You’re ready to sit back and relax in your bubbling, steamy hot tub. You remove your hot tub cover, only to find the water is ice cold. Or maybe your water is fine, but when you turn on your jets, nothing happens. Or maybe when you turn on your hot tub, the breaker trips. Or maybe your pump kicks on and produces an ear-splitting screech.

Whatever the problem, your night is not working out the way you’d hoped. Before you panic about what it’ll cost to get a repairman to fix your spa on the weekend, try a little DIY hot tub troubleshooting first. Several common hot tub issues have simple solutions you can handle on your own.

1. My Hot Tub Won’t Heat Up

Cold Water | CalSpas® Troubleshooting Tips | Galaxy Home Recreation

If you’re ready to relax in your spa only to find the water is frigid, it can be immensely frustrating. A hot tub without hot water is essentially just a regular bathtub. To narrow down what could be causing this issue, determine if the water stays cold or begins to warm up before cooling off again. 

Utilizing a multimeter can help pinpoint the source of the problem by testing electrical components quickly and accurately.

Ice Cold Hot Tub Water

No matter what, you still don’t have any heat. Start by examining the water level and then search for obstructions in your circulation system. Additionally, it is a good idea to clean or replace the filter. Even though these options might seem mundane, they are also the most efficient and cost-effective; so make sure to try them first before attempting anything else.

Flip Your Breaker

Next, flip your heater breaker or press the reset button. If the high limit switch was triggered due to excessively hot water or air trapped in your lines, resetting should get it running again.

Clear the Airlock

If you’ve recently filled up your hot tub, there’s a chance that an airlock has formed in the plumbing lines. This is when air gets stuck and blocks the flow of water, preventing it from heating properly. Fortunately, dealing with this issue isn’t too difficult to resolve.

Check the Heating Element

Is your hot tub still not heating up? It could be a faulty heating element. If you feel comfortable troubleshooting the heater, try removing it and inspecting for any signs of burning. Unless you are confident in your own abilities to replace it, it is best to enlist the help of a professional.

My Water Gets Hot, Cold, Hot Again

If your hot tub temperature is fluctuating, it could be indicative of water flow issues. To address this, try cleaning the filter first and then inspect for any blockages that might impede circulation. You may also need to add more water if required.

Check the Pump

Verify that your pump is in operation. For the spa to heat up, it needs to be functioning properly. If it isn’t running, you may need to get a new one.

Check the Heater

If the pump is functioning properly and the heater has been activated, yet the water remains at an inconsistent temperature, then it could be a sign that you need to get a new heater.

Check the Thermostat

Inspect your thermostat and heat sensors. Your high limit switch contains one or two sensors that will shut down the heater if the water temperature exceeds a certain level. If they aren’t working correctly, the sensors can cause issues with your heating system. 

A similar issue, an old thermostat may not be able to accurately detect when it is time for the heater to turn on.

Call a Pro

If you’ve done all these things, and still can’t diagnose and correct the problem, it’s time to bring in a pro. But maybe wait until Monday so the hourly rate isn’t so high.

2. My Jets Aren’t Working

 Soaking in a hot tub is a great way to relax, but one of the best parts is having the jets working to massage you. If you’re experiencing no jet flow, don’t worry! Let’s try some simple solutions first.

First, check each jet to make sure they’re all wide open. Also, inspect them for any buildup like calcium and clear them if necessary. It’s also a good idea to top off the water level, clean your filter, and check for any plumbing line clogs.

If you recently refilled your hot tub, you may have an airlock. To fix this, try turning your jets on and off a few times. You can also try loosening the top fitting on your pump until you hear air escape and see water, then tighten it back up.

Important: Please don’t use a plunger on your jets. This could cause damage to your circulation system and even void your warranty. It’s best to avoid potential repairs by trying the solutions above.

3. My Control Panel Shows an Error Code

Error codes can be confusing, and they don’t always give you a clear answer as to what’s causing the problem. However, most hot tubs have a manual that lists the error codes you may encounter. Out of all the codes, there are usually five that show up most frequently.

Control Panel Error: FLO or FLC

Control Panel Error FLO | CalSpas® Troubleshooting Tips | Galaxy Home Recreation

The FLO or FLC code appearing on your hot tub’s display indicates a flow problem. If you’re experiencing issues with your jets, here are some steps to try:

First, check for any blockages and clean or replace your filter. If that doesn’t help, make sure your circulation pump has power going to it. If it does, but it’s still not working, you may need to replace the pump.

This code can also indicate a problem with the pressure switch. Its purpose is to turn off the heater when water pressure is low. If the water is flowing but you’re still seeing the FLO or FLC code, it might be time to replace the pressure switch.

