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Fix my Pool and Spa
Fix my Pool and Spa, Owner / Technition
Category: Pool and Spa
Satisfied Customers: 1088
Experience:  Over 24 years in pool and spa service and construction
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I recently purchased a new home that had a hot tub in it. We

Customer Question

Hi, I recently purchased a new home that had a hot tub in it. We filled the tub and flipped back on the breaker, the temperature on the read out was 49 degrees. After a night and a day the hot tub had come up to 56 degrees. It then dropped down to 52 degrees the next morning after another 12 or so hours. I read up on some of the common problems and tried to reset the hi limit, the problem is that when i opened the control box there was no button to reset the high limit, only a plug that plugged into the circuit board.
We have a watkins no fault heater, not 100% sure if it is a 6000, i know the unit has a watkins jetmaster 6000.
Some details about what i've tried:
the first day it ran with the filter in, so i tried removing the filter, no change
i tripped the breaker once to see if that would reset it, no change.
I tried heating with the jets turned on, no change. The unit is circulating water as far as i can see.
i unplugged the hi-limit from the circuit board and plugged it back in. Could not find a reset button of any shape or size.
my biggest concern is whether or not it is safe to open that control box when the electrical panel is powering the spa, my guess was it was unsafe so i only opened the panel to check thing when the breakers in the dedicated panel were off.
as far as electrical setup we have a dedicated panel for the tub in the spa room, it has a single 220v double breaker.
is there any way you can reset this that may get it heating? I do not have any meters to read the voltage to the heater itself, i can tell you however that the heater is stone cold, even after circulating for hours.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pool and Spa
Expert:  Fix my Pool and Spa replied 1 year ago.

Do you know how old the hot tub is? I am thinking that the spa may be in economy mode. Most spas have a Standard mode which is what you want everything would work fine then you have an Economy mode and the spa will only heat when in it's normal filter cycle which only happens twice a day for two hrs so it can appear to not heat. Now without a meter to test voltage I do not know what you will be able to diagnose on your own but you need to test voltage at the control box coming in then there are several safety switches that control power to heater...the Thermostat, High Limit and pressure/flow switch all of these must be working correctly for the heater to get power from the circuit board. You can buy a multi meter rather cheaply at Home Depot or Lowes. You need to be sure that the pump that supplies the water through heater is running good and has good water flow, next check the topside display to see if there are any error codes on the readout like Fl or OHH or Dry. From there set the temp to 100 degrees and see if you get a light for heater to come on or an icon showing that the heater should be powered. Once that is good you need to test voltage across the two posts of the heater itself and you need to have 220 volts across both terminals.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a universal way to switch from economy mode to standard mode?
-When we first got the house the breaker was off, which i kept off during the filling of the tub.
-When i opened the control box last night i also shut the breaker off for 5 plus minutes, do i need to have the breaker shut off whenever i have the control box open?
-it is a plastic control box held on by 2 Phillips head screws
-the flow seems to me to be good, there are plenty of bubbles coming out that i can see
-there are no error codes, there were 3 blinking red dots initially because i had not filled the tub up enough but once i had it full to the point that the filter compartment was 1/2 full they shut off and have not come back on.I can take some pictures of the unit and all of the controls tonight. We are expecting a blizzard in my area so it may be a few days before i can get the multimeter to check the voltage. Ive read alot of troubleshooting articles and faqs and alot of them say phrases like "when the light comes on for the heater", but i'm not sure where this light would be. I'm assuming that it is in the control box but as ive said i'm leery to have that open when it's powered as i know nothing about electric work, is it ok to have this open? Also from reading it appears i have watkins no fault without the red reset button on top. Ive been looking for a way to potentially reset the high limit but have had no luck other than unplugging it and replugging it in. Following the wires from the panel the thermometer seems to run into the tub itself, the only things i can see are a wire running into the tub and the rest is covered i dont see any controls that i can access for the thermometer.
Expert:  Fix my Pool and Spa replied 1 year ago.

