Detecting a Leak in an Inflatable Hot Tub

Written by 
Peter Smith
peter smith
Peter is an inflatable hot tub enthusiast, reviewing and testing hot tubs since 2014.
Updated: 
June 15, 2020

There are not many things as frustrating as an inflatable hot tub that is leaking, and you can't find the leak at all.

Now, the majority of leaks are air leaks and are quite minor, to begin with. They will not cause you too many issues. Eventually though, if not treated correctly, they can develop into a rather big problem which will be nigh on impossible to repair properly.

Basically, if you believe your hot tub is leaking then you are going to need to go searching for that leak as soon as you can, and of course, deal with it as soon as you can.

Sadly, not everything is infallible. From time to time you may find that the air starts to escape that inflatable hot tub incredibly quickly, or even quite slowly.

If you find that the air is leaving the hot tub faster than it normally does then you need to go hunting for that leak.

Now, many people seem to be of the impression that they need all sorts of specialist equipment to find a leak in their hot tub. You don't. In fact, all you need is a small amount of water, some sort of liquid soap, and a spray bottle.

Now, many people seem to be of the impression that they need all sorts of specialist equipment to find a leak in their hot tubMix up your water and a couple of squirts of the soap in your spray bottle. Make sure the soap is well-dissolved in the water otherwise it will not be effective.

Now, with your spray bottle, you are going to want to spray around that blow up hot tub. You will want to aim for the locations where you believe a leak may be occurring.

spray the hot tub

If the soap starts to bubble up on the surface then there is air being forced into it. This means you have a leak. To look for locations to 'spray' you will want to search for small black marks on the surface of the hot tub. Not all of these marks will be leaks though. In fact, very few of them are.

However, you are going to look for these inconsistencies in order to deal with any damage to the surface of the hot tub.

I suggest that you look for leaks in your hot tub every time you inflate it. This is because, as I said, the earlier the damage is spotted in the tub the easier it is going to be to deal with. If you leave it too long then you will find that it is nigh on impossible to deal with the problem.

Most small leaks can be patched up quite quickly using the right tools. They will not destroy the aesthetic appearance of your unit in the slightest. A small leak is prone to getting bigger; particularly if there is a lot of weight being placed into the hot tub at once.

How To Determine The Cause of Leaks In Inflatable Hot Tubs

If I had to narrow it down to 4 reasons why inflatable hot tubs develop leaks, they would be

  • Age
  • Frequency of usage
  • Improper management
  • Pinch of the outer part of the tub via a sharp object

Just like humans, we cannot be as active as our younger years compared with our old age, thus, a hot tub also declines in performance with age. Also, if there is an increase in the frequency of usage, the tub will most likely feel the effect the most.

Maintenance is very important when it comes to having a properly functioning hot tub. Thus, if the tub lacks maintenance, there is a high probability of leaks occurring.

If a sharp object should pinch the outer part of an inflatable hot tub, leaks will occur. A leak can either be large or small depending on the cause of the leak.

Common Hot Tub Parts Where Leaks Occur

2 most common places where leaks occur in an inflatable hot tub are;

  • Pump sealing and
  • The heating assembly

Leaks occur in the pump sealing with usage and age of the tub. If you discover that the pump sealing is where the leaks occur, then, it is either the pump sealing is repaired or replaced.

The option of the replacement or repair depends on what the professional recommends. My point is call in a professional if the cause of the leak is the pump sealing.

Similarly, leaks occur in the heating assembly with usage and age of the tub.

2 of the most common places where leaks occur in the heating assembly will be;

  • The valves and
  • The union fittings

As with the pump sealing, call in the service of a professional if you find out that the valves are the cause of the leaks. This professional will also advise you on whether you should repair or change the valves.

As regards the union fittings, most likely the fittings might just have become loose, so all you have to do is tighten the fittings back with your hands. It is not advisable to use a wrench for this, this is because using a wrench can cause damage to the heater.

