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.

42 thoughts on “How to replace an inaccessible air switch on a whirlpool bath

  1. Phil

    Where/what is the best and easiest place to get a new air button on for a tub/pump that is a 110 system? I would assume a website that sells these right?

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      It is best to locate the new airs switch directly above the existing pump, so you can easily access it from the pump access panel to connect the air hose and to secure the retaining nut on the switch that is below the tub deck. You can purchase a variety of air switch types, colors and sizes from the Izzi Bathtub factory at http://www.Izzibath.Com

      Reply
  2. Ena

    I have a broken switch. The pressure does not keep the switch up. I find the hose and the connection to the pump and switch. My question is “should I still hear my motor hum or do something. Everything just stopped. I have had my whirpool tub for 4 years, never used it till last month (grandchild-bubble bath) and it just stopped. The off button was completed depressed. Once the panel was removed and I saw the hose disconnected, however, again, it does not stay up. I thought something must have broken, but there are not pieces or discarted material around there. Please help. Thanks. Also, if I need to replace the switch, how hard is it or do i have to contact an electrician?

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      Whirlpool bath air switch button will stay down or depressed in the following situations.

      1. It is broken. This is not usually the case.
      2. It has been depressed too far, and the air in the switch has escaped, created a vacuum. Remove the air hose from the motor and then reconnect to equalize the pressure.
      3. The electrical portion of the switch on the back of the motor is stuck. This is not usually the case. You will have to replace the motor.
      4. The air hose was crimped during the installation and the button can be depressed once, but the spring in the switch does not have enough strength to pull air back in to the switch. This creates a vacuum that keeps the switch depressed. This is the most common situation. It is solved by replacing or adding a new switch and air hose to the pump motor.

      If the motor has been allowed to run for 20 minutes or more without water, then it will probably have to be replaced. A humming motor would indicate the impeller has melted and seized the rotation of the motor. A $30 switch is the cheapest way to test if the motor has to be replaced. You can also request the air hose at no additional charge from the following source. http://www.izzibath.com. 800-214-7440.
      In many cases the air switch is not close to the access so a new hole and switch will have to be installed. Before doing this, take the new switch and hose to the access and see if you can operate the pump and to determine if the pump is also damaged. you may want to consider a new type of heat pump that is manufactured by Syllent. These have a greater life and also are much more efficient and heat the water also.
      http://izzibath.com/energysavingfeatures.html

      Reply
  3. Cathy Brown

    My tub is 18 years old. but in great shape, however the air switch will not turn off. I have tried disconnecting at the panel and reconnecting, but as soon as power is restored, the jets are continuous. The button is on the wall side of the tub, with no access. What do you recommend?

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      There is an air hose that goes to the back of the Whirlpool tub pump motor. It is usually clear 1/4 inch vinyl and It connects to an electrical diaphragm switch that turns off and on the motor as the air button is pressed. This electrical switch or the air button is the cause of the problem. You can order both at Izzi Bathtub Factory for about $69 dollars. The air switch will have to be installed in a new location close to the access and the old button will not function any longer. If you can access the old button, then it can be replaced with the new button, but in your situation, it will not be possible to do so.

      Reply
  4. KEITH

    Hi My name is keith and have what is called hydro bath at my cosmetics comapny. Im not sure if there is any diffrence between a whirlpool, spa, Jetted Spa baths. The problem i am having is that when we switch our hydro bath on it switches itself off and not one company i phoned in the ywllow pages can asist me. It was installed when we had the the Skin Spa built and the name on the name plate is HIGH QUALITY 2000 WENNESSY. SURELY THESE BATHS ALL OPERATE ON THE SAME PRINCIPAL. pLEASE IS THERE A COMPANY THAT CAN REPAIR AND OR SERVICE OUR HYDRO BATH/SPA BATH COME JETTED BATH.

    rEGARDS
    kEITH
    082 578 9647

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      These whirlpools have standard components. They are also relitively easy to repair. If you post pictures of the components and the whirlpool, I can give you information on a supplier for the parts. As far as a repair company. You will have to check locally in your area. Izzibath@Hotmail.Com

      Reply
  5. grim

    Hi I have a hidromasaje bath and I have a problem . The jets/pump stay on only for as long as I press the air button when I take the finger off the button the jets/pump stop . If anyone knows whats the problem please let me now.

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      This indicates that the air button is working, because it is pushing the pump switch. So, the problem is the pump switch. You would be best to replace the pump and the stitch that is part of the pump on the back of the motor. When you buy a pump it will be complete with the switch and so you need only reconnect the air hose to the new pump. You can get a complete pump for $199 at 800-214-7440. Izzi Bathtub factory. Tell them to throw in a free button in case you have a future problem with that. Good Luck Lonny

      Reply
  6. gary

    I have a jetted tub in my house less than 5 years old. Not sure of brand since the builder installed it and there are no access points. My air switch is acting up. The jets will turn on as long as I hold the button down but will turn off as soon as I let go. Strangely enough if you blow in the hose the jets will come on. Is my problem with the switch or something more major?? Please advise, thanks

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      The problem is the switch on the back of the motor. It is not latching into the on position. You should probably replace the entire pump, because it is very difficult to find the electrical diapham switch to replace just the component. If you do find it, you will still have to remove the pump to replace it.

      Reply
  7. Steve O

    I have a Jacuzzi Brand Whirlpool tub that is about 10 years old. The air switch is very difficult to depress unless I splash some water on it when it is partially depressed. When I do that, it will work fine to turn on the motor and pump. If I don’t, I can’t get the anything to work. I have to do it again to turn off the pump. Is there anything I can use to lubricate or clean the switch with or does it need to be replaced?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      Hello Steve, you could try pulling the button all the way out and see if you can remove it. If you can get the button off, you can probably clean and lubricate it with some Teflon spray lubrication. The problem that you are having with the button is that contamination has build up inside and behind the button. If you have to replace it, and the button can not be accessed from behind the bathtub. You can take a screw driver and a hammer and break the button and push it into the tub deck cavity. Then use a coat hanger to retrieve the switch and air hose that goes to the pump. You the remove the air hose from the old switch and attach it to the new switch. Silicon in the new switch and you are back in business of taking baths.

      Reply
  8. Ken Watson

    We have a jetted tub that when we used it the last time we cannot get the switch to shut off. We flipped the power supply on our electric box but the problem is there are other things connected to this besides the tub. How do I get the tub to shut off?

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      The problem is either the on/off button or the switch on the back of the pump motor. You can go into the pump access and unplug the pump or trip the GFIC, if there is one under the deck. Usually the pump is on a deadicated circuit so this is not a problem. The Button is less expensive to replace and you may want to do this before replacing the pump. If you want to cover your bases, replace the pump and air switch button and you will be back in business. The electrical code requires that the whirlpool bath pump be on a deadicate circuit. If this is a recent install and you had a contractor do the installation. You may have some recourse with them over the electrical problem.

      Reply
  9. Rog

    Hi, I really hope you can help?! My mum has a Whirlpool bath and the switch to activate the whirlpool function is very hard to press down. The whirlpool function still works but it is becoming increasingly harder for her to use as the button is so hard to press down. As this has happened gradually over time, is there something that is becoming more and more jammed, or is the button simply becoming worn out? Any help would be much appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      You probably have a build up of some type behind the button. If you can remove the center of the button, you can probably clean it. A small screw drive usually works. I would have another switch available to replace it, in case it breaks, which is very common. You can get a universal switch at this supplier for about $29 in a variety of finishes. .

      Reply
  10. charles quin

    my whirlpool gets a problem. When I push the air switch, it has not re-action. I disconnect the air switch from the tube. The switch seems working as it produces air pressure. So I also sucked the tube, it seems that the other end is about 95% sealed. What is a best way to fix it? thanks.

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      It sounds like the problem is not the air switch button, but the electric air switch on the back of the motor. When the button is pressed, it pressurizes a diaphragm connected to an electrical micro switch that turns on the motor. So, either this diaphragm switch is bad, you can hear it clicking when it is working, or the motor is bad. The electrical diaphragm switch is sometimes replaceable depending on the motor, but most people replace the entire pump and motor assembly.

      Reply
  11. Charles

    On a Whirlpool bath 35B motor, what exactly causes the “electronic button” in the motor to stop latching ON. Mine also only works if you depress the ‘air button’, but stops as you let off or as the air bleeds out.

    This is a seldom used feature, so just curious why someone would need to replace the entire motor. Is there not a recommended way to remove the motor and repair just the switch? My motor works fantastic, but blowing on that air button tube for a 15 minute bath really takes a LOT of the pleasure out of it.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      If it is an electric control the problem is usually the electronic button. If it turns on, hums for a few seconds and turns itself off, it is probably a bad pump and motor.

      Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      You usually will have to remove the motor in order to have room enough to work on it. The switch replacement is fairly simple if you can find the replacement parts. A lot of manufactures don’t sell them and you have to replace the entire pump.

      Reply
  12. stephen

    Great site! I am wondering if you can help me. My wirlpool is 3 years old, and we have only turned on the pump about a dozen times. When we would push the airswitch button, we could feel pressure behind the switch, and the pump would be activated. Recently however, when we tried to turn the pump off, the button was very easy to press, and the pump wouldn’t turn off. We installed another airswitch button with the same result. It seems though that very little air is being pumped with both buttons, and even with our finger covering the back nipple, we can not get the same pressure behind the botton as when everything was working.
    Because of this, I am wondering if the problem is in the button(s) or at the pump end. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      I don’t think the problem is the button. I think you have a line problem in the tube to the back of the motor or in the diapham switch on the back of the motor. This is why you are loosing pressure and the switch is easy to push. Also, make sure the hose is connected to the back of the motor. This is usually the problem, but I am assuming that you have checked this already. One good test is to connect the air button to a short piece of air hose and go directly to the back of the motor with the switch from the pump access. If this does not turn off the pump, than you have a bad diapham switch on the motor and will have to replace the pump. If it does work the motor, than you will need to run a new air line to the switch. Could have a mouse that is chewing holes in the old air tube. This is more common than you would think it is. Good luck.

      Reply
  13. Ken

    I have a Jacuzzi whirlpool tub (Gallery 6) model. To turn the unit on or off, I need to trip the GFCI at the wall. The small round on/off button in the tub mounted on an oval plate (about 1 x 2 inches)will not turn the jets on or off. Is there a way I can simply replace this button/switch by prying off the old one and connecting to the new one. Is this the air switch that people mention? I’m assuming only an air tube connects to this button? What is the part number and cost of a new button and where can you get one?

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      You should be able to replace the button. I am not sure what style you have but if it is a True Jacuzzi brand, then you will have to find their switch over a generic brand. You can also install a new switch near the motor by drilling a new hole if you can’t remove or replace the old switch. You can follow the pump link from this site for a genaric switch for about $20.

      Reply
  14. Donald Keiser

    whirlpool tub has leaked again thruoug drywall ceiling below. happened once before but couldn’t fine leaks
    removed front panela and damaged drywall. wife took bath as before and no leaks can’t figure why leak one time and not everytime. any suggestions.

    Reply
  15. Sean S

    Hi, I have an older Riva 6 Jacuzzi with a broken electronic switch just like in your picture on this page –> electronic-pump-switch.jpg.

    There is an access panel (small) on the side near the pump. I should be able to fish wires for repair but I am not confident about removing the old switch. The instructions seem to be for the air switch on this page. For the electronic switch, can I take a flat head screw driver and pry off the old switch to remove it? Or do I need to get behind the switch / remove tile to be able to fix this? I am also finding it difficult to locate this switch online, so I may have to get a generic switch and construct a filler plate if I can’t get it from a dealer. Do you know if a generic switch would work I would think so since it’s a simple on/off toggle that would work.

    Thanks for any advice on this.

    – Sean

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      You should be able to remove the switch from the front side of the tub without accessing the back side of the deck. If you end up breaking the switch it would be thrown away anyway. There are not generic electrical swtiches that I have ever dealt with but you have a couple of options. 1. convert it to an air switch by installing an air button and an electrical control air switch box, next to the pump. $150 2. Install digital variable speed controller to your existing pump and replace the existing switch with a modern variable control.$300 3. Replace both the pump and electrical switch with an air switch and air-switch controlled, modern pump. $199..
      http://www.whirlpoolbaths.us/partswhirlpoolandairbath.aspx

      Reply
  16. Joe

    I have a whirlpool (not sure of brand) that would not turn on. It has an electronic switch. In another home with exact tub and pump, the problem was the switch. Replaced and it worked. I assumed the issue was the same here, but after replacing electronic switch, (with a phone type 6/c wire on back of it) it still didnt work. Gfi had power. I tripped the gfi then reset it, and the whirlpool came on. Ran it for about 5mins with waterin it, but electronic switch would not turn it off. I tripped the gfi then reset it, and the motor would not come on, with or without button. Same results when repeating. Any suggestions? Thanks for the help

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      The electric switches usually plug into a separate control box that the pump cord then plugs into for power and control. That may be your problem. Try plugging the pump directly into your outlet to eliminate the pump as the problem. Izzi sells the control box and switch for about $250. It also convert your pump to variable speed.

      Reply
  17. Terry

    I’ve been having problems with on/off switch for quite a while. When pushing on, motor hums, but jets don’t turn on. However, if I keep pushing on and off, it starts humming a little louder and the jets will eventually start. But today, this quite working. Do you think its the switch or the motor?

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      A humming pump motor is definitely not the switch and can only be the motor. You will need to replace the pump, which included the motor and switch if you follow the pump link in this blog. The humming from the pump motor occurs when the motor or pump wet end is seized up.

      Reply
  18. Jim bernau

    The plastic on/off push button on our 20yr old spa tub will not function and stays depressed. No manufacturer name/data and motor is a Emerson 1 SPL HP. There is not a diaphragm switch box on the motor, just one Romex 115v Cable coming from a wall-switch mounted next to the pump/motor behind the access door. Another Romex cable goes from the wall-switch to I assume the spa mounted on/off push button on the far side of the tub which I have no access to and can’t seem to remove. The tub is in great shape and worked before contractor/ plummers
    Installed new tile and tub faucets, etc couple months ago. we just now tried to use the spa. Would appreciate
    your suggestion on how to fix. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Lonny Izlar Post author

      A lot of whirlpools from this time period were installed with a wall switch in addition to the button on the tub. The romex probably supplies power the where the pump is wired and runs from the wall switch to the electrical box that the pump is connected to. Even 20 years ago the tub switches were most air buttons and not electrical for safety reason.

      If the switch is depressed and will not return, you definitely have to replace the switch. You can’t access it so you will have to use a hammer and screw driver and gently tap and break the switch pushing it under the deck. You then can fish an air hose through the hole and to the pump.

      You do have the option of replacing the pump and using the wall switch only to turn off and on. This is how the first whirlpools operated about 30 years ago.

      Due to the age I would replace both the pump and switch. Here is a link to what I normally use in these situations and it included both the pump, switch and unions that you probably will not need but will have them just in case. Also, if you are using the bath a lot this would be a good time to add a tub heater.

      Reply

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