Spa Heater –Repair and Maintenance Guide

vita-spa-universal-u100-u200-heaterIf you live in a northern climate, or use your hot tub year round, then you will want to make sure it comes equipped with a heater. Note that some models, especially the plug and plays, do not come with a dedicated heater. While many 120 volt spas may come equipped with a heater, you will only be able to run the spa pump or the heater at any given time – not both together.

On the other hand, most 240 volt hot tubs come with heaters. To control the heater, you simply set your preferred temperature using the spa control panel. Hot tub heaters work in conjunction with your plumbing system, control panel and spa pumps. To keep your hot tub heater running efficiently for longer, follow these tips:

Spa Heater Maintenance

There are several things you need to be aware of to protect your heater. The first is poor spa water chemistry. It is important to regularly (2-3x a week) test your hot tub water with a water test kit or test strips. Keep the pH in balance –between 7.2 -7.8 – and adjust your water chemistry as needed. When your pH drops below 7.2, the water becomes acidic and can cause corrosion or rust on your metallic heater elements.

spa-heaterIf you live in an area with hard water containing lime or calcium, your heater elements may develop scale. This white coating of plaque will build up over time, causing your heater to work harder and eventually cause your heater to burn out. It is always a good idea to get a pre-filter for your hot tub if you live in a hard water area.

Air can also cause issues for your hot tub heater. Low water flow, air bubbles or air inside the heater chamber can mean a shorter lifespan for your spa heater. You will want to ensure that you don’t have low water flow issues.   Check your control panel for messages and regularly clean your spa filter.


Spa Heater Specifications

Despite proper maintenance, there will come a time when your spa heater will need replacement (generally after 8 years). This may occur after it stops heating properly or does not heat at all. You can use an electric meter (available at any hardware store) to test for short circuits or resistance on the heater body or terminals where the wires connect or, better yet, get a repair tech to check out the problem.

There are both high flow heaters and low flow heaters built into hot tubs, depending on what brand and model you have. You will want to get the correct replacement heater since it is part of your entire plumbing system and the wrong replacement will cause further issues down the line. Check the label on your heater for the stats you need to order a spa heater replacement online. The important factors to duplicate are the size and electric specifications (voltage, wattage, amperage, etc.). The most popular hot tub heaters are the 4.0 Kw and the 5.5 Kw universal heaters. However, you also need to match the wattage (1.0/4.0/5.5 etc.) and the voltage (110,120, 220 or 240) so you are choosing the correct heater for your spa.

spa-heater-troubleshootingHot Tub Heater Troubleshooting

Before you replace your spa heater, make sure there isn’t a separate reason why your water is not heating sufficiently. Often, a dirty spa filter can cause water flow problems, so take out and rinse or replace the current filter if it is dirty. There could also be some issues with the plumbing, like clogs or partially closed valves.

If you have a low kW heater, it may have trouble heating the water sufficiently in very cold weather. Unfortunately, you cannot simply buy a bigger heater and install that instead. You have to replace the broken heater with the exact same one, since adding a stronger heater could cause a fire, burn out circuit boards or simply not work.  Invest in a thicker cover to help prevent heat loss so the spa will retain more heat when not in use.

Spa Heater Replacement

If your water is stone cold, then check that the circuit breaker or GFCI has not tripped.  See if there are any error codes on your control panel. Change settings by entering a higher temperature to see if the heater kicks in.   It could be that only the internal heater element is broken, which is cheaper to replace than the whole heater. However, you would have to know how to safely install it and understand it is more difficult to do properly. If your heater is old, it is better to replace the whole thing. A new heater will be more efficient and have newer sensors.  It is easy to replace as long as you order the correct replacement heater.

spa-heatersOpen up your spa cabinet to look at the brand of your spa pack (which is the control pack and heater together). Generally, all equipment will have a label so you can read the brand and the specifications. If you can’t find or read the label, you should still be able to see the information imprinted on the heater unit itself. You will want to take the physical measurements of the heater to make sure it is the same size.

When you are ordering your heater, check if you need any union o-rings, hi-limit or pressure switches. Always make sure that you shut off the power to the spa and close up valves before you try to remove the old heater.

If you are unsure which replacement spa heater to order, then simply send a photo of your heater label/heater along with the dimensions and model of your spa to: info@hottuboutpost.com. We will send you back a ling to order the correct heater for your spa make and model.  We have discounted prices on all the most popular models including Gecko, Balboa, HydroQuip, Hot Spot, etc. You can also find spa heaters by hot tub brand. We also carry spa packs, controls packs, O-rings, and other hot tub spare parts, so there is no reason to be left out in the cold!

