family having fun in hot tub

What Usually Goes Wrong with Hot Tubs?

A hot tub can be a great way to relax after a long stressful day. However, like every large electrical household item, they can wrong from time to time.

In this article, we will cover the most common problems people experience with their hot tubs. Most are simple and quick to solve, meaning you’ll soon be enjoying the warm, soothing water again!

Hot tub leaks

There are many joints and connections within the pipework of a hard-sided hot tub and sometimes water can leak out, causing damage to the surrounding components.

Having your hot tub regularly serviced – ideally on a quarterly basis – is the best way to avoid leakages occurring. If your tub is new, contact your retailer to rectify the issue as soon as possible, as it will more than likely a very simple and quick fix.

Pump not working

Another common problem with hot tubs is that the pump can stop working. This can be a major inconvenience, especially if you are trying to relax or have invited friends over to bathe. It is important that this be solved quickly as water circulation removes contaminants and pollutants from the main water tank via the filtration system.

Again, a regular maintenance and service visit by a qualified technician will help to avoid pump failures.

Hot tub water not heating up

If the water is not heating up, it can be a major inconvenience not to mention quite a chilly shock for your bathers! This can be caused by a variety of different problems, so it is important to troubleshoot the issue.

Problems with the heater element or the hot tub pump (low flow) may be the root of the problem. A low pH (7.0 and below) can cause the heater element to corrode over time, so always ensure your pH reading is between 7.2 and 7.4. Hard water can cause scaling on the heating element, over time this can see the element overheat and cut out.

Water not clear

If the water in your hot tub isn’t clear, it can be a sign that something is wrong. This could be a result of the water not being circulated properly, or from a build-up of contaminants in the water. Either way, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible to ensure that you and your bathers are safe and comfortable. By adopting a good daily water testing regime problems of this nature can be avoided.

Cloudy or foamy water

Cloudy or foamy water is another common issue with hot tubs. This can be caused by a number of factors, including low levels of chlorine or bromine, excess organic matter, or a dirty filter.

Again, it is important to troubleshoot the issue and address it as soon as possible to keep your hot tub in good condition. In order to avoid such issues arising, adopt a good water care programme which includes daily water testing and weekly filter cleaning / maintenance.

Unfamiliar noises

If your hot tub is making strange and untypical noises, it will need to be investigated.

This could be a result of something as simple as a loose fitting or a broken part, or it could be a sign of a more serious issue. If you are unsure what is causing the noise, it is best to consult with a professional to help you troubleshoot the problem.

Bacterial growth

Bacterial growth can cause a number of uncomfortable problems for bathers. This can be caused by a number of factors, including low or zero levels of sanitiser (chlorine or bromine), poorly maintained filter(s) and general poor water management.

To avoid this, make sure to adopt a good water care programme, test your water daily and apply water treatment chemicals when appropriate and clean your filter weekly.

Other issues

Regular maintenance will avoid unpleasant surprises, just as your car or bicycle requires regular maintenance so does your hot tub and swim spa. Over time, other issues can include pump failure, heater failure, and control panel failure.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, always consult a technician to help you troubleshoot and address the issue quickly.

Preventive measures

Together with maintenance and service visits, showing your hot tub some TLC by making sure the water is well cared for with regular testing and maintenance works a treat.

In addition, make sure that your hot tub or swim spa is cleaned, and well protected from the elements over the winter or whenever its not being used.

A well-fitting and secure cover will also help to preserve your tub or spa in optimum condition.


Regular maintenance visits by a suitably qualified technician will help to avoid many of the problems listed above. Like all things mechanical, hot tubs will go wrong occasionally, particularly as they age, so prevention is definitely better than cure.

When purchasing a new hot tub it is worth asking your retailer what maintenance packages they can offer. Many will be able to suggest a programme that will suit your needs in terms of usage (a tub that is used 3 or more times per week is deemed ‘heavy’ usage) and also your budget.

But if you are experiencing any of the problems listed above at any point, don’t hesitate to call a professional technician.

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