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2001 Hot Spring Sovereign 120V no heat w/new heater


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Hi, all.

A while back my girlfriend and I scored a free Hot Spring 120V/230V convertible Sovereign model built in the last quarter of 2001. When we picked it up it had a bad Watkins NoFault 6000 heater element (OEM coil type) and a bad 120V AC GFCI cord. I have since replaced both and used the Upgraded Watkins/Laing NoFault 6000V 120/230V heater.

I also replaced the circulation pump while I was in there and every bit of clear 3/4"ID vinyl tubing that was visible, and replaced the ozonator tubing and check valve as well.

Upon filling the hot tub and plugging the new cord back in, I went to test the new heater. The water temp going into the hot tub was 52° and after fifteen minutes the element tubing still felt cold to the touch. This morning I checked the water temperature and noticed it was steaming in the cold morning air. After checking the water it still felt cold but the temperature had risen to only 61°. The element still felt cold as well.

I should mention that I have done what some sites suggest and that's to unhook the power leads to the heater at the heater control board and test for voltage, to which I noted 120V coming from the terminals. The HTR ON control board LED is lit as well.

Is this normal or is this a problem and if so, what is the fix? 

 

-Steve 

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A normal 7' spa hooked up 240v with a 5.5 kw heater might take 8-10 hours to heat up to 100. A spa hooked up 120V is likely only a 1 kw heater so it will take 4.5 times longer. Especially the first 40-50 degrees when starting at 51 degrees. I have seen small 110V spas take up to 36 + hours to reach 100 this time of year.

The fix is hook it up 240V it will cost less to operate and you will enjoy it more. A 110V spa here in a Canadian winter will loose heat fast and can't keep temp up when you are in it with the cover open.

 

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2 hours ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

A normal 7' spa hooked up 240v with a 5.5 kw heater might take 8-10 hours to heat up to 100. A spa hooked up 120V is likely only a 1 kw heater so it will take 4.5 times longer. Especially the first 40-50 degrees when starting at 51 degrees. I have seen small 110V spas take up to 36 + hours to reach 100 this time of year.

The fix is hook it up 240V it will cost less to operate and you will enjoy it more. A 110V spa here in a Canadian winter will loose heat fast and can't keep temp up when you are in it with the cover open.

 

Is it normal for the heater element tubes to feel cold or should they feel warm?

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10 minutes ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

There is flowing cold water around the element and at 1kw it might not get that hot. Are you still getting a degree or 3 per hour increase?

I left for my job at a hardware store (I am a Plumbing Professional at Lowe's) at 5:30 a.m. with a water temperature of 61°. Upon my arrival at home at about 7 p.m. the water was checking out at 70°. 

 

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28 minutes ago, RDspaguy said:

What is the air temperature where your spa is located?

Do you have a cover on the spa? If so, how thick is it? Is it solid, vinyl, or inflatable?

How many gallons does the spa hold or how big is it?

The specs for the 1999-2003 Hot Spring Sovereign model list 355 gallon capacity.

As far as the ambient air temperature, today we didn't really break 50°. Right now as I type this the temperature is 44°. 

It currently has no cover. The factory cover it came with was rotten and had worms crawling throughout the innards. I disposed of it and will soon be building my own using two sheets of 2" thick 4'x8' foam board garage door insulation panels and eight yards of marine grade vinyl.

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No cover, 120 volts, cold outside. You are lucky it has heated at all.

Turn it off until you have a cover, you are just wasting a bunch of $.

Covers can be had numerous places online for around $300. Fit and construction are as important as a layer of insulation on top. I would recommend you order one, as your diy will be inferior and will not last. Garage doors do not hold in caustic chemical fumes that deteriorate foam and vinyl.

 

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Agreed... buy a decent cover it will save you money in the long run. Wire the spa 240 it will save you money in the long run. If you get a cold night and want to enjoy a nice HOT tub you will get in and it will be nice and warm and cozy and in about 15 minutes it will be down 10 degrees and suck. JMO

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3 hours ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

Agreed... buy a decent cover it will save you money in the long run. Wire the spa 240 it will save you money in the long run. If you get a cold night and want to enjoy a nice HOT tub you will get in and it will be nice and warm and cozy and in about 15 minutes it will be down 10 degrees and suck. JMO

We plan on getting a better cover for it, however I have not been able to find a cover that will adequately fit inside the canopy I built over the hot tub. I only have eight inches of clearance on the long sides and on the short sides I have only three, so I can't fit a conventional hot tub cover inside it. Not to mention, the lowest point of the roof is only three feet above the top of the hot tub. I designed it in such a way to eliminate the obscene bulkiness ad heaviness of conventional hot tub covers. 

 

The marine grade vinyl my girlfriend purchased (and that I plan on using to make a replacement with) is of the same type that is used in outdoor marine environments and is rated for hot tub cover patch work. 

 

And the foam board insulation I plan on using has an external layer of film on both sides for moisture and chemical protection. 

 

As far as the 120/230V wiring, we are renting the place where I live and we cannot permanently wire this hot tub for 230V. We have to keep portability in mind.

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All good. See if you can find a thermal foam floating blanket in your area. It sits on top of the water and keeps heat in. Comes in 7' and 8' sizes and you cut it to fit the contours of your spa. Will help keep the heat in when not in use. http://hstsynthetics.com/products/spa-products/floating-spa-cover.html

Also open up the skirting panels and fill any open voids with Roxol rock wool insulation leaving the area near the pumps and pack room to breath. 

A cover cap might help keep in heat and stop cold wind from getting under the edges of the cover: https://www.costco.ca/spa-cover-cap-2.1-m-x-2.1-m-(7-ft.-x-7-ft.).product.10344564.html

Is it up to temp yet?

