in Hot Tubs & Spas
|SpaCyclopedia Index Plumbing Diagrams Hot Tub Wiring Shop for Hot Tub Spa Pumps|
A common problem with aging spas is pump failure. We'll guide you through the process of replacing a spa pump... thus restoring your hot tub for many more years of use & enjoyment. If your system is more than 2 or 3 years old, we recommend replacement of the entire pump, not just the motor or wet end-- you'll have fewer headaches in the long run.
See Spa Equipment Troubleshooting for details on repairing components.
CAUTION: Electrical repairs can be dangerous, especially around water. Repairs must be made by a qualified electrician or spa technician. Regardless of who performs the work, make certain that all electrical power to the hot tub or spa is disconnected prior to making any inspections or repairs.
Shut the power off at the service panel, and as a secondary precaution, disconnect the power to the spa as well. Do not attempt to perform electrical repairs unless you are qualified.
Anatomy of Hot Tub Pumps
Symptoms of Spa Pump Failure
There are several signs of hot tub pump failure:
You could replace these individual components (if you can find the proper parts). But if your pump is more than a couple years old, it is generally better to replace the entire pump-- motor and wet end. This is a cleaner and much easier repair, which results in a greater reliability factor in the long run. Our quality Replacement Spa Pumps are not expensive. In fact, we charge less for complete brand-new pumps (motor and wet end) than others charge for just the motor alone!
Removing the Old Pump
Spa Equipment Access
The best way to assure obtaining the correct replacement pump, is to remove the old unit prior to ordering the new one. This will allow you to make inspections and measurements to assure a correct match.
Some spas will have two gate or slice valves installed at either side of the pump (1). If so, close these valves prior to removing the pump. If no valves are present, drain the spa.
Disconnecting the Old Spa Pump
Although the pump's power cable is still attached to the control system, the pump can now be lifted out of the equipment bay.
Remove the cable, making a note of wire color codes and connections. Make sure the wire ends are clean for a good connection to your new pump. If necessary, snip off an inch or two, and restrip the wires. Most spa pumps are two speed units, with the low speed used for filtration and heating cycles. Two speed 240V pumps have 4 wires: red, black, white, and green. Red is normally low speed, and black high speed. The white wire is common and the green is ground.
*Note: If you are also purchasing a new EasyPak spa control system from us, there is no need to save the old pump cable, as a new one is provided with the new spa pack.
Determine Pump Voltage & Horsepower
While all 110-120V spas use 120V pumps, not all spas wired for 220-240V use 240V pumps. Some use 120V pumps. So check your owner's manual, and look at the label on the old pump to determine the voltage. The label should also indicate the horsepower and amperage. See pump specifications for a cross reference.
Some people desire to increase the spa jet action by upgrading to a larger pump. This is generally not a problem if the spa's control system and the electrical service can accommodate the added amperage. As a rule of thumb, do not increase the pump horsepower more than one level of magnitude. For example, upgrading a 1 HP pump to 1.5 HP, or a 3 HP pump to 4 HP is reasonable. Avoid jumping from 2 HP to 5 HP as such a radical increase may cause problems like cavitation, uncomfortable jet pressure, or excessive current draw.
In most cases you need to match the existing form factor to get the components to match up. If you can use either form, select Side Discharge which is more efficient than a Center Discharge pump of the same horsepower. See Pump Selection Chart
Motor Frame Size
The physical size of the spa pump motor is referred to as frame. Spa main pumps will have a size of either 48 frame, which are approx. 5.5" diameter, or 56 frame, which are approx. 6.5" diameter. Check the old motor's ID plate for frame size.
Determine Pump Plumbing Size
Plumbing size is very important, but a lot of people get it wrong and end up ordering the wrong pump. Most spa pumps use either 1.5" or 2" plumbing fittings, and a few have 2.5" intake suction. These are pipe call-out sizes, not fitting measurements.
*Note: Some brands of pumps (such as Hayward, Jacuzzi, and Sta-Rite) use non-standard fittings with different dimensions. Please contact our Parts Technical Help for assistance with these if in doubt.
Installing the New Pump
The installation of your replacement pump is essentially the reverse of the removal process described above. Once again, verify that the power is disconnected from the spa before proceeding.
Connecting Pump Power Cable
Most spa pumps are two speed units, with the low speed used for filtration and heating cycles. As explained below, two speed pumps can easily be configured for single speed use.
Make sure the wire ends are clean for a good connection to your new pump. Our replacement pumps have a label diagram showing the wiring scheme.
Pump Speed Configuration
One Speed Pump Configuration: A two speed spa pump can serve single-speed duty (common in dual pump hot tubs) by using only the common and high speed terminal connections, while leaving the low speed terminal blank.
Note: After pump replacement, If your spa filtration or heating cycle comes on with high speed instead of low speed, this normally indicates that the high and low speed wires simply need to be switched.
Setting Up the New Pump
You may be able to reuse your old unions, or you can order new ones to match your plumbing size. We also have a special reducer union (#BX9924) which will convert a 2" pump to match 1.5" spa plumbing.
Most spa pumps are designed for below water level (flooded suction) installation, to make certain that they fill with water. Their unions are compression fittings which should be correctly aligned with the male wet-end threads to allow the integral O-ring to seat properly.
Flooding the Pump
After installation and wiring hookup, but prior to powering-on the spa, make certain to open the valves (if so equipped) to flood the pump and prevent an air lock. If you have drained the spa, refill it with fresh water.
IMPORTANT: Now purge the pump of any remaining air pockets by loosening the pump unions until all air has escaped (you'll hear it)-- then hand retighten. Running a pump dry will cause damage and void the warranty.
Testing and Inspection
Our replacement pumps are designed to equal or surpass OEM specifications. We use only premium-quality Waterway® pump wet ends and brand new (not remanufactured) motors-- the best money can buy. These 2-speed pumps are easily configured for 1-speed use if needed.
*Specifications subject to change without notice.
Waterway® is a trademark of Waterway Plastics - Manufacturer of Spa Pumps