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hot tub leak repair

Most hot tub leaks will be from worn-out rubber gaskets in the union fittings on either side of the heater and/or pump and will need to be replaced. But small cracks and leaks can easily be fixed by pouring Fix-a-Leak into the filter suction area and waiting 24 hours.

But unfortunately, those aren’t the only possible leak spots.

So, in this article, we’ll explore a variety of issues relating to hot tub leaks and how to resolve them. Read on to learn the causes, cost, and how to fix some common hot tub leaks.

Let’s get going.

I’m Positive my hot tub should not be leaking like this….What y’all think?! pic.twitter.com/vAbR7TM2Gi

— DeMarre Carroll (@DeMarreCarroll1) May 8, 2014

Can a leaking hot tub be fixed?

Yes. A leaking hot tub can be fixed. The first thing is to identify the source of the leak. Small leaks up to 1/8 inch in diameter can usually be fixed with Marlig Fix-a-Leak from Amazon.

But other leaks may involve replacing a cracked PVC pipe or replacing worn rubber gaskets, as I mentioned above. I’ll get into the details of those fixes below.

If you have some DIY skills, you can fix most hot tub leaks. But some are a royal pain, and you may need to call in a pro.

To find out the source of the leak, you’ll want to remove the side panels so that you can easily find out where the hot tub has sprung a leak. 

In most cases, the source of the leak is not hard to find, but there are times when that could take some experience.

The leak could be due to a variety of factors such as worn or broken rubber gasket, loose connection in any of the jets, or plumbing lines. The latter can be hard to identify because they are encased in spray-on foam.

But in most cases, you simply want to start with where you can see water dripping or pooling.

That could be the source, or it could be a part of the hot tub that is above the water. So, look for wet spots above it.

If your hot tub comes with full-foam insulation, you’ll have to remove any wet foam until you find the source of the leak. BUT, I would first try using the Fix-a-Leak as that works great for small leaks around jets embedded in the foam.

But how can you tell if your hot tub is leaking in the first place?

This is what I explored in a recent article I published. Where do hot tubs usually leak, what do you do if your hot tub is leaking, and how much it costs to fix a hot tub leak are some of the questions I answered in-depth.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Inflatable hot tub sprung a leak. Hooked up the heater pump to a stock tank. Problem solved! pic.twitter.com/9jtgXrIwLw

— Jason O’Neal (@RocketSauce12) August 6, 2016

Where do hot tubs usually leak?

Hot tubs often leak at the pump and union fittings on either side of the heater tube. But they can also leak where the jets connect to the acrylic shell or from a cracked PVC pipe.

So, to detect the source of a leak, simply remove the panels on the sides of the hot tub and look at where water is pooling or dripping the most.

The common spot where your hot tub is most likely to have sprung a leak is the pump. So, you could start there. But, always ensure that you cut off the power before you work on your hot tub. 

Below is a list of the most likely spots. They are:

  • The union fittings at the pump and heater
  • Jets
  • Plumbing connections
  • Small cracks in the hot tub shell

Have you ever wondered how much hot tubs lose water to evaporation?

This is the theme of a recent article of mine. I explored if hot tubs lose water, how much water they lose, and if the water evaporates during winter. But I also revealed how to change the water in your hot tub.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Our just about $10k @bullfrogspas hot tub is less than a year old and already has a leak. It’s up on blocks now with pilot holes drilled into the bottom base to find the leak. Next steps is to saw into the bottom to find the leak… Tell me how this isn’t ruining my hot tub? pic.twitter.com/s9CXtAXXK9

— Greg (@iastater09) September 17, 2021

Why is my tub leaking from the bottom?

All hot tub leaks will eventually pool on the bottom. But a large volume of water on the bottom of the hot tub will likely be a cracked PVC pipe.

The reality is that a hot tub could leak from a number of places. Other sources of the leak could be from the jets, a cracked PVC pipe, a crack in the shell, or a loose light fixture.

But no matter the source of the leak, you’ll see water at the bottom, and you could be forgiven for thinking that the hot tub is leaking from the bottom.

What do you do if your hot tub is leaking?

