ice forming on the spa surface.

During winter, it may be wise to operate your pump 24 hours per day in cold northern areas, or set the time clock to turn on the pump for 10 minutes every half hour.

 

ALSO HELPFUL TO PREVENT FREEZE DAMAGE: frozen-jacuzzi

  • Adding heat to your spa, a hot spa can give 24 hours of protection
  • Keeping a tight fitting spa cover in place and secure
  • Spa insulation – the more there is, the more protection you have
  • Hang a 100 watt shop light, under the skirt, next to the spa pack

 

FROZEN SPA!

If you discover a spa or hot tub that is solid frozen, and maybe you spot some freeze damage already, the equipment needs to be thawed out. If there are cracked pipes, using electric space heaters could be unsafe, under the skirt.

If you have a camping tent large enough to place over the spa, you can thaw out a spa in a few hours. When I was servicing spas in Colorado, we had a tent we used whenever we’d get a ‘frozen spa’ call. We used a small kerosene heater once the tent was set up over the spa, and monitored it closely. If there was freeze damage, (and there usually was), we would drain it completely, make the repair and fill it back up.

Adding hot water to the spa is another old trick. With a small adapter, a garden hose can be attached to most sink faucets, to bring hot water to the spa, to raise the water temperature for a faster thaw. In some cases, you can gently wet frozen pipes with warm water – just don’t spray any motors, electronics or controls.

 

SPA POWER FAILURE!

COLD!

If your power fails during winter, remember that a heated spa with a good fitting spa cover has enough warmth to prevent freeze damage for 24 hours or so, longer if it’s very well insulated.

To maintain some heat under the spa skirt during a power failure, you could hang a 100 watt shop light in a location close to the spa pack. In some scenarios, a small space heater may be safe to use also, inside the spa cabinet, in a dry location, until power is restored.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa & Hot Tub Ozone Problems

January 6th, 2014 by

spa ozone bubblesOzone is one of the world’s most powerful sanitizers – over 200 times more powerful than chlorine. Using ozone in a spa or hot tub allows you to use fewer chemicals and may even require less filtration time.

Spa ozone is produced in a small ozonator underneath the spa cabinet, and it is delivered to the water by a small hose that carries the O3 gas to an injector fitting, where it is sucked into the spa plumbing.

But, over time, ozonator output decreases, and after 2-3 years, it’s time for a renovation or replacement of the ozone unit.

 

Is My Spa Ozonator Working?

When released into the line, ozone immediately begins to kill contaminants in your spa – when it’s working. But, how do you know when it’s working?

  1. Bubbles in the heater return line. A steady stream of champagne bubbles entering the spa.
  2. Spa ozonators have a power indicator light, but this doesn’t mean that ozone is being produced.
  3. There are ozone test kits, which tells you if your ozonator is producing ozone.
  4. If you remove the supply tube from the check valve, you should be able to smell the ozone.
  5. Water quality will deteriorate when ozone is no longer being produced, requiring more chemicals.

 

Clogged Ozone Injector

ozone-injectorAn injector is the point of entry for the ozone gas, which is located in the center of a venturi manifold, shown here. The injector draws in the ozone, mixing it with the water, where sanitation begins immediately.

If an injector becomes clogged with debris, gunk or scale, it will block the small amount of ozone gas pressure. To clean an ozone injector, remove the hose, and ream out the injector with a piece of wire or a very small screwdriver. Vinegar can also be used to help dissolve heavier deposits.

Broken Ozone Check Valve

A check valve is used on many spa ozone systems, to prevent water from backing up through the hose, and getting into your ozone unit. Check valves are one-way flow devices, designed to only allow gas (or water) to flow away from the unit.

ozone-check-valveOver time, ozone check valves can become stuck, or blocked by gunk or scale, much like the injector problem discussed above. Del ozone recommends replacing their check valves (shown here) every year. Cleaning a check valve with vinegar can remove deposits, but be sure that the mechanism inside is still doing it’s job.

