How To Quickly Fix An Air Lock In A Hot Tub


So, you just finished draining and cleaning your hot tub and have been patiently waiting for it to fill up. Finally, all the dirty work’s done and you’re just itching to turn on your hot tub and get it into full gear. But wait. What’s that? It looks like one of the pumps isn’t working! You can hear the motors humming but nothing’s happening! In such cases, it’s okay to be frustrated, but don’t let that get you down. Most likely you have a large pocket of air in the hot tub stuck in the pump, a dilemma most hot tub owners know as a hot tub airlock. Fortunately, this issue can be dealt with most of the time without the need to call in the experts. But first, what does ‘airlock’ actually mean?

What Is an Air Lock?

A hot tub air lock usually happens when you drain and clean your hot tub and then fill it up afterward. During those times when the hot tub sits without water while you’re cleaning it, air can enter the hot tub and become trapped inside it. When that happens, the normal flow of water is impeded as the trapped air blocks the path of the water. In most cases, you’ll hear the jets running but you don’t see water flowing out of them.

When your hot tub suffers from such issues, you’ll want to deal with the problem right away. Otherwise, the trapped air will prevent your hot tub jets from functioning properly, which can then lead to more serious problems that may end up damaging your hot tub.

Fixing an airlock is relatively easy depending on the severity of the problem or the amount of air that is trapped in the hot tub. For minor issues, you can try ‘burping’ your hot tub, and for the more serious ones, you’ll have to release the trapped air from the pump area.

‘Burp’ Your Hot Tub

To ‘burp’ your hot tub, follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Open all the jets to ensure that the trapped air has a smooth and uninterrupted way out of the hot tub.
  2. Turn off the hot tub heater at the main panel or circuit breaker. This is so that it won’t kick in when you turn on the jets. A running heater with no water flow can be disastrous to your heater.
  3. Turn the jets on for 10-15 seconds then turn them off quickly. You should see at least a small amount of air bubbles coming out.
  4. Turn the jets on for 20-30 seconds then turn them off quickly. You should see more air bubbles coming out now.
  5. Turn the jets on for 30-45 seconds that turn them off. At this point, you should see a huge blast of air bubbles rushing out of the jets.
  6. Leave the jets running until you no longer see any air bubbles coming out.

When doing this, always keep an eye on the number of air bubbles coming out of the jets. If you see that the amount of air bubbles released by the hot tub in step 6 is pretty much the same as that in step 3 (or worse, no air bubbles coming out at all) stop the burping process immediately. This is because it means your airlock problem is more serious and will require more than just a simple burping process. Continuing with the burping process at this point will only lead to damage to your hot tub’s pumps.

Releasing the Air Lock from the Pump Area


As mentioned above, if burping your hot tub does not release the trapped air inside it, then you’ll have to release it at the pump area. To do this:

  1. Turn off the hot tub from the main power switch. You don’t want to be working with all those lines and water while the power’s on for obvious reasons.
  2. Remove the front panel of the hot tub. Generally, this can be done with the use of a screwdriver. If not, consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to open your hot tub’s front panel. If you can’t find your owner’s manual, you can go online and check the manufacturer’s website. The instructions should be there and readily accessible.
  3. Once you remove the front panel, you’ll see most of the equipment and parts that run your hot tub. Among all those parts and components, locate the large union nut that connects your hot tub’s plumbing to the motor.
  4. Once you find it, loosen the union nut using either your hands or a wrench. Continue loosening the union nut until you hear the air start to come out.
  5. After a while, you will notice what water will start to leak out. This should mean that all the trapped air has already been released and that your hot tub’s water flow is back to normal.
  6. With that, tighten the union nut, turn on the hot tub power and run your motors. The problem would have been solved at this point.

Call in the Professionals

If both the above-mentioned approaches fail, then you should definitely consider calling in the professionals. If possible, contact a certified service provider for your hot tub’s brand or manufacturer. Major manufacturers of hot tubs usually have a list of their dealers and service centers which you can check on their website. Sometimes it is a better idea to call a certified service provider because they are more likely to be familiar with your hot tub and how to fix it. Also, if you’re hot tub is still covered by a warranty then you should consider calling a certified service provider to keep from voiding your warranty.

If you can’t find a certified service provider for your brand of the hot tub, then you may want to get in touch with your local pool service companies. In many cases, pool service companies also work with hot tubs.

Lastly, if both the options above aren’t available, then you may want to call in your local repairman. Technically, a hot tub is just another home appliance, and many repairmen who are exceptionally great at repairing dishwashers and washing machines may be able to solve your hot tub’s problem.

Preventing Air Locks

Repairing an airlock in your hot tub can be challenging, so as much as possible, you’ll want to make sure that they don’t happen in the first place.

Airlocks usually happen when you’re filling your newly drained and cleaned hot tub. To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to make sure that you fill your hot tub properly.

Experts would recommend that you fill your hot tub from the filter bucket or the footwell, which are the lowest points in the hot tub that is accessible to water. By doing this, the water will first go to these areas of the hot tub and push the air out as the water rises.

Once the water reaches the desired level, turn the jets on and let it run. This will help to push out any remaining air inside the hot tub.

You should also check the bleeder valves as they can help to draw out air from the hot tub. Simply open the valve near the filter cartridge to release trapped air before turning the power back on. Then turn on the jets to release the remaining air if any.

Globo Surf Overview

As you can see, the first solution to a hot tub airlock or trapped air in a hot tub is to keep it from happening in the first place. But then, do keep in mind that airlocks are a common problem for most hot tub owners and even the best hot tubs in the market will suffer from this issue at some point in their service life. That said, it would be better for you to learn the different approaches to dealing with airlocks in hot tubs so that you’re ready when it does happen.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!