Common Hot Tub Heater Problems and Solutions

by Jon Nunan

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A very desirable addition to any home and a great place to relax, a hot tub in good working order is truly a wonderful thing. If the spa heater is not functioning properly, however, you're basically left with a good place to wash a dog, and not much else. There are a few different reasons why a hot tub doesn't get hot, and some of them could be easier to fix than you think.

Clean your Filter Cartridge Regularly
Many times heating problems have nothing to do with the hot tub heater and everything to do with a dirty filter. Keeping your filter clean makes a huge difference in the tub's operation. Follow the maintenance instructions that came with the unit, or, if those instructions aren't available, the manufacturer may very well have an online guide. If your hot tub sees a lot of traffic, you may need to clean the filter cartridge more often. This is a very common solution to heating problems, especially slow heating problems, and one that could save you a service bill.

Home Remedies when there's no Heat
If your tub isn't heating up at all, there are a few things that you can check that, once again, have nothing to do with the spa heater itself. Sometimes, for one reason or another, the hi-limit switch for your unit can trip. If you can locate the switch you can turn it back on; however, if it keeps tripping off, you probably have a larger problem.

For gas hot tub heaters, it is possible for the pilot to go out. If you have the manual for your spa, you might want to consult it not only to locate where the pilot light is, but what the proper procedure is to put it back on.

Other Hot Tub Heater Problems
A problem that actually occurs with a hot tub heater is usually best dealt with by a spa heater specialist. Diagnosing what the problem really is can be quite a process, and, unless you have some experience, it is probably not a good idea to go pulling out parts. Remember, you're dealing with a piece of machinery that uses large quantities of both electricity and water. When these two elements get together in the wrong way, the results can be extremely hazardous.

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Spa Heater Replacement
The hot tub heater is, like many other parts of the tub, often not brand specific. Basically, finding replacement parts is done by comparing what the piece looks like to others and finding one that best matches the damaged part in appearance as well as in voltage and kilowatt rating.

Working on a hot tub is a bit like working on a foreign car in the respect that even though you might be able to identify what is probably wrong, special tools and a seasoned touch are generally necessary to make sure the job's done right. In some places, you need a special certification to work on a spa. In any event, an investment as big as a hot tub deserves to be well taken care of. A working knowledge of spa mechanics and an experienced hand are certainly worth a few extra dollars.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.