Not to worry, a recent article I published offers actionable solutions. In it, I shared info on what causes a hot tub to leak and how to find leaks in your hot tub. But I also explained why your hot tub is leaking from the bottom.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Gah!!!!! Please tell me the hot tub didn’t spring a leak in this weather 🤦 pic.twitter.com/muR7lpf8gl

— Jodi B (@lttlteapot) February 20, 2019

How do I fix a leak in my hot tub?

Let’s explore the most common areas and what to do for each one.

1. Gaskets at union fittings at the pump and the heater

First, cut off the power. Then shut the gate valves on either side of the pump and the heater to stop water from flowing from the hot tub into the pump and then the heater, and in the reverse order.

Rubber gaskets in the union fittings can sometimes get broken or just worn out because of the hot water that’s regularly passing through. Water often leaks from this spot.

Fortunately, they are not expensive to replace.

It’s ideal to replace both gaskets at the same time. If the gaskets are the source of the leak, you’ll see water beneath one or both of the union fittings or a small trickle of water.

You’ll need a screwdriver to remove the unions. Turn anticlockwise to remove.

Then simply replace the worn rubber gaskets and replace the union fittings. Then open the gate valves and check for drips. If all is good, then restore power.

2. Cracked PVC pipes

Cracked PVC pipes can be repaired in several ways. One of the most common is by using epoxy, it is putty or a viscous liquid. First, clean and dry the damaged area and ensure that water can’t reach it.

Mix the epoxy according to the manufacturer’s instruction, then apply to the spot and leave it for about 10 minutes. Then, allow water through the pipe to confirm its efficacy.

3. Worn or loose jets

Marlig’s Fix-a-Leak can be used to fix worn jets.

As with other types of small leaks, remove the filter(s) and pour 8 oz or so of Fix-a-Leak into where the filters go, so it gets sucked into the system. Turn on the jets for it to get sucked to those areas.

Then just wait 24 hours and see if the water level has stabilized.

If it’s still leaking, you can repeat the process. But if the leak has stopped, just put the filters back in, and you’re ready to use it.

CLICK HERE to check out Fix-a-Leak on Amazon.

4. Crack in the shell

Cracks in the shell can be repaired using Plast-Aid, Acrylic and PVC Repair on Amazon. It’s waterproof and durable. It can be used for a lot of plastic repair issues. It is a two-compound substance consisting of liquid and powder.

It is ideal for repairing gaps and cracks. It assumes different states; as it thickens, it morphs from liquid to glue, to putty, clay, and finally to hard, durable plastic.

@layzspa help needed! We have sprung an air leak where the internal webbing meets the hot tub wall in our Monaco. Any advice? Normal patch repair not working. pic.twitter.com/PCKh8PpzlG

— L Smith (@smi43612433) January 1, 2019

How much do hot tub leak repairs cost?

Most hot tub leaks can be fixed by the owner for less than $50. However, for larger repairs or when hiring a hot tub repair company, expect to spend at least $200.

Naturally, the charge depends on the type of leak.

But having owned 4 hot tubs over time, I want to encourage you to pick up the skills needed to do most of your repairs yourself. Asking a pro over can be very expensive. And most of the common issues are what you can do yourself.

Say you wanted to replace the pump, it will set you back by about $400.

But a pro will probably charge you about $1,400 to replace it. Truth be told, this is something you can learn to fix yourself.

There are actually two types of pumps in a hot tub. So, how much you’ll spend would depend on the type that needs to be replaced. There’s the circulation pump and the jet pump.

The former is a low-flow pump that circulates filtered water into the hot tub, while the jet pump is responsible for powering the jets. It’s more powerful than the former and is naturally more expensive.

Replacing a circulation pump would cost between $150 to $200, while a jet pump would cost between $300 to $500.

You’ll need between $175 to $400 to replace the blower. It’s the device that causes the bubbles in your hot tub. They come in three sizes, and manufacturers usually provide info about the size that’s fitting. But not all hot tubs have blowers; some simply have pumps.

The control pack is another vital part that may need to be replaced.

It’s akin to the brain of the hot tub. To replace it would cost between $234 to $850. To be able to buy the right type for your hot tub, you’ll need to know how many pumps it uses, its voltage, and the type of heater.

