We love our hot tubs. We want them to work perfectly all the time so that they can give us the relaxation and enjoyment we seek.
But this evening when you turned your spa on, nothing seemed to happen. No heating, no bubbling, no nothing – the thing just sat there staring at you. Sorry but there are high chances that your hot tub breaker, has tripped.
Hey, there is no need to panic! A hot tub tripping breaker is a normal occurrence. At least 4 out of 10 spa owners have to deal with this problem at some point in their lives.
Best thing? You can easily find out what has caused your breaker to trip. Right about now, we are going to list some of the main causes of a hot tub breaker trip and how you can fix it.
There are a few problems that may require you to contact a professional, though, but if you are skilled enough in electrical systems, you will be surprised at how easy it is to deal with these too.
But before we even jump into details, let’s get acquainted with the basics. Alright?
What Is A Hot Tub Breaker?
Some call it a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), others just call it a hot tub breaker, for us, this is simply the device that protects your spa from unusual deviations or fluctuations in your electricity supply. Short circuits and ground faults happen when power takes a different route than the one intended by the manufacturer of the circuit.
When your spa breaker detects some abnormality in your power supply, whether a short circuit or a ground fault, it breaks up the circuit and stops all the electricity that flows to your hot tub. This interruption is what most spa owners refer to as tripping.
Where Is The Spa Breaker Located?
If you just had a hot tub set up in your home, chances are good that you are still learning where different parts of your system are located and how each one operates. And if you have never experienced power problems with your spa before, there are even higher chances that you have no idea where your breaker is installed.
So let’s dig a little bit into this…
Most hot tubs require a voltage of between 220V and 240V for them to run. Now, the standard home voltage is usually set at 120 V. This simply means that before you even decide to set up a spa in your backyard, you need to have a power outlet specifically designed to handle the 220-240 volts demanded by your new equipment.
So if you want to know where your GFCI is located, the first place to look will be in the control panel that contains the outlet your hot tub uses. The National Electrical Code demands that the GFCI and any other electrical component be installed at least 6ft away from your spa for your safety. So if you had your installation done by an expert, you already know where to find your hot tub breaker.
How To Reset Your Hot Tub Breaker
Your spa breaker should have a reset button that is clearly visible and clearly labeled. In most cases, these buttons are red in color and have a visible “reset” label. To get your power back up and running, just press the reset button and your tub will start working as usual.
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Reasons Why Your Hot Tub Breaker Trips
If your spa trips, it is a clear indication that an unexpected problem has occurred somewhere in your hot tub wiring. In some cases, this can be just a one-time thing that can be fixed by a simple press on the reset button. However, if a hot tub tripping breaker has become a regular occurrence then it shows that there is an underlying issue that you must address before it escalates to something else.
But as we mentioned earlier, most of these breaker trips are pretty easy to fix without even having to involve a professional. Just make sure the area you are working on is free from moisture and you have turned off the electricity supply. Water and electricity don’t shake hands, so if you still want to come out of this alive, consider the simple tip we have just given you.
Here are the reasons why your GFCI could be tripping:
1. The Breaker Is Worn Out
If you have been experiencing frequent power surges or your area gets hit by lightning quite often, your breaker may wear out. Sometimes, if the GFCI is too old, it can start tripping. So how do you know if your breaker is the problem?
Try flipping it. If it trips again immediately, then it is worn out and needs replacement. But just to be sure, detach everything from the breaker and turn it on again. If the breaker trips even when nothing is attached to it, then it is time to budget for a new one.
2. There Is Moisture In The Breaker Box
Where have you installed your hot tub breaker? Is it in a place where it gets splash outs, flooding, and rainwater? These can cause enough dampness to make your breaker trip.
Open the breaker to see if there is any moisture inside. Grab a towel or any dry rag and wipe out the wetness. If you have a dehumidifier or fan near your spa’s power outlet, turn it on and once your breaker has dried up, flip it back on.
Still, tripping? You may want to get a professional check the breaker for you. Maybe it needs more advanced troubleshooting? But to make sure that the breaker box doesn’t get humid often, consider replacing it or relocating it to a drier place. Just ensure that the new spot is close enough to your power outlet to serve its purpose.
3. Some Components Are Corroded
Rust is every tub owner’s nightmare. It can eat away the parts of your spa rendering the entire system useless. As such, it is important to be on the lookout for corrosion every time you conduct your hot tub maintenance tasks.
If rust attacks your equipment, it could make some of the components not to function properly. Others may even not function at all. This could affect some of the most important spa care tasks like getting rid of hot tub foam or serious chemistry like shocking your hot tub. If corrosion eats away your filtration system, which plays an important role in your water treatment, the process may not be completed effectively and you know the effects of that.
Now, water chemistry aside, corrosion can waste away the area near the hot tub breaker too or around other components.
