Troubleshooting Hot Tub Electrical Problems

Repairing hot tub wiringWelcome to the Hot Tub Works spa & hot tub electrical troubleshooting page, a Q&A on spa power problems. Today, we'll dive into some of the most frequent electrical issues our customers ask, and answer with some helpful troubleshooting tips and how to fix the problem. If you don’t see your question or answer, send us an email!

Timer No Longer Turns on Pump

We have an older spa with a timer control, it used to turn on my pump and heater but now nothing is happening, should i replace the timer?

That will depend on which control box your spa has. Most of the time the timer only controls the low speed pump - once its running the pressure switch will allow the heater to run if the t-stat says it needs to. You should also have a switch --Timer/thermostat -- , if you switch it over to thermostat control the low speed pump should kick on --if it doesn’t the problem may be in the pump and not the timer.

I checked the system out a little closer and found that the pump does run if you flip the mode switch over to thermostat. So is my timer the problem? Should i even worry about it? Let me know what you think.

You may want to pull out the spa 24 hr time clock, and inspect the terminals on the back side for corrosion or insect damage. These do go bad after many years outdoors. Also check that your timer is set to come on, with the tabs pulled out for the hours of operation. If it won’t turn on the pump in timer mode, then check that power is reaching the timer, if so then a replacement timer would be a good idea.

Cal Spa Trips the Breaker

I want to do a quick test on the motors to see if they work. Is there a protective device that prevents operation the spa if it has no water in it and if so would it trip the GFCI breakers. Is the CALZONE ozone generator a fragile piece of equipment that could break when the spa is moved to another location? While checking the wiring in the control box, I found the wires to the heating element had rusted away and prevented water heating. I removed the two wires that supplied the heating element because it could have made an electric path that triggers a ground fault. The 2 motors and other equipment should work without the heating element connected. I going to try to spin the motors with a screwdriver and see if the impellers are jammed. And I am going to unplug the ozone generator to see it that is causing the breakers to trip. Any other suggestions would be welcome.

There is a pressure or flow switch that would prevent the spa heater from coming on if there is no or little water flow going through it. It would not cause the breaker to trip. Usually if the breaker is tripping it could be the heater, pumps, blower motor, or ozone. You basically need to do a process of elimination to determine which component is causing the problem. If your spa has a blower and since it was recently moved I would disconnect that. A lot of times it can get water to the blower motor if the spa was tipped on its side. It very well could be the ozone as well; it could have gotten water to it while moving the spa. Replace the ozone check valve annually to prevent problems.

Tripped Breaker

I read an earlier post that appears to be a similar problem to mine but not exact. I have an older no-name spa that heats up great but gets to a point where the pump is running but the light to the heater shuts off and the breaker has to be reset to get the heater to come back on. The filter is clean, the water level is high and the water appears to be circulating normally. Could the problem be the Hi Limits switch gone bad?

Are you saying your house circuit breaker is tripping? Or are you referring to a mechanical high limit tripping after the heater has been on for a while? If you are referring to a mechanical high limit that trips then it is possible that it is bad. If the house circuit breaker is tripping, then you have a different issue than the high limit. If your house breaker is tripping, it could be bad. If you have an amp meter you should not measure more than 80% breaker rating when pump and heater are on. Without an amp meter, if you have another circuit with the same value breaker, they can be swapped and see if you have the same problem. If you have the same problem, it's with the spa.

Tripping Breaker in House

I just bought a refurbished Hot Springs Jetsetter and it heats up fine (using 115 v and plugging in with GFI Cord to outside outlet) but when I put the jets on it trips the breaker within a few minutes. It is on a 15amp breaker which is shared with a bedroom. Should I change that outlet to a dedicated breaker; maybe a 30 amp?

The Jet Setter should be used on a 20 amp circuit, when operating as 110V. A dedicated line or outlet is recommended. Most household outlet circuits are 15amp, but kitchen circuits are usually 20 amp. When wiring a Jet Setter 230V, a 50amp breaker is recommended by Hot Spring.

Blowing Fuse

I am helping a friend get their spa up and running. When we turn it on it runs for 20 mins then shuts down; the 70amp breaker trips. Narrowed it down to when the heat is on but checked heaters and both look almost new. Has a (fls) or switch on one of the heaters that has adjustments but not sure how to adjust the wheel (up or down or if it matters). Also it has some overload switches for the aerator, pump and heater but none of them ever trip. One of the relays (2) is moderately rusty I haven’t checked them yet but think one runs pump high and low and the other is the heater or aerator not sure what to check at this point. I can send pics if it would help.

A pressure switch that is not adjusted wouldn't cause the GFCI Outlet to trip. I would turn the power off the spa and disconnect the heater, then power back up and run the pump for that time period to see if it trips. Even though a heater looks clean the element could have a very small pin hole in it somewhere causing it to short.

Shocking Hot Tub!

If you're in our hot tub and you touch anything on the outside, you get a mild electrical shock. We have replaced the plug in and the cord - that didn't fix it. Has anyone encountered this problem? Any suggestions?

The pump plug and cord, is it a GFCI power cord? Is the spa on a dedicated circuit? It may be a bad ground or short somewhere along the way and could even be at the house breaker. I would recommend you contact an electrician to come out right away. You do not want to mess around or use the spa in this condition. An electrician should find it quickly, shouldn’t be too expensive.

Electrical Shock from Tub

I recently replaced the heater, then the motor in my jetsetter. The unit has worked fine for 4 months. Now after a recent flush and refill I get a shock when touching something outside the tube. I have tested the electrical system and the ground is functioning correctly. Can a malfunctioning motor, heater or circuit board cause the problem?

Is the spa GFCI protected? It should be and maybe there is a problem with the breaker itself. If the component is bad it should trip the GFCI. I would recommend contacting a qualified electrician to go over the wiring to spa. If you want to take a look yourself, check over the heater and pump wiring, and make sure the wire casings are not damaged by insects or rodents, and look at the power leads to be sure metal wires are not touching the sides of the motor or heater. Motors and heaters should also be bonded and grounded. Again for your safety, an electrician is the best way to go.

Vita Spa L200 tripped GFCI

240V breaker trips with ozone gen [B]OR[/B] and blower plugged in - so i tried plugging the blower and ozone gen in again (separately) and still no good, both instantly trip the breaker, but as I said, the pump will run without them plugged in.

That is good news on the pump, I guess it may be a coincidence that both the ozone and blower would cause the GFCI to trip all of the sudden, but it can happen. The components that can cause the breaker to trip would be the spa heater (usually first suspect), followed by the blower and any of the pumps, but ozonators too, usually when the check valve goes bad.

I have filled the spa again and turned the pump and heater on, seems to be working and heating so far! Will try to plug the ozone and blower in again just to see, but I suspect they will still trip the breaker as they have been doing... guess I could live without either for now if I had to.

Yes, you can live without for now but I would eventually replace, especially the ozonator so you can keep your water fresh. I would also recommend checking the check valves on both units, usually when you have a tripping issue with either of these components it's due to water or moisture getting in them.

Leisure Bay Tripping GFCI

Last season my spa's GFCI plug mysteriously melted late in the season so I really wasn't paying attention. I got a new plug and the pump and heater startup, then the blower comes on for a second and it trips. I took the panel off, took a blow dryer to the inside to eliminate condensation along with each plug and outlet (male/female) and even tried starting unplugging the ozonator, blower, pump, and heater. Still it trips once either the pump or blower is selected. At least after drying it out with the hair dryer now the heater will stay on until the spa attempts to cycle and the blower and / or pump comes on - then it goes off. Any ideas?

Try just disconnecting the spa blower by itself and let the pump and heater run to see if it still trips. If not the blower sounds like water may have backed up into it and now is gone bad. If that fixes it, you can replace the blower (and the check valve), or just soak without bubbles if you want. If the Spa GFCI trips after removing the blower power wires, check the voltage and wiring on the jet pump.

Great Lakes SPA Trips GFI

I have a GREAT LAKES GL-5 hot tub with a Balboa GVS-500. My tub will run for a few days then the GFI will trip. I let it sit and I can switch the GFI and it will power. Today this happened again and I try to turn on the GFI and it trips immediately. When it was running it would heat the water to desired temp.

With a GFCI, the first thing to check to see what may be causing this is the spa heater. You want to make sure power is off to the spa and then disconnect the heater. Once it has been disconnected, inspect the power leads going to the heater, and check that the terminal nuts are tight on the heater. If good, go ahead and power back up and run your spa pump (without heater on). If the GFCI holds then sounds like you need to replace your spa heater. Small possibility that the GFCI is bad, but usually it’s a bad heater element that trips the GFCI test button.

Hot Spring Reset Tripping

Looking for ANY help or suggestions!! Just bought a used Hot Springs Classic model F. We then turn the dial to '3' for the heater. We can hear, what sounds like the circ pump working. Then, within 5 minutes the tub reset trips. We've narrowed our options down to the heater, or the high limit thermostat, I think.

Most of the time when you keep getting a tripping reset button, it is the spa heater. If you can disconnect the spa heater (from the control panel or board) and run all your pumps and if it holds and doesn’t pop, then it is the heater causing it to trip. Heaters can trip the reset when wires are loose, or if the spa element or power leads are shorting out or grounding out, or if they leak water around the terminals, or if terminals are heavily corroded or making contact with anything other than the wires. And, in rare cases, it can also be a faulty GFCI outlet. They are very sensitive; it only takes a ¼ volt to trip.

Balboa Pack Blowing Transformers

I have a 10 year old dynasty hot tub. Over the last three months it started tripping the breaker. After trouble shooting I find that I have a bad transformer. I have replaced it twice and it has gone bad again. What causes the transformer to go bad?

A transformer can go bad if it is undersized for the job, either not the correct original size, or the original size, but other loads have been added that increase its workload. Overheating of a transformer can cause it to fail, from excessive incoming voltage, or excessive environmental heat, or very cold weather, or from a short on the spa heater. In your case, when the breaker trips remove both power leads going to heater and then try and reset the breaker. If it holds with heater disconnected it sounds like the heater element has gone bad and would need to be replaced.

Leisure Bay Spa Blows Fuse

I have a Leisure Bay hot tub & has been working great until recently. It'll start up for a few seconds but as soon as the jets kicks on, the fuse blows out. I replaced the fuse & the same thing occurred. What could be the problem? I hope it’s an easy & inexpensive fix.

If it is the 20 or 30-amp fuse on the circuit board it is probably jet pump motor causing the problem. Or, check the wiring diagram to determine what component(s) the fuse covers. For the pump, inspect the wiring on the motor, inspect the motor air vents, look for motor corrosion or scaling. You could also disconnect the jet pump, to see if the fuse stays good.

Hot tub Electrical Shock

My wife and I were in our Hot Tub - a Coleman Hot Tub we have had since 2006. When I got out and was drying off I leaned in and touched the water with my hand and got shocked. I tried it again to make sure it was not a reflex and yelled at my wife to get out immediately. I immediately disconnected the power. I removed the side cover to the hot tub and took the cover off of the control unit and where the heater is located. One of the studs had rusted almost loose and looks as though it had been oxidization. I have never known hot tubs to do this in the past and thought that my GFI should have shut it down.

Yes your GFCI should have tripped if working properly. You should have an electrician check your GFCI. Heater terminals can fail over time like this but again the GFCI should have tripped. When fixing your heater, due to the corrosion, I would recommend replacing both the element and tube, or the entire heater assembly. Glad no one was hurt! Fatal spa electrocutions are rare, but can happen! A good reminder for all to hit your TEST button on your GFCI every once in a while, and call in an electrician if anything looks dicey.

Marquis Spa Trips Cord GFCI

2006 Marquis Spa that plugs directly into an outlet. It runs for 25 min like it's supposed to then went to low speed to continue the heating process. After two minutes the GFCI on the power cord tripped and shut down the tub. I tried it a few more times and the high setting will continue to run fine but when on low it's two minutes and then off every time. My local hot tub store suggested it was the power cord so I replaced it and still the same thing. I don't really know anything about hot tubs but don't want to spend a bunch of money to have someone come look at it.

This could be the hot tub heater coming on and then causing the GFCI to trip. I would disconnect the heater and then run the pumps and see if it holds. If so, then you should replace the heater element, or the entire heater assembly, which is a bit easier to do, and only costs a little more than the element alone.

Replaced GFCI – Hot Tub Dead

My hot tub tripped the breaker on the GFCI plug. Plug would not reset so I replaced the plug. Plugged the hot tub back in and the light came on (lavitron GFCI plug) indicating power but the hot tub will not come back on. No lights on the display, no sounds, nothing at all. I have a smart touch 1000. Is there a reset button or fuse that I am missing?

Check for a 20 or 30-amp fuse. Sometimes those can be on the circuit board or sometimes right beside the board in a fuse holder. If you cannot visibly tell if it’s good, they can be tested with Ohms. Replace with exact duplicate. Also you can check your incoming power at TB1 to make sure you are supplying proper power.