5 Common Hot Tub Troubleshooting Issues And Solutions


A hot tub that doesn’t work properly is no fun for anyone. You want to feel the ebullient water caress your skin softly with every bubble and enjoy hours of bubbling fun. With a spa in your own home, you have a place to kick back and relax after work and chill with your family and friends.

Unfortunately, just like any other equipment made by human beings, a hot tub can inevitably go wrong. You jump in but realize the water is cold. You are sure you didn’t lower the temperature and had your hot tub cover on all through so you just can’t understand what is going on.

You decide to check whether the other parts of the tub are working but when you turn it on, immediately the breaker flips. That is when it hits you that something could be really wrong with your spa.

Hey, don’t panic! Most hot tubs can be fixed with a simple DIY. All you need to do is find out exactly where the problem is and if you got the right tools, hot tub troubleshooting will be a cakewalk.

We are going to look at some of the most common spa problems and how to identify and fix them. But as we always insist, make sure to follow a hot tub maintenance routine so that you can keep things in check and hopefully, put some of the problems discussed here at bay. So let’s get busy, shall we?

1. Heat Won’t Work!

What is the importance of having a hot tub if it won’t heat up in the first place? It’s just like filling a large container with cold water and dipping yourself in it! Let’s try and fix the three most common problems that prevent your water from heating up:

Circulation Problems

Is your water taking like forever to heat up? Does the hot tub heater keep turning off all the time? You need to check your water flow because this could be the problem.

When you have a water flow problem, your control panel may display a flow message such as FLO, LF, or any other message that indicates an issue with circulation. It could be that the water that passes through your heater is less than it should be. As a safety measure, most heaters are designed to cut out in such cases so that they don’t burn out. To fix this problem:

· Check The Water Level

First and foremost, check to see that you have enough water in your hot tub. It is common for water to evaporate from your spa if left uncovered for a long time. Water could also be lost through splash outs.

If the level is too low, add more water to the tub so that there can be enough that passes through your heater. Otherwise, the spa skimmer will start sucking in the air, which will pass through the heating element instead of water.  As a result, the heater will cut out and this resulting in a tripping breaker.

· Release Any Airlocks In The Pumps

If you changed the water of your spa recently and suddenly your system stopped heating, there could be some air locked up in the pipes. This only means one thing – there is little or no water at all passing through the pipes and the heater.

To remove the trapped air, open the jets fully, and disconnect the heater. Turn the jets on and let the water flow until you start seeing air bubbles coming from the jets. Connect the heater back into place and see if the water heats. Not sure how to go about this? Contact a hot tub troubleshooting specialist and they should be able to fix this for you.

· Clean The Filter

So the water level of your spa is just fine and no air is trapped inside the pipe, but your tub won’t get hot? Try hot tub filter cleaning.

The work of your filter is to suck up dirt and elements from your spa water. Every time you use it, there is new debris that is sucked from the water. So if you use the filter for a long time without cleaning it, it may get clogged, restricting water flow, which can interfere with the heating of your tub.

· Check The Pressure Switch

If you have cleaned or replaced the filter and your water is still not heating, maybe you need to check the pressure/flow switch. This is usually connected to the tube of the heater. It would be advisable to contact a spa troubleshooting professional to check this one.

· Find Out If The Spa Pump Is Working

If you have tried all the above and still getting a water flow fault message, the problem could be your pump. Maybe it is not pumping the water properly around the tub, which could stop or restrict the flow, affecting the heating of your system. Check to see if the pump needs repair or replacement.

Heating Element Is Faulty

So you have solved the flow problem but the water is still not heating? Then something else could be causing the problem– the heater. The heating element is likely faulty.

If you are good at electric systems, just remove the element and see if it looks sort of burnt. If so, it needs a replacement.

Control Panel Problems

The control panel runs everything in your spa including the heater and the pump. If there is any fault in it, your heating system could be affected. A spa specialist is the best person to direct whether it needs repair or replacement.

