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How to Troubleshoot a Hot Tub Pump and Motor

Have you ever gone out to your hot tub for a soak only to find that the water doesn’t seem to be circulating as it should? Your hot tub pump and motor are probably the two hardest working components in the entire tub. Which is why it’s important to learn some hot tub pump troubleshooting.

Troubleshoot a Hot Tub Pump and Motor

Your hot tub pump pulls water from the tub passing it through the filter and the heater and then back through the jets. Without the pump, your hot tub isn’t really a hot tub at all. In most cases, there isn’t much you need to do to your pump outside of regular filter cleanings and water changes to your hot tub. Still, sometimes things go wrong, and when you work as hard as the hot tub pump and motor, it is understandable.

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How Pumps Work

Before we can take a look at the most common problems you will encounter, it is important to understand exactly how hot tub pumps work. Most pumps in a hot tub fill with water and that water remains in the pump whether your hot tub is on or not. When you turn on the motor, it will begin to rotate at a high speed. This motor drives an impeller that seals inside the pump diffuser that allows for a vacuum to be created. Once this occurs the pump can then begin to move water through your system.

Common Problems

Now that we all understand at least a little bit about how a pump actually works, let’s take a look at many of the most common problems you just may encounter as a hot tub owner.

1. Pump Won’t Prime

If your pump won’t prime, it cannot begin its job properly. If you have just finished draining and cleaning your hot tub, you may have too much air in the system. Make sure to bleed all of the air out of the system before starting it again. If one day it just stops priming, you could have debris caught in the filters or the leaf traps of your system. Clean them out completely before running your hot tub again.

2. Pressure Troubles

If you notice you have low or high filter pressure when running your pump, there are many possible causes that are all easy to troubleshoot and repair yourself. In most cases, it simply because the hot tub needs a good cleaning. Many parts such as the jets, the skimmer basket or even the impeller could be clogged by dirt and debris. Shut off your hot tub and give it the good cleaning it deserves before you start the pump again.

3. Motor Turns On and Off

This can often be a symptom of a more serious problem. In most cases, it means that there is an electrical problem or the motor itself is overheating. If this is the case, your pump’s motor could be going bad or, at the very least, the wiring that moves power to the unit. In order to repair this problem, you will need some knowledge of electricity and the proper tools. In most cases, wiring must be repaired or replaced or you may even need a brand new motor.

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4. Motor is Running but Nothing is Happening

If you can hear the motor running but the water isn’t circulating properly, you could have a damaged motor or even an impeller. In other more minor cases you could simply have a clog in your system. Shut down your hot tub and check for clogs and then inspect the impeller for damage. If all of these check out, you may need to shop for a replacement motor.

5. Pump Doesn’t Operate

This one is one of the most obvious, in my opinion. First, check to make sure none of the electrical circuits have been tripped because of electrical problems. If no electrical problems can be found, it is most likely a bad motor that will require a replacement.

6. Water Leaks

Another common problem most hot tub owners run into at some is water leaks. In most cases, these leaks are caused by damaged o-rings in the pump housing, a leaky shaft seal, or just plumbing fittings that aren’t properly tightened.

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Final Thoughts on Hot Tub Pump Troubleshooting

As you can see, many of these problems are rather easy to troubleshoot and some of the repairs can easily be done yourself. However, if you are not 100% confident in your ability to repair your pump and motor, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling in a professional. Of course, troubleshooting it yourself could save the repair technician a little time, which could lower your repair bill. So even if you can’t repair it yourself, knowing how to find the problem can be helpful.

Your hot tub pump and motor are some of the hardest working and most important parts to any hot tub. Knowing how to troubleshoot and even repair these parts is just another step in your journey towards being able to completely care for your hot tub yourself. This can reduce the amount of time your hot tub is down for repairs while saving you money at the same time.

Prevention is, of course, one of the keys to a happy pump and motor, and it is something you can easily do yourself, regardless of your repair skill. Remember to regularly check these components to make sure they are free of debris and anything that may damage them.

Happy Soaking!

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Last Updated: Thursday, November 12th, 2015