how to find a leak in a hot tub shell

Many hot tub owners know the unfortunate event of dealing with a hot tub leak. Unfortunately, hot tub leaks can be very difficult to find. The last thing you want is to spend an entire afternoon freaking out trying to find the leak when there are steps you can take to understand where the hot tub leak might be coming from and why it appeared in the first place.

Come dive in with us as we explore the ins and outs of finding a hot tub leak.

How To Find a Hot Tub Leak

One of the best ways to find where your hot tub leak is coming from is to use food coloring as a dye. The food coloring will begin to appear wherever the leak is present, giving you a visual of where the water is leaking. 

You may also allow the spa water to drop without running your spa. In doing so, you will see where the water level is dropping and where the water level is remaining the same, giving you an idea of where the leaking is coming from. 

From here, you can investigate further to see where the potentially small leak is originating from.

For small leaks present in the fittings, skimmer, suction lines, return lines, housing, floor or walls, a leak sealant should do the trick.  If you’d like further instructions on how to use a leak sealant, as well as our 3 most trusted products, head over to our “hot tub leak sealer reviews”. 

How To Fix a Leak

Causes behind hot tub leaks vary quite widely and there are many common things to look out for. If you used the two prior methods and were not able to find where the leaking was coming from, then you are probably dealing with one of the following issues:

Pump Issues

The circulation pump is one of the most common areas where leaks in hot tubs occur.

Make sure that you turn your spa power off prior to looking at the circulation pump, as it will allow you to see any leaking water.

There are also a few reasons why your pump might be leaking, some of the most common including the volute, the unions, or the seal.

If the volute, the area that houses your impeller, is causing the main issue with your pump, then you will probably have to have it replaced.

The union fitting is a connector found at the entrance and exit of your pump and is made up of three parts. You might be able to fix the leak by simply tightening this portion of the pump. When tightening the union fitting, never use a wrench! Instead, follow the instructions given to you in your manual or call a local dealer for more assistance. You may just need to adjust your o-ring or get a new union-fitting altogether.

Lastly, the problem might be the pump seal shaft. You can always order a new seal without having to replace the pump, which could be the easiest fix.

Heater Issues

If there aren’t any signs of leakage with your pump, then you might have an issue with the heater instead. You’ll find a few different components within your heater, including the heater and the pressure switch. While these two things are the typical culprits, there are some smaller individual components that could be the problem.

More often than not, you will need to have the entire heater replaced if you are noticing that it is the culprit for the leaks.

Valve Issues

Valves come in many forms and not all valves can be repaired in the same way.

There are many spas out there that have valves installed on the side of the pump, allowing you to repair the pump without having to drain the water or lower the water level.

On the other hand, there are some valves that are bolted together. 

These types of valves typically have a gasket sitting between the different components. A gasket could easily fail and become the cause of the leak.

It is important to keep an eye on your valves and your gasket components, as you might need to replace them if they fail.

Connection Issues

Make sure that you check all of the jets, pipes, and any other connection points within your spa. While you might need to replace some connections entirely, there are many cases where you will only need to tighten or seal them. For example, if you are dealing with a failing gasket, you might just need to tighten it. However, if you need to replace it, it is important to order the right part, as different kinds of spas make use of different kinds of gaskets.

You may have a crack in a PVC pipe. If that’s the case, there are many PVC pipe repair products, which are special kinds of glue, out there that you can easily apply on your own to get rid of cracks and holes.

Spa Shell Issues

Your spa shell is likely made out of fiberglass and other strong materials. You may think, “how in the world could I get any cracks in the shell if it is made out of such strong materials?”

Unfortunately, it happens.

However, in most cases, the problem isn’t with the spa shell itself, but with other components, such as a jet, attached to it. You can use very similar repair products that you would use with your PVC pipes to fill up these cracks or holes.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with a simple crack, loose connections, broken seals, and more can be fairly easy. Of course, if you notice that the leak is far too big to deal with yourself, you may have to call a licensed technician to come to check out the problem.

Always make sure to inspect the components of your spa on a routine schedule, including the jets, the spa shell, the plumbing, the fittings, and all other internal equipment. 

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