Spa Controls - Repair or Replace?

photo of wires
Shutterstock | Surrphoto

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.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library
Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide