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Spa Service & Troubleshooting Guide

If your spa is in need of repair and you live in the Bradenton/Sarasota or Tampa/StPetersburg area we can come to your home to fix it for you. To schedule a service call in the Bradenton/Sarasota area, please call 941-794-1678 or if in the Tampa/ St. Petersburg Area call 727-548-5297. Service calls cost only $65 + parts to repair or $35 for a trip fee just to diagnose without repairing. Before calling please read the following troubleshooting guide and perhaps you can find the solution and repair it yourself.

Disclaimer: It is best to have repairs done by a qualified service technician. This page is intended to be used for informational purposes only and NOT as a substitute for a qualified service tech. Below are some common spa problems and some solutions on how they can be fixed. I have also included a section of owners manuals and wiring diagrams I have collected over the years. If any of this information is useful to you or I was able to save you a service call, feel free to donate a dollar to help me keep this website up and running.

ME FIXING A SPA

Heat Problems

Spa Does Not Get Hot

If the spa is not getting hot, make sure the pump is circulating water. If the pump is not circulating water, the heater can't work. Next, check the heater indicator light. If the light is on, there is power to the heater. So, if the water is circulating and the heater indicator light is on, the problem is most likely the heater element. If the light is not on, the problem is most likely the thermostat, high limit (also called the overtemp), pressure switch or the flow switch. The problem could also be a faulty contactor or relay. To see if the problem is high limit, you need only push that button. It is usually red and marked as a "reset" button. If you push it and the light comes on, that was the problem. The cause could be a dirty filter, a relay, contactor, or thermostat that stuck. It could be that the reset itself is bad, ONLY if you are sure that the water NEVER got past 104 degrees. It is the high limit's job to trip out if the water temp. reaches over 104 degrees. If pushing the high limit reset button didn't fix the problem, try removing the filter. If the light comes on now, the problem was a dirty filter (very common). If the light does not come on, the problem is most likely the thermostat or pressure switch. At this point I would STRONGLY recommend calling me or a qualified service technician.

Water Gets Too Hot

One of three things normally cause this:
1) The pump was left on high speed.
2) The thermostat sticks.
3) A contactor or relay sticks.

If the water gets over 120 degrees, the problem one of the above but in addition to the problem, there was also a failure of the high limit.

 

Erratic Heat

Sometimes it may be difficult to control the heat...It's up one day then down the next. The problem is may be related to one of the previously mentioned problems. It may be as simple as the pump being wired backwards (and running the jets when it is in filtering mode) or that the temperature sensor or thermostat probe is not insulated enough and is also measuring air temperature. Most of the time the problem is just a faulty thermostat. or if equipped with a thermometer it could be that.

Pump Problems

Water Around Pump

This is usually a sign that the pump seal is leaking. This is one of the most common places for a leak. If the tub is losing water, look here first. Also check the unions and make sure that they are tight and not cracked.

Loud Noise From The Pump

If you hear grinding noises that are getting louder over time, this often means the pump bearings are going out. If the water is not circulating, or you have a noticeable lack of jet power, the problem could be a broken impeller or something trapped in the impeller. If the problem is the bearings, they can be replaced. In some cases, it makes more sense to replace the pump. If the pump is over 5 years old and the cost to replace is not much more than replacing the bearings, get a new pump. If you have a newer or an expensive pump, replace the bearings.

Pump Won't Run - It Just Hums

This problem could be caused by something caught in the impeller. Also,the bearings may have frozen up, you could have a bad capacitor, windings, or pump switch. If the shaft turns, there is something wrong with the motor itself.

Pump Won't Switch From Low To High Speed

This can be a problem in the pump motor, but most of the time it's the switch or relay in the spa pack. The problem can be as simple as the air tubing from the button to the switch being plugged or disconnected. Or if equipped with a touchpad, the "JETS" button on the pad could be defective.

Pump Runs But There Is No Water Flow

In this case there will also be no heat. The most common reason for this is an air lock in the pump. To fix this close the valve on the suction side of the pump. (closest to where the water enters pump) Then open the union (in front of the pump) It does not have to come all the way off just loosen it enough to let the air escape from inside the pump. After you hear the air and get water again tighten the union, open the valve and turn the system back on. The other causes of no flow could include dirty filter, stripped or broken impeller, plugged line or clogged impeller.Also make sure that all valves before and after the pump are open.