Tips to Keep Your Emerald Spa Running Longer

emerald-spas-199chottubThe Emerald Spa Corporation produces great hot tub brands including Great Lakes, Polynesian and, of course, Emerald Spas. They have been making spas in Michigan for over 30 years. Their popular series include the superior Manor Luxury series, the mid-range Estate Deluxe series and the affordable Chateau Classic Series. Their spas range from 4 to 8 person, and 30 to 70 jets.

Like most spa builders, many of the hot tub components are purchased from other manufacturers. For instance, jets, filters and pillows are generally from manufacturers that specialize in those parts.  Some parts, like filters, will need to be changed often – usually every year. An ozone generator generally lasts up to 3 years.  A spa pump may last anywhere from 5-10 years. How long your spa components last will depend on several factors, including usage, age, water chemistry, extreme weather conditions, etc.

There are a few tips you can follow to keep your Emerald Spa running longer. Water chemistry is very important to protect your family and your spa equipment. Test water regularly and maintain pH levels between 7.2 and 7.6.  You need a sanitizer, like bromine or chlorine, to kill bacteria. However, there is another product, called Ahh Some, that will help remove dangerous bacteria and biofilms from the pluming. Using Ahh Some every 4-6 months will help keep your water safer and softer, and prevent calcium carbonate buildup on the flow through heater elements. Using mineral sticks can also help reduce chemical usage by up to 50%.

emerald-spas-whirlpoolspa-6personspaEmerald spa pillows can deteriorate over time as they soak in the chemical water day after day. Luckily, they are easy to replace – even if you are not particularly handy.  Hot tub covers also deteriorate over time, being exposed to weather conditions on the outside half, and chemical fumes on the inside. Always leave the spa cover off for at least 15 minutes after adding chemicals to the water. When the spa is not in use, keep the cover on and locked in place.

Filter maintenance is crucial for proper water balance and water flow through your plumbing system.  Take the filter out once a week and rinse it with a hose.  Once a month, let it soak overnight in a cleaning solution.  Keep a spare filter on hand to replace the dirty one. Throw filters out when the fabric becomes frayed or they remain dark grey in color.

Change your spa water every 3 months or so, provided you are keeping it balanced.  Thoroughly clean the spa and wipe inside the larger jets.  Pillows and spa covers can be cleaned with a soft cloth and cover cleaner.   Check inside the spa cabinet for leaks or signs of calcification each time you drain the spa.  Pay attention to any messages – like flo or heat, that appear on your control panel.

emeraldspas-chateau-125-coverYour spa has many plumbing components, including hoses, manifolds, elbows, suctions and jets. There are many types of jets – Eurojets, turbo, roto, dual roto, directional, etc. Depending on your spa model, you may have multiple spa pumps, a heater, an air blower, and ozone generator or a circulation pump. All spas will also have a circuit board and topside controls.  In other words, there are a lot of components that are required to turn a spa shell into a heated hydrotherapy hot tub. Fortunately, you can buy replacement Emerald Spa parts online. Companies like Hot Tub Outpost are authorized dealers that can find you all of the hot tub repair parts and accessories that you need.  They ship anywhere in the USA as well as Canada and Europe. Save time and money on your replacement Emerald hot tub parts with easy, secure online ordering: http://www.hottuboutpost.com/emerald-spa-parts

Save on Baja Spa Parts and Pillows!

baja spa partsBaja Spas was based in Tucson, Arizona and Salisbury, North Carolina, but the company was sold and no longer manufactures hot tubs. However, there are still a few online spa supply stores that carry replacement Baja spa parts, so you can keep your hot tub running.

Baja Spas made many hot tubs since they started manufacturing back in 1972.  Like most spa manufacturers, they bought hot tub components from parts manufacturers. For instance, many of the Baja hot tubs used Hydro Quip spa control systems, while other models had Balboa controls. The equipment chosen by all spa manufacturersvaries – based on series, type of spa and year of manufacture. For instance, in their luxury lines, spa builders will often add features that upscale consumers prefer – like deluxe topside controls, stainless steel jets, 2 speed spa pumps and ozone water purification systems. Budget spas will have more basic components to keep the cost down.

Baja Spas made a series of Plug and Play hot tubs, which required no special installation. These had less equipment and fewer functions compared to their 240 volt spas. Baja Spas also had a Performance XS series, with upgraded features like 5 HP spa pumps, ozone purification systems, stainless steel heaters and circulation pumps. Baja Spas’ luxury line was called the Whitewater XS series, and these generally had 2 or more spa pumps, additional jets, ozone water purification systems, air blowers, upgraded lighting and cushioned pillows.

