Monthly Archives: August 2010

Trouble shooting a whirlpool bath leak.

Whirlpool bath Leaking problems      Read to me: Trouble shooting a whirlpool leak

Whirlpool leaks are actually not very common and are usually from the pump  couplings and o-rings. You should inspect these first and if this is the source of the leak, try tightening the couplings. If this does not work, loosen the leaking coupling and replace the o-ring with a new one. Afterwords, allow the area to completely dry before retesting for leaks.Whirlpool bath jet and pipe system

If your leak is somewhere other then the pump., it will often be very difficulty to reach and repair. In many cases the bath has to be removed from the deck and in some cases the tub has to be replaced due to damage from the removal.In many situations an additional access can be cut in the drywall or tile to access the leak. The important thing is to find the leak so you don’t cut an access in the wrong location.

There are also other types of leaks that could be confused with the whirlpool system that are unrelated and preventable.You can test for the following situations by draining and allowing everything to completely dry over a couple of days. If the water does not dry up, you probably have a plumbing or faucet leak.

If the water completely drys then you should fill the bath to a level of 3 inches above the jets and without turning the jets on, inspect for leaks over the next hour or so.  Then, turn on the jets and continue to inspect for leaks or changes in the volume of the leak.

What does the test results mean?

If you now have no leaking, the water was probably  from over filling and water was either spilled out or has leaked around the waste overflow preventer. Also, most whirlpool bath controls are not designed to be under water and can allow water to exceape around the control and under the deck.

If you experienced leaking during the test, did it increase when the pump was tured on? If it increased. the leak is in the  jet supply lines. If the leak stopped when the pump was running, this is a return or suction leak.If the leak was consistent irregardless of the pump operating or not, this would indicate a leak from the jet fittings and the bath acrylic shell. 

You can use standard PVC cement and fittings to perform the repair. If the leak is clearly inaccessible then, be prepared to remove the bath if necessary. The repair and tub removal and re-installation are best performed by a licensed plumber. Also, you may want to consult the plumber in advance as how successful they think they will be in removing the bath without damaging it. If the bath is set on the tile and not under it, a intact removal is possible. If the tile is butted to the bath, an undamage removal is unlikely.

Whirlpool bath jet replacement or refinishing

Replacing jet internals.                                                                                 Read to me: Replacing jet internals

Over time the jet internals may become discolored or even break. All jet internals can be removed an replaced with new internals. They generally are not very expensive and most unscrew and include the outer trim and the interior eyeball or nozzle. It is important to check with the whirlpool bath manufacturer of the bath for the particular jets. You will need to know the approximate year the bath was made and the model. Most manufactures change jet styles every few years so the year is very important. Don’t attempt to buy jet internals just by the appearance. There are hundreds of makes and models that appear to be the same, but are different size and threading. Also, not all jet screw on and many in recent years pop on by pulling the jet face outward from the wall of the bath.

Whirlpool bath jet

Typical whirlpol bath jet internal.

If you are not successful in locating the jets, you have another option if you have all the original parts. The jets can be refinished to a like new appearance with a automotive paint. We perform this service at Izzi for $325 for most whirlpools. Due to the large number of manufacturer that have discontinued their jets, it may be your only option. A typical whirlpool bath often will last more then 20 years and often the jets and controls are operational but no longer look attractive due to fading or corrosion.

My pump is not running

Replacement whirlpool pump with air button

This is a good deal if you determine that the pump needs to be replace. It includes some free parts that I usually end up needing for about $45 dollars.

 

Trouble shooting your pump                                      Read to me: Pump trouble shooting

First check the power source in the main panel and under the tub deck. Make sure the plug is plugged in and that there is not a GFCI that is tripped under the deck. If you are unsure, try another appliance on this outlet, such as a hair dryer.
If you have power and the pump still will not operate, check the air switch by pressing the air button and listening for a click at the motor access. You may need a second person for this. If you don’t hear the switch clicking as the air button is pressed, check to see if the clear ¼ inch air tube is connected to the back of the motor. Occasionally, the air tube can be dislodged when installing the whirlpool bath into the framing. If this is the case, re-insert the hose onto the pump air switch nipple and retest.

The other end of the 1/4 " air tube is connected to the back of the pump to the switch nipple.

It is also possible, that the pump was left in the on position when the power to the house was turned on or due to operator error. This will cause the motor to run dry and if not turned off within 15 minutes, will over heat and seize the motor. If this is the case, the motor will hum, and trip the electrical  breaker.

If the motor is bad, see my instructions on this blog under the catagory, motor replacement.

Typical pump

 

Pump replacement instructions

 

Pump replacement                                                                      Read to me: Replacing a whirlpool pump

The most common repair to a whirlpool is the pump replacement. Although building codes require an access, they are often very small and the pump may not be as near to the access as it should be. This can make a simple replacement very difficult. The pump is attached to a pump mount by two, and in some cases 4 screws.  The replacement motors are mostly universally the same, but make sure you compare the amperage and voltage. Also, it is important to determine if your motor is electronically switched with a electronic control or an air switch. If you are uncertain, check with the manufacturer. If you are planning to do this repair yourself, It is a good idea to remove the old motor before ordering a new one to assure compatibility.

