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Old in-ground fiberglass hot tub leak/skimmer replacement


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I'm the new owner of a visibly older in-ground hot tub, has pool pump and filter plumbing. It was fine for a few months until we started getting rapid water loss whenever it ran. I got some leak company to come out and they claimed to have found one of the jets was leaking and patched it up. They said it was a patch job and should be replaced soon. Turns out it's not this jet. The water level drops to the same spot every time at the bottom of the skimmer. I'm pretty sure the leak is there, probably bad gasket or just deteriorating plastic.

I've contacted a handful of Spa repair companies and they either don't service my area (Tampa), or don't bother to call back. I'm looking at replacing this skimmer assembly myself, but I fear I may make things worse in the process. I've never owned a fiberglass hot tub before, so I'm not exactly confident in what I'm doing.

I can see it's a Jacuzzi brand front access filter skimmer. It's got the Jacuzzi name right on it. I think this is the part:
https://www.spaparts.com/en_us/front-access-filter-skimmer-9411-0467

I took the front cover off and attempted to remove all the screws. It seems they were screwed in with some caulking or some other material as some if it loosened up and came out, but the screws themselves would not come out. They just spin in place and I can't seem to pry them out. Also, they don't seem to lock back in if I try to tighten them. More spinning. I fear I may have ruined something here. 

Any advice on what I'm looking at or what I should be doing to correct this? 

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That's bad news. The screws probably have nuts on the back which are now loose and you will not get them tightened without getting to the other side. It may have been caulked or had a gasket. If you are going to dig it out, just replace it. Otherwise, clean it thoroughly with a green dish scrubby pad and run a bead of silicone around. Wipe off excess and let dry before you put the cover back on.

You may find that it still leaks. Just because the water holds at that level does not mean that is it. Does the skimmer hold to that level on the inside, too? Are the jets at a similar level? Is the equipment above the water level? Is the ground around the equipment or where the pipes come up wet?

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The plan was to replace it actually. Also The skimmer "door" doesn't slide very well anymore and often gets stuck. For some reason I thought I might be able to replace it from where I could access it, without having to get to the "outside" of the shell.

The spa is raised from the ground so it's a bit higher than the pool equipment. It's entirely encased in stone pavers, so there's absolutely no way to tell if the ground is wet or not. Digging it out and replacing it would be quite a job. I don't do paver work, but my understanding is you usually can't pull them from the middle, got to come from an edge and work your way over. That's a huge job. There are jets, but they are below where the water level stops, so that's why I believe it is the skimmer as it's the only piece that is not fully submerged where the water stops. 

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I would clean up the leaves and such and check the equipment area for leaks. There may not be any, but I can tell you that 99% of leaks are in the equipment. You should look there first, and if you don't find it, look again because you probably missed it.

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I can't see how the water level compares to the level of the equipment. It is below the spa, but I am not sure how far below. I suggested the filter valve because it is a common leak point, and sometimes people don't notice the water coming out of the backwash. You have a flex backwash hose, but some people have a hard pipe running underground to another location across the yard, down the hill, into a gutter drain or such. 

Just covering the bases my friend. I would hate for you to do all that work and find it still leaks. 🤪 That's enough to drive you bonkers!

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  • 1 year later...

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