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 What is it? Glossary

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PostSubject: What is it? Glossary   Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:55 pm

When contemplating spa problems it’s very helpful to have full command of the language of spas and hot tubs. Below is a brief description of what the part is and how it’s supposed to work. This knowledge alone is sometimes enough to figure out what’s wrong with your spa and perhaps even fix it. If you are a new spa owner, this section can save you lots of money in unnecessary service calls because you’ll know about your reset buttons etc. Plus, if you need to call us or E-Mail us for advice we’ll be talking about the same thing! For instance, there are air controls, air buttons air blowers and air actuated switches. Which is which and what is what??? Lets go through the major components of most spas and what they do.


PUMP: Consider your pump as the heart of your system. The pump actually consists of 2 parts: the wet end, which contains a key moving part, the impeller, and a motor to turn the impeller. Pumps draw water in from suction ports like Main Drains and Skimmers and return this water through the Jets. The front of the pump is the location of the intake or SUCTION and on the top is where the water leaves the pump under pressure. We refer to this as the return or the pressure side. Water will be sucked through your skimmer and/or main drain, and possibly your filter, if it is the suction kind. At this point, the impeller works it magic slinging the water out of the pump and pushing it through the filter (if it’s a pressure filter) then the heater on its way to the Jets and your enjoyment. The heater is very dependent on this flow of water. It will be severely damaged if it comes on when there isn’t water flow. The pump is there to supply this flow. More On Heaters. The filter must also have flow in order to be filtering. Often spas with electric heaters will have two speed pump motors, many 120 and 240 volt self contained spas require two speed pumps for the heating cycle to accommodate high current requirements while heating. Common Manufacturers: Aqua Flo, Hayward, Premier, Jacuzzi Brothers, Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath, Waterway, American Products, Sta-rite, Baker Hydro, Pac Fab.

PUMP MOTORS:
The motors job is to turn the impeller inside the pump. In many cases one might replace only the motor on a pump, not the entire pump. Specially true for permanent installations. When changing a motor you will also replace the mechanical seal assembly. Also, any internal O-rings should be replaced. Below we list the three most common kinds of pump motors. This may help you identify the type of motor you need to order, if you are ready to replace your pump motor.


Through Bolt: Found on many self contained spa pumps and above ground pool pumps, these are the small end of any manufacturers line. The bolts attached to the wet end extend all the way through the motor from the back. They require a 1/4” nut driver to remove. CAREFUL!!!! Only pull them out enough to free the wet end. If you pull them all the way out the motor it will come all apart in your hands! You won’t be getting it back together either! You do not need to replace manufacturer to manufacturer voltage they are mostly 120 but it is becoming more common to see 240 volt versions with higher horsepower ratings. Common manufacturers: GE, Magnetek, Franklin, Century, Emerson, AO Smith.


Square Flange: These motors bolt to the pump with 4 stainless steel 7/16ths 1.5 inch bolts. The flange you attach is definitely square, hence the name. They are available in the lower HP ¾ to 1½ as dual voltage motors. You simply move 2 internal wires according to the diagram depending on the voltage you are matching. They are common on many permanently installed spas although Hot Springs and other high end spa Manufactures may use them in a self contained spa. Sta-Rite pumps use Square Flange motors. American products also uses them. The Common brands are pretty much the same as above.


Round or C Flange: These also use stainless steel bolts and are “definitely” round once you get to it. They are sometimes shrouded behind pump parts that could make you think you have a square flange but once you get down to the motor you’ll see it’s round. Hayward and Jacuzzi brothers both use C-Flange on their larger pumps beyond through bolt types.


PUMP SEALS: The job of the pump seal is to keep water from the "wet end" of the pump and out of the motor. It is very important to always change the pump seal assembly anytime the impeller is removed or if the motor is replaced or serviced. Pump seal failure causes motor damage because water can leak down the shaft of the motor causing corrosion and more. Always check around pump for leaking which can indicate pump seal failure. Many times the seal can be replaced in time before motor damage.

FILTERS: Removing dirt and particles from the water so that it maintains a clear state is the filters job. On portable or self contained spas they are cartridge filters either of a suction type, incorporated into the skimmer, or they are pressure type; sometimes mounted under the cabinet with a locking ring for removal or sometimes mounted on the spa shell with topside access. The filter is not electrical, it doesn’t "run." The pump either sucks or pushes water through it. Permanently installed spas with remote equipment generally use pressure cartridge filters. No matter which type you have it needs cleaning regularly. Cleaning amounts to removing it from its canister and blasting it with a hose nozzle to remove imbedded dirt. This should be done at least once a month. If you find your pump performance lacking always check your filter.