When a hot tub tripping breaker is caused by corrosion, there are visible signs. For instance, if you check the receptor or the interior of your hot tub cabinet, you will see some sort of whitish powder or brownish compound around the areas where components connect. Take a detailed look at your spa wiring, ground wires, control panel, wire connectors, and any other area you think could be prone to rust.
To get rid of the corrosion, there are two things you need to consider – the parts it has affected and the level of damage. Corroded connectors can be cleaned off easily using a wire brush and connected back with ease too. Nevertheless, if the rust is extreme, replacing your wiring could be the only way out.
While at it, find out where the rust is coming from. There would be no point in doing brand new wiring when you have not known what caused the other one to corrode in the first place. If it was a result of dripping water, you will need to locate and repair the leak before anything else.
4. Your Spa Wiring Is Loose Or Damaged
Tighten The Connectors
Loose or broken wires on your system could be the reason why your breaker keeps on flipping. If your spa is quite old or you keep moving it from one place to another, there is a possibility that connections have loosened up and this could cause power interruptions in the circuit. These interruptions can make a component keep turning on and off, resulting in a tripping breaker.
To tighten loose connectors, just get a screwdriver, open your hot tub cabinet, and give the slack screws that hold the cabling in place a little push. Do this also to the plastic plugs and any other connection that seems a little rickety to give them a good grip. If any other hot tub accessories are broken or damaged, get a replacement.
Replace Burned Wires
We all know that where there is electricity, fire can appear in a blink. A simple short in your hot tub wiring can cause a huge heating problem and the whole system could catch fire. Not the best scene!
If your wiring is too old, it can overheat and melt the rubber insulation around it, which can be difficult to fix. Check your breaker box and spa cabinet to see if there are any nude wires (those whose rubber coating has melted already). You will have to replace the disfigured cabling, but even before that, you will need to find out why the system is overheating.
Problems like these should only be rectified by a professional. But if you are electrically gifted and believe you can handle this, you can get started by checking the voltage of the components and wiring of your hot tub.
Separate Touching Wires
A hot tub tripping breaker can occur when two wires that are not supposed to come into contact with each other accidentally touch each other. For instance, when the Live wire touches the ground wire, it will not only cause your breaker to flip but can also cause a fire.
If you moved your hot tub recently, had some work done in the cabinet, or your system is infested with pests, cables can touch each other accidentally. To identify the misbehaving wires, disconnect each component of your spa one at a time, resetting your breaker each time to see if it tips. The component that makes your breaker to trip is the culprit. Get your tools ready and examine their wiring.
Sometimes wires can touch when one of them sags. If this is the case, just tighten the loose wire and turn on your breaker. If there are any signs of mice, then it means that you are likely to find even bigger problems like chewed up and damaged wires. In such cases, you don’t have a choice to have those wires and connectors replaced.
5. Your Ozonator Or Air Blower Is Flooded
Your spa breaker is likely to flip if there is water flowing back into the Ozonator or air blower. In most cases, this problem will occur when you overfill your spa or if the valves are faulty.
To get this resolved, disconnect the Ozonator or blower from your breaker and turn it on again. Pour out some water from the spa if necessary and replace the faulty valve. You may also need to replace your blower if it is completely wet.
6. The Spa Heater Is Faulty
A bad hot tub heater is one of the major reasons why a breaker trips. The way this heater is assembled is that it contains a metal tube that has a heating coil in it. This is where the water in your hot tub passes to get heated. Now, if this coil is cold, your water will remain cold and if something is making the heating element not to function as it should, the breaker will flip.
To resolve this, detach the heater from the GFCI and reset it. If it doesn’t flip, your heater is the cause for tripping, which means it is faulty and needs replacement.
Even then, you will still need to find out what caused problems with your heating element. Have you been running it without water in the spa? This could be what caused the damage. Dry fire, anyone? When the heater runs without enough water passing through it, it overheats and could get melted or even burned completely.
Poor circulation systems, clogs, and deposits from cheap chemicals could cause dry fire, resulting in a damaged element. You may want to drain and clean your hot tub before installing a new heating element.
7. Some Parts Are Misbehaving
A spa comes with many moving parts from pumps, blowers, and heaters all the way to electrical circuits and filtration systems. If any of these components is misbehaving, your breaker will trip.
The best way to identify an offending spa part is by disconnecting all the components from the breaker, reconnecting each individually, and resetting the GFCI each time. The part that gets your breaker flipping is the guilty one.
Now that you have found the naughty component, you will need to find out why it is misbehaving. Check its wiring, find out if the problem is due to overheating or lose connection. If the part is totally damaged, you may need to replace it or involve a pro to perform advanced troubleshooting.
Globo Surf Overview
Hot tub tripping breaker can be a real nuisance and could indicate potential problems with your system. Whether you soak in a standard or an inflatable hot tub, you will have to deal with electrical issues at one point in life.
Lucky for you, we have equipped you with all the knowledge you need to identify the causes of such problems and troubleshoot them as soon as they occur. Just remember to keep the power off when resolving the issues. And if the problem is more than you can handle, involve a professional.