Spa and Hot Tub -SLOW- Leaks

Let’s face it, most hot tub and spa leaks are quite obvious once you take the spa side panel off and take a look… (here we’re talking about most portable hot tubs that are outside, not in your bathroom). But slow leaks can be a real pain.  Anyway, standard leaks are really easy –

The usual culprits are going to be:

  1. Pump Seals deteriorated due to old age, or bad water chemistry.
  2. Pump and heater union gaskets getting old and deteriorated.
  3. Heater leaks.
  4. Everything else.

The top three are easy and quick to fix.  However, when faced with a really slow hot tub leak, let’s say one that drains down about an inch or two a day with no power applied, the problem can be quite perplexing.

There is one thing you need to have when trying to find a slow leak… patience.  Then add in persistence.

To help find a slow leak some of the best tools you have in your arsenal are going to be food dye, and your eyesight.Hot Tub / Spa Leak Detection

The above shows a leak test performed on a roto-molded spa with limited access to the back side.  No leaks were detected.

But the below photo exposes the slow spa leak culprit.  There are actually two jets in this photo.  The first is a Waterway mini-jet that is easily seen at the top.  The second is a cluster jet enveloped in blue food dye that’s about 7 inches below it.

Spa leak detection What happens is this… and you really have to look CLOSE and be PATIENT when you squeeze the dye into the water.  The dye will be drawn into the leaking orifice.  It’s akin to finding a virus or trojan on your computer.  Only this is analog, not digital.

Cracked Spa Jet

This spa was fixed quickly after 2 service calls, and we didn’t even have to cut a hole into the outside of the roto-molded plastic spa shell.  The failure was in the jet retainer ring.. It was cracked.

If you’ve got a leak problem that just won’t go away,  and you don’t know what to do then give us a call.

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Hot Springs Prodigy Converted.

In this instance we were faced with an early 90’s Hot Springs Prodigy with a dead circulation pump and control system.  This was easily converted to an ACC Compack Jr… which is a 115V control system that provides all the options and power we were looking for to get the customer’s spa up and running again.

Hot Springs Prodigy Early 90's

The above photo is after the old Laing circulation pump and Hot Springs heater was removed.  Note the water is draining from the spa through the hoses.  The original jet pump, (an Aqua-Flo 1 HP pump) was still operational.

Hot Springs Prodigy with ACC Compack.

When we changed out the circulation pump, we opted for the very reliable Grundfos circ pump, which has 1″ suction and discharge ports.  Since the Hot Springs Tub uses 3/4″ plumbing everywhere, we used special adaptation to work with it.  Once everything was leak free, we cut a new mounting hole for the topside control panel for the spa, installed it, and watched the spa work flawlessly.

ACC Topside Control installed on a Hot Springs ProdigyThe image above shows the new controller, and the cover for the old Hot Springs control system, which consisted of large round knobs and big buttons.

Once this was done, new deck work was completed to make the spa safe and a pleasure to be around.

Converted Hot Springs Prodigy, to digital system.

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If you’ve got a situation like this, just give us a call and we’ll do our best to advise you the best way to bring your Hot Springs Spa back to life again.

Bath Spas & Jetted Bath Tub Repairs, Service.

We service all bathtub spas and ‘jetted tubs’ in the Metro Atlanta area.  Most often, we receive calls on these bathtubs when a house is being sold, or going up for sale soon.  More often than not, jetted bath tubs are seldom used for the original intent.

Jetted Bath Spa
Jetted Bath Tub Spa

Most common faults are:

1.  Switching (pump on/off) mechanisms, circuits or push-buttons are inoperative or broken.

2.  Pumps are locked up from lack of use.

3.  Leaks have occurred in the plumbing fittings at the bath pump or the jet fixtures.

Jetted Bath Spa Pipe Leak Repair
Jetted Bath Spa Pipe Leak Repair

 

Bath spas are their own unique animal, and quite rightly so.  Usually there is simply a small access hole to get to the pump, and it can be really tight to get into these spaces to affect proper repairs.  We do the best we can, as fast as we can to get your bath tub spa up and running again quickly to pass inspection and be used the way it was intended.

We have great relationships with a lot of real estate brokerages, agents, and regular customers all over the metro area, and are quite understanding of the expediency of getting your bath spa repaired quickly.

Leaking jet joint repair with pvc pipe and flex pvc in a bath spa / jetted bath tub.
Leaking jet joint repair with pvc pipe and flex pvc in a bath spa / jetted bath tub.

If you’re one of those people that’ve made a lot of phone calls looking for help and gotten no-where, we’re here for you!

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Phone above or you can use the contact form at the upper right of your screen and we’ll get back to you asap.  We have a pretty quick turn-around time, (especially when real-estate closings are imminent).

