Most hot tub owners have experienced this when they use their hot tub: you turn on the hot tub, and there’s no water coming out of the jet, and it simply refuses to give in.
Jets are an important part of your hot tub experience since they amplify the feeling of relaxation. Also, jets massage and help you recover after a long stressful day.
So, when the jet is not working, it can get you pretty frustrated. However, it will be better if you know what the exact problem is and how to fix it.
Most likely, there is a large pocket of air stuck in the hot tub pump. So, the question is, how do you fix a hot tub air lock?
For starters, know that you can fix it yourself without calling in an expert for help. All you need is the right set of tools and techniques.
In this comprehensive article on airlocks in hot tubs, we shall discuss the easiest ways to fix it and more. So, please keep reading to equip yourself with the knowledge to fix your hot tub right away.
What Is a Hot Tub Air Lock?
A hot tub air lock is when the air gets trapped inside the plumbing system of the hot tub. Therefore, the circulation pump cannot prime.
It usually happens when the hot tub sits without water in it. Generally, people drain the hot tub after using it and clean it before filling it. During cleaning, air can enter the tub and get trapped inside, causing an air block.
The trapped air can cause the water flow to impede. Moreover, you will hear the jet running, but there will be no water flowing out of the jets.
However, it is quite easy to fix an air lock. Nonetheless, the time and effort it takes to fix it depends on the severity of the problem.
Also, no matter what the problem is, it is advisable to fix it immediately. The more you delay it, the more chances are that the damages will worsen. The air trapped in the hot tub jets will prevent the functioning of the jets.
Hot Tub Air Lock Symptoms and Signs
Some of the major signs that will tell you if your hot tub jets are working or not are explained below:
The Jets Are Not Working When You Turn On the Hot Tub Pump Power
It is the primary sign for you to know that your hot tub jet is not working properly. When you turn on the pump, and there is no water coming out of the pump, it is most likely because of an air lock.
In most cases, you can fix it yourself. Hence, when you notice no water coming out of the jets, it is time to down to addressing it.
Humming Noise From the Pump, Jets, or Hot Tub Heater
If you hear a humming sound from the pump, jet, or anywhere from your hot tub, again, it’s time to fix it. This noise because of the trapped air block is a sign of more serious problems.
However, you can check it out yourself and see whether you can fix it. In case the sound is very loud and annoying, you must call in an expert.
Will an Air Lock Clear Itself?
Generally, if you have a well-designed hot tub with a solid low-pressure water pipe system, the air lock can clear itself out. However, that is not always the case, even with an excellent internal plumbing system.
When they do get cleared on their own, the air naturally disappears when all the water is ejected from the tub. In such cases, the air will naturally rise to the top and get removed on its own.
However, sometimes it does not get fixed on its own. Hence, you will notice the signs and symptoms as discussed earlier. Nonetheless, once you are aware of the problem, you can quickly fix it.
How to Fix an Air Lock in Your Hot Tub?
There are two different ways to remove all the trapped air from your hot tub or spa cabinet. We have listed them below and discussed the steps in detail. They are as follows:
Method 1: Burp Your Hot Tub Jets
It is the easiest method among the two, so let’s start with this one. You can fix your hot tub properly and quickly with this method.
All you have to do is push a few buttons and get it done real quick. Also, you do not need any special tools to fix it using this method.
Here’s is a step by step breakdown to burping your hot tub jets:
Step 1: Find the priming button on the control mode, on the front panel, if your hot tub has one. If it does not have the mode, that is fine too. You can still go ahead with this method.
Step 2: Turn the jet on for about 20 seconds. However, in some cases, you can just turn it on for about 10 seconds, and that will be enough. Also, make sure to keep it at low speed.
Step 3: After the initial 20 seconds, you will have to turn it on for another 20 seconds on high. Also, even in this step, it is okay to turn it on for less than 20 seconds if you feel that’s done the trick.
Step 4: Repeat the steps in the above-given order. After few times of doing this, the jets will start working. To ensure the issue has been resolved, repeat it until the jet works without any air bubbles or gurgling.
Step 5: If you notice the air bubbles or the gurgling is not stopping even when there is renewed water flow, go back to the first step. However, we advise you to give it some time before starting over again. You should be able to fix your hot tub jets within a few tries.
Note: If you notice more air bubbles coming out or the water not coming out even after several times, this procedure may not working for you. Hence, stop after 4 to 5 tries to avoid dumping the pump area and move on to the next method.
Method 2: Expel the Air Directly From Your Hot Tub Pump
If the first method did not work, you can go ahead with this one. You will have to use the pump’s bleeder valve to expel the air directly out of the pumps. This process should relieve the air lock of the jets.
If you cannot find the right panels and valves, you can use an owner’s manual for more specific instructions.
A step by step breakdown to expelling air directly from the pumps is listed below:
Step 1: Turn off the hot tub GFCI breaker (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter breaker). It will prevent any accidental contact of water and electricity from the pump. This step is vital since it will prevent you from the dangers of coming in contact with electricity.
Step 2: Use a screwdriver to open the hot cabinet. Once you open it, you can access the panel and locate the pump. Then, close the gate valve on the discharge side.
Step 3: You will have to turn the bleeder valve until you hear the trapped air hissing out. Make sure to do it slowly to ensure you do not damage the valve in the process. Also, you will need a screwdriver for this step.
Step 4: Tighten the bleed valve as soon as you purge air out completely. It is okay if a small amount of water leaks inside. However, ensure to tighten it properly since more water can leak inside and cause more problems.
Step 5: Turn the hot tub on and check the jets. If the plumbing lines and the jets in the hot tubs work, you can conclude everything is alright. On the other hand, if you still do not see any signs of water coming out, you will have to seek professional help.
Note: Even though this method is relatively complicated than the first, it is still easy. However, you will have to concentrate more while operating the valves. Also, you will need equipment such as a screwdriver and angled tongue-and-groove pliers.
How to Prevent Hot Tub Air Lock
No matter how easy it is to fix the airlocks in your hot tubs, it is always better to prevent a problem than fix one. Therefore, we provide you with a comprehensive guide to prevent airlock problems.
- Usually, airlocks occur when the water fills a clean hot tub. Therefore, you will have to ensure you fill the hot tub properly to prevent this from happening.
- You should fill the hot tub from the footwall or the filter canister. The water rises by pushing out the air since the water fills the lowest point first.
- When the water level reaches the desired point, you have to turn the jet on. This will further help to push out any air bubbles coming out.
- Check the bleeder valve regularly as well since they can help in preventing airlocks. You will have to open the valve near the filter cartridge and release the trapped air. Then, turn the power on to run the jets.
The Bottom Line On Hot Tub Air Lock
If you cannot fix your hot tub even after trying the methods mentioned above, you will have to call a professional. You can contact any of the numerous service centers that offer help.
However, it is always better to prevent the airlocks, and you can use the above pointers to help you with that. That being said, airlocks can occur even if you are extremely careful.
So, don’t worry if it happens to your tub; you can fix it immediately as long as you follow the above steps.
We hope this article on fixing a hot tub air lock issue was helpful and that you have a great time in your hot tub once you fix it!
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.