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Archive for the ‘Spa Parts’ Category

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

 

Hot Tub Parts: Heater Parts for Spas and Hot Tubs

November 7th, 2013 by

spa-heater-parts

Hot tub heater parts – a spa heater can be one of the more confusing parts of a spa for homeowners to work on, which is why our spa and hot tub heater parts department is laid out in a step by step fashion. This allows you to start your spa heater troubleshooting with the most common replacement spa heater parts, and progress to the more rare causes of spa heater problems.

Here’s a description of each subcategory of spa heater parts, with information on what functions these various parts perform and how to test or troubleshoot them on your own spa, so you can buy replacement spa heater parts with confidence.

 

Heater Elements

spa-heater-elements

Heater elements are housed inside of the heating chamber, or manifold. The power leads are connected to the element, and when all the stars align, this power will heat up the element, which warms the passing spa water.

Warning: Testing and inspection of spa heater elements should be done carefully to avoid injury. Spa heaters also need to be grounded and GFI protected, before connecting power, to prevent serious injury or even death.

Heating elements can be tested for amperage with an amp meter, or the terminals can be tested for proper input voltage with a volt meter.

In many cases, the heater element itself is not damaged, but it begins to leak water out of the terminals, where the wires connect. If this occurs, replace the element or the entire heater immediately, to prevent electrical shock.

Replace a spa heater element with an exact duplicate, in terms of length, terminal orientation and kilowatts of output. Call for spa tech support if you are having trouble identifying the correct hot tub heater element.

Flow Switches

spa-flow-switchA flow switch is a sensor that tells the heater that there is enough water flowing through the heater element to be able to power the heater element safely. Low flow rates can be caused by a dirty spa filter, low water level or closed valves.

A flow switch has a paddle that dips into the flow of water, to sense the pressure of the passing water. It also has an arrow on the side to indicate the proper flow direction of the water, and commonly has two wires that connect into your control panel.

Problems include a flow switch stuck in the wrong position, closed all the time, or open when it should be closed. Wire shorts or loose connections on the wiring can cause this, as can built up scale in cases of very hard water.

If you suspect your flow switch may be the problem, you may be able to jump it out or isolate it from the circuit. Insufficient heat or no heat is the main symptom of a problem with the hot tub flow switch.

Hi Limits

spa-hi-limitThe purpose of a hi limit switch is to shut down a runaway heater. Modern spas use sensors to determine when the water temperature inside the heating chamber is too hot, and older spas will use a mechanical thermodisc, that surface mounts onto the heating chamber or into the control box. Others may use a capillary bulb and wire, with a button that pops out when the hi limit has been tripped, much like a GFI breaker.

A tripping hi limit may be symptomatic of a water flow problem (and the flow sensor or pressure switch), or problems with the spa thermostat. It will have two wires connected, leading to the controller.

Older hi limit switches that are nuisance tripping may be faulty, but it’s more often the case that the hi limit is doing it’s job, protecting you and your spa equipment from dangerous over heating.

Heater Unions

spa-unions-gaskets-o-ringsHeater unions are the connecting bits on the ends of the heating chamber or manifold. Usually the union nuts are collars, which have a screw on each side to remove it in two halves. If these union nuts become stripped, cracked or broken, you can will find it easier to just replace the collar, and not the union tail nut, or the piece that the union nut threads onto.

We also have available the spa union o-rings and gaskets that always tend to fall off and roll to an unreachable location – or, they get pinched and crimped while tightening up a heater union.

If your spa heater begins to leak at the unions on either end, make a fast parts replacement, to prevent water from contacting sensitive heater terminal connections, dripping or spraying on other spa pack components.

Manifolds

spa-heater-manifoldsThe heater manifold is the housing for the heater element, and may also be home to your hi limit and pressure switch. It’s rare that the heater manifold will fail on it’s own, but it can fall victim to freeze damage, or it can be warped in extreme over heating incidents.

Stainless Steel spa manifolds can sometimes rust or oxidize, and this can indicate that the steel manifold has become energized and possibly dangerous. Plastic manifolds won’t develop rust, but could warp or be melted right through if the element gets too close.

Buy exact replacement manifolds, to fit your element. It may come with complete unions, but it’s easier to not use the supplied union tail nuts, just use the new o-ring and union nuts. Be extra careful to secure the element in snug to prevent leakage.

Pressure Switches

spa-pressure-switchesA spa pressure switch is similar to the flow switch, and in practice their function is the same. When water flow or water pressure is insufficient to adequately absorb the heat from the heater element, a pressure switch will shut down the spa heater, in a bit of self preservation.

We have over 40 different pressure switches to choose from. I guess spa manufacturers like to have their own specific pressure switch, with small differences. They vary in the amperage, the pressure settings, the attachment size and how many poles and throws the switch has. Be sure to replace with an exact duplicate pressure switch.

Pressure switch tripping? It’s probably just doing it’s job, and you may have a flow problem. In some cases, a spa pressure switch can become stuck (open, or stuck closed), or the terminals can become rusty, or it can lose it’s calibration and become more sensitive over time.

Sensors

spa-sensorsSpa sensors are used on today’s newer spas, to replace older hi limit switches and mechanical thermostats. These sensors usually have a wire attached that’s about 3 ft. long, to be able to reach over and plug into the spa pack.

If you receive an error code regarding a spa sensor, check the connections at the spa pack, and inspect the wire carefully for crimps or splits. Remove the sensor itself from the spa plumbing, and inspect the bulb or button for scale or corrosion. If it sits in a dry well, check that the well has not developed pinholes.