You can easily get one to buy on Amazon.

Normally, you’ll have to replace your heater after a while. And note that the larger it is, the faster it would heat up the water. It would cost you $200 to $600 to replace.

To replace frozen pipes, you’ll spend between $300 to $500. In most cases, one or more parts of a PVC pipe may be leaking and have to be cut out and then replaced.

Smart lady! Nothing beats a hot tub outside in the winter. We had one in our old house up in Shakopee for 15 years. Nothing like sitting in there during a blizzard with hot toddies! pic.twitter.com/EqCD0gdSMc

— Judi Mayer (@judiloveslife) December 20, 2020

What is the life expectancy of a hot tub?

The life expectancy of a hard-sided, portable hot tub is between fifteen to twenty years. The manufacturer, water chemistry, and regular maintenance are some of the critical factors that impact how long a hot tub would last.

A cheap hot tub would probably not last more than 10 years, and that’s understandable. And the different components have different lifespans, so the 15 to 20 years above is an average.

Let’s check out how long some of the components last. Heaters last 5 to 7 years, while pumps often last 5 to 10 years. Plastic components have the shortest lifespans because they are easily corroded by harsh chemicals used in maintaining the hot tub water’s purity and clarity.

But the following have the shortest lifespan. Fortunately, you can read up about them or watch a few YouTube videos, and you’ll be good to go.

They are:

  • Rubber gaskets in the union fittings on either side of the heater tube
  • Gate valves which close off the flow of water on either side of the pump and heater
  • The heater element
  • Topside panel stickers
  • Pillows 

Now is it worth it to fix a hot tub?

recent article I published explores this vital question. I shared info about the lifespan of a hot tub and the cost of repairing hot tubs. But I also revealed whether you can fix your hot tub yourself.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

My hot tub has an internal leak, not worth investing the money to fix so it’s being chopped up today and hauled away. Should be interesting to see this unfold. pic.twitter.com/jswueeYtRZ

— Organic_Reality (@Organic_Reality) August 28, 2019

Do hot tub leak sealers work?

Hot tub sealers work for small leaks of up to 1/8 inch in diameter. As they are heavier than water but still liquid, they are designed to sink to the lowest spot; often the place where the leak has sprung. 

You don’t need to empty a hot tub to fix it if you’re using a sealer. However, they might be ineffective for major leaks.

I have used a sealer before. At my last house, I bought a used hot tub and discovered that it was leaking. So, I bought and used Marlig Fix-a-Leak.

After removing the filters, you pour Fix-a-Leak into the hot tub, and because it is heavier than water, it automatically sinks into the weakest place in the tub, which is exactly where the leak is. Then allow it to work for 24-72 hours before using the tub.

It worked very well after I used it. In fact, I wrote up a review in a recent article I published. In it, I shared info about what Marlig’s Fix-a-Leak is, whether it works, and how long it lasts. But I also revealed how it works.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

I know we’re in a pandemic but the hot tub has sprung a leak and it’s sounding expensive 😢😢😢 pic.twitter.com/lVjN7x4hdF

— CathyMac 🥂 (@liverbird17) February 18, 2021

What is the best hot tub leak sealer?

Marlig’s Fix-a-Leak is the best hot tub sealer for small leaks. I have used it and some other sealers in the past, and it is what I’ll recommend. 

It’s a patented formula, so the company does not reveal the ingredients. About 48 hours after you’ve applied it, you could replace the filters and adjust the water chemistry as needed, and you’re good to go. It’s ideal for small leaks.

But, If you have giant cracks in your PVC pipes, you’ll have to consider other solutions. Marlig’s Fix-a-leak has over 2,400 reviews on Amazon, and almost all of them are 5 stars.

CLICK HERE to check it out on Amazon.

Conclusion

In the article, we looked at some of the most common causes of hot tub leaks and how to fix them.

We considered whether a hot tub leak can be fixed and why your hot tub could be leaking from the bottom. We also looked at the life expectancy of hot tubs, taking into consideration some of the most expensive components.

XXXXXX

Throughout the years of owning a hot tub, you will run into issues. Big hot tub leaks are rare but pretty obvious. But sometimes hot tub owners just notice the water level dropping. If that’s the case, it’s natural to ask how can I tell if my hot tub is leaking?