 

 

Grundfos Circ Pump on Hot Springs

Grundfos Pump Mounted in Hot Springs Spa

Grundfos Circ Pump Mounted in Hot Springs Spa

Grundfos Pump Mounted in Hot Springs Spa

 

Since the Laing circulation pump uses a 3/4″ fitting and the Grundfos circulation pump uses a 1″, a strengthening adapter is made from a 1″ long piece of 1/2″ pvc pipe.

This pvc pipe is inserted into the existing 3/4″ hose on the spa.  It provides a strong base so that a piece of 1″ ID flex hose can be fashioned around the old hose, and a pipe clamp used to seal it.  In the photo above you can see the piece of 1/2″ pvc sticking out of the old hose.  The new 1″ diameter hose fits over the Grundfos fitting on the right, and over the old hose on the left.  Existing clamps can still be used (shown in photo).  Typically a standard 1 1/2″ hose clamp fits over the the Grundfos nozzle.

It is easiest to perform this substitution without water draining out of the hose, (ie empty spa).

If you have trouble manipulating the old hose… heating it up works wonders.  In really tight situations, it may be necessary or a lot easier to install if you use a piece of 1″ hose a few feet long to get it to feed into the heater (ie looping it up and around etc).

One last thing: on rare occasion, it may be necessary to remove the cover from the front of the Grundfos pump to rotate it to a better position to get the discharge fitting in the optimum spot for installation.  This is usually not required, but if it is, it takes about 10 minutes to do it.  You’ll need an allen wrench to remove the screws.

Your mileage may vary.

We Rebuild All Swimming Pool Pumps

Announcement: Due to the problems associated with cheaper quality motors being imported from Mexico, China and other countries over the last 18 years, we have ceased rebuilding operations.  If you want to take the job on yourself to replace pump bearings, pump seals, wet ends etc, there are MANY videos available on YouTube.Com that show you how to do it yourself. To do this type of repair is not rocket science!

That said, if your pump motor is more than 4-5 years old, your best option is a NEW replacement motor that can be found online much cheaper, than having a shop do it – unless you’ve found a small mom/pop type of motor shop that would be willing to do the bearing work for a minimum charge.

Just don’t try to hold them accountable if your pump motor quits or starts shooting flames out of the back within a few days or weeks of the repair.  It is not the shop’s fault. Take my word for it… I had to pay out of pocket many times to back up my own warranty. That’s why I dumped more than 3000 pounds of motor parts to a recycler in 2015, and just stopped.

Because of this, I sleep better at night, and with a new motor, you will too.  The rest of the text on this page will remain as a place holder, as it is still informative. If you still have questions, feel free to call us and ask away, (yes out of state calls are welcome as well, we get them all the time!). There is no dumb question!

 


Original Post:

phoneWith the price of copper and other raw materials at an all time high, motor prices have gone up, plastics manufacturing costs have gone up – over all – everything has gone up!

Swimming Pool Pumps by the very nature of their size, shipping costs and construction are expensive to buy and replace outright.  So what causes pump failure?

The #1 issue is corrosion.  Excessive chlorination, overburdening of the equipment with too much salt doesn’t help much either, and especially these days with so many swimming pools running salt systems, it’s no wonder.  Salt systems and conventional pump seals aren’t really compatible – as well, salt and aluminum, or for that matter almost any metal – are never  compatible.  So when the seals, o-rings, and gaskets fail due to salt (or excessive chlorine – not one in the same btw), then bearing failure ensues, followed by corrosion of the motor housing and if it goes far enough, a loss of integrity of the motor housing to the point to where it’s unsafe to operate electrically.

When pushed to the limit, a motor that is forced to do double duty – pump all the water required, plus overcome the excessive resistance posed by the failed bearings – over time the pump motor windings will burn out as well.  At that point, the pump motor cannot be saved and must be replaced.

If you’ve got a pool pump motor that just hums, or makes noise, or screams so bad that the neighbors are calling the cops, then you need to shut down the power to the pump and call us to see if we can save you some serious money.  Typically rebuilding versus replacing is 30% to 50% less than the cost of a new one.  We’re fast and have a turn around time of typically less than 48 hours (in critical cases we can get the work done the same day).

We’re pros with Hayward, Jandy, Waterco, (Supa-Tuf), Aqua-Flo, Jacuzzi, and 48 or 56 frame motors, as well as C-Flange,   Square Flange, and regular through-bolt pool pump motors.

Don’t buy a new pump when all you need is a repair!  Call us today, the worst thing you’ll find out is if it can’t be fixed.

Updated Content:

Don’t buy a completely new pump. Most of these expensive pool pumps can be repaired by purchasing a relatively inexpensive pump motor, with a seal kit to match up with it.  The motors will usually be what are called ‘C-Flange’ or ‘C-Frame’ motors, or Square Flange types.

