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Balboa Spa Heater Troubleshooting
Heater Elements

A typical Balboa spa heater will look like something similar to the image shown below. The most basic parts of a heater are the housing, sensors, white plastic heater nuts, bulkhead nuts, and on the inside, the heater element. On the outside of the heater housing will be the heater label, which has information such as the heater part number, serial number, and other information. You can find more information about your heater label by visiting our Heater Replacement page.

Anatomy of a Balboa Spa Heater

Common Problems With Spa Heaters:

  • No heat
  • Reduced heat
  • Corrosion
  • Dry Fire
  • Power Problems/GFCI Circuit Tripping

There are several different reasons that your spa heater can fail. The most common problem is dry fire. This is caused when your spa water flow fails to reach and flow through the spa heater, or when the heater is somehow turned on with either no water or little water in the heater housing. Either way, this leads to the element in the heater housing to rise above a safe level and it ultimately fails, destroying the heater element. Generally in this case, the signs are often visible, as the housing will often be cracked, bulged, bumpy, or spotted from heat, The heater needs to be replaced.

No heat or reduced heat are often common problems. No heat is generally a good indicator that the heating coil within the heating element has failed. This is assuming that the heater is properly connected and that the thermostat and high limit switches are working properly. Reduced heat is most often caused by reduced water flow within the spa system. There are many factors that can contribute to poor water flow, which include problems with the filter, scale build-up on the heater element, poor chemical balance, or obstructions restricting water flow. Once the heating coil within the element fails, heater replacement is necessary.

Power problems or GFCI circuit tripping isolated to the heater itself are often caused by heater failure caused by a short circuit from water intrusion or a break-down in the heater's protective epoxy seal. In most cases, we find that water intrusion problems are caused by tiny pin-holes that develop in the heater's housing caused by corrosion or break-down in the metal or braze points on the heater. When these types of problems occur, electrical current finds a pathway from the heating coil to the water and ultimately causes the GFCI to trip. Heater replacement is necessary.

Generally speaking, the best course of action is to have a spa technician or industry professional diagnose the problem for you and assist you with the replacement of the heater. Most technicians guarantee their work and will make sure that the problem is isolated to the heater and that further problems with the spa are not occurring.


You will find that some spa companies will suggest replacing the heater element as opposed to replacing the entire heater. This is NOT SAFE.

Balboa Water Group does not sell heater elements and does not recommend the replacement of spa heater elements on any spa heater manufactured by Balboa Water Group. The heater element is a component placed into our heaters by our manufacturing team, using sophisticated instruments such as a micrometer to insure precise placement into the heater tube.

Improper installation of a heater element into a spa heater could result in heater failure, damage to the circuit board or control system, fire, or other significant damage to the spa or the safety of the occupants of the spa. A simple scratch to the heater element may render the element unusable or cause the heater to work improperly, causing damage to the system.

Balboa Water Group does not warranty any such replacements and any replacement voids the warranty of any Balboa Water Group component currently installed on the spa.


Please understand that we see this as a serious safety risk to the overall operation of your spa and the components that bear the Balboa Water Group name. It is advised that you replace the entire spa heater to avoid serious injury or death as a result of improper installation. The costs associated with replacing your heater are minimal in comparison to the damage that you could cause to your spa control system or injury that to may cause to yourself.

Our customer service staff handles hundreds of telephone calls a month regarding heater problems. Many of these problems are complicated by heater element replacements performed by spa technicians or by the consumer. We then find that what should have been a simple heater replacement has turned into the need to replace the circuit board or the entire control system. It isn't worth the risk.

The average heater replacement cost is $100. The average cost for a heater element replacement performed by a licensed technician and a screwdriver, $85.

You can find our replacement spa heater products online here: BALBOA SPA HEATERS

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