Here’s what I know from having fixed numerous leaks over the years:

Hot tubs do lose an inch or two of water weekly depending on the water temperature and air temperature. However, you can tell your hot tub is leaking when you notice more than a 2-inch drop over 7 days, or if you see water pooling around the base of the hot tub, especially when the jets are on.

But that’s just a quick glimpse into hot tub leaks. Where they happen, how they happen, and how easy they are to fix varies pretty widely!

It can be frustrating looking for leaks in your hot tub because they can be small.

You may also be thinking that fixing the leak will require a hired professional. While in some cases that may be true, you may be able to fix a leak depending on your level of expertise, especially if it is a simple and common leak.

Keep on reading to find out how to tell if your hot tub is leaking, and what to do about it.

Ready to Spend Less Time On Maintenance and More Time Enjoying Your Hot Tub?

Let’s face it. Balancing the water, cleaning filters, dealing with rashes, and trying to figure out which chemicals to buy and add can make you feel more like a chemist than someone who just wants to relax after a long hard day!

That’s exactly why The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course is so valuable!

This is from Matt over at Swim University and he developed it for people looking to save money, time, and frustration. His tips on chemicals can save you $100/year just by making sure you buy only what you need.

So if you’re ready to stop being confused or frustrated with your hot tub and start spending more time in it, check out The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course.

Just click that link to learn more on their website.

Hot Tub repairs today. Leak in the circulation pump meant the tub was continually losing water. Fixed now!. #spa #hottub #relax #bmsnorfolk https://t.co/EevGUIvhTb pic.twitter.com/y8SRJkRJWz

— Stuart Day (@StuartDays) March 4, 2019

Where do hot tubs usually leak?

Hot tubs most often leak at the pump and the union fittings on either side of the heater tube. But by removing the panels on the side of the hot tub, simply look to spot the location where water is dripping or pooling the most.

Some are easy to spot and easy to fix. Others are a royal pain. Below, we’ll review the most likely ones, how to spot them, and how to fix them.

The Pump

The most common location you will find leaks in your hot tub is the pump. Before checking your hot tub’s pump for a leak, ensure you have turned off the power. Then look under the pump for leaking water.

Other common areas where you can find leaks are the union fittings, heater, valves, connections, and shell. If you’ve checked the pump and it isn’t the culprit, move on to these compartments of your hot tub.

In my experience, the most likely culprit are those rubber gaskets used where the pipes connect to and from the pump. Luckily, that’s just a matter of closing off the shut-off valves, unscrewing the fittings, and replacing the gasket with a new one the exact same size.

The Heater

When checking the heater of your hot tub, you will be checking the entire heat assembly manifold for a leak.

The heat assembly manifold consists of the heater and pressure switch alongside a few other small components.  That sounds fancy, but basically, we’re talking about a long silver tube usually on the underside of your control box.

On one side (typically the left) it will connect to the pump (which pumps water into the heater). Then it comes out the other side and goes back into the hot tub.

Those gaskets I mentioned in the section above are often a common culprit here too.

The Union Fittings

The union fittings are found around both the pump and heater. These can become easily loosened over time. Always tighten the union fittings by hand. Never tighten the union fittings with a wrench, as this can cause damage.

Typically these are in 2 pieces. They screw into each other and then are threaded to screw onto the opposite fitting.

There’s a rubber gasket in each one, and the constant hot water can cause them to wear out or break over time. They almost always leak when that happens. Luckily, that’s an easy and inexpensive fix.

Valves

Inspect every valve on your hot tub. There are several different style valves that may be on a hot tub.

For example, knife style valves have a gasket between both halves that are bolted together. As with many of the other fittings, the gasket is a common cause of leaking. Check carefully and ensure that they are not leaking.

Connections

Check all of your hot tub’s pipes and jets.

In most cases, all you need to do is tighten or reseal the connections to stop the leak. If your jet is leaking, it is most likely caused by a failed gasket. This will need to be replaced, so check with your hot tub manufacturer for what type of gasket to buy.

Hot Tub Shell

The majority of hot tub shells are made of strong fiberglass and other combined layers, making it difficult to leak.

