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9 Reasons Foolish Hot Tubs Fail

Over the years I have been asked "Why has this part failed?" or even worst "I just replaced that 3 years ago!"

So we came up with 9 reasons a spa fails in no particular order. These reasons are highly opinionated and general. They mostly related to things you do or don't do. Giving you these reasons will hopefully help you to maximize your spa experience.

Poorly Insulated

See #8 about your cover. But often the OEM or over time, the insulation on the sides and even bottom fail or wasn't even installed. Just look at the spa between your piping and the outside. If big air gaps, think about buying a roll or two of wall batting. I buy the batts that are wrapped in plastic so I don't have to deal with the fiberglass and its easy to remove for repairs and put back in.

Second is the bottom insulation. Manufacturers think you are putting your spa on a slab. Doing so the spa actuall heats below and that's OK. But time and again I see hottubs on decks. IF the deck can hold the weight... great. BUT how about heat loss. I learn this years ago when a customer complained that his spa came on and off for 5-10 minutes all the time. When I got there the spa was fine. So I'm staring at it hoping it would turn on and heat. A good wind picked up and bam.... heater came on. The air blowing pass the spa on all sides caused a quick heat loss. Wind stop, heat regained, heater turns off. Wind starts up... all over again. We insulated and solved problem. One caveat: typically the motors and heater must NOT be insulated because they DO need air circulation to avoid damage to the components.

PH not Balanced

Forever a battle I have with customers. "I check it all the time!" They say. Check it now and its not balanced. That is why its recommend you check PH and chemicals weekly or so. But the end is, an unbalance water both affects your skin but also all rubber components and some metal inside the plumbing. Because a balanced PH will make things last, heater manufacturers ALWAYS believe a failed heater is caused by poor water quality. The sad part is once you get the hang of testing your water and checking it's chemistry... it becomes really routine. But if you don't, things fail.

Water not changed regularly

Funny but customers that claim "I never change my water" are my best customers. Not that you can maintain perfect water but I was taught at the beginning, hot tub water and pool water are two different things. Most if not all experts recommend changing the water completely 4 times a year. I have seen that to be wise. Pool owners actually never change their water; different animal and a much bigger one.

Not properly drained

Manufacturers have gotten better building spas that when drained won't freeze. But that is fairly recent. I think since most large manufacturers are in the south and doesn't get cold or they thing all their customers will always use the spa in the winter... draining isn't much of a thought. But many DO shut down the spa in the winter and even if they shut it down in the summer.. the same procedure is smart.

Drain and remove all water including the footwell. Loosen heater fittings and pumps fittings. They should drip. You can also complete loosen and remove the rubber oring or gaskets. If you have a drain for draining the spa's water, leave open. In general... that will work. Now, on some spas the plumbing is flat on the floor of the spa. So you have to lower the front hose to the pump flat to the ground to get all the water out. But typically the above will drain the spa enough so everything dries. Small amount of water will soon evaporate.


Yet.. enough said. Mice and their like love a nice warm, moist environment. During winter... they get hungry and don't want to go outside either. So they start nesting and chewing on things.

Not properly cleaned

A common complaint are pillows falling apart. Science has not found a soft pillow that resists chemicals, water, and gas. Since the space between your cover and water is a gas chamber, it dissolves and discolors everything. So recommend you regularly open the spa to let gases out. Not a bad idea. You can also remove or really clean the pillows when you are checking the water chemistry. And treating the pillows can help. But in general, those who keep their spa in good condition also seem to avoid early part breakdown.

Too Much Chemicals

In principle, I like women to do the spa treatment. They are regular and when they do it, they follow directions. I'm a good cook (free to experiment) but a poor baker (never follow directions). So guys feel if 1/2 cup is good. 1 cup is better. OR they come up with their little method. That is all right except you have to think of it in this way. Going from too little to too much both cause parts to fail. Avoid peaks and valley. That is why floating mushroom shape chlorine/bromine dispensers are better that cone or granuales. It gives a constant release of chemicals. Not valley (no chemicals) then peak (too much).

Cover Waterlogged

Easy rule of thumb; is the cover easy to lift off? If yes, you probably are OK. If not, replace. If you don't what you are creating is an icecube above your water. So the spa will have to work more to heat the water which is naturally absorbing the cold outside temp. The more the spa works to heat, the earlier things fail.

Inferior Replacement Parts

A fact of life today is that all things are made minimally. I had a conversation with a man who's replacment motor lasted just about 5 years which is not uncommon. The previous lasted 10 years. Wanted to know why we sold junk. First, it was an OEM motor. But second, if I offer a "deluxe" motor at twice the price would he buy the "junk" or the "deluxe". He said the deluxe, of course. Wanted to say liar but you just don't do that.

Also had an opportunity to buy a motor made in China. Close to half the current motors sold. Problem was not their literature and maybe not their product but who do I go to when things fail? Saw a competitor selling the exact same motor. But there has to be service after the sale.. at least for us. We passed on the opportunity. Funny thing... about a year later I got an email saying that the Chinese motor company was going out of business. Inferior Replacement Parts.

That being said... there are cheaper quality parts often available. We don't buy them but others do. They sell them and when they fail... tough. We buy the industry standard products.

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