Split Ozone Tubing

ozone-hoseThe tubing, or hose that carries the ozone from the ozonator to the injection manifold will deteriorate over time. Clear hose often becomes yellowed and brittle, and will eventually split, requiring replacement.

Inspect your ozone hose often, from end to end for degradation. Del recommends that the tubing be replaced every year, to prevent unexpected failure. Also inspect the barbed connections on the end of the hoses. Too much pressure can cause these to crack, and leak ozone.

Ozonator Expired

ozone-CD-chipFinally, the ozone generator itself may have expired. There are two types of spa ozonators, UV and CD. Spa ozonators using UV, or ultraviolet light to produce ozone, will need a new UV bulb after a certain number of operational hours, usually 8000-10000 hours.

CD, or corona discharge ozonators, will require a new chip or electrode every few years, to maintain ozone output. Del sells renewal kits for their CD spa ozonators, and it’s quite a simple repair.

Spa Ozonator Maintenance

…is not so difficult, once you know what to look for. The most important thing is to replace ozone parts on a schedule, to prevent damage to the ozonator, and poor spa water conditions.

Hot Tub Works carries a full line of spa ozonators, and ozonator parts to keep your spa ozone equipment running smoothly; doing it’s job.

Your spa ozonator probably won’t make it known that there is a problem – you have to go looking for it. Remember, eventually (2-3 years), your spa ozonator will quietly quit working. Maintain your spa ozonator to keep your spa sanitary.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

DIY Spa Cover Repair Videos

December 19th, 2013 by

spa-cover-repair

 

Making my own repairs around the house is something I take great pride in. I’ve been accused of being too independent, and taking it a bit too far sometimes. Like the time I thought I’d install my own whole house generator. That was a big job, too big. But spa cover repair, how bad can it be?

If you like to make your own repairs around the home, and don’t mind patching things up, to get a few more years of life, this blog post is for you. Here’s some videos of some real boot strap pioneers, with ideas on how to repair a few common problems with spa covers.

Spa covers can be repaired if they aren’t allowed to go to far before receiving some attention. And if you have two of these major defects at the same time, it may be more economical to replace the entire thing with a new spa cover.

Here’s some ideas for you spa owners with an independent streak! There’s a lot of DIY hot tub repairs happening!

 

Repair Tears in the Vinyl Covering

The cover of your spa or hot tub cover is made with marine grade vinyl. It’s tough, but not tough enough. Over time, UV rays will deteriorate the vinyl, and you may notice threadbare areas. Or, your spa cover may have fallen victim to the sharp claws and teeth of a pet or wild animal. Or, It could have been dragged against something sharp, tearing or ripping the fabric. As this video shows, you can patch a spa cover, using tapes and a vinyl repair kit or patch glued on top of the problem area. This will help to lock out moisture and prevent the hole from becoming larger over time.

Replace the Vinyl Covering

If your problem is not an isolated hole or trouble spot, you may choose to recover the spa top with new marine grade vinyl. With a large sheet of unbacked vinyl, a can of contact cement and a large spreader, you can cover over the entire top of the spa cover, and the sides too. In this way, you not only get a newer appearance, but you cover many holes or thin areas all at once. You can find marine grade vinyl at a boating supply shop, or at a good fabric store. You may not find the heavy duty 30 oz weight that we use on our spa covers, but if you get something close you can add a few years to your hot tub cover.

Replace the Foam Inserts

The foam panels of your spa cover is what gives your spa much of it’s rigidity and is the main insulation for the spa cover as well. Large dogs, heavy snow load or kids using it as a dance floor can all cause the panels to break. As this video shows, you can open up the panels and replace with a high r-value home wall insulation board, which you cut to the shape of your existing foam panels. Then wrap it tightly in 6 mil plastic. It won’t have the r-value of our 2 lb foam, nor the advantage of our vacuum sealed 6 mil wrap, with heat welded seams, but a panel replacement of this type can be quite effective.