No the heater light would be an icon on the readout of the display or a small red light just off of the display screen. In most Balboa control boxes to change from Standard to Economy and back you would press the temp button followed by the light button within 3 seconds of each other. Your spa would have to be 20 years old or more to have a reset button on high limit in the newer circuit board type controls there are no reset buttons. If NO error codes are in the display area then it has to be a mode setting or a bad heater but you need to test voltage at heater to note if there is power and no heat. Now when you say there are bubbles I need to to determine if you have water PRESSURE coming out of all jets. How many pumps do you have? If you have a smaller pump then that may be a circulating pump which would be the one that pushes water through the heater housing and that would be the one to look at. If you only have one pump then it is a 2 speed pump low and high speed and low speed would control heating and filtering and high speed would be for therapy.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am at work but i have my wife trying the temp+light mode switch, hopefully that was the problem. there have been no error codes since we started it up, only the temperature has been shown on the read out.I also will have to check later tonight to see if there is actual pressure but i'm 90% certain there is. I'm also fairly certain there is only 1 large pump, if im remembering right its a watkins wavemaster or jetmaster 6000. However when the jets are turned off there is no sound of any pump running, it does sometimes kick on but if i turn off the jets the room goes silent.The spa is not 20 years old by my guess, the former owners of the house built on the hot tub room addition in 2003 and i am thinking they bought the tub new in that same year.
Expert:  Fix my Pool and Spa replied 1 year ago.

OK well let me know what you find with the modes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok so after a few days of trying different things I have some more info. I'm having my doubts that it is a economy mode issue, but with the pictures and model # ***** you'll be able to tell me how to check to be 100% sure.I tried to push + on the temperature and then immediately pressed the light button, I gave it about 4 hours and we lost 1 degree.Then I tried pushing the + button and the light at the same time, once again giving it 4 or so hours, it held temp but no increase.Then I tried turning off the breaker for 10 minutes, reflipped the breaker and gave it 2-3 hours, no temp change.I'm 99% sure its cycling correctly, when i hit the jets button they turn on, when i hit it again they turn on a higher intensity, when i hit it a third time all shuts off, dead silence in the room. Then if i give it like 5 minutes the pump kicks back on by itself and circulates, kicking out lots of water like the jets are on. But even if left all night the temp will not rise.Here are a bunch of pictures of the inside of the tub compartment. I tried to label them.Tonight I should be stopping at menards to get the tool to test the voltage. My biggest question is, being ignorant of electric work, should i do the tests with the breaker flipped on and the control box open? There is a sticker on the control box that says "hazardous Voltage" and says it should be closed during operation. Just wanted to make sure before i electrocute myself!
Expert:  Fix my Pool and Spa replied 1 year ago.

OK so now I see you have a Spa Builders control pack and that helps a little. Here is a link to the Spa Builders service manual now look at page 42 this goes over no heat in spa. This will show you how to test voltage at the heater. NOW KEEP IN MIND that you will need to have the power from breaker ON and the control box open to expose the circuit board and heater posts, so take EXTRA CARE when touching inside this box as you do have live power at this point (220) volts and it can zap you if not careful, with that said you can do this just go slow and pay attention. Here is link.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have read through the manual, 2 big things stuck out to me.1. The manual didn't have anything listed for economy mode that i found, it did however have instructions on how to change the "filtering cycle", by holding the light button for 5 seconds and then changing it with the up and down temp arrows. Would this be the same as economy mode? The example they gave was a 2 hour filtering cycle which fits in with economy mode.2. I don't recall the "heating indicator" on the keypad lighting up as all. I will have to confirm when i get home but i do not remember this coming on at all. So it may be something themometer related i'm thinking if that heater is not kicking on at all.I will do some more tinkering tonight and maybe take some more pictures and report back, thanks for the help thusfar.
Expert:  Fix my Pool and Spa replied 1 year ago.

If the heater indicator light is not on or is not flashing follow the test for using a separate thermometer to test if temp reading is within 2 degrees from readout number. It may be a bad circuit board or temp probe.