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Good advice from CanadianSpaTech. Just heed his warning about the insulation around the pumps and equipment.

I would encase the foam in poly sheeting, thicker the better. Tape it up tight with clear packing tape on the top side of each panel before you upholster with vinyl. It may buy you some extra life on your cover.

Consider some rigid center support at the hinge, or even a layer of plywood with deck seal inside the plastic, to help avoid sagging and holding water, which is the end of a cover. Manufactured covers are also sloped, but I have no suggestions for how to do that.

Best of luck! Post some pictures of your creation, I would love to see it.

 

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19 hours ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

Is it up to temp yet?

This morning's check of the temperature pulled a reading of 92° at the control panel head. I covered the hot tub with the marine vinyl last night when the temperature was 83°. 

Considerable warmth is being felt at the drain where the ozone bubbles are coming up into the hot tub.

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14 hours ago, RDspaguy said:

Best of luck! Post some pictures of your creation, I would love to see it.

This is what we started off with back in January when we picked it up. We had to haul it on its side in the bed of a Ford F150 truck.

49631740912_5ff1eb2fa3_b.jpgHot Tub project progress by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr. 

This is after we got the deck built. I built it originally to house just the footprint of the hot tub with a little extra space on the sides and originally was going to have the 10'x10' gazebo over it. However, we had experienced a windstorm one day while we were at work and came home to the gazebo on its side, fifteen feet away from the hot tub.

49631740907_730da6b8c8_b.jpgHot Tub project progress by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

This was after I had removed the gazebo and started building the original cover. I used 1" diameter Schedule 40 conduit for the uprights and 3/4" Schedule 40 irrigation PVC for the horizontals. This was too wobbly in any sort of wind and wouldn't have held up so I began strenghtening it with more materials. The next few shots illustrate the progress.

49630950578_29fb9cc9fd_b.jpgHot Tub project progress by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

49631472801_920ec8b355_b.jpgHot Tub project progress by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

This is after I'd removed the original cover (which required removing one wall of the canopy framework), and installed the roof. The removal of the original cover was required because worms were found crawling both inside the cover and in the hot tub itself.

49631740802_5e742b74dc_b.jpgHot Tub project progress by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

The most recent photo I have, taken a few days ago when I installed the new heater. I installed doors on both sides.

Next up: Construction of the cover!

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1 hour ago, RDspaguy said:

I used to have an f250 the same color as that truck in the photo.

Looks like you have put some work into your project. Well done and best of luck on that cover!

Thanks! I was quite surprised that in its current state it withstood over 40mph sustained winds in two back-to-back windstorms!

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If the spa sat empty for an extended period of time without water in it before you got it I HIGHLY recommend running a plumbing line cleaner (Ahh-Some is best) through it to disinfect and remove any mold and bio-film that is likely inside the plumbing lines. BEFORE USING IT.

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8 hours ago, CanadianSpaTech said:

If the spa sat empty for an extended period of time without water in it before you got it I HIGHLY recommend running a plumbing line cleaner (Ahh-Some is best) through it to disinfect and remove any mold and bio-film that is likely inside the plumbing lines. BEFORE USING IT.

That's already been done. I did that in the first two test fills I did when testing the old Laing NoFault 6000 tri-coil heater it originally came with. It should be noted, however, that there is a set of clear vinyl lines at a check valve - which I've added a photo of below - that have some form of a black deposit (which I presume to be mold but unsure) on the inside walls but when I activate the jets, it appears that water does not flow through it. The valve pictured, also has a 3/4" ID vinyl tube about eight inches in length that goes to a tee fitting that I will be eventually replacing.

49633480211_fc8e9394d3_b.jpgHot tub project by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

I realized, too, that I forgot to add a few photos to my post above. 

49631740797_183ca22dc0_b.jpgHot Tub project progress by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

This is looking up at the framework I built for the canopy. I used Schedule 40 PVC conduit for the two diagonals because it is super rigid. At the lower right of the picture is the towel bar, which I built out of Schedule 40 irrigation PVC and spraypainted in a hammered metallic bronze finish.

49631740787_052e853fbb_b.jpgHot Tub project progress by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

This one looks at the entire canopy after I had installed both sets of French-type doors. The lower two-thirds of the doors and the canopy framework will be walled-off with the same corrugated sheeting that the roof is made of. I will add both an external and internal layer for heat retention and to help lessen the energy cost of operating this thing.

The upper third of the doors (from the cross members up), and the upper third of the walls of the canopy structure will be dual layers of clear Plexiglas sheets, with an inner and outer panel. I designed it this way to ensure that my girlfriend and I can see out and enjoy our views out, while retaining the heat and lessening the need for a conventional hot tub cover.

The only venting will be through thin cross-through panels I'm building out of FRP paneling and window mesh, to keep critters and nature's debris out.

49633701302_33e5fba504_b.jpgHot tub project by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

This was taken last night during testing of the jets after I ran them to circulate the water. After this, I covered the hot tub with two sheets of the marine-grade vinyl I previously mentioned.

And then tonight:

49633431401_86758cb15f_b.jpgHot tub project by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

After I took this photo (shortly before 10 p.m. local time), I temped the water using the control head's temperature control and the reading that came back indicated the water was at 98° For most of the day the temperature had hovered around 92° (that's mostly because we had a rather unexpected drop in temperatures and had a really brief snow flurry), until I had switched the heat setting to UT-4 at around 4 p.m. local time. It then quickly began rising once the ambient temperature outside began to rise. The water in the hot tub feels hot to the touch now.

This payday, I am purchasing the rest of the material to build the cover, and hope to have it done next week.

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