Spa sensors for temperature are all factory calibrated and are non-serviceable. If both ends look fine and the cord is intact, double check that you have a sensor error. If you’re having trouble diagnosing a spa sensor, give us a call here at the shop, we’ll be glad to help.

Complete Heater Units

complete-spa-heater-assemblyAnd of course, we have the complete heater units at Hot Tub Works. If there are big problems with your spa heater components, replacing the entire unit may give you more peace of mind, and is definitely an easier installation.

You can order replacement spa heaters such by brand, or according to the type of spa pack that you have. We also list our top ten most popular spa heater, many of which are universal, in that they will fit many different spas.

You can also order new spa heaters by dimensions; refer to our chart of 9 measurements that you can match up to on your existing spa heater, to get one that will line up correctly with all of the spa heater components.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’
Daniel Lara

 

Spa and Hot Tub Parts: Controls and Spa Pak Parts

October 10th, 2013 by

spa-packs-before-after-replacing-spa-pak

 

Today, we look at parts for your Spa Pack and Spa Control. These can be either air button controlled, or digital. If you have a digital temperature readout, yours is digital. If you have a temp dial, and no digital readout, you have an air control.

The Control for your spa or hot tub is the main brain that controls all of the components of your spa – namely the pumps(s), heater and blower. It connects to the top side controls that allow you to turn on jet pumps, lights, blowers and adjust the heater temperature.

Newer systems can allow you control over different banks of spa jets, or activate waterfalls or turn on some music to soak by. Controls include the heater element (either 1.5kw or 5.5kw), and a new topside control that will replace your current control panel.

 

spa-packThe Spa Pak (or Spa Pack), includes the Control (which includes the heater), and also includes the pump(s) and blower. Spa Paks and Controls are available for Air systems and Digital systems. A spa pack includes all of the equipment, with the exception of the spa filter or lighting. So, then parts for spa packs actually means parts for spa pumps, heaters, blower and controls.

 Panels

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-topside-controlsPerhaps your spa side panel has failed or been smashed by a tree limb. If you only need the panel that is topside, or accessible while in the spa, we have over 50 to choose from on our Topside control panel page. We also have replacement labels for some panels, if yours has worn away.  Replacement spa control panels come with a wire to plug into your control, and are available in Air or Digital. If you don’t see your panel listed, give us a call while you’re near the spa and we can figure out if your panel is still available, and if not, which substitute would be best to use.

Controls

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-controlsThe Spa Control, that’s the big square box inside the cabinet. It usually sits on top of the stainless steel heater tube. We have controls for Air or Digital systems that include the heater, or for spas with heaters located elsewhere, our Flex Fit Digital Controls are available. We offer a value priced HTW line of controls, as well as the highly sought after Balboa controls.You can upgrade from an Air control to Digital, and enjoy advantages like freeze protection and other convenience modes.

Selecting a control requires some information beyond whether you have an Air system or a Digital System. Our web page will ask you to select the incoming voltage (110 or 220) and the blower and pump(s) voltage (110 or 220), It also asks for your plumbing size (1.5″ or 2.0″) and the heater size (1.5kw or 5.5kw). All of this info is (should be) printed on the equipment. Take a pad of paper(or a tablet) and get the info, and our database will return you the correct control for your spa. If you have questions, please call!

Heaters

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-heatersIf your heater element has failed, and is not producing heat, you could test the unit for continuity, (with all power off). If the heater element has failed – you can replace just the element. Other parts of spa heaters include the union end pieces, and o-rings, as well as the heater housing, which we call the heater manifold. Spa heaters are available in their entirety too, you can replace the whole shebang with a replacement heater assembly.

 Blower

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-blowers

There aren’t a lot of parts available for spa blowers. We have the pipe clamps or unions available that connect the blower to the pipe, and we have spa blower motors and check valves. And, of course, we sell the entire blower unit, selected by horsepower, voltage and pipe size diameter. Blowers typically last 5-10 years, depending on how much they are used. Replacing the blower motor usually doesn’t save any money, and it’s usually best to replace the entire spa blower, especially if it has some age on it.

Pumps

spa-pack-spa-control-parts-pumpsThe filter pump, circulation pump, jet pump – many spas have more than one pump. And spa pumps have lots of parts! We detailed them in fact, in a blog post dedicated to spa pump parts. When you buy an entire spa pack, you specify how many pumps you have and their horsepower, voltage and pipe size. Many spa pump repairs involve either replacing the wet end, or all the plastic pumping parts, or just the motor. If you need to replace both, you may as well replace the entire pump. Most pumps also last 5-10 years, and then they can be either rebuilt or replaced. You can replace spa pump parts, individual spa pumps, or the entire spa pack. If you need help, call us up!

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There are other parts related to your controls or spa packs. Wire connectors, temp sensors, circuit boards. Whatever spa pack parts you need to keep your spa running, we have it. And, we specialize in parts for older tubs, and in helping customers retrofit new Digital spa packs into an older, air activated spa control. As shown in our feature image (above), newer systems are cleaner, more compact and more efficient.

If you need help with control parts or spa pak parts for your tub, and want fast help, give us a call, we’ve got spa techs standing by!

 

- Spa Jack (or Spa Jak)

 

Restore or Replace your Spa Skirt?

September 23rd, 2013 by

SPA-CABINET-RESTORATIONThe spa skirt, also known as the spa cabinet, or spa surround, is traditionally made of redwood or cedar for long life and resistance to rot and insects. Nowadays, composite materials are also common. These are mixtures of wood pulp and plastics, which resists rot and fading better than real wood.

