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I have a problem with my hot tub. It keeps blowing the heater

Customer Question

I have a problem with my hot tub. It keeps blowing the heater with a hi limit error. Now I think I blew another one in 2 days. Can you help me please?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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When did this problem start? How how was the water in the tub when you blew up the heater? Does the heater run full bore all the time and never shut off? Do you see a 2 pole contactor in the control box that controls the heater?
Do you have a meter for any testing that might be necessary?



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
the water was fine, First of all, the tub froze due to a leaky seal in the pump. Fixed pump and now it is fine. Yes I see the 2 poles you are talking about, should ohm out at 14 or so correct? The heat light is on but not heating the tub. I was told I might have a problem with the probe on the bottom of the heater. Pump runs constantly also.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This problem started shortly after we had temps. around -38 The tub is outside also, in case I didn't mention it.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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The contactor closes to turn on the heater and opens when it needs to turn off the heater. Turn off the breaker for your hot tub so you have no power going to it. The contactor should have 2 supply side wires bringing power to the contactor. On the other side there are 2 wires going to the heater. With the power turned off the contactor should be open, not closed. Using an ohm meter check across the contactor to show if the contacts are closed..... supply side to heater side. Do this on both sides. You should show the same as if the meter is not connected to anything. Anything other than this is a problem. Let me know what you have with this test so we can proceed with the troubeshooting.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Are you talking about the pressure switch and the heater? with power disconnected and an ohm meter on the switch it reads OL SAME ON THE HEATER
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I also replaced the pressure switch along with the heater, ran fine for a day until the tub got heated up, then got a hi limit alarm, and have current problem.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Electrifier - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

I'm talking about a 2 pole contactor that turns on and off the heater element. It will have bigger wires going to it and from it to the heater itself.

What is the current problem?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I get the same reading OL on the contactor, it is inside the panel attached to the circuit board.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The current problem is I have no heat
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Electrifier - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

That is good, the contactor is not stuck closed. Now measure across the leads for the heater itself. They should be on one side of the contactor. There should be a resistance reading for this. What voltage is the heater rated that you have installed?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
measured accross the heater and got nothing the heater is a 5500 . do I measure from one contactor on the heater to ground or just accross both? accross both I got no reading at all.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I checked resistence and came up with 2 ohms on both sides is this ok?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Electrifier - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

On the heater side of the contactor you should have a reading between the 2 conductors. This would be the resistance of the heater. 5500 watts is the size of the heater. At 240 volts this represents 22.9 amps. You should expect about 10.5 ohms across the heater leads at the contactor if nothing else is attached to the heater. Is this what you get?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is this still with the power off? when you say accross the heater leads are you talking about just going accross both leads at the connection on the circuit board?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Electrifier - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

Wherever the heater leads connect to the controls. These are good sized wires so I woule expect them to connect to the contactor. We need to measure the resistance of the heater itself. When you replace the heater where do you connect the wires?

I've got to leave for a bit but I'll be back later.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I connected them to the top of the heater that comes through the pipe. Measured accross the heater and didn't get any reading at all. Could the wire that senses resistence that goes to the bottom of the heater that is attached by a plate be the problem?
Expert:  Rich replied 5 years ago.
let me step in and see if you are clear about which wires to be testing ,,
There are 4 wires on the heater contactor .. two from the power and 2 to the heater .. when you test for resistance between the two for the heater you should get about 10 ohms ..
is that where you got a zero reading ??
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I only have 2 wires from circuit board to heater, when testing ohms accross the 2 I get nothing.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Have to leave right now, be back in a few hours, lets continue then, Thanks much
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Electrifier - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

If your heater shows nothing, the same as not touching the leads to anything, then your heater is burned out. Overheating is the only way to burn out a heater element. If it turns on without water in the heater it will burn out. If it is the wrong voltage it will burn out.
What is the voltage rating of the heater you have used in the tub?


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
As far as the voltage is concerened I couldn't tell you. I had a hot tub guy that I regularly use sell me a heater and put in the tube. Now it is possible he sold me the wrong one but why would it last a few days or until the tub gets heated up, and then get a hi limit alarm and then the tub will not heat? due to the heater taking a dump.or at least I think it does. Would the wire under the silver tube that is fastened to the tub with a metal plate have anything to do with it. The reason I ask is because that wire seems to have gotten hot or something it looks like it got melted
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If I am correct I believe this is the hi limit resister, it has a probe on one end and must sense temp of water, could this have something to do with why I keep burning up heaters?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Electrifier - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

If a high temp limit is not working correctly and allowing the heater to overheat this could cause the heater to burn up but with the heater properly filled with water and the water flowing thru the heater this should not be a problem.
When you check the resistance of the heater are you sure there is nothing between the heater element and the point you are checking like an overtemp device or a fuse or anything else?
Has the hot tub guy that sold you the heater looked at the burned up heater and had any ideas about the cause of it's failure?


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  • 100% customer satisfaction is my goal

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