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Chris' Spa Repair & Services


Spa Troubleshooting Guide

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.


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, 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. 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 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 Balboa error messages but everyone uses similar messages.


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)

This occurs when the system is not sending power to the pump and the pressure switch is activated. 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")

SN1 or SN3

SN1 (High limit sensor) and 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.  ( is generally easier just to replace the sensor set rather than trying to replace a single sensor.


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.


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


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.


E-MAIL ME Got A Question? E-mail me or call 727-548-5297 or Cell #727-415-2384

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