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Archive for the ‘Spa Parts’ Category

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

 

How to Replace a Spa Pump Shaft Seal

May 28th, 2013 by

spa-shaft-seal-replacementSpa pump motor shaft seals – they are meant to keep the water from leaking along the shaft of the pump motor, behind the impeller. When a shaft seal fails, as they do from time to time, you will notice water dripping along the backside of the volute (where the shaft enters the impeller housing), running down and dripping off the bottom of the pump.

A leaking shaft seal can easily be confused with a failed volute (impeller housing) o-ring, or with a leaking union or plumbing fitting on top of the pump. In fact, many leaks around the pump will end up running down – and dripping off the bottom.

 

SHAFT-SEALS-LEAK-HEREIs Your Shaft Seal Leaking?

To be sure that you have a leaking shaft seal, inspect all areas around the pump closely (with a flash light and reading glasses, if necessary). If you have an open volute (where you can see the motor shaft), a leaking shaft seal will leak where the shaft enters the volute, as shown in the image on the right.

Looking close-up in the area indicated, you will usually see a thin, running stream of water, although in some cases, it could be spraying water in all directions.

Spa pumps with closed volutes (where you can’t see the motor shaft), will be leaking out of a drain hole, in the bottom of the seal plate, or the point where the motor joins the “wet end” of the spa pump.

Identifying a Spa Pump Shaft Seal

Not all spa pumps use the same shaft seal, and seals used for hot tub pumps are usually of a higher grade rubber (Viton or Silicone Carbide), than those used in swimming pool pumps. These materials are more resistant to chemical changes, and if you use a spa ozonator, these materials won’t deteriorate like a shaft seal made with a Buna type synthetic rubber.

The easiest way to order the correct shaft seal, is to order by make and model of the pump. This may not be so clearly marked on many pumps however. If you still have documentation on the spa purchase, an owner’s manual should list the shaft seal, and it’s manufacturer’s part number.

The next easiest way to find out which shaft seal is used on your pump is to remove the pump from beneath the spa (shut off power and water valves first), and disassemble the motor from the wet end, so that the shaft seal can be measured and identified.

Disassembly of the Wet End

Motors can be removed from a spa without too much work. First make sure that the power is shut off on the main breaker. Place tape over the breaker to prevent others from flipping it back on while you work. Close the valves both sides of the pump to hold back the water in the spa, otherwise, you’ll need to drain the spa first before pump removal.

Unscrew the unions on the pipes that come in and out of the pump (there will be some water spillage). Disconnect the bare copper bonding wire from the bonding lug. Remove the power cord from the control box. With the motor removed, and in a location that you can work on it (without stooping or laying on your stomach), loosen the bolts that secure the front plate to the volute.

With the front plate removed, you should be looking at the impeller. Some spa pumps have an impeller shroud, or diverter that will need to be removed first. Remove the impeller by holding the shaft firmly in place, while spinning the impeller in a counter-clockwise direction. For open volutes, a small pair of vice grips can be used to hold the shaft firmly so it won’t turn as the impeller is threaded off of the shaft.

For closed volutes, the trick is to hold the shaft in one location at the rear of the motor. For motors with a removal end cover, a 7/16 wrench can be used on the rear of the shaft. Others have a small shaft cap that can be removed, dead center of the rear end bell of the motor. The shaft is slotted to accept a large flat head screwdriver, used to hold the shaft stationary.

After removing the impeller, you should see your shaft seal, and you can now identify it by type and size.

Measuring your Spa Shaft seal

Spa shaft seals come in two pieces, a round ceramic disk, and the other half, with the spring. One piece will be pressed into the seal plate of the pump, and the other half fits onto the impeller. As the two halves of the shaft seal are drawn close together during impeller rotation, the spring is compressed, and a good “seal” is made. The seal doesn’t actually touch the shaft, if it did, it would burn up in just seconds of 3400 RPM of the motor shaft. Nonetheless, you will notice that many shaft seals mention the shaft diameter of the motor that they fit.

SHAFT-SEAL-MEASUREMENTS

Remove both pieces of your shaft seal from the pump. The mating ring may require a small flathead screwdriver to pry it out, as it is pressed into place. Be sure to also remove the rubber mating ring, if present.

