Hot Tub Pump Not Working: 5 Important Reasons [Best Guide]

By Dillon •  Updated: 02/18/21 •  10 min read

What might cause my hot tub pump not to work?

A hot tub pump not working correctly may be caused by electrical issues, airlocks, or debris blockage. To fix this, make sure there are no electrical problems with the breaker, motherboard, or pumps inside the hot tub. Airlock issues are caused by large air bubbles within the plumbing. Resolve this by running the pumps with the jets fully opened. Next, debris can be quickly cleared from the suction valves inside the hot tub. Finally, if you can’t resolve the issue, call an expert to replace the pump.

Check out my list of high-quality hot tub products to help keep your hot tub clean and running great all year long!

The design lifetime for your hot tub pumps ranges between five and ten years. The pump can malfunction within or after this duration. One of the warning signs is the foaming of your hot tub water based on the pumps not filtering correctly.

Also, check out our full article on hot tub jets not working for more information to troubleshoot your spa.

Let’s get started!

Hot Tub Pump Not Working: 5 Reasons Why

When your hot tub pump is not working correctly, you need to check a couple of issues to resolve the problem.

The 5 main problems:

  1. Electrical Issues
  2. Check the Valves
  3. Overheating
  4. Scale Buildup
  5. Debris

1. Electrical Issues

The problem of a hot tub not working could be associated with electrical malfunctioning. When you notice that your hot tub pumps have failed, it is always good to start by checking the possibilities of power trouble.

Check to ensure you have turned on the power switch after filling the hot tub. If the problem persists, you should check the ground fault circuit interrupter or the circuit breaker and fix any issues noticed.

If any of these two components switch off, you should flip on the breaker to make the pump function again. If you see the tripping of the GFCI, you can restore the power by pressing the red button. You should also check if your remote hot tub controller does not override the switch being used to control the pump.

I recommend the AstroAI Digital Multimeter to test any internal electrical issues if you feel comfortable doing so.

2. Check the Valves

You should check the manufacturer’s manual on how the valves should be kept. Some pumps require you to close the valves on the intake, and the pump lines outflow before draining the hot tub. For such pumps, forgetting to open the valves before you restart can be problematic. You should also check that the jets of your pumps are open inside the hot tub.

When you turn off the pump when draining and refilling the hot tub, the loosened debris could clog the jets. When cleaning, removing the jets and cleaning them could make a difference. You could also look at the water filter leaf trap in the pump line’s intake to ensure no clogging of debris.

This hot tub Spa Gate Slice Valve might come in handy if you’re looking to cut off water from the pump to the rest of the hot tub.

3. Overheating

A hot tub pump can overheat because of blockage and other electrical, plumbing, and valve problems. Blockages can cause overloading and overexerting the pump, making it overheat. But these are not the only reasons that your hot tub overheats.

Thermal creep is the most common cause of overheating in your hot tub pump. Thermal creep occurs when hot weather causes the hot tub temperatures to exceed the required minimums. Since hot tubs are designed to prevent heat loss, the temperatures will continue to rise during the hot weather because there is no way the heat will escape from the hot tub.

The heat generated from the pump motors can also cause overheating. The electric motor pumps water around the hot tub through the jets, filters, and heats the water. But the motor generates heat when running. The heat is then transferred to the water inside the hot tub, making the water overheat beyond the required limit if not adequately monitored.

This may cause the pump to shut off completely.

If you’re having heating problems, check out our full article on hot tubs not heating for more information.

4. Scale Buildup

Improper functioning of your hot tub could result from scale buildup. The effect of the scale buildup may not be immediate. Instead, it will take time before you start noticing a decline in your hot tub’s performance.

One of the warning signs is the increased difficulty in adjusting the jet nozzles. The problem could be caused by lime and calcium deposits forming on the rings of your jet nozzles. The same buildup could be taking place in your hot tub plumbing and pump system. Thus, you may notice a lower pressure or decreased output from the water jets.

I recommend Leisure Time Defender to treat your hot tub to prevent scale buildup inside the hot tub and electrical components.

5. Debris Blocking the Water Suction

Clogging problems will usually occur when water filtering is taking place in the hot tub. Filtering can affect the hot tub lines and the pump. One of the warning signs to determine the possibility of the debris clogging the pumps is a humming sound and sudden shutdown.

The sound can also result from a broken impeller and dirt in the hot tub filter. The debris makes water flow move slowly towards the heater. The slow water flow prevents the heater from working correctly.

