Hot tub tripping breaker | ehottubsandpools

Hot tub tripping breakers

This post is in response to a question sent to me from Jim D in the comment and questions section of this site. The problem Jim is having is that his hot tub was working fine one day and the next day nothing. When he resets the breaker for the tub it trips instantly. This is something I see all the time on service calls. In this post I am going to teach you some easy ways to find out why your hot tub is tripping its breaker and maybe save you some money on a service call.

What I want to do first is go over safety issues. ALWAYS MAKE SURE THE POWER IS OFF TO THE HOT TUB BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING!!!! Second, if you are not comfortable opening your hot tub spa pack (electric control and circuit board housing) don’t do it. Call a professional. Third, ALWAYS MAKE SURE THE POWER IS OFF TO THE HOT TUB BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING!!!!

Now if you are comfortable checking a few things on your own I’ll give you a few tips. The first thing that has to be done is to take a side panel off your hot tub in the area of the spa pack. Then you have to figure out how your pumps, blower, ozonater, and heater are attached to the circuit board. Some packs have plug-ins on the side and are easily disconnected. Others have the wires from each that are connected directly to the circuit board.

Now what you are trying to do is to find out which one of these are bad. What usually happens is that a pump, blower,ozonater, or heater is bad or drawing to many amps and trips the breaker. What you need to do is to disconnect these one at a time and try powering up the tub in between each disconnect. What this means is disconnect one item (make sure the wires or plug is touching nothing on the circuit board) and reset the breaker. If the topside control lights up and the breaker doesn’t trip, whatever you disconnected was the problem. What I want you to start with first is the ozonter. This is the most common reason I’ve seen for a hot tub tripping breakers. This is also what you want the problem to be because your hot tub doesn’t need the ozonater to run and if it’s over 2 years old it’s not producing ozone anyway. So the fix would be to disconnect it an leave it diconnected. The next item to check would be the blower. Go through the same process, POWER OFF, disconnect the blower, make sure no wires or plugs are touching the cicuit board, and reset the breaker. If the hot tub stays on this is a good thing because now your tub can run and heat while you order a new blower. This is extremely important in winter in colder climates that your hot tub continues to heat and move water. Next, do the same process with the pumps. If you have gone through everything else and it still trips the breaker, now its time to check the hot tubs heater. Depending on the type of tub this could be more difficult to check. MAKE SURE THE POWER IS OFF, find out where on the circuit board the heater connects, diconnect it, and see if the breaker holds.

Jim in his question had mentioned that he had already replaced the breaker. This means that more than likely its going to be the pump, blower, ozonater, or heater. Going through these steps should help him and you find why your hot tub is tripping its breaker. Just please be very careful if you attempt to do this on your own. If your not comfortable doing this on your own, don’t, call a professional. If you do try on your own TURN THE POWER OFF BEFORE TOUCHING ANYTHING!!! This may save you money by letting you tell the service person what you need instead of him charging you $150.00 to tell you.

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59 Comments

  1. I just wanted to thank you for the great information on breaker tripping issues. I just replaced the pump and heater, as last winter they froze and cracked. The breaker tripping started prior to that though – last summer (2010). So, in reviving the hot tub, I did not mind too much that I have new parts (the tub is 13+ yrs old). But, the breaker started tripping again. After reading your article, I disconnected the ozonator. Still tripped the breaker. Then disconnected the blower. That ws the culprit. I had replaced the blower a few years ago. But as I said, it is less expensive to revive the hot tub, than to buy a new one. And, the shell is in primo condition, so, with a little touch up paint on the wood panels (it is outside), and a new blower, I will be all set for a few more years. Thanks to you!!

    Regards, RC

  2. if you feel comfortable doing this, turn off the power, then switch the start capacitors from pump 2 to pump one. those would be the 2 humps on the back of the pump. a phillips head screw driver is all you will need to do this. if that is the problem ordering a new capacitor will be easy. if you unhook the heater and it still trips it could be your breaker but should be the heater. also check to see if your pump one is part of a recall. in Coast spas that were made between 2002 and 2004 there was a government recall on pump one. if pump two is red or yellow (7 or 5hp) pump one should be black. if not you may have a new pump comming for free. call Coast spas in BC,Canada if you have any questions. good luck.