The other half of the seal, with the spring, can be worked off gently with your fingers. Once removed, take the diameter and height measurements, as shown left.

SHAFT-SEAL HEAD TYPES

 

The other distinction between shaft seals is the type of head that the “spring half” of the seal is either Type A, or Type B. Most spa pumps with Type B seal heads will be using a #1000 seal, but check the other measurements of the seal to be sure. Another measurement, if you want to be really sure, is to measure the diameter of the shaft. Calipers would be most accurate, or you can use a rigid measuring tape, and eyeball it very closely.

Spa Pump Shaft Seal Chart

With this information on the shaft seal head type and the diameter measurements, and perhaps the shaft measurement, you can now refer to this handy spa pump shaft seal chart, to confidently figure out the type of replacement shaft seal needed, or the seal number, shown in the left hand column. Most common are the shaft seals #100, 200, 201 and 1000, but your spa pump could use a different one. Measure to be sure, and call us if you have any questions.

spa-pump-shaft-seal-chart

NOTE:  The Seal Type numbers in the left column, (i.e. PS-100) are commonly accepted universal seal part numbers, which will correspond in size and type, to the manufacturer’s part number. Again, if you have any questions or concerns with proper shaft seal identification, call us for help.

Installing a new shaft seal

The biggest mistake people make when installing a new shaft seal is installing the seal or the mating ring upside down. As you remove the two halves of the seal, take note of it’s orientation. If this bit of information is not available, take note of how the seal is packed in the box – usually, this is the correct position. Otherwise, know that the ceramic part of the mating ring is meant to contact the hard plastic side of the seal.

When installing Type B seals into the seal plate, use a bit of silicone around the stainless steel cup as you press fit the seal into the plate. Use a very large socket, or a 1″ PVC coupling as a setting tool, to lightly tamp the seal cup fully in place.

When installing Type A seals over the impeller, put the soft rubber side toward the impeller, and the hard plastic side toward the ceramic face of the mating ring.

After installing both seal halves, thread the impeller back on fully, and reassemble the wet end (with no leftover parts!). Reposition the pump and connect the unions, making sure the o-rings are in place. Reconnect the bonding wire and the power cord. If your pump was mounted onto a skid, or base, resecure the pump to reduce vibration and movement.

Fill the spa or open the valves to allow the pump to fill with water. Turn on the circuit breaker and test the pump. If water does not begin to flow immediately, you probably have an air lock in the pump or spa pak. Shut off the pump, and loosen the union on top of the pump just slightly, to allow air to be pushed out, until water begins to flow and spill. Quickly tighten up the union and test the pump again.

PREVENTING DAMAGE TO SHAFT SEALS

  • Never run the pump dry, or without water flowing through it.
  • Maintain your water level in the spa, to prevent air being sucked in.
  • Use Viton shaft seals if you use a spa ozonator.
  • Maintain proper water balance and sanitizer levels.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa & Hot Tub Parts: Air Switches for Spas and Hot Tubs

May 13th, 2013 by

spa air switch informationAir Switches have been used for spa side controls for as long as I can remember – probably after early hot tubbers got tired of having to get out of the tub to turn on jets, air, or lights!

Using an air switch provided a safe means of turning on hot tub equipment with wet fingers. Air switches for spas have come a long way since the early days, and many spa manufacturers are now controlling many spa functions with micro circuits on PCB’s (printed circuit boards).

However, there are still LOTS of spa switches out there; some showing their age. This post has information on troubleshooting, identifying, ordering and installing spa air switches.

 

Types of Spa Air Switches

SPDT-AIR-SWITCH

Air switches used in spas are used as a break in a circuit, just like a light switch or a circuit breaker. There are several types of switches that are used on spas and hot tubs. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of spa air switches.

A standard air switch controls a single load, that is – just the light or the blower, for example. They are sold in a few distinct types – Single Pole – Single Throw or SPST (one wire in, and one wire out), or the Single Pole – Double Throw SPDT (one wire in, two wires out). A Double Throw can be used for a two-speed pump to operate high speed and low speed, each on separate outputs.

