Fixing a Spa Leak By Yourself
Fixing a spa leak yourself – what does it take? What tools do you need to do this task? Being a handyman is one thing, but a leaky spa requires a little more knowledge and know how which is the topic of this article.
When dealing with spas you want to disconnect all electrical parts, this would be the pump motor. Motors generally have a capacitor which stores a certain amount of energy. This is the reason you will want to wait 10 or 15 minuets before working on your spa. This gives the capacitor time to discharge – you can then proceed with the inspection.
The spa pump and fittings are common places for a spa leak. Pump seals and heater manifolds are the first places to look for leaks. Joints and seals are more susceptible to leaks because of pressure and sometimes poor installation. Another factor is vibrations. Vibrations can cause unions and joints to come loose, the repair may be as simple as tightening up a joint.
Leak Detector - you can buy a leak detection dye which is added to the water. All you need to do is add the dye and start up the system. If there is a leak it should be much more visible after adding the dye.
Water Level Detection
Another method of detecting a spa leak is watching the water level. You must fill your spa with water to the very top of the rim, then wait. You’ll have to wait a few days to see how far the water drops. Once the water stops dropping the chances are good that the leak is at that level.
Now you can start snooping around at jets, pipe joints, and even wall cracks at the level at which the water stopped dropping. If you still cannot detect the leak, try filling the spa with a few inches of water and then add dye. You should be able to locate the leak using this method.
If you fount that you have a leak in the joints somewhere, then the fix is pretty easy. You can either use a liquid joint sealer or a clip-on pipe sleeve to do the repairs. In some cases you may need to just cut the PVC fittings and either replace the fitting with a union or coupler.
It’s not uncommon to have a spa leak in the PVC system…stress cracks due to vibration is a characteristic with this material over time. PVC glue and tape are other materials that can be used to make these repairs.
Repairing Spa Jets
The spa jets are sealed in place by a flexible gasket which is compressed behind the spa shell. It’s possible that shrinkage or even deterioration has taken place – this happens frequently – and in this case the gasket needs replacing. If you use the water detection level method, and the water level lines up with the jets, then the jets are the most likely candidates for the leak.
It can be a bit harder to detect the leak because the jets are covers by the shells foam insulation. This leads us to the repair. To repair this type of spa leak you must remove the shells foam insulation around the jet area to change the gasket. Make sure the gasket area is dry and clean before installing the new gasket. You don’t have to tighten the gasket extremely tight, but just enough to form a good seal. Before putting back the foam and shell be sure to apply silicone around the gasket seal and fiberglass under shell before closing the exterior casing.
Shell Cracks and Leaks
If you discover there is a crack or leak in the shell, then there are a couple of options you can try.
Stop Leak – for a spa leak, just like a car radiator leak, there is a product called “stop leak.” It’s very simple to use. Let the system run a while and then add the stop leak to the water. Run the pump and jets for about a half hour and then wait. The material can fill small leaks and cracks which may be just enough to solve the problem.
Compound – for bigger cracks and leaks you will need to use an acrylic compound. These repair kits usually come in two parts – a hardener and sealer. These compounds also come in colors to match the color of your spa.
If you have a spa leak…don’t panic. As you have read you can save money and time by doing the repairs yourself. The repair kits and detection chemicals don’t cost a lot, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing the job was done right…and you did it yourself, good job!