My Hot Tub Won’t Stop Running: What Should I Do?

By Calvin | Last Updated: May 29, 2021 | Repair / Troubleshooting

I have had people complain to me about how their hot tubs wouldn’t stop running and they aren’t quite sure what to do since they believe the hot tub is hiking their electricity bills.

So I decided to research the topic and this is what I discovered:

It is not unusual for hot tubs to keep running, so don’t panic. Some modern hot tubs like the “99 Jacuzzi” have been designed with a constantly operating circulation pump which makes the hot tub run 24/7 without any trouble. If your hot tub isn’t designed to run all day long, then there must be something wrong with the circuit board, the heating element, or some other electronic part of the tub. In which case, you should call for professional help.

Hot tubs are designed to be left on at all times. This is due to many factors such as to filter the water, to balance the water chemistry, to circulate the chemicals used in treating the water, to keep the water free from germs like bacteria, and the likes.

For such reasons, some hot tubs have been designed to run all day long. If your hot tub is designed with such a feature, then it is only normal for the hot tub to run constantly.

If your hot tub isn’t designed with a constantly operating circulation pump and it keeps running even after you turn it off, then chances are the heating element is faulty, or there is a problem with the analog timer, or there is a glitch with the electronic settings of your hot tub.

If any of this is the case, your best bet is to contact a hot tub electrician to come and take a look at it.

What other reason could cause a hot tub to constantly run? Why are hot tubs designed to constantly run in the first place? How can you fix a constantly running hot tub? And is it safe to constantly let your hot tub run?

You see there is a lot more to figure out about hot tubs and why they constantly run. If you are ready to know more, scroll down, and let’s dive into it.

Should My Hot Tub Constantly Run?

Yes, you should allow your hot tub to run constantly except you will be away for a long time, usually over 2 weeks. Contrary to popular belief, leaving your hot tub running has no negative effect on the tub nor does it skyrocket your electricity bill as you think.

Hot tubs are built and designed with circulation pumps that can run for a long time and some can run all day without any problem. Leaving your hot tub running will do a lot of good for you.

A running tub helps to maintain water cleanliness, keep the water warm, circulate water chemicals and oils through the tub, and filters debris and filth that find a way into the hot tub.

Why Should Your Hot Tub Run All the Time?

Asides from keeping your water warm, leaving your hot tub running hold many benefits to your overall experience with your hot tub. Hot tubs are usually placed outdoors.

This makes it possible for bugs, dirt, dust, and different debris to get in the water especially if you leave the tub open. Not to mention the body oils, sweat, and lotions that get into the water from our bodies. This means you have to constantly keep the water clean.

While the chemicals like chlorine and Bromine that you put in the tub will get rid of bacteria and stop other germs from growing in the water, the chemicals won’t dispose of the solid filth in the water. This makes it essential for the water in the tub to keep moving so the filters in your tub trap any solid filth in the water.

Why Should the Circulation Pump Constantly Run?

With the circulation pumps constantly running, it makes it very difficult for bugs and flies to drink from and breed in the water. Bugs and flies are drawn to the warm water in your tub.

They want to drink from it and lay eggs in it because the temperature is good enough for them. But if the water is constantly moving, it makes it difficult for these pesky insects to settle on the water and contaminate it.

Flies carry dozens of germs that can prove dangerous to your health. Leaving your pump running gives you one less problem to worry about and a deadly problem at that.

A running hot tub also makes it easier for the chemicals, hot tub oils, and other products you put in the water to be distilled and circulated in the water evenly.

The chemicals serve as a guard against germs. Without movement in the water, it takes more time for these chemicals to be distilled evenly and quickly.

This is the reason hot tub manufacturing companies have created circulation pumps that can run 24/7 to ensure your tub is clean and safe for you. So leaving your tub running is a very good idea. Now let’s get to the problem of constantly running hot tubs that aren’t designed to do so.

What Type of Hot Tub Isn’t Designed to Run Constantly?