Many components that were used in Baja Spas are still being produced by the parts manufacturers.  It helps if you know your spa name and the year it was manufactured. This can often be found on your spa warranty/manuals or inside your spa on a manufacturer’s label.

Even if you can’t find your spa serial number and manufacture’s info, you can still find details for some of your spa components. For instance,if you need replacement spa pumps, blowers or other equipment, then look for the label on the equipment you have now. The label will give you the specs you need to order the right replacement part.  Jets often have a part number stamped into the plastic. Even if you can no longer find the same brand, you can find suitable replacement spa pumps, jets and ozone generators that will fit your Baja Spa.

Other parts were proprietary for Baja Spas. These include their pillows, their topside controls with the Baja Spas overlay, etc.  These items have become particularly difficult to find.  There are only a few spa parts suppliers that still have stock on these parts.

baja spa pillowsOur advice- Hot Tub Outpost seems to have the best supply of Baja Spa parts and pillows. They also have part matching technicians, so you can send photos of the parts you are looking to replace, along with details, and they can send you links so you order the right ones. Simply send your requirements to info@HotTubOutpost.com or search the internet for other dealers that still offer great deals on Baja Spa parts.

Buy Emerald Spa Parts Online for Less!

emerald spa replacement partsEmerald Spa Corporation, located in Michigan, is the manufacturer of several hot tub brands including Emerald Spas, Polynesian Spas and Great Lakes Spas.   They are no longer making Emerald Spas, and have sold the hot tub molds to another manufacturer.  However, you can still buy Emerald Spa parts online for less.

Most manufacturers, Emerald Spas included, buy hot tub components from other manufacturers and put them together while building your spa.  For instance, they may buy topside controls from Balboa Instruments, spa packs from Gecko, filters from Pleatco and spa pumps from Sta-Rite.   The manufacturers they buy from may change over time, so that is why a spa serial number or model and date of manufacture is important when trying to replace certain components on your hot tub.

emerald hot tub spasSince Emerald Spas made 3 different series, there are different parts and components for each.  A smaller spa will generally have a smaller heater and fewer jets than a large spa.  For instance, in the Emerald Spas high end Manor Luxury series, many components – like jets and topside controls, were upgraded.  Emerald also made the mid-range Estate Deluxe series and the budget Chateau Classic Series.

So the good news is – despite the spas not being made anymore – you can still find all the parts you need.   The trick, however, is to find the exact replacement parts that fit your spa.

Some components, like spa pumps and air blowers, have labels on the equipment that contain all of the important specs – like voltage, frame size and horsepower rating.  While you do not necessarily have to buy the same brand of pump, you will need to match the specs for the equipment.

Some parts, like jets or filters, may have a stamp within the plastic that identifies that part number.  If you are not sure of what part to order, you will want to deal with an authorized Emerald Spa parts dealer that can help ensure you order the right replacement parts.

emerald spa partsFor example, Hot Tub Outpost provides a search box at the top of each page of their website where you can enter a part number or part description.  If you still can’t find what you are looking for, you can send a photo along with detailed description and measurements to info@HotTubOutpost.com, and one of their part technicians will find the Emerald Spa part you need.  If you know your spa serial number (from warranty papers or as written inside the cabinet, then they can check via computer to see which components your spa has and send you the links to order.

Regardless of the brand of spa you have, certain components take more wear and tear and need to be replaced more often.  Filters generally need to be replaced each year and ozone generators every other year.  Pillows tend to deteriorate as they are sitting in water, but deterioration will happen much more quickly if the water pH is not in balance.  If the pH is too low, this acidity may also cause the plastic on your spa jet tabs to wear out more quickly, requiring replacement jets.

To decrease the amount of repairs or replacement parts you need to buy, proper water and equipment maintenance is necessary.  Nonetheless, some hot tub components will need replacement over time, and a good internet source is your best bet to save both time and money.

Find Replacement Parts for Your Home Depot Hot Tub!

home depot spa partsSo you got a great deal on a hot tub from Home Depot. While this mega chain has thousands of parts in stock, they do not specialize in repair parts for the hot tubs they sell. This is because there are simply too many components that go into a hot tub.

Home Depot sells several different brands of spas, and the selection varies state by state and online offerings.  Some of the lines they carry include the following:

  1. Aqualife Spas
  2. Aqua Rest Spas
  3. Aston Hot Tubs
  4. Canadian Spa Company
  5. Comfort Line Products
  6. Home and Garden Spas
  7. Lifesmart Spas
  8. QCA Spas
  9. Starlight Hot Tubs
  10. Spa in a Box

Hot tub manufacturers buy many of their components from spa parts manufactures, and these will vary from company to company and even within a brand. For instance, some budget spas will have more standard equipment than the luxury line from the same manufacturer. For jets alone, there are thousands of variations – between size, color and style.

