Spa equipment controls repair or replace?  When and why!

“It just stopped working”  or “the GFCI keeps tripping”  are comments that we hear very often.  The equipment controls on the hot tub have failed and by the time Aquajoy Spa And Pool gets the call. You,t he customer has already lived through several failures that were corrected by resetting of the breaker.  Spa equipment controls will fail it is just a matter of time.  They spend their life in a warm moist environment, with some of the components immersed in water that at times is chemically unbalanced.  Leave your cell phone under the tub for a week, do you think it will still work?

Properly maintained the shell and plumbing on a spa can last forever, but the Spa equipment controls have a life span of about 7 years.  ASAP has worked on controls that are 22 years old and still working.  When to replace vs repair is the question.  And of course there is no single answer, as there are many factors.  Aquajoy Spa And Pool suggests if the repair exceeds half the Spa equipment controls replacement cost it is time to do that.  Why?  If one or another component fails within a short period you will spend more on the repairs than the parts are worth.  Also new Spa equipment control means a new warranty which is a bonus.

This is an article written for Aqua Magazine (an industry trade publication) by Mr. Kuttig.  He is an spa equipment control industry veteran and has seen more than his share of equipment failures.  This was written for the Spa technician but it brings up many valid points.

Hydro quip pack

Hydro Quip outdoor pack

 

Spa Controls – Repair or Replace?

By Chris Kuttig March 20, 2014 9:05 AM
Anytime a service person confronts a poorly functioning or completely dead spa control unit, the first question to arise is whether it’s in the customer’s best interest to have the unit repaired or replaced. But before a service person can answer that question, we need to understand a few basic points. No matter how sophisticated a portable spa may appear, we are a relatively new industry with technology and improvements coming out every year.

Anyone who has ever repaired a piece of equipment knows that as soon as you touch a homeowner’s spa equipment, the customer now holds you responsible for anything that happens to the control or other components. How many of you have heard, “It was working fine until you serviced it.”

No matter that you didn’t touch the newly failed circuit or component — you were the last one on the job and the problem must have been caused by you. At this point, so as to not upset a customer, you show up for free to take a look at it and see what you can do. This is not good for your income.

This is why installing a new control in a portable spa is an attractive option for both you and your customer. A new control nets you a larger profit and gets your customer a state-of-the-art, reliable and fully-warranted control utilizing all the industry’s newly developed technology. Increased profits for you are only a piece of the picture, though. Keeping those profits in your pocket is equally important. By utilizing new controls, you improve your odds in not being called back out to investigate other issues. It’s the safer play.

(Keep in mind that replacing the control unit does not refresh that worn-out pump, noisy air blower or inoperative ozone generator. These are items that should be considered any time a control is replaced so the aging pump does not create problems with the new control.)

On the other hand, there are times that repair of a spa control is fully expected and understandable, such as when the spa is still under warranty or if it’s a minor repair that does not include replacement of the primary PC board. Such replacement cost may be as much or very close to the cost of a brand new retrofit control system.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a spa is older than five years or beyond the warranty period, there should not really be any debate, providing you have fully explained to the customer that any work performed on their spa comes with limited warranty/support that extends only to the new parts replaced. Most homeowners are intelligent and will be glad to know the full range of options available to them. People like to have choices and will typically make the right choice — replacement — if given all the information by a reliable and knowledgeable service professional. However, your agreement to perform work should clearly spell out exactly what you are replacing and what will be supported by you — and what will not.

In summary, especially for spas that are aging or reaching the warranty limits, replacing controls can be a faster, easier and more profitable alternative, as today’s controls can be adjusted to fit just about every spa. This means you can get to work immediately without waiting for parts to be ordered — only to find that additional parts are still required once you have begun the work.

However, if repair is the best option or the one preferred by the customer, explicit communication is essential.

Chris Kuttig is president of Hydro-Quip, a hot tub equipment manufacturer based in Corona, Calif.

 Need advice on your Spa equipment controls?

Aquajoy Spa and Pool is the company for Spa Equipment Controls!  We can repair or replace most spa equipment controls on your hot tub.  Be it Hydro Quip, Gecko, Balboa or one of the many other Spa equipment control manufactures.  Call us at (630)774 4515 or email us at Aquajoy@aol.com for an estimate or consult on your spa.