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How to Fix Hot Tub and Spa Leaks

Learn how to fix a hot tub leak.

No one wants their hot tub to start leaking, but it does happen. You might feel panicked at the thought of insanely high repair bills, but you can fix this without it being costly to you.

Before you begin, however, you should understand how your hot tub might even have more than one leak. You want to keep this in mind because you don't want to fix only one leak, to later realize that you had others that went unfixed.

Before you Start Fixing the Hot Tub Leak

Before you even think about starting on your quest, you should first turn off the electricity attached to the hot tub. Once you have turned off the electricity, the next step is to search for the leak. In the vast majority of cases, your hot tub leaks will usually come straight from the pump. You may have to reseal the pump, or you might have to give it new housing altogether. Usually, replacing it altogether ensures that it truly fixes the problem.

Some of the things that you might have to replace include the unions, the jets and the connectors. The gaskets could also need replacement or tightening to stop the leak from happening. If you have a minor leak or crack in the pipe, you can treat them with spa sealant. For leaks that come from the shell, you might use Plast-Aid to help it along.

Most Common Causes of Leaks

You have several things that have become the most common source of leaks, and they include:

  • Freeze damage
  • Seals and gaskets
  • Rubber O-rings
  • Waterfall valve
  • Jets
  • Union shutoff valves

Feel for Wetness around the Pump

To begin, you will want to feel around the pump for wetness. Let's say that you learn how your pump's seals have gone bad. In most cases, you may be better off replacing the entire pump.

You will want to feel for wetness around the joints as well. Even new spas have the potential to leak, and you might tighten up the fittings to keep them from leaking. As you follow each pipe from the jet, you will want to look for signs that leakage has happened. If you don't see any leakage, this might not be the problem.

Should You Do the Work Yourself?

Before you ever attempt to do the work yourself, ask yourself if the hot tub is under warranty. Under those circumstances, a technician should fix it free of charge. In fact, it could be a big mistake to attempt the DIY route in this case because of how it will void your warranty.

You only have one exception to this rule. Let's say that you have an obvious leak in the hot tub. However, it's a relatively straightforward fix because you only have to tighten the union or connector. Nevertheless, if you choose to go this route, you could invalidate your warranty, which is why you may want to let the professionals handle it.

Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Finding a hot tub leak can be somewhat like finding a needle in a haystack. You may not always find it easy to figure out where it is. In fact, most people will tell you how finding the leak is the hardest part while fixing the leak is usually a lot simpler. As said before, look at the pump first because this is a common culprit. Next, look at all the visible components and check to see the pipes. This can help you to identify what is what.

What Signals a Leak?

The biggest sign that you have a leak in the hot tub comes from when the water levels continue to drop much faster than normal. When the water levels drop, this shows that you have a leak somewhere. You might identify the leak through first using a leaf blower to get rid of all the water surrounding it. After you have gotten rid of the surrounding water, you will fill the hot tub back up with water. Next, you will have to wait to see where the water seems to leak out. That can tell you the possible location of it, which can make finding the leak much easier.

In some cases, you may have to turn on the hot tub to see where the leak has taken place.

Freeze Damage

Perhaps one of the worst leaks that you can encounter, freeze damage happens when the water within the hot tub freezes in the pipes and causes a leak. The pressure this puts on pipes can cause couplings, break unions or even a splitting of the plumbing itself. No matter what happens, you can trust that it won't be good. After you have identified the source of your leak, you will want to take active measures to fix it.

Seals and Gaskets

Likely one of the most common hot tub leaks around, it happens when the seal and gasket wears out. The seal and the gasket serves one purpose: To separate the wet from the dry. If this wears out, the hot tub will start to leak. The chemicals in the water can start to cause damage to the seal and gaskets, and if you leave this untreated, it will continue to get worse.

Waterfall Valve

How you fix a leaky waterfall valve will depend on one of two things. For example, is the water getting into the cabinet, or if it is leaking in a way that is more visible. If the leak happens to be in such a way where it isn't getting inside of the cabinet, you should be fine to fix this in a minor way. For cases where the water enters the insulation, however, this can truly become a problem. You remove the handle and tighten the cap from underneath it.

Jets

The jets work in the same way as the waterfall valve where if you have a leak that gets into the cabinet, you will want to replace the entirety of the jets to avoid further leaks with it. This is the only thing that will help a fix to last.

What if You Have a Leak in the Housing?

Leaks in the housing can be especially problematic because of how you have to pull off the siding to get inside, and even then, you're not guaranteed to find the source of the problem. In some cases, this happens because of repeated adjustment of the jets, which can cause them to wear out and start to leak as a result. Gasket replacement works relatively easily once you have identified the source of the leak.

Do You Have This Leak?

Perhaps one of the scariest leaks because of how you could mistake the hot tub as broken beyond repair, I implore you. Don't panic. In most cases, the risk of the shell leaking will be extremely low. The shell is the biggest and the most important part of the entire hot tub, but modern acrylics use strong materials to protect them.

When Call the Professionals

Finding the source of a leak can be difficult, and you have many cases where the average person can't find it. That's okay. You can call in the professionals to have your hot tub leak fixed. The advantage of the professionals is that they have seen many cases of plumbing problems. They can look at different things to identify the source of a problem because they have the knowledge to do it better. The problem with doing it on your own is that while you might catch one leak, you may not realize you have a second or third leak in your hot tub. The experts cut out the excess, and they can manage this much easier than the average person so that they accomplish the task in the most effective manner possible.

Important to note, you want to buy a hot tub from a reputable brand because this lowers the risk that your hot tub will start leaking. A good brand uses quality materials, and they will implement the best practices to lower the risk. If a leak does happen, they will usually back it up with a quality warranty. Most quality hot tub warranties will last between one to five years, and the best will go for as long as seven years because they have confidence in their work.