The Spa Guy will answer any and all questions related to spas, pools, spa & pool equipment, maintenance, and tips on purchasing a new spa or pool. The Spa Guy IS the Undisputed Expert! So, ask away....

Ask The Spa Guy Frequently Asked Questions

Who is The Spa Guy?
The Spa Guy knows everything about everything about spas and pools.

Do you really answer every question you get?
Yes we do… If we can’t answer it, we’ll post it on our blog.

How long have you been in the industry?
Since before the dawn of spas. In other words, The Spa Guy knows what he’s talking about.

Are you selling anything?
This is a free forum to any and all and is proudly sponsored by ( link to

What’s the most common question you get?
That’s a great question… It’s probably a tie between “How do I measure for a hot tub cover?” and “What is the best spa?”.

OK, so how do I measure for a hot tub cover?
There are several ways to do this. This answer will be pretty broad to apply to as many people as possible. Assuming you are measuring a square or rectangle shaped acrylic potable spa there are 4 dimensions needed: length, width, radius of corner and skirt length. If the old spa cover is still in good shape and you like the way it fits, measure it. If not, you will have to measure the spa itself. Take the measurement from the widest spot. When measuring the spa itself, you will want to add an inch to your length and width dimensions since cover manufactures will build a cover to the dimensions you provide them with.

I just got a brand new spa and filled it up. Now, one of the pumps is not pumping any water when I turn it on. What is wrong?
Most of this time this is caused by an air lock. This is very easy to fix and usually happens the first time you fill a spa with water. An air lock is caused by a small bubble of air being trapped in the pump wet end. The hardest part of fixing an air lock is determining, which pump is having the issue. Modern hot tubs can have as many as 4 pumps. Turn the pumps on and off one at a time to determine, which one is the culprit. Once you have identified the air locked pump–with the spa off–loosen the union attaching the pipe to the front of the pump slightly. Usually 1 turn is plenty. You will want to let a few ounces of water to leak out. Then tighten the union back up and turn the spa on. The air lock will be cleared.

One jet does not work on my brand new spa. What is wrong with it?
Most modern spa jets are completely adjustable by turning the outside of the jet face. The jet is most likely in the off position. Twist the jet face to turn the jet on.

OK, tried that and it still does not work, what now?
The jet is likely clogged with some debris from the construction process. Most jets are removable, as well as adjustable. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the jet and check the back of the nozzle for a clog. All three major jet manufacturers’ (Pentair, Waterway and Custom Molded Products) jets come out using the same basic method. Twist the jet past its closing point while pulling out slightly. Also, be aware there are jets that are made for the spas that come out of China that do not work this way.

I’ve seen very inexpensive above ground pool winter cover pumps. Can I use these on my in-ground pool and save some money?
In most cases no. These above ground winter cover pumps don’t have much head pressure. A very simple explanation of head pressure is the ability of a pump to push water up hill. On an above ground pool a cover pump does not need to push water up hill. In fact, gravity does most of the work on these pumps.

Should I drain my spa in the winter?
Most people enjoy using their spas all winter long. There is a lot of work involved in winterizing a hot tub properly to avoid damage from freezing. In many cases, the spa will actually last longer if you never shut it down for the winter versus if you were to drain and winterize the spa every year. The one exception to this is when your spa is in a home that will be left unattended for several weeks. (i.e., a vacation home). Power fluctuations can cause the GFCI breaker in a spa to trip. Without power going to a spa, no matter how good the freeze protection built in to the equipment is, the spa will freeze.

It is freezing outside and my hot tub’s heater just went out, what can I do to help protect my spa from damage?
First, if your spa was running and at a temperature of about 100 degrees, even a spa with little insulation will take several days to freeze. Unless it will take you more then a few days to get the parts and get the spa fixed, you do not have to do much. By running a small lamp with a 75 watt bulb inside the spa equipment compartment, the time required for freeze damage to occur can be extended for day in all but the most extreme temperatures.