How To Be Sure That There Is A Leak

There are 2 methods to accomplish this without involving the help of any professional;

Method 1

This involves 3 steps. They are;

  • Fill the tub with water and mark the level of the water
  • Do not use the tub for at least one hour, then; check your marker to see if there is a drop or not.
  • The level of the drop corresponds to how high or low the level of a leak is

Method 2

To use this method, you will the following 5 materials;

Water, Vinyl Pool Patch, Spray Bottles, Soap and Paper Towel

Once you have these materials, here are the steps you should follow;

  • Fill the spray bottle with water and soap, then, shake vigorously. This is important in order to have a very good mix.
  • Spray the suspected area with the mixture you have created. This is to see if there will be an appearance of any bubble. If there is a bubble, it implies that the leak is confirmed.
  • Mark this area where the leak is
  • Allow air to completely get out of that portion of the tub where there is the leak.
  • Apply a patch to the affected area
  • Use the paper towel to dry the area. This is to ensure that the patch fixes properly
torn hot tub

How To Use The Patch

Each manufacturer has specific instructions on how to use their brand of the patch. However, 4 of the most the common instructions are;

  • Add adhesive to the back of the patch and stick the patch to the affected area.
  • Leave the patch for at least 2 to 3 hours before adding water
  • Add water
  • Lastly, spray the area again to observe if there is going to be a bubble or not. if there are no bubbles, then, the leak has been properly fixed. If otherwise, then you either repeat the process or call for professional help.

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46 comments on “Detecting a Leak in an Inflatable Hot Tub”

  1. My hot tub began to say E5 which means high temperature we turned it off as told to and now after a few days the hot tub will not inflate it starts to then stops . Cannot see any leak anywhere what else could be the problem please!? My hot tub supplier are not getting back to any emails

  2. Hi, we have the same problem as Hadria, a leak seemingly from the drainage hole. The hot tub is losing about 4 inches of water over 24 hours.

    We emptied it, dried it, lifted it and put in a basin of water. We moved the water around and it only leaked out when over the plug hole, although the plug seemed to be sealed.

    When I felt underneath it almost felt like the water was escaping from the circular seal around the plug area, although it was hard to tell.

    Could the plug not be forming a proper seal through age? I am thinking of putting a circular patch over the whole seal area around it. (with a hole where the plug is to allow drainage as normal)

    Any other ideas?

    Cheers, Steve

  3. I had a water in the inner tube. So had to drain down to try and resolve. Once emptied inflated fully and listened near the air jet holes. Heard air right at the end of the chamber so had to cut into the air jet ring. Found a small tear where the air jets ring meet the main section. Have managed to repair now need to repair the ring with a patch and sealing tape. Hope the air ring holds when I try out.

  4. Hi I need help I emptied my hot tub to move and refill it deflated once emptied I’ve tried to pump back up but only goes so far then stops and goes straight back down x found water in the air Chanel which I’ve emptied What have I done wrong x

  5. Hi
    in need of some help! our lazy spa (inflatable hot tub) has been leaking, we have detected the leak and it seems to be coming from the water outlet/ drainage system/ plug. we have never has this problem before and have no idea how it could have occurred as the spa has been in and always been in the same place! we thought maybe a seal could be missing from the plug but we haven't lifted the plug or tampered with it since we last emptied it a while ago and it is only the past couple days it has been leaking! once the spa is filled it only holds the water for a few hours and almost all of the water is gone after this time! I can not find anything online as a solution for this problem and I'm at my wits end so any help would be muchly appreciated!

    1. Hey! It would be great to pinpoint the exact spot the water leaks from if possible. The leak must be substantial if it loses the water that fast! What model exactly do you have? Do you maybe have some photos of the drain plug?

  6. Hi I also have water in the cavity of my spa.. when I try to inflate it air is escaping through the holes of the jet system and won't fully inflate... When I turn the air off it just deflates in minutes . Did anyone who had the same problem find a solution

    1. Probably yes, but you really do have to take the pump apart and take a look at what exactly is leaking (unplug it first of course)

  7. My Miami has started deflating over the last two weeks, emptied it and will look to find leak this weekend, but I've noticed water is sloshing around in the air chambers, is this why it deflated slowly or do I have a more serious problem?

  8. I set up my New York spa last night and filled it....this morning it was slightly deflated....pumped it up again and after 4 hours I can see it is deflating again...my problem is it is full of water and I can’t get the outer skin off to Check for an air leak...I’m thinking the only thing I can do is empty it and start all over again.....nightmare....any suggestions apart from emptying

  9. I have a lazy spa that leaks from the sid air valve it's from the little cap that tightens up after you have pumped it up.
    Can anyone suggest anything as I cannot buy a new valve as they are out of stock.

  10. I have the Lay Z Spa Miami...no problem with the inflatable part of the hot tub...apparently leaking water from the bottom...but from a spot that I am unable to find...completely sealed with FlexSeal, but it is still leaking. After two cans of FlexSeal spray & one quart of FlexSeal liquid...over $50 in materials...it still leaks! Might be worth the $180 to buy a new hot tub. Any suggestions???

