Does Winterizing A Hot Tub Ensure No Leaks?
Hot tubs are small tanks of water heated to a temperature high enough for bathing and swimming that one uses around the house to relax.
A hot tub typically has jets directed towards the water, allowing the user to control each jet’s speed, head position, and intensity by a knob or button on their side.
The tub might contain a chemical drain system in which chemicals are usually added to percolate through an intricate network of pipes into an underground sump where they can be immediately pumped away.
Does Winterizing A Hot Tub Ensure No Leaks?
No. It will help to reduce your chances for a leak to occur after the initial installation, but it does not automatically guarantee a leak-free winter. The cold weather will only add more stress to your hot tub, so make sure you follow proper hot tub maintenance practices throughout the winter.
The following are precautions you can take during winter to prevent leaks in your home’s outdoor water system:
1) Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations since they can cause pressure changes and allow outside water into the hot tub.
2) Check the hot tub’s water level frequently.
3) Use a hygienic water additive such as an antiscalant to prevent scale formation in the water.
4) To prevent leaks from frozen pipes, always drain the hot tub before digging or installing plumbing inside or around it.
5) Be sure to seal any leaks immediately by wrapping a special silicone caulk around the leaking pipe and threading screws into the pipe to secure them into place.
6) If your hot tub has an automatic pump-out system, it’s highly recommended that you manually empty the hot tub of excess water before the winter months.
7) Avoid starting up the pump until you notice any water leakage.
8) Always drain and deflate your hot tub cover before winter comes. This will prevent ice from freezing and ripping it open in warmer weather.
9) Never leave a heater or a pool of light on overnight.
10) Keep the hot tub away from trees, shrubs, and other objects that may be in the way. This will prevent snow accumulation and leaves from blocking the filter or electrical parts.
11) Change your filters before winter arrives to ensure a clean start to the swimming season.
12) If your hot tub is outside and you live in an area known for freezing temperatures, drain the water from it till spring arrives.
13) Never skimp on hot tub chemicals. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions keenly in keeping your water clean and safe for your family to swim in.
14) If snow or ice accumulates on the hot tub, avoid removing the covering.
In most cases, the snow and ice will help insulate the hot tub’s internal components from the cold weather.
15) Keep your hand-held thermometer handy to check if the water stays warm enough for you and your family to enjoy throughout winter.
What Happens If You Don’t Winterize Your Hot Tub?
If you do not winterize your hot tub, here are the best cases of what will happen.
Often, the pump will clog up with sediment accumulated in the tub, especially if your water is hard.
When it’s time to use it again, you’ll have to fight through this clogged pump before being able to enjoy your soak.
There are also chemical biological hazards that come with not winterizing your hot tub.
If you smell a funky odor the first time you turn the heater on, that is just a fart from the bacteria built up over the summer months.
If it sits for too long and you don’t use it, mold and slime will form. You can clean this up easily enough with bleach water.
Finally, if you don’t winterize your hot tub, it will be more susceptible to damage and leaks.
The heat from the sun damages the vinyl liner, and those bubbles that formed when you had your tub filled with water are now massive leaks in your hot tub.
And even if you don’t get a hole in your tub(Amazon Link) the water from freezing can still cause damage, such as cracks in the tiles.
Is It Common For Hot Tubs To Leak?
Yes, it’s very common for hot tubs to leak. Although many consumers assume the hot tub lasts a lifetime, this is not always the case; many products have a lifespan of three years or less.
Also, only around 50% of hot tubs are warranty-covered. This is because manufacturers assume their units will last up to that amount of time before needing repairs.
Hot tubs are always affected by all sorts of damage, from mild to severe, including:
- Frequent use leads to wear and tear, resulting in a leaky hot tub.
- General wear and tear can cause damage over time, such as a leaky hot tub. If your unit is older than two years, the likelihood of it leaking increases significantly.
How Can You Tell Whether Your Hot Tub Is Leaking?
You can usually spot leaky hot tub signs when you notice a rapid or constant water loss. Even though it might sound like your unit is working fine.
If you notice this behavior, it means that your hot tub may leak.
You should consider water loss an emergency as the high evaporation rate will not allow the heating system to maintain proper temperature in the tub.
Other indicators of a leaky hot tub include:
- Water levels decline quickly, or water loss cannot be fully accounted for. You should also check the filters in your unit to ensure they are in working order.
- Ice buildup on the outside of your hot tub. If you notice this, it is a sign that your water is leaking from around the seals and strainer.
- If you see water leak from the bottom or sides.
It’s essential to remember that not all water loss indicates a leak.
If you recently used your hot tub, the water loss is likely due to evaporation and will return to normal once the temperature cools.
How To Fix A Leaking Hot Tub
There is no one correct answer for repairing a hot tub.
It depends on the problem’s severity, how much money you want to invest, what size your unit is, and whether you have the tools and skills for the repair.
Needing to replace your entire hot tub is not an option, so you will need to attempt any repairs as soon as possible.
If possible, wait until you have a day off from work to apply yourself fully.
Most products are self-explanatory when applying repairs, so it is imperative to check the manual first.
If you can’t get the information you require, do an Internet search for the model number of your hot tub and repair.