Debris clogging the suction covers inside the hot tub can also affect a hot tub’s pump functions. The debris blocks the water flow in the hot tub and prevents the suctioning from working effectively.

If you need a solution to quickly suck up any debris that’s causing problems inside your hot tub, I recommend the Workshop wet/dry Vacuum. The stainless steel construction and 16-gallon capacity will make cleaning your hot tub much easier.

If you need to replace your suction covers, I recommend the Balboa Water Group suction covers.

How to Fix a Hot Tub Air Lock

To fix an airlock inside a hot tub, you must first turn the water temperature down by at least 10 degrees. Next, set all the jets in the spa to their open positions allowing for maximum water flow. Finally, turn on all the pumps until the water pressure returns to normal. The pumps may require 2 to 3 cycles before the water pressure returns.

The heat from the pumps will warm up the water, so turning the temperature down is good practice.

Airlocks are formed if you have recently filled your hot tub and there is very little or no pressure coming from the jets. The development of airlocks in your hot tub interferes with the regular operation of the jets. It decreases the ability of the pump to push water through the main lines.

Luckily this problem is not complicated to fix.

When to Replace Your Hot Tub Pump

The hot tub pump not working correctly could require you to replace the entire pump. If you check your water levels, the filters, and the water jets and realize that they are all working well, but the system’s problem is persistent, it could mean that your pump has reached the end of its service life. This means that further repair is not required, but a replacement is needed.

Similarly, replacing a hot tub pump can be done every four to five years. Replacing your hot tub after it has reached the end of its life will save you unnecessary service costs and allow you to continue enjoying the hot tub.

But there are a few things you need to bear in mind when ordering a new pump. First, it is good to check that you are ordering the correct pump model, especially if you do not have a technician. You could check the label of your existing pump to know what you are going to order.

You must match the specifications to the manufactures specifications for the type of pump needed for the hot tub. The specs you should compare for your new pump could include:

It’s good to note that most new pump models do not come with a pump cord. But you can still use the cable from your old pump if it is in good working condition. If not, you can buy a suitable cable from the available range of AMP, J&J, and mini J&J, among others. You could avoid a technician’s services while installing your pump by purchasing a replacement hot tub pump online. Master Spa Parts provide some of the best hot tub pumps which could work well with your system.

Hot tub pumps come in different sizes and specifications, but the hot tub pumps I recommend are the Waterway Plastics and KL Key Lander pumps. Below are a couple of selections with varying sizes and specifications.

Key Lander Hot Tub Spa Circulation Pump; 48Frame LX Motor (115V OR 230V/60Hz); One Speed; 1.5″ Port; OEM Model # 48WTC0153C-I

KL KEY LANDER Hot Tub Spa Pump, 1.5HP, Two Speed, 48Frame LX Motor (115V/60Hz); 2″ Port; OEM Model #37334-03; 48WUA1001C-II

NEW KL Key Lander Hot Tub Spa Pump, 4HP, Two Speed, 56Frame LX Motor (220-240V/60Hz); 2″ Port; OEM# #0982601-03; 1431601-03 and 56WUA400-II

Waterway Plastics 3722021-1D Executive 56 Frame 5 Horsepower Spa Pump, 230-Volts

Call an Expert

If the basic methods of removing the airlock, checking electrical issues, and cleaning the hot tub don’t work, you should consider calling an expert. The expert will use a more technical approach in resolving the problem with the pump. If it is an airlock problem, they could untighten the pump system to help bleed the air out. After loosening the coupling, they will turn the pump and allow the air to be pumped out.

You could also call an expert to help you replace a hot tub pump if you experience any difficulties.

Hot Tub Pump Not Working: Conclusion

hot tub pump not working

The hot tub pump not working correctly can happen at any time. If you find it difficult to troubleshoot the issue, check the electrical system, the valves, possible overheating, scale buildup, and debris blocking the water circulation. You can fix the hot tub pump by repairing the airlock problems or replacing the pump if it has reached the end of its service life. It’s advisable to call an expert when you cannot fix the airlock problem or change your hot tub pump.

I hope you found this article on your hot tub pump not working helpful.

For more information on hot tub pumps, check out this great article from swimuniversity.com.

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Dillon

I'm Dillon, creator of SpaToolKit.com. During the day I'm a software developer for an engineering company. At night I enjoy sitting in my hot tub and relaxing. My hope is that Spa Tool Kit will be a place where you can find the best information on hot tubs, spa equipment, setups, parts, and accessories. Let's get started!