Congratulations! You’ve invested in owning the affordable luxury of a hot tub, and now you and your family are enjoying all of its health and relaxation benefits. Of course you’re going to want to continue to enjoy your hot tub for many years to come, and that means maintaining it.

In an earlier blog we taught you all you need to know about how to properly clean your hot tub so that it remains hygienic and operates properly. Now, we’re going to look at hot tub troubleshooting for common problems so that you can ensure it will operate as it’s supposed to far into the future.

Something to note is that you don’t have to be tech savvy to solve some of the common problems that arise with regular hot tub use. You do have to be proactive. This blog will get you started, so you and your family can continue delighting in relaxing, therapeutic soaks for a long, long time.

A number of common hot tub issues have simple solutions you can handle on your own. So let’s take a look at the common problems that can arise with your hot tub and, before you panic about what it’ll cost to fix your spa, attempt a little Do-it-Yourself hot tub troubleshooting first.

Your Hot Tub Won’t Heat Up

Discovering your hot tub’s water is cold may be the most frustrating problem you can run into when you want to soak in your spa. The first hot tub troubleshooting task is to narrow down a potential source of the problem by finding out whether your water is staying cold or getting warm, then cooling down.

What to do if you determine that you’ve got no heat:

  1. Check your water level, look for obstructions in your circulation system, and wash or change your filter. As this is the fastest and cheapest solution, always try this first.

  2. If that doesn’t work then hit your heater’s reset switch or flip your heater breaker off and on. Sometimes the high limit switch shuts your heater off because the water got too hot or you have air trapped in your lines. Resetting the heater will get it going again.

  3. If you’ve just refilled your hot tub, you may have an airlock, which is when air gets trapped in your plumbing lines, and impedes the flow of water, which will keep it from heating up. Fortunately, fixing an air lock is a fairly easy task.

  4. If you tried these hot tub troubleshooting steps and there’s still no heat, you could have a bad heating element. If you’re comfortable with your abilities to troubleshoot your hot tub heater, you can remove the heating element and check to see if it looks burnt. If it needs replacing, you should hire a pro for the repair.

 What to do the water gets hot, cold, and then hot again:

If the hot tub’s water temperature is fluctuating widely you could have problems with water flow.

  1. First, clean your filter, looking for circulation blockages, and top off the water if necessary.

  2. Next, check to see if your pump turns on. The pump has to be running in for your hot tub to heat up. If the pump isn’t working, you may need to replace it.

  3. The problem could the heater itself. If the pump is working, and the heater is on, but the water still won’t stay at an even temperature, you may need to replace the heater.

  4. If the heater and pump are working check your thermostat and heat sensors. Your high limit switch has one or two sensors that shut off your heater if the water temperature gets too high. Malfunctioning or burnt out sensors can cause your heater to not correctly operate. Likewise, if your thermostat needs to be replaced, it won’t accurately trigger your heater to kick on when the water temperature dips.

  5. If you’ve done all these things, and still can’t diagnose and correct the problem, it’s time to bring in a pro.

Your Jets Aren’t Working

It goes without saying that for most people their favorite part of owning a hot tub is using the stimulating and massaging jets. Without working jets your hot tub is nothing more than a big bath.

As always when troubleshooting your hot tub try the easiest things first:

  1. Turn each of your jets to make sure they’re wide open.

  2. Check the jets for debris such as calcium buildup and, if necessary, clear them.

  3. You can also top off the water, clean your filter, and check for plumbing line clogs.

Another cause for failing jets is your hot tub pump isn’t working properly. You can check your pumps priming to verify it’s working properly. Then open the access panel and the airlock valve that is close to the pump. This will release air from the line, purge the system, and re-prime the pump which will enable more water to move through the jets.

Jet problems can also be a result of clogged filters or water intakes. Clean them regularly to improve water flow. The filters should be replaced quarterly.

Your Hot Tub Pump is Noisy

Noisy hot tubs tend to have one of two distinctive noises; either a grumbling noise or a high-pitched squeal.

If your hot tub pump is growling your pump is probably struggling for water. You should clear any clogs from your circulation system, top off your water, and make sure any valves near your pump are open.

Squealing sounds usually indicate bearings are worn out. You can continue using your pump safely, but the noise will only get worse. You can also try lubricating them, but eventually, you’ll have to replace the circulation pump.

 GFCI Breaker Keeps Tripping

Frequent GFCI tripping can be caused by a number of issues such as a ground fault problem, exposure to moisture, heater corrosion or damage, short circuits, or loose electrical connections. This problem means you could spend a significant amount of time troubleshooting your hot tub.

A malfunctioning hot tub GFCI breaker trip is easy to fix. At the same time, you need to be comfortable working with electricity to troubleshoot and repair this problem. If you are not comfortable, please call a professional.

Hot Tub Control Panel Displaying Error Codes

Although they show something is wrong, sometimes hot tub error codes can be confusing and don’t necessarily pinpoint the cause of the problem. The five most common error codes include:

  • FLOW: Appears when there is improper flow. You may also see it when your jets misbehave. You should check for blockages, clean or replace your filter and determine if the circulation pump is working.

  • OH: Appears when the water is too hot to use. Check your circulation system and filter. Also make sure that your pump is not running for very long periods. You may need to replace the temperature sensor. But if the display appears and your water is not hot, it is advisable to call hot tub experts.

  • DRY: Means insufficient water is getting to the heating element. You may have to top off your hot tub. Also, double check to make sure no debris is present in your circulation system before restarting.

  • COOL: Appears when the actual water temperature is 20 degrees lower than what you set it at. When you see this error put your hot tub cover back on and allow the heater to run for 24 hours.

  • SNA/SNB: Sensors A and or B might be going bad or the sensor circuit has problems. You may need to get a new sensor. Call an expert if you’re uncomfortable or unsure how to do it.

To Sum Up

When you’re ready to use your hot tub, but something has gone wrong, don’t forget to check the common-sense solutions first. Adding a little water and cleaning your filter can go a long way toward fixing a lot of hot tub bad behaviors. Most hot tub issues can be avoided with a few precautions and expert maintenance practices.

For issues that require expert troubleshooting, Crystal Waters Hot Tubs is always ready to step in and help. And, if you don’t have time or inclination for hot tub troubleshooting we’ve recently added a new service that could be just what you need – an affordable annual maintenance program that relieves you of the burden of worrying about replacing filters and keeping your hot tub in tiptop shape. Give us a call at 401-486-7486 or drop us a message to learn more!