The website for the manufacturer should provide you with all the information you need.
Tips For Fixing A Leaky Hot Tub
To fix a leaky hot tub, it is essential to eliminate all sources of water loss first before proceeding with repairs. Because of this, you must check the following:
Leaks: If your unit is leaking from the bottom or sides, it’s essential to remove the remaining water before repair. If you are unsure, look at the manufacturer’s website for help.
Just as in other home repairs, it’s better to start with smaller issues to prevent damage to your hot tub.
Most manufacturers provide details about how and when you should drain your unit before making repairs.
Debris: If you notice that your hot tub is becoming covered in debris, clean this up before making any repairs.
Chlorine byproducts can cause corrosion and damage the finish on your unit, so it’s best to avoid these during the repair process.
Other debris: If you notice additional debris floating around your hot tub, this might be a sign of a leak that you have not repaired.
If you see buildup around the seals, this may indicate a leak in your heating system, so drain your unit and clean all areas thoroughly before making repairs.
Do Hot Tub Leak Sealers Work?
Yes. Hot tub leak sealers work for all leak sources, whether the hot tub cover, the pump or filter head or a crack in the shell. There are various levels of sealant to choose from.
Some are temporary fixes, while others are usually intended for more durable use.
It’s essential to note that you can fix not all leaks simply by applying a hot tub leak sealer.
Many manufacturers recommend using specific remedies that might involve replacing parts or fixing cracks in the shell with silicone caulk.
What Is The Most Preferred Way To Seal A Leak In My Hot Tub?
The experts at Hot Tubs Galore recommend removing the leak before using an easy-to-apply hot tub sealer.
Exposing the leak will allow you to evaluate the damage and decide whether it needs to be properly fixed.
As a general rule of thumb, clean any caulk or sealing compound off of exposed areas right away.
After scrubbing with mild soap and water, use the caulk applicator to apply the sealer.
Most manufacturers recommend using at least three coats of sealant to prevent water from seeping through.
What Types Of Hot Tub Leaks Are Challenging To Seal?
According to Hot Tubs Galore, the most common areas for hot tub leaks include the pump, filter head, and hot tub cover.
While you can do some repairs in place with a leak repair kit, professionals might recommend replacing the part or just repairing the crack when possible.
The easiest way to get water out of a hot tub is by using a hot tub cover.
However, the problem with this is that very few manufacturers make around hot tub covers for luxury models like Protégé and Odin.
Will Flex Seal Work On A Hot Tub?
No. It may tempt you to try something new, but the sealant cannot work because it needs a flat surface to stop leaking.
The ribs on a hot tub make it impossible for the sealant’s rubber coating to grip onto anything.
Without a flat surface, the flex seal can’t cling onto the ribs, and it will simply fall off after expanding from heat.
In addition, if your hot tub is fiberglass or acrylic-made, you’ll need special seam-sealing compounds that flex seal won’t work with.
Reasons You Can’t Use Flex Seal On Your Hot Tub
Flex seal needs a flat, non-porous surface to adhere to. Your hot tub won’t work because it’s made from a material that flexes seal won’t adhere to.
- Flex seal is specifically designed for air and watertight repairs, not leaky parts. It can’t work on the constantly expanding and contracting materials in a hot tub, like plastic, metal, or acrylic.
- Flex seal is not designed to keep the hot tub water clean. Pools and spas are well sealed with a pool and spa cleaner to keep them clean, so it’s best for hot tubs.
- Once the flex seal expands from heat, it will fall off. Hot tubs have parts that expand when they get hot from the sun.
- Using a flex seal on an expansion joint will always crack even with sealant applied once the joint expands to its limit.
- Flex seal is not made to work with hot tubs. A hot tub is an expensive item.
- If you want to do anything to it, consider how long the sealant will last and how much it will cost to replace any part of your hot tub.
- Flex seal may patch a hole but not a leak. A hot tub has many parts that constantly heat up in the sun and cool off at night, causing many small leaks that need constant repairs.
Can A Hot Tub Sit Empty Over Winter?
Yes. You can drain your hot tub and let it sit empty over winter. It is possible to leave your hot tub empty over winter.
With the proper preparation, you can safely drain and store your hot tub without worrying about its damage by snow, cold temperatures, or pests.
Here are the five steps to emptying and storing your hot tub over the fall and winter months.
- Shut off water supply valves under the spa seating area with a snake or gate valve with an open end.
- Remove the filter and clean it well with a brush or a vacuum.
- If you have a skimmer installed, be sure to remove it.
- Remove any water-damaged fillers (these are usually known as “old heads”) to prevent the possibility of mold growing on them.
- New head style fills are more susceptible to contamination than old-style fills.
- Remove the pump housing and store it in a dry location.
- Store the thermostat (if you have one) and thermometer somewhere dry.
- Drain the hot tub and fill it with fresh water to the correct “use” level (depending on what you have, this could be anywhere between 1/3 – 1/2 full (many hot tubs use 2/3 of a gallon).
- Only store your hot tub empty over winter.
I hope this info has been helpful to you. Getting in after a hard day of work to relax and unwind is priceless; that’s why you need a bathtub.
Properly caring and maintaining your tub will ensure that it lasts as long as you wish it to.
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