The American National Standard for Portable Spas
Home And Garden Show Wisdom
Water Clarity with the Copper/Silver ionizer and the Calcium test .
Filtration Systems
What Makes a Good Spa.
How we service our customers out of state
Spa Shell Structure: The most important part.
Silly Stuff: Arthritus, Glue Joints and 100% filtering.
Compare spa ideas
Installing an energy efficient spa in the ground.
Instaling spas in and on decks.
What is involved in the installation of spas? Electrcal GFCI vs. Breakers
About Blower and Pump Clean-out and What is the best filtration system?
More on Full Foam Spa Use
"Spa Covers and Sunlight"
"Heater Problems: Basic Heater diagram
Misconceptions About Spas and How Spas Enhance Your Life
Bromine and Ozone
Air and Jet Therapy
Winterizing Your Spa
Nature2 and Other Ionizers
Filtering Spa Water
Hydrogen Peroxide
Standard Spa Care with Bromine
Insulation, Heat Retention and Freeze damage

 1997 through 2008
Havenmade Inc
hot tubs and spas
James Arjuna

The ANSI Safety Standards

Spas And Hot Tubs

copyright 2003- 2008
Havenmade Inc.


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Spa Tips

The American National Standard For Portable Spas

The ANSI American National Standards Institute is the authority on how things are to be made in the US. You would have to be awfully limited in understanding and intelligence to not follow these standards. Since we have a free country, you can build a death trap if you want.

Even the bolts on your car wheels are made to ANSI standards for safety. Without this organization there would be chaos in the engineering and design world on standardizing the engineering we use. Next time you look up a bolt that holds your car together, you will see the ANSI standard followed.

ANSI is composed of engineers, scientist, insurance consultants and safety experts or at least that is what I was told.

The ANSI American National Standard for Portable Spas was developed with the help of the following organizations: American Insurance Services Group, Akron, Ohio, Department of Public Health, American Red Cross, Applied Safety and Ergonomics, Aquasport/Seasonmaster, Aquarius Pools, Aristech Chemical, Baltimore, Maryland County Department of Public Health, Building Officials & Codes Administrators, California State ó Fresno Public Health, Clark County, Nevada Health District, Contra Costa, California County Health, D.J Technology, Davis County, Utah Health Department, Fairfax County, Virginia Health Department, Fibre Tech, Garrett Liner, Horner Equipment of Florida, International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials, Illinois Department of Public Health, Laporte Water Technology, Lithium Corporation of America, Los Angeles County Public Health Department, National Fire Protection Association, National Safety Council, NSF International, National Swimming Pool Foundation, NYC, New York Department of Building, NYC, New York Bureau of Public Health and Engineering, Oregon State Environmental Health, Reidel Environmental Services. Roanoake, Virginia City Health Department, Sta-Rite Industries, Sunco Pool Company, State of Washington Drinking Water Operations, U.S. Department of Health, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, U.S. HUD ó Construction Standards, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) , University of California ó Berkley, University of Washington School of Public Health, Washoe, Nevada, County Department of Health, Weld, Colorado County of environmental Health, Whatcomb, Washington County Health Department, Witte and Associates, Yale University, School of Medicine, YMCA Fredreick Coundy , MD.

Let's see! Which one of those organizations would you not want to follow for the safety of your spa?

Below is a sample of some of the design issues I believe are not always being followed and my commentary after each one. The quotes are from the ANSI American National Standard for Portable Spas.

Under Article III of the ANSI/NSPI American National Standard for Portable spas:


    1. Plans: The structural design and materials used shall be in accordance with generally accepted structural engineering practices.

My commentary:

I do not consider a shell that is not capable of standing up without the use of foam as "accepted structural engineering practices". I have found that when these spas leak in a cold climate, the foam structure breaks down as the water freezes and presses into the foam. Also as foam ages it breaks down, so the "starting strength" vs. the "ending strength" are two different things.

I have also found that these spas are not safe to work on while finding leaks. I think that OSHA should take a look at this.

The normal procedure for finding leaks in a full foam spa involves crawling under the spa while it is up on blocks, full of water and running, then start digging the foam out, while you follow the water back into the foam. The problem with that is: as you remove the foam you are also removing the structure, thus making the spa unsafe to be underneath. We do no allow our service guys to dig out full foam spas made this way because of the structural weakness of the design.

The only safe way is not the fastest way to find the leak.

I have talked with service people all across the US and most of them "hate to fix leaks" in these structural foam spas.

Under Article III of the ANSI/NSPI American National Standard for Portable spas also states:


    1. Freezing: A means shall be provided to protect the spa shell and appurtenances, piping, filter system, pump and motor, and other components from damage due to freezing.

My commentary:

In order to protect the spas equipment from freezing during a power outage, GFCI or breaker tripping, or any mechanical/electrical failure, the equipment must not be exposed to the cold outside air in any way. The only spas that do that are thermally closed in design. This design also allows the residual heat from the spa water to transfer into the equipment and plumbing area.

So, the only spas with sufficient, designed in "freeze protection" are thermally closed spas.

Under Article V of the ANSI/NSPI American National Standard for Portable spas also states:



5.1.1 The system shall be designed to turn over the entire spa water capacity at a minimum of once every hour.


My commentary:

Do the math: A 7 GPM ( maximum) tiny circ pump in a 500 gallon spa does not turn over the water once every hour. At 5 GPM it is worse.

Under Article VI of the ANSI/NSPI American National Standard for Portable spas also states:



6.1.1 All filter elements, media and other components which require servicing shall be accessible for inspection, removal and repair, and shall be installed in accordance with the filter manufacturers instructions.


