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How to Find and Fix a Leak in a Hot Tub in 2020

Table of Contents What parts can leak?PumpHeaterUnion fittingsValvesConnectionsHot tub shellHow to find a leak?Three types of leaksHow to…

Source: Medallionenergy

Hot tub leakage is a very frustrating issue because the small leaks can be hard to locate and you can’t fix it until you find it. If a leak is not fixed in time, it can cause considerable damage to your property (and your neighbours).

There are 5 major steps to fix a leaking hot tub:

  1. You need to know what parts can leak,
  2. How to find a leak,
  3. How to fix a leak,
  4. How much it is going to cost,
  5. How to prevent leaks.

If you are looking for an answer to one particular area mentioned above, you can jump to that section. Most leaks can be found and fixed easily – yet it is important to know that if you leave the leak for too long, you are going to regret it.

In the detailed description below, you will find:

1 What parts can leak?
2 How to find a leak?
3 How to Fix A Hot Tub Leak?
4 How much does it cost to fix a hot tub leak?
5 Reviews of hot tub leak fixing products
6 Leaking Wooden Tub
7 Leaking inflatable hot tub (air leaks)
8 Can I claim leak damage on my Home Owner’s Insurance?
9 How to prevent leaks?


What parts can leak?

Before you can look for a leak, you should know what parts can leak so that you can spend your time and energy looking in the right places (and stop that leak as soon as possible).

Some of the most common places for hot tub leakage are the pump, union fittings, heater, connections, valves, and shell. It isn’t the complete list but to start fixing the hot tub leaking it is a good point to start looking because most hot tub leak repair efforts should start from these places.

While looking for a leak, take a look at the following parts of a hot tub to find and fix a leak in the hot tub:


Pump

It is the most common place where the leak initiates. For hot tub pumps troubleshooting, turn the power off and look for water leakage under the pump.

Hot tub pump leak

Source: Amazon

If you find water there, you would have to replace the pump seal and maybe the pump itself (if required). If it’s the hot tub pump leaking, then you wouldn’t have to look further and the fault-finding job is done.


Heater

If you haven’t found any problem in the pump, proceed to check the heating components; it contains the heater, other components and pressure switch.

Hot tub heating leak

Source: Warmaway

If you find the leak source in these parts, they might have to get repaired or ordered depending upon its condition and the leak.


Union fittings

You can fix a leak hot tub by analyzing the union fixtures around the pump and heater, it is another common reason for leakage because it loosens up over time easily.

Hot tub union fixtures leak

Source: Amazon

If any such fittings are loose they can be tightened by hand rather than using a tool to stiffen these fittings. If you are tightening using a tool, be cautious not to exert a lot of force.


Valves

Hot tub valves can be a possible leakage spot. There are various designs of hot tubs valves and the type of valve determines what needs to be done for its repair. Such as, the knife look-a-like valves have two halves fastened together having a seal in-between which can fail and cause a water leak.

Hot tub valve leak

  Source: Ebay

Some of the valves are installed on the pump sides so that the water doesn’t have to be switched off or drained for pump repairs. Valves are a major culprit of leakage and sometimes need to be replaced, rather than repaired.


Connections

Inspect the pipes, jets, and connections for any possible leakages because in some cases what you have to do is just tighten or reseal the connections – there may or may not be any repair required.

Hot tub connections leak

Source: Amazon

Due to any loose connections or failing seal, jets can start to leak. Connections need to be replaced in such cases or if there is a gap in the connections somewhere. If there is a bump (or any damage) in the PVC pipes, you can pick up Plast-Aid, it can work to get the hot tub to stop the leak. Plast-Aid strengthens the connections and is sturdier than the PVC itself.


Hot tub shell

Hot tub shells are manufactured with strong fibreglass combined with other layers which makes the leakage nearly impossible. Mostly it’s the issue with jets or any other components which are attached to the shell.

If you haven’t found any problem in the above-mentioned components, you might have to drain out the hot tub water for a thorough inspection. Refilling after troubleshooting and marking the water level each day can also help you avoid the guesswork of whether the leak has been fixed or not.


How to find a leak?

There are many openings in a hot tub from where the water can leak. Every jet of the tub is likely to develop leak with the passage of time and the plumbing behind the spa shells might leak as well. While there are many benefits of owning a hot tub, you will also need to undertake small maintenance tasks to make sure that it performs to its optimal capacity. Be ready to spare sufficient time as it can be tricky to find the leak.