  3. I am having similar issues. If pump 1 is unhooked. the system runs fine no tripped breaker. When I removed the pump and tested it, it worked fine and didn’t trip the breaker. I reinstalled it and it worked fine on low until I opened the water valve and put a load on the motor. Once loaded, it tripped the internal breaker again. I tried a different pump and it tripped the breaker just the same…I am out of ideas. Please help.
    Thanks Zach

    • it is possible that it is the heater that is bad. pump one will control the heater. when water runs through the heater it will try and turn on. if the heater is bad it can trip the breaker when it attempts to turn on.try disconnecting the heater and running the pump. you might just need a new heater element. good luck.

      • I have a Saratoga Hot Tub – Georgian 310 model that is about 6 years old. Run it all year long since purchase only to switch breaker off 2 or 3 times per year to empty clean refill. Did that today and breaker on panel outside house trips immediately. Been reading this string but wondering if there is something unique to my model that you know of. What to check first?

  4. Great article but I disconnected everything, every wire going out of the spa pack. Breaker still trips. Then I disconnected the power wires to the spa pack (balboa vs501) breaker does not trip. Is it the circuit board, maybe fuse?
    Thanks Rob

    • make sure you disconnected the heater from the board. this will be the 2 flat copper pieces comming from the bottom left on the board to the stainless steel tube under the board. if these are not disconnected this will be the problem. if the are, you might have a bad breaker. good luck.

  5. I also disconnected both bumps, hush pump, heater, light and control pad, breaker still trips. Electrician said everything looks good on electrical. Would this mean my board is shot, or could it be a cheaper part on the board.

    • Is the ozonater also disconnected? If it is, check the conduit carrying the wires to the tub. make sure there is not any moisture in it. it is possible that it is the board. I have seen a board trip a breaker only a few times. in a few of those cases, it was because of corrosion on the heater leads on the board. If it is not any of these ideas, write back and let me know what brand of tub you have. good luck

  6. I have an older Softub. It will run fine for some months and then all of a sudden the house breaker will be tripped. I reset the breaker and the motor hums but not turn, any lights on the same circuit will dim and ~4 or 5 seconds later the breaker will trip again.
    To me it sounds like the motor is trying to turn but can’t.
    I took the pump apart thinking it was jammed w/debris but the pump is fine. This whole sequence has happened several times… in the past once I have reassembled the unit it would run fine for a number of months. But I’d really like to resolve the problem as the Softub is outside and I live in a northern climate. I’m afraid this will happen when I’m not around and we have a week of -10 deg F and the tub will freeze. The motor shows no signs of corrosion. Any ideas what I can do?

    • It sounds like it is either the pump or the start capacitor on the pump. while the pump is running, check it to see if it gets hot after running for a while. Also you might want to check the breaker the tub is plugged into. if lights are dimming you might be overloading the circuit.Having that tub on its own circuit would be best. if that is not possible, make sure there is nothing big on the same circuit(microwave,fridge,etc) this could be the problem. good luck

  7. Hello,
    The hot tub breaker has been tripping after around a minute of operation after running for 6 months with no problems. I have tried everything you have suggested above. I replaced the GFCI first and that was not it. I unplugged the light, ozonator, pump1 and the blower separately and each tripped the breaker after about a minute each. I unplugged everything but the heater, the light and the circ pump. These items together are not tripping. I have left the tub running for an hour or so without tripping but the water from the heater is cold. It seems clear it is the heater. If the heater is bad wouldn’t it still trip the breaker by itself?

    thanks.

  8. Hello -
    My hot tub has a history of tripping in different stages. I live in Wisconsin so its been cold outside. However, I haven’t used the tub since October and it hasn’t tripped once and has always kept the water at the set temperature. (101 degrees) Just today, Dec 30, I got in to use it and after sitting in it for an hour it tripped the breaker. Now mind you, I didn’t turn on anything. No blowers or Aerators on. And I didn’t adjust the temperature at all. This has done this since I got the tub three years ago. In a day or two, I’ll be able to reset the breaker and it will function ok.

    What could this be?

    • if i had to make a guess, i would say that somthing is getting wet if it only does it when you are in it. it could be a seal at the top side control or an air switch or diverter. check these things next time you get out of the tub. remove the side panels and see if anything is wet especially around the spa pack. good luck.