ELECTRIC HEATERS: Are most common on portable spa systems. They are a resistive type heater that heats the water as it flows over the element. Water flow is critical to proper operation. Without flow, if the heater should come on, it will burn up very quickly and can even damage pipes. Most spa systems are equipped with various controls to keep this from happening but sometimes these controls can be tricked. It is important that you think of your heater when draining your spa. Always turn thermostats all the way down before draining. Do this even as you unplug it or turn breakers off. You don’t want the heater to come on when you first restart your spa! Turn your pump only on first to be sure it is primed and working before you start heating your spa. This is not a good time to have your blower on. You need to see water flowing from your jets before you turn up the thermostat.


BLOWERS: Air blowers do one thing only: They blow air through holes in the seat and maybe the floor. They may even be tied into the jet air opening but they are not connected to the circulation system. They have their own pipe that goes directly to the air injectors or air channel. Blowers can cause confusion when you are checking pump operation because they certainly stir up the water. When starting after a drain, its best to go to the pump only position on your control so you can see the water coming from the jets. Because blowers are located below water level, keeping them from flooding is a major consideration. They are usually installed with a check valve or a Hartford loop which attempts to keep water from getting to them. Both systems can fail, and blowers need to be replaced occasionally. Permanent spas owners will notice that their blowers are usually located higher than water level and this keeps the water out of them. If your blower has started making loud noises it’s time to replace it. Replacing the motor only is counterproductive because you usually will destroy the housing removing it! For $12.00 more, replace the whole thing! Oh, if you are replacing your blower do NOT glue it to the pipe. Use a set screw if you must but glue fumes can ignite or explode inside the pipe when you first turn on the blower! Yikes!


JETS: Ahhhh….sinking into your hot spa or hot tub and backing up against your whirlpool jets is what it’s all about. It’s that air and water mixture that provides such a sensuous massage! Jets use a venturi system to provide this mixture. The force of the water from the pump, flowing through the jet opening pulls air through a hole designed for this purpose. It is nicely mixed and provides the massage action we enjoy so much. There are probably 25 different jet manufacturers and everyone has their own special way of making the venturi principle work. The air control on the side of you spa allows you to decide whether or not you want air in your jets. For instance, when heating you may not. (Any time ambient temperature air is introduced you are cooling your water.) The air control should definitely be sucking air. If water is gushing out of it, you have a problem which, could be as simple as a blockage of some sort. Jet wrenches are available for every spa jet.


Spa Controls: Your controller is the brain of your system. And as with all brains a little complex and intimidating. They can be of 2 basic types: electromechanical or digital. Spas with electric heaters and limited current require controllers to run things in a logical sequence. For example, most portable spas utilize a two speed pump motor. The controller only allows the low speed to come on when the high speed is NOT on, thus saving the motor from an overload. It can also assure that the heater will only heat when the pump is in low speed. This is important in a 120 volt system which has limited electrical resources. The controller can provide for time clocks to operate the spa or allow the thermostat to control when the low pump comes on. It contains relays and contactors that work in a logical sequence to protect you and your equipment. In an electromechanical system (as opposed to digital, with printed circuit boards), there are many switches and relays that are replaceable. Finding out which one is causing your problem involves tracing the path that the voltage takes to reach your component. Heater circuits get the most current draw and are frequently the underlying cause of the symptom: "my spa’s not hot." Certain controllers are more complex than others. Some are so simple you wonder why others, that essentially do the same thing are so complex! One thing potential trouble shooters should remember is not to lubricate ANY relays… connectors, maybe if it looks like they need it but don’t spray WD 40 into your controller boxes!!!


SPA-SIDE CONTROL PANEL: Allows you to communicate with your controller while enjoying your spa. These can be as simple as an air button or two or as complex as a low voltage electronic spa-side control.


AIR BUTTONS: Push air through a tube to an air receiving relay inside your controller. If pushing the button isn’t getting the normal response it’s always a good idea to check to see if they are still intact and connected. Mice squirrels etc., love to chew’em. They can also fill with water which can interfere with the air trying to reach the relay. This can be fixed by disconnecting the tube at both ends and blowing in out.


Digital Control Panels: Communicate with a digital control system. They are used as the programming keyboard for a digital system. Many display troubleshooting messages when there is a problem. They sometimes can suffer from corrosion on their connectors. Checking for corrosion at the point they join to the circuit board can save you bucks with the service technician. Repair of electronic spa sides is usually accomplished by replacement. There are no serviceable parts inside the potting that seals the unit.

MAGNETIC INTERLOCKS: Were developed so that everything will shut off when you open the cabinet door. While not in use on many hot tubs now, if you have an older hot tub, you could have a magnetic interlock. If you have "no power" you may want to check to be sure your magnet is making contact with the receiver switch. Warped cabinet doors frequently can cause lack of contact.


GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER: I couldn’t begin to tell you how much money I’ve made pushing reset buttons and there are more than one on most systems. You should be aware of where they are and what they do. The big one is the GFCI or GFI. This stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. What it does is interrupt in the event of ANY fault to ground which can indicate a possible electrocution factor. Your GFI is very important in the safety logic of any system and should never be bypassed. Older hot tub controls may have a GFCI on the face of the spa control box. They are also found in the recepticle the spa is plugged into. Today, GFCI breakers are the most common. You may have a sub panel with a GFCI breaker in it (recommended and required check the NEC for details) OR you may find the GFCI on the breaker that controls power to the hot tub in the main panel box. They are distinguished by their rectangular shape and have a "test" button. NO POWER is the symptom when the GFCI is tripped as it interrupts power to everything. If your GFCI won’t reset or immediately trips when reset, it is probably doing it’s job protecting you from a faulty component. Heaters, with their immersion elements are frequently the troublesome component. Try turning down your thermostat and trying again. If you GFI now resets and you have power, you’ll probably find that turning the T-stat back up will cause a trip again. Not a good sign for the heater. Blowers are also suspect as a faulty member. Check valves can fail and cause water to leak into the motor. This would (should) cause the GFI to trip immediately. If it’s not the blower or the heater, it could also be your Ozone Generator. They also have check valves that can fail. GFI’s are extremely sensitive. Often lightning can cause them to trip. Heavy humidity and or condensation can also cause a trip that doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem, merely a condition. Simply pushing the reset button or resetting the breaker will in many cases restore your spa to effervescence! Don’t fight it though. If it is tripping frequently or when a particular component is in use, a thorough electrical check is in order.


HIGH LIMIT RESET: The high limit can be located on your heater or on newer systems on the controller itself. The most common type has a red button that when tripped will reset with a click you’ll feel. If it’s not tripped it won’t do anything. Sometimes manufacturers will enclose the stem of the button in a black rubber nipple. This nipple will occasionally prevent the reset action. If you feel your high limit is not resetting try taking the cover off and pushing it without the nipple. If it keeps popping back at you the spa may be too hot for it to reset. It takes a differential of about 20 degrees for it to reset. There are also "themodisk" types that are frequently found on stand alone electric heaters hidden behind a rubber shield that is flush with the sides of the heater. It is probably marked with a "HEATER RESET" tag.


AIR CONTROLS: Located on your spa these round knobs allow the water flowing through the jets to suck air into the venturi. They can be used or not used it’s up to you! The actual Control is just a pipe, plumbed to the jets, with a knob that allows you to turn off air flow to the jets. If water is coming OUT of the air control, you have some sort of jet blockage. Try removing your jet inserts and seeing if debris comes out. Examine your inserts for broken or missing o-rings or dirt. If a round gasket comes out when you remove the jet insert, be sure you put it back! There are so many jet manufacturers with their own special bells and whistles that you’ll have to feel your way along here or call for advise.


VALVES: Valves allow for the control and shut-off of water. Hose bib type valves allow for draining, T handled valves allow for water shut off during service of your pack. When they are up, they’re open, down, is closed. Ball valves do the same as T handled valves just operate differently, if the handle is parallel to the pipe, it’s open, perpendicular, it’s closed. Three way valves allow you to direct water flow to different areas. You may have two zones. A three way will let you send all of your water to zone one, or all to zone 2 or all to both. Check valves prevent water from flowing in the wrong direction. They can be spring loaded or flapper type.


UNION FITTINGS: These make work easier and allow for quick disconnect of components. They consist of a male threaded part and a female threaded collar that mate with an o-ring in the middle to seal it together. Hand tight should be right. Applying anything but limited pressure with channel locks may get you into a whole lot of plumbing problems fast! If your joint is leaking try lubricating or replacing the o-ring. Sealers like silicone should NOT be used. The threads do not need to be taped. Pressure applied to the o-ring is what seals the two parts together.

If you have any quistions please give us a call 813-966-8320

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jacksonbird03



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PostSubject: Re: What is it? Glossary   Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:02 am

Hey thank you for sharing...
it is very useful for the new ones....
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jennieallen

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PostSubject: Re: What is it? Glossary   Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:21 am

We used to have problems with the digital control panels and we had to call back the technique because of it. They fixed it 3 times and we dont have more problems with it but it was pain in the a**!!! Grrr
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jacksonbird03



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PostSubject: Re: What is it? Glossary   Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:17 am

Hello jennieallen,,
I think you should once replace the digital control panel since it gives you problem so once you will try to change it by the help of technician...
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aaliyahgorge



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PostSubject: Re: What is it? Glossary   Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:37 am

Glad to read your thread......it contain knowledgeable information. geek
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