In most cases, it is actually a problem with one of the jets or other components that attach to the shell, and not the shell itself.

If there is a crack in the shell, it’s easy to spot, but only when it’s empty. If you’ve tried all the other ways to check and inspect, then your next step is to drain it and look for a crack in the acrylic shell.

Here are the steps to fix a small crack in the acrylic shell:

  1. Drill a tiny hole at both ends of the crack.  You want the hole to be bigger than the size of the crack but only by a tiny bit. The holes will stop the crack from getting larger
  2. Use Plast-aid Acrylic Repair Kit (click to see the current price on Amazon)
  3. This comes with both a powder & a liquid. Just mix according to the instructions. Then, quickly spread into the crack and holes
  4. It’s a good idea to wear latex gloves to keep the mixture off your hands
  5. Very quickly wipe away the excess mixture from the shell. This dries fast!
  6. It dries white, so you can mix in a small amount of acrylic paint to match the color of your hot tub.
  7. Once dry, lightly sand and buff to a shine. 

Proper Maintenance to Prevent Hot Tub Leak – https://t.co/LQgCjuA0OB pic.twitter.com/BQNaa4gQCd

— Daily Funny Tips (@TipsFunny) July 20, 2016

What do I do if my hot tub is leaking?

If a hot tub is leaking, remove the side panels to identify the location of the leak. Leaks at the pump or heater may require replacing worn rubber gaskets, while leaks from jets encased in foam may be able to be fixed by pouring Marlig Fix-A-Leak into the water and allowing it to seal the leak.

CLICK HERE to see Marlig Fix-A-Leak on Amazon.

Of course if you need to disassemble the pump or heater, first, switch off the electricity. If the leak is major, meaning you see gushing water, once you’ve determined the source of the leak, it may be best to go ahead and drain the hot tub altogether to make the repairs easier to perform.

However, many newer hot tubs have gate valves on either side of the pump and heater. These can simply be closed to allow disassembly without draining. They have a plunger you simply push down to close.

Most hot tub leaks come from the pump, it might need a new seal or housing.

Leaks from jets, unions, and connectors might just need tightening or replacement gaskets. Minor cracks in pipes and small leaks can be treated with a sealer.

Before you commit to fixing a leak or paying to fix a leak, check to see if your hot tub is still under warranty. If it is, you’ll be able to get the leaks repaired by a professional for free.

I’ll get more into it below, but for small leaks, especially ones around jets, Marlig Fix-a-Leak works great! I’ve used it many times with great success. Just click that link to see the current price on Amazon.

It is not, however, a miracle worker. If you have worn gaskets or (especially) cracked PVC pipes, this will not work.

Ultimately, hot tubs have a lifespan and depending on how old yours is and how bad the leaks are, it could be time to consider a new one.

On average, as I detail in this recent article, portable hot tubs last about 15 years. BUT, there are some things you can do to maximize and extend that lifespan.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

pic.twitter.com/ijXXSujFzK

— Middle Class Dad (@middleclassdad1) December 8, 2019

Does Fix a Leak for hot tubs work?

Marlig Fix-A-Leak will work to fix almost all leaks in a hot tub that are smaller than 1/8 inch in diameter. So it works well on leaks at jets but will not work well for a cracked PVC pipe.

CLICK HERE to see Marlig Fix-A-Leak on Amazon.

The amount you will use depends on the leak. If it’s a small or minor leak, you’ll most likely only need the 8-ounce bottle.

If the leak is more severe, then the 32-ounce bottle may be required. But honestly, I always have a quart on hand, as minor leaks crop up somewhat regularly once a tub is 5 years or older.

If this is the case, start by using 1/3 of the bottle. Normally, FIX-A-LEAK will seal holes as large as 1/8 inches in diameter.

Here is how you use Fix a Leak.

First, determine the amount of water loss over 24 hours. Do this by measuring the water level drop in that period and then select the amount of Fix A leak that is needed.

Next, fill the hot tub to the original level and mark the waterline. Then remove the filter(s), and shake the bottle of Fix a Leak well. With the pump running, slowly add the product through the skimmer or in front of any suction intake.

