A leaking hot tub was the thing I feared most when I
started fixing hot tubs and continues to be my
biggest fear. Partially because if you mess
up, you got to remove the failed area and
start over again. Partially I just don't
like gluing. Current production has a lot
less glued fittings and more barbed. But
older ones don't.
through the major generations of piping.
First, all the piping are Schedule 40 pvc
and white. First came rigid piping and what
we most often think of when the say "pipe".
Hard plastic and straight. To get around
corners you glue in fitting after fitting.
Every fitting being a potential of failure.
early 90's came "flex hose". Same exact
gluing but the hose has a great amount of
bending ability. So you can run the flex
hose 6 feet around the corner without a
generation hot tubs include both of the above
PLUS clear hose for like garden hose (but
not same material). This hose is NOT glued
but a barb fitting inserts into the hose and
a clamp secures it to seal.
generations work fine.
Actual pvc hoses rarely fail. Its the joints
that fail. Some methods to "patch" the
leak are putty and liquid plastic like
material and epoxy and like. I don't use any
nor sell them. They might work. But I get
paid for good service and pushing putty on a
fitting and hope it seals never spoke well
of "good service" when you have to return
and do it right when it leaks later. We
never wanted patch jobs. So from day one in
the repair business I was taught on only do
the "right way".
Exception: there always is exceptions. When
repair meant turn the model on its side,
cutting the bottom of the hot tub out to get to the fitting
and then replacing major piping... just to
fix a drip, I HAVE used a product like
radiator sealer that worked. It was worth
the try to save a $500 labor bill for a
drip. AND it worked. But that situation is
rare and the homeowner was willing to try
knowing the $500 repair might be the only
This is a
common example of a leaking coupling.
the upper left piping; that is rigid. The
lower right piping is flex. The upper part
of the coupling has an elbow and a smaller
flex hose glued to that.
The leak is the joint
between the flex hose and the "T" coupling.
who do a LOT of repairs, you couple cut the
flex pipe where the arrow is pointing, take
a pipe reaming drill bit and remove all the
old pipe and glue inside the "T" and reglue
the flex hose into the coupling (IF you have
enough play in the flex hose to allow the
hose to glue completely into the fitting...
you usually don't)
years I would do it this way: Cut the rigid
pipe at the coupling. Cut both large and
small flex hose at the coupling. Throw the
whole coupling assembly and rebuild. BIG
problem is usually the pipes are shorter. So
you need to lengthen them by adding more
couplings and hose. Not a costly thing but
takes time and the more joints you have, the
greater likelihood you will have a leak
So... they invented the
With the "coupling extender"
you cut the flex hose at the arrow. Glue the "extender"
over the coupling itself. It this case you would glue a
new 1 1/2" coupling onto the end of the extender. Then
the hose would nicely glue into that. Done. Slick.
principle applies to a wide variety of
applications. But sometimes none of the
"magic menders" will apply. It that case,
you simply cut out the piping to the nearest
straight rigid plastic pipe or flex pipe you
have. Than rebuild the area.
Jets can leak in several places. If the joint includes
part of the jet, the above "magic" will not work.
Above see a typical jet. "A"
is the larger fitting and brings water to the jet to go
into the hot tub. "B" is the smaller hose and provides air
to make the bubbles.
USUALLY, if the leak is in
the "A" area you must replace the complete jet.
the leak is the smaller jet.. you might be
able to cheat. Turn off the hot tub and
look. Water will drip. Turn hot tub on and Jets to
HIGH. IF the drip is still there, replace
the jet. But if the drip stops, you might be
able to cheat. Get your pvc primer and glue
ready along with towels. I prefer "medium"
body glue which typically is FAST drying. It
|Turn on HIGH
and completely dry the jet with towel.
Water and glue don't mix. When the area is
dry, use primer to clean the area. Use
liberally. Then apply a coat of glue;
liberally. Leave jet on. About 10 minutes
(that is why medium body is so good to use)
apply second coat of glue (no primer). Let
dry. IF it will work, the leak will be gone.
Why? The drip and no drip test above showed
that when the jet was on high, you now have
a sucking going on which means instead of
water coming out of the crack, air was going
in. So while that was happening, you primed
and glued the crack and sealed it. Second
coat was just added insurance.
years I have fixes these leaks this way with
great success. But since the 1 1/2" line on
this jet or the larger line is a pressured
line, you can't do this.