In either case, there will come a time when your spa cabinet, or spa skirt doesn’t look so hot anymore. It may be faded, stained or rotting near the base. Moisture from overgrown plants or splattering rain or sprinklers can really damage the finish and appearance within a few short years. If left untreated, the spa skirt will begin to fall apart, like an old barn.

If your spa skirt is stained or faded, but the structure is intact, with very little wood rot – you can refinish your spa cabinet, in the same way you would any outdoor wood furniture or decking.

Restoring a Wood Spa Cabinet

  1. Remove the Panels: Use a cordless drill with a proper size Phillips head to remove panel mounting screws. If you have full access all around the spa, you could leave the panels on, but you can sand and finish the panels more easily when they are horizontal.
  2. Clean the Panels: Use a mild soap and a rough brush, or textured sponge. Scrub the entire panel to remove dirt, grime and oils. Rinse clean and use an old towel to scrub them dry.
  3. Sand the Panels: With a belt sander or orbital sander, and block sander. Start with about a 50 grit, and sand the entire surface. Clean with a shop vac, then sand again with a 100 grit. Clean again and finish with a fine grit, around 150. Clean very well to remove all dust from cracks and edges.
  4. Stain the Panels: Using a brush, rag or spray, apply your chosen outdoor stain according to directions. Minwax makes some nice products for staining hot tub cabinets.
  5. Seal the Panels: Unless your stain is a 1-step product with polyurethane, apply a wood sealer or waterproofing over the dry stain, to protect it from moisture and dirt.

Replacing a Spa Cabinet

If you have advanced wood rot that a simple patch won’t repair, or if you want to change the look of your spa cabinet, you could consider replacing your spa skirt. Here’s a few spa cabinet ideas that you can do yourself – DIY.

  1. Wainscoting: Sold in various size panels, or in more expensive packs of pre-cut cedar or pine tongue and groove boards. Just as you would use them on the bottom half of your dining room, you can apply this to the outside of your spa, and add a pressure treated base board, and molding around the top and sides of each panel.
  2. Replacement Spa Cabinet Kits: Available in 3 colors, these kits are a quick solution to a long lasting replacement spa skirt. Made of composite materials and in 3 colors, our Spa Cabinet Kits make spa cabinets with rounded corners easy to renovate, and will fit radius corners of 5″ to 12″, and any spa up to 96″ wide.
  3. Faux Stone or Brick Panels: and hundreds of other patterns of wood or stone. These panels are interlocking, and join with corner stacks that work well for square spa cabinets. Carry the design to surrounding walls, or add faux boulders, Omni Rocks, around the spa

spa-cabinet-renovation

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara

 

 

Hot Tub Parts: Pump Parts for Spas and Hot Tubs

September 9th, 2013 by

spa-pump-partsContinuing our series of blog posts about the variety and uses for spa and hot tub parts, today we break down the category of spa pumps.

Fortunately, this category of spa parts is not as large as others, so we should be able to dive into more detail about common problems with spa pump parts, and their solutions.

Take a look at the spa pump parts schematic, you can see the parts of a spa pump, one without a strainer basket. Most hot tub pumps have only 15-20 parts, which fit nicely into 6 groups of parts.

Wet Ends

These are the parts of the pump that get wet. In the image above, it’s everything except for the motor, item 24. Contained within a complete wet end assembly is the impeller and shaft seal. In some pumps, a diffuser, or impeller shroud is also part of the hydraulic design, and an impeller wear ring, shown as item 6.

rotating-wet-endThere are two types of wet ends, center discharge and side discharge. Center discharge pumps shoot the water out of the pump at 12:00, and side discharge pumps, as shown in our example above, shoot the water either left or right of center, and can be rotated to different mounting positions.

To order the correct wet end, it’s helpful to know your spa pump make and model. Otherwise, the motor frame type, horsepower. Also whether it’s side or center discharge, and for pipe size, 1.5″, 2.0″, or larger. As a last resort, measure your wet end, and compare it to our pictures.

Volutes

spa-voluteThe volute is also called the impeller housing, and it’s both halves of the wet end assembly. To make it simple to define, we call them the front volute and the rear volute. The front volute has the incoming pipe connection, the rear volute attaches to the motor. Items 2 and 7 in the schematic above.

In cases of a cracked volute, many of our customers prefer to replace only the offending part and not trash the entire wet end.

Motors

In cases of a burned out spa pump motor, many of our customers prefer to replace the motor, instead of replacing the entire spa pump. And that’s not a bad idea – the parts of a wet end do not ‘wear out’, rather they are either broken or melted, but they don’t wear away, with the possible exception of the shaft seal.

spa-motor-blueMotors typically last around 5-7 years, in most situations. To order a new spa pump motor, you need to know several key pieces of information. Horsepower, Frame, Volts, Amps, Speeds. These are all printed, in tiny print, on the motor label. Comparing pictures of our spa pump motors could be risky, give us a call if you are not 100% sure of your particular motor type on your spa pump.

Unions

spa-pump-unionSpa pump unions are the connectors that allow you to disconnect the plumbing from the spa pump. There are split nut unions, with two screws that hold them together, or types with one large nut, that tightens over the threads on the volute halves. Most pumps have two unions, one on the suction intake of the volute, and the other on the discharge.

spa-union-oringUnions have an internal o-ring to help seal them up tightly. These should be lubricated whenever you put them back together. Lost the o-ring? Don’t worry, happens to the best of us – we have lots of spa union o-rings to choose from.

