Clean Spa Filters Instead Of Replacing Spa Heater

November 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Spa Filter Replacement | Leave a comment
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Your spa’s been heating up perfectly, well–it was actually kind of slow on the heating giddy-up.

But today that heater is as dead as finding a call center job in America.  So you call your local pool/spa dude.  “My heater’s out and I’ve got company coming in for the holidays. HELP!!!”

Accommodating your expert analysis of a heater gone bad (driven by your partner’s frantic screams of “That spa has to work before my picky-ass cousin arrives here next week—or else!!!!),  you shell out anywhere from $100 to $350 for a new heater, and that doesn’t include two-hours labor of about another $150. 

When picky-ass (PA) cousin arrives, he states, “I hope the hot tub’s ready because my back is killing me after that long ride out here.”   You assure PA the tub is ready and hand him your best beach towel and bid him a less-than fond farewell as he marches out to the tub.  You grab a beer ready for a break from PA,  and something from your worst nightmare shrieks, “This tub’s as cold as the Arctic Seas used to be!”

You were rushed to get everything perfect before the company arrived and you probably didn’t have time to check your spa’s filters.  And if I asked you, “When did you last check your filters?”  an uncomfortable span of silence would follow. 

This is exactly why manufacturers install pressure switches and flow switches to the heater.  Because if there’s no water flow or flow is restricted by 2 psi, the pressure switch or flow switch won’t close and energize the heating element.  In other words, it looks like your heater’s gone kaput.

Do you want the bad news now?  Dirty or aged filters restrict water flow. 

What I’m saying is, if you went quiet when I asked the question about your spa’s filters, you would have had more green in your pocket, and a longer break from your hot tub soaking cousin.

If I could have sold expensive heaters instead of inexpensive filter cleaner solutions and filters, I’d be in that top 2% income bracket.  But since

So here are my top five spa filter maintenance points to save you time, energy and money.

  1. Once a month remove your filters and hose them down using a spray nozzle.
  2. When you drain/refill your spa, soak your filters in a filter cleaning solution from your spa store.
  3. Do NOT use oils to scent your spa’s water that ARE NOT designed for hot tubs.
  4. Every 6 months checks the fabric on your filters.  If it’s “fluffed” replace that filter with a new one.
  5. Any filter over 3-years-old is ready to replace.  Remember: all the water in your hot tub is strained through that filter.  So after three years it is done straining.

Flex PVC Leaks. Wrong Glue?

June 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Spa Leaks | Leave a comment
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The right glue makes the difference with flex pvc.

The right glue makes the difference with flex pvc.

Mike sent in this query:

  I have a 12-year-old Cal Spa with 2 4hp motor/pumps. The 2″ flex hose keeps springing leaks due to age. I have repaired it a half dozen times, but now it’s leaking where its too hard to reach. Is it worth the effort to replace all the 2″ flex? I replaced the pumps and motors a few years back.




Flex PVC  has a history of this kind of behavior–springing leaks. Part of the problem is usually from incorrect glue. Flex takes a special kind of glue. You must use specially designed primer and glue for flex PVC.

Replacing all the flex PVC  is waaaaaay too labor intensive. However, you can cut where the flex is leaking and replace it with schedule-40 regular PVC pipe. Be sure where you attach the schedule-40 to the flex that you use the specially designed glue I just mentioned.

Leaky Spa Warranty. Is A Smile the Fix?

April 29, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Spa Chemistry, Spa Warranty | Leave a comment
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Dear Pool and Spa Master, Maybe you can advise me what to do with a warranty issue.  I purchased a very nice and expensive hot tub last year.  It has a 5-year warranty.  I say “warranty” with much consternation.  Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer will HONOR MY WARRANTY and I’m pissed.  There was a leak where the pump and electric motor meet. A technician repaired the leak and said they sent the “bad” ring to the manufacturer.  I got a bill for a $12 part and a $75 labor.   When I protested the charge, the dealer presented a copy of a letter from the manufacturer that said the leak was my fault because of improper chemistry.  How could this be?  Ellen F. in New York.


Ellen, I’ve represented the same spa manufacturer that you referred to here, and I have sold truckload after truckload of their spas, as well as other brands.  This leak at your pump and motor is common and it is nine-times out of ten  because of incorrect water chemistry balance.  To clarify, the warranty comes from the individual manufactures of the spa’s parts.  For instance, your spa’s motor was built by “Acme Motors,” and the pump was built by “XYZ Pump Works,” then purchased by your spa’s manufacturer and assembled at their factory.  That said, when a leak occurs at the mechanical pump seal (“bad ring”), it is usually caused by either too high or too low total alkalinity and/or pH–that means your water is either too alkaline or too acidicWhen your water is too alkaline, the minerals in the water grind the pump seal down.  Conversely, when your water is too acidic, the acidic water destroys the pump seal.   Now, if that pump seal leaked from day one of your spa’s installation, that is a warranty issue.  But when it occurs 18 months later, it reeks of consumer water mismanagement.    (Regarding the labor charge, review your warranty because after a year, labor is not usually included as part of your warranty.)

j0323766 Oft times the dealer will work with you because this kind of repair is easy with an inexpensive part replacement.  But I’d bet that your dealer is strapped right now, and if you came in fuming and finger pointing, he/she might have decided not to cut you any slack.  All of us are a tad more stressed than before:  You with the unexpected charge and your dealer counting dimes to keep the business afloat.  A smile and pleasant approach will get most consumers much further along with these kind of issues.  What would Pool And Spa Master do as the consumer?  I’d ask the dealer for a full explanation of how I could better manage my water, and maybe note that you do have friends and family that love your spa, and just maybe, that dealer will toss in something to take away the sting of an unexpected charge.

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