How to Find a Leak in a Hot Tub

You may notice an unexplainable source of water coming from near your hot tub. After much investigation, this leads you to believe one thing: your hot tub is leaking. Now what?

There are many places in your hot tub that can cause leaks over time. Usually, leaks develop near the jets, but this is not always the case, which is why it is important that you investigate the situation on your own. It’s important to also make sure that you look through everything thoroughly because the culprit might not be so evident at first. And, it may very well be the case that you will have several areas in your hot tub that are leaking because hot tub parts are like dominoes: when one part fails, the others might start to fail, too.

So, if you believe that your hot tub has a leak, the best thing to do is find out where the source of the leak is and go from there. Unfortunately, this may be a rather costly process if you find that the issue lies with something that needs to be ordered and replaced.

In this article, we will give you advice for finding leaks in your hot tub, possible reasons for the leak, and what to do next.

Why Your Hot Tub is Leaking

First, let’s consider some of the reasons why your hot tub might be leaking so that you have a better idea of what you’re looking at.

  • The pump: The pump is the first place you should look when determining why your hot tub is leaking. This is the most common area where people find leaks. Before you check the pump, make sure you turn your hot tub’s power off. Then, look under the pump to see if there is any water leaking. If that is the case, you may need to either repair the seal or get a new pump entirely.
  • The heater: The next reason why hot tubs leak most commonly is due to problems with the heater. You will need to check all the parts of the heater, including the heater itself, the pressure switch, and the other parts. If you do find that there is water leaking from this part of your hot tub, you will need to order new parts.
  • The valves: Your hot tub has several different types of valves that will need to be checked and evaluated. You will want to make sure that you check all the different valves carefully. It is possible that you will have to replace the valves if you find that they are the culprit.
  • The union fittings: These are surrounding the pump and the heater. They are also a very common cause for your hot tub to leak as the union fittings tend to get loose over time. If you find that this is the case, the most important thing to remember is that you should never attempt to fix them with a wrench. You should only tighten these fittings by hand.
  • The hot tub shell: It is actually extremely unlikely for the hot tub shell itself to leak, but it’s also not impossible. The shell is made out of very strong materials meant to withstand almost anything. But sometimes, with age, wear, and other factors, people may find that the shell itself is leaking. If that is the case, then you should try to fix it with Plast-Aid. Most of the time, though, what seems like a leaking shell is a problem with the jets or something that attaches to the shell.
  • The connections: It’s possible for the connections to be the cause, too. In this case, the most that you will usually need to do in order to fix them is simply reseal or tighten the connections- by hand, of course. If the jet is leaking, this is most often due to a problem with the gasket. One of the PVC pipes may also have a hole or a crack that is causing the leak. In this case, you can use Plast-Aid to fix it.

Keep in mind

  • Just because you have a brand new hot tub does not mean that it will not be susceptible to leaks whatsoever. This is because something might have gotten loose during shipment as your hot tub jostled around in the truck.
  • Again, if you find that the source of the leak is something that came loose, you have to make sure that you tighten this loose part by hand. Tightening it with a wrench could completely damage everything.
  • You can certainly call in a plumber or a specialist to take a look at your hot tub, but this is not an impossible task to do on your own. And you will find that you’ll end up saving a lot more money looking at it on your own, too.
  • With that being said, however, if you’re seriously having issues trying to find where the leak is or you can’t seem to fix the issue on your own, your best choice is to call a plumber or a specialist.

How to Find the Hot Tub Leak

What you will need:

  • Pencil or crayon
  • Food coloring
  • Flashlight

Steps to Find a Hot Tub Leak:

  1. The first thing you have to do is turn off the power in your hot tub. First, as we mentioned above, you will want to check the pump. Take your flashlight and check the equipment area in order to check for leaks around the pump. Feel it with your hand to see if it’s wet. If this is the case, you may need to replace the entire pump.
  2. Then, check all the pipes, pressure switch, and fittings near the heater and the pump. Make sure you do this thoroughly so as to not miss any section. You will want to see and feel for wetness at every part.
  3. You will then want to follow every pipe to its corresponding jet to see if there is any wetness.
  4. If you can’t seem to find the issue, the next thing to do is take the food coloring. This will work best if you choose a dark and noticeable color. Place a drop right in front of a jet in the water and watch where the food coloring goes. If you see that it has flowed out of a jet, this may be where the leak is. You will want to pay attention to if the dyed water has flowed out of a pipe and is outside the shell.
  5. Another thing you can do is let the water to rest and see if it drops to a certain level. If you find that the water has stopped by a jet, this is where the leak is.
  6. Take your crayon or grease pencil and mark the area where your hot tub’s water level is typically. Then, turn the power on in your hot tub and let it run for approximately 24 hours. After 24 hours have gone by, turn the power off and mark the current water level.
  7. The next thing you will want to do is fill the hot tub to the point where the water level was initially but without turning on the hot tub. Let it rest like this for 24 hours again and see if the water level has dropped at all. If it dropped to the same level as it did when you left the hot tub running, that means the culprit is the hot tub’s shell. If the water leaked more rapidly when you left the pumps running, that means there is a leak somewhere after the water has left the pumps. And if the water leaks more slowly when the hot tub is off, that means the source of the leak is where the water line is before the pump. This step is used to determine whether there has been a vessel leak, pressure leak, or suction side leak.

How Much is it Going to Cost?

This will really depend on what the issue was and what will need to be done to fix it. If all you need to do is simply tighten a few loose parts, then you obviously will not need to spend anything. You usually will not have to spend more than $100 in order to fix most of the minor leaks, especially if it’s something that you feel comfortable doing on your own. But if a more major piece of equipment was the cause of a leak, such as the heater or the pumps, and you need to order replacement parts, then it could cost you upwards of $500.

How to Prevent Leaks

The best way to prevent leaks is to make sure that you check out your hot tub regularly. Make sure that you keep an eye on the pumps, jets, fittings, and other parts to see if they are working properly. The sooner you diagnose and fix a problem, the less work you are going to have to do in the future.

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