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Hot Tub Pump Guide [2023] Learn How to Prime & Troubleshoot

Hot Tub Pump Guide [2023] Learn How to Prime & Troubleshoot
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Your hot tub is your oasis of relaxation, but what if that trusty hot tub pump, the powerhouse behind the soothing jets and crystal-clear water, starts acting up?

It is essential to recognize the signs indicating it might be time for repair or replacement.

In this guide, we’ll help you identify these early signs of trouble related to your hot tub pump, share preventative measures to avoid common problems and guide you through troubleshooting when issues do arise.

Your hot tub experience should be a seamless journey, and we’re here to ensure it stays that way.

hot tub pump guide

What Is a Hot Tub Pump?

Hot tub pumps are an essential component of any hot tub system. They are responsible for circulating the water through the filter, heater, and other components to ensure proper operation.

Additionally, the pump creates the bubbles and massage effects of the hot tub, making it a crucial part of the overall hot tub experience.

What Is the Purpose of a Hot Tub Pump?

The purpose of a hot tub pump is to circulate the water through the hot tub or spa’s plumbing system, ensuring that it is filtered, heated, and effectively distributed throughout the tub.

The pump also powers the jets, creating the invigorating and therapeutic massage experience that hot tub and spa enthusiasts crave.

Key Hot Tub Pump Specifications

When it comes to choosing a hot tub pump, there are several key specifications to consider.

These specifications can impact the performance and efficiency of your hot tub, so it’s important to understand what they mean and determine how they affect your hot tub experience.

Hot Tub Pump Types

  • Single-Speed Pump: The basic and most affordable type, operating at a fixed speed. It can power jets, circulate water, and assist in heating. Common in entry-level hot tubs.
  • Two-Speed Pump: More versatile and energy-efficient, it can operate at two speeds for quieter performance. Suitable for powering jets and water circulation. Common in mid-range hot tubs.
  • Variable-Speed Pump: The most advanced and energy-efficient option, with the ability to operate at various speeds, offering quiet operation and versatile performance for jet power, water circulation, and heating. Typically found in high-end hot tubs, despite a higher initial cost, they often lead to long-term energy savings.


The horsepower of a hot tub pump refers to the amount of power it can deliver. A higher horsepower pump can provide more water flow and pressure, which can lead to a more powerful massage experience.

However, a higher horsepower pump can also consume more energy and may not be necessary for all hot tub users.


The discharge of the waterway of a hot tub pump refers to the diameter of the pipe that connects to the pump and carries water out of the pump and into the hot tub’s plumbing system.

Choosing a pump with a discharge that matches the diameter of your hot tub’s plumbing system is important to ensure optimal flow and pressure.

Wet and Dry Ends

Hot tub pumps are made up of two main components: the wet end and the dry end.

The wet end is the part of the pump that comes into contact with water, while the dry end contains the motor and other electrical components. Choosing a pump with a high-quality wet end is important to ensure longevity and reliability.


Hot tub pumps can operate on either 115 or 230 volts. It’s important to choose a pump that is compatible with your hot tub’s electrical system to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Frame Size

The frame size of a hot tub pump refers to the physical size of the motor and housing. There are two common frame sizes for hot tub pump motors:

  • 48 Frame: The 48 frame is a smaller motor size typically used in smaller, less powerful hot tub pumps. It has specific physical dimensions and mounting arrangements.
  • 56 Frame: The 56 frame is a larger motor size, often used in more powerful hot tub pumps. It also has its own set of physical dimensions and mounting specifications.

Priming Your Hot Tub Pump: Step-By-Step Guide

Before enjoying your hot tub, it’s vital to ensure proper water circulation. Stagnant water can foster bacterial and algae growth. One common issue affecting circulation is an airlock in the pump, which can be resolved by priming your hot tub pump.

Step 1: Turn off the Power

Before you start priming your hot tub pump, turn off the power to the hot tub. This step is essential to avoid any electrical hazards.

Step 2: Locate the Pump

The pump is usually located near the side discharge of the hot tub, and it is connected to the plumbing with two pipes. One pipe brings water into the pump, and the other pipe carries water out of the pump and back into the side, discharging the hot tub.

Step 3: Remove the Filter Basket

The filter basket is located on the front of the pump and is designed to catch debris before it enters the intake pump. Remove the filter basket from the existing pump and set it aside.