 

Impellers & Diffusers

spa-pump-impellerThe impeller is the turbine that creates the vacuum suction for the movement of the water. A diffuser is another plastic piece that some designers use to increase water volume or pressure. This fits over top of the impeller, held in place by several stainless steel screws around the edge.

Some impellers have a built in wear ring, like this Jacuzzi impeller shown here with the metal band. Other spa pumps will employ a separate part called an impeller wear ring, that fits over the impeller to prevent the impeller from rubbing on the diffuser or front volute. diffuser

The most common problem may be a clogged impeller, which can be cleared with a bent wire, or small screwdriver. Impellers can break, or melt in some situations, which would call for a replacement. Diffusers break much less often, but if you need one, we have ‘em!

Seals, Gaskets & O-rings

shaft-sealSpa pumps have a mechanical shaft seal, which sits behind the impeller, and is the seal that prevents leakage along the motor shaft. It doesn’t touch the motor shaft, otherwise it would burn up, but instead it’s pressed into the rear volute, and seals up to the impeller.

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When pumps are leaking along the shaft, it’s usually a failed shaft seal, which may have overheated, or been damaged from chlorine and ozone. Be sure to use an ozone resistant shaft seal if you use ozone as a spa sanitizer. Identify your shaft seal from the pump owner’s manual, and if you need help identifying your shaft seal, you can always give us a call!

Pumps will always have at least one o-ring or gasket, to seal up volute halves. If you have a pump basket on your spa pump, you’ll also have a pump lid o-ring. Some drain plugs can have o-rings on some spa pump models.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara

 

Spa Parts: Plumbing Parts for Spas and Hot Tubs

August 8th, 2013 by

spa-plumbing-supplies-and-partsSpa plumbing parts. This is going to be a long post, as we have 12 parts categories to go over, so settle in.

This post will help explain each spa plumbing parts sub-category in more detail, so you know how and when they are most useful.

There are many specialized parts in the plumbing category, and parts used only on certain spas and hot tubs, and many parts which are universal.

 

Spa Air Controls

spa-plumbing-parts-air-controlsAir controls are the knobs on the side of the spa that are used as air intakes. Some spas have several air control knobs, which control the amount of air intake (and thus air output) for a certain group of spa jets, or a particular air manifold. It acts as an air valve, to allow the spa user to dial in the perfect mix of air to the water stream, to increase the action and pressure from the spa jets.

We have over 35 different spa air controls, from G&G, Hydro Air and Waterway. They vary by the S hose connection size, and the hole size on the spa. If you’ve managed to lose or break one of these spa air intake knobs, see our selection of spa air controls.

Spa Air Injectors

spa-plumbing-parts-air-injectors

Spa air injectors, or maybe you call them bubblers or aerators in your spa, but this is where the air comes out, not mixed with water. Common on the floor or on lounge portions of the spa. You can replace the air injectors in your spa if they have become broken or missing parts, or you are renovating a spa and adding new or additional air jets or larger capacity jets to your spa or hot tub.

We have over 25 different air injectors, from Air Pro, Hydro Air and Waterway. Air Pro has a model with the Backstop, a check valve that prevents water from entering the air line.  Similar to air controls, the main difference between Air Injectors are in the air S hose connection size and the hole size, or the diameter of the hole through spa shell.

Spa Sealants

spa-plumbing-parts-sealants

This section of our spa plumbing department is stocked with sealants and bonding supplies for making PVC repairs with our Heavy Duty PVC cement, or fastening replacement air injectors, water jets or spa light rings in place with an underwater silicone adhesive. Silicone is also useful for making small leak repairs around the skimmer, air hoses, or on the spa shell, sealing up around leaky jets and fittings.

In the Sealant department, we carry 5 types of hot tub silicone by BOSS to allow you to affix and seal up just about anything on your spa. We also have spray blue RTV gasket maker for pump gasket problems, silicone Grout to use on tile and around spa fittings, and Mr. Sticky’s 2-part underwater epoxy. All in our spa sealants section.

Spa Air Buttons

spa-plumbing-parts-air-buttons

Spa Air Buttons are used to activate the spa blower, lights or jets. They are a safe way to activate a electronic switch when you’re sitting in a tub full of water. Spa air buttons are fairly reliable, but some may fail after many years of use, or become sticky. Like air controls and injectors, replacement air buttons will match up to your current air button by the hose size and hole size.

You can also match up current spa buttons by appearance. We have over 35 spa buttons, in all colors – gold, silver, black, white, taupe, from nearly 10 manufacturers, including Len Gordon, PresAirTrol and Tecmark. Your spa manufacturer likely used one of these specific air buttons, or we also have a universal button on our spa air buttons page.

Spa Drain Covers and Plumbing Fittings

spa-plumbing-parts-suction-plumbing-fittings

We have over 40 Spa plumbing fittings, like sweep elbows, 45′s, 90′s, connectors, reducers, tee fittings.Use these fittings to make repairs or renovations to your spa. Freeze damage repair to a spa will usually involve some plumbing fittings, repositioning equipment, or re-routing your spa plumbing . When plumbing PVC on a spa, be sure to use primer on the pipe and fittings before applying a heavy body PVC cement.

Half a dozen VGB compliant spa drain covers – it’s very important that they are secured to prevent entrapment. Modern spa drain covers or suction outlets have many small holes and improved flow characteristics to make entrapment unlikely. Missing spa drain covers should always be replaced and firmly secured, with both screws.

Spa Flexible PVC Pipe and Air Hose

spa-plumbing-parts-hose-tubing-pipe

This department needs little explaining. We have flexible PVC ‘flex pipe’, in sizes from 1/2″ to 2 inch, sold in long rolls, or by the foot. We just slap a FedEx sticker on the roll of pipe, and ship it without a box – never had a problem. We also carry the clear flexible hose that is connected to air switches or used in air systems.

