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 Identify your Spa Heater (older version)

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PostSubject: Identify your Spa Heater (older version)   Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:04 pm


Screw plug: Often Manufactured by Vulcan or, Heat Tube, these are the simplest set up out there. They consist of an element with a threaded end that is screwed into the plumbing. They are often located on the top of the pump. A junction box 3X2 inches is attached to the element. Inside you have a thermostat, Hi Limit, indicator light, and the element connections. The thermostat can be identified by the knob stem, the high limit by its red button. Both have sensing bulbs inserted into “wells” built into the element. These are the thin copper wire “looking” capillary tubes that seem to disappear into the element area. They are not wires though and should not be cut. They contain freon that expands and contracts with the temperature of the water and allow the controls (T-stat and Hi limit) to do their job. See Heater circuits figure 1*note. These heaters are not avaialbe anymore in the configuration shown here. they are only usable if within a stainless jacket. If your hot tub has a heater of this type, you may want to consider upgrading your control system.

5×5: Originally manufactured byHydro quip, Premier, Brett Aqualine, and CRL (stainless) These heaters can be 120 volt or 240 volt. They consist of a plastic or stainless steel housing the face of which is approx. 5×5x 4" allowing plenty of room for wiring connections. They often contain a Thermostat, Pressure Switch, and hi limit. And can, because of their roominess be really crammed with a contactor or function relays which if that’s the case can cause difficulty troubleshooting. Hopefully yours will look more like this one. Note, some manufacturers used this housing to creat a comple spa control. If your box has a time clock or multiple plug ins for components it is probably a control WITH heater. See Heater Circuits figure 2


Flo thru: These spa heaters are the current favorite with MANY manufacturers. You’ll find them on NuWave, Brett Aqualine, Balboa Instruments, Caldera Spas, Cal Spas Vita Spas, Emerald Spas Hydro quip, Hercules, Sundance, Spa Builders Support group And many others. They may vary in size so the length is important. These heaters are usually attached directly to a controller. They look like a stainless steel tube. They attach by union fittings to the plumbing. The element leads are housed inside the controller and there will be a contactor that will energize then.




Stand alone: Found commonly on permanent installations they are 240 volt, either 5.5kW or 11kW and are equipped with a thermostat, High limit, pressure switch, contactor and indicator light and are not as dependent on relay logic as portable type systems. They are hard wired to their own breaker. They require flow and temperature demand to fire. Other than that, they still utilize the famous control loop. Manufacturers include: Hayward, RayPak, Teledyne Laars, Comfortzone (Now Hayward) Coates, and others.


Gas Heaters: Usually found on permanent spas with remote equipment, have their own special troubleshooting area. However, They still utilize the same control loop. Thermostat, pressure switch, high limits ( at least two) On/Off, and a fusible link ( a little gizmo that should always be closed unless flames have burned it up.) Gas heaters are by far the fastest way to heat a spa. Once you’ve had a gas heater you wouldn’t even consider electric. They provide almost instant heat and properly sized should heat up the water within a half hour in most situations. One thing to remember is that the water coming out of a gas heater is only 7 to 10 above the temp of the water going through it. If it was hotter, it would burn you at the top end of the heating cycle. What you’ll feel is water a "little warmer " than the surrounding water as it’s heating, but miraculously it will do the job and quickly!

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