Removing an air lock from your hot tub or spa
A common call I receive from spa owners is: “My spa pump is running but no water is coming out of the jets.” Most of the time when I receive this call it is air that is trapped in the motor or the plumbing of the spa. This can occur for a few reasons:
- During a water change of the spa. When refilling a spa we suggest you place your hose in where the filter is located. This helps the plumbing fill with water and the air to release from the jets in your spa. This process of filling will help reduce air locks in your spa.
- When you start your spa up for the very first time. During the delivery process of your spa, your spa might of been stood upright. This can force out the water that is still held in the plumbing lines.
- Any service done on the motor, plumbing or heater area. If you recently had service done on one of these components chances are the area of plumbing connected to this part was drained. Replacing these parts can cause air to be trapped in the lines.
Removing an air lock from your hot tub or spa can be an irritating experience. I have tried to make this as easy as possible for a spa owner to do. I hope these steps below help if you have an air lock occur.
In this example I am using a Coast Spa to show you where a bleeder valve is located.
Shown above is a skimmer grate from Coast Spas. This particular grate comes off by pulling the grate straight out. (Some Coast Spa grates come off by sliding them up.)
After you remove your grate you will see two items inside your skimmer area. One is the bleeder valve (arrow). With the power off to the motors/spa loosen the bleeder valve. You will not have to remove the bleeder valve completely. Simply turning the bleeder valve, this will allow any air trapped in the line to rise up and out. You will notice bubbles coming up from the bleeder valve in your filled spa. (Make sure the spa is filled prior to using the bleeder valve). Once the bubbles have stopped tighten back up the bleeder valve. Your air lock should be gone. Turn the power back on to the motors/spa. You should have water movement now in the spa. If you hear the motor running but see no water movement, repeat the process. There can be multiple pockets of air. Sometimes this process must be repeated two or three times. You may also want to try turning the motors from high to low to high, back to low. This process can help “burp” the air from the lines.
The second item you see to the right, is a skimmer basket. It is used to catch larger items before they go into the plumbing and motors. It threads out for easy cleaning.
If you own a spa or hot tub that doesn’t have a bleeder valve located in the skimmer area, remove your access panel where your pumps/motors are located. Access panels either lift up and off, use a key to unlock or need to have the screws that are holding the panel removed.
Make sure the power is off to the spa. Once you remove the panel, locate your pump/motor. On the plastic portion of the pump you will see plastic looking bolts. They usually are located at the 12 o’clock , 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock positions on the face of the pump/motor. You can use a wrench/socket or a flat head screw driver to loosen the bleeder nut. This plastic nut does not to be removed, it just needs to be loosened up. As you start to loosen the nut, you will hear a hissing, then a sputter of water will occur, then a stream of water. Once a stream of water occurs tighten the bolt back up and power on your spa. You should have water flow at this point.