Fixing the control board of a hot tub is pretty easy but it would cost you a fortune. The problem gets worse if your equipment is imported, as it would be twice more expensive to obtain the parts.

2. Nothing Is Coming Out Of The Jets

A hot tub wouldn’t be a hot tub without the jets. Soaking in a spa whose jets are not moving the water as needed is like being in a bathtub – definitely not the best definition of a hot tub.

If nothing is coming out of the jets, it shows that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. First things first. Turn all the jets on to make sure that they are completely open. Check to see if there are any dirt-like remains from previous water chemistry sessions. Clear the debris, drain and clean the hot tub, clean the filter, and check to see if there are any clogs in the plumbing line.

If you just refilled your spa, look for trapped air. Turn the jets on for a few seconds and then off. Do this a few more times until you have forced out all the trapped air.

While at it, check to see if the suction points are blocked. Every pump in your spa will have at least two suction points. Just as the name suggests, a suction point sucks water from the spa and feeds the jets.

If these are blocked, they will reduce the flow of water into the jets or stop the flow completely. However, this rarely happens, and if you have been following your maintenance schedule religiously, then it is unlikely that a clogged suction point causes the problem with your jets.

The low water level in your spa could also be the reason why your jets aren’t working as you would wish. If the water in your tub is below the minimum level mark, then your jets may not receive enough supply. And as we mentioned earlier, this may affect the heating of the water too. To fix this make sure you have enough water in your spa so that the jets are not starved and get dry.

Make sure the filter is clean too. Filters are by far the biggest cause of hot tub issues. Apart from rendering your heater useless, it also affects how your jets work. To be always on the safe side, make sure the filters are cleaned once a week to get rid of any debris that could have been sucked in. It would be best to have a spare filter and make a swap whenever you clean your tub.

3. Control Panel Is Displaying An Error Code


If you just had a hot tub set up, your control board may display some error messages may be because the installation of some of the components is not completed fully. Similarly, these error codes may display when something is wrong with your spa.

If you were keen on the owner’s manual, you shouldn’t have a hard time understanding these because most will be listed there. Below are some of the hot tub errors that may display on your control panel:


As we mentioned earlier, this error appears when you have flow problems with your hot tub. The code may also be displayed if the jets are not working properly or are not getting enough water from the pump.

To fix this error, check to see if there are any blockages. Clean your filter and if necessary, replace it. If you put the filter back in place but the error continues to display, check the circulation pump to see if it is getting enough power from your electricity outlet. If power is flowing in it but still not working as it should, it is time to have the pump replaced.

You can also get this error if the pressure switch is faulty. The work of this switch is to cut off the heater when the pressure of the spa water decreases. So if your filter and pump are working fine but you are still getting this error, the problem could be your pressure switch.


This one is displayed when the level of the water in your spa is very low. This can be more dangerous especially when the water passing through your heater is not enough as it can cause dry fire whereby the heating element gets damaged completely.

The DRY error can be rectified by simply adding more water to your hot tub. Just remember to pass the water through a hose filter to keep dirt particles and other impurities out of the spa filter and the entire plumbing system. Also, ensure that the jets have no debris and are fully open before restarting your system.


An OH error code is displayed when the water gets too hot. It is therefore not advisable to use your tub when this message pops up as you could even scorch your skin. To fix this, clean up the filter and circulation system.

Where you put your hot tub could be one reason why this error message is displayed. If your spa is located outdoor and the weather is quite hot, you need to keep its cabinet as cool as possible so that the motor doesn’t overheat.

While at it, ensure that the hot tub temperature is at the recommended limit. Also, minimize the amount of time the pump runs. If your water is not hot but this error is displaying on your control panel, it would be best to contact a hot tub troubleshooting company so that you can have an idea of what exactly is going on.


