anatomy of a hot tub

Seeing graphics of the basic anatomy of a hot tub can seem a bit more like playing “Operation!” The cabinet and shell might not seem like an issue, but what about the pump? The jets? The filter system? Once you start looking on the inside of a hot tub, you may start wondering what to touch and what not to touch. What if you break something vital to the system? And since hot tubs run on electricity, there is certainly a fear of getting zapped. Or maybe that’s just a residual fear of playing that stressful childhood board game.

For maintaining your hot tub for optimum performance, however, it is important to understand the basic anatomy of your hot tub. We’ll break the basic anatomy of a hot tub down do be a bit easier to understand. That way you’ll know what you can handle maintenance-wise, and what features should be left to the professionals.


The cabinet is the exterior part of an above ground hot tub. They are made from a variety of materials, from plastic veneer to wood-clad finish. They can also come in a variety of styles and colors, giving you plenty of options to choose from when it comes to picking one that would look best in your backyard. Beyond style and decoration, the cabinet also protects “the guts” of your hot tub, like the pump, jets, filter system and wiring.


The shell is the smooth interior that holds the water. The shell also forms the seats of the hot tub. While they can come in a variety of materials, acrylic is the most common shell type and often comes with several color choices.

Control panel

The control panel is the small electric keypad that controls the temperature of the water and pressure of the jets. Your hydro-therapeutic massage is just a button push away!


Jets channel and propel water to churn the hot tub water and massage sore muscles. They can come in a variety of designs, sizes, and shapes to perform a variety of massages. More is not necessarily better when it comes to jets; it’s really better to have a hot tub with a few well-designed and proportioned jets than to have a lot of jets. And the power of the jets all depends on the power of the pump.


The pump is what powers the water flow and jets of the hot tub. Some pumps are larger and more powerful than others, so they will provide different levels of pressure to jets. When you are shopping for a hot tub, it is important to ask about what size the pump is. If you buy a hot tub with a pump that’s too strong or not strong enough for your taste, you won’t be happy with your purchase. If you are having issues with your pump, it is best to call a professional to service it.


The heater is fairly self-explanatory; it heats the hot tub water. The pump sends the water through the heater, which will then be pumped out into the water to warm the tub, even if the jets aren’t on. If your heater quits working, you could try to replace it yourself by following instructions to an online video, but we recommend you call an expert to come out and replace your malfunctioning heater.

Filter system

The filter system is what keeps your hot tub water clean and debris free. The water is sent through them, trapping unwanted particles in the cartridge folds, and then the water is sent back into the hot tub, fresh and clean. Checking and replacing the filter cartridge is a simple, uncomplicated task, and one of the maintenance steps you can easily do yourself when caring for your hot tub.


The cover is like the giant Tupperware lid to the hot tub; not only does it keep the water insulated and warm, it also keeps out debris and, if secured well, small children and pets out while not attended. They can be a simple vinyl cover that often comes with the hot tub with purchase, but these are not always very durable and may need to be replaced fairly often. There are also sturdier, automated covers, like Covana covers; they are more secure, easier to open with a push of a button, and can even provide shade if you wanted, turning your hot tub into a gazebo.

And that’s about it. The basic anatomy of a hot tub is pretty simple and there are many parts you can easily care for yourself. If you have any questions about the different parts of a hot tub, give Texas Hot Tub Company a call or visit one of our two showrooms in Dallas or Lewisville. We’ll tell you if there’s a part you can maintain yourself or if you’re worried about getting the “Operation!” buzz, we can always come and service your hot tub for you.


The 2019 Limelight Collection Owner’s Manual will help you understand your spa’s features, and answer questions you might have regarding spa operation, water care, and maintenance. There is also a troubleshooting section included for your convenience.  

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