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Hot Tub Pump Leaks

How to recognize and prevent hot tub pump leaks

If the hot tub pump is leaking, it can quickly deteriorate and burn out the motor.  At that point the solution is to replace the pump.  Sometimes a leak can be detected early and a pump seal replacement can be the solution that saves the pump.

Horse Sense
Warning: Working on your own appliances, cars, covered wagons and hot tubs as well as anything else electrical or mechanical carries with it severe risk of injury or property damage. These tips and suggested procedures are free and for informational purposes only. Proceed at your own risk. It is best to use the services of an electrician or tech. Hot Tub Outpost is not liable for any damage or injury that may result.

First notice of a leak at the pump

Sometimes the problem may just be that the pump union is not tight enough if the leak is at the connection between the pump and the plumbing. There are 2 unions, one for the discharge side and one for the suction side of the pump.  Inside the union is an o-ring to prevent water from leaking. If the union is tight and water is still leaking from the union, then the o-ring may need to be replaced.  O-rings can deteriorate if the pH level of the water has gone out of balance for awhile.  Do not overtighten the nut/union that connects the pump to the plumbing, otherwise it may crack.

If the leak is not at the union but between the wet end and the pump motor
You notice that you are losing water. As you open your spa cabinet access panel, you may notice there is water pooling around the pump, or even calcium buildup between the wet end and motor of the pump. This is an indication of a leaky pump seal.  A seal can go bad if the pH level is not maintained.  This is why it is important to monitor and maintain the correct pH level (7.2-7.6) inside the spa so that a corrosive condition does not materialize that can eat at seals and other plumbing parts.  Check pH regularly with hot tub water test strips.

Whenever changing water, it is a good idea to have a look at the pumps to be sure they are not showing any signs of calcium buildup or leak.  If calcium builds up on the wet end, it may be that the seal is leaking.  The seals can be replaced with seal kits costing about $20-$30. plus labor.  Contact us by email if you need a seal kit and include any information or images you have of your pump. (

If a leaky seal is left without being fixed, the water may eventually make its way to the motor shaft and motor. If the seal goes out, the water runs down the shaft into the motor. Once the water gets inside the motor, the front bearing will go out. Once the motor bearings go out, you may end up with water in your pump motor windings. Once the issue has progressed to this stage, the motor can no longer be saved and you will need a whole new pump.

Pump seals are a wear item and wear faster when there is improper water chemistry.  Even if the pH is balanced most of the time, it only takes one slipup to bring the water out of balance and to begin eating away at pump seals. 

Just need pump seals?  See our guide on Spa Pump Seal Replacement.
Get replacement pump seals from the Hot Tub Outpost.  Need a whole new pump?  Get the best price on a brand new replacement spa pump.

Note when ordering replacement pumps, that they do not come with the pump cord. Many times the existing cord still works and can be mounted to the new replacement pump. This assures that the pump will hook right up to the existing power pack or circuit board.  If a new cord is required, the plug type needs to be noted as there are several different types of hot tub pump plugs such as AMP, J&J, mini J&J and others.

See our hot tub pump replacement tips if you need to exchange your whole pump.