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Spa Troubleshooting - Hot Tub Repair
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ELM Sales & Equipment Inc
6580 Davand Drive Unit 1
Mississauga, ON L5T 2M3 Canada
TOLL FREE: 888-502-6960
PH: 905-670-5387
FAX: 905-670-5389

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Hot Tub Electrical - Spa GFCI


ELM Sales and Equipment Inc.carries several GFCI brands:

  • Tower GFCI
  • Siemens GFCI
  • Leviton GFCI
  • Hubbell GFCI

More information on ELM stock - Spa GFCI for shipment throughout Canada:

Get the complete ELM Spa Product Catalogue.

Hot tub GFCI breakers are safety devices that come in different versions for Canadian hot tub installations. A GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is also referred to as an RCD or residual current device, or an FI in Germany and other parts of Europe or even an APLI appliance leakage current interrupter in Australia.

How does a GFCI work?

A spa GFCI can prevent electrocution by detecting any leakage current would not otherwise trip a normal circuit breaker. This is achieved by measuring the difference between the current flowing out of the live conductor and the current returning through the neutral conductor.

If this difference is more than 5 milliamps (that’s only 0.005 amps or 5/1000 of 1 amp!), then there is current leakage. This causes the device to very quickly open the circuit - usually between 25-40 milliseconds - to interrupt power to the spa. GFCIs are absolutely necessary to protect both people and equipment. A GFCI can also provide overload and short circuit protection.

If the GFCI is installed directly into the house main electrical panel, then a separate breaker is not required. If the GFCI is installed in a subpanel, then typically a circuit breaker is also required and is installed in the house main panel to supply power to the GFCI. It is strongly recommended to test a GFCI regularly by pressing the test button on the device.

GFCI Hot Tub Spa Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor

Some low amp systems running on 120V/20 Amps are equipped with a GFCI power cord that contains the GFCI. These cords are simply plugged into a dedicated 20 Amp outlet.

ELM offers panel mount GFCIs that mount right in the electrical service panel. ELM also offers a complete 60A subpanel GFCI by Siemens. More options include corded and non-corded GFCI versions. Contact ELM Sales and Equipment Inc. for spa GFCI solutions.

A four wire spa hookup requires specific wiring that can even be confusing for electricians. Copper wire should always be used instead of cheap aluminum or copper coated aluminum wire. Consult your local electrical code for proper wire gauge since this also can depend on the length of the wire run. In all cases when dealing with electricity, only attempt repairs if you are qualified and experienced. Otherwise hire qualified personnel. Never attempt to do any work on equipment you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Contact ELM to find a qualified spa technician in your area.

ELM also offers GFCI outlets such as the Leviton GFCI.

Spa Pressure Switch

A pressure switch is a safety device that turns off the heater in the case of low pressure, no water flow or decreased water flow.

The hot tub pressure switch is attached to the heater, externally attached to the plumbing, or directly attached to the rear of the heater. The purpose of the pressure switch is to monitor the heater and plumbing for proper water pressure and to shut off the heater in the event pressure is not maintained. The contacts on the pressure switch open when a flow problem is detected and close during normal operation. An error condition produces an error message such as FLO or FLOW on some control panels.

This safety feature avoids heater meltdown. If air were allowed to enter the heater manifold, the heater could rapidly raise to unsafe temperatures. The hot tub pressure switch assures that there is a continuous flow of cooling water to avoid overheating of the heater element.

Hot Tub pressure switches can be adjusted for sensitivity by a thumbwheel on the pressure switch and come pre-calibrated. Proper field calibration involves powering the spa down and measuring continuity with an ohm meter as the adjustment thumbwheel is turned to correctly set the sensitivity to water pressure.

How does the Spa Pressure Switch work?

Hot Tub Pressure Switch CanadaThe spa pressure switch turns on when water pressure is detected. The pressure switch closes the circuit and allows the heater and spa to operate normally.

Water pressure is affected by:

  • a pump turning on or off
  • by the absence or presence of air in the system
  • by any obstructions on the suction side of the pump (such as a dirty filter)
On newer systems, this switch is replaced by digital technology where the two sensors for overlimit and temperature are contained within the heater tube. Calculations are based on the proper temperature, pressure and water flow instead of an open or closed contact from the manual pressure switch.

Spa Thermostats Mechanical

A capillary style spa thermostat is made up of a switch, temperature sensor and control knob. Spa thermostats use expanding and contracting liquid to open or close contacts in response to temperature changes. Thermostats can be adjusted, calibrated and tested with an ohm meter when power is off.

ELM carries both manual and electronic thermostats for spas.

Spa High-Limits Mechanical

A high limit sensor is essential for avoiding unsafe water temperatures and protecting spa equipment from damage due to excessive heat.

A high limit sensor is a type of electro-mechanical on-off switch similar to the thermostat. High limit sensors offer a safety shutoff in the case of extreme temperatures. In the case where the high limit sensor trips often, check for proper water flow, correct pump operation, water level, filter condition and other flow factors (e.g. an air pocket trapped in the heater).

Spa Pressure Switch

Pressure Switch Hi Limit Hot Tub Spas
Spa Thermostats
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