Why is my Hot Tub tripping the breaker? A Hot Tub in your home can be a great way to relax. However, if your Hot Tub’s circuit breaker continues to trip, it’s not so relaxing and frustration creeps in. Come on, tell it as it is. You probably want to pull your hair out. I know I did when mine continually did this. (And I dont have a lot of hair left to be pulling out!)
What are the possible explanations? A daily visit to the circuit breaker may indicate a serious problem. Don’t worry, a Hot Tub that triggers the breaker is not an unusual phenomenon and it is fairly easy to identify potential causes. All you need to know is what you are looking for and where to look.
Once you have found the problem, you will be surprised how easy it is to solve. Some repairs may require some skill, but that depends on your electrical expertise.
Here are some are the most common reasons why your Hot Tub is tripping the breaker.
Worn Hot Tub GFCI Breaker
Perhaps the most likely explanation for your Hot Tub’s power switch tripping is that it has simply worn out. Age, power surges and even a lightning strike nearby can render the switch unusable. Fortunately, you can tell immediately if the breaker is broken. Try turning it off you already haven’t done so. Will it turn on again immediately? If not, your problem may be a rusty or defective switch. To be sure, switch it on and off again. With an electric meter, you can test if the power is coming into the circuit breaker. Careful though, you are talking 110/240V – it is not like a battery if you get it wrong. If the switch is not transferring the current when it is in the on position, it is clearly broken and needs replacing.
If there is moisture in the Hot Tub circuit breaker’s control box, this will cause the switch to trip frequently. Moisture and water cannot be present across a circuit. Moisture on the live or bridging the live and the neutral connections will cause the circuit to trip. Condensation, water or moisture from rain can penetrate into these boxes oner time. When this happens, moisture inside the control box will eventually damage the electrical components. They can rust, they can then arc and cause the circuit to trip. To protect the Hot Tub control box from excessive moisture, make sure that the rubber seal is in tact and that the holes used for the cable in and out of the box are well sealed.
If there is moisture in the box. Dry it out, replace the seal and try again. If it still is tripping, the problem is either not in the box itself and is elsewhere on the circuit, or the breaker needs to be replaced.
The amount of times that I have had my wife’s hair dryer on various Hot Tub electric parts over the last couple of years is untrue! Electricity and water do not mix – even in a Hot Tub!
Heater Corrosion or Damage
Hot Tub heaters can be corroded over time, which can result in a tripping of the circuit breaker. If this essential part of your hot tub shows signs of damage or corrosion it is time to replace the heating element. They are relatively inexpensive but it is just not worth messing around with corroded old parts trying to make them work.
Quick test, you can actually unplug the heating element from the Spa Pack control box. Do this, flip the breaker to give it power and if the breaker remains on, then you know that the heating element is the part at fault. Replace it, job done.
Just as a side note, white powder or rust is usually visible around components when corrosion is present. Cable connections, ground wires, panels, and areas where cables are visible should be carefully inspected for any kind of deposits. They shouldn’t be there, it should be totally clean inside the control box.
These elements are pretty easy to change out so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem is this is the cause of the breaker tripping.
Short circuits can occur in any of the electrical parts of your Hot Tub where electricity is connected. Breakers are designed to trip in the event of a short circuit to protect both the user of the Hot Tub but also the components in the Spa Pack.
A short circuit can occur if any electrical area is wet. Check seals on things like the Spa Pack – there should be no water or moisture in there. The blower, should be totally dry. In fact, the only things that should have water anywhere near or in it is the Tub itself. Your control room should be dry, period!
Case back any wires from source to where they are connected. Check for loose connections, Check for any water ingress signs into the electrical parts. Secure any loose wires. Change any seals if water has got into any of the components. Unplug all of the components heater, blower etc and then try them one by one to see what is the root cause of the tripping of the breaker. Faulty component, repair or better still change it. Its just not worth the hassle.
Loose Electrical Connections
Over time the electrical connections can become loose in your Hot Tub. This can lead to power fluctuations that cause your circuit breaker in the Hot Tub to trip. Experienced electricians will inspect your Hot Tub and secure any loose connections that could solve the breaker problem.
Loose connectors are fairly easy to repair. You may need to use a screwdriver to secure the screws within your Hot Tub Spa Pack to keep the wires in place. Alternatively, plastic plug-in connectors can be seen sliding out of place. Give just a quick, little push to the plastic plugs to make sure they are secure. And of course if there are any connectors missing or broken, you’ll have to patch them.
All Hot Tubs have electrical components – we’ve spoken already about the core components of your Hit Tub – blower, heater etc. Now let’s turn our attention to the accessories. You may also have a towel warmer, a sound system or interior lighting in the Hot Tub. If any of the electrical components are not working properly, it may be because the Hot Tub tripping the breaker.
The best way to fault find is to unplug all these additional components and then replug them one by one trying the breaker as you go. If you can find the offending part, it might be easier to replace than try to repair – really depends on exactly what has failed.
Do this systematically though, if it trips leave it in and move to the next one. The last thing you want to do is unplug everything for it to be ok and you still be none the wiser to what is causing the problem! Take your time and identify the “naughty component”
Bad Heating Element
The heater really is key to a, you guessed it “Hot” tub. It is also the part that gets used the most. It takes a battering being submersed in water that should not be too acidic but high in chlorine which is a corrosive beach. If the coil begins to rust and break down then this could be causing the breaker to trip.
Most heaters can be removed and replaced separately from the Spa Pack. Unplug the heater from the control board and then try the circuit breaker – this will help identify if the element is the part causing the trip.
You can also use a multimeter to measure the resistance of the coil between the two connections. Very low or very high readings indicate that something is not quite right and should probably be replaced.
Flooded Air Blower
Water and electrics certainly do not mix. If you have water in your blower, then the chances are that your hot tub is going to trip the breaker. You can end up with water in your blower if your check valves have failed and you don’t have Hartford loops in your air lines. These prevent the water draining from the jets into the air lines. Eventually, water will try and settle at the lowers place which is usually the blower if it is located at the bottom of your Hot Tub cabinet.
Whilst you can dry out your blower, once you get water in them, they tend to rust. Once the rust builds up, you will find that they trip once again, even when there is no water in the blower.
In this scenario, it is best to replace the blower with a new one. It is a relatively inexpensive and easy job to do.
Does the water flow into the ozonator or blower? Are there signs of water in these components at all? If water is present, the circuit breaker will trip. Both of these parts have non-return valves on (or should) which under normal circumstances do not allow water to enter into the components. Quick check, disconnect them and see what causes the trip. Then, inspect them to see if they can be dried out. I submerged my blower once by mistake, not a good idea!
This problem may occur if the control valve or non-return valve is defective so water can flow back into the component. If you are not sure, replace the valve. It’s quick and cheap to do.
Whatever the cause of your breaker issue, if all else fails, it is best to leave it to the professionals. When dealing with electrical problems, there is a risk of serious injury or damage to your Hot Tub and components so please please please be careful!.
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Thanks - Andi