One of the best things about owning a hot tub is soaking in the warm water. If your spa is not heating properly, then there are a few things you can check to determine if you need a replacement spa heater.
Spa Heater Troubleshooting
The first question is whether the heater is producing any heat at all. It there is heat but the water is not getting as hot as you want it to be (or to the temperature you set) then there are several things you can try. One very common issue is a water flow problem. This may show up on your control panel as ‘FLO’. This means that the water is not properly flowing through the plumbing system. Since your heater is part of the plumbing system, this could be the cause for the low water temperature. You will want to take your filter out and thoroughly clean it, or pop in a new replacement spa filter. This should help the flow problem, unless you have clogged plumbing or partially closed valves. Low water flow, air bubbles or air that gets into the heater chamber can all cause issues that may mean heater repairs are required.
The other thing to consider is temperature: If you have a lower rated heater, i.e. 1 kW, it may not be sufficient to heat your spa water in cold weather. Unfortunately, you can’t just buy a bigger heater and pop it in. The whole system is designed with the current size heater, and a larger one could cause worse issues – like burning out your circuit board or causing overheating or even a fire. To get around this restriction, you can try positioning the spa indoors or in an enclosure. You can also buy a thicker spa cover to help trap the heat when the spa is not in use.
If no heat is being produced, but the spa is getting power, then either your heater element or the entire unit is malfunctioning. If you have a tech or know a lot about spa repairs, you could try to replace just the broken interior elements. If you aren’t an expert, then this will be quite difficult and can be risky. It is better to buy a complete new unit. If your spa is over 8 years old, then it is about time for a new heater anyways.
Over time, your metallic heater elements can rust or corrode due to hard elements in the water or poor water chemistry. If there is scale or build up, your heater has to work harder and will work less efficiently. Usually heaters will burn out after 8-10 years. You can help protect your spa heater by regularly testing the water and keeping the pH between 7.2 and 7.8.
Hot Tub Heater Replacement
When it comes time to replace a hot tub heater, you want to make sure you get the exact same one. You will need to look in your spa cabinet and locate the heater in the spa pack. Take a photo of it or note the brand. The most popular ones include Balboa, Gecko, HydroQuip, etc. The most common size heater is a 4.0 KW or a 5.5 KW., but make sure you read the wattage and order the same rating as your current one. Also check the voltage (120 volt, 240 volt, etc.) to make sure you get the same. All spa equipment has to be labeled, so the specifications are easy to determine. You also want to make sure that the replacement heater is the same physical size, so you will want to measure its dimensions.
The easiest way to order a replacement spa heater at a discount is by sending a photo of your label/heater to the Hot Tub Outpost online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your make/model of spa and any dimensions or other information. They will send you back a link for the exact spa part you need at a discounted price. Remember to always turn off all power to the spa and have a qualified tech do the repairs.
Happy hot tubbing!