  9. I have a Platinum II spa and just the other day the breaker started tripping. First it would trip after a few minutes of operation then eventually it got to where it wouldn’t even stay on, just trip immediately. I followed your excellent inductions (THANK YOU!!) and tracked the problem to pump 2. With pump 2 disconnected it doesn’t trip at all. Plug pump 2 in and it trips immediately after turning the tub on. That is, even before the pump runs. So I assume I have to fix or replace pump 2. I’m curious though what in pump 2 would cause it to just start tripping like that? Will replacing it fix the problem? Or will the same thing, whatever it is, happen to the new pump?

    Thanks again for your instructions, they were are HUGE help!!

    • replacing the pump or fixing it will solve the problem. check the shaft of the pump. there is more than likely rust or scale on it. that will be where your problem is coming from, a bad seal. good luck

  10. I bought a new beachcomber hot tub this fall to replace an existing tub, am using old remote GFCI 40 amp
    ( tub rating is 32 amp) breaker starting tripping periodically and has increased lately, trips when heater comes on. I bypassed GFCI and wired direct to 40 amp breaker in panel, has run now for 48 hours with heater and all pumps on, my questions is, is it possible that GFCI breaker is weakened and now trips out on lesser amps?
    have opened panel and everything seems fine inside
    Don’t worry we have not been in tub will rewired
    Thanks
    Guy

    • it is possible but I would lean more to it being the heater that is bad. try disconecting the heater and letting the tub run for a few hours andsee if the breaker trips.

  11. Will a GFI breaker trip on a brand new tub (never used) if there is no water in it? Any help would be very helpful.

  12. This information was very helpful in fixing my problem with the GFI breaker on my coleman hot tub. I tested the GFI with the power disconnected from the circuit board on the hot tub and it was still tripping. I replaced the GFI and connected the R W and B leads back on to the board. The GFI stayed on, however when I pressed the pump buttons nothing happened but it displayed as if they were running. Long story short I had a loose connection on the lower Red connection on the board. I reseated and tightened the connection, but the plastic around the screw broke. The connection is secure and the hot tub is working perfectly. Is it OK to leave the connection this way. I put a piece of black tape over the exposed screw.

  13. I have a Sundance Spa 880. The GFCI breaker will not allow me to reset it. The spa guy is coming tomorrow to find the problem. Of course, our warranty expired 5 months ago. Talk about planned obsolescence! I live in Southern California, keep the temp set at 96 degrees and only use the spa about once a week. Since the weather is warmer here year-round, the heater doesn’t have to work as hard as a spa in the mid-west. There is also no ozonator on my spa. Went to use the spa last night and water was cold (outside temp was 73F yesterday and cover is closed when not in use) so the problem had occurred at least 2-3 days ago.

    I know something’s going to have to get replaced, but is this a typical amount of time for something to break down on a spa that’s minimally used? Or is our problem that we don’t use it enough?

  14. did you disconnect the heater completely?(removing both wires from the side of heater) on a sundance the circ pump, heater, or ozonater are almost always the problem. if you have completely disconnected all of these from the circuit board and it still trips. it could be the breaker. e-mail me back if you need help.

  15. I tried the unplug retrip circuit breaker, but everything I could see still tripped the circuit breaker?
    Can something be wrong with the panel?

  16. I removed the wiring that went to hot tub, tested the circuit and got 120 volt and 119 volt after testing the different screws and ground screw. I was not sure if the breaker was dead so I talked with home depot electrician and she said they should read at 240 volts. So, I spent the 107 at home depot for a new circuit breaker. when i put it in, it tripped. I then checked the circuit break and got the same results as my old circuit breaker. IM RETURNING THE BREAKER TO HOME DEPOT.

    So, I have went through the panel unplugging pump/etc.. (one by one) with continued tripping at the breaker.
    Breaker proved to be ok, so I’m lost asking you for more help.

    Thanks
    Paul.

    • did you disconnect the heater? 9 times out of ten that is the problem. please don’t listen to an electrician. haven’t found one yet that knows about hot tubs and I have 4 in my family. if you disconnect the heater and there is still a problem email me back with the brand of hot tub you have and I will find the problem

  17. send me a picture of the heater and spa pack and Ill tell you which one you need and how to replace it.

