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Hot Tub Won't Heat Over 92 Degrees

wont heat over

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#1 dthales

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:51 PM

I have a 2004 Bullfrog Tadpole spa with Balboa electronics. I drained it the other day and filled it with fresh water and it heated up just fine to 102 degrees. The next day it had dropped to 100 degrees, the following day it dropped to 96 degrees, and then it again dropeed to 92 degrees where it has remained for three days. The thing is, the tub runs constantly. The heater indicator light stays on solid and I hear it "click" on when I turn it down below 92 and then turn it back above 92. I feel the flow through tube and it is warm to the touch so I know it is working. I just never shuts off an never goes over 92 degrees.

Well it will shut off if I set the temp to 91 degrees but if I set it to anything higher then it will try and try and try to heat but it just never gets any hotter.

The heating element is only about 2 months old.

I took the filter completely out to see if maybe it was an issue but after 5 hours so far it has not made any difference. Normally 5 hours would take it easily from 92 to at least 100 if not 102.

Any ideas what the problem may be?

#2 Dr. Spa

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 04:17 PM

Sounds like the new heater element went bad.
What the heck do I know, I only started in this industry in 1981, and retired from it after 33 years.
(from service tech to co-owner of Roberts Hot Tubs, manufacturer of traditional wooden hot tubs & spa covers)

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If you can't sell it on ebay, it may not even qualify as landfill.

#3 dthales

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 06:54 PM

Thanks for the reply. I was suspecting that but everything I could find on the internet seemed to say that heating elements are like light bulbs, they either work or they don't. But it makes sense that it could "work" yet be diminished. I bought a new one and will install it to see if it makes a difference. To future readers, If I forget to report back the result then assume that replacing the element worked. Otherwise I will report back.

#4 dthales

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 08:02 AM

I put a brand new heating element in and I don't think it is actually heating. The temp reads 78 degress but I think that's residual heat from the pump. I tested the voltage at the terminal connection to the heater and it is getting 120V on both terminals. i get that reading on both even when the heater has not switched on. That seems odd, plus I was expecting it to read 240V because it is connected to a dedicated 240V circuit.

I have a Balboa EL 1000 Mach 2 circuit board. I do not get any error messages on the display panel and the GFCI never trips or anything. The heating element is just not getting hot, as if it was burned out. But it's brand new.

So what other things could cause this to happen?

#5 PreservedSwine

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 05:16 AM

I tested the voltage at the terminal connection to the heater and it is getting 120V on both terminals.


That's not how you test for 220v- you simply reading the same 110v (incomplete circuit) on each pole.

See the "pinned" item on how to test for 220v near the top:

http://www.poolspafo...showtopic=30454

#6 ChaiSTi

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:28 PM

I'm afraid your heater relays may be shot... you'll likely need a new board... have any skills with a soldering iron?

#7 dthales

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:33 PM

I'm afraid your heater relays may be shot... you'll likely need a new board... have any skills with a soldering iron?


I tested across the terminals with my volt meter and got nothing. So my guess is the heater relays are bad. There are two of them. Is there a way to test which one is bad or should I just replace both? I have done some circuit board soldering in the past and think these don;t look to hard to replace. They are only like $3.00 each so I'd at least like to try.

#8 swagmaster

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 05:35 AM

This is strange problem, and even more strange is I have the excact same issue. Spa guy rplaced the heater yesterday, and the indicator stays on but the water does not heat (not sure if mine is really heating at all). The old heater was shutting down usually about 2 degrees short of the target temp. So far now they put in a new heater, and a new board.

My problem is it is going to get cold (18 dgrees) the newxt few nights and I fear it may freeze. Anybody have any advice on using the small ceramic heaters in the cabinet? Do you leave it on all day untill a service guy can come out? That may not be till Monday or Tuesday. Seems like a fire hazard, hate to torch my tub! Interested to hear what your issue is, mine sounds erirly the same.

#9 dthales

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:06 AM

I'm afraid your heater relays may be shot... you'll likely need a new board... have any skills with a soldering iron?


So I ordered some new heater relays for ($6.00 for 2) and I replaced them. My soldering skills are not super but I watched a bunch of youtube how to videos and my welds ended up looking decent. I plugged the borad in and it worked!....At least for a while...at least 5 minutes. When I thought everything was working I left it alone and came back 2 hours later to find the pump and heater were nto running but the control panel indicated that they were running. And the spa light was on. I could not get any response from the spa controlls so I had to shut off the breaker. So now I think I have created a new issue. I should probably post that issue in a new thread. Or just pay $135 to have www.spa-tek,com fix it for me. I had him repair it once before and he did awesome work, I just thougth I'd try to save some cash since after he fixed it I did not properly secure the connecters to the heater terminals and they over-heated and burned out the relays.




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