Hot Tub Leak Repair (The Complete Step-By-Step Guide)

Hot Tub Leak Repair

Hot tub leak is one of the spa problems one must treat with urgency to prevent other mechanical issues. The repair guide here will help you to troubleshoot and fix leaks on your hot tub.

A hot tub serves as means of relaxation and comfort for the owner. A soak in a clean hot tub is one of the best types of relaxation you need after a hard day’s work. A soak in a clean hot tub has many benefits, unlike a dirty hot tub that is always a pain in the neck if not treated and cleaned properly.

A hot tub begins to leak as it ages and experiences change in temperature.

Importance of maintaining your hot tub

Your hot tub needs to be maintained as regularly as possible so that you can enjoy all the benefits that come with owning a hot tub. The following are the reasons why you should maintain your hot tub;

  1. It is very beneficial to human health example:
    • A good hot tub helps one to have a better sleep
    • A good hot tub helps in weight loss
    • A good hot tub helps to reduce stress
    • A good hot tub helps in muscle relief
    • A good hot tub helps to prevent cardiac problems and so many more.
  2. To keep it free from contaminants: maintenance of a good hot tub helps to make sure that the hot tub is free from contaminants like germs, bacteria, and other pathogens. A well-maintained hot tub also helps to prevent scum.
  3. To ensure good circulation of water: if your hot tub is not properly maintained, it may cause damages to the pump, jet, and other parts which control the circulation of water in your hot tub. Therefore, maintain your hot tub for a good circulation of water.
  4. To ensure prolonged efficiency: a good maintained hot tub tends to last and operate better and longer because when a hot tub has properly maintained, the filter, the jets, the heater, the Ozonator, the pump, the pillow, and other parts of the hot tub will last longer.
  5. To prevent leakage – when your hot tub is not properly maintained, it can lead to a lot of damages to several parts of the hot tub. When components like the pump, filter, or pipeline are damaged, it can lead to leakage in your hot tub.

Problems of faulty hot tub

If you do not maintain and clean your hot tub properly and regularly, it can develop a lot of problems on your hot tub, some of which are:

  1. Heat failure: when your hot tub water is not as warm as it should, it indicates heat failure and low flow. If you are not sure that you have heat failure, you can test your electrical components using a multimeter. Most times, heat failure is caused by corrosion of the heating element due to water chemical imbalance. This imbalance is mostly due to a low pH level over time which trips the ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI) breaker.
  2. Jets are not properly working: jets are like the workforce of your hot tub; they receive water from the pump. If your jets start malfunctioning, there is a probability that the pump is not functioning properly. You can solve this problem just by turning on your jet, then check for debris like mineral residue; also, check your pump to make sure it is functioning properly. Also, open the access panel and airlock valves to release air from the purge system and line, allowing an easier water flow through the jet. Clogged filters can also cause your jet to malfunction; to solve this, you need to clean your filter properly and replace it when necessary.
  3. Control panel displaying error codes: when your hot tub is not properly maintained, it will severely affect your control panel and other parts of your hot tub. The hot tub control panel displays an error code to show something wrong with your hot tub. Sometimes, these error codes can be very confusing. These are some error code and their meanings.
    • FLOW – this error code shows an improper flow in your hot tub or when your jets malfunction; this may be because of blockage or a clogged filter. Try cleaning your filter and also check the circulation of your pump.
    • OH – this appears when your hot tub water is too hot to use. You will need to check your filter, your circulation system, and your temperature sensor to fix it. Also, ensure that your pump is not running for a long time.
    • DRY – This error code means that there is insufficient water in your hot tub, affecting the heating element. You need to add water to your hot tub, ensure that the water is contaminants-free, then check your circulation system against debris.
    • COOL – this error code appears when your hot tub’s actual water temperature is 20 degrees lower than your setting. To fix, ensure that run your heater for 24 hours with your hot tub covered.
    • SNA / SNB – This appears when the sensors or the circuit is having a problem, all you need to do is change the sensors or call an expert to check it out.
  4. Loud noises from the pump: when you begin to hear abnormal sounds like growling from your pump, it shows that there is a problem.
    • For a growling hot tub, it means that your pump is lacking water. To fix you need to remove clogs and open all the valves.
    • A squealing hot tub noise means that your bearing is worn out; you will need to lubricate it and later replace the bearing.
  5. Tripping of GFCI breaker – when your GFCI frequently trips, it means that you can spend a specific amount of time troubleshooting your hot tub. A malfunctioning GFCI breaker is easy to fix but, it requires electricity to troubleshoot and repair. If you think you cannot correct it, call an expert.

Tips on how to work on your hot tub problem

  • To troubleshoot the heater, check the thermostat and filter for damage.
  • Ensure your pump-priming is functioning properly.
  • Try to understand what your hot tub code errors mean.
  • Secure and tighten any loose part of your hot tub.

