Without the know-hows of how to repair cracked hot tub pipes, you’re in for trouble. You are going to call in a plumber and spend a lot.
Don’t worry! We’re here to show you how to proceed with a cracked hot tub or spa pipe repair without a lot of headache.
How to Repair Cracked Hot Tub Pipes?
Things to do first
- Unplug the electric power supply
- Remove the paneling to your hot tub
- Mark where the water is dripping from
- Move your hot tub filters out of water
- Look into places like heater connections, pumps, manifolds, jets, and pipelines
- Open the drainage valve and drain down all the water
- Use a garden pipe to divert the water away from the tub
- Add food color to the water to make the leaks more visible on the foam
Pro Tip: In the case of a leak, inspect all your pipes, jets, and plumbing lines. At times, tightening and resealing the connections could solve the problem.
Repair Your Broken or Cracked Pipes and Fittings
1. Peel off the foam
Most of your hot tub or spa pipes and manifolds are covered in heavy foam. Cut the foam with a sheetrock saw and peel them off to get to the leaking pipe.
2. Rub in some glue
If the crack is hair-thin and you don’t want a replacement yet, use a leak-fixing glue or bonding adhesive for a temporary solution.
3. Apply PVC cement or epoxy putty for thicker cracks
If your pipe is still usable, clean it and sand down the cracked part so that epoxy putty can stick well. It’s best to wear gloves as you apply the epoxy for covering the cracks.
When and How to Replace Your Pipe?
Know that a cracked hot tub pipe cannot last for long. Get rid of it and replace it with a new piece. You only need to replace the cracked part.
Easy steps to a cracked pipe replacement!
- Block the valves off to stop the water flow and loosen the fittings on both sides of the crack
- Cut out the damaged piece with a PVC cutter or a hacksaw
- Buy a replacement and PVC couplings according to the length and diameter of the impaired piece for you don’t have it already
- Sand the pipes down before you apply the adhesive
- Spread over some tough glue on the two outer edges of your pipes and inside the fittings
- Clamp up the joints so they don’t leak again
- Put the new pipe in place and set the fitting rings glued onto the joints
- Let the glue sink in and make sure they are sticking together
Most Common Hot Tub Leak Sources
A hot tub pump pushes water into the heater tube and its pressure leaks past the old seals. If you see any sign of water dripping around the pump, you may want to reseal the joints.
It heats the water and is a key player in the leak factor. There is a high chance that the rubber gaskets have failed on both ends of the tube.
You might need to replace the heater assembly when you notice any corrosion or pitting on it.
PVC pipes & unions
The pipes and unions are where most of the leaks and cracks occur. Tighten the unions with hands when they come loose over time if your hot tub regularly vibrates.
Get it straight that if you use heavy tools for tightening or loosening the PVC pipe connections and unions, you may get into bigger trouble.
Only work with your hands as you deal with these plastic pipes, especially where they’re glued in.
Either you have gate valves or diverter valves, replace them in case they are leaking. Air control valves leak less.
Jets & manifolds
The jets let the bubble in and the leakage takes place where they mount to the shell. If you notice a jet is leaking, replacing the gasket should block the leak.
The blower only blows water into the jets. Since the water does not stream through it, you will find any leakage here in the most unusual cases.
The acrylic shell that you sit on has a lower chance of a crack. But it’s common for the acrylic to expand and shrink every year in cold weather.
How to Fix Acrylic Shell Cracks?
a. Drill holes at the edges
When you get a crack on the acrylic, drill small holes at the two ends of the crack to prevent the crack from spreading.
b. Clear the smudges
Dry out and sand down the cracked area. Brush off the debris to make it ready to patch up.
c. Apply Plast-aid or Epoxy
Plast-aid or Epoxy should be a great solution for the crack on your acrylic shells. Get the Epoxy paint to match the color for a seamless finish.
The Complexity of the Hot Tub Repair
A hot tub is luxurious but there are tons of places where it could leak. The regular hot tubs are complex pieces of manufacturing and “leaks” are pretty common with them.
1. Hot tub structure
Your hot tub is fundamentally hundreds of pipes and machinery put together with countless joints and fittings in the shape of a bowl held together with the heavy foam fired onto them.
2. Leak detection
If you’ve located the leaks, you’ve already done half the work.
The complication is, the leak in your tub could be hidden under the bottom where you can barely see it and fix it. You might have no clue how many leaks you have in your hot tub.
3. Hard to repair
You may find it difficult to even repair a leak unless it’s something obvious like a heater gasket or a visible pump seal.
Hot Tub Leak Prevention Techniques
1. Be a careful user
Watch out for leaks on a regular basis and don’t let any unexpected happen to your tub.
As you change the water, open up the cabinet to see if everything is fit and dry. A quick fix for any fraction is easier than later done.
2. Often reseal and replace the gasket
Resealing the joints and replacing the gaskets in the tubes helps prevent leaking. Doing the process twice in 3 months for regular on-use hot tubs is fine.
3. Keep the water clean
The acidic water brings equipment failure and causes leaks over a period. Purify and sanitize the water to keep it alkaline.
1. How do I fix a cracked pipe without replacing it?
Ans: A cracked pipe can be repaired unless it is totally out of place. You can use pipe repairing putties, PVC cement, and other materials. We recommend Christy’s “Slick-Wrap pipe repair kit” and “Epoxy putty” for this kind of repair.
2. Is it worth fixing a hot tub leak?
Ans: If your tub is not that old (less than 10 years) then fixing is worth considering. You can list out all the problems you are facing with your tub every month and calculate their fixing cost to get an idea of what you should do. If the cost crosses your expectation then you should probably replace the tub.
3. What kind of glue should I use for hot tub plumbing?
Ans: You can use PVC glue to join smooth fittings and pipes. In the case of threaded fittings, It’s better to use heavy body or fresh medium PVC glue.
4. How much does it cost to repair a leak in a hot tub?
Ans: Although it depends on what and where is leaking, generally a repair cost is under $500. However, if the leak is hidden under the tub or in the foam, it can cost you up to $1000.