How Does a Hot Tub Control Panel Work?

By Calvin | Last Updated: May 29, 2021 | Guides / Equipment

The control panel of your hot tub is the device that controls the hot tub’s functions. The control panel allows the user to control everything about the hot tub. Hot tub control panels come with different features and designs.

Some are screwed to the top of the hot tub, some are screwed to the side of the hot tub, while some hot tubs have removable control pads.

Regardless of the type of control panel that your hot tub has, it will take some getting used to and this can be a bit confusing, especially if this is your first hot tub. But don’t panic. This post is going to examine the many commands found on the hot tub control panel.

So, sit tight as we take a fascinating dive into the world of hot tub control panels.

There are a lot of hot tub accessories. The most important one is the panel. So, how does a hot tub control panel work? It has a lot of buttons that you can push to change a lot of settings that include: pump, filter, air, temperature, etc.

What Is a Hot Tub Control Panel?

The hot tub control panel of the hot tub is used to control every function of the hot tub ranging from raising the water temperature to turning the jets on. The type of control panel on your hot tub depends on the brand of hot tub you purchase.

Some hot tub control panels have a single button while some others have up to eight buttons, each having its specific command. Some control panels don’t even have buttons but can be operated by touching the screen, just like your iPhone.

Seeing a control panel at first might seem confusing because the buttons are usually labeled in codes and abbreviations. If you don’t know what they mean, you might not know how to operate the control panel. Sure, there is a manual that comes with all hot tubs but the instructions are usually not explicit. So how can you use the hot tub control panel? Let’s find out below.

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How to Use Your Hot Tub’s Control Panel

Hot tub control panels have several commands and the one on your hot tub might even have more commands than the average control panel. Here are the most common commands of a hot tub control panel:

The Jets

The jet button is located on the hot tub control panel and it controls everything that has to do with the jets. This button controls the amount of water that flows through the jets when turned on. The button is also used to turn the jets on and off and it can also be used to increase the speed and strength of the jet.

Some large hot tubs like the 7-8 person hot tub usually have more than one jet control button. These large hot tubs can have up to 3 buttons controlling the jets because they have many jets inside the hot tub.

When you push or press the jet button once, the jets are turned on but at a low speed. Pushing the button twice will increase the speed and the strength of the jets. It will also increase the level of water that flows through the jets. Pushing the button three times will in most hot tubs turn off the jets.

The Blower

The blower button is used to increase the bubbling effect of the hot tub. The button determines the amount of air that is released from the blower. When pressed, the hot tub releases little pockets of air inside the water through the injectors.

This causes that bubbling effect that enhances your hot tub experience. The blower is also called the bubbler so if you see a bubbler on your hot tub control panel, it means the same thing.

The blower or bubbler is different from the jets. The bubbles created by the bubbler are very gentle while the jets on the other hand create very turbulent bubbles in the water.

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The Temperature

Hot tubs are known for having bubbling hot water in them. Without the hot water, it’s just a very expensive bathtub. The temperature button controls the heating mechanism. This button can crank up the heater to produce hotter water and it can also reduce the temperature of the water.

The temperature buttons might have arrows that indicate which button lowers the water temperature and which button increases it. As a safety measure, most hot tubs have been designed not to go higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit (or 40 degrees Celsius).

This is because water temperatures higher than that will put the user at risk of heatstroke and skin burns. You wouldn’t even be able to sit in water that hot.

As an expert tip, keep the water temperature between 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celcius) and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celcius). You should also keep the temperature of the hot tub constant so you don’t have to heat the water every time you want to soak in it. Heating the water every time you want to use it will overwork the heater and will spike up your electricity bill.

The Lights

Most modern hot tubs are designed with fancy lights for nighttime use. The lights will improve your hot tub experience. There are several colors available and you might even be lucky enough to have a mixture of colors. Just continue to press the light button till you find a color pattern that suits your mood.

The Pump

The pump button is also located on the hot tub control panel and it controls the circulation pump of the hot tub. But not all hot tubs have this button. Hot tubs that do not have the pump button usually have the jets button perform this function. The pump button when pressed controls the circulation pump.

Pressing or pushing the button starts the circulation pump. Pushing the button twice usually turns off the circulation pump. Whenever you are soaking in the hot tub or you add sanitizers to the hot rub, ensure the circulation pump is turned on so the water isn’t just stagnant.

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The Timer

This is another button that isn’t featured on all hot tubs. The timer helps the user to save energy. It also helps you to plan ahead. You can use the timer button to set the hot tub to heat at a particular time or to stop heating at a particular time.