  18. I have unhooked everything including heater and my breaker still trips is there anything else that could be wrong I have a Catalina spa with no leaks

    • in 26 years of working on hot tubs I have only found 2 tubs that had bad breakers that were causing themselves to trip. Check one more time that everything is disconnected(all pumps,heater,ozone,light, then if everything is disconnected it could be a problem with the circuit board or breaker. good luck. email me back with any other questions

      • I will replace the breaker and hope that works if not then I will need a board thanks.
        Do you know where I can buy a Balboa instrument board just in case?
        SN 51677-10200204100100 thank you

  19. Just wanted to say thanks, just bought a new house and it came with a hotub, drained it yesterday and after refilling and turning on, the breaker was tripping, unplugged the ozone and bam were back in business ! Thanks again

  20. What great information! After reviewing several spa troubleshooting sites, I learned more here in 5 minutes than after several hours on some other sites!

    Your information is very helpful- maybe you can help with my next step…..

    After cleaning the filters on my 8 year old Phoenix spa, shortly after restoring power I heard a loud pop, and the control panel went blank. Every attempt to reset resulted in the same “pop” and GFCI breaker tripping.

    After reading info on several sites, I disconnected the heater wiring and tested w/ohm meter – reading between posts was 11 ohms, and no continuity to ground test was okay.

    I later found a post about ozone generator being a possible problem (further confirmed on your site) When I unplugged the terminal for the generator, and turned power back on, the breaker didn’t trip! Now, however, I can’t get the spa to power up – I’ve set the time, set the thermostat – if I push either pump button, a contact in the box clicks – but motors never come on – same when I hit the light switch (and the lights come on) Spa controller has circuits for a blower and for a circulation pump, but neither terminal has a connection, and I can’t find a blower or a circ pump. Wiring diagram doesn’t reference a limit switch (and I can’t find any)
    The wiring diagram on back of controller box says Balboa PHX20, and the label on top of the box says 53425-01.
    Thanks in advance for any advice

    • I would bet anything that the fuse or fuses are bad. test continuity on the larger fuses. they should be sc25 or sc30. they will be white with silver ends and a green and white sticker that will say sc25 0r sc30. let me know if this is the problem. good luck

      • Following your diagnostics, I felt that I had narrowed it down to the heater, so replaced. After a few minutes of operation the breaker flipped again. It now will only operate a few minutes before flipping. Can the pressure switch be a cause as I have had some error messages in the past? Do GF breakers wear-out? The tripping has gone from sporadic to constanct over a 8 month period of fairly heavy use?

        Thanks for you help.

  21. My hot tub breaker keeps tripping, wont even turn on for a second, just instant tripping. I have disconnected everything except the heater. Can you please explain how to check the heater on the Balboa 2000 M7 there are two “L” shape brackets that screw into the heater, i tried to unscrew them but I couldnt move them without possibly bending them away from the panel so I assume this is not the way to disconnect the heater to check it. There are no leaks and no signs of any water. Was working fine then it just stopped (if the heater was going bad would it just trip the breaker, or would everything else run and it just not heat? I need to know how to disconnect the heater to see if I can turn on without it tripping the breaker. Thank you!

    • those are the screws to remove to disconnect the heater. bend them carefully away from the board and make sure they are touching nothing before turning the power on. good luck.

  22. Hello! I have a balboa ppw700 system, hottub was working fine until we de-powered it to drain and refill. We turned tub back on and 15 min later it tripped. Now it trips immediately after flipping the breaker back on. I’ve tried disconnecting the ozonator, pump and heater separately and it still trips. Can you tell me what the next step would be? I read the while forum and didn’t see anything else to try. Thank you very much for your help!

    • if you did disconnect the heater… then it could be the breaker. what I see most is people do not take the time to disconnect the heater because it takes a little effort and tools. Breakers do not go bad very often. Heater first. ozone second. pumps third. if you have disconnected EVERYTHING, it is the breaker. good luck

  23. Hello,

    So, my tub quit on me past winter and them it worked again after resetting breakers.
    Now it shut off again last week. I disconnected pump, light and breaker still trips.

    I can see, what looks like corrosion build up where heater brackets connect to heater tube.