Many modern hot tubs are built with constantly circulating pumps to ensure the water is circulated all day long. In addition to running all day, the circulation pump also operates quietly so you may not even notice they are functional.

With this type of tub, you shouldn’t even worry about hot tubs constantly running. You just have to focus on its maintenance.

The opposite of the modern tub will be older models. These tubs aren’t designed to run all day long. The pumps are designed to work on intervals.  Kind of like taking a break now and then so they don’t overheat or get damaged quickly. Traditionally, hot tubs were designed with a Timer mode or Automatic mode.

What Happens if My Hot Tub is Constantly Running While Not Designed to?

If your hot tub is constantly running while not designed to do so, chances are your hot tub is an older model designed with one of the Timer mode or Automatic mode.

With the Timer mode, you can set a specific period you want the water to be heated and circulated for. Once the time expires, the heating mechanism and circulation pump of your hot tub automatically go off for a while before coming on again.

If you have one of these and the pump keeps running, you should contact a professional hot tub electrician immediately because your tub isn’t designed to run for long.

With the Automatic mode, you can set a specific temperature you want the hot tub to reach before going off. When the temperature of the water reaches that set temperature, the heating element and circulation pump of your hot tub automatically goes off.

Most automatic hot tubs are built with circulation pumps that run at a low speed for longer periods than hot tubs with the Timer mode. So basically, expect you have hot tub a timer mode

To know which type of hot tub you have, you can check the manual if you still have it to know the type of tub it is. You can also check the control or temperature panel for an analog timer. If you see one, then you have an older model. Don’t feel sad, they work pretty fine and are durable too.

Related Read: Do Hot Tubs Attract Bugs?

What Could Cause a Hot Tub to Constantly Run?

If the circulation pump in your hot tub isn’t designed to constantly run and it’s doing so, there are a few reasons that could be happening.

If your hot tub is constantly running then you should check the thermometer, the pump, or the heating element. If one of these three is broken, then the hot tub will be running constantly

The Heating Element of the Tub May Have Burned Out

The problem could be from the heating element of your hot tub. Since the pump is running continuously, the heating element of the tub may have burned out.

The heating element of your hot tub works similarly to the electric water heater or boiler in your kitchen. The heater burns out quickly if there isn’t constant water around it. So, this could be why the tub keeps running.

Related Read: Intex PureSpa Inflatable Hot Tub Error Code E90 & E96 (FIX)

Faulty Timer

Another possible reason could be a faulty timer. If you are using a hot tub that is designed with a timer, it means the timer controls the time for which the hot tub will run.

If that time expires, the hot tub will stop running. However, if your tub’s timer is faulty, then the tub will continue running because there isn’t any set time for the tub to stop.

Other issues could include a fault with the tub’s circuit board, the filtration settings, a faulty thermostat, or some other electrical glitch with the hot tub’s settings.

If you suspect any of this is the problem, you need to put a call through to your hot tub’s electrician or get one to come and check the tub out.

Unless you are an experienced hot tub electrician, I wouldn’t advise you to try and fix this yourself.

Related Read: Do Hot Tubs Attract Rats?

How Can I Fix a Constantly Running Hot Tub?

You should bear in mind is that it is good for hot tubs to run constantly as earlier stated. If you have one that runs constantly, it might not be such a good idea to alter the tub’s settings except you would be going away for a long time.

It's best to call an electrician if you don't know how to fix a hot tub that is constantly running. While the hot tub is designed to run all the time, it's always a good idea to consult with an electrician to know if your hot tub is safe or not.

However, if your hot tub isn’t designed to run constantly and it is doing so, there are a few ways to correct the problem.

I would strongly advise you to contact a hot tub electrician to help you out. But before the electrician gets to you, there are a few steps you can execute to kick start the fixing process.

