Help!! Spa level drains down when not in use


New member
Mar 8, 2021
So we just moved into out house right before winter and noticed that the spa level drains down when it’s not running. The pool people told us it has to do with free protect but I don’t see how that could be the case as I though free protect simply ran the various pumps for set periods of time to prevent the water from freezing in the lines.

I read somewhere that the actuator might be set wrong. I have attached photos of our equipment. We have a pool with bubblers and water jets as well as a spa with a spillover.

Any help would be appreciated.


  • IMG_0393.jpg
    813.9 KB · Views: 12
  • IMG_0394.jpg
    630.7 KB · Views: 12
  • IMG_0395.jpg
    756.2 KB · Views: 10
  • IMG_0396.jpg
    712.3 KB · Views: 12


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

There are three ways to set up a spillover spa...

1. A make-up line that adds a little water to the spa when the system is in the pool mode.. This is the most common way to do it..

2. When you have an automation system you can set up the automation so that it has a spillway mode.. The automation will set the Intake valve to suck water from the pool and send it all back to the spa.. This method is usually scheduled for an hour or so per day..

3. Lazy pool builders will often off-set your Automated Return valve.. This is what your pool builder appears to have done. For this (or option 1) to work, there has to be a check valve in the spa return line. In other words, the water that causes the spa to overflow can only flow from the equipment pad into the spa.. the check valve keeps the spa water from flowing backwards when the pump is off.

I do not see a check valve on your spa return line, but I suppose it could be underground.. :( But I really doubt it..


Jim R.


New member
Mar 8, 2021
Hmm. I was hoping it was a setting causing the actuator to not close completely and a simple fix. When we used the pool some last summer before we actually moved into the house I don’t ever remember seeing the spa water level low.

I guess it’s possible something was always running and we never noticed it.

Maybe it’s something that can be fixed when we add another pump. I’d like to have our bubblers and colorlogic laminar deck jets separated so we can run them individually.

My luck that can’t be changed either.


Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
Katy TX
Pool Size
Liquid Chlorine
I was looking at your second picture and it shows that you have the valve partially open to spa return and more fully open to pool return. So return is going to both spa and pool simultaneously. On the suction side the spa suction valve is closed so all suction coming from pool skimmer and main drain. This should allow your spa to spillover to your pool. Is that currently what is occurring?
Now, if you turn the valve on the return side to fully closed on the spa return, therefore all return flow is to the pool. There should not be any spillover from the spa to the pool. Then turn off pump and see if the spa drains. Since it is closed on both suction and return, it should not drain back.
Let us know.


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
The cams on your suction actuator are not set to perfectly close your spa suction when in POOL mode. You are sucking water out of your spa when in POOL mode. And water can drain out or the spa through the partially open valve when your pump is off.

The red line shows the way the valve is aligned along the arrows. The valve should be exactly aligned with the blue line to be totally closed.

The manual showing how to adjust the cams in the GVA-24 can be found at...

spa pool suction.jpg


New member
Mar 8, 2021
Thanks everyone. I adjusted both actuators and the water level appears to be holding in the spa now. Will give it more time and see what happens.

Next project is to figure out some sort of enclosure for the equipment. Might be able to avoid freeze protect running that way.

Then I want to see about a different auto top off so I can actually monitor how much water I’m using. Or maybe set a schedule to fill.
Thread Status
Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.