It is a good idea to write down your spa make, model, year and serial number to keep for future reference when you require repair parts. You can also find labels on the spa equipment that will give you the specs for the replacement part you need.

There are many big spa parts suppliers, like Balboa, Gecko, Waterway, Pentair, Lucite and others. However, these companies do not sell their products to the general public.

So what do you do if you need to find replacement parts for your Home Depot hot tub? You turn to an online hot tub parts supplier that can help you find the correct part you need at a great price.

Some online dealers only carry replacement parts for a specific brand of hot tub or have a limited selection of parts.  You will want to go to an online parts superstore – like Hot Tub Outpost – that has thousands of parts for all makes and models of spas.  They can find you replacement spa parts for pretty much any make and model.  To find your Home Depot spa parts online, you can enter the part number or description into their search box, or browse through the categories.  If you still can’t find the part you are looking for, you can send a photo and description of what you need to their part matching techs. They will email you back a link to the exact part you need to order. That way, you know you are getting what you need.

home depot spa pumpOf course, the Hot Tub Outpost also has some parts and accessories that are generic across all brands of spas. These include spa chemicals, aromatherapy fragrances, cover lifters, cleaning tools, safety rails, etc.

To truly get all the items you need for your hot tub, you have to go to a hot tub supply specialist. Finding a quality one online will save you time and money over shopping at the brick and mortar stores.

Pool Supplies Online

pool parts and accessoriesSwimming pool season is here again and pool supplies can make summer
fun even more enjoyable.

From pool floats and accessories to chemicals and patio related items
and furnishings, the Hot Tub Outpost now has a nice selection of pool
and patio gear and supplies.

Pool pumps, filters and automatic pool cleaners are what keeps the
swimming fun active by keeping the pool working and clean.

Hot Tub Outpost has a swimming pool section with pool pumps, filters
and pool toys too.

Start the summer with a splash by getting all the equipment checked
and working properly. Water balancing in the spring is essential to
getting a good start on the season with respect to water quality.

pool suppliesYou can order pool chemicals online too and save the trip to the
store. Get great deals, free shipping and pay not tax in certain
states when ordering online.

Follow Hot Tub Outpost on facebook for news on more pool equipment
arriving for the season.

Spa Pumps Online

spa pump parts onlineOrdering a replacement hot tub pump online is easy if you know a few things about the existing pump.

First, you will get free shipping on most pumps (they can be expensive to ship because they are heavy).

To order a pump, check the label on the existing pump.

Is the pump 1 or 2 speed?

Is it 48 frame or 56 frame?

What is the voltage?  120v or 230v?

What are the connection sizes 1 1/2″, 2″, 2 1/2″?

Will the wet end orientation line up with your existing plumbing?  Most wet ends on through-bolt type pumps can be rotated in 90 degree increments in case you need to line it up once you receive the replacement pump.

hot tub spa pumpsIf you know the brand and model, you can replace it with same or newest model. But there are many compatible pumps with existing brands as long as the specifications are right.

Check the amperage ratings for low and high speed on the pump label. If the amp draw is similar on the replacement pump and the other specs match, then it may be a good match.

Hot tub pumps are made by several different manufacturers including Waterway, Aqua-Flo/Gecko, Pentair and others.  Note that some outfits may send you a cheap motor with a brand name wet end, so be sure to shop at reputable online retailers such as Hot Tub Outpost.  When you see a Waterway pump, you know you will be getting the correct replacement model and not some puzzled together pump parts.    If you really need to save money, HTO also offers off-brand name pumps, but then you will be able to read about it in the description.

Besides main 1 and 2 speed pumps, you can also get circulation pumps online. These are the 24 hour circ pumps that keep the water flowing 24/7.  They are made by Laing, Gecko and others.

Replacement Spa PumpsNeed just the wet end or impeller, you can buy spa pump parts online too.  If you don’t see the pump you need, ask!  There are thousands of them and the big outfits can get you most any part.

Save time and money getting replacement spa parts online and get free shipping too!  Pay no tax on online purchases too depending on what state you are in.

Spend less time running around and more time enjoying your hot tub.

Hot Tub Air Blower Replacement

Hot tub air blowersGet a replacement spa blower online whether you need a 1HP, 1 1/2HP or 2HP blower.

Before replacing a blower, be sure the old blower does not have water in it, or you may have the same problem with the new blower.

Generally, there are 2 lines of defense when it comes to avoiding water getting into the spa blower.