    I’m thinking this is the problem. Should I just remove the heater tube and clean it up?

    It’s a freeflow spa.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Cleaning the tube probably will not work. the problem is the element in the tube. Replace it and that will fix your problem. email me back and ill tell you which heater element you need. It will take only a few minutes to replace.

  24. Hi I have a hydrospa for a hot tub. JUST bought the house in Aug and the hot tub has been working since. Last week the breaker started tripping. The other day, I cleaned out the hot tub and put new water in then tried turning the hot tub on and it just went right to trip. I unplugged the ozonator, nothing. Pump 1 and 2, nothing. spa lights, nothing. I never unplugged the heater cause I couldn’t find where that was. The spa pack is a balboa pack that has plug ins. ozonator, pump 1,2, and spa lights r only ones that r plugged in. What else is there to do? Pretty sure its not the breaker. And dk where the heater because I looked underneath and no spot that iI could unplug or anything else. Help please lol. Thank

    • On a balboa pack the heater element is in the stainless steel tube either under or behind the box that you unplugged everything from. open the “box” and inside you will see either 2 wires or 2 flat copper pieces going from the board to this stainless steel tube. There will be 2 3\8″ nuts securing the wires or copper pieces to the top of the heater element. carefully remove these and bend up the wires or copper so they are touching nothing and turn the breaker on. if this is the problem. email me back and ill tell you which heater element you need and how to replace it. make sure to turn the power of before touching anything in that spa pack. good luck.

      • Hi. We put in the new heater element n working great. Now when we go in the hot tub lately, it shuts off n trips. We turn off the main for a bit then turn it bk on n it works. But lately its been doing that when we go in for a bit n turn the jets on, sometimes we hear a dripping sound underneath n iI checked under there but don’t see anything. Just when we both r in the hot tub, we hear it. Now the hot tub is just tripping n won’t turn on n sucks since its winter stil. We have a heavy cover over it to keep warm but ddon’t want it to get ruin. Would it b the breaker since we just put in a new element?

        • If it is only tripping when 2 people are in the tub I would guess that it has something to do with the water level rise in the tub. the water could be leaking out when the water reaches a certain level. I would fill the tub to the higher level, turn the jets on and look under the tub for a leak.

  25. Are you getting 240v to the tub? start there and then e mail me back.

  26. Thanks a bunch! Was at lost what to try after i unplugged everything from the control board the new breaker would still trip. I then disconnected the heater wires from the board and the breaker did not trip anymore! Off to purchase a new heater. Any recommendations on the heater?

    • If it is a flow through heater like on a balboa or gecko spa pack , just purchase the element that is inside the tube. It is easy to install and should be fairly inexpensive. I sell them for $74.00. if you need advice on installing, just email back any questions. good luck.

  27. Hi,

    I was wondering about how much some of these parts generally cost: heater, ozone, pumps? I have a Streamline hot tub about 13 years old. New control panel about 3 years ago. I had a service person out last summer because my hot tub was making a louder noise. He said the connection wasn’t sealed all the way on pump #2, but tightened it up and stated it didn’t need to be replaced if I didn’t want to. It has been working fine and continues to work fine. However, my breaker is tripping. It will heat the water to a variety of temperatures and then all of a sudden stop. I will come out and it will be off. If it has been awhile since the tub has been on, the breaker resets and continues to reheat the water. Other times, it will trip immediately and I can not get it to stay on unless it has been off for a while. It continues to retrip the breaker. When I wait awhile it will go on again sometimes for hours and sometimes for a couple of days.

    I haven’t gone through your diagnostics yet, and will. I just thought I would throw this out there to hear your thoughts. I am not afraid of replacing parts. Could I get them through you if I need them?

    Thank you!

    Kathleen

  28. Great info! However in scanning, the problem I’m experiencing with our 2003 Marquis Euphoria spa just purchased used isn’t noted anywhere. After starting the GFI breaker everything starts up as it normally would and seems alright until the heater wants to kick in after the PR sequence. From reading your info and talking locally it seemed like the heater cause I could segregate the Balboa heater by removing the copper connectors, then the heater light would stay on and everything else runs, but no heat. So went and got a heater assembly (it’s getting below freezing) and I couldn’t wait for just the element. But when that is put in the same thing happens. It seems like it could it be the circuit board (Balboa 52753/52754)? Want to verify before I order next week. Thanks in advance

    • My suggestion would be to TURN OFF THE POWER and remove the circuit board. Check the backside of the board where the heater connects. look for any char marks or holes in the board at the relay connections. This could cause the breaker to trip. e-mail me back with any other questions or pics of the board.

