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What Are the Signs of A Hot Tub Air Lock?




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What Is An Air Lock? 

An airlock is simply a restriction of flow that happens when gas is trapped inside a pipe.

This means that air is trapped within your pipes and therefore, it’s reducing the circulation of the water in your hot tub. The trapped air in the pipes prevents the heater, pumps, and jets from working.

An airlock occurs when refilling the tub; as the water is rising, it gets into the jet lines, but it doesn’t flow as expected because of the trapped air that replaced the water when you were draining the tub.

It is dangerous when the pump motor runs with no water, as it could burn, which will cost you a great deal of money to replace it.

Signs Of An Air Lock

When you turn on the jets on your hot tub, if you don’t see water coming out, but you hear the tub pump motor running, it is a sign you have an air lock. It is a common issue.

The good news is that this problem can be easily fixed depending on the amount of air trapped in the hot tub. However, if the issue persists, it is best to get it checked by an expert to avoid the malfunctioning of your hot tub.

Fixing A Hot Tub Air Lock 

We will highlight some methods that you can use to fix an air lock in your hot tub. You can use these different methods for a more straightforward fix at home.

Turning Jets On And Off

This is the simplest method to fix an air lock at home. All you need to do is open all the jets so that air has a constant flow out of the tub.

Once this is done, go to the control panel to access the circuit breaker and turn it off to prevent the water from running back in when you turn on the jets.

You will be required to turn on the jets at regular intervals while checking the air bubbles coming out of the tub.

During the first attempt, turn the jets on for about 10-20 seconds and then turn them off, waiting for the bubbles to come out before turning them on again.

The second time, turn them on a bit longer for about 20-30 seconds and then turn them off once again.

Let the bubbles escape and do this again for the third time for about 30-40 seconds and then turn them off. At this point, the air bubbles should be enormous rushing out of the jets. Leave the jets on until all the air escapes.

Once you don’t see any bubbles escaping after the last step, stop trying to fix your tub and call an expert.

This might indicate that the problem is a bit more serious and needs to be checked by a professional to avoid damaging your pumps.

Draining The Pump

This is the second method you can use when the first fails to fix an air lock in your tub.

  1. Go to the control panel and open it to access the circuit breaker.
  2. Turn off the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) manually.
  3. Identify which pump is not working.
  4. Get pliers or a flat head screwdriver to help you turn the valve on the base of the pump anti-clockwise.
  5. As you turn the valve, you will hear some hissing sound and also see some water trickling from the pump.
  6. Once the water trickles, close the valve in a clockwise direction, and your hot tub air lock is fixed. 


When the second method also doesn’t work to fix your hot tub air lock, you will be required to prime your tub pipes. Make sure all of the following are right.

  1. Turn off the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  2. The valves are facing upwards.
  3. The diverter valves should be centered to allow even flow of water when the pumps and jets are on.
  4. There is no debris in the filter or suction drain.

After you ensure all these essentials are okay, turn on your ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and repeat priming with the pumps at full speed.

If this doesn’t remove the air lock on your hot tub, something might be severely wrong with your tub and you need to call a professional to fix it. 

Use A Plunger

As weird as this might sound, using a plunger is an option you can use to fix an airlock from your hot tub. All you need to use is a plunger.

Switch off the circuit breaker and remove the filter from your tub. Take your plunger and put it into the filter housing, and then plunge. You will see bubbles coming from the jet lines.

Repeat the plunging a couple of times to remove more air from the jet lines. After this process, return the filter to your tub.

Turn on the circuit breaker and your tub jets. When your pump motor runs smoothly, the air lock in your tub is fixed.

Preventing Air Locks

There are ways you can prevent air locks in your tub. Make sure you refill your tub from the lowermost point in the tub.

This ensures the water gets into the jet lines and pushes the air out as it rises. When the tub is filled, turn the jets on and let them run to remove any remaining air in the tub. 


Dealing with an air lock in a tub is not fun. Therefore, the best way to navigate this problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

An air lock is a common problem for hot tub owners, but it can be fixed. Other tubs will send you an error message on the controlled display. This is a handy feature; do not disable it if your tub has it.

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