Square flange motors are very distinct! They have ears on the front part of the motor using 4 bolts to attach it to the plastic pump assembly.

With C-Flange motors you will not be able to see any bolts attaching the motor to the plastic pump assembly.  We are working on a new post to explain how and what to buy when it comes to replacing a motor.

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We service all areas of North Georgia, and Metro Atlanta.

 

Hot Springs Heater Relay Circuit Boards.

Hot Springs Blown Heater Relay BoardI’ve been trying to contain my brand criticism for years – it’s not an easy task.  But after a call today from a father with limited funds that has a quadraplegic son from a dui accident today – I just had to get this one out.  He owns a Hot Springs Sovereign and the heater has stopped working.

I’ve been rebuilding Hot Springs Heater Relay Boards for years now.  They have one inherent flaw – they route too much heater current through the circuit board traces, which causes them to literally blow out – ie, the relay terminals get so hot and they gas up so much inside the relay cavity that they end up exploding the terminals through the circuit board.  (This also happens on newer Balboa Instruments designs and Gecko too).

I still don’t get it.  To this day it makes no sense to me.  Circuit designers know darned well that a 5500 watt heater draws somewhere between 22-26 amps, (depending on voltage supply) and early designs of this board utilized relays that were of the 20 amp variety.  Perhaps they would rate at 30 amp resistive, and even newer designs should be using 40 amp relays, (over-rating can only help), but the contact rating (nor the method connecting mains power to the board as they claim) has NEVER been the problem!

It’s the way the relays are connected to the circuit board, and how the power in and out get there and do their business that matters.

The way these circuit boards are manufactured is by wave soldering, in a single pass.  The culprit relays are the types that are sealed from the manufacturer.  So you only have one side of the circuit board that actually gets soldered, (the bottom).  The top side of the circuit board (A FULL ONE HALF OF THE CURRENT CARRYING CAPACITY), never sees the wave soldering action.  So the top half of the circuit board needed to carry half of the 23 amps of current, never really sees the light of day – therefore, on these circuit boards, they eventually overheat at the soldered connection point, and generate so much heat that the relay literally explodes it’s terminal out the backside resulting in a failed heater circuit.  The photo below shows exactly this phenomenon: HotSpringsHeaterRelayBoard

It’s not easy to see, but it’s there.  Click the image for a full size view.  If you were to remove this relay yourself, you’d notice that the top side of the circuit board (under the relay itself), has virtually no solder on it, which limits the current carrying capacity of the circuit board.

This is why these boards fail, plain and simple.  If the manufacturer were to actually spend a little more money and install these things using ‘Trace Saver’ techniques, these boards would last a heck of a lot longer.Hot Springs Heater Circuit Board with Trace Saver.This is a typical repaired Hot Springs/Caldera heater circuit board using trace saver wiring to reduce excessive current draw through relay circuit board pins.  We don’t buy new (defective) heater boards from the manufacturer to install in your spa only to have the same problem repeat itself a few years later….  we only install a genuine board re-manufactured by us to the specifications that the relay manufacturers have specified for like… years, and the manufacturers refuse to follow!

If you need a lot of current delivery through a relay on a circuit board, then split the path with duplicate circuits using the top terminals, then  VENT the relay (which also requires human interaction), and finally watch as time passes… it works year after year.  No  more blown circuit boards.  Just look at Balboa Instruments (prior to the VS-series) and Sundance (850+) circuit boards which use ‘Trace Saver’ designs since the early 90’s.  These relays NEVER blow terminals through the board, and seem to last forever.

When it comes to high current delivery to a hot tub/spa heater, you definitely get what you pay for.  If you find this circuit board replacement online for $115… it’s not worth the ebay ad it’s printed on.

This is the typical advertising content on these new boards which is selling you a bill of goods, and this is I think, reprinted from the OEM (and found on internet websites everywhere!):

It’s upgraded design provides a more efficient method of connecting the heater’s power cord to this board. The black wire from the heater’s power cord now connects into the H1 position on the large gray terminal block. The heater’s white wire (neutral) connects onto its own separate gray terminal block. This will reduce stress on the relays and increase their lifespan due to better transfer of voltage. The ground wire connection remains the same. This upgraded circuit board replaces the first and second generation boards in the IQ 2020 Control Box found in Caldera, Hot Spring and Tiger River spa models.

Somebody please tell these guys they’re still doing it wrong.  The power connectors and heater connectors have NEVER been the problem!  It’s the relay connections!  Anyone with a minimal education in electronics technology will recognize this blather for what it is.

If you’re looking for more help or advice regarding your Hot Tub, please call us anytime.  We’re here to help.

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