Important: If you’re not comfortable working with electrical components, it’s best to call a professional. Safety should always be your top priority, so don’t risk it for a soak in the hot tub.

Control Panel Error: OH

Control Panel Error OH | CalSpas® Troubleshooting Tips | Galaxy Home Recreation

If you see an error code indicating that the water is too hot, it’s important to not use your hot tub. Overheated water can be dangerous and potentially cause scalding. Here are some steps to try:

Start by cleaning your circulation system and filter. If your hot tub is outside and you’ve been experiencing hot weather, make sure the spa cabinet is staying cool enough to prevent overheating the motor.

Additionally, check if your pump is running for extended periods and replace the temperature sensor if needed. If the water isn’t actually hot, but the error code is still appearing, it’s best to call a professional to figure out what’s going on.

Control Panel Error: DR or DRY

Control Panel Error DR or DRY | CalSpas® Troubleshooting Tips | Galaxy Home Recreation

A dry fire, where the heating element is damaged due to a lack of water flow, can occur when your hot tub’s water level is too low. To prevent this, make sure to keep the water level topped off. Using a hose filter can also help keep impurities out of your spa and plumbing system.

Topping of your hot tub may be the only solution necessary. Remember to use a hose filter to keep impurities out of your spa and plumbing system. Before restarting, check to ensure that your circulation system is free of any debris. If the problem persists, it’s best to call in a professional for assistance.

Control Panel Error: COOL or COLD

Control Panel Error COOL or COLD | CalSpas® Troubleshooting Tips | Galaxy Home Recreation

When your hot tub water temperature drops 20 to 40 degrees below your set point, this error code shows up.

First, put your hot tub cover back on and let the heater do its job for about 24 hours. If, after that period, your water is still cold, try the solutions for when your hot tub won’t heat up, such as resetting the heater and checking your sensors and thermostat.

Control Panel Error: SNA or SNB

Control Panel Error SNA or SNB | CalSpas® Troubleshooting Tips | Galaxy Home Recreation

This code is an abbreviation for sensor, and the letter (or sometimes a number) indicates which sensor is malfunctioning or out of balance.

It can also appear when the connection between the sensor and circuit board is loose, or when your circuit board is fried. In this case, you may need to replace the sensor. If you’re uncomfortable working with electronics, call a pro.

Your hot tub control panel can display several other codes. To learn more about them so you’re better able to troubleshoot your hot tub, keep a list of them near your spa.

4. My Hot Tub Pump is Noisy

Someday, you may be nearby when your hot tub kicks on and you notice one of two distinct sounds: a growling, grumbling noise, or a high-pitched squeal.

My Hot Tub Pump is Growling

When it sounds like bear cubs wrestling inside your spa cabinet, your pump is probably struggling for water. Clear any clogs from your circulation system, top off your water, and make sure any valves near your pump are open.

My Hot Tub Pump is Squealing

This loud, metallic whine is the telltale sign of bad bearings. You may continue using your pump safely, but the noise will only get worse. You can try lubricating the bearings but eventually, you may need to replace the circulation pump. 

5. My GFCI Breaker is Tripping

If your hot tub is tripping the breaker, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to troubleshoot the issue. While a breaker trip is a common problem, it requires working with electricity, which can be dangerous if not done correctly. 

IMPORTANT: If you are not comfortable working with electrical systems or unsure of what you are doing, it is definitely time to call in a professional.

If you choose to troubleshoot the issue yourself, turn off the breaker and make sure you are not touching anything wet. To begin, unplug your pump, heater, blower, and Ozonator. Then, turn on the breaker without anything plugged in.

If the breaker trips, it’s possible that you have a worn breaker. If it doesn’t trip, you can plug each item back in one at a time. Flip the breaker and turn on your hot tub after each item you plug in. If the GFCI trips, the component you just reconnected or the wiring to that item is the likely culprit.


When troubleshooting a tripping breaker, safety should always be your top priority. Examine the area around the breaker box for any signs of water or moisture. If you do find excessive moisture on or around the breaker, identify the source of the moisture so that you can take steps to prevent the breaker from tripping again.

Moisture can result from various sources such as splash-out, rain, or leaks, and may be fixed by moving your breaker box farther from your hot tub or installing a barrier between the hot tub and the box. This will prevent any water or moisture from getting near the breaker and tripping the GFCI.


All of the electrical components in your hot tub have wires and connections that can corrode over time. It’s a good idea to inspect all of these areas carefully with a good flashlight. If you find corrosion, you’ll need to replace the damaged part(s) or hire a professional to do it for you.