  29. I have seen a lot of great comments. I am a new (used) tub owner. 04 – Master Spa lsx1050. Everything worked fine until we moved it to my house. Hooked it up and now it is tripping the GFI. Did a variety of stuff based on on-line recommendations. Appear to have narrowed the problem to the 120V circulation pump and likely the Ozonator. If I keep the two disconnected the pump runs great. Problem is no heat and circ. pump not working. Plug in Ozonator without circ pump and gfi pops, so I guess it is bad. Plug in the circ pump and the gfi pops. The heater test tells me the heater is working. I get a “low flow” alarm which shuts the tub down since the circ pump is not on. I guess the circ pump is the only one that works with the heater. Just as an FYI I don’t seem to have a “blower”. Don’t know what this is. The spot on my MS8000 Circuit panel does not have a plug. I have a 4 pump system, one of them being the circulation pump. Any other tests or suggestions for checking out the circ pump. Seems odd that it worked and now it does not. The pump “appears” to be in perfect shape. No corrosion on it at all. Almost looks new out of a box. The previous owner has taken real good care of the tub from what I can tell.

    • leave the ozonator disconnected. It only produces ozone for a max of 2 years. If you disconnect the circ pump and the breaker doesn’t trip, but plugged in it does trip, replace the pump. you are correct that the tub will not heat if the circ pump is not moving water. if you need assistance with finding that pump let me know. Any other questions feel free to e-mail me. good luck

  30. the breaker is tripping because everything is wet. Where is the water coming out of? is it the blower? The plumbing loop for the blower should go higher then the water in the spa preventing this. possibly a broken pipe or a not glued joint. if possible send e-mail with pic of where water is leaking out.

  31. Is this an IQ2020 pack or an IQ2000 pack? It will say on the outside front of the pack. If it is an IQ2020 it will have 2 circuit boards. the main one and a smaller one on the upper left side of the pack that controls the heater. My suggestion first would be to unplug the heater from the pack and try that 30 amp breaker. If the breaker stays on, it is the heater or heater board. those small boards fail all the time. the easiest way to check the heater board is to TURN OFF THE POWER and remove the small board. if the board is bad you will see char marks behind one of the relays that controls the heater. If the board looks fine, then replace the heater. If you have any other questions feel free to e-mail me back. good luck

  32. Thank you for posting this as it helped me resolve my issue. It was my heater that was acting up. Through the described process of elimination I identified the problem and was able to get my tub going again.

  33. The pressure switch would have nothing to do with the breaker tripping. Disconnect everything from the board one at a time with the power off in between moves(including the heater)and isolate the problem component. If EVERYTHING is disconnected and the problem still continues it can only be the board or your service. good luck.

  34. If it has a balboa pack, disconnect the heater from the board. this will be two flat copper pieces or two wires at the bottom left side of the board going to the stainless steel tube. 3/8″ nut driver recommended to disconnect at the board. do this with the power off and then turn it back on. if it calls for heat and doesn’t trip, the heater element is the problem.they are about $75 and only take about 15min to replace. email me back with any other questions.

  35. Your site is so helpful!! I have a master spa hot tub and the breaker trips instantly when I flip the breaker back on. I unplugged all the pumps and still trips. So I unscrewed the copper strips on my balboa 58083 heater from the main board and breaker still tripped. Leaving them unplugged I unplugged the two wires coming from the main board to the heater tube and the breaker did not trip. So I assume the heater is bad. Do I need to replace the whole heater or just the element? Thanks so much for your help!!!!!

    • If it is the heater that is causing the breaker to trip, it is cheaper and easier to replace the element. My only question is if the copper connectors were disconnected from the board to the heater and it still tripped there might be another problem. those “strips” are what brings the 240v to the heater element inside. Im not sure what other wires you’re referring to. If you want send a pic and ill get back to you. Heater elements are about $75 and take about 15min to switch out.

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