Worn Hot Tub Pump - Fix or Replace?
With any hot tub, the water has to flow from the tub itself through the heating element and filtration system and then back into the tub. To accomplish this, all hot tubs have a pump that keeps the flow going, hopefully without a hitch. The pump has moving parts, of course, and as with all machinery that produces constant motion, those parts eventually wear out. The question then becomes: do you fix or replace your hot tub pump?
If you're adept at dismantling and restoring pumps, fixing a worn out hot tub pump might be feasible. Most of us would consider this a daunting task, however, so it comes down to hiring a professional to check things out or scrapping the pump and purchasing a new one. Even assuming you can take apart a water pump and spot the trouble, you are likely to discover that the problem will cost as much or more to repair than buying a new pump.
So how do you recognize the warning signs of a hot tub pump's impending failure? There are several tale-tell noises and one or two visual indications. If you start hearing an intermittent or constant whining noise coming from the pump motor, you're facing a common problem with older pumps - worn bearings. Replacing them is costly and you're better off buying a new pump.
Another auditory warning sign is a low-pitched humming noise, accompanied by reduced or no water flow. This almost always indicates that the motor has stopped turning for some reason - usually a frozen shaft or ball bearings that have clenched up after too much wear and tear. It can also result from the pump's impeller becoming jammed. The impeller is what draws water into the pump and then pushes it out again, and is located in what's known as the 'wet end' of the pump unit (the end opposite the actual motor).
Standing puddles of water under the pump are your best visual clue that your pump is having problems, and indicates that the watertight seals have given way. This is probably the easiest thing to repair and may not require a new pump.
If your checking indicates that the hot tub pump is going to fail soon, replacing it is not very expensive (relative to the cost of the entire hot tub). You can find excellent replacement pumps in the $100-$350 range. They come in 115- and 230-volt models, with either a center or side water discharge tube at the top of the wet end. Check your original pump for which type is appropriate in your case.
Click here for Northern Lights Hot Tub Pumps.
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