GFCI & Power Problems

GFCI Trips When Tub Is Turned On

The GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) trips because there is a short (or a perceived short) in the system. To determine what's causing the problem, unplug the pump(s), blower,heater, ozone generator, and anything else from the system. If the GFCI still trips, the problem is either in the circuit or the control box. If the GFCI doesn't trip, plug these things back in one at a time until the GFCI trips again. When it does, you've found the culprit. Most of the time, the ozonator or the blower will get water in them and cause the short. Another common reason the GFCI trips is when the heater element starts to go out. Loose wires, burnt wires and assorted other things can also make the GFCI trip. If your spa is brand new and is hooked up to 220 volts, and your GFCI breaker is kicking out, it may be wired wrong or is the wrong type breaker. For a diagram of how a to properly hook up a GFCI breaker for 220 volts check out this GFCI BREAKER HOOK UP DIAGRAM

GFCI Trips At Random Intervals

First, realize that this is the most frustrating of all problems encountered by service technicians. The problem can be anything from a loose wire to any one of the components in the spa. Also having more than one GFCI or any other household items on the same circuit as the spa can cause this problem. Try eliminating as many things as possible by following the guidelines above. If that fails... good luck. You can try tightening wires, replacing the GFCI, replacing spa parts and hope that you get lucky. Try determine if there is a pattern to when the GFCI trips. Then find some occurance that corresponds with the tripping. In most cases it is a short in the heater element, but it may be something strange like an appliance in your house coming on as the same time your spa is running. NOTE: Spas SHOULD be hooked up to a dedicated line with no other appliances or outlets hooked up inline with them.

No Power to Spa

First check the house breaker to see if it has tripped out, if so reset. If it continues to trip, use the guideline above to determine the cause of a short. If the breaker is not tripped, next test the GFCI on the control panel. Press the "TEST" button, if the "RESET" button trips out the GFCI is probably O.K. If it does not trip out, the GFCI needs to be replaced. Also disconnect power to the spa and check for any fuses. If you have a continuity meter you can check the fuse yourself, if not, you can always take it to a local hardware store to have it checked. Make sure you check the fuse before changing a GFCI because some units the power runs through a fuse before it goes to the GFCI giving the appearance that the GFCI is bad.

Leaks

Leaks can be one of the most expensive repairs you face. Generally, the majority of the expense is finding the leak. Here are some tips.
1) Check the equipment area. Especially, check under the pump. A seal leak is one of the most common leaks found. Other areas to look are around the heater, the pressure switch, and all the pipes and connections.
2) The fast way to find leaks (and it is by no means quick) is to use dyes. This method works best if the leak is quick.
3) The slow way is to let the water drop. Once it stops dropping ,look at what is at that level of the spa. Chances are that if the water stops dropping at a jet, that jet is the leaker. This is not always the case but it gives a good place to start looking.
4) To determine "type" of leak (on faster leaks), mark the water level and run system for 24 hours. Note how far the water dropped. Refill, and keep system off for 24 hours. Again, note how far the water dropped. If the water dropped the same amount on these tests, you have a vessel leak. If the water dropped more when system was on, you have a pressure leak. If the water dropped less when system is on, you have a suction leak.
5) Broken blisters and most surface cracks DO NOT LEAK.(See next section on repairing and cracks)

Blisters and surface cracks

If you notice some bubbles that petrude out from the acrylic surface, these are called "blisters". Blisters are pockets of air that have formed between the acrylic shell and the fiberglass backing. Sometime if left unattended, the blisters will "pop" leaving a crack and usually omitting a black inky substance. It is best to pop these blisters yourself before they rupture themselves leaving a sharp crack which could be dangerous if stepped on. To repair the blister you will need a couple of items: (1) A needle (2) A pair of vice grips (3) Some type of heat gun (You can use a hair dryer, but that will take too long to heat up) (4) Something to roll the bubble flat (such as a large battery or dough roller) (5) Some acrylic sealant (such as clear nail polish) To repair the blister first heat up the bubble with the heat gun until it becomes soft. Next using the vice grips, grip on to the needle and quickly poke a hole in the center of the bubble. Then if the bubble is still soft enough, (you may need to heat it up more) then roll the bubble flat with the roller getting all air and any substance out of it. Then after the bubble is dry you can coat the hole you left with some clear acrylic sealant. If the bubble as already cracked open ar for any other cracks, you may need to heat up any raised portions of the crack with the heat gun and roll them flat. Then fill with a clear acrylic sealant. If you wish to touch up the color of the crack you will need to find an acrylic based paint(s) that matches the color of your spa to paint over it. These paints can be found at most hobby shops or any place that does body work on cars or boats.

Electronic System Error Messages

The newer electronic systems will display error messages if there is a problem....The following are used by Balboa and Gecko, but everyone uses similar messages.

