hot tub always dies

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  #1  
Old 05-03-06, 01:41 AM
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hot tub always dies

my hot tub always dies.

there is this little red button that trips out a lot of the time and you have to go out and push it back in basically once a day to make it heat up.


and sometimes, like now, even if you push the button in, the heat light won't go on. and after a few days of screwing with it (tripping the gfci and turning it off and on) it'll come back to life.

its pretty old and has been worked on many times...

1)i'm curious what this little trip switch might be? can i bypass it, or tape i down. the unit has another gfci on it and is actually pluged into a gfci protected outlet.


2) how does the electrical heat unit work? does it have a filiment in there like a water heater fillament? is there any risk of electrocution from that? could i put a few of these fillaments in series so it heats up on demand?

3) i've heard there are gas hot tubs that you heat up on demand and they heat up real quick? how does that work? do they use boilers? if so, is there rust?


thanks a lot for the long read,
max
 
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  #2  
Old 05-03-06, 05:35 AM
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If the reset keeps popping, you have some type of electrical problem. It could be the unit itself or even a weak reset. You really need to find out what the problem is. Good luck.
 
  #3  
Old 05-03-06, 05:29 PM
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You did not say what brand spa you have... In my spa the "little red buttons" are for high limit temperature and can trip under different circumstances. Maybe one of these situations is similar to your problem:

1. My spa has two pumps. A small one runs all the time to filter the water and the larger pump is for the jets. The spa is very well insulated and if you leave the jets running (big pump) with the cover on the friction of the water flowing through the pipes will heat it to a dangerous level. This heating will occur without the heater being on, so there is an independant sensor that will kill all power to the spa if the water gets over 120 degrees.

2. My spa has a high temp. sensor in the heater chamber. If the heater is on with no water flowing through it than it could damage the heater. This sensor will trip if my small circulate pump is not working.

3. Either of these high limit switches will trip and kill all power to the spa if the heater sticks "on" and heats the water to 120.

You cannot reset the high limit switches until the temperature probe has cooled so holding the button in or taping it down probably will not help.

---
Now for a couple of your other questions.

Electric spa heaters are similar to water heaters. There is always a risk of electric shock whenever there is elecricity around, but water heaters and spa heaters have been around a long time and are quite safe if wired properly.

You could put a couple heaters in series, but why?

There are gas fired water heaters and spa heaters. Generally gas heaters are used for pools or larger outdoor spas that require a lot of heat. Most modern heaters gas or electric are designed not to rust (usually made of stainless steel).

The big question is why you have a thing for heating on demand??? If you let the spa cool between uses you are throwing away all the energy/money used to heat the water so if you use the spa often it is better to insulate well and keep the water warm. If you do not use the spa often than you could get a monster sized heater that can bring it up to temperature quickly. Keep in mind that heating water quickly requires a larger and more exensive heater and you have to feed that large heater with a large electrical service or gas line. Again, when you let the water cool you are throwing away all the heat energy you just put in so make sure it's worth it.
 
  #4  
Old 05-06-06, 09:20 AM
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The little red button, about the size of a pencil eraser? It's a high limit switch that monitors the temp of the water in the heater. If too hot, it will trip. DO NOT bypass it. the more common causes of tripping on an old spa are, the high limit is bad, or the heater is NOT turning off right when the pump shuts down.... If the switch has in fact tripped, you should hear it click when you push it in (reseting it). And, it's normal for the button to wiggle a bit when not tripped.

Originally Posted by maxslomoff
my hot tub always dies.

there is this little red button that trips out a lot of the time and you have to go out and push it back in basically once a day to make it heat up.


and sometimes, like now, even if you push the button in, the heat light won't go on. and after a few days of screwing with it (tripping the gfci and turning it off and on) it'll come back to life.

its pretty old and has been worked on many times...

1)i'm curious what this little trip switch might be? can i bypass it, or tape i down. the unit has another gfci on it and is actually pluged into a gfci protected outlet.


2) how does the electrical heat unit work? does it have a filiment in there like a water heater fillament? is there any risk of electrocution from that? could i put a few of these fillaments in series so it heats up on demand?

3) i've heard there are gas hot tubs that you heat up on demand and they heat up real quick? how does that work? do they use boilers? if so, is there rust?


thanks a lot for the long read,
max
 
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Old 05-06-06, 09:52 PM
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thanks for the replys guys,

thats the red button Dr. Spa. the little one. it seems to trip every day (when the spa is working). any ideas on how i can troule shoot to find out if the problem is the switch itself or the heater/pump relationship?
 