My commentary:

Sounds simple enough, but the filter manufacturers guidelines are not being followed. For one thing, a standard of 1 gallon per minute for each square foot of filter fiber has been the standard for a PRESSURE side filter and .75 gallons per minute for each square foot of filter fiber is standard on a SUCTION side filter system. In a commercial pressure filter the standard is about .40 GPM per minute for each square foot of filter fiber.

These are the "engineering" standards expressed by different filter manufacturers.

To recognize a pressure system from a suction side, the suction side has open filter cartridges that you can simply lift out. It is much more convenient for the spa owners. A pressure side filter uses a "canister" to hold the filter and you have to turn off the pump to remove the filter media for cleaning. There is usually a "lock ring" to unscrew and a lid to lift off. If you are a smart spa filter engineer, you will put in a bypass so that when the water volume exceeds the filter media, the pump still functions according to the pump manufacturers instructions. A non bypass filtering system is simply a very poor design.

Placing 60 Square feet of filter fiber on a 60 Gallon per minute pump does not follow these "manufacturers' "instructions."

There are two problems with that design. 1/ as the filters get dirty the jet pressure drops, and 2/ If the filters are not kept very clean, the pump will suffer from some level of inefficient operation, from simply just working too hard, to suffering from cavitation ( water turns to vapor under a high vacuum and literally will beat the pump to death).

If you do not design the filter system around the pump manufacturers' instructions, the pump can be working too hard, and not operating in the most optimal conditions. It can overwork and have a shortened life, by simply working out of normal operating ranges.

In the trade, we talk about the pump's operating in the "sweet spot". That means the water flow, pressure and amp draw is well within the pump manufacturers' parameters ("instructions")

Under Article VIII of the ANSI/NSPI American National Standard for Portable spas also states:



8.2.2 A minimum of two (2) suction outlets shall be provided for each pump and the suction outlet system, separated by a minimum of three feet (3) [91.44 cm] or located on two (2) planes; i.e., one (1) on the bottom and one (1) on the vertical wall, or two (2) separate vertical walls. These suction outlets shall be plumbed such that the water is drawn through them simultaneously through a common line to the pump.


My commentary:

This is about a simple as "apple pie". You can change the spices in the pie, but you can't leave out the "apples and the crust". You must, by these rules of safety, separate the suction inlets and have two on each jet pump. The fittings have to be ANSI/NSPI and UL safety suction fittings as well.   Read the article on wood tub suctions for more clarification.



12.3.1  Water Temperature Regulating Controls:  Water temperature regulating controls shall comply with ANSI/UL 1563 "Standard for Electric Hot Tubs, Spas and Associated Equipment". and UL 372 "Primary Safety Controls for Gas and Oil-Fired Appliances."
Owner/operator shall routinely check the in-spa water temperature to ensure that the temperature does not exceed 104° F. [40° C].  Any adjustment, if required, shall be performed in accordance with manufacturer's specifications.

12.3.2  Water Temperature Limiting Controls:  Water temperature limiting controls shall comply with ANSI/UL 1563 "Standard for Electric Hot Tubs, Spas and Associated Equipment".  The water temperature at the heater return outlet shall not exceed 122°F [50°C].


My commentary;

This seems pretty straight forward, except that the largest hot tub manufacture on earth has a thermal high limit switch calibrated much higher than this.   The purpose of the high limit is to protect, the bathers from super hot water entering the spa vessel from the heater.   If you have a 240 Volt, 6,000 Watt, heaters it is impossible for the water to exit the heater at less than 122 degrees with a tiny circulation pump.  So, you cannot have a 240 volt 6,000 watt heater on many spas according to this safety standard.  If the filter clogs up, the little child standing on the outlet of the heater in the floor of the spa will have scalded feet  (the reason for the safety limit in the first place).

When that tiny circulation pump was first used it was on a 115 volt 1500 Watt heater, which is inadequate for cold climates.  At 3 GPM they still had problems with the high limit at 121 degrees tripping.  The 121 Degree "Hi-Limit Switch" was the standard because it keeps the limit below the specified 122 degrees in the ANSI Standard.  As the other spas progressed and started using larger heater, this company was left in the dark ages with cold tubs.  In order to compete, they started using the same tiny amount of water flow on a 6,000 Watt heater.  Some of the early versions had a 151 degree F high limit on the heater.   If you ever get a chance, and want to see how hot that is, stick your finger in 151 degree F water, and tell me if you could stand it?

Most all of the problems relating to this company is due to the 100% no bypass filtering and the tiny circ pump, the two major selling points they use.   These spas should be outlawed, until they conform to the ANSI standard.  Any spa that touts a 24 hour circulation pump, and a 6000 Watt heater, you better check to see what the circulation rate is. The minimum for safety is 18 gallons per minute according to my testing.  When you start with a flawed engineering, then try to build on it, it just gets worse.  Avoid all spas that use a tiny pump, less than 18 gallons per minute on a high Watt heater.  That takes care of about 20 brands that I know of, including all the major ones from Southern California.


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Size Of Spa VS Energy Use
Jet Numbers in the Brochure
"Modern" Metal Frames
How To BUY Quality
Multiple Pumps
Diverter Valves
Bogus Information
How Spas Filter Economically
What's Involved in Filtering?
Message Board Awareness
The Importance of Engineering
Installing Spas Indoors
Before You Buy any Spa About Controls
Read this about spa controls!!
Before You Buy any Spa
Read this about spa design!!
See the Haven Spas
Check out our very informative Message Board Forum
Hot Tubs and Safety: The US The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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