Lf

This is the message stands for Low Flow....This is usually a warning sign the the spa does not sense enough water getting through the heater, so this code will come up and shut down power to the heater element. Common causes are a dirty filter, low water level or a clog somewhere, possibly in the impellar or the circulation pump. So first step would be to check the water level and add water if necessary and then try removing the filters to see if the code goes away. If so, then you just need to clean or replace the filters. If the code persists, even without the filters in place, you may need a technician to come out and check for a clog in the impeller of the circulation pump.

dr or dry

These are the messages if the spa does not sense any water movement through the heater tube....Common causes for these codes would be if the circulation pump has stopped running or if it is air locked. So first listen to hear if the circulation pump is running or not. If not then it may be a bad pump. If you can hear the motor running but there is no water movement through the filters, then it is most likely air locked. (See Pump Problems - "Pump Runs but there is no water flow" section above). You may also be able to solve this by simply removing the filters and try sticking a garden hose down into the filter hole and turning it on full blast to try and force water through the pump while it is running to get the air out.

OH

This is the message for OverHeat....If the tub water reaches 112 degrees or the water in the heater reaches 118 degrees this message is displayed.  If you are getting this message and the water temperature in the tub is NOT at 112 degrees, the problem may be a dirty filter (not dirty enough to create a flo error).  The repair procedure for a False OH reading is to first replace the sensors.  If that does not work replace the board.

FLO (flashing)

This error occurs when there is power being sent to the pump, but the pressure switch is not activated.  It can occur due to a dirty filter, an air lock in the pump, a broken impeller or perhaps the pump itself is getting power but not running.   First thing to do if this error occurs is check for proper flow.  If you have proper flow and continue to get this message, recalibrate or replace the pressure switch.   If that does not solve problem Replace the board. (Note...when flashing Flo occurs spa will not heat) The most common reason for flashing flo is a dirty filter so remove filter and run system, that usually solves problem.

FLO (constant) or FLC

This occurs when the system is not sending power to the pump and the pressure switch is activated or stuck closed. To determine problem disconnect one wire from the pressure switch.  If system runs replace or recalibrate pressure switch.  If system still does not run replace the board.  (Note...with a constant flo the system will be "locked up")

HL,SN1,SN,or SN3

HL or SN1 (High limit sensor) and SN or SN3 (water temperature sensor) is not working.   To test this plug in a new sensor set, if system runs replace sensors.  If system does not run replace the board.  (Note...it is generally easier just to replace the sensor set rather than trying to replace a single sensor.

ICE

This just indicates that water temperature is below 40 degrees and the freeze protection has been activated. Freeze protection consists of running all pumps until temperature reaches 45 degrees.

COOL

This just indicates that the water temperature is 20 degrees below the set temperature and the heater has been activated.

ILOC

This error occurs when there has been "electrical noise" or possibly a power spike in the system.  Possible causes Ozone generator, loose connection, low power.  The most common reason is the ozone generator.

. . . (3 Flashing Dots)

This error code is used in most newer GECKO control systems. The three dots flashing means the heater has been deactivated by one of several things. It's meaning covers anything from a pressure switch not sensing enough water going through the heater tube or the pressure switch being stuck closed (see FLO or FLC), the spa has overheated, (see OH), or a bad sensor cord (see SN). Unfortunately you will have to try each one to see what the problem may be. To limit these choices down you will need to open up the main control box and look at the PC board. If there is a red light glowing somewhere on the circuit board then that would mean it is a hi limit problem. You you have reset the power to the spa and still get the flashing lights and light on the board then there is a problem with either the hi limit sensor or the PC board itself. So in that case you would try to replace the hi limit sensor first and if that did not work you would need a new board. If the light was not lit on the board, then you have a flow or pressure switch problem. To test this try turning on the high speed pump and see if the dots go away. Assuming there is enough water in the spa so the pump is flowing well out of the jets and the dots are still there, then that would mean the pressure switch is stuck closed. If the dots go away when you turn on the high pump, then that would mean the pressure switch is not closing. Most of the time these pressure switches can be adjusted so they have an adjustment wheel or screw on them. If the pressure switch was stuck you can try adjusting the pressure switch CLOCKWISE a turn or so (with power off to the spa of course.) If the dots are still there you can try another turn or so but if any more than that then I would just replace the switch. If the switch was not closing then you would do this process in reverse by turning the adjustment screw COUNTER-CLOCKWISE a turn or so. In most cases it is could be just low water level or dirty filters so always check this first.

 

For a complete alphabetical listing of all known error codes CLICK HERE

Owners Manuals & Wiring Diagrams

Below is a link that will take you to a page of owners manuals and wiring diagrams for spa made by Gulfcoast Spas, Regency Spas, Hydro Spa, Premium Leisure, Platinum spas and more and spa control manufacturers such as Balboa, Hydro Quip and Len Gordon.

OWNERS MANUALS & WIRING DIAGRAMS

 

E-MAIL ME Got A Question? E-mail me at spaguy@tampabay.rr.com or call 727-548-5297 or Cell #727-564-2297

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