Damaged or Loose Wiring

While searching for corrosion, make sure all electrical connections are secure. Give wires a gentle tug to check their connections. Also, keep an eye out for other signs of damage, such as melted or burnt wires. If you’re not experienced with electrical wiring, it’s best to hire a professional to fix these problems.

Heating Element Malfunction

Your hot tub’s heating element has a finite lifespan, so eventually, it will need to be replaced. A malfunctioning heating element is one of the most common reasons your breaker might trip. To determine whether this is causing the GFCI breaker to trip, loosen the nuts on top of your heater to remove the electrical connections. Flip the breaker again and see whether it trips. If it doesn’t trip, you’ll need a new heating element. You may also test the element for a short using a multimeter, or inspect it for signs of dry fire. Regardless of whether it burned out or has a short, you’ll still need to replace it.

6. Weak or Low Water Flow

If your hot tub has weak or low water flow, it can be a big bummer. Fortunately, the causes are few, so you should be able to identify the problem pretty quickly.

Dirty or Damaged Filter

A dirty or worn-out filter can prevent water from flowing properly. Check the filter for damage, and if it looks okay, give it a good cleaning. If it’s starting to show signs of wear and tear, consider replacing it entirely.

Low Water Level

The water can’t flow if it’s too low. Check the water level to make sure it’s where it should be. If it’s not, add water, and then run a test to see if the flow returns to normal.

Malfunctioning Pump

If the hot tub pump is running, the problem is elsewhere. If it isn’t, use a multimeter to check whether the pump is receiving power. If it is, but the pump still won’t work, it probably needs to be repaired or replaced. If it isn’t, you might have a bigger electrical problem on your hands.

Air Lock

A hot tub air lock could occur when you change the water or open your spa for the season. This means air has gotten into the plumbing lines and is preventing the water from flowing properly. Bleeding the air out of the system will fix this. Look for small bleed screws at the end of the pump and open them all to let the air out. Once you bleed the air out, turn the hot tub on and see if the water flow has returned to normal.

Blocked or Broken Jets

At times, you might observe satisfactory water flow from certain jets while others are barely functioning. Check for worn-out jet seals, then check all nozzles for any debris that could be blocking the flow of water. If the problem is occurring in all of the jets, look for broken gate valves and double-check your water level to be sure it isn’t too low. Also, check the wet end of your pump to see if something is blocking the water flow or if you have a broken propeller.

Blocked or Worn-Out Ozonator

If you use an Ozonator, give the valves a good look and consider bypassing it for testing purposes. In some cases, the valves connecting the Ozonator to your hot tub can begin to wear out or can become blocked by debris. Clean them out or replace them, and then test the system to see if the water flow returns to normal. If not, you may need to replace the Ozonator.

Prevention is Key

CalSpas Hot Tub - Galaxy Home Recreation

Like most products and appliances, hot tubs also require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition and functioning optimally.

Follow a hot tub maintenance schedule, including balancing your water chemistry regularly. Also, top off low water levels as soon as you notice them to prevent error codes, sputtering jets, and dry fire. By periodically inspecting for signs of leaks or wiring damage, which can be done by occasionally opening the cabinet, potential issues can be identified and resolved before they escalate into complicated problems.

If your hot tub is behaving erratically when you’re planning to use it, begin troubleshooting by trying simple solutions first. Often, adding a small amount of water and cleaning the filter can resolve many hot tub issues.

If your hot tub troubleshooting starts to get you into repairs that are over your head, don’t be afraid to call a professional. Getting the problem fixed correctly can save you a lot of headaches—and money down the road. And remember, electricity and water don’t mix. Not everyone is an electrician, and that’s okay. If you aren’t comfortable working on these systems, please call a professional.

Don’t hesitate to contact our team at Galaxy Home Recreation if you have any questions. Our highly knowledgeable staff is always available and eager to assist you with anything you may need. Stop by our showroom today!


Galaxy Professional Service Van | CalSpas® Troubleshooting Tips | Galaxy Home Recreation

When you’re ready to use your hot tub, but something has gone awry, remember to check the common-sense solutions first. Adding a little water and cleaning your filter can go a long way toward fixing a lot of hot tub bad behaviors. Remember not everyone is an electrician, plumber, or mechanic, and that’s okay. If you aren’t comfortable working on these systems, please call a professional.

Don’t hesitate to contact our team at Galaxy Home Recreation if you have any questions. Our highly knowledgeable staff is always available and eager to assist you with anything you may need. Stop by our showroom today!