Spa air hose is sold by the foot, and available in diameters from 1/8″ to 3/4 inch.  And, those little hose clamp clips, that always seem to get lost? We have them also, in two sizes.

Use spa flex pipe when you are fixing major leaks or renovating a spa shell. Spa air hose can be damaged by rodents or heat sources. Whatever the issue, we have your spa flex pipe and spa air hose for small or large repairs.

Spa Plumbing Manifolds

spa-plumbing-parts-manifolds

These are some of the most interesting contraptions I’ve ever seen. They look like props for a science fiction movie. I keep saying that I’m going to make a lamp out of one of these, one day. Spa manifolds are used to split the water and air into several smaller ports attached to pipes and hoses that go to different water jets and air injectors. They are used for air, or for water, and connect to either PVC pipe or clear air hose and reduce from 2″ or 1.5″ pipe, down to 3/4″ or less.

We have over 50 different manifolds for unimaginable uses. You can plumb in 12 new jets into your spa or hot tub, of fix freeze damaged spas with these manifolds. Maybe you can make a lamp, or something else useful out of these spa manifolds.

Spa Skimmers

spa-plumbing-parts-skimmersMany above ground spas don’t have a skimmer similar to a pool skimmer, with a basket and weir. Many spas have a grate, which covers a throttled suction fitting, that slowly draws water from the surface. More or less effective. Other spas may have the more traditional type of skimmer. Either way, your skimmer grate, basket and weirs needs are covered.

We also have entire new spa skimmers, the Hayward SP1099 front access skimmer used on many backyard spas and hot tubs, or can be retrofitted to outdoor spas and tubs that need more skimming action.

Spa Plumbing Unions

spa-plumbing-unionsI’m not talking about the Brotherhood of Plumbers, local 454 – no, here we have connectors for spa pumps and filters that allow you to remove the equipment for service with unions – pipe connectors that can be easily removed. Unions can crack under pressure or from freeze damage. They can also overheat and melt, or if doing considerable plumbing modifications, you may need to replace the unions.

We have union nuts, o-rings and adapters. Over 35 unions available in sizes from 1″ to 3 inches, in every configuration imaginable. Specialty spa unions too, such as reducing spa unions, or barbed hose connection unions. View all of our spa unions.

Spa Valves

spa-plumbing-valvesOur final spa plumbing parts sub-category, is also our largest category, of spa directional valves and check valves. Over two dozen slice valves, aka guillotine valves, by Magic and Valterra. We have diverter valves by Jandy and Waterway, and the hard to find Ortega valves with the iconic brass handle. In this section you’ll find check valves for air and water as well. Valves help control the direction of the water flow, and check valves allow flow to pass through in only one direction.

Valves may need replacing for various repairs, or to replace a defective valve. Check valves also don’t last forever. For this reason, we also stock some of the most popular spa valve parts. Check us out when you need new spa valves.

That’s Ten categories of spa plumbing parts and fittings (I skipped two of them!). Just about everything you need to keep your spa or hot tub humming along.

- Jack

 

 

 

 

5 Important Spa or Hot Tub Care Tasks

July 15th, 2013 by

spa-hot-tub-care

Owning a spa or hot tub is not so complicated. Compared to a swimming pool, there’s a lot less work involved. But there is some work required, and maybe your spa has been a bit neglected lately, as sometimes happens during summertime.

Depending on your level of spa use, the frequency of these tasks will vary. Following each task below, follow a task frequency, mirroring your hot tub usage.

 

  • High – Daily use by several people; or commercial spas and hot tubs
  • Medium – A few times per week, by a few people.
  • Low – A few times per month, by a few people.

1. Spa Water Care

spa-water-testsTesting the Spa water, balancing the chemistry and visually checking the water clarity. Pretty basic stuff? Yeah, easy to do – and easy to forget to do. Most spas and hot tubs have something of a “chemical personality”, and are usually fairly consistent in what needs to be chemically managed – as long as you are consistent with your water tests and adjustments.

Not even a “spa guru” like myself can avoid the sometimes mundane task of testing the spa water quality and making micro-adjustments to the water balance. pH, Alkalinity, Hardness all need to be checked every time the spa is used. Neglect this task, and your spa water clarity and health can quickly spiral downward.

Draining the spa should be performed on a regular basis, every 1-4 months, depending on your usage, or even weekly, for high use commercial spas. You’ll find the water much more manageable if you set a schedule to drain it regularly.

2. Spa Filter Care

spa-filter-cartsNext up on our list of Hot Tub maintenance items – cleaning your spa filter cartridge. This task is simple enough for my 8 year old to do, once I showed her how to remove the spa filter and spray deeply into the pleats from top to bottom. It’s one of her weekend chores, and only takes a few minutes with the garden hose.

To help us remember, I created an email reminder to myself to make sure it’s done weekly, and another every 4 months, to soak the filter in our Filter Fresh spa cartridge cleaner for a deep cleaning.

Spa filter cleaners remove oils and mineral deposits that clog up the cartridge, reducing water flow and dirt holding capacity. Just soak the cartridge in a solution of filter cartridge cleaner, or use the spray on type of cleaner. Then, hose it off very thoroughly to flush out the deposits and the cleaning chemical.

Over time, even this loses it’s effectiveness, and it’s time to replace the cartridge. If everything is going well with the spa water, I buy a spa filter replacement every 18 months. High use hot tubs may need to replace the cartridge every 3 months, depending on the size of the filter cartridge.

