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Hot Tubs/Spas
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Hot Tub Circulation Pump Not Working?

11 Aug 2023

Hot tub circulation pumps are low-flow pumps that constantly circulate in water as slowly as possible to provide your spa a continued filter, heat and chemically treated water.

While these pumps are known to last 5-10 years, at some point your pump is going to see problems that need some instant attention— unless you enjoy non-chemically treated spawater, which we hope you don’t! Seeing foam in your hot tub could be a sign that your pump is not working correctly.

While there are many reasons as to why your circulation pump has failed on you, we’re happy to provide you with some tips that will help troubleshoot the issue.

How to Troubleshoot Your Hot Tub Circulation Pump

When your hot tub pump is dead…

  • If there is no action coming from your circulation pump, see if your control panel is giving you an error code, typically a FLO or OH error when dealing with a dead pump.
  • Check that your power is on, the breaker or GFCI test button are not tripped, all valves are in the open position.
  • Follow the circ pump plumbing, and look for any kinks in the hose.
  • Pull out the cartridge filter to see if flow improves and the circulation pump is doing better.

With over 25 years of experience, we’re equipped to help with any spa issues you have or to discuss a new spa.


When your spa pump is making noises…

You could have air in the pump lines:

  • This usually happens if you recently drained the spa.
  • Open the lock nut until you hear air hissing, then tighten up again as water begins to leak.

You could have scale deposits:

  • Calcium or lime deposits can build up and create noise
  • Cut off your power, close valves on each side of the pump, and remove the wet end cover plate to inspect the impeller.
  • Inspect the pipes and the impeller surfaces for any deposits. They can be removed easily with a stiff brush.

You could have bad bearings:

  • There are two bearings that ensure a smooth rotation of the rotor. When these bearings rust, they begin to grind loudly.
  • Disconnect the plumbing and turn it on very briefly to see if any funny noises are made.
  • Depending on the location of the problem, a replacement of the bearings, motor, entire circulation pump will be required.

Pro-Tip: Your spa circulation pump should run with as little noise as possible. If you’re hearing any humming or grinding noises, be sure to look into the following steps:

When your hot tub pump barely pumps…

Circulation pumps don’t simply wear out die. So if yours is struggling, don’t assume it’s just wearing out. It’s likely your filter needs to be looked at:

  • If you feel low volume of water coming out of your heater return, remove the spa filter, clean it, and see if flow improves.
  • If the problem still arises, it’s time to replace the filter.

Troubleshooting a pump is a no-brainer for many, but if you have any doubts of what to do, then call the professionals here at Hot Springs Pools & Spas! We care about your safety first and deal with spas on a daily basis, so we can identify a problem quicker than a regular handy-man.

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