Troubleshooting a Jetted Tub Leak
If you are experiencing leaking from your jetted tub, you could call in a professional plumber to find and fix the problem for you. However, we all know how expensive plumbers can be. Many times, they will come and quickly fix the problem, but they will insist on handing you a bill for a couple of hundred dollars before they leave.
On the other hand, you might choose to troubleshoot and repair simple leak problems in the tub yourself. Diagnosing and repairing leaks in a jetted tub is not too difficult, and the learning experience will serve you well in the future.
Always Work Safely
Before trying to find the leak in your jetted tub, you should always cut the power at the main breaker switch box in your home. In the event that the leak is near the pump motor for the tub, you don't want to risk shock or injury. Once you have switched off the power to the tub, you can safely start searching for the leak.
Water Seals Beneath the Floor
If your tub is leaking, you should always start your search for the leak by checking the union fittings underneath the tub. The vibrations in a jetted tub can cause union seals to shake loose and leak. So, go into the basement or crawl space under the tub and check to make sure they are tight.
Union fittings and seals should not be tightened with a pipe wrench. Instead, these fittings should always be tightened by hand. However, they can sometimes be hard to turn with your hand. In this case, you will need to loosen the mounting bolts on the pump; adjust the fittings so they are properly aligned; hand-tighten the fittings; and then re-tighten the mounting bolts on the pump. This will fix the majority of leaks with a jacuzzi, jetted tub, or spa.
Check for Cracked Pipes
Another common source of leaks in jetted tubs are the PVC pipes used to drain water from the tub. If you live in an area that experiences wide variations in hot and cold temperatures, the pipes could expand or crack. Poor water conditions can also cause this to occur (especially in very cold areas). So, if cracks in the pipe develop, you will need to repair them as soon as possible.
For small, hairline cracks in the PVC pipe, you may be able to simply fill them with PVC glue and allow the adhesive to dry before running water through the pipe again. For larger cracks, you will need to remove the damaged section of pipe and insert a coupler to replace the affected area. This is much simpler than it sounds and only requires some pipe, primer, glue, sandpaper, and a hack saw.
Valves are also an area where leaks commonly occur. So, occasionally inspect valves used in the plumbing for your jetted tub and replace them as needed. Some factory installed valves on either side of the pump are actually more trouble than they are worth, and many installers choose to cut them out and replace the section with regular PVC pipe. However, if you do choose to use valves on your tub's water lines to and from the pump, replacing a leaky one is similar to replacing a piece of pipe with a coupler.