Reasons why your hot tub leak water

Hot tub leakage is on of the problems generated when you do not maintain your hot tub properly; these are some places where your hot tub may leak:

  1. The pump–the circulation pump is the most common place your hot tub will leak from; due to the activities it carries out. Ensure you turn off you’re the power before checking under the pump for leaking water. Three causes of leaking pumps are the volute, unions, and the shaft seal.
    • Shaft seal: when the shaft seal has damaged it can cause leaking in your hot tub pump, but all you need to do is replace the shaft seal.
    • Union fitting: this is a three-part connector that can be seen at the entrance and exit of the pump. You need to tighten the union fitting and adjust the O- ring.
    • Volute: the volute is where your impeller is housed, whenever you notice that the volute is causing leaking in your pump you will need to change it.
  2. The heater – the heater comprises of the pressure switch and other components which can lead to leaking in your hot tub. If you are sure that the heater is the cause of your water pump leaking, you need to change the entire heater or the particular component of the heater causing the leak.
  3. The valves – there are many valves located in various areas of your hot tub, and these valves when damaged can cause your hot tub to leak. These valves have their own unique way of being repaired, so ensure you inspect all the valves on your hot tub and replace those that need replacement.
  4. Connections – connections like jet, pipes and other connections can make your hot tub to leak if not properly maintained. Some connections just require tightening or sealing while some require full replacement. Ensure that you use the right sealer to close the cracks in the pipes and other parts of the cracked connection.
  5. Spa shell – shells are mainly made of strong fiberglass combined with other layers. In most case it is the jet and other component that is attached to the shell. In case your hot tub shell is not leaking use plast-Aid to seal cracks and holes.

The following are reasons why your hot tub is leaking

  • Moisture – some part of your hot tub are made in a way that they will not come in contact with water. Like the breaker box, you need to examine the area to check for moisture on or around it.
  • Corrosion – your hot tub is made up of electrical wires and connections which can corrode. When your wires or connections corrode they can cause your hot tub to leak, therefore you need to replace them.
  • Damaged or loose wiring – as you search for corrosion, ensure that your hot tub wiring is ok. You need to also watch out for melted and burnt wires because faulty wires can cause leak in your hot tub.
  • Heating element malfunction – your heating elements needs to be changed after some years. When your GFCI breaker trips, loosen the nuts on top of your heater to remove the electrical connections after flip the breaker again and see whether it trips. If it does not trip it means your heating element is faulty.
  • Age of your hot tub – a hot tub just like every other device has a life span which when reached it become weak and less efficient. The lifespan of a hot tub is 5- 20 years depending on the quality of the hot tub.

Types of leaks

When you do not maintain your hot tub properly and regularly various leaks are expected to occur, here are some examples

Hot tub pump leaking

When your hot tub pump leaks it is due to a fault component of the hot tub either the shaft seal, the unions or the volute. You need to inspect the pump properly to detect the cause of the leak and do what is necessary to fix it.

Hot tub light leaking

The lens for your hot tub light can become loose especially with high heat halogen hot tub light. When the light is loose water can leak from it, so ensure that your hot tub light is always tightened.

Hot tub filter leaking

Your hot tub filter requires regular maintenance to prevent cracks and leaks. If possible, ensure you check and tighten the locking filter ring every week and when necessary replace it.

Hot tub plumbing leaks

It is rare to see leaks in your PVC pipes, rather it is common to see leaks on backside of spa jets. This hot tub jet leak is as a result of faulty connections

How do I check my hot tub for leaks?

There is various location your hot tub can leak from, especially the jets and plumbing. As time goes by it is normal for your hot tub jets to leak, also have in mind that there is a high possibility that there is multiple source of leak. The following are some methods of detecting for leaks in your hot tub;

Method 1

  • turn off your hot tub
  • open the equipment compartment
  • fell the pump for dampness and look of wetness
  • also examine the pipes and fittings
  • check the pressure switch for wetness
  • inspect each pipe to its jet

Method 2

  • Add food coloring in front of the jet.
  • Allow the water to flow.
  • Watch and see where the food coloring goes.
  • If it flows out of your jet you have found the source of your problem.
  • Repeat for all the jets in your hot tub

Method 3

  • Let the water set to see how far it drops.
  • The point it stops (like the jet, pump) is the place your leak is from.

