Having a leak in your hot tub can be a real pain, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for and how to find it. Following a few simple steps, you should be able to find the source of the leak and be able to decide how to proceed with a repair, without a lot of headache.
Before beginning your search for a leak be sure to disconnect all power to the hot tub. Once you are inside the equipment compartment, most leaks can be sourced to certain parts of the tub such as:
- Pump Wet End Seal
- Heater Assembly Manifold
- PVC Plumbing Parts and Tubing
- Jet Bodies
- Slice and Gate Valves
Once you are in the equipment compartment the first place you will want to check is the pump, often a bad pump seal can be the cause of the leak. If you find the water to be leaking from the pump you will want to determine whether just a new seal is needed or if the entire wet end should be replaced. Replacing your entire wet end may save you a lot of headache as new seals can be somewhat difficult to install without breaking them or other components within the wet end.
You will want to check all of the union fittings located around the pump and the heater. Even in brand new spas unions can become loose due to vibrations during shipment. Do not use a wrench to tighten hot tub unions. Unions should be fairly simple to tighten by hand, if not you may need to remove them realign parts for a straighter fit and then tighten by hand. Do not use a wrench to tighten hot tub unions.
Your heater assembly manifold consists of your heater assembly, pressure switch, and other components of the heating unit. If you find the leak to be within any of these parts you will need to proceed with replacing the necessary parts.
Next, check all valves in your hot tub as they can be a common source of leaks. On knife style valves, there is a gasket between the two halves that are bolted together that could be causing leaks. Also, some manufacturers build hot tubs with valves installed on either side of the pump so that water does not need to be shut off to allow access to the pump for repair or replacement. In theory the idea is a good one but often owners will choose to remove these valves as they are a very common source of leaks and can be more of a headache than they are helpful.
Connections and Jets
At this point, if the source of the leak has not been located you will want to move on to checking all of your jets, pipes, and connections. Leaking jets can be caused by a bad gasket in the jet body but it is also possible for jets to go bad overtime and they may need to be replaced. When checking connections they may need to be tightened or resealed with PVC glue.
If you do not want to tear into your equipment and spend the time and headache of trying to locate a leak, a great first step repair option is Fix-A-Leak. Fix A Leak is blended concentrated material designed to seal leaks in virtually any material and can be applied for leaks in the shell and works equally well in the plumbing. It is made specifically for hot tubs and can fix leaks up to 1/8” in diameter.Trying Fix-A-Leak first may save the headache of trying to locate the leak in your equipment, if the use of fix-a-leak as directed does not work you can then proceed with the above mentioned steps in attempting to find the leak.
Fix-A-Leak is very simple to use, just complete the following steps:
USE 8oz PER 1,000 GALLONS OF WATER FOR MINOR LEAKS. A SECOND BOTTLE CAN BE ADDED FOR LARGER LEAKS.
1. First determine water loss in a 24 hour period
2. Fill to original level, mark water line
3. Remove all cartridges or filtering devices
4. Slowly add Fix A Leak with pump running through skimmer
5. Recirculate for 6-8 hours. Shut system off
6. Check water level the following day
7. If level remains the same the leak has stopped
8. Allow 48 hours before resuming operation
9. It's recommended not the use spa till leak is fixed and the remainder of Fix A Leak is filtered out.
If Leak has slowed and not totally stopped you may add more product to increase strength of solution already in spa.
Stir Fix A Leak in the spa with soft broom to get solution back into suspension.
Follow steps 5-8 as before.
Normally Fix A Leak will seal holes 1/8" in diameter. The product requires pressure to ensure it's impacted into the area of the leak. Leaks created by a crack in a pipe in all probability will be sealed. The leak may reoccur due to vibration which in turn will migrate in size, recreating the leak. Most spas are foam insulated, and when saturated with water, will greatly delay the cure time of Fix A Leak. It would be best to drain spa, immediately wipe down shell with a damp cloth to remove any residue of Fix A Leak. Allow 3-5 days before refilling, in most cases this will allow the product to cure.