3. Spa Pipe Care

spa-biofilmI’m not talking about leaks, although you should inspect for leaks in your spa, and promptly repair any that occur. I’m talking about bacteria deposits, sometimes called Bio-Film, that can develop and grow inside the pipes, hoses and jets of your spa.

Using a product like Tub Rinse, add it to the spa before you plan to drain the spa. High use spas should use this every time the hot tub is drained. This will reduce the amount of organics in the spa, which allows the sanitizer to work more effectively, and keep your spa water looking clear, even after heavy use. For my medium-use spa, I use it every other time I drain the hot tub.

Just pour it in and allow it to circulate for an hour – before you drain the spa. The first time you use it, you’ll be shocked at all of the nasty brown gunk that it removes and foams to the surface. It would be similar to a person who finally brushes their teeth after months of only using mouthwash. Yuck!

4. Spa Equipment Care

spa-equipmentYour spa pack is the main control center for your spa or hot tub, and includes your spa heater. To care for your equipment, remove the access panel at least monthly to inspect for leaks, the presence of rodents, rust or corrosion. Use bug spray or mice baits if you notice evidence of either. Check your time clock and reset it if there has been a power outage.

Electric terminals can be coated with a dielectric grease (shut off power first) to keep oxidation from forming. If there is nothing out of the ordinary spotted, this job will go quickly.

If something looks amiss with your spa equipment, and you’re not quite sure which steps to take, give us a call for some spa troubleshooting help.

5. Spa Cover Care

spa-cover-care-tipsSpa covers need to “breathe”, and should be removed from the spa several times per week, to allow the spa to gas off – any accumulated odors and gases. It also gives the spa cover a break from the hot water and chemicals. Remove the spa cover completely, and store it folded and upright, to allow any water to drain out.

Inspect the underside of your spa cover for any rips in the plastic, cracks in the insulative foam, warping or water retention. If any of these has occurred, you should plan on replacing with a new spa cover soon.

Cleaning and conditioning the vinyl of your spa cover will keep it looking new and it can often double the lifespan of your spa cover. My spa cover gets a quarterly “spa treatment” – I use the 303 spa cover cleaner and conditioner wipes. It only takes me about 10 minutes to clean and protect the spa cover. This shines it up real nicely, blocks UV rays and helps keep it clean, but the best advantage is that it keeps the vinyl supple and soft.

Ignore this spa task, and your spa cover material will start to shrink, shrivel and eventually it will crack and become threadbare.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa & Hot Tub Parts: Electrical Parts for Spas and Hot Tubs

July 8th, 2013 by

spa-and-hot-tub-electric-partsHot tubs and spas contain a lot of electrical parts – so many in fact, that I’m wondering if I have time today to write this blog post!

Hot Tub Works has a full supply of electrical parts for your spa and hot tub – here’s a quick summary of each electric part category, what they control, and how to know if you may need a replacement electric part for your spa or hot tub.

 

CIRCUIT BOARDS

spa-and-hot-tub-parts--circuit-boardPrinted Circuit Boards, sometimes called a PCB, for short, is the brain of your spa. It’s job is to mechanically control all of the functions of your spa, through relays, capacitors and resistors, connected by tiny copper strips, carrying tiny amounts of electricity. To some, a PCB looks like a small industrial city, with roads and buildings.

Most PCB problems will throw an error code to indicate a faulty board, and most modern boards cannot be repaired, without advanced micro-electronic skills. In the absence of error codes, many times a PCB will display burned or scorched areas, or bulged or cracked “buildings”. Insect infestation or voltage irregularities can fry your circuit board. We have over 50 circuit boards on our website, but if you don’t see yours, give us a call!

CONTACTORS

spa-and-hot-tub-parts--contactorsA contactor is essentially a relay, used for higher voltage applications, like your heater element. Contactors are available in low voltage, usually 24 volts, 110V or 220V, single pole, double pole or sequencing. They operate like a switch, with power coming in one side and out the other. Testing a contactor with a voltage meter (and extreme care), one should have identical voltage on both sides of the contactor. If the voltage tests out OK, but the contactor is not engaging, or closing, one could assume that the contactor, or internal coil has failed.

Insect infestation or dirt on the poles could cause the contactor to not close completely, and sometimes will make a buzzing noise, known as “chattering”. We list over 20 different contactors on our website, to match the specs printed on the contactor label. Give us a call if you have trouble identifying the correct contactor for your spa or hot tub.

CORDS & CONNECTORS

spa-and-hot-tub-parts--cords-and-connectorsCords and connectors carry the power from your spa controller to the various equipment of your spa – heater, blower, pumps. There are many types of cords used on spas and hot tubs, with different connector ends – J&J, Amp, Spade, NEMA, in both female (receptacles) and male (plugs). Cords can become damaged by incorrect voltage, physical wear, or from chewing rodents. Connectors can become rusted from the elements or bent and broken from too much handling.

Identifying the correct cord is done by the connection type at both ends, and the length of the cord. Although relatively inexpensive to replace the entire wire harness, we also have certain end pins and connectors, for field repair of damaged cord connectors. With over 70 types of cords listed on our website, it can get confusing, so give a call or send an email (with photos!) if you need help selecting the correct cord for your spa or hot tub.