In most cases, the motor is plugged into an outlet under the deck and not hard wired. There are two water couplings one on the top and bottom of the pump. They are usually white 1 1/2 inch and can be unscrewed by hand. It is important not to loose the o-rings and to reinstall them when replacing the pump. They are located in a groove on each coupling.

Model Jade 6 Sk Skirted, Item 24, Size 42 X 72

After the new pump is in place, it is important to do a water test and inspect for leaks at the couplings.  Prior to doing so check that you have plugged in the power and the control air tube that is a 1/4 vinyl tube that connects to the air-switch nipple on the back of the motor. If you have an electric control., the motor will plug into a control box and not an electrical outlet.

You should also make sure the mounting screws are reinstalled. The pump replacement  difficulty is largely determined by how accessible your pump is.

1 HP Universal pump replace package with unions and air switch $199 with free shipping

 

 

I like this deal because it includes free parts that I often need when replacing a pump. The air switch and hose is required about half of the time when a pump is not working. The unions are nice to have also if you have an unusual thread type on the original pump. This package makes it possible for the average home owner to do the repair and save paying a professional.

Repairing a chip in the acrylic bath finish.

Acrylic baths can be damage if a hard object is dropped in the bath. This is most common during construction and can usually be repaired to the factory finish. The acrylic surface is repaired exactly like an automotive paint repair is done, and requires the correct color match. The company that supplies the repair kits can be viewed by following these links. This Multitech videogo into detail on the repair procedures. This should only be attempted if you have the skills and the correct tools to perform the repair. Otherwise you should hire a professional bath repair company.

Video training.

Multitech

Cleaning the whirlpool bath system internal pipes and pump

Whirlpool bath cleaning and sanitation.          Read to me:Whirlpool bath cleaning and sanitation

All whirlpool baths have a plumbing system that circulates the water to the jets and back out of the bath into the pump again. The inside of the pipes as well as the pump wet end will become dirty and need to be flushed out with a sanitizer and detergent to remove any body oils. Most but not all whirlpool baths drain down a 100 percent to prevent rancid water from remaining in the pump and pipes. If you own a whirlpool bath that is made of cultured marble, or over 15 years old, you may have a bath that retains water in the pipes. If this is the case, you should flush the whirlpool bath system before every bath.

You can tell that your whirlpool is retaining water by filling it with hot water and placing your hand over one of the jets and turning on the pump. If there is a cold cloudy surge of water, you are retaining water from the previous bath. You will probably notice black specks of mold also. If you have this problem you may be able to improve the situation by elevating the pump about 2 inches. Most cultured marble baths are plumbed on the construction site and the pump will be sitting on the slab and lower then the return.  Also, if you notice any sagging pipes that would retain water, you should also prop these up. A factory built bath where the motor is mounted to the bath, should not have this problem.

Whirlpool bath jet and pipe system

Once every three months or more frequently with heavy use,  purge and clean the circulating system.

Follow the steps outlined below, and make sure the bathroom is well ventalated.

1. Fill whirlpool with warm water and add two teaspoons of powdered dishwasher (not laundry) detergent and one half cup of household bleach to a filled whirlpool. 

2. Activate whirlpool system in accordance with operating instructions, for two minutes. Then allow the Whirlpool bathtub to soak for an hour without the pump running and then run the Whirlpool bathtub for 5 minutes.

3. Drain and refill whirlpool with cold water. Circulate for five minutes. 

4. Drain whirlpool completely after step 3 (above) is completed.

5. Another effective cleaning method, is to use a table spoon of pool shock in cool water and follow the same proceedures.

 

 

How to replace an inaccessible air switch on a whirlpool bath

This pump also includes the Air Button and switch. It is a particularly good deal if you determine that the you have problems in addition to the Air button.

How to replace an inaccessible air switch on a whirlpool bath

Read to me:    Question How to replace an inaccessible air

 

If someone has a broken whirlpool on/off switch and wants install a new one, the old one can be removed by taking a screw driver and knocking the switch through the hole in the tub, and  then fish up the air tube that will be needed on the new switch.  Usually, a coat hanger can be used to retrieve the air switch tube that will need to be used on the new switch. If the back of the bath

Air button switch to actuate the pump diaphragm switch

Whirlpool bath air switch
Typic whirlpool bath air button or switch to turn on and off the motor

Bottom side view of the whirlpool air button and tube.

 

is inaccessible, then the new switch can be siliconed into place and the retaining nut discarded. Take care to firmly slip the original hose on the new switch nipple before permanently  siliconing in the new switch.

The other end of the 1/4 " air tube is connected to the back of the pump to the switch nipple.

The electronic switch plugs into a control box and does not have an air tube. These switches are less common.