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Visualize exactly how a hot tub works.
Our interactive schematic diagram is a visual insight into a hot tub's plumbing, filtration, circulation systems, and jets, as explained in more detail below. It's much more than a water flow diagram! Even if you never perform service on your own spa, a basic understanding of its inner-workings will likely make ownership a more carefree experience in the long run. (Pump location may vary).
Advice: If you are going to be away from your computer for a period of time, Dr. Tubbs recommends that you switch off the pump motor and air blower control buttons above, to conserve electrical power.
Filter Systems: Suction and Pressure Types
All hot tubs have something in common: they recirculate, heat, and filter water. But various brands do this in slightly different ways, primarily dependent upon the type of filtration system used. Your spa will have either a suction filter, which means it is connected before the spa pump's intake, or a pressure filter which is connected after (hence it's pressurized by the pump).
Regardless of the spa filter type, water is basically taken from the surface, pumped through the heater, and returned to the spa via a network of plumbing tubes connected to jets. Both system types can provide excellent water filtration, although systems with floating Weirs have superior surface skimming.
Pump & Heater
Hot tub water is drawn from the surface, as well as from one or more suctions in the footwell, to the spa pump. (Most spas have at least one 2-speed pump; some have more than one pump).
The heater system incorporates a pressure or flow switch, and an overheat high-limit switch. These are safety devices to cut heater element power, should water flow be restricted or overheating occur. The water temperature is controlled at the topside keypad, up to a maximum of 104°F (the legal limit).
*NOTE: Some systems are plumbed with the pump located after the heater.
Better manufacturers, including Belize Spas, draw free waste heat from air in the equipment compartment (from the pump motor) to improve heating efficiency. High quality air-induction jets preclude the necessity for a separate powered air blower, further saving energy.
A spa ozonator (ozone generator) is connected by small diameter tubing to either an injector Venturi or to a special ozone jet, which is low in the spa water for maximum water contact, and which draws the ozone in by suction. Notice that the ozone tube loops above the hot tub's water line. This is called a Hartford Loop, which along with a check valve helps to prevent water from backing into the ozonator.
Modern electronic UV ozonators are extremely reliable and effective. Operated by the control system, ozonators are only on during operation of a hot tub pump circuit.
Adding an ozonator is not a necessity, but can help reduce chemical usage and significantly improve water quality. Ozone is not a primary sanitizer, and cannot be used all by itself to keep hot tubs safe and healthy (contrary to what some ill-informed salespeople may tell you). It works with your sanitizer for better water quality by oxidizing contaminants and organic material.
Most spa lights operate on 12 volts, and are controlled at the topside keypad. The bulbs can easily be changed if the socket is located behind the equipment access door.
An electric air blower is essentially a vacuum cleaner in reverse. They force air via a manifold through many tiny orifices drilled in a spa shell or through small air-injector fittings, rather than mixing air with water via air-induction jets.
Although popular years ago, most contemporary spa manufacturers have abandoned powered air blowers. The advent of high efficiency air-induction jets has made them unnecessary. Blowers also rapidly cool down the spa, especially in winter, which wastes the energy necessary to reheat the water.
Full-sized acrylic spas operate on a hard-wired, GFCI-protected 220-240V service. The wiring enters the equipment compartment through a hole drilled through the spa side or toe kick, as shown in our Spa Simulator. (110V Plug-n-Play spas usually have a GFCI device attached to the end of their power cord, and are plugged into a dedicated outlet).
IMPORTANT: Consult your owner's manual for electrical hookup requirements. Working around electricity and water is dangerous. All electrical work must be performed by a qualified electrician in accordance with the National Electrical Code and in compliance with local codes. Consult your local building/electrical department for details, permits, and required inspections.