Replace the Cover Straps

Your hot tub cover straps serve an important dual purpose – to keep the cover secure during high winds, and also to help lock out youngsters and others who shouldn’t be using the spa, at least not alone. You can add extra spa straps if you want more protection, or if your spa cover straps have dry rotted and broken off, you can replace your spa cover straps and clips. We sell a set of spa cover strap clips and you can buy nylon webbing (strapping) at any fabric store.

Of course, there are some things that you can do yourself – you can even make your own spa cover! We would like to remind you how important your time is, and suggest that when the time comes, take it easy and buy a new spa cover from Hot Tub Works instead!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara

 

Hot Tub Repair Business – Train to be a Spa Repair Man

December 16th, 2013 by

spa-repairman-hot-tubs-tooMany of us here at hottubworks got our start in the retail end of the spa business, but others are from the service business.

A Spa and Hot Tub repair company will offer several services, namely equipment repair and replacement, regular service and maintenance accounts, winterize, summerize and spa relocation services. They could also have spa inspection services for realtors, and orientation services for new spa owners. With factory training, you can perform warranty service for major spa manufacturers.

Spa and hot tub repair companies may also work on Jetted Tubs, usually installed in modern bathrooms. They could work with commercial spas and hot tubs like municipal spas, hotels, condos, resorts and therapy centers, or they can go a more residential route and work on inground or aboveground home spas; some indoors, but mostly outside on the patio.

So that’s your customer. But what about you? What skills are needed to become a successful spa entrepreneur? A successful spa technician, or a spa repair person will wear many hats.

  1. Chemist: You will be called upon to correct bad water conditions, with accurate testing and chemical additions.
  2. Electrician: Most spas are quite electrical, with loads like the pump motors, heater, blower controlled by a pcb, or printed circuit board.
  3. Engineer: Hydraulics and flow mechanics. Make repairs to the plumbing, install new spa equipment or an entirely new spa.
  4. Teacher: A good spa tech and business owner will make a business of teaching and instructing spa owners how to manage their spa.

I find that people with HVAC experience, including home appliance techs tend to understand spas and hot tubs pretty well. It really is not that much different than a large washing machine! Well, that’s not entirely true, they are indeed more complicated than a washer, but that’s what also makes it interesting!

 

Where to Get Spa Training

CPO TrainingCPO

The Certified Pool Operator CPO, course is a national certification program, that yeah – mainly is focused on pools, but there is also a lot of spa information. Many of the concepts of swimming pools cross over to spas and hot tubs.

Professional Training

CHTT

Many professional associations, such as the American Pool & Spa Professionals APSP, or the International Hot Tub Association IHTA, offer training through their local chapters, or at their national and regional trade shows. Some even have a certified professional courses that you can take and earn a ‘degree’ in spa repair.

Spa Repair Forums

SPA-FORUMS

Bulletin Boards are a great way to learn about spas and hot tub repair. Read the posts, read the replies – now you know! There are a few discussion boards or forums out there that deal with spa topics. I’d like to point out the Hot Tub Works spa repair forum first and foremost. Spa Forums.com also has a nice chunk of info online. RHTubs has another good spa forum.

Retailer Resources

HOT-TUB-TOOLBOX

At Hot Tub Works, we are proud of the videos and articles that we have put together on all sorts of spa and hot tub technical topics. The Hot Tub Toolbox is our library of articles and videos on various pool topics. Our friends at Spa Depot also has a nice spa info section, laid out by category. You can find lots of high quality spa and hot tub information online, and it’s all free.

Spa Repair Books

ULTIMATE-GUIDE

There are not a lot of books about spa repair on the market. Most books about spas are glossy coffee table books, or cover a very limited range of information. There is one book called The Ultimate Guide to Spas and Hot Tubs, which is jammed full of good information, in 320 illustrated pages, spread over 9 chapters. Tool Tips and Tricks of the Trade are given in each subject area.

