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January 11th, 2010 at 4:19 am

Spa/Hot Tub Heater Element Replacement – CalSpa (PS Series) Flow Thru Style – Page 1

Heater Element Replacement, Flow-Through Style, Cal-Spa
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Safety Warnings!
Remove Power from the spa/hot tub BEFORE performing thisprocedure.  Failure to comply with this requirement, can lead toelectrical shock and/or electrocution!

Theinstructions here are intended for general reference only.   Many hot tubs and spas are different from the one depicted here, and may require more or lessmechanical effort or knowledge in order to achieve the desiredresults.

Note that this section is intended for replacement of a standard flow  through heater element that is contained within a stainless steel housing. 

In this particular example, we are demonstrating the procedure as done on a 1995 model Cal-Spa, with a Cal-Spas electro-mechanical spa control system. 

While most spas that have stainless steel flow through heaters are almost identical, your heater and/or control system may not be, so, this procedure used may not work for your unit.  Your particular heater element may require more effort and technical knowledge to replace.  If this displayed procedure is inconsistent with your system design, then do not use this information to service your spa.  This is page 1 of this procedure.

First things first... You MUST remove all sources of power to the spa to prevent electrical shock.  In these two pictures we see the left and right side of the control pack with the heater casing extending out from the bottom.  This particular Cal-Spa is a little more unique than most (that use this type of controller) because it is plumbed with a low volume circulation pump.  Note that the 2" heater union on the left has been reduced to 1" flex hose to connect directly to the circulation pump output.  The right side of the heater uses conventional 2" fittings at the heater, and is subsequently reduced to 1" plumbing at the flow switch. 

Our first step in removal is to loosen the black 'split ring' collars and remove the plumbing from the stainless steel tube..

Most of the time these split ring threaded collars can be removed simply by turning them, however, sometimes it will help to loosen the phillips head screws that hold the two piece clamp together. Your heater may use a solid ring that is not split, negating the requirement for loosening the screws.

Now do the same for the other side.  Now sometimes these collars can be quite difficult to remove or even budge just enough to make the screws accessible.  In this case I tap the collar using a heavy tool such as the pliers shown here, and the screw driver to get it rotating.  It's important to remember that the collar must turn in a counter-clockwise direction to loosen it. 

After this, we need to remove the spa control pack from the base mounting and remove the heater from the spa control pack.

With the power to the spa turned off, and the control panel removed, we will remove the terminal power leads to the heater element.  They're always very noticeable, simply because they're like the largest wires in the spa pack, almost as large as the main power leads coming in from the house.  In the left picture I'm using my fingers to hold the wire lug in place, to keep it from turning.  Then in the right, using a pair of pliers to loosen the nut that secures the wire lug to the element. 

You must follow this precisely to prevent damage to the stud coming out from the heater element.  If the nut is rusted or too tight to hold the lug still with your fingers, then use a second pair of pliers in lieu of your finger to hold the wire lug while you loosen the nut.  Some might say why not use a nut driver or box and open end wrenches to perform this procedure, but, I'll tell you from experience, it's easier said than done, because of the precarious position of the components and the fact that you can very easily over stress the components using tools like this.  In about 99 percent of all heater element replacements, using a pair of pliers and my fingers is fast, easy, and in my opinion, safer.

On this particular spa pack, the heater tube is attached to the pack with three small nuts and washers.  Simply unscrew them and put them away.
Next, on the Cal-Spa pack, there are two threaded finger knobs on the back of the pack that are used to secure the box to the base mounting frame.  Once they are removed, the entire pack can be lifted up, and at that time, the heater tube removed from the assembly

Carefully remove the heater from beneath the spa pack, and remove the high temperature limit sensor from the sensor sleeve.  This will require loosening the nut that attaches it to the heater tube.  
With the heater fully removed, it's time to remove the heater element from the stainless steel case.
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