Step 4: Fill the Pump with Water

Using a hose or bucket, fill the pump with water until it reaches the top. This will prime the impeller and ensure that there are no air pockets inside to damage the pump.

Step 5: Reassemble the Filter Basket and Cover

Once the pump is filled with water, reattach the filter basket and cover to the pump. Make sure that the cover is securely in place.

Step 6: Turn on the Power

After you have reassembled the filter basket and cover, turn on the power to the hot tub. The pump should start to circulate the water.

Step 7: Check the Water Flow

Check the water flow from the jets to the spa pumps to ensure the water circulates correctly. If the water is not flowing to the spa pumps correctly, you may need to repeat the priming process.

Hot Tub Pump Troubleshooting: Common Issues and Solutions

how to prime & troubleshoot

A hot tub pump plays a crucial role in water circulation and temperature maintenance. When it malfunctions, it can be frustrating. Here are common issues and solutions to troubleshoot hot tub pump problems.

1. Low Water Flow

Cause: This can result from clogged filters, airlocks, or a malfunctioning pump.

Solution: Check and clean or replace filters, manually bleed air from the pump if there’s an airlock, and inspect for debris in the impeller. If the issue persists, consider pump repair or replacement.

2. Pump Not Turning On

Cause: It may be due to a faulty power supply, a broken pump, or a clogged impeller.

Solution: Check the power supply connection, inspect the pump for malfunction, and ensure the impeller is not blocked. Replace the pump or impeller if necessary.

3. Pump Not Priming

Cause: This occurs when the pump fails to pull water into the right pump from the system.

Solution: Verify an adequate water level, clean or replace the filter, manually bleed air from the pump, and check for debris in the impeller. Replace the pump if needed.

4. Noisy Pump

Cause: Noise can result from various factors, including a clogged filter, airlock, or a malfunctioning pump.

Solution: Clean or replace the filter, manually bleed air if there’s an airlock, and inspect the pump for debris in the impeller. If the noise persists, consider pump repair or replacement.


How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Hot Tub Pump?

The cost of replacing a hot tub pump can vary depending on the model and type of pump needed to be replaced. The price of a new pump can range from $200 to $600.

The installation cost of replacement spa pumps can also vary depending on the installation’s size, complexity, and the hot tub’s location.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Spa Pump?

The average lifespan of a hot tub pump can vary depending on usage and maintenance. A well-maintained hot tub pump can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and replacing filters, can help extend the lifespan of the pump.

What Are the Differences Between a 1-Pump and a 2-Pump Hot Tub?

A 1-pump hot tub has one pump controlling all of the jets, while a 2-pump hot tub has two pumps operating independently.

A 2-pump hot tub with 2 hp of spa pumps can provide more powerful jet action and offer more control over the high speed of the water flow. However, a 1-pump hot tub can be more energy-efficient and cost-effective.

What Kind of Pump Is Required for a Hot Tub?

The type of pump required for a hot tub can vary depending on the size and model of the hot tub. A spa pump should be able to circulate the entire volume of water in the hot tub in less than 2 hours. The pump should also be able to handle the maximum flow rate of the hot tub’s jets.

Where Can I Find Spa Pumps Near Me?

Hot tub pumps can be found at many pool and spa supply stores, as well as online retailers.

It is important to make sure that the pump you choose is compatible with the hot tub’s make and model before purchasing. It may also be helpful to consult a professional to ensure the correct pump is selected.

What Are Some Common Hot Tub Pump Parts That May Need Replacing?

Some common spa pump parts that may need replacing include the impeller, seals, and bearings.

These parts can wear out over time and may need to be replaced to ensure proper spa pump and function. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating these parts, can help extend and increase their lifespan.

Can I Leave My Hot Tub Pump Running All the Time?

Leaving your hot tub pump running continuously is unnecessary, costly, and noisy.

Running it for a few hours daily, divided into cycles, is sufficient for water maintenance and temperature control. Adjust the operation based on your usage patterns and manufacturer recommendations in the hot tub’s manual.

The Last Splash

Your hot tub pump is a critical component of your spa system, and recognizing the signs that it needs repair or replacement is essential.

By addressing these issues promptly, you can ensure that your hot tub continues to provide the relaxation and rejuvenation you desire. Regular maintenance and timely action can extend the life of your spa pump and enhance your overall hot tub experience.