FUSES, GFI’S AND BREAKERS

spa-and-hot-tub-parts-fuses-breakers-gfisThe purpose of each of these is to interrupt power to the spa equipment, for the purpose of safe testing or repair. They also function to protect expensive spa components by blowing or tripping when incoming voltage is too high. Fuses are available as small as 1 amp, up to 30 amps. GFI’s, or Ground Fault Interrupters, are essentially an electrical outlet, designed to trip the red ‘test’ button when incoming voltage is outside of the preset limits. Breakers, or circuit breakers, are used to ‘break the circuit’, or cut power to the spa for draining, repair or testing.

Although fuses, breakers and GFI’s can go bad on their own, blowing a fuse, or tripping a breaker is usually a sign of a voltage problem. If you are ordering a new replacement fuse, buying more than one may be wise – if it blows again, a voltage issue is at hand, and it should be tracked down before replacing the fuse again.

HIGH LIMITS

spa-and-hot-tub-parts--hi-limits

High Limits, usually spelled Hi Limit, function to shut off a runaway spa heater. When the upper limit of heat in the spa is sensed, the hi-limit will prevent power from reaching the heater element, saving the element itself, and you – from overheating. Most hi limits have a capillary bulb type sensor, connected to the control by a bare copper wire. Newer spa hi limits, like the Hydro-Quip hi limit (shown), sense overheating through a membrane on the back of the control.

Older hi limit switches used in spas will have a manual reset button, once temperature has cooled below 100 degrees. Newer hi limits may have an auto reset feature. Continued nuisance tripping of the hi limit can indicate incorrect voltage to the heater element, a faulty hi limit switch, or – it could be that your spa filter cartridge is excessively dirty, slowing down the water flow enough to increase the temperature inside the sensing well.

RELAYS

spa-and-hot-tub-parts--relaysRelays are a type of switch with an activating mechanism, used in almost all spa and hot tub equipment – pumps, blowers, lights and heaters. Many common relays are now available in a clear view cube style, so you can see the relay activate (or not activate) – this can be immensely helpful in troubleshooting spa relays. A relay can be of many types – contactors and air switches are a type of relay, and among relays there are many styles or types.

Testing relays can be difficult if it’s attached to a circuit board, but if there are exposed terminals, you can test voltage coming in and out of the relay. If the voltage is correct and identical on both sides of the relay, the internal coil is likely receiving and transferring the power correctly. However, the relay can be faulty if this voltage is not engaging the internal switch. We have nearly 40 different types of spa relays at HotTubWorks, to fit any spa pack.

SWITCHES

spa-and-hot-tub-parts--switchesRocker switches or toggle switches may be used on older spas to activate certain functions. Air switches, those which are powered electrically, are more commonly used as a spa side control, to turn on and off jets, blower, heater, etc.. Air Buttons, connected to a small air hose, are not electrical spa parts, but could also be a cause of spa component problems. Switches for your spa can develop dirty contacts, inside the switch, or corroded terminals outside of the switch.

Testing a spa switch with a jumper wire, placed on both in and out wires of the switch can be used to determine if the switch is the root cause of your spa problem. Relatively inexpensive to replace, we have dozens of hot tub switches available. As always, if you need help determining the correct switch to use for your spa, please contact us!

THERMOSTATS

spa-and-hot-tub-parts--thermostatsMechanical thermostats work to control your spa temperature within +/- 1 degree. They work by sensing the water temperature from a freon-filled capillary bulb, or thermo bulb, housed in a dry or wet well. When the temperature knob is turned up, you should hear an audible click when the current temperature setting is reached on the dial.

Causes of thermostat problems include corroded bulbs or wells, ambient air reaching the bulb, or the thermostat could be mis-calibrated. Older thermostats will allow adjustments by turning a small hex screw located on the side of the thermostat, but be careful not to adjust it so much that the spa temperature exceeds 105 degrees. We have 15 different spa thermostats on hottubworks.com, with capillary wire lengths from 6″ to 60″, and with capillary bulb lengths from 2.25″ to 4.75″.

And it doesn’t end there! We also carry Time Clocks, Transformers, Spa Light parts and Miscellaneous Hot Tub Hardware.

At Hot Tub Works, Spa and Hot Tub Parts is our Passion. Our staff is knowledgeable about spa parts, and many of our call center staff are former spa techs, so you can get the help you need with a simple phone call or email.

- Jack

 

 

Top Spa Repair Forum Discussions

June 24th, 2013 by

spa-repair-forum

When we started our Spa Repair Forum in early 2009, we did so to add value to our website, to bring to our visitors another layer of information, to go along with our Hot Tub Blog and our Hot Tub Toolbox.

Today, our Hot Tub Forum has over 1100 posts, on over 440 topics related to spa and hot tub care and repair. Currently, as I write this, there are 23 people browsing the system, from all over the country, and the world.

Our Forum is built on the popular vbulletin platform, which has a lot of great features. If you’ve never used a Bulletin Board or an online Discussion Forum, users can view and reply to posts, called threads. You can also attach images, rate posts and search the database for keywords related to your specific spa problem.

Spa owners post their problems, and other spa owners, spa techs or our own moderator MaryH will respond to the posts. The person who starts a thread (by making a new post) gets an email when a reply has been made to the thread.

In today’s blog post, I’ve curated the best threads from the last 4 years. These forum posts were the most popular, in terms of views, replies, and ratings. Click the posts below to view the entire thread.

 

TOP 9 SPA REPAIR FORUM POSTS

 

 #1 – Spa Motor Cycling On & OffAfter a drain and refill, this problem resolved itself. Air lock?

spa-repair-forum-thread-1

#2 – Panel flashes OH, and then Everything Stops. Most likely a circuit board (pcb) problem here…

spa-repair-forum-thread-2

#3 – OH reading, after Spa Cools Down – In this case, the High Limit may be causing the OverHeat (OH) code

spa-repair-forum-thread-#3

#4 – Coast Spa: Blows Filter Off when I start Pump - Turns out the filter lid was installed backwards

Filter lid blows off of spa filter

 #5 – My Spa Heater Has Power, but No Heat – Tested the heater element for volts/amps, then Replaced.

