How to Fix a Leak in your Hot Tub

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: August 6, 2015

Nothing can ruin a hot tub owners’ day faster than the realization that there is a leak in their hot tub. Hot tub leaks can be extremely frustrating as they are often hard to track down especially if they are minuscule. Your initial thought might be that you are looking at a potentially expensive repair that will require an expert to locate and fix. While that may be true for some leaks depending on your level of expertise and handiness, in many cases you can fix some of the most common leaks yourself.

While it is impossible for us to cover every possible leak and repair guide in one single post, today we will take a look at several of the most common leaks that are found in hot tubs and how you can easily and (usually) cheaply repair them yourself without having to call in a plumber or hot tub expert.

Common Leak Culprits

Some of the most common places you will find leaks are:

This is by no means a complete list, but definitely a good place to start. In most cases, hot tub leaks will be found in these areas. Let’s take a look at each of these components and how you fix water leaks on each one. When hunting down a leak, I would suggest that you start at the top of the list and then work your way down.

The Pump

The pump is probably the most common location where you will find leaks in your hot tub. Before checking the pump, turn off the power and look under the pump for leaking water. If you do find water, you may need to replace the pump seal or the entire pump entirely.

The Heater

Once you eliminate the pump as your leak cause, it is time to check the entire heat assembly manifold. This consists of the heater, pressure switch, and other components. If you find water leaking from any one of these parts, they will have to be ordered and replaced.

Union Fittings

The union fittings around both the pump and the heater are another common cause for leaks as they can easily become loose over time. If any of these fittings are loose, tighten them by hand. Do not ever use a wrench to tighten these fittings.


Inspect every valve on your hot tub.   There are several style valves on hot tubs and this type of valve will determine what you need to do to repair it. Knife style valves, for example, have two halves that are bolted together. Between them is a gasket that is known to fail and cause a water leak. Some hot tubs have valves installed on either side of the pump so water doesn’t have to be shut off or drained in order to repair the pump.   These valves are also prone to leaks and will have to be replaced.


Check all the pipes, jets and any connections for leaks. In some cases, all you will need to do is tighten the connections or reseal them. If you find that you have a jet that is leaking, it is most often a failing gasket. That will need to be replaced. Check with your hot tub manufacturer on what type of gasket you should buy. You may find one of the PVC pipes has a crack or even a hole. In that case, you can pick up a molecular bonding component called Plast-Aid can seal up those cracks and holes. This material hardens and is actually stronger than the PVC itself.

Hot Tub Shell

Most hot tub shells are made of strong fiberglass combined with other layers that make a leak almost impossible. In most cases, it is actually a problem with one of the jets or other components that attach to the shell, and not the shell itself. If you do have a shell leak though, Plast-Aid is will definitely do the trick.

Other Leak Detection Methods

If you have inspected all of these components and still can’t track down the leak, you could always dry putting a small amount of dark food coloring into the water and watch where it goes. This can help you track down the leak that you may have missed during your visual inspection. It’s also a great way to find a leak in an area that is already wet.

You can also try letting your water drain checking and marking the level each day. When hot tub stops leaking, you know that the leak is just above where your water level is. This can point you in the right direction to track down the leak.

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Of course, if all else fails, you could always call a plumber or hot tub repair expert from your local hot tub shop. They will definitely be able to help you track down and fix that leak for good. However, if you want to save a little money, you could always try finding and fixing that leak yourself, as there is nothing more satisfying than making the repair yourself and realizing how much money you saved by doing it.

Happy Soaking!

Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Swim University®, started in the pool and spa industry at age 13 and moved to bigger companies along the way, helping thousands of pool and hot tub owners every year. He wanted to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale, so he launched Swim University® in 2007. Since then, he's worked to make pool and hot tub care easy for over 10 million homeowners. And each year, he continues to help more people with water chemistry, cleaning, and troubleshooting.

Learn How to Keep Your Hot Tub Clean and Clear All Year Long

You'll save $100 right away with this easy-to-follow digital ebook and video course. This is the guide that hot tub manufacturer doesn’t provide you.

Click here to learn more
The Hot Tub Handbook