Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spa 2 go - Back In Action - 7 of 7

Since moving to my new house, the S2G has been off active duty. However at the request of some visiting friends, the S2G was reinstated into active duty for the Labor Day weekend. The spa was in rough shape though fully functional; here is a list of some issues.-The top tube developed a leak at a fold.

-The new sensors has some corrosion on it (maybe I should not have given away my extra sensor).

-The lower fitting finally blew out, and is leaking

-air biscuit cover does not hold air

-cover is shredded so bad, it is barely even effective at holding the biscuit in place.

Even with all these issues the S2G still heats a tub full of hot water and brings smiles to many a faces. At one time we were able to get six friendly bodies in the tub. A new personal S2G record.

The key to S2G that is often over looked is the chemical levels. I once had someone tell me that she did not like using chemical in her hot tub. Instead she changed out the water once a week or so. Though she didn't add any chemicals, the fact the she and her family went in the tub daily changes the chemical composition of the water for the worse. In a year or so, the internal working of the spa pump had completed corroded due to the acidic water.

I too am guilty of not having perfectly balanced water chemistry. Though I try, the S2G has had organic growth occur on several occasions. The following is what I do to attempt to maintain proper water chemical levels. I have to admitted that I am no pro, and spa professionals reading this might gaff at my ignorance.

Since I was starting with a fresh batch of tap water, the first thing I needed to do was to add some shock. "Shock" is usually a mixture of chemical which attempt to establish a chemical base. Remember that because of the PVC composition of the inflatable tub, non chlorine based chemicals are a must. I use a bromine based shock. Instead of adding it directly to the water. I use a small container where I dissolve the solids into first. I imagine that this helps mix the chemicals and prevents the solid bromine granules from chemically burning the tub material as it sits. A note of spa chemicals; when possible buy solid granule type chemicals as oppose to liquid type. You get more for your money, as liquid based chemicals are simply a dissolved or diluted version; this is per a professional spa man. Next I filled my floating bromine feeder with tablets. You do not need to have a floating feeder, but I find it to be quite necessary in maintaining adequate bromine levels. Without one you would need to add bromine after every soak in order to maintain the desired levels. The bromine is key in keeping the spa sanitary and preventing organic matter from growing. Without it you will have a tub full of nasty bacterias from which infections might be spread or be caught from.
Update: I was adding some chems to my tub this morning and forgot a very important thing. It has to deal with dissolving chemicals in a little container. Always add power to water not water to powder. Though not too important with bromine and PH up, it is a good general rule to obey. If the dry chemical is to have a violent reaction with water it is safer to add small amounts of reactants (dry) to the water, then the other way around.

Testing the water is the next step. There are two types of water test kits. The dye drop kit and the test strips. Having used both, I find that the test strips are much easier to use. Each test strip has the ability to test several water chemistry attributes: bromine levels, PH, and water hardness are the ones I look out for. Simply swrill the test strip in the tub, and compare the resulting colors to the chart to read the levels. I can usually tell with just my nose what the bromine level is, however PH and water hardness are not discerned with a simple sniff.

From what I learned in high school chemistry, PH of 7 is neutral. A fresh tub of spa water should read close to that. However body sweat is very acidic and after a few soaks the PH will most likely be a lot lower than 7 (less than 7 is acidic, more than 7 is basic). Thus when buying PH solutions it is almost never necessary to buy PH down, always get PH up. Acidic water is the main contributor to corrosion of pump parts and sensors.

The final element of spa water chemistry is water hardness. I only recently began monitoring and adjusting my water hardness levels. Though hard water in not good, water that is too "soft" can leach electrons off the metal components further degrading sensors and spa components. This chemical I was only able to find in liquid form.

For the list of shortcoming I posted early, here are my resolutions.

-The leaking top tube was patched with a sealant. This is my new favorite sealing product. Bonds to most things. Dries quickly. Resist oil and gas. And remains flexible when dries. I did not empty the tube completely when I applied the sealant, thus a air channel was formed within the sealing agent. Therefor the repair only helped slow down the leak, and not completely stop it.

-The cracked and leaking lower fitting was very bad, for it happened the night before the guest were to arrive. I was kicking myself for not repairing the lower fitting when I did the upper one. The water had taken 2 days to heat, and to proper repair the fitting would require the draining of the tub. Even if I used the caps to seal the power pack intake and exhaust holes, I would have had to removed the power pack which means disconnecting the air jet intake, which water would have flowed out from . My new favorite sealant was of no help and was not able to patch the large leaking crack. Instead, at the suggestion of my wife, I wrapped many length of duck tape around and fitting. And guess what it worked. The leak was reduced to a small drip and after a week has completely stopped.

-The leaking air filled cover and the torn cover is more of an annoyance than anything else. I still use both, and flip a section of ridge foam insulation over it to keep the wind from blowing the air biscuit away and to help with keeping the water warm.

-Upon closer inspection, the corrosion on the sensor is from the spring coil part at the top of the sensor. I think the spring coil is there to support the sensor wires. This part must not be made of the same stainless steel as the fitting, for they do not see any rust. The cause is most likely due to water left in the S2G power pack when the unit was stored. This is noted and water will be drained out of the power pack at when the unit is taken down and stored next.

Soon the S2G will be replaced with a more permanent hot tub. At that time all or parts of my S2G will be up for sale. Please contact me for any presale request.

Hope this series of Spa 2 Go articles have been helpful to you all. Please leave comments or your own S2G repair tips, "how to's", and stories.
Soak ON!


  1. Looking for help with my spa2go...
    The darn thing has worked great since 2004 and has just given us first trouble.
    Started with blower motor starting on it's own and stopping by itself. Also found that the temp. setting would drop after setting to 102-104 deg.
    within a few seconds while readout would be flashing.
    Any ideas?

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    I have not experianced the senerio that discribed exactly. We often get intermiten power failures. I thought I was crazy cause I would set the tub to 102 come home and it was 100 (default temp).
    As for the air coming on randomly, my only thought is that something is causing a short in the switch. Might be worth it to pull the cover and make sure that nothing has chewed through the wires. Becareful when lifting the cover cause it is real tricky getting is back on.

  3. I've also had my S2G since 04/05. I built a temp shelter and insulted the sides for winter use since the body will lose to much heat when it drops below 0 C.

    The blower problem is definately due to a corroded board located beneath control panel. Water eventually gets in there. I've had to replace the board once myself already altough CLP has stopped selling parts for sometime now. Not sure why, most people I know are more content to fix their own then dish out $300 for a repair or $420 for a new powerpack.

    At the moment the impeller in my pump is broken. If you did indeed retire your S2G I would be interested in purchasing the pump from you - and maybe some other parts if you're willing to go through the trouble.