You can also use the timer button to set a duration for the heater. This way you don’t have to monitor the hot tub every time. You can even set your hot tub to start heating when you are not home.

For instance, if you are at the gym and you want your hot tub water heated before you get home, you can use the timer button to set the hot tub to automatically start heating at a particular time. Cool right? Sure it is.

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The Lcd Display or Control Panel Screen

The LCD or control panel screen is the small screen at the center or side of the hot tub control panel. The LCD lets the user know what is going on with the hot tub. Think of it as the way that your hot tub communicates with you. If there is anything wrong with the hot tub or a part isn’t functioning as it should, the LCD will let you know.

The LCD screen also displays the water temperature, so while lowering or increasing the temperature of the water, the screen will let you know what temperature the water is at that time. Since the screen is usually small, the LCD will pass messages to the user through codes. Here are some of the most common codes you can see on the LCD.

COLD: When this code appears on the screen, it is telling the user that the water is cold and is not being heated. So you know something is up with the heater.

FLO: this code indicates a problem with the water flow in the hot tub. The FLO code is displayed when the water isn’t flowing through the heating mechanism.

DR or DRY: this code indicates a low level of water in the hot tub or a dry heating mechanism.

GFCI FAILURE: this code indicates that the hot tub breaker has malfunctioned or is damaged.

OHH, HTR TEMP LMT, OH, or HH: any of these codes indicate that the water has been overheated. This means you shouldn’t get into the water until the water cools a bit. Turn off your heater immediately you see any of these codes.

Other codes can be displayed on the LCD screen, so check your manual to familiarize yourself with them.

How to Troubleshoot Hot Tub Control Panel Problems

Once in a while, your hot tub will develop some issues. This doesn’t make you a carefree hot tub owner because most of these issues have nothing to do with you. You are bound to notice them with time.

Here are some common issues with the hot tub control panel and how to fix them.

Hot Tub Control Panel Doesn’t Light Up

When you turn on the hot tub, the control panel usually lights up or comes on. If you notice that the control panel doesn’t light up or it doesn’t display any message, then you should check if the control panel is properly plugged in.

If it’s plugged in and it still doesn’t light up, then maybe the backlight is burnt out. This might need a replacement. It might also be faulty wiring. You can fix this yourself or have a professional electrician have a look at it.

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The Message Isn’t Clear

Sometimes, the code on the LCD screen might not be clear. This is usually caused by built-up steam on the LCD screen. Just clean the screen with a clean rag to fix the problem. This may also be caused by a burnt backlight that needs replacement.

Control Panel Is Flickering

This is usually caused by a faulty electrical setup or a low voltage. Check to ensure the hot tub is getting enough power. This might be the cause of the problem. If the hot tub isn’t getting enough power, then the control panel might be coming on and off. This can also be caused by loose wiring or faulty connections.

Missing Numbers

If some of the numbers on the control panel screen are missing or the control panel isn’t giving accurate numbers, this might be due to dust, rust, moisture, or old age. Try cleaning the control panel screen with a clean rag to check if you can see the numbers.

If this doesn’t fix the problem, then check the wiring of the control panel. You can also try removing the panel to see if there is a moisture leak. If there is, clean everything carefully and make sure the panel is dry.

Wrong Error Codes

Sometimes, your hot tub control panel would display error codes indicating that something is not right with the hot rub when nothing is wrong. This means it is displaying a wrong error code. This can usually be fixed by restarting the hot tub or by rebooting the hot tub. This would clear the wrong error code.

Is It Possible to Replace Hot Tub Control Panels?

Yes, it is possible to replace hot tub control panels. If the control panel of your hot tub is damaged beyond repair, it can be replaced. This is a task you can take on yourself if you have some experience with hot tub electrical set-up. If you don’t, then you can call a hot tub electrician for help.

Conclusion

The hot tub control panel is the control unit of your hot tub. It allows you to change your hot tub settings to suit your needs. It also lets you know when the hot tub has malfunctioned and if you need to change any setting with the hot tub. So get into that hot tub and try out some commands. You never know what you’ll find.

So there you have it. If you have any questions about this post, leave them below and I’ll attend to them as soon as possible. If you liked this post, you can check out other posts on this website for more hot tub tips. Have a nice day.

Hi, I'm Calvin Hall, the owner of Hot Tub Wiki. I worked at a local Spa Service for a few years before creating this website. I have owned several hot tubs and fixed a thousand of them. So, I know a thing or two about hot tubs.