Method 4

  • Open the drainage valve to drain the water
  • Closely watch the hot tub to identify any noticeable leak
  • Also be conscious of where the insulation inside the hot tub looks damp

Why is my hot tub leaking from bottom

Due to gravity, most hot tub tends to leak on the ground at the bottom. Unfortunately, your hot tub can leak from numerous places e.g. Jets, a crack in your pipe, worn out heater unions etc. The following are possible reasons why your hot tub is leaking from bottom;

  • The light – if your hot tub light is located at the bottom, the lighting house may become loose and when this happens it can cause a leak on the bottom
  • The jets – if any of your jet is leaking , or thee connection between the shell and the pipe is leaking it can cause leaking in the bottom of your hot tub
  • The shell – a crack in the shell or below the water level can cause your hot tub to leak at the bottom. This leak is not very easy to notice.
  • Gasket in the plumbing – gaskets are made of rubber and there will wear out over time. the only way to prevent this is by replacing the gasket in the plumbing.

How to repair hot tub scratches or cracks

Whenever you notice a scratch or a crack in your hot tub, ensure you repair it as soon as possible because if the crack is not properly handled it can cause a leak in your hot tub. Before you can repair your hot tub there are some tools and materials you will need.

Supplies needed to repair cracks in your hot tub

  • A repair kit – when you want to repair your hot tub you will need a hot tub repair kit but when it is not available you can use an acrylic repair kit (automobile repair kit)
  • A drill and rotary bit – you can use the drill for large cracks while the rotary bit is so you can grind down the edges of the crack.
  • A soft towel – it is important to use a soft towel instead of a regular towel for the surface of the hot tub shell.
  • Hot tub cleaner – you will also need a hot tub cleaner, you can purchase it at the same olace you bought your hot tub
  • Sandpaper –sandpaper is also necessary if you want to repair your shell.

How to repair cracks on your hot tub

When your tools are set and ready, drain and disconnect he hot tub, after draining

  • Dry the damaged area with the soft towel
  • Use your hot tub cleaner to clean the area; if time permits you can also clean other part of your hot tub.
  • Apply the patch material from the repair kit to the crack or scratch, ensure you follow the package instructions. If it is a larger crack, use a drill to grind the edges into a V shape then fill it with a patch material.
  • Allow the patch material to dry
  • Once the patches dry use your sand paper on the rough edges and bump
  • Use a towel to buff the area
  • Clean the area again to remove residues.
  • After you have cleaned the area you can refill your hot tub water, after refilling check for leaks.
  • Turn on your hot tub and enjoy it.

What do I do if my hot tub is leaking?

Most hot tub leaks come from the pump. These are steps you can follow if you discover that your hot tub is leaking;

  1. Switch off the electricity
  2. Remove the panel to locate the leak
  3. Inspect and check for the leak source
  4. If the leak is from the pump, you might need a new seal or housing
  5. If the leak is from the jets, the unions and connectors need to be tightened or replacement of gaskets
  6. If it is from minor cracks in pipes it can be treated with hot tub sealer or plats
  7. Use leak fix products for small leaks
  8. If the leak is large use a waterproof epoxy putty

NB: if your hot tub is still under warranty, no need to stress yourself by checking for the leak while it can be fixed free of charge by your hot tub suppliers.

How to fix hot tub leaks

There are various leaks that you may encounter as a hot tub owner. As hot tub becomes older it becomes weaker, its efficiency also reduces and it tends to leak water. As you detect that your hot tub is leaking you need to inspect for the source of the problem, only then can you solve the problem. The following are ways to repair leaks in your hot tub;

Repairing a leaking pump

The pump is the source of most hot tub leaks; these are steps on how to repair a leaking pump

  1. Tighten the unions on the pump if they are leaking – the pump is the part of your hot tub that looks like a two-part black cylinder with several PVC pieces connected to it. These PVC pieces are the unions that connect the pipes to the pump, tighten the rings by twisting it clockwise by hand or by the use of a wrench. Every pump has two unions which each pipe connects to, test the unions by draining water from the hot tub; if the unions continues to leak it is a sign that you should change it.
  2. Remove and change the unions if they are broken – you need to remove the unions if they are broken. To remove the broken unions,
    • Turn the ring connectors counterclockwise with the use of a wrench. Each union has two connecting pieces that are held together by a ring.
    • Loose the ring
    • Slide the union off the plumbing and pump
    • Replace the broken part or the entire union.
  3. Twist off the end of the hot pump if it is still leaking – a pump comprises of a two ends the dry and wet end, the dry end houses the motor while the wet end contains the water pump. The wet end of a pump is called the volute. turn the small bolt near the bottom of the cover clockwise by hand to pop it off of the dry end of the pump. remove the union of the wet end of the pump to detach the pump from the got tub’s plumbing.
  4. Replace any cracked components inside the volute – inspect the outer part of the volute, pull the part out and check its individual component for damage. Check the two halves of the volute for cracks and replace any part if need be. Ensure you purchase an identical replacement.
  5. Remove and replace the shaft seal – the shaft seal has two parts so separate the parts with the use of a screw driver and measure its height and diameter. Use the measurement to get a replica replacement.