DPDT-air-switchYou may also see a switch that is like a “Double SPDT”, with two wires in, and four wires out. This is known as the DPDT, or that’s right… the Double Pole – Double Throw air switch – pictured here on the left. Multi-function switches can have even more terminal sets, you may have larger switches with 4 sets of terminals, which can turn several items on or off, at the same time, or in sequence.

Air switches will also have a “Spout” or a small ribbed opening – where an air hose pushes on to the air switch. The location of the Spout can make a difference, some are side mounted and some may be bottom mounted, as on our image examples.

Another distinction between spa air switches is in their operation. Latching type of air switches are “Push On – Push Off” activated, such as a single color spa light. These are also known as Alternate or Permanent air switches. Sequencing switches, mentioned above, control several functions at once, such as selecting a “SPA” function, which will turn on jets and blower and heater, for example. Multi-function sequence switches have multiple terminals for wire connections. Momentary spa switches close the circuit (On) only while the air switch is depressed, and opens the switch when the button is released. These are also known as Non-Latching switches for spas.

Trouble Shooting Spa Air Switches

Basic: Your first indication of a problem may be that you push the button and nothing happens, or the result is different than what you expected! First step in diagnosis would be to remove your equipment panel and locate the thin air hose connected to the spa side controls. Make sure that they are all connected, on both ends, follow the hose from the button to the switch.

Next, push the button and listen for the switch to “click”, or make a small noise (you may need to turn off the spa to hear it). If you hear no noise, inspect the air hose for cracks or splits. If OK, inspect the air switch with a flashlight, looking for insects or disconnected wires.

You may have an air switch with an adjustable dial, over a threaded body. Spa air switches come factory calibrated, and there is usually no need for adjustment. However, during troubleshooting an air switch, you may turn the dial in one direction or the other, but track the number of revolutions, so you can return to the starting point if adjustments make no difference. Resistance in Ohms

Advanced: Shut Off power to the spa at the incoming circuit breaker. Use a multi-meter to check continuity through the switch. Place your meter on the Ohms setting, to check the resistance, and place meter leads onto each incoming (common) terminal and also on the terminal just below it. You may need to remove the wires from the terminal, but only do one set at a time, and remember which is which, or label them with masking tape.

While you are holding the meter onto the terminals, have a helper push the air switch button up-top (or clamp your meter leads). While connected, your meter should  read continuity/no continuity, as the button is pushed on and off. If any of the pole/throw sets do not display this behavior, the switch has failed.

Identifying your Spa Air Switch

It’s important to select a replacement switch with the exact type – not necessarily the same brand, but the same number of Poles and Throws, the same voltage and amperage, the same Operation Type and the same Spout location.

If you identify a faulty spa switch, remove and label each individual wire, and unscrew the switch from it’s mounting (power is still Off!). Put your glasses on and write down all identifying information – Volts, Amps, Type and Manufacturer.

Usually, searching these numbers on Hottubworks will pull up pictures of possible replacements. Look at the pictures to try and positively identify your switch. If you have questions, you can always call our tech support center.

Buying a New Spa Air Switch

We sell dozens of air switches every day. Of these, about 10% of orders are returned – with customers selecting the wrong one. We don’t want you to lose any time with your spa, so if you have a question or are just unsure about what type of spa air switch you have, please give our team a call.

Of course, our spa air switches are very easy to order online, with large pictures and full descriptions – and a friendly return policy. So, if you’d rather not call us, make your best selection and let us know if you have any questions while installing the new air switch.

Installing a New Spa Air Switch

You’ll normally find all of your air switches housed in a central control box, with a uniform mounting method. Some are screwed in place or clipped in place. Remember to have the power Off during switch troubleshooting and replacement. Label all wires that are removed, and proceed in a logical forward and reverse order. After removing wires and air hose, the switch can be removed, replaced, re-wired and re-hosed.

Again, if you need any help in diagnosis, identification, ordering or installation of a new spa air switch, you can always call or email Hottubworks for friendly spa support at 800-770-0292, 7 days per week.

 

How to Buy Spa & Hot Tub Parts

April 22nd, 2013 by

 

Hot Tub parts for DIY spa repair
If you are a Do It Yourself type of spa owner, (and most of our customers are) – you’ve probably seen our huge selection of parts for spa and hot tubs.