    1. I just started having the same issue with mine. I can't figure out where it's leaking from the bottom. I initially thought from the drain plug because that's where the majority of the water collects but the integrity of everything looks intact. Did you ever fix your issue?

  11. Hi I have had a layzspa vegas for 3 years now put it up the other week and their is water getting into liner! When I take the full bit off that you would normally pump it up the water comes flying out so it is a lot going in. Is their anything I can do to repair? I have looked for holes and tears etc where it could possibly leak into from and found nothing. Please help.

  12. I have a aqua lazy spa delux and put it away last year got it out and goes down overnight tried looking for the leak with no success st all don't know what to do now but will buying another one soon when lock down is over but don't know where to look thanx

      1. I am having same issue with my coleman lay z spa. have had it a year next month put it away in November and set it back up end of March worked fine for about a month . Seemed like it had a slow leak and got up one morning and it shrank to about 2 feet last week . Tried tightening the valve and soap spray inside , out and bottom ..twice now and cant find the leak .. so frustrating love this thing..

  13. Hi, we have a miami lazy spa, we only used for a few weeks last summer absolutely fine, we cone to use it again last week, pumped it up, filled with water left to heat, came to it the next morning and it had slowly deflated over night, it kind concaved inside where air had came out so water level had dropped, we've emptie, looked for a leak with no sign at all, it's a very slow leak of some sort, we tightened up and tried again, 3 times and this still happens, any ideas at all, we've tried with washing up liquid to find the air leak and can't find it anywhere. Thanks.

    1. Same for me I have the miami and have used the soap test on the outside using a paint brush say as a gas engineer and cant see any leaks, I put PTFE round the air valve and it still deflates over night takes about 10 hrs to deflate enough. What are the chances of a leak on the inner part of the lining? Ive tested the rim and the outside and can find anything!

      Shame there isnt an attachment I could put on the air pump side that would feed in smoke or a dye so we could find leaks (Patent Pending mind!)

      I dont really want to fill it up to try and find the leak internally as its a it of a wast of water too the I can try a soap test in the inside but I can see why a leak would have formed in there if Im honest

    2. I have got the same problem I have gone round it twice with the washing up liquid and still carnt find it do you have any suggestions as to what to try I have only had it since last March thank you

  14. I bought an mspa last April it's been used about 20-30 times we pumped it up last week and filled it with water. It takes 2 days to heat properly once heated it went down. It sounds like its leaking around the pump area some where we cant get to too see properly. How do you find a local expert in hot tub repairs

    1. Hey Gareth! Does it leak water? Is the pump connected just fine? It may very well just be leaking from the connections between the hot tub and the pump.

  15. Have Intex hot tub with slow water leak after one year of use. Live in central Texas and exposure temps range from 30 to 110 degrees with direct sun exposure at times. Can’t find leak as it seems to be a slow seepage. Taped entire bottom seal with flex seal tape but still leaking. No water in walls. Sits on concrete pad. I guess my question is, has the excessive expansion and contraction due to outside temperatures caused the seals to fail and it’s time for a new hot tub? I am considering putting the next one in my garage to shield it from the sun as well as provide a more consistent temperature. Good idea? Thanks

    1. Hey Sherrie! I don't think the sun would deteriorate the material that quickly, especially underwater. Regarding the Garage, it's a good idea - but keep an eye on managing the moisture. Warm and humid air = mold, without proper air circulation that is. Basically, make sure the garage is ventilated and not closed off completely.

  16. My friend has water leak in intex hot tub. Would "fix a leak" work to plug it? It seems good for pools and larger hot tubs.

  17. I have had my purespa tub for around 4-5years. My 2 kids (11&5) use it almost daily through the summer as a play pool with there friends.
    They walk around the edge and jump in, run up and jump into it.
    Maybe I’m lucky but this is the first time it’s started to go down and it is my own fault for leaving it out empty one night and it caught of a fence.
    Patched it up with standard latch and the rubber glue and it is holding air fine.
    Kids haven’t tried it as a spring board yet though

  18. I have had my Spa barely 1 month & now it is leaking air! Have used it apx 10 times!
    The other thing I am not happy with is the fact that it loses heat very very fast!

  19. Tub is blown up after a few days it goes down slightly .but won't blow up using electric pump to blow it up .whats wrong .

  20. is there eney dye that you can put in when inflateing the hot tub so that you can see where the air is leaking from

  21. I have alrady tried both of these methods and they do not work and the guarantee expired over a year ago now, what can i do?

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