Fixing a Spa Airlock

Fix Hot Tub Airlock

If you’ve owned a spa for a few years, you have probably had to deal with an airlock in your spa. When your spa has an airlock, your jets won’t run when they are powered on. You will notice you have an airlock when nothing comes out of your jets and you might hear the jets or pump making a humming noise. 

Preventing an Air Lock Before You Have to Deal With One 

Your plumbing lines work correctly when they are full of water, and not when they are full of air. If there is air in your plumbing lines, it can lead to damage to your pumps/lines over time, and form airlocks as well. To prevent an airlock from forming in the first place, make sure that when you are filling your spa, you place the garden hose into the empty filter bay instead of directly into the well of the spa. This ensures the pump and internal plumbing of the spa are filled at the same time the main area of the spa is being filled to prevent airlocks. If you are feeling handy, you can further prevent airlocks by “bleeding” the pump. To do this, turn off the ground fault circuit intercepter and use a screwdriver to open the bleed valve until you see the water slowly trickle out. Once you see the water trickle, close the valve. If any air did manage to get trapped inside when filling, this will remove it and further help reduce the risk of an airlock in the future.

Dealing With an Airlock 

There is an easy way to fix an airlock, and a more challenging way, so let’s try the easy method first. The first thing you can do to attempt to fix an airlock is to cycle the jets back and forth between low and high power in 10-20 second intervals. To begin, set the jets to low for 10-20 seconds, and then to high for 10-20 seconds. Repeat this process up to 4 times and if the issue is not resolved by then, you will need to move on to the second method. 

The second method involves expelling air directly from the spa pump. 

Locate your spa pump and use the bleeder valve to expel air and relieve the airlock. You may need a screwdriver and tongue-and-grove pliers for this part. Then turn off the spa GGCI breaker, you don’t want to make accidental contact with the electricity from your spa pump. Use a screwdriver (if needed) to open the front access panel and locate your spa pump. Close the gate valve on the discharge side and, using pliers, slowly turn the bleeder valve until you hear air hissing out. As soon as the hissing stops, tighten the valve to prevent water leaks in the future. Once you have completed all of this, you can turn the breaker and spa back on to check the jets. 

Didn’t Work? Here Are Some More Tips

  • If it’s not air in the lines, check for other issues that can affect water flow such as clogs or leaks
  • Water can have a hard time passing through a dirty filter. Inspect your filter and assess if it is due for a cleaning
  • Clearing an airlock can take some persistence, don’t give up after a couple tries
  • If you aren’t absolutely sure the pump is filled with water, it should never be run for over 2 minutes. By the time you see the smoke, it will be too late to save the pump.
  • Call a professional. If you are unsure of the issue or your ability to fix the issue, contact our service department and we would love to take a look.