Spa Parts are my favorite category of spa stuff that we sell, probably because it’s a bit more challenging to know the intricacies of spa parts. We found out early that to sell spa parts, you have to have people in the call center that understand such things. Our tech support staff actually know how to repair spas and hot tubs.

Spa and Hot Tub parts are something we understand very well at Hot Tub Works. Our staff is trained to help you select the proper spa part, and our inventory investment means that we likely have the part you need, when you need it – often shipping the same day.

 

How to Order Spa Parts

Spa and Hot Tub replacement parts

On Hottubworks.com, we have designed a logical spa parts storefront. We don’t ask you to search by sku, or p/n. Instead, we have broken down our spa parts into 12 logical categories, shown right. These spa part categories represent different systems of interconnected equipment or parts – so you can find what you need fast.

Another way we made parts buying simpler was to throw out the schematic! They can’t be displayed clearly anyway, and with thousands of parts to list, it gets real confusing, real fast.

Instead, what we have are pages of similar parts, with thumbnail images – to quickly spot the correct replacement part for your spa or hot tub. We have 37 pressure switches for instance, all listed on one simple page, with detailed descriptions, measurements and an image that you can enlarge to see more clearly.

Most web users are very visual, and using high quality images in our parts department helps our visitors to feel confident that they’ve chosen the right part. This saves us both money and hassle, in shipping parts back and forth.

Other spa parts websites have black and white parts images that look like they were taken in the 19th century! Instead, we decided to do something different, and 5 years ago, launched a parts image improvement program; completed in early 2012.

Some of the other guys have out of date parts databases, selling items that have been obsolete for 10 years. They can’t get the part, but yet they take the order as though they can. A week later, you find out that the part is no longer made, and without a substitute available.

Instead, We continue to add to our spa parts selection every year, as new spas and new spa products are introduced and clean up the database of NLA (No Longer Available) and OBS (Obsolete) spa and hot tub parts. And, when there is a generic replacement, or a similar substitute, we code that into the database, so you know what the options are. And, our website never displays obsolete or unavailable spa parts.

Spa Parts Technical Support

spa-repair-forum-guy-smOur spa and hot tub technical support staff can often help you identify the correct spa part, or verify that your troubleshooting process was logical and correct. We can’t guarantee that the spa or hot tub part you are ordering is the one that you need – we’d have to come to your house and perform a spa diagnostic to be sure!

We don’t make house calls, but you can call us anytime to speak with one of our spa techs about your symptoms, diagnosis, and the parts or supplies needed to make a successful spa repair.

 

I hope you like our Spa Parts Department – we’ve spent a lot of time designing the most user-friendly and complete online spa parts catalog.

- Jack

 

Sundance Spa Pumps and Jacuzzi Pumps

June 3rd, 2011 by

Sundance Wet End

 

 

We are now offering a new line of wet-ends called the Piranha that have 8 mounting legs instead of the typical 4 leg style. This will allow you to clock the wet-end into 8 different positions including those 45 degree angles that Sundance and Jacuzzi brand spas used on their models for a number of years.

The wet end for this pump can be adjusted to all these positions, so you can more easily make a replacement to the volute of your spa pump. Reducing the number of 90′s is always a good idea for decreased resistance in your spa system.

Here’s the new offering of Sundance Spa Pumps

PirWE20

Complete Sundance Wet End for 4.0/ 2.0 Hp Pumps.
Contains: front and rear housing, 2.0 Hp impeller, o-ring, seal and screws.  For use on a 48 Frame Pump which Sundance used on 1998-2005.
Current Replacement Pump Wet End for these old part numbers: 6500-257, 6500-262, 6500-264, 6500-265, 6500-266, 6500-757, 6500-762, 6500-764, 6500-765, 6500-766, 6500-769, 6500-347, 6500-349.
Used on Sundance Spa Models: Altamar, Bahia, Calypso, Calypso II, Cameo, Certa, Chelsee, Hamilton, Hartford, Hawthorne, Majesta, Marin, Madison, Maxxus, Montego, Optima, Palermo, Telluride
Used on Jacuzzi Premium Spa Models: J-325, J-330, J-335, J-340, J-345, J-350, J-355, J-360, J-365, J-370, J-375, J-380, J-385