First, there is a Hartford loop which is a 180 degree spa plumbing setup with the piping/hose going very high – ideally above the water line and mounted under the spa cabinet, attached to the rest of the plumbing.

After the loop, there is also an air check valve in the plumbing before it hooks up to the blower.  This is another safety mechanism to prevent water from getting into the blower.

If the check valve has failed, it will need to be replaced before replacing the blower.

Spa blower cords come with different connectors. The most popular types are the 4 pin AMP cord (usually white) and the mini-J&J connectors or Gecko In.Link connectors.

Another thing to watch when replacing a blower is whether it is a 120v or 230v blower.

Blowers are fairly easy to replace. They plug into the circuit board or spa pack directly.  They are usually screwed down to the spa floor, a mounting block or even an upright post with the air exhaust facing down.

The connection is often 1 1/2 inch air hose.

Replacement Hot Tub Air BlowerSome spa companies such as QCA Spas use the blower to force air into the venturi ports of the water jets. This creates a turbo effect where the air from the blower assists the water jets and creates a volcanic eruption inside the spa.

Some aromatherapy systems also use the blower air to introduce fragrance into the air injectors in the spa.

Find the right replacement hot tub blower online at Hot Tub Outpost U.S.A.

Discount Spa Chemicals Online

replacement spa chemicalsWhy run around from store to store wasting gas and time when you can comfortably order replacement hot tub chemicals online?

With online shopping, you get access to an immediate and huge selection of hot tub chemicals, fragrances, filters and other maintenance accessory products.

Get free shipping when you buy enough chemicals to put you over the free shipping threshold.  The prices are great too because online merchants can offer you lower prices than high-overhead retail stores.

The retailer is a great place to go to buy your hot tub if you want to try out the individual spas by sitting in them, but no reason to drive all the way to some retailer for a bottle of test strips. Chances are they don’t have every filter in stock either.  The warehouses of online merchants are much larger than the floor space in some retail store, so you have a wider selection of in-stock, ready to ship hot tub chemicals and accessories.

Don’t forget to buy all you need at the same time so you get free shipping.

Hot Tub spa chemicalsGet bromine tablets, granular chlorine, shock treatment, pH plus and minus, test strips and even fragrances or foam down. Make a list and then order up!

Your shipment will be on its way fast and you can spend more time enjoying your spa and the people around you.

Here’s to crystal clear water and beautiful hot tub evenings. Get your replacement spa chemicals at the Hot Tub Outpost.

American Made Hot Tubs, Infrared Saunas and Spa Parts

American brands infrared saunaSome may call it national pride and Donald Trump may even tax companies who try to do business in Mexico or China rather than the States, but here at Hot Tub Outpost, we try to offer a wide selection of American made hot tubs, infrared sauna and spa parts.

When it comes to infrared saunas, the main line of Therasauna is the only infrared sauna manufacturer we are aware of that is 100% made in the U.S.A.  These quality saunas are built in Iowa and use U.S. made heaters and components.  Most infrared saunas on the market are made in China or Korea.  Get an American built quality infrared sauna with a patented control system that maintains infrared output constantly. Not a cheap thermostat that shuts off when the cabin reaches temperature, forgoing any benefit of infrared technology.

Choose from the Hot Tub Outpost brand spas or QCA Spas made in the good ole’ U.S.A. by American workers (all legals).

When it comes to spa parts, we offer American brands like Balboa and Waterway.  Therm Products is a great quality heater manufacturer and hot tub ozonators are made by Del Ozone and other American brands. Oh beautiful for spacious skies and hot tub parts and supplies made in America!

Some companies (especially in the infrared sauna space) try to put American names on their products, but end up importing part or all of them from China.

Even the wood which can contain toxins, is a sore spot when it comes to infrared cabins. The Therasauna main line of saunas uses Aspen wood from North America (that is not allergenic like some of the other woods such as cedar or even hemlock).

Martha Stewart isn’t the only one wanting to make products in the U.S.A.  Americans have suffered a poor economy and job losses.  Even though jobs are coming back, the real unemployment number is alot worse with many Americans removing themselves from the workforce and trying to go it alone.

Sometimes American built may cost a little more, but quality has its price and there are American workers and materials behind each and every U.S. made product.

Therasauna infrared saunaWant a little math lesson?   Let’s say 300,000,000 Americans reallocate only 1 dollar a day by spending 1 dollar less on foreign-made goods and 1 dollar more on American-made goods. That comes to $30 per month, per person. After one year, that adds up to $109,500,000,000. What could the real, productive American economy do with an extra $109.5 billion? How about 2,737,500 new jobs paying $40,000 per year?

So buy American at companies that value home-grown technology – from Hot Tub Outpost.