How to Fix 4 Common Problems With Outdoor Hot Tubs

male and female feet in a steaming hot tub

Everyone loves relaxing in their hot tub, particularly on a cold winter night with snow falling around them. When these outdoor items experience issues, though, it can be costly and strenuous to fix. Thankfully, there are some easy solutions for the most common outdoor hot tub problems.

Problem 1 - The Water Isn’t Heating Up

A hot tub certainly isn’t functioning correctly if the water isn't heating up, right? This can be frustrating, but before you call in a professional, there are a few fixes to try. First, look for clogs in your circulation system. Also take this opportunity to clean or change the filter, as that could be the cause. These small measures are cheap and easy ways to potentially fix the problem.

If this doesn’t do the trick, you can try flipping the heater breaker on and off and/or hitting the reset button. Doing so will restart your heater if it’s on the fritz due to air trapped in your line or water that got too hot.

If none of these solutions made a difference, you may want to remove the heating element of your hot tub, if you feel comfortable doing so. If you do this and the element looks burnt, it could need replacing. This will require professional assistance.

hot tub in yard with pine trees near wooden house

Problem 2 - Blocked Filter

It’s common to experience a blocked filter in your hot tub. This is due to the build up of body oils and other residue that the filter catches. Usually, if a filter is blocked, your hot tub will alert you through an error code on the display. Usually this code will say something along the lines of “FLO”, alerting you that water is not able to pass through the filter or cannot effectively clean the water within the tub.

If you receive this alert, there’s no need to panic. To fix this issue, you should simply replace your hot tub filter. A fresh filter will get your hot tub into working condition again and guarantee its cleanliness. To prevent this issue, clean your filter on a regular basis to avoid a blockage. To do so, you can use one of several methods.

The first is to take the filter out weekly and rinse it clean with a garden hose. The next is to purchase a bottle of chemical filter cleaner and spray the filter with it once monthly. Do so generously, letting it sit for about 15 minutes. After such a dousing, thoroughly rinse the filter with a hose to rid it of chemicals. The last way is to clean your filter every three to four months when you change the water in your hot tub. Do this by using hot tub filter cleaning chemical and diluting it with water per the instructions on the bottle. Ensure that there is enough of the water and chemical mixture to completely submerge the filter. Allow the filter to sit in the solution overnight and then rinse it thoroughly before reinserting it into your hot tub. Regardless of how frequently you clean your filter, it should be replaced once every two years.

Problem 3 - Poor Circulation

Optimal water circulation is the most effective way to keep your tub clean. Poor water circulation could crop up because you don’t run the pumps long enough, or as a result of poor water chemistry. Formation of biofilms could also be to blame for this issue. This can be avoided by wiping away dirt and grime around the walls of the hot tub.

To decipher the root of the issue, try running the pumps for at least an hour for every 10 degrees of temperature your tub is set to. If this doesn’t improve the circulation, you’ll learn that it’s not due to a lack of pump movement. In that case, next test the water chemistry and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it’s well balanced.

If the issue is still not abated, clean the area around the pump to rid it of any debris, which could be the cause of the problem. If that measure has no effect, bring in a specialist to check the flow sensors and pressure switch, as you may have more of an in-depth issue at hand.

hot tub water with vents

Problem 4 - Noisy Pump

It’s not uncommon to experience a noisy pump—whether that means the pump is making a squealing or growling noise. The solution to this issue differs depending on which sound you’re hearing.

If the pump is growling, it likely means that not enough water is getting into it. To fix it, clear any clogs from the circulation system, ensure all valves surrounding the pump are open, and top off the water in the tub.

If you’re hearing a high-pitched squealing noise, it means you’re having an issue with your bearings. A temporary fix to this is to lubricate the bearings, but eventually, the pump will likely need to be replaced.

Owning a hot tub is fun, but it does take work, much like many other yard water features. Explore our site further to learn more about making the most out of your yard, water features and all!