Why Do Hot Tubs Leak and How to Avoid This Common Problem

Hot tubs and swim spas can develop leaks for a variety of reasons. Here are some common causes of hot tub leaks and recommendations on how to avoid getting leaks:

  1. Plumbing Fittings: Over time, the fittings that connect the plumbing components of a hot tub can become loose or worn, leading to leaks. This can happen due to normal wear and tear, improper installation, or insufficient maintenance. When shopping for a hot tub make sure to purchase a brand that uses plumbing with thicker walls (“schedule”), glues/clamps/barbs fittings, and places sprays some insulation on the plumbing to help prevent vibration.
  2. Pump Seals: The seals around the pump(s) in a hot tub can degrade or become damaged, causing water to leak. This can occur if the pump seals are not properly lubricated, exposed to harsh chemicals, or subjected to high temperatures.
  3. Jet Gaskets: The gaskets that provide a watertight seal around the jets can deteriorate or become misaligned, resulting in leaks. This can happen due to age, excessive use, or improper water maintenance.
  4. Shell Cracks or Damage: The hot tub shell can develop cracks or damage over time, especially if it is exposed to extreme temperatures or subjected to heavy impacts. These cracks can allow water to leak out of the hot tub. Avoid ABS backed acrylic shells as they have the highest likelihood for cracks, delamination, and blistering. Acrylic backed with fiberglass is best practice and will hold up over time.
  5. Control Valves: The control valves (located on the top rail of the hot tubs) that regulate water flow in the hot tub can develop leaks if the seals or gaskets wear out or become damaged. This can result in water seeping out around the valve area. One way to avoid premature wear and tear is to be gentle when turning these handles and to do so when the jets are running so there’s less resistance on the valves.
  6. Skimmer Assembly: The skimmer assembly (covers the filter), which helps remove debris from the water surface, can develop leaks if the housing or the seal around it deteriorates. This can lead to water leaking out of the skimmer area.
  7. Improper Installation or Maintenance: In some cases, leaks can occur due to improper installation or maintenance practices. For example, if the hot tub was not installed correctly or if routine maintenance tasks, such as checking and tightening fittings, were neglected, it can increase the likelihood of leaks.
  8. Freeze Damage: Freeze damage typically happens from improper winterization of the hot tubs meaning a homeowner drains their hot tub during the winter months because they don’t plan to use it and don’t winterize it properly. Freeze damage can be totally avoided by taking the proper steps for winterization.

It’s important to address hot tub leaks promptly to prevent further damage and water loss. If you suspect a leak in your hot tub, it’s recommended to consult a professional technician or hot tub dealer who can diagnose the issue and perform the necessary repairs.

For more information visit our hot tub buyer’s guide pages. Also, click on the pink boxes and complete our free local quote form to get competitive prices from local dealers in your area. Or click our “Spa Buyer’s Consult” link above to get one on one expert advice on the best swim spas available in your area.

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