Hot tubs are your place to relax after a long, stressful day. So naturally, there's not much worse than if you go out to use your spa, only to discover that the jets on one side of your hot tub aren't working! What do you do in this situation?
The main cause of the jets not working on one side of a hot tub is an air lock. Any air trapped in the lines of your hot tub will prevent it from pushing water from its pump. If there is no air in the lines, you may have a damaged or broken pump.
Below we will take a deeper look at the issues that can cause the jets on one side to stop working—and what you can do to resolve this problem.
What causes hot tub air locks?
An airlock occurs in a hot tub when trapped air in the lines and pump causes overheating. This can occur when the water level is low or after a drain and refill when water doesn't reach all parts of the hot tub. If the trapped air pocket is not released, it can lead to pump overheating and damage.
The good thing is that it is a relatively easy issue to fix.
How to remove an airlock
Depending on your spa, there are several methods you can try to clear an airlock.
Manually clearing an airlock
The first (and easiest) thing to try is to run the jets and force the air out. You will need to open the jets completely for this. Then follow these steps:
- Run the pump on low for around 30 seconds
- Run the pump on high for around 30 seconds
- Repeat 3 or 4 times
If you hear a gurgling sound and see air start bubbling up, continue to let your hot tub run and it will hopefully be able to push all of the air out. If it's not running normally after 3 or 4 attempts, you'll need to try a different approach.
Clearing an airlock using the bleeder valves or pump
Some spas have bleeder valves you are able to open, to bleed air out of the line and get the jets of your hot tub working again.
You will need to first turn off the spa at the breaker, then access the pump and loosen the valve to allow the air to escape. When the air has bled out (you'll know because it'll turn from hissing air to a stream of water) close the valve and run the pump to ensure the jets are now pumping water as expected.
This video explains more:
Why are the jets not working on one side only?
Many hot tubs are equipped with two water pumps. If the jets on only one side of your hot tub stop working, there could be an airlock in only one of the pumps. This would prevent it from functioning properly, which could explain why only one side is affected.
However, it could also be a blockage in the jet lines for that side, or a problem with the internal mechanism of the jet itself (though this is less likely if the problem is affecting all the jets on that side).
Can you use a spa with an airlock?
It is not recommended to use a hot tub with an airlock. As an airlock occurs when air is trapped in the lines or pump, it means the pump is not able to pump water as it's supposed to. If the trapped air pocket is not released, it can lead to the pump overheating.
Using the hot tub in this condition could therefore cause damage to the equipment and may also void any manufacturer's warranty. For this reason, it's best to first release the airlock before using the hot tub again.
To sum up
Air in the lines of your hot tub will prevent the pump from pushing water through the lines. If your hot tub has two pumps and one has an airlock, this can prevent the jets on one side of the hot tub from working. The air needs to be cleared for the jets to work. If you are not experiencing an air lock, you may have a damaged or broken pump.