Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to fix water leaks from pipes

Posted at  2:37 PM - by maihoub ateya 2

How to fix water leaks from pipes


A) Disconnect all power to the spa. Inspect the equipment compartment. If leak is under the pump, this indicates a possible pump seal failure. If leak is detected, replace pump or install new seal, as appropriate.
B) Check all union fittings at hot tub pump and heater.  Unions can even vibrate loose on a brand new spa during shipment, and should be hand tightened if necessary.  If hand tightening is difficult, loosen pump mounting bolts, move components into alignment, then tighten unions and re-tighten pump mounting bolts.  Never use a wrench to tighten spa unions.
C) Next, inspect heater, pressure switch and surrounding components. Replace any defective parts as indicated by leak.  See Heater Testing
D) Inspect all of the valves. Repair or replace if leak is indicated. Knife style valves are sometimes bolted together and contain a gasket between the halves which can fail, particularly upon freezing or with prolonged poor water quality conditions.
Note: Valves on either side of the pump, when present, are installed at the factory as a convenience to service people (so that they do not have to drain the spa water to replace a pump).  In reality, these valves more often do more harm than good, since they are a common source of leaks.  Some hot tub owners choose to remove these valves if they have been a leak problem source.
E) Inspect all pipes, jets and connections for leakage. Repair or replace if indicated.

There is only one product that we have ever found that can reliably and permanently fix many leaky PVC components: Plast-Aid.  This product forms a molecular bond with the plastic which is stronger than the PVC pipe itself.  It is far superior to epoxy compounds.

Leak Detection
One method for locating leaks is to use dye (dark food color) in the water. This method works best if the leak is substantial. Observe location of dye leakage, using flashlight if needed, and proceed with repair.
Another method is to let the water drop (with spa not running) and then observe the water level of the spa when the level ceases to drop. If the water stops dropping at a jet for example, that jet is the likely leak source.

For faster leaks it may help to determine the type of leak: vessel leak (spa shell), suction-side leak (before pump) or pressure leak (after pump). Fill spa and mark the water level with grease pen or crayon, and allow the spa to run for 24 hours. Now mark the new water level to determine how much the water level has dropped. Refill to original mark, and keep system off for 24 hours. Again, note how far the water dropped. If the water dropped the same amount on both tests, this usually indicates a vessel leak (blisters and most surface cracks are usually only cosmetic, and not normally a cause for leaks). If the water dropped more with system running, this indicates a pressure leak. If the water dropped less with system running, this indicates a likely suction leak.
Fixing Leaky Pipe Connections the Easy Way
A common area of hot tub leaks occurs where PVC fittings (couplings, elbows, tees, etc.) connect to spa flex pipe. These repairs used to require cutting out the affected pipe, and replacing the PVC fittings. Our new Clip-on Pipe Leak Seals now make these repairs simple, inexpensive, and very effective. A repair job that previously took an hour or more, can now be completed in a few minutes at a fraction of the cost.

Simply clean and dry the affected area. Apply PVC primer to the Clip-on fitting. Then apply PVC cement to both surfaces, and snap in place while giving a quarter turn. These repair fittings are designed and sized to fit over the flex or rigid PVC pipe and fittings.
Clip-on Leak Seal for 1.5" Plumbing 
Clip-on Leak Seal for 2.0" Plumbing 
PVC Pro Cement Kit (this kit contains PVC cleaner, primer, and spa-grade cement)
Repairing Shell Cracks
Most so-called shell leaks are actually leaks associated with jets or other fittings, not the shell itself.  Today's hot tub shells are cast acrylic which has been vacuum formed and then reinforced on the underside with a thick layer of fiberglass.  It is extremely strong.  Even if the acrylic layer were to crack or blister, a water leak penetrating the fiberglass would be unusual.
Acrylic shell cracks and blister voids can be effectively filled and repaired with Plast-Aid.  This compound can even be colored with acrylic* artist paints (available at any art supply store) to approximate the original color of the spa shell.*do not use oil based colorants
Plast-Aid is a two part product (filler and hardener) that can be formed, sanded, and polished, and is the only effective compound available for permanent acrylic shell repairs that we have found. Unlike epoxy or fiberglass repair products, Plast-Aid forms a molecular bond with the acrylic shell.
Jet Body - Vessel Leaks
Spa jet body gasketMore often, a vessel leak can be traced to a bad jet or other shell fitting.  Jet bodies have a flexible gasket which is tightened against the underside surface of the spa shell.  These gaskets can sometimes shrink or decompose over time, resulting in water loss.  You may have to remove some of the shell's foam insulation to access these jet gaskets or other plastic fittings such as floor drains, suctions, etc.
Make sure the area is clean and smooth before installing a new component.  After installing and tightening a new jet body or other component, apply a generous layer of silicone sealant around the gasket perimeter and fiberglass undershell as an added measure of future leak protection.

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