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Hot Springs Vanguard Leak Located! But What Am I Looking At?


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Hi all,

I put my leaking Vanguard up on cinder blocks and dug up through the bottom to find the location of a leak (hopefully *the*leak.)

But could someone help me understand what I’m looking at? I’m assuming this is a stretch of flex PVC that is encased in insulating foam?


It has a kind of bulge in it -- is that just a random accumulation of foam or a fitting? Water drips off the bottom of the bulge and it feels like the area above it is burst wide open.

I was thinking I should cut out the damaged section, and PVC cement in a new short stretch with a fitting on either side, but I can’t quite imagine how I will clean all that foam off for a good fitting.

The leak is approximately between "I" and "J" in the red area below (the leak drains the tub down to the jet stream jet "J" without the spa running):


Here is a video that shows the leak location: https://youtu.be/tJKnqA7adhk

Thank you in advance for any help or advice!

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You've not found the leak. You've found wet foam and pipe. They spray the pipe with 2" density that has to be scraped off. The bulge is either a coupling or check valve. You will find the leak when you see the actual source of the leak. Water can run through the foam in all kinds of crazy directions, including along air pockets between the pipe and foam. Only when you've scraped it off and can actually isolate the source of the drip have you found the leak. Once on blocks, we find it helpful to heat the water up. Cold wet foam is the wrong direction. Warm wet foam is the right direction.

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Thanks very much for the fast reply. There definitely could be another leak but I'm pretty sure this is one: the water drips directly from that spot and I can feel a crack in the pipe above the "bulge." (Before I dug this spot out water ran out of all sorts of crazy places through the foam as you say. Now that I've dug it out it drips directly from there and there only.)

Any tips on how to scrape the foam off without damaging the pipe further?

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The pipe is fairly sturdy, we use a combination of prybars, screwdrivers, and chisels. Just scrape if off, don't pierce anything. It's knuckle-scaping work. But at least the blood on the foam makes for nice colors :o Sometimes a wire brush on a drill works and is helpful, but you can burn through the pipe if not careful. The majority is scraped off by using the aforementioned hand tools.

Good luck!!

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Thanks! I ran out there with a screw driver and gently scraped at it and the foam encasing the pipe just popped off in one big piece!

It turns out the "bulge" was . . . nothing? It's just a stretch of flex pvc with a big crack along the top.


Fingers crossed I can get a new stretch of pipe cemented in and be done with it.

Speaking of fingers, "knuckle-scraping work" is right. This last step was relatively easy but the sharp edges of the hard epoxy coating I had to chip through to get to the foam was brutal. The good news is I'm only bleeding a little.

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