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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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’
Hot Tub Works