Spa Heater has 240V, but No Heat Output

#6 – Water Level Mysteriously Going Down in Spa – A bad spa cover allows heat loss and water loss.

Water Leak in Hot Tub

#7 – Spa Water Odor – Could be the water, the spa cover, the spa filter, or poor water sanitation.

Spa water smells

#8 – New Spa, Heater Not Always Coming On – Faulty Chip used on PCB caused erratic heating.

Heater Not Always Coming On

#9 – Vita Spa Trips Circuit Breaker - Ozonator or Spa Blower causing main breaker to trip

spa-repair-forum-thread-9

Our Hot Tub Repair Forum is a resource for you! The next time that you are having spa difficulties, be sure to search our forum for problems similar to your own, or start your own thread, and post your problems!

- Jack

 

Spa & Hot Tub Parts: Blowers for Spas and Hot Tubs

June 10th, 2013 by

bubbles

What’s a Spa without bubbles? A Hot Tub!

Bubbles can enhance the massage effects of your spa jets, increasing the amount of force you feel on your aching muscles. Spa air blowers, also called bubblers or air pumps in some parts of the country, are included as standard equipment on most new spas, and spa equipment paks.

Hot tubs, in their classic wooden form and design, are often installed without air blowers, although a spa or hot tub can be fitted with a blower at anytime in the future.

This post is focused on how to replace a spa blower, and how to install a new spa blower, when you’ve never had one before on your spa or hot tub.

Hot Tub blower problems

Spa Blower is not turning on:

  • Tripped circuit breaker or GFCI outlet Test button is popped.
  • Air switch is faulty or air hose is disconnected.
  • Loose wiring or connections from spa pak to blower.
  • Spa blower motor is shorted across the windings.SpaBlower

Spa Blower is Noisy:

  • Vibration noises onto floor or spa cabinet wall.
  • Motor bearings and brushes are worn.
  • Broken air fan, or debris in blower

Spa Blower is On, but No Air is Blowin’:

  • Debris caught in air blower intake.
  • Blower disconnected from air manifold(s).
  • Broken, stuck or incorrect check valve.
  • Broken or stuck air fan.

Spa Blower Works for a few Minutes, then Shuts Off:

  • Over sized spa blower.
  • Excess voltage into motor.
  • Excess heat from motor.
  • Broken, stuck or incorrect check valve.

Spa Blower Sizing

spa air blower label

Replacement Spa Blowers: Buying the exact replacement spa blower is important. Fortunately, all you have to do is look on the existing blower to locate some pieces of information. The most important pieces of information are the horsepower (hp) and the voltage (volt) of the blower. Other info that can be useful is the FLA, or full load amps that the motor draws.

spa-hot-tub-blower-plug-types

The power cord connection type is also important. All of our Air Supply blowers ship with a AMP type plug. If you need a J&J type plug, or need a regular type outlet cord, we have adapter cords available to convert the plug type. Shown below are the common type of connectors or plugs used on spa blowers.

Measurements of the air flow, in cubic feet per minute (cfm on the nameplate), and on air pressure, expressed as 115″ h2O on this nameplate. Both flow and pressure, or cfm and inches of water column, are used to measure the output of the blower.

New Spa Blowers: If your spa (or Hot Tub) has never had a blower before, and you wish to install one – sizing the spa blower becomes a more complicated exercise. To size a spa blower correctly, some calculations should be done, to ensure the blower is large enough, but not too large. Too large, and your blower may could overheat and become damaged, and if too small, it may not have enough air flow and pressure (oomph) to overcome the resistance of the air system.

The best way to determine proper blower size is to calculate the resistance of the entire system. This is done by adding the water depth (above the lowest air hole) to the plumbing and piping resistance that the air has to push through. But for most applications, you can use an easier method. CONVERSION-CHART-FOR-SPAS

If you have air holes in the floor or seats, measure the size of the air holes. They are usually either 1/8″, 3/16″ or 1/4″.  Use the chart on the right to convert hole size to it’s decimal equivalent. Add up the total area of the holes and refer to the chart below to help you select the right spa blower size.

For spas that have the air coming out of the jets, size a new spa blower according to the number of jets in the spa, as shown in the chart below. Just count up the number of wall and seat jets, for a quick way to size a new blower to a spa or hot tub.

spa-blower-sizing-charts

Spa Blower Installation

Replacement Spa Blowers: Replacing a spa blower is easiest when you replace with an exact match. If you do this, simply unplug the power cord from your spa control or spa pak, unbolt the blower if mounted, and if a clamp is used to secure the blower, loosen the clamp and you should be able to pull the blower off. Reinstall the new blower in opposite fashion and you should be ready to test.

check-valve

New Spa Blowers: Installing a spa blower where one never existed? You’ll also need to install a Hartford loop in the plumbing, and a one way check valve, shown right – both designed to keep water from entering the blower. Blowers should be permanently mounted where possible, and if possible mounted vertically, to further help to keep water out of the blower.

Be sure that any ground wires are properly connected, and if your spa blower has a bonding lug, that the pump is bonded, in accordance with the National Electric code.

Questions?

If you have any questions about spa blowers, new or old – give us a call, we’d be happy to help. You can reach us, 7 days a week, at 800-770-0292.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works