PirWE25

Complete Sundance Wet End for 4.2/ 2.5 Hp Pumps.
Contains: front and rear housing, 2.5 Hp impeller, o-ring, seal and screws.  For Use on a 48 Frame Pump which Sundance used on 1998-2005.
Current Replacement pump wet end for these old part numbers: 6500-254, 6500-257, 6500-260, 6500-261, 6500-262, 6500-263, 6500-264, 6500-265, 6500-268, 6500-754, 6500-757, 6500-760, 6500-761, 6500-762, 6500-764, 6500-765, 6500-768

Used on Sundance Spa Models from 1998-2005: Altamar, Austin, Bahia, Burlington, Calypso, Calypso I, Calypso II, Cameo, Camden, Capri, Caprio ST, Cayman, Certa, Corum, Cyprus, Hamilton, Hartford, Hawthorne, Madison, Marin, Majesta, Maxxus, Montego, Olympia, Optima, Palermo, Rio, Telluride.

Used on Jacuzzi Premium Spa Models: J-325, J-330, J-335, J-340, J-345, J-350, J-355, J-360, J-365, J-370, J-375, J-380, J-385

PirWE15

Complete Sundance Wet End for 1.5 Hp Pumps.
Contains: front and rear housing, 1.5 Hp impeller, o-ring, seal and screws. For use on a 48 Frame Pump which Sundance used on 1998-2005.
Current Replacement pump wet end for these old part numbers: 6500-122, 6500-135, 6500-259, 6500-258, 6500-293, 6500-759, 6500-758, 6500-793, 6500-345

BN50-15-PIR
6500-345, Sundance Spas Pump, 1.5 HP, 120 Volt 2 Speed. 1997-Present

Current Replacement for these old part numbers: 6500-122, 6500-135, 6500-259, 6500-258, 6500-293, 6500-758, 6500-759, 6500-793.
Used on Sundance Spa Models: Aspen, Bali, Cheyenne, Denali, Dover, Metro, Solo, Suntub, Tango, Tacoma, Vail

BN62-25-PIR
6500-341 & 6500-355, Sundance Spas, Jacuzzi Spas Pump. 2.5/4.2 HP Rated, 240 Volt, Replacement Pump for 1997-Present Sundance Spas and Jacuzzi Premium Spas.

Used to Replace: old part numbers: 6500-126, 6500-128, 6500-131, 6500-254, 6500-261, 6500-263, 6500-266, 6500-269, 6500-754, 6500-763, 6500-766, 6500-769
Used on SUndance Spa Models 1997-2011: Altamar, Bahia, Calypso, Calypso II, Cameo, Certa, Chelsee, Hamilton, Hartford, Hawthorne, Majesta, Marin, Madison, Maxxus, Montego, Optima, Palermo, Telluride
Used on Jacuzzi Premium Spa Models: J-325, J-330, J-335, J-340, J-345, J-350, J-355, J-360, J-365, J-370, J-375, J-380, J-385

Hottubworks Spa Community

May 6th, 2011 by

One of the most useful but underutilized parts of the site is the Spa Community section. This section could be found on the home page of www.hottubworks.com on the left side highlighted in blue or there is a link to each section below:

spa-community

Hot Tub Tool Box

How to Videos

Forum

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Hot Tub Tool Box section you will find helpful articles and walkthroughs on chemicals and installation of various hot tub parts including pumps, equipment, etc.

Under the How-to-Video section there are instructional videos on how to turn a wet end, install an equipment pack, etc. and there are also instructional videos and informational videos on a majority of the major items on our site.

One of the best parts about this section of the site is that some of the videos actually are demonstrated by our staff, including an information video on pre-filters told by me.

The forum section is helpful to find answers to questions that aren’t available through videos or to find answers to questions during our off hours.

The blog – well, you know about the blog – over 300 articles of interest to spa owners.

Also, as always, we are available by phone if you ever want to discuss any additional questions that you may have. I hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

~Nicholas