The pump(s) in your hot tub are meant to push water through the entire system. Different spa models will have varying numbers of pumps and speeds, but overall the pumps perform the same job.
Here we’ll list some of the common issues with hot tub pumps, how to address them and the signs that it’s time for a replacement.
5 Common Pump Problems
Let’s take a look at some of the more typical pump problems and how to fix them.
1. Pump(s) Not Working
If your pumps aren’t working, an air lock is highly likely. Other signs of an air lock are a humming sound, no/low heat and some/all of the jets not working. The best solution is to bleed the pump.
Steps for bleeding the pump:
- Manually turn off the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) with a flat head screw driver.
- Locate the bleed valve on the pump base, and turn it counter clockwise until water trickles out of the pump.
- Turn the bleed valve clockwise to retighten as soon as water begins to trickle out. NOTE: Never over tighten the bleed valve or use a wrench or vice grips to tighten – this may break the thumb screw.
Other causes of a non-working pump may be:
- Pump cycle ended – press the button to turn the pump on.
- Slice valves closed – open the slice valves.
- No power – check pump connection in spa control box.
- Blockage in line – clear obstructions in the filter assemblies.
2. Pump(s) Run Hot
If your pump is running hot, check for the following:
- Pump running dry – call the technical support number in your manual.
- Flow is restricted – remove debris from the filter basket and suction valves.
3. Pump(s) Surging
Surging pumps can indicate the following:
- Water level is too low – add water according to instructions in your manual.
- A blockage or restriction – empty the filter basket and clean suction drain covers.
4. Pump(s) Not Priming
Priming is an important process that purges air from the plumbing lines of your hot tub. The spa will go into priming mode every time it is filled with water then turned on. The initial priming will last about six minutes.
Sometimes the topside controls indicate that you need to run pumps to purge air after the tub is full and in use. This priming should take no more than two minutes, by which time water should flow (not surge) from all of the jets (assuming the jets are clean).
You may need to do this two-minute priming twice to get all the jets flowing and not surging. After the initial two minutes turn pumps off and repeat the process once the water is still (follow more detailed directions carefully for hot tubs with multiple pumps).
If the pumps do not prime after this second, two-minute attempt, do not simply repeat the process, but take the following steps:
- Turn off the GFCI.
- Ensure slice valves are locked in the up position.
- Ensure diverter valves are centered for even water distribution.
- Ensure jets without water flow are in the open position.
- Remove any debris in the filter basket or on suction drain covers in the foot well.
- Turn on the GFCI.
- Allow the hot tub to go into Priming Mode as displayed on the topside controls and repeat the priming process with all pumps on high speed.
If this third attempt does not work, call the support number listed in your manual. NOTE: Never turn on pumps that aren’t priming. The heater will engage, which could lead to overheating and severe damage to the hot tub.
5. Pump(s) Stuck On
You may see a code on your topside control indicating that pumps are stuck on. This can mean that your water is overheating. You may also see an indication that a pump was stuck on when the spa was last powered on.
In either case, do not get into the hot tub for safety reasons. Leave the cover off for cooling. Follow the instructions in you manual for overheating if that is the problem. If the problem is pumps getting stuck on, call the support number in your manual.
Tips for Preserving Your Hot Tub Pump(s)
The most important first step is to never turn on the power when your hot tub is empty. If the pumps engage severe damage can happen instantly, damaging your pump beyond repair.
Other tips for pump preservation include:
- Fill the spa by putting the hose through the filter canister. This reduces the chance of an air lock.
- Watch for leaking plumbing unions near the pumps. Plumbing unions should be hand tightened only – never overtightened or tightened with a tool.
- Keep the filter clean to avoid extra strain on the pumps.
If you ever have questions about you hot tub pump(s), please contact your local Aqua Living dealer.