Hot Tub Pumps, Spa Pump Maintenance and Repair
The pump is the part containing the impeller and includes the water input and outputs.
The motor is the electrical component that turns the impeller, connected to the pump by a shaft. The pump end contains water and therefore must be sealed around the shaft that connects it to the motor. This is one potential site of failure in a hot tub motor/pump. If debris gets into the pump it is also possible for the impeller to get jammed or damaged, which is another possible cause of pump failure. The motor component can also become damaged, often due to moisture or dust getting into the internal parts of the motor.
Did you know? Most hot tub parts and accessories are compatible with all brands.
That’s right, most pumps, heaters, controls, steps, chemical, and other accessories can be used in many different hot tub brands. At the very least, there is usually a part or component available that is compatible with your hot tub brand, often at a lower cost than the original part.
Each Arctic Spas dealer prides themselves on offering great service so if you need a hot tub part or accessory call or visit a dealer near you.
Insider Tip: You Probably Don’t Need A New Pump
Hot tub pump problems can usually be repaired: you probably don’t need a new pump! The two most common problems with hot tub pumps are the seals and the motor. The seals can be replaced usually for under $100 and the motor can be rebuilt for under $250, often less! Bring your old pump (any brand) to an Arctic Spas retail store and get a free estimate to repair or replace it.
Spa pumps are usually compatible between different hot tub brands. Arctic Spas has the best pump available and it probably works in your hot tub even if it is not an Arctic. Typical hot tub pumps have a high failure rate.
Think carefully before you put the same kind back in your spa! Typical hot tub pumps fail more often because they are internally cooled, allowing moist or dusty air to contaminate the interior components of the pump. The spa pump from Arctic Spas is completely sealed and externally cooled to prevent premature failure.
Looking for a spa heater, jets, or other component? Many spa and hot tub parts are compatible with any brand, so even if your spa is not an Arctic we probably have the part you need.
How To Replace Your Hot Tub Pump
Here is a simple video showing how an Arctic Spa pump is replaced, but a lot of the information can probably be applied to other hot tub brands too.
I’m going to be changing a pump here, today, and just giving you guys step by step on changing a pump. So might as well get going.
*Don’t need to replace the pump? Learn how to diagnose and fix an air locked pump instead, here.
Pretty much the only two reasons you ought to be changing the pump is if the pump is tripping the breaker or if the bearings are shot and you need to take it back to the shop and change the bearings over, just replace it because the bearings are shot. To change the pump, the first thing you want to do is close the ball valves so you can get a small flow of water. To close the ball valves there will be one on the pressure and one on the suction side of the pump. The ball valves are just right here. Ball valves run in the manner that when they cross the line they’re off, when they go inline they’re open. So there are national standards for how ball valves works. So we have both the ball valves closed, so there needs to be a little bit of residual water left inside of here. Get a couple tools out here.
Right off the bat, we have a ground wire. Disconnect the ground wire. And get some side cutters and cut the zip tie. [Inaudible 00:01:10] the pump power cord in. Then we’re going to go down and right down here is your mounting nut, that’s holding the whole pump mount system together. So pull some cords out of the way, pull the mounting plate out, and undo the unions. Try to make note of where your O-rings go, cause they might float away with the little rush of water that you have. And there you have your pump out.
Now what I’m going to do, because when you change a pump out there’s nothing wrong with the wet end, in this case. So we’re going to take the wet end off. Now there’s only one set lock screw on this pump housing, so we can spin it off to the side here. I’m going to take a 9/16 wrench and hold the pillar still, and I’ll loosen that impeller off the shaft. Eventually, you can pull that end right off. And again we’ll be able to take off the pump mounts because they’re reusable and there is nothing wrong with them, take these off and place them onto the next pump.
Now, we’ve got a brand new pump, I’ve got the pump mounts almost installed fully on it. So we’re gonna get this new pump back together, put the wet end back on it and put it back into the spa. Now this is actually a bit easier, for putting the wet end on is to take these screws completely out. Set the impeller on the shaft, set a screwdriver or wrench down on the fans on the bottom, then you can just spin it. [Inaudible 00:03:50] facing straight up, if not, so the impeller is tightened. You want to make sure that the impeller is snugged right up to the shaft, if the impeller is not snug up to the shaft when you turn the pump on for right off the get go in the first place, it spins freely, gets some RPMs up before it actually gets tight onto the impeller itself, it will blow all the threads out of the impeller. So make sure it is actually snug and tightened up right up onto the shaft.
Okay, so we have the impeller back onto the pump, got our pump mounts on. Now set the pump back into place, get the pump mount. Put our unions back on. Now what I’m going to do here is I’m going to snug up the suction side, leave this pressure side just a little bit loose to bleed some air out. Bleeds the air out of the wet end so we’re just sure that we’re not going to have an airlock to fire it up again. Open up the pressure side.
Air locks are a relatively common problem in hot tubs, but they are simple to fix in most brands of hot tub. They occur when the water level drops too low or after a water change, and air gets trapped in the lines or equipment. There are sensors in the hot tub that detect water flow or water line pressure to protect the hot tub heater from coming on when the water is not flowing past the heater element fast enough. When an air lock occurs, it is common for these sensors to detect low flow or low pressure, which results in the heater being disabled until the problem is fixed.
It usually also triggers an error message on the topside control display, such as “FLO.” This is normal and a useful safety feature. Do not disable this feature, fix the root of the problem instead. Watch this video to show you how:
Video: How To Fix An Air Lock On Your Hot Tub (FLO Error Message):
So, if you’ve recently drained and refilled your spa and one of your pumps is not working, it’s most likely an air lock. And here’s a couple of steps we can do just to check and see if it is an air lock and fix it if it is. What you’re going to do is find out which pump it is that’s not running. So you’ve identified it’s this pump that is not moving the water. We’re going to check, take a look and see if a reset button has clicked out on it, and make sure that’s in, and make sure the shaft is in fact spinning.
So we confirmed the shaft is spinning. The reset button is in, so there has been no stall, overload on it. So we’re going to go and we’re going to take some simple household tools, a hammer and a screwdriver, and we want to loosen off the union to allow the air to escape that’s being in there. Because what it is the air lock is just staying and it’s circulating, but it’s not allowing any of the water to move. So what we would do is simply just back that off a bit, not too far, because you don’t want it to pop right off. You’re only going to do about like, say, one revolution. We will allow some water. So water’s going to come out, some air’s going to come out. And then that pump is going to surge and it will start running again.
It might take up to 3-4 minutes. Then once it’s running again, you will have more water, because it’s going to be able to pressure will be coming out. So, you will just snug that up again, not too tight. Just snug it up good to stop it from leaking, that’s it. And you’ve gotten rid of your air lock.
Not an airlock? Need to replace the pump? Learn how here.