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!

Does Your Hot Tub Need a New Heater?

replacement spa heaters onlineLooking for a place to unwind and release the tension that has been building up in your muscles and joints? Your very own hot tub is the perfect retreat is to come home to. Sitting in a the warm, bubbling waters of your tub can be all that’s needed to get rid of all the tightness in your body that’s brought about by mental or physical stress.

But what happens when you step into the tub only to realize that it’s not even warm?  Over time, some of the components in your hot tub will need repairs or replacement.  A spa heater is a key element as soaking in the hot water is what provides a lot of stress release and helps relax the muscles.  So you will need to troubleshoot if your spa is not heating.

Here are some reasons why your hot tub water isn’t hot:

The Element Needs to be Replaced

Sometimes the problem can be as simple as needing a new element for the spa heater. If this is the case, you’re lucky, because replacing an element is easy and very affordable.

The Filter Cartridge Needs to be Cleaned or Replaced

Another relatively simple problem to fix is the filter cartridge. This component needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis and replaced every year or so, depending on usage and maintenance.  A spa filter can quickly build up with dirt and debris, and become clogged to the point that it limits optimal flow of water to and from the spa pump. Some equipment may stop working when there is a flow problem.

The Pump Isn’t Working Properly

There may be times when other components, like the pump, are faulty, causing the hot tub water to remain cold. Your pump needs to be running in order for the spa water to heat up.

replacement spa heatersYour Heater Needs to be Replaced

When you’ve tested all other components and none of them seem to be the culprit, it’s time to check the heater. However, diagnosing what the problem is can be a challenging process which should be dealt with by a professional, as you’re dealing a component that uses electricity and water – a dangerous combination.

The good news is that you can quickly and easily buy spa heaters online that are both affordable and of high quality. And at The Hot Tub Outpost, you get great prices and free shipping with orders over $95 – so heaters ship free!

Find a wide range of replacement spa heaters online, along with hot tub pumps, replacement filters, filter cleaner, chemicals, hot tub covers, spa accessories and more. Visit www.HotTubOutpost.com for all your hot tub needs.  When your spa can no longer be fixed and needs to be replaced, they also sell discount hot tubs at great prices.