What is the difference between Chlorine and Bromine?
Both chemicals can be used to sanitize water. One does not work better than the other, so it’s mainly personal preference. Bromine is more cost effective then chlorine when used in hot water, but this should not be used as your sole deciding factor. The balancing chemicals you have to use along with the 2 chemicals will vary slightly.

I just replaced my old spa with a new one. My old spa had a GFCI built into it, the new one does not. Why and do I need a GFCI?
A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) may be the most important safety device your spa has on it. You absolutely must have a GFCI on the power line going to the spa.

It was common for older hot tub equipment to have the GFCI built directly into it. 10 – 15 years ago a few localities felt this was not adequate protection for a hot tub. When a hot tub has a GFCI built into the equipment pack, the spa itself is protected, but the entire wire from the homeowner’s electrical box to the spa is not protected. This wire often ran for many feet outside the house to the spa, many times buried. Some local electrical inspectors started to require that an additional GFCI breaker be installed directly into the panel box to protect this line. While it is a good idea to have the entire line protected–15 years ago–2 GFCIs wired together would cause each other to trip (this still happens today with many GFCIs) making the spa unusable. Spa manufacturers were forced to take the GFCI out of the spa and leave it for the electrician to install.

What is a “heat reclamation heater”?
Some spas have a jacket that clips over the electric motor. This jacket uses the heat from the motor to heat water passing through it. Some hot tubs will use these as a way to save energy by trying to recapture heat that is normally lost. While, there are other hot tubs that use this as the primary method for heating the tub.

Why is my electric bill higher than what my spa dealer told me it would be when I purchased my new spa?
Many dealers and spa manufacturers will quote you a electrical cost to have the spa sitting in your backyard at temperature and ready to use. Many do not tell you that there is additional cost every time you get in and use the spa. Most spas will use much more energy when you are in it with the jets on full power than they do actually heating up and maintaining their temperature.

Can I put a hot tub inside?
Yes you can, but it does take special consideration. Besides being unable to fit through most doorways, a hot tub puts out a lot of humidity. Exhaust fans must be installed to allow the moisture to get out of your home. We also recommend using drywall designed for use in bathrooms on the walls, as well as some sort of drain in the floor to handle the worst-case scenario of a spa leak inside your house. Most hot tub owners install the tub in the backyard.

Can I walk, sit, or stand on my spa cover?
No, most spa covers are not designed to hold any weight. There are a few specific spa covers that can be walked on. These are usually called “FRP” covers or “Walk On Covers”. These covers are usually very heavy and costly.

How hot will a spa get?
In the United States and Canada, the maximum temperature of a spa is regulated at 104 degrees. Any spa built after Jan 1, 1980 that is UL listed will not exceed 104 degrees.

What is the difference between a spa and a hot tub?
Not a hell of a lot. The terms can be used interchangeably. When the industry first started, hot tubs where made of wood. When manufacturers developed the first fiberglass shells, they were looking for a way to differentiate themselves from the traditional wooden hot tubs and coined the term “Spa”.

How often should I drain my spa?
A spa does not have much water in it. We like to say drain as needed. If you start running into a water chemistry issue drain it, don’t waste money to try to fix the chemical problem. Most spa owners have to drain the spa every 3 – 4 months.

What is an Ozonator?
A device used to sanitize hot tub water. A contact terminator of viruses and unhealthy bacteria.

What is perma-wood?
A synthetic material resembling wood that is used in the building of spa cabinets.

Do I need any special plumbing to install a hot tub on my deck?
No, hot tubs are self-contained units that may be filled with water from an ordinary garden hose.

I have an overlap liner in my above ground swimming pool. Can I switch to a beaded liner?
Yes, provided you obtain a necessary receiving kit that will fit the wall of your pool and is compatible with the hook of the liner bead.

I have a beaded liner in my above ground swimming pool. Can I switch to an overlap liner?
Yes, provided you obtain a necessary coping kit to fit the wall of your pool, which will allow the liner to lie over and clamp in place.

Can I use well water in my swimming pool or hot tub?
Yes, depending on the mineral content you may have to add a neutralizing chemical to remove the minerals in the water.

***Didn’t find an answer to your question? Click here to Ask the Spa Guy