Spa leaks are an inevitability when it comes to spa ownership! The only real thing to do really is to prepare for it so that when leaks occur, they’re fixed ASAP. Why? Let’s find out more shall we?
How to Determine if you have a spa leak
Aside from the obvious pooling of water around your spa, how do we know if we have a spa leak? The best way to do this is to fill your spa to its maximum level, turn off the power, let the water drop, and check the most common leak sources for moisture. Here are the places where you should check for leaks:
- Spa Heater
- Pipe unions and connections
- Shell Cracks
Spa Pump Leaks
Since pumps run under pressure, this is the first place that you should check for leaks. The most common locations for pump leaks are the most obvious locations for leaks:
- Shaft Seals - Just like your full-sized pool pumps, your spa pump operates on the same principle and shaft seal leaks will happen with time. Fairly simple problem to fix, simply order a replacement shaft seal from an online store or visit your local handyman store and replace the seal and you should be good to go.
- Union Fittings - Check the front and rear union fitting connections to your spa pump, the O-rings may need replacing or maybe the problem is as simple as it needing a bit of tightening (hand tighten only!) One of the causes of union leaks is actually over-zealous tightening with some kind of tool, leading to micro cracks that lead to leaks!
- Volute Leak - The volute is a fancy name for the impeller housing. If you have a leak on your volute then you don’t have a choice except to replace the volute (not the whole pump!) as patch-up jobs won’t work here because of the water pressure.
Spa pump leaks can be fixed pretty easily and you should fix it as soon as you spot them! Remember that spa pumps are moving pieces of equipment with electricity running through them. Fixing them ASAP can mean the difference between a quick repair and a total pump failure!
Spa Heater Leaks
If your leak is coming from the spa heating unit then you will have to check the entire heating assembly and not just from where the visible leak is coming from. The heating assembly includes the heating element, pressure switch, sensors, thermostat, and everything else. Why? A leak in your spa heater is usually an indication that the thing is falling apart. You may get away with replacing one or two components, but if you find leaks on multiple components then you may want to start thinking about replacing the entire heater as the cost to replace multiple components can add up!
Leaky Spa Pipe Unions and Connections
Due to vibrations and time, your spa unions and connections may loosen over time. This is a quick fix, again, HAND TIGHTEN the unions and you should be good to go. For minor cracks in the intake side of your spa, you can get away with using some Aqua Fix-it or pool putty to seal up those cracks, but for cracks on the pressure/return lines, you may need to have a professional (or DIY if you’re confident in your plumbing skills) have a look at the leak for some pipe replacements.
Leaky Spa Valves, Jets, and Manifolds
If there’s something that’s abundant in spas, then its the valves, jets, and manifolds. Some spas have more valves than regular-sized pools! You’ll need to inspect each and every single valve to determine where the leak is coming! But once you find the leaky valve, it’s a quick fix. Simply order the same part and replace. In fact, it takes longer to inspect all of the valves than it is to replace a leaky one!
Spa Shell Cracks
Spas are usually made from very tough fiberglass shells so cracks are not really something that occurs quite often, unless maybe you drop like a 50-pound metal plate on it, and that’s exaggerating. In the off-chance that you actually get a shell crack, you may have to contact the dealer or manufacturer of the spa to check if it’s covered by a warranty. If it’s still under warranty, then great! If not, then you may need to contact a pool professional to do the patch-up job to ensure that the problem doesn’t become worse in the long run.
Preventing Spa Leaks
Yes, the title is misleading as there isn't really anything we can do to prevent spa leaks from occuring. But what we can do is prevent them from becoming worse! Once you find spa leaks, no matter how small, don't wait! Do a patch up job or replace the part immediately to prevent it from spiralling out of control!
If you use your spa every day, it may be tough to spot spa leaks because of the constant dripping of water from the spa use. So always keep an eye on your spa, give it a once over every few days (if not in use) to spot spas while they’re still small and manageable so that you’ll get back to enjoying your spa and preventing complications down the line. And of course, having a tube of some Aussie Gold Aqua Fix-it will help you deal with tiny problems while waiting for replacement parts to come in!
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Happy swimming :)