Finding a hot tub leak

Source: Amazon

While you look for the source of the leak in the hot tub, check all the components one by one to find out hot tub leaks from the bottom. You can have a problem with more than one source of leakage.

Tools you might need:

Here are some tools that will come in handy when trying to find a hot tub leak. Don’t worry if you don’t have any of these as you may be able to find a leak without these (or with alternate options):

  • Toolset (basic or plumbing type)
  • Flashlight (to look into darker areas to find a source of the leak)
  • Food colour (if you are unable to locate the point of leakage)

Here are the steps that will help you to find a hot tub leak:

  1. Turn off the power connection to the hot tub.
  2. If water leak seems to be at the underside, remove side panels or insulation.
  3. It might be helpful to use a flashlight to see the equipment compartment and examine spa pump to check if it’s wet. Also, examine the pipes and fittings that leads towards the pumps and heater.
  4. Check each joint of the pressure switch for wetness; if there are any loose fittings tighten them up to stop leakage.
  5. Follow all the pipes towards the jet for any signs of leakage.
  6. Leaks can be detected by adding dark food colours in the water; it is a suitable method if the leaks are extensive and multiple. Observe the leakage location with a flashlight and start the repair.
  7. A leak can also be found out while observing a drop in water level. For instance, if it stops dropping at the level of the jet, then the most likely jet is the source of leakage.
  8. Inspect all the jets, pipes and connections for leakage. Replace or repair them as required.
  9. The spa light lens can become cracked or loose because the spa lights heat the halogen. The light casing or niche is normally positioned on the same side of the spa pack so that it is easy to service the bulb. Shine the flashlight on the area around it to find a leak at the bottom.


Three types of leaks

Three types of leaks can be checked with monitoring the water level with the system working and not working. Vessel leak (spa shell), pressure leak (after the pump) and suction side leak (before the pump) can be used to determine the cause of rapid leaks.

The procedure is to fill the spa, mark the level of water with crayon or grease pen and let the spa run for 24 hours. Afterwards, mark the new level to determine the level to which the water has dropped. Refill the water to the first mark and keep the switch off for 24 hours.

Notice the level of water dropped to determine:

  1. If it dropped to the same amount in both tests it should be a vessel leak;
  2. If it dropped more when the system was on, it’s an indication of pressure leak;
  3. If the level of water dropped less with the system running, it indicates a suction leak.


How to Fix A Hot Tub Leak?

If you were lucky enough to find the leak and are now wondering how to fix a leaky tub, then it can be done multiple ways. Leaky connections can be fixed the easy way as the common area of hot tub leaks are the PVC fittings, elbows, tees and couplings which connect to the spa flex pipe.

Fix a hot tub leak

Source: Pinterest

Following are the common elements from where the leak starts in a hot tub. All hot tub owners must bear these possibilities in mind when the hot tub is suspected of leakage:


Fixing leaky pipes

The Click-On Pipe Leak Seal makes the repair easy and effective. If the pipe(s) is too damaged, you may need to cut the damaged part while replacing the PVC fittings. If the pipe repair is beyond what you can handle, it is best to call a plumber or a hot tub repair guy to fix the pipes.


Fixing the pump

Pumps are the most common cause of leakage. If you find water in the pump you should quickly replace its seal or even the pump itself if needed in the worst-case scenario.


Leaking heat assembly

Fixing a leak in the heating assembly would be tricky and you would need to consult a professional for it. If you have found a water leak in the heating parts, it is wise to replace the heating system with a new one.


Union hot tub fittings

To search for the cause of leakage, the fittings are always under the plumber’s control as it damages over time. To fix it, you can tighten them if they are loose; however, be careful with the type of union fitting and strength that you apply.


Valves

If there is a leakage in the hot tub valves then it is highly recommended by the manufacturers that the owner of the hot tub should remove the leaking valve from the entire system and replace it with a new one while shutting the pump during the repair procedure. This way you can stop leak for a hot tub manually.


How much does it cost to fix a hot tub leak?