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Old 05-09-06, 01:49 PM
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That limit switch (probably a therm-o-disc) will trip for one reason only. High heat. However, the heat could actually come from either or both of two sources. Hot water inside the heating tank is getting too hot, or the wire getting a little hot going through the switch. Probably a combination of both.

In my experience this is what happens... a heat element get a pin hole in it allowing a little moisture into the inner working of the element and that raises the amps slightly increasing the heat on the wiring, but not enough to trip the breaker. That combined with the high heat of the water itself is just enough to trip the thermodisc.

But everyone else is also correct in thier posts. Pump going off without the heater going off will trip it. Even if they go off together it will likely trip.

And thermodiscs do go bad... you should probably have about a 140 degree thermodisc on it. Does it say anywhere?
 
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Old 05-16-06, 12:04 AM
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i don't know if there's a way to put pictures in the post or not, lets see if this works...




if the picture doesn't show up here, here is the link:

" http://server6.theimagehosting.com/image.php?img=hottubpics.jpg "


i have a few questions for you mdtaylor, thanks for your info:

does the switch appear to be a thermodisc? if you can't tell i'll try to take it out and see.

there is no heating tank, but i assume i can take the heating element out of the metal tube its in. If i do would i be able to see the pin hole to determine if that is the problem or not. if not, how should i go about trouble shooting to see what i should do. or, should i just start replacing one thing at a time.

the pump definitely works, because i hear it running and the jets turn on. unless, could be running but not moving any water? the hot tub usually is quite dirty.
 
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Old 05-16-06, 12:33 AM
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one more tid bit. on the picture of the front face of the unit you may be able to see a little heating light on the top right.

when the hot tub is working and heating up this light is on. when the tub dies and we click the button, the light comes on.
sometimes the tub dies and we futs with it for days and then the light comes on.


so far, this time its been almost weeks and still the light has never come on.
 
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Old 05-16-06, 04:13 AM
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I can't see it well enough the determine the brand name (Thermodisc) but they all do about the same thing. Reset button, up to 4 wires attached to it (two load, two line), and it is attached to either a tank or tube usually at or near the topmost part of where the heating element is. Yours does not even appear to be attached to the tube with water in it. What is it mounted on?

If you removed the element you would not be able to see anything abnormal, probably. With the power off and wires removed you should get between 7-10 ohms resistance across the element terminals.

You say that it is usually pretty dirty? Do you keep the filter clean? A dirty filter means low flow with relates to higher temperatures in the heating chamber...enough to trip the high limit.

Many times there is also a by-pass. Some times not all the water goes through the heater. There may be a metered by pass that allows some water to NOT go through the heater. If that by-pass is stuck open then not enough water is being directed through your heater. Again, low flow = higher heat = tripping high limit. Yours does not appear to have a by-pass on it.

The mushroom looking thing appears to be an air blower.
 
  #10  
Old 05-20-06, 10:12 PM
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thanks md taylor.

well, the other day after your post, i went out to do some fiddling and the thing was hot!!! yea. so i decided to do some fiddling and see if i could get to the bottom of this..

-i checked the ohms on the heat element and it did come up at 10.1 ohms. does that mean the element does NOT have a pin hole and is ok? there's two power wires going to the element and two plain copper wires. one of the copper wires goes to the cut off switch and the other seems to go to thermometer. its a disk shaped item mounted below the heat element and the out side of it is connected to the heating tube with a clear plastic hose.

-i do wash the filter, but dirt still seems to settle on the bottome of the tub and doesn't get cleaned by the filter.

-there is no bypass on this tub.

-the heat cut off switch is an INVENSYS brand , max temp 122 degrees.


when i put it all back together, it wouldn't power up. i can't push resume on the gfi. does that mean the gfi is dead? its like its permanently tripped to TEST, and there's definitely current to the tub.
 
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Old 05-20-06, 10:12 PM
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---------------------------------
 

Last edited by maxslomoff; 05-25-06 at 08:51 PM.
  #12  
Old 05-20-06, 10:12 PM
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Unhappy

it rained the other day and when i came out to turn the garrage light on, i noticed the GFCI was tripped.

the garrage is on the same circuit as the hot tub and there is a gfci on the house befor the whole circuit, and one gfci on the hottub. when i switched on the house gfci again, i saw the hottub plug and the extention chort ignite !!! something in the hottub was clicking really rapidly. i tripped the circuit and separated the plugs. i think the old plugs got rusted and caught the rubber on fire in a short. but what about the clicking in the hottub?

could any more damage have been done to the parts?
 

Last edited by maxslomoff; 05-25-06 at 08:55 PM.
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