Fixing Hot Tub Features

Your hot tub comprises various features like the union gasket, heater, valves, jets, frame, locknut, etc. Steps to fix hot tub features are;

  1. Replace the union gasket of the leaking heater –the heater is an enclosed black box which lies on top of one of the pipes under your hot tub. It is held to the pipe by screws, turn the screws counterclockwise to remove the heater.
  2. Replace your heater if the old one continues to leak – in few cases the heater is the cause for your hot tub leaking, in this case all you need to do is replace the old heater. To fix the new heater screw it to the top of the pipe, then attach the correct electrical wire to the right position. Electrical work is dangerous so you can consider calling a professional electrician if you can’t handle it.
  3. Inspect all the valves – the valves mostly consist of two halves which are held together by screws. The valves often come loose and leak. To replace the valve, turn the screws counterclockwise then place a new valve between the pipes to control the water flow.
  4. Install new jets if the old ones become leaky – with the use of a spoon or screwdriver, dig through the foam insulation to expose the jets. Twist the jets counterclockwise by hand to remove them then, re-twist the new jet clockwise to fix it back. When fixing the jets try to spread a little silicone sealant under the new jet to waterproof it.
  5. Repair the frame if you notice cracks in it – as strong as your hot tub frame is, tend to crack and leak on occasions. Use a liquid adhesive to fill the crack, then let it dry for like fifteen minutes before filling the hot tub again.
  6. Tighten the locknuts around any leaking hot tub lights – shift the foam insulation out of the way, then turn the nuts clockwise with wrench until they begin to resist turning. Test the hot tub by filling it with water, if the light still leaks, remove them and purchase a new one.

Fixing leaky plumbing

  1. Fill small cracks with bonding adhesives – buy a liquid bonding adhesive and apply it on the crack with your fingers or a brush. Ensure that the gap is properly filled, then let the adhesive dry for at least fifteen minutes. The adhesives resist water well because they expand and solidifies over time.
  2. Place a repair cuff to block larger pipe cracks – measure the measurement of your pipe then get a repair piece that fits over it. Push the cuff tightly into the pipe to help cover the crack and prevent the use of PVC cement. You can also use a compression coupling by fitting the coupling gaskets in the place to remove the leaking pipe.
  3. Cut out and replace broken parts – use PVC ratchet cutter to disconnect the damaged pipe, then measure the part you cut then replace it. Apply adhesive cure and leave for about fifteen minutes. Cutting is only advised if the pipe is extremely damaged, use of compression coupling is much easier.

Tips on how to prevent a leaky hot tub

  • Ensure you always turn off the hot tub pump before draining the hot tub.
  • Call a professional hot tub installer for help if you are finding it difficult identify or fix your leak
  • Ensure you purchase the accurate size of any part you want to replace
  • Ensure you are very careful when attempting to fix your hot tub leak because a mistake can lead to additional damages to your hot tub.
  • Ensure you use quality materials when fixing your hot tub leak.

Sealants, fittings and connections

A sealant is a concentrated liquid that can be used to stop leaks in hot tub, pools. Sealant serves as an easier way to block leaks and saves you from expensive repairs.

When to use sealants on plumbing connections?

Leakages sealer can be used for

  • All types of hot tubs and pools
  • For leaks in walls, floor, housing.
  • For water loss in hot tub less than 3mm per day
  • For water loss in pools less than 50 mm per day
  • For hot tub with a salt level up to 3000 ppm

When not to use sealant

  • For any aquatic structure with aquatic habitants.
  • For hot tub of more than 3mm per day.
  • For pools with more than 3mm per day.

How to use sealants on hot tub

Steps:

  • Use Teflon tape to wrap the thread to seal the plastic fitting, go around the fitting two or three times, then pull the tape tight and cut it off.
  • For metal tapered fittings, coat the thread with pipe dope, brush the sealant onto the thread then assemble the joints.
  • To increase the waterproof level of the plumbing connection, apply pipe sealants, then wrap around the threads
  • If it is a ground joint apply pipe sealant to the unthreaded part of the joint, do not apply any sealant
Fittings

A fitting is a small detachable part of a hot tub and other machines. Types of fitting for tubes are:

  • Compression fitting – the first tube fitting to be made it has three components (nut, body and gasket ring)
  • Flare fitting – this fitting comprises of a nut, sleeve and body
  • Bite- type fitting – this fitting is made up of nuts, body and ferrule
  • Mechanical grip fitting

Types of fittings for pipes

  • Pipe butt weld – this fitting is resistant to vibration and fatigue
  • National Pipe Thread (NPT) – this fitting is found in fluid- handling systems

Connections are parts of your hot tub that connects two other parts, like the pipes and your jet.

Conclusion

When you maintain your hot tub properly and regularly, OT will save you against future stress. Also ensure that you carefully inspect and fix your hot tub leaks.

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