What Else Is Needed?

Aside from good knowledge of spa care and repair, you’ll also need have a few other things for a successful spa repair company.

  1. Business License and registered Trade Name.
  2. Separate bank account and insurance policy.
  3. Advertising and Networking to add clients.
  4. Service vehicle with tools and supplies.
  5. Webpage or Online Directory listings.
  6. Great customer service skills.open-for-business

Your state or city may have other specific licenses to register the business, such as an Occupancy Permit, or special contractors license. You’ll need to file tax returns for the business, and pay any other license fees in your area.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara

 

Hot Tub Parts: Filter Parts for Spas and Hot Tubs

December 5th, 2013 by

spa-filter-assembly

 

 

Spa Filter Parts – it’s one of the smaller categories of hot tub parts that we carry, and one of the easiest components of your spa to troubleshoot and repair.

Almost all portable, above ground spas use a cartridge filter set-up, similar to the spa filter assembly shown here to the left. A pipe carries water from the skimmer and or spa drain, into the filter body, where the water is forced to pass through the cartridge before exiting the filter on the opposite side.

However – there are many manufacturers of spa filter assemblies, or complete spa filters. In alphabetical order, we carry spa filter parts for Hayward, Jacuzzi, Rainbow, Sonfarrel, Sta-Rite and Waterway.

The first step to finding the right spa filter part is to know which spa filter assembly you have on your spa.

 

Which Brand of Spa Filter do you Have?

As mentioned above, there are many manufacturers of spa filters, and even though we carry parts for the most popular brands, there are dozens more. If you have a Jacuzzi brand spa, it’s a good bet that you also have a Jacuzzi brand filter assembly, but with other makes, you can’t be sure without crawling under there and taking a close look.

spa-filter-logos

You should be able to find the name of the filter manufacturer, or at least a part number stamped onto the filter body, or filter lid to help you determine the make of your filter assembly. Your spa owner’s manual may also help point you in the right direction. Still no luck? Take a photo, and email it to us, we’ll be glad to help.

Which Types of Spa Filter Parts do you Need?

1. Skimmer Parts: That’s right, I said skimmer parts, like the mounting plate or gasket, diverters, skimmer baskets, skimmer weirs… on spas, these are considered to be filter parts. Not so for swimming pools, but on spas and hot tubs, skimmers are often connected to the filter, and in some cases, the spa filter sits inside of the skimmer, underneath the basket, in a combination skimmer and filter body.

2. Filter Body: The filter body is often one of the first things to crack due to freeze damage – even a small amount of water left in the bottom of the filter tank can expand and crack the filter body. When this happens, the filter head or top may also crack, or the filter body lock ring – the large nut that tightens the filter lid to the filter body. If your spa filter is leaking around the lock nut, you may need to replace the o-ring for the filter lid. Probably the most common parts we sell for filter bodies is the drain plug, or the air relief plug – these just seem to grow legs, or roll up under the spa, never to be seen again.

3. Filter Guts: Inside your filter body, we have the filter cartridge. Some spa filters also contain inserts or additional parts that are used to seal up the cartridge, to force the water to go through the filter cartridge and not around the filter cartridge. A few spa filters have an internal bypass parts, to allow excess flow to bypass the cartridge. Yours may have internal o-rings, spacer rings or one-way flow check valves, or small filtering screens.

