I have a ten-year-old Balboa hot tub that has served us well but required
numerous repairs over the years. The hot tub technician would come, replace
parts, and present us with bills for hundreds of dollars. After a while I
started to do my own repairs, replacing the controller and the pump. (I can
turn a wrench.) I replaced the pump. Now the hot tub has quit again and the
tech tells me the pump needs to be replaced. This would be about he fourth
one. Motor and wet end. The techs are very condescending. I have had it
looked at by three different guys and none of them will specify whether the
problem is with the motor or the wet end or both or something else. Just
says whole the whole unit for about $350 to $500 depending on which one I
have asked. I can get a motor and wet end for this on eBay for about $170. I
am sick of this conflicting advice. I would like to work with an HONEST
technician who could tell me which part(s) have failed and why. I am in
Noreth Georgia. Any advice on how I could these parts tested or reputable
techs would be appreciated.
Yes, excellent point. Here is the story:
It ran fine with a reconditioned pump from eBay for like $200 and it heated
fine and shifted speeds etc. After the first season it quit shifting from
low to high (which, in retrospect makes me think the pump is in fact
probably shot). When it stopped shifting properly it stopped heating
properly, it stopped holding the temperature. I had a "spa tech" from
Alpharetta come up and he told me the "thermostat" was bad and would need to
be replaced. He explained that the thermostat was similar to the therostat
in a car and while the part was very inexpensive, the labor would be a few
hundred dollars. I nodded, gave him his $90 and asked around about the
"thermostat" idea and did not get much concurrence with that particular $90
Then it quit altogether. Just wouldn't come on when it was powered up.
So, like a dummy, I had another "spa tech" come over for another $90
"opinion call" and he told me I needed to replace this "Little General"
switch that goes on the heating element pictured in the link. He told me the
previous guy had lied to me about the thermostat.
. He didn't have one of
these switches in his truck and never got back to me about getting one, so
like a balloon head I got one on eBay for $25 or something and replaced it,
myself. No dice, nothing worked.
Last week I got yet a different "spa tech" from Gainesville who charged me
$100 to come over "assess the situation." He was appalled that I had tried
to repair the spa myself. He explained that hot tubs were highly technology
pieces of equipment (evidently as complex as maybe the Mars Rover or
something) and that anything I did myself would more often than not do more
harm than good. Thus, he explained, because I had replaced the Little
General switch myself and had attempted to adjust the setting on it(the
black screw part on top) that that was the reason the pump had failed. In
short, according to this expert, because I had "misadjusted" this Little
General Switch, I somehow ruined the pump. Sounded questionable to me and it
Is that even possible? Does the spa have a thermostat like a car? Are you
getting the drift of my frustration here?
I would like someone to tell me the truth about one thing. Is there one
honest "spa technician" in the Metro-Atlanta area? Sorry for that insult
boys, but I've paid for so many conflicting opinions that I have come to
regard "spa technicians" in the same category as lawyers.
Is there a school where this technology can be learned? Is it impossible for
a layman like myself to actually work on his own spa, or is this out of the
That's easy to diagnose. The motors are two speed. When voltage is
applied to one set of windings it runs at low speed. Applying
voltage to the other set runs it at high speed. You can check the
voltages at the wire terminals of the motor while switching it from
high speed to low. If it the motor has voltage for both speeds but
won't run at one or both, it's the motor. If not, it's the relay,
control pack, the control panel that turns the pump on, wiring etc.
When it stopped shifting properly it stopped heating
If the pump was still running at low speed and moving water, which is
used for heating, but the spa would not heat, that indicates a problem
other than the motor.
I had a "spa tech" from
I don't think a thermostat even exists in a spa. In my spa, the temp
is controlled by a temp sensor in the spa which is connected to the
control pack. When the temp drop below the set point, the control
pack energizes a relay that turns the pump on low and another relay
that turns on the heating element. It's a temperature control system,
but there is no specific device called a thermostat.
In a car, the thermostat is a mechanical device which blocks water
flow through the radiator until the engine temp reaches operating
temp. Then it gradually opens, allowing water to start flowing to
the radiator to be cooled, thereby maintaining the correct temp.
There is very little similarity between that and what goes on in a
In short, I agree this tech is blowing smoke. The only inexpensive
part of the spa temp control system that I can thinnk of is the temp
sensor and that can be replaced in 15 mins, plus of course time to
possibly refill if necessary.
. He didn't have
Doesn't sound like that was a bad idea, but it didn't work.
That's more obvious BS. If the spa wasn't running before or after you
replaced the switch, it couldn't have caused the pump to fail.
These systems are not that difficult to diagnose. I've maintained
mine for 20+ years, with no service calls. I've replaced the
heating element, twice I think. The pump seals once and the motor
once. And the digital LCD display once. Got most of the parts
online (Chris's spa part in FL), and some from a local dealer. If
you have a good understanding of electrical concepts and how to track
down electrical problems, togethe with some plumbing and mechanical
skills, you can figure it out. Basicly you're dealing with a pump, a
blower, a control panel, a control pack, temp sensor, a light, and
heater. You do need to know what you're doing though, because of the
obvious safety issues with 240V in a tub of water you're going to sit
in. Whether you have the skills is something I can't tell you. One
thing I would make certain of is that the spa circuit has a GFCI.
Given the clowns you;ve been dealing with, God only knows how the
install was done.
Do you know any friends or neighbors that have spa's that could direct
you to someone competent and honest?
These folks are fantastic to deal with.
4 pumps in 10 years is absurd. Nonetheless, I would strongly suggest that you
order a complete motor and wet end pre-assembled.
These "techs" you have been dealing with sound like imbeciles or thieves.
Determining if it is the motor or the wet end is a no-brainer. If the motor
doesn't run when power is applied, the problem is the motor (or maybe even just
the contact assembly inside the motor)
If the motor runs and the water doesn't get pushed through the system, then the
wet end is bad.
It's rarely both, but I would recommend replacing them together, regardless.
It's very often not possible to remove the wet end undamaged, and reuse it. Just
replace the whole unit.
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