The first letter on this error code stands for “sensor”. It indicates that a certain sensor is out of balance or not working properly.

Sometimes, you get this error when the wiring to the sensor is wobbly or its connection to the circuit board is weak. It will also be displayed when the circuit board is faulty. In both cases, you need to find out which component needs replacement, whether the sensor or circuit board.


This error code will show up when the temperature of your spa water drops more than 20˚ below the normal setting. So the first thing you need to check is your thermometer to know if your water temperature has reduced. Second thing is to find out why.

If the weather is extremely cold and you had left your spa uncovered for some time, your water could have lost noticeable heat, so put the cover of your spa back on. Next, check to see if the heater is working properly. If it has a problem and not heating the water, then it could be the reason why you are getting this error message.

Just as we stated earlier, a heater is something you can fix on your own if you have the right skills. However, it would be best to just call a pro if electric systems are not your thing.

4. Spa Breaker Keeps On Tripping

Nothing can be more annoying than a breaker that flips every time you turn your spa on. A tripping hot tub breaker is a sign that something has gone awry with the wiring. Various things could cause your GFCI breaker to flip. For instance:


If there is any moisture in your breaker box, your breaker will likely trip. The first thing you need to do is identifying where the dampness is coming from; is it from rainwater, splash-outs, or leaks?

Fixing the source of this wetness could be all you need to do to stop the breaker from tripping. Sometimes, rectifying the problem could mean moving the breaker box to a dry place but close to your spa power outlet.


Your electrical components are made of connections and cables that can corrode. Inspect your spa cabinet carefully for corrosion and where possible, remove the rust. A brush with hard bristles can easily get the job done. However, parts that are completely eaten away should be replaced.

Loose Wires

For spa electrical components to work effectively, they need to be perfectly secured. While looking for corroded areas, check to see whether there are hanging cables and tighten them. Look for melted or burnt wires too as all these could get your breaker tripping. If the spa wiring is totally damaged you may need to get a professional to replace it.

Faulty Heater

A hot tub tripping breaker could also be a result of a fault with the heating element. Even if you care for your spa every day, you will eventually need to replace the heating element because with time it is going to wear out.

To find out if the breaker flip has been caused by a problem with the heating element, disconnect the heater and reset the breaker. If it works without tripping, your heating element needs a replacement.

Again, we insist, you are only supposed to do this kind of hot tub troubleshooting if you have experience with wired systems. As a safety measure, make sure that the breaker is turned off, and the surface you are working on is completely dry before you start rectifying these issues.

5. Cloudy Hot Tub Water

A murky hot tub looks gross. We all want the water of our spas to be sparkling clean and healthy for family, friends, and ourselves. However, sometimes a few things could go wrong resulting in cloudiness in our much cherished soaking spots.

How to fix a cloudy hot tub depends on what caused the murkiness in the first place. Did you have a heavy bather load but didn’t add enough sanitizer to the water afterward? Have you been doing your water chemistry correctly? How often do you change the water in your spa?

If your spa has been experiencing heavy usage, or rather, has had several people soak in it at the same time, you may want to perform a really good hot tub shock to kill any foreign bacteria in it. You also need to get your water chemistry right. Know how to balance the PH in your hot tub, check the alkalinity and calcium hardness levels, and balance these accordingly.  Also, make sure the water of your spa is changed as often as possible and treat the water after every refill.

Globo Surf Overview

Nothing is made to last forever. We love our spas and always wish that they could stay with us until the end of time but eventually wear and tear catch up with them.

Best thing? A hot tub life can be prolonged by following the right maintenance routine. Check water levels regularly. Identify problems early enough before they become something that cannot be rectified.

Keeping your filter clean can fix a lot of potential hot tub problems. But if you ever want to do any spa troubleshooting, make sure you have the right skills or hire an expert to do it for you.

More Hot Tub Reviews:


  1. Common Hot Tub Problems And Their Solutions, doityourself.com
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!