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A hot tub is a great place to relax or entertain a few friends. When something goes wrong with the tub, however, you’re basically left with a glorified kiddie pool. There are a number of issues that can cause a hot tub to malfunction. While some can be tackled by the average homeowner, others are best left to a professional.
DIY Hot Tub Repairs & Maintenance
Even if you are mechanically inept, there are a few basic things you can do to keep your hot tub in good working order. Before you pick up the phone and call a repair service, be sure to check the following:
- Filter: Dirty filters can not only negatively affect a hot tub’s water quality, but also its jets and heating capabilities. Keeping filters clean (according to the manufacturer’s specifications) is one of the most basic aspects of hot tub maintenance.
- Water Quality: Incorrect pH and sanitizer levels in hot tub water can lead to corrosion, scaling, and mineral buildup, all of which can be a drag on tub performance. Ensuring correct water chemistry through regular maintenance, including adding sanitizer, foam reducer, and a de-scaling agent, will help to keep your hot tub in peak mechanical condition. Also be sure to replace the water from time to time.
- Leaks: The older the hot tub, the more likely it is to leak. If a simple patch isn’t enough to solve the problem—i.e. there are numerous leaks or a large leak—consider replacing the entire liner.
Professional Hot Tub Repairs
If your hot tub still isn’t working correctly after you’ve addressed the condition of its water and filter, it’s probably best to let an expert look things over. Depending on the nature of the problem, however, you might need an electrician rather than a hot tub service technician. At any rate, because a hot tub involves the potentially-deadly confluence of water and electricity, the issues described below should be dealt with by a pro:
- Tripped breaker: When activating the hot tub causes the breaker to flip off, it often signals a wiring (electrical) problem. This isn’t always the case, however; a faulty pump, heater, or ozonator could also be to blame.
- Heater: A broken heater—which you’ll be able to identify by water that’s too cold or too hot—can usually be fixed by replacing the heating element. Other potential trouble spots include the thermostat, fuses, circuit board, and hi-limit switch.
- Pump: A bad pump will often make unusual noises. It will cost less to rebuild, rather than replace, the pump or its electrical motor.
- Pump seal: Water accumulating under the hot tub’s equipment area could indicate a bad pump seal. Be sure to address this promptly, as the water could cause the motor to short.
- Jets: Poor jet pressure or may be the result of hard water, although the filter and/or pump might also be to blame.
- Structural damage: A broken hot tub frame should be fixed by a carpenter or handyman before the problem leads to a broken shell.
Please note that the above list only addresses some of the more common hot tub problems and repairs. For any given problem, there are several potential causes, each with an appropriate fix. Only a professional can accurately diagnose and repair a hot tub issue.
Hot Tub Repair Costs
- Depending on the nature of the problem, you should be prepared to spend anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a hot tub repair. Again, without knowing what the problem actually is, predicting the repair cost can be difficult. There may be a minimum service charge of $150 to $200 even for the most basic repair.
- Hot tub repair technicians generally charge $75 to $100 per hour. For labor alone, then, a job that takes a half a day to complete could cost $300 to $400, plus any necessary replacement parts.