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Spa Suction Fitting Saga

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Replacing a suction fitting in hot tubs is sometimes not as easy as ordering a replacement suction grate.  That is because of Virginia Graeme Baker or VGB law that prohibits the sale of old style suction fittings that are not VGB compliant.  

What does that mean for the spa owner?  You may need to replace the entire suction assembly with a new model.

We do offer spa suction fittings that are VGB compliant.

Suction fitting for hot tubs VGB compliant

Notice on this star shaped suction fitting (new style above) has a different wall fitting type than some of the standard x/cross type wall fittings such as this one:

Old style cross-wall fitting, suction fitting example that is + shaped vs. the Y shaped ones that may be on the new ones.

So when sourcing a replacement suction fitting, you may also need to measure the fitting depth to assure it will work with your spa

Suction Covers may no longer be available from the manufacturers. In that case, there may be compliant alternatives with a center screw such as select 5 inch suction covers.

Slight modifications of the original base may be necessary. 

To find a replacement you may need to measure the height of this piece such as in the image with the ruler, so we may be able to recommend a compliant cover if available. Otherwise, you may just need to replace the whole suction assembly which would require some plumbing work.

Now this gentleman has created his own repair method - not authorized or endorsed by this website in any way, but provided for information purposes as to how some spa owners are dealing with the need to replace a broken suction cover. Sure a non-broken suction cover is definitely better than a broken one, but not sure this setup would be considered compliant.  For that, you can do your own research.

If you end up needing to replace the entire suction assembly, that involves working inside the spa cabinet to access both sides of the shell for installation.  When in doubt, leave the installation of safety equipment including these safety grates to spa techs and local experts.

When requesting a parts lookup for a suction cover or complete suction assembly, provide the diameter measurement. Also check the width of the cover to be sure it fits the existing assembly.  All new suction covers and assemblies sold are VGB compliant.

A parts breakout below shows a sample of a suction cover with screws that hold the cover in place. Behind that is a wall fitting and wall fitting gasket and nut.

non compliant VGB suction cover

Now it's Virginia Graeme Baker, not Virginia Graham Baker, but VGB is a well-known acronym and easier to write. This originates in December of 2007.  Older spas may no longer have compliant suction grates and the regulations apply to swimming pool suctions as well. Now this is not just random legislation but was brought into force as a safety issue that relates to hair entrapment in pool and spa suction assemblies.

This article is to make visitors aware of the safety aspect of suction fittings when deciding what to use to replace broken ones and also as to why it may be a bigger deal than simply ordering a replacement suction cover.

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