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Heater Info on Spa Heater Elements, Spa Heaters, Hot Tub Heating Elements.
This info pertains to installation and startup of any spa control with heater, hot tub heaters, or spa heater elements:
ELEMENT INSTALLATION GUIDE
Before using this element: This element was tested for resistance prior to packing and shipping. The most common failure for spa heaters is users allowing a heater to run while air is passing into the skimmer and over the element, overheating and destroying it. The resistance goes to zero if you ruin your element via overheating. This element can not test ‘open’ or zero for resistance unless you allow it to overheat, which voids the warranty. Minimum water flow is 20 gallons per minute.
1. If you have a digital temperature control, turn the setting to as low as it goes. Disconnect power leading to spa control. Use lockout, or otherwise prevent anyone else from re-energizing power. If in doubt, call a licensed electrician or spa service company.
2. Verify with a meter that power is OFF! Do this at the spa control.
3. Remove terminal wires leading to present heater.
4. Remove spa heater assembly from control box. This requires closing the valve left and right of the spa control, then loosen one plumbing connection and allow the water to drain from the heater.
5. If the ¾ inch hex nuts that retain the flothru heater element in the heater housing look corroded, apply penetrating oil like WD-40 to the nuts and let sit for a few minutes. Using a ¾” socket or wrench, remove the nuts from the old element.
6. Push the 2 terminals of old element into the heater housing and slide the element out one end. Sometimes the easy way is to cut or break off the old terminal studs, as some manufacturers attach these after the heater is assembled.
7. Clean the inside and outside of the housing, using a wire brush or fine steel wool, and remove all rust, oil, and contaminants.
8. Read the rest of these instructions carefully before proceeding.
9. The terminal studs on your new element have been verified and tested before shipment for quality and integrity of the epoxy seal. The epoxy below each terminal is a barrier preventing moisture from entering inside the element, and must not be broken. If you twist the terminal studs or bend them during assembly, you may break the epoxy to terminal seal(s) which will result in premature failure of the element or GFCI tripping.
10. The terminal studs have a hex head at the bottom of each, which must be held with an open end wrench while you tighten the securing nuts, holding the 2 terminal wires onto the studs. Failure to hold the studs and preventing them from rotating is a common cause of element failure, and GFCI tripping.
11. Another common cause of failure is bending the terminal studs while inserting the element into the housing. These replacement elements have been designed to be easy to install, but you must still exercise care to not bend the terminals. Remove the 2 large hex nuts from the new element. Look and verify that there is an O-Ring seal on each terminal fitting.
12. Insert element into one end of housing. Push gently until terminals are showing through the two ½ inch holes in the housing. Gently push the terminals through the holes, and pull the terminal fittings upward. Secure using the two provided hex nuts, large ones with ¾” flats. Tighten, and position the element in the central area of the housing so the element does not touch the SS housing. Torque to a max of 20 ft-lbs, snugly.
13. Put the heater assembly back onto the control panel and secure. Insure terminals are clean, no oil, no dust!
14. Place two provided SS #10 washers onto the terminal studs. Then put one terminal wire onto one stud and place the #10 SS kep nut with integral star washer onto the terminal stud and tighten finger tight only. Using an open end wrench, hold the terminal stud securely and place a second wrench onto the terminal nut (#10-32 SS kep nut) and torque to a max of 2-4 inch-lbs., while making sure the stud is held from rotating with the open end wrench. Verify the kep nut is secured properly.
15. Repeat the above on the second terminal.
16. Be sure terminal wires are not close to touching any grounded metal parts, and terminal area is free of dirt.
17. Open the valves or fill the spa and check both terminals for any sign of water leakage. Verify terminals are clean.
18. Close spa control panel.
19. If you have a mechanical thermostat, turn it now to the coldest setting.
20. Turn on the power to the spa control. If you have an electronic control, and you didn’t do this earlier, set the temperature to the lowest setting right away.
21. Turn on the main pump to high speed. Let run for several minutes, until all air is purged from the piping system.
22. Never run a flowthru heater unless all air is out of the system, and you have at minimum 20 gallons per minute flow of water. Do not allow air to enter system while heating. This can occur if users exit spa and water level drops and allows air to enter skimmer. Turn off the heat until the spa is filled to proper level! This is the main reason people lose their spa heaters. This type of damage is cumulative. You do a little damage to the element each time it is allowed to operate in a mix of air and water. As the damage adds up, the element burns and fails.
23. Turn up the temperature to a few degrees above the spa water temperature. Most spa controls have an indicator light that comes on when the heater is on. Look for this light and see that it is on.
24. If your spa water is cold, expect 8 to 10 hours to warm it if on 240 volts, and over 24 hours if on 120 volts. A few more words about spa care: A-keep your spa water clean. Change it at least every 6 months. B-use a small amount of your chosen sanitizer, and never use more than recommended. More is NOT better; you can corrode the metal parts in the system. Never put chemicals into the skimmer. C-get a good test kit, and be aware of water ‘hardness’. If possible, get a test kit that includes a test for the “Langlier” index. Follow the recommendations, and keep the Langlier index where your heater and other system parts do not become covered in ‘scale’, which shortens the life of the heater. D-when in doubt, find a good local service company that comes recommended for spa related care and service. E-NEVER allow the heater to operate with air in the system! It takes only 40 seconds total time running in air to dry-fire and destroy a heating element.
While the above is specifically about heater element replacement, this info applies to installing a new spa control with heater, or a new heater. Start-up procedure is critical to the installation and it is very easy to damage a brand new heater if the above is not followed.
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