Ordering Spa Filter Parts

spa-and-hot-tub-electric-parts-sm

Our website displays over 100 different spa filter parts, all with pictures to help you positively identify the correct part – to correct your filter problem. Or, if you want to replace the entire spa filter, we have over 50 different complete spa filters to select from. If you have any confusion, or need any assistance at all, give our helpful and knowledgeable spa part techs a call. Spa Techs are standing by, from 7am – 7pm, Monday thru Friday, and 8-4 on Saturdays. Call 1-800-770-0292.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara

 

DIY Hot Tub Cover – Make Your Own Spa Cover

November 21st, 2013 by

wood-circlesSpa Covers are a large part of our business here, that’s why when we heard about people making their own spa covers, we had to look into it. Is this a threat to our core business? No, we don’t think so at all – well, at least I don’t think that.

I think that American individualism has always led people to can their own food, sew their own clothing, and even make their own spa covers. In some cases, it’s born of necessity, necessity to save money that is. Even though a new spa cover from Hot Tub Works can be less than $300, for many cash-strapped spa owners, making their own spa cover for under $100 sounds a lot better.

I apologize to the wives and girlfriends out there, if I’m giving your “handy” man some kooky ideas. Most people would rather have a proper hot tub cover, I understand. At the end of the article, I have some talking points for you – reasons for not building your own spa cover.

Materials Needed to Make Your Own Spa Coverhardware-stores

  • 2- 2″ thick 4×8′ Polystyrene Foam Boards
  • Heavy Duty Adhesive in caulk tube
  • 2 – 4×8′ Plywood Boards
  • Heavy Duty Plastic
  • Exterior Paint for Wood
  • 2 – 4′ Continuous Hinges and screws

STEP ONE: MEASURE YOUR SPA

You know what they say, measure twice, cut once. Measure both the inside and outside dimensions of your spa shell, and draw a guide on paper. Your DIY spa cover must be large enough to sit on the rim of the spa, without the risk of falling in if you just bump into it, or look at it wrong. Both the wood and foam will be closer to the outside diameter, so that the foam rests on top of the spa. Alternatively, if you think you can get a better seal by having the foam cut to fit the inside of the spa (while the wood extends over the spa edge), you can cut the foam a few inches smaller than the plywood.

STEP TWO: CUT THE MATERIALS

Measure again before cutting, just to be sure. For square spas, you’ll have less cutting to do of the plywood and foam boards, in fact, you may choose to not even cut them at all. For spas with rounded corners, octagonal cuts or circular spas (hot tubs), break out the jig saw, so you can cut the radius curve in the plywood. The foam can be cut with a sharp kitchen knife or with a hacksaw blade. After you have cut both pieces, lay them on top of each other, to remove any rough edges and to make sure that they are pretty close to identically sized.

STEP THREE: WRAP THE FOAM IN HEAVY PLASTIC

You won’t get the vacuum sealed, heat welded seams that you see on the best hot tub covers, but it is still important to spend time wrapping the foam as tightly as possible to keep moisture from the spa from coming in contact with the foam board. Wrap it with painter’s plastic, at least 4 mil in thickness. Wrap all sides like a gift box, folding over the corners and taping tightly, with a large roll of packing tape.

STEP FOUR: GLUE THE FOAM TO THE WOOD BOARDSliquid-nails

Use a heavy duty adhesive like Liquid Nails, or something similar. Use a liberal amount, squirting it directly onto the wood. Be sure to cover all areas, with special attention on the edges. Press your wrapped foam board onto the board. Flip it over, so the foam is on flat ground, and place a few heavy items on top of the wood, to help improve adhesion.

STEP FIVE: PAINT THE WOOD AND INSTALL THE HINGE

Sand the edges to remove any splinters or rough spots. Use exterior paint, and don’t be afraid to go heavy on it, or paint two coats on the side that faces up. After the paint dries, you can install the hinge. You can use several door hinges, or use one long continuous hinge, with a 1/4″ screw in every fifth hole.

That’s It! Five steps. The only thing left is to put it on the spa (use two people if it’s heavy) and check for heat loss. Now to come up with a solution to the heat loss that’s coming through the hinge, or at certain spots around the spa rim, like the control panel area. If you have a cover lifter, you may also be able to connect your cover lifter to work with your new spa cover.