When it comes to hot tub fixing, you would do anything to get back the pleasure and comfort of your hot tub. Most of the hot tub leaks can get fixed for less than $100 if it’s the minor spa parts causing the trouble. Whereas, if there is a serious issue in the major equipment (like heater, control system, pumps, Ozonator) this could cost you $500 or more than that.

repair a hot tub leak

Source: Pinterest

You can use the DIY approach to fix a leak in your hot tub if the problem is with the inexpensive parts that you can replace yourself. With the exemption of large-scale water freezing damage, most of the spa leaks can be fixed easily if you can locate the source. But what if you don’t? You probably would have to invest one to two hours of your time to detect the leak source, call a plumber for a few bucks or a spa professional.

Please note: These hot tub repair costs are just estimates and the actual amount may vary depending on your hot tub model, the damage caused and the parts of your hot tub.

The cost of common hot tub repairs and equipment replacement are summed up below:


Cost of spa leak repair

The cost of hot tub leak repair depends on where it’s leaking from and how much is the damage to that part; in most of the cases, spa leaks can be fixed for around $400-$500. Whereas the hot tub leaks from the bottom of the tub can cost an amount of $1000 and freeze damage on a major scale could cost $2000 or more than that.


Cost of hot tub pump repair

The repair of jet pump calls for the wet end replacement for around $65 and the replacement of motor can be about $200. The entire jet pump can be replaced for an amount of $200-$300. The circulation pumps can be changed (most of the time) for $150-$200 and other parts of a spa pump like seals, O-rings, and impellers are quite inexpensive.

Hot tub jet replacement

Source: Amazon

Having a guy from outside to replace the hot tub pump is much safer as well as easier, although it costs you more. The cost of hot tub pumps to be installed by the professional could cost you $500 whereas the other small problems of the pump such as squeaking and leaking spa pumps can cost an estimated amount of $350.


Cost of heater repair

If the breaker of hot tub heater is tripping, get it replaced for almost $30 with a complete new Spa heater and related equipment can be bought for around $120. The cost of installing Titanium spa heaters ranges near $320. If it’s not producing enough heat, this could be because of the temperature sensor, flow switch, pressure or high limit, these parts can cost $20-$50 for the spa heater.

If the spa heater problem for the hot tub leakage could be fixed in one go, it will cost about $350 for one single element or the entire flow using the tube heater. However, the cost of branded Titanium heaters rises to almost $750.


Cost of spa light repair

The light used in a hot tub is usually a halogen or LED. Light bulbs of spa and LEDs can be purchased for almost $15-$17 based on its size and type. The entire light kit of spa along with transformers or the small incandescent bulbs can cost a typical amount of $25. Also, take into account the money that the spa guy is going to charge.

Whenever you find a leak in the hot tub, your priority would be to fix it on your own as you can use Fix A Leak or Happy Seal Leak to solve the problem but if the type and extent of damage are beyond your plumbing skills, then you have to call a spa guy to trace water pipes underground for the hot tub leak repair to save yourself from any further trouble. The money that you would spend on getting the hot tub repaired professionally would save you from years of trouble later on.

If you are unable to repair a hot tub leak, it would be wiser to replace the leaking equipment before it causes further leaks and damage. Here are some estimated costs for repair and replacement of various hot tub equipment (actual costs may vary):

Equipment Replacement cost
Ozonator $70 – $125
Blower $70 – $110
Valves Nearly $15
Cover $250 – $450
Packs $750
Controls $450
Jets $20 – $50
Circuit Board $200 – $600

* add $50 – $100 for the installation cost, on top of the replacement part cost


Reviews of hot tub leak fixing products


Happy Leak Seal reviews

Happy Seal Leak is one of the finest products which is commonly used to fix a leak in the hot tub. It works as an amazing hot tub leak sealer to get the hot tub working as good as new. The consumers of this product are highly satisfied with this product.


Review 1: “… works wonders and saves cost”

Some reviewers are amazed to see this inexpensive product work wonders for fixing a leak in a hot tub pipe.


Review 2: “Last resort savior”

Another reviewer has claimed that after being disappointed with other sealants, she sceptically gave this one a try and was happy with the results.


Review 3: “Watch out for repeated leaks”

However, some users of this product have mentioned that the leak seems to be temporarily fixed but can come back later on; so, while you are rejoicing the wonders of this inexpensive little product, make sure to keep an eye later as the leak might start bothering again.


Fix a Leak reviews

Wondering how to fix a hot tub leak? You can have an amazing solution for hot tub leaking at fitting in the form of Fix a Leak. As the customers are using Fix a-Leak to stop leak for a hot tub, this product has received high appreciation in various reviews.


Review 1: “Repeated happy usage”

Fix A Leak has good star rating from users and most of them are happy with the results of this product.


Review 2: “… Will leave a visible spot”

While reviewers were happy with the results, some have pointed out that a white spot will be visible where you use the product.


Review 3: Not everyone is happy:

Some customers claim to have used the product by following all the instructions and have failed in getting the desired results.


Leaking Wooden Tub

Despite having world-class branded hot tub and spas in every home nowadays, still, there are some unlined wood tubs around as well. If the wooden tub is leaking then at first it should be determined why the vessel is leaking because if the tub has been leaking since the time of its installation, there are chances that it is due to the wrong assembling. Fixing this issue might require disassembling to find and fix the source of leakage. Consult the installation manual or the manufacturer, if needed.

If the wooden tub is being used, it’s important to keep it wet because if the wood dries out, it’s going to shrink just like an old wooden boat out of the water causing gaps to open. Refilling it with water regularly and letting the wood absorb moisture will let the gaps tighten up. If the water stays inside the hot tub for a while without leaking and then it starts to leak again, then the cause of the problem might be wood degradation.

A common cause is the use or overuse of bromine or chlorine resulting in the delignification (destruction of the lignin found in wood tissues); it’s a process in which wood cells get eaten up. The symptoms include the presence of cellulose fuzz at the surface of the tub and it can be removed with a stiff brush. After you have fixed the leakage problem, you can consider switching to a substitute (like the Cleanwater blue) that does not damage the wood.

Other reasons that might cause leakage is the sustained improper water balance where pH is too high or too low. Changing foundation because of ground settling or insect infiltration can also be possible causes of leakage in a wooden tub; ants might be eating up the wet wood.

The household sealants which are usually silicone-based or solvent products don’t work well for this kind of leak because it doesn’t stick to the wet wood. Special sawdust is made into a paste and is then forced into the cracked areas to help seal the leak.

Silicone sealant for hot tub leaks

Source: Amazon


Leaking inflatable hot tub (air leaks)

Most of the leaks in inflatable hot tubs are air leaks; they are usually the minor ones at the beginning and won’t cause much trouble; ultimately if it’s not treated right, it can develop into a big problem which would be almost impossible to repair, and would require replacement. So if you believe that your inflatable hot tub has an air leak, then you should find and fix that air leak source as soon as you can.

From time to time, the speed of air leak can vary. If you find out that the air is leaving the hot tub faster than the normal routine then you should immediately start looking for the leak source. Following are the two major reasons due to which inflatable hot tubs deflate:


1. Leaky air-valve

Imagine that you purchased an inflatable hot tub, follow the instructions for inflating it and look forward to enjoying a nice dip, but it keeps deflating for no apparent reason – how frustrating would that be? In my experience with hot tubs, it could most likely be because of a leaking air-valve.

Finding air leaks by soaking the valve in soapy water

Source: Youtube

First, you need to check if the air-valve is leaking or not; this can be done by soaking the valve in soapy water. If you see bubbles in the water after soaking the air valve, it means the air-valve is loose. To fix it, deflate the hot tub, and hold the rear end of the valve and turn it clockwise until it tightens up. Re-inflate the hot tub by repeating the soapy water procedure to make sure that it’s not leaking anymore.


2. Puncture

Most products get one or two leaks over their lifespan; it can happen for various reasons which include frequent use, lack of maintenance, age of the unit or if it got a puncture from any sharp object such as a pin or a pointy stone.

It is a minor problem so you don’t have to worry about it; however, if the puncture is not fixed, it can develop into a major issue. Most punctures can be repaired at home using hot tub repair kit. You will need a paper towel, soap, water, chalk and a spray-bottle for it. Mix water and a little soap into a spray bottle and check well. Spray this mixture onto the surface of an inflatable hot tub and look out for any large bubbles on the surface that indicate a leak.

Spray soapy water to find leak in inflatable hot tub

Source: Amazon


Can I claim leak damage on my Home Owner’s Insurance?

Mostly it depends on the individual policy if the hot tub has been included in the home insurance or not. Even if it has been listed, there will be certain damages that will be covered while others will not be covered in the homeowner’s insurance. All policies differ and it boils down to checking details of your policy to ascertain if you are in for a happy surprise or a sad one.

Common home insurance policies in the industry are known as HO-3. It covers everything except a particular list of hazards also known as exclusions such as earthquake, mould, and flood; however, the list also includes some other things.

That being said, most of the insurance companies will cover only the hot tub which is under the liability side of the policy which protects you in an event where some guest is injured while using it. Insurance policy will not cover any physical damage including pipes which got cracked because of the frozen water inside.

You can opt to have any special addition in your policy to cover specific damages, but you will end up paying more for any special additions you make. Also, it will depend upon the insurance policy if it accepts those additions or not.

Policies depend on the insurance company and also on the state where you are residing. If your hot tub gets damaged and you want to cover it on the home-owners insurance then its better to have a one-on-one conversation with the agent to know the details.

You can claim hot tub on homeowners’ insurance if it has been listed down on the insurance agreement because there are chances that hot tub might or might not have been added to the insurance list. It would be an unwelcome surprise to learn that the insurance company will not cover these damages.


How to prevent leaks?

There are certain parts of your hot tub that need to be checked regularly to prevent leaks. Jets, pumps, plumbing lines, and fittings must be checked regularly to avoid any leaks that you will discover when it’s too late. Some issues are easy to solve, whereas others might require to take the cabinet apart if it’s a standalone unit.

A leak in the fibreglass hot tub is easy to spot and prevent. Keep an eye to see if the water is flowing onto the floor area around the tub. Also, keep checking that the grass around the tub is dry and the level of water doesn’t decrease when the cover is removed. You can check other parts of the fibreglass hot tub with a fibreglass repair kit if you suspect a leak.

Find and fix a hot tub leak

Source: Aquatic technologies

Leaks can be prevented by using a quality spa cover while tying the straps. If the spa is not in use, create a windbreak around the spa to reduce any heat loss. If you are going on vacation and intend not to use your hot tub for a while, turn down the thermostat and turn off the blowers, lights and air jets.

If you keep wasting water because of a leak, you would have to reheat and replace water, adding further cost and trouble. Repair the leaks and jets so that there will be no streams of hot water leaking onto deck or nearby surface. Maintenance of hot tub plays an important role in preventing leaks, ensure the proper functioning and to prolong the lifespan of a hot tub.


References:

Aquaman. (2017, December 4). Suspect a Leak in Your Spa or Hot Tub? Check This First. Retrieved from aquaman leak detection: https://blog.aquamanleakdetection.com/suspect-a-leak-in-your-spa-or-hot-tub-check-this-first 

Brown, D. (2018, December 10). How to Find a Hot Tub Leak. Retrieved from SFGATE: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/hot-tub-leak-43569.html

Detecting a Leak in an Inflatable Hot Tub. (n.d.). Retrieved from inflatable hot tub: https://www.inflatablehottubhq.com/detecting-leak-inflatable-hot-tub/

do it yourself. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-fix-a-hot-tub-leak

Fix A Leak. (n.d.). Retrieved from Hot Tub warehouse: https://hottubwarehouse.com/products/fix-a-leak

How to Fix a Leak in your Hot Tub. (2015, August 6). Retrieved from Swim University: https://www.swimuniversity.com/hot-tub-leak/

Lara, D. (n.d.). Cost to Repair a Hot Tub. Retrieved from Hot Tub Works: https://www.hottubworks.com/blog/cost-to-repair-a-hot-tub/

Lara, D. (Hot Tub Works). Hot Tub Leaking from the Bottom. Retrieved from Hot Tub Works: https://www.hottubworks.com/blog/hot-tub-leaking-from-the-bottom/

Leaks – Learn how to stop leaks in their tracks. (n.d.). Retrieved from Spa Depot: https://www.spadepot.com/spacyclopedia/spa-leaks.htm

Rossi, P. (2019). Benefits of Owning a Hot Hub. Retrieved from By Rossi: https://byrossi.com/benefits-of-owning-a-hot-tub/

Rossi, P. (2019). End-to-End Guide: How to Drain and Clean a Hot Tub Properly. Retrieved from By Rossi: https://byrossi.com/hot-tub-cleaning-draining/

Rossi, P. (2019). How Long Will a Typical Hot Tub Last? (and 4 ways to increase it). Retrieved from By Rossi: https://byrossi.com/hot-tub-lifespan/

Williams, C. (n.d.). Is a Frozen Hot Tub Covered by Insurance? Retrieved from Pocketsense: https://pocketsense.com/frozen-hot-tub-covered-insurance-6811.html

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