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Hot Tub Leaks: Troubleshooting, Solutions, and More

11 Aug 2023

Ask any hot tub owner and they will most likely tell you the one thing that can turn a good day into a bad one is when they find a leak in their spa (or when your hot tub is full of foam). Because these leaks are extremely hard to find, you may find yourself spending the entire afternoon locating it, all the more reason to shriek, “Why?!” Today, we’re going to make sure you know the main causes of a hot tub leak and what you can do to avoid it as much as possible.

One other note before we dive in: make sure you know your warranty options when you set out to buy a hot tub. Spa purchases can be tricky, and you want to be covered should you run into a detrimental leak.

How to Detect a Hot Tub Leak

One common way to pinpoint where your leak is coming from, is to use dye or food coloring to color the water. Wherever you see dark water appearing first should indicate the leak location.

Another option is to let the water drop (without the spa running) and then pay close attention to where the water level drops and maintains its level. This will help you identify what level the leak is on and investigate from there.

These methods might work well for significant leaks. It may not be so simple for those that are less substantial. If this is the case, you’ll need to determine the location and culprit.

How to Fix A Hot Tub Leak

There are many common reasons and locations for a hot tub leak. If you weren’t yet able to identify the issue, it’s likely it lies in one of the following:

Most Common Reasons for a Leaking Hot Tub and How to Fix Them

The Pump: One of the most common locations where a hot tub leak can arise is the circulation pump. If you’re going to check this location, be sure to turn off the power and check under the pump for leaking water.

There are typically three causes of leaking pumps: the shaft seal, unions, or the volute:

  • Seal Shaft: If the shaft seal has failed, you can order a new seal without replacing the entire pump
  • Union Fitting: A union fitting is a three-part connector located at the entrance and exit. It could simply need to be tightened (don’t use a wrench to do this!), the o-ring might need to be adjusted, or you may need a new one.
  • Volute: If the volute is your issue, where the impeller is housed, you most likely need to replace it.

With all that said, it’s also possible your pump needs to be altogether replaced.

The Heater: If the pump showed no signs of leakage, then the heater could be a potential issue. Within the heater are the heater itself, the pressure switch, and other components – any of which could be the culprit. It’s possible an individual component can be replaced, but more than likely you will need to replace the entire heater, or have someone repair it.

Valves: There are multiple valve styles on hot tubs, each having its own unique way of being repaired. Some spas have valves installed on one side of the pump so water doesn’t have to be shut off or drained when the pump needs repair. Other valves have compartments bolted together with a gasket between the compartments—this is known to fail and cause a leak. Be sure to inspect all valves located on your hot tub and replace any as necessary.

Connections: Be sure to check all pipes, jets, and any other connections. Some connections are easy and only need to be tightened or sealed while others may need a full replacement. If you have a failing gasket, be sure you order the right parts as there are different gaskets for different style spas. Have a crack in a PVC pipe? There’s a gem called Plast-Aid that seals up cracks or holes, which becomes stronger than the PVC pipe itself!

Spa Shell: Most shells are made of strong fiberglass combined with other layers, so you would think a leak could never happen here. In many cases, it’s not the shell that causes problems, but a jet or other component attached to the shell. If the spa shell does have a leak, Plast-Aid can be used to seal holes or cracks.

Hot Tub Inspection and Repair with Hot Springs

We have your back on any spa leak issue here at Hot Springs Pools & Spas. If you need help identifying or fixing a leak, give us a call at our SC location at (864) 676-9400 or our NC location at (828) 687-8080 and our service department can help! Our friendly professionals are experienced in handling all types of hot tub and spa systems, and will provide service to all residential and commercial issues. We look forward to helping you out!

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