Finally, recirculate continuously for 6-8 hours then shut the system off. Check the water level the following day. If the water level remains the same, the leak has stopped. Allow 48 hours before resuming operation.

Amazingly, you do NOT have to drain it and refill it before using it again.

CLICK HERE to see Marlig Fix-A-Leak on Amazon.

Leaks are just one of the things hot tub owners have to deal with. In fact, there are 23 crucial things to know and questions to ask before buying your first hot tub. Curious?

Check out this recent article to find out the other 22. After all, they are things existing hot tub owners need to know too.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Bloody hell! The hot tub’s sprung a leak pic.twitter.com/zZ6Hk5JK4G

— theveindoc (@theveindoc) October 16, 2016

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

Hot tub leak repair by professionals will range from as little as $200 to up to $1500 if it requires accessing jets encased in foam in the underside of the hot tub.

But seriously, I’ve fixed many leaks myself and never had to hire anyone.

In some cases, it may make sense to just get a new pump, blower, topside panel, or control box. After all these parts are in the hundreds of dollars. And the average homeowner with some DIY experience can easily replace those things.

For professional repairs, just be aware that there may also be a minimum charge of $150-$200 for inspection and basic maintenance.

And sometimes it’s hard to find repair companies willing to work on portable hot tubs. Many companies only work on in-ground hot tubs (because they are not only easier to work on, but they can charge more).

Soft Flex Pipe Leak on PVC Tee Hot Tub with Water Pouring How To The Spa Guy WATCH at: https://t.co/eBxmklQxMk pic.twitter.com/0cmtxFSX3s

— friendlydb (@friendlydb) September 13, 2016

How do you fix a broken hot tub pipe?

To fix a broken pipe, first, disconnect the electricity.

If the leaking pipe has a shut-off valve (called a gate valve) on either side of it, close those off. Otherwise, you’ll need to drain the hot tub.

Sometimes you get lucky and the leaking pipe is short and you can just unscrew it from the fittings and replace it. If not, though, be prepared to cut and glue.

Use a hacksaw to cut out the leaking portion of pipe and fittings.

Then use PVC couplings to join the replacement pipe and fittings to the solid existing pipe. Wearing disposable gloves and allowing for adequate ventilation, apply a thin coat of PVC primer to the outside ends of the pipes and to the inside hubs of the fittings.

Next, apply a thicker coat of PVC cement over the primer.

Push the pipe and fittings together, hold them in place for 30 seconds or so, and release. Open the gate valves if you closed them, but wait at least two hours for the glue to dry before filling the spa.

Once you start filling it back up (if you had to drain it), turn the power back on once the water level is half-full. Once the water level is above the jets, turn on the jets and other water features. This will speed up the heating of your hot tub.

Leave the cover on while you do this. That also helps keep the heat in the water.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how to tell if your hot tub is leaking?

The most common area a hot tub leaks at is the pump. But other areas it can happen include the union fittings, heater, valves, connections, and shell.

If you find that your hot tub is leaking, switch off the electricity and locate the leak. Check to see if your hot tub is still under warranty before you commit to fixing or paying to fix a leak. You can also try using Fix a Leak. It’s an easy to use sealant capable of fixing many hot tub leaks.

Fixing a hot tub leak can become expensive if it’s a major issue, costing you anywhere from $200- $1,000 to repair it. It may even cost $1,500 if it is your hot tubs cabinet that is leaking.

Didn’t quite find the leak solution you wanted? 

I have another article that goes more in-depth into certain types of leaks, including one of the most common. So make sure and check that out for some additional solutions.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Ready to Spend Less Time On Maintenance and More Time Enjoying Your Hot Tub?

Let’s face it. Balancing the water, cleaning filters, dealing with rashes, and trying to figure out which chemicals to buy and add can make you feel more like a chemist than someone who just wants to relax after a long hard day!

That’s exactly why The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course is so valuable!

This is from Matt over at Swim University and he developed it for people looking to save money, time, and frustration. His tips on chemicals can save you $100/year just by making sure you buy only what you need.

So if you’re ready to stop being confused or frustrated with your hot tub and start spending more time in it, check out The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course.

Just click that link to learn more on their website.