 

Reasons for Not Making Your Own Spa Cover

I promised earlier to give some ‘talking points’, on how to dissuade a handy (and frugal) housemate from attempting a DIY spa cover. We know it’s a lot cheaper, and we understand the pride of making something with your own hands, but…

  • The heat retention of this type of spa cover is far less, easily half of what a real spa cover can provide.
  • Homemade hot tub covers may be difficult to latch or lock, to keep the spa safe and secure.
  • Without steam stoppers and skirts to prevent heat loss, a spa in cold weather may be unable to stay hot.
  • Without a rigid support panel, a DIY spa cover won’t stay flat, and quickly warps and bends to the water.
  • When it bends toward the water, rain and snow melt will drain into the spa, bringing contaminants. how-to-buy-a-spa-cover

 

For a real cover, see the benefits of a Hot Tub Works spa cover. You can still make a contribution however, and put your talents to good use, like building a wood bench or shelves to wrap around the spa. Rocks and plants? How about a gazebo, privacy screen or some pergola around the spa?

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara

 

 

Top Spa Repair Forum Discussions

November 15th, 2013 by

Visit our Spa and Hot Tub Repair Forum - image purchased thru ClipartofWith 475 threads and over 1200 posts, our Spa Repair Forum, now in it’s 5th year, has been very active lately. On Sept 15th of this year, we had the highest daily visits ever, with nearly 1000 spa and hot tub enthusiasts seeking answers, from our collective knowledge.

A forum, (aka discussion board, or bulletin board) represents one of the best virtues of the internet, sharing and helping each other. In a forum, the helpless and the helpful support each other, in perfect harmony. Where there is a gap in this, or answers don’t come quickly enough from the group, MaryH, Super Moderator, steps in with answers to questions. When a reply or response is made to a post that you make, you receive an immediate email.

As one of the oldest uses of the world wide web, many people find that forums are a better place to find more specific and complete answers to their technical and mechanical issues around the home. A conversation, or thread, is started that allows you to engage the question more fully, and report back results and resolutions.

The anonymous conversation is recorded in perpetuity, and is ‘evergreen information’. This means that it keeps giving, and is always available for other spa owners to read, solving their similar problems. Indeed, most forum users find their answers just by reading the posts and threads of those who came before them. Our forum is very organized and searchable, and you can view posts by category, or by keyword search.

 

#1  ‘SL’ > Spa went to Sleep…Died. Whatever. The spa is sleeping, should you wake it up?

hot-tub-repair-question-1 spa in sleep mode

#2  Sundance optima – starts, trips GFI, starts again, trips  Trippy spa problem! Turns out to be a temp sensor.

hot-tub-repair-question-2 Spa trips GFI

#3  Small Rust Stains Use a dab of fingernail polish after cleaning to seal it up.

hot-tub-repair-question-3 Rust Stains

#4  2000 Cal Spa (No Heat) – Chewed wires! Replace spa wires with exact duplicate gauge and type.

hot-tub-repair-question-4 No Heat

#5  No Heat – A bad PCB (printed circuit board) keeps the spa heater from coming on.

hot-tub-repair-question-5 No Heat

#6  I have to clean my filter every few days Why? – Oily Lotions, Sticky Cosmetics and Hair Goop maybe?

hot-tub-repair-question-6 - clogged filter

#7  Master Spa – OHH error  Overheating spa causes spa owner to overheat himself!

hot-tub-repair-question-7 OHH error

 

Hats off to our hot tub repair forum participants – on the quest for enlightenment and money savings by doing their own spa repairs. There’s a real pioneer spirit in these conversations – bold spa owners who persist in their search for answers to their hot tub dilemma.

Save some money yourself, chances are, someone just like you has struggled in the past with the same spa issues you are having right now. Search our hot tub forum and our Spa Toolbox for yourself, or post your own question and help other spa owners like yourself!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara