How to Read a Hot Tub Owner's Manual
Unlike old spa owner's manuals, the modern spa owner's manual is a real piece of work. Some of the better ones are over 50 pages, with excellent color graphics, tables and step by step photo illustrations.
Early hot tub manuals from the 70's and 80's were laughably lackluster, and probably that's why you can't find them online. In the days before desktop publishing, you know.
A hot tub owner's manual is a great resource for the spa or tub owner. But in talking to spa owners over the years, most of them don't know where they put their Owner's Manual, or had not thought to look at it for answers.
Always the first section, after the obligatory precautionary statements, are an abundance of tips about how to choose a proper location for the spa, and other considerations like overhead protection, drainage around the spa, access for service, and location of power and water. Some useful gems about spa installation that you can find in your owner's manual include:
- A 4-6 inch poured concrete slab of concrete with rebar or mesh on compacted and level soil
- For easier draining of the spa, and for flood protection, locate your spa in an elevated area.
- Electrical Requirements: 230V, 50-60 A, 4-wire, GFI protected and grounded dedicated circuit with external cut-off box.
- Bonding Requirements: Bonding wire bare #8 copper wire to spa, and grid or nearby metal fixtures, per local code.
- Set-Up: Some general tightening or parts installation before fill-up and start-up.
Operation of the Spa, knowing how it all works. This section has grown large now that spas are so full-featured, with lots of equipment and so many jets. Fortunately, owner's manuals are becoming very visual, with large clear photos, flow charts and even infographics!
- Understanding the User Interface: aka the Topside Control. How to program the filter and heater and run different operational modes.
- Diagnostics: Status Codes and Error Codes. Nicer models also have low/high Chemical Alerts and Service Reminders.
- How to control different banks of spa jets, or water falls and air blowers or air intake valves.
- How to work everything else: Spa lighting, sound system, ozonator, sanitizer system.
By this point in the manual most people naturally start to glaze over. I recommend coming back to it in a day or two with fresh eyes ~ because your spa maintenance is what you really need to learn fast - because it begins now! Maintenance items can include maintaining the surfaces, equipment, spa cover and also the water.
In general, most troubleshooting sections for spas and hot tubs are a bit thin, but complete enough for the average spa owner to check all the basic stuff, without getting in over their head. Most spa manufacturers would prefer that spas are serviced by trained mechanics, but will help you over the phone or by email if you try all of their suggestions (twice!) before calling.
- Equipment Problem/Cause/Remedy tables
- Flow Charts with Yes/No paths
- Low water / No water flow from Spa Jets
- Spa does not heat properly
- Spa water is not clean
So you see - spa and hot tub owners manuals can be an invaluable resource to the spa owner. If you are looking for your old owner's manual, and your spa is older than the 90's - it is probably hard to find.
We have a huge list of links to spa owners manuals available, on a blog post we did last year, and updated - just now!
Happy Hot Tubbin'
Hot Tub Works