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Hot Tub Plumbing Fittings and PVC Spa Repair Parts

Hot tub sprung a leak?

The first step is to power down the spa and open the side panel(s) to see where the leak is coming from.  There are many possible locations including the spa pump(s), unions that connect the pump or heater to the main plumbing, or it could be a leaky jet, suction fitting or manifold.

PVC parts and glue may be needed to fix the leak.  Common hot tub PVC plastic parts include elbows, tees, reducers, hose or pipe and unions.  See our PVC fittings section for these items.

Variety of hot tub plumbing parts explained in this video.

PVC Manifolds - Water Splitters

hot tub plumbing manifoldsManifolds split the water from the pump line (usually 2" hose or pipe) and send the water to other manifolds or to jets.

A PVC manifold is used to send water from the larger hose or pipe to several smaller hoses that usually connect to jets.  The ports on the manifold should each be either connected to a hose, or should have a plug in it. There are 2 port, 4 port, 8 port and other manifold configurations that go to 1 1/2", 2" or even 2 1/2" flex hose, pipe or other connectors.

Most hot tub manufacturers use a manifold plumbing system in order to assure even pressure at every jet on that pump line.  Basically the water manifold is a water splitter and the air manifold is an air splitter.  If you have a leaky or cracked manifold, such as one that froze over the winter, it will need to be replaced with a new PVC manifold.

A spa that is left empty in the freezing winter may have a cracked manifold or two.  Those can usually be found easily because water comes gushing out of them as soon as the hot tub is refilled after the season.  This is why it is important to properly winterize the spa or just leaving it full over the winter, even if the temperature is turned down. Leaving the hot tub filled over the cold winter months also allows the freeze protect systems in the controls to work. 

Hot Tub Plumbing Parts

Hot tub plumbing is made up of hose or pipe that connects the pump to the spa jets along with PVC fittings. 

To create even pressure at a group of jets, water manifolds are used that take the main input from the pump and divide the water stream evenly to various jets and jet groups.  This style of manifold plumbing assures even delivery of water pressure to all jets instead of using the old-style in-line plumbing method that goes from jet to jet, where the last jet in the line is the weakest. 

hose clamps spasPlumbing manifolds come in all different configurations as noted above.

The main ports connect up to the source of the water and the smaller ports deliver the water to the jet lines. Sometimes the plumbing is glued into place and other times it also has hose clamps depending on the spa manufacturer.  For example Clearwater Spas uses hose clamps while QCA Spas uses PVC cement or glue.

jets galoreJet bodies receive the water from the manifolds and deliver it through the jet insert into the seating area of the spa.  Jet inserts can be interchangeable regarding pattern (rotating, non-rotating, multi-nozzle, dual rotation...) and color (stainless steel, gray, white, black..). Jet inserts cannot usually be interchanged between jet body manufacturers, so if replacing a CMP jet, source the right CMP jet. If replacing a Balboa jet or Waterway jet, get the right parts in the particular brand section on our website.

See all Spa Jets and jet bodies here and search in the particular brand of jet you need.

1inch flex hose spasFlex Hose and Pipe

Flex hose comes in a variety of sizes.  The hose is referred to by inner diameter measurement. So the 1/2 inch Flex hose or PVC pipe means the inner diameter of the hose or pipe is 1/2 inch.

Actual width of the hose depends on the thickness of the hose material and is usually standardized in hot tub plumbing fittings to fit inside 1/2 inch slip connectors or over 1/2 inch barb connectors.

Flex hose is available in 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1.5", 2", 2 1/2" and even 3" inner diameter sizes.

See our flex hose and pipe section for any of these flex hose types and more.

hot tub plumbing diagram

Slice Valves

gatevalve spaThe plumbing system in Emerald Spas and other spas uses the push/pull type valves or slice valves.  These valves are used when needing to perform service such as replacing a pump, without having to drain the spa.   Most of the time when doing a major repair though, it is best to just drain the spa and start out with fresh water.

Each pump in the spa would have a valve on either side of the pump.  On single pump systems there are two of these T-Valves or slice valves on either side of the spa pack and heater. On two pump systems, there is another set of service valves on either side of Pump 2.

The T-Valves are also called slice valves and can be locked into place (either in unlocked/up position or locked/down position) with a security clip.  These valves should always be in the fully open position when the spa is in use to avoid flow problems.

Be sure the valves are fully open when the spa is in use.

See our selection of slice valves or gate valves.

Fixing PVC Plumbing in a Hot Tub

When gluing PVC fittings and parts together, it is first important to dry-fit them to assure they will all fit in the right place. Then apply glue in a circular motion around and around both joints to be connected. This also builds up heat and allows the two parts to bond better.  Use a fast drying PVC glue ideal for hot tub use.

Some hot tub techs like using a primer first to assure a better bond. This is a good practice, but many times just gluing 2 brand new, dry joints is also adequate when using a good PVC glue such as Christy's Blue Glue. Never hurts to prime and it does pre-treat the connection for a sure fit.

Once the PVC glue has cured (usually best to leave it for 24 hours or so even if dry in 5-10 minutes as is the case with the fast drying  type of glue - see glue directions on the label of the can), then refill the spa and check the connection as well as for any other leaks. 

As long as the spa is not of the fully foamed type, getting at and repairing leaks is a straightforward process most of the time. 

Get your hot tub plumbing parts online at the Hot Tub Outpost.

Air and water valves help route the water flow or slow it down.