Step One: Check the Circulation Pump

The first thing to do is to figure out what is wrong with the tub’s circulation pump. If your tub’s circulation pump is running, it could be a burnt-out heating element, a glitch with the circuit board, a faulty timer, or something is wrong with the tub’s electrical setup. When you find out what is wrong, you know how to address the problem.

Step Two: Check the Hot Tub Heating Element

A possible reason is the hot tub’s heating element. A burnt-out heating element is a common problem with hot tubs and this can cause the tub’s circulation pump to keep running.

To know if this is the case, turn off the thermostat or set it to a low setting to see if the pump goes off. If the pump continues to run after this, then the fault isn’t from the heating element.

Step Three: Check The Faulty Timer

Another plausible reason your hot tub is constantly running could be a faulty timer. As stated earlier, older hot tubs use a timer-mode to control the operation of the hot tub’s pump.

When you set the timer to a specific time, the hot tub will stop running when it gets to that time before it runs again.

If you have one of such tubs, the problem could be from the timer. A faulty or wrongly set timer will keep the pump running.

To know if this is the case, check the timer on your hot tub. If it is wrongly set, simply adjust it to correct the problem. If the timer is faulty, you will need to replace it. Contact a professional to do this for you.

Step Four: Check the Circuit Board

Another possible cause could be a glitch with the tub’s electrical set up or circuit board. The circuit board is the part of your hot tub that controls the electrical functions of the tub.

If the heating element and timer aren’t faulty, then the problem should come from the circuit board.   The circuit board is made up of different complex wires, small panels, and the lot. It is also not easily accessible to you.

This is why it is advised to have a hot tub professional come and help you out if you suspect the circuit board is faulty.

Is It Safe to Allow My Hot Tub Run Constantly?

Yes, it is. Hot tub owners are advised to leave their hot tubs running for at least 8 hours daily to keep the water clean and safe. This includes periods when the tub is and is not in use. A hot tub that is not left to constantly run will have stagnant water. Stagnant water will attract bugs, flies, and other insects that are seeking warmth and breeding room to your tub.

If your hot tub is left stagnant, you can also count on germs, algae, and bacteria to join in on the party with the flies and bugs. Not to mention the filth, dust, and debris that will also settle in the water if the water remains stagnant.

Together, they will ensure your hot tub looks and smells bad. Taking a dip in such contaminated water will lead to infections that can be hazardous to your health. I’m sure you don’t want that.

Though you add chemicals to the water, it will take a long while for the chemicals to be fully dispersed in the water if the water is not being circulated by the pump.

Allowing your hot tub to run constantly also means you don’t have to worry about heating the water every time you want to have a dip in the tub. Your hot tub will always be ready for use.

Unless it’s necessary or in cases where you feel the hot tub will be left unused for weeks, you should allow the tub to run constantly so the water can be as clean, hot, and safe as possible.

Does It Cost More to Operate a Constantly Running Hot Tub?

Contrary to popular beliefs, it doesn’t cost more to operate a constantly running hot tub. Many people believe switching the pump off when not in use and turning it on when intended to be used saves money. It doesn’t. It costs more when you do this.

Why? Because it costs more to heat your tub from scratch than it does to keep the water hot after it has been heated in the first place. Hot tubs can contain between 300 to over 500 gallons of water depending on the model you have. It would take a huge amount of electricity to heat that amount of water to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Related Read: What Are The Ongoing Costs Involved In Running An Inflatable Hot Tub?

If you heat the water in the tub once, all you have to do is keep the hot tub running so the water remains at that temperature for days or even weeks.

If you turn the tub off till a later time when you want to use it, you would have to reheat the water all over again.

Not only would it tell on your electricity bills if you keep heating that amount of water every time you want to use the tub but it would waste so much of your time too.

So, there you have it. If you have a hot tub that keeps running when not built to do so, contact professional help to help you fix it.

If yours is built to run constantly, then you have nothing to worry about. I hope you found this post useful.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments by leaving them below in the comment section and I’ll answer them as soon as possible.

Have a great 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.