An Inflatable hot tub puncture is, well, kinda deflating !!

They are pretty rare, but they can happen, and when they do it’s not just the hot tub that is deflated, but the owner too.  If they are fast or slow leaks it is the same sinking feeling.

Fortunately most air leaks can be fixed with a minimum of amount of expense, and just a little hassle.

We will explain how to deal with an inflatable hot tub puncture the correct way.

Let’s see how…..

 Inflatable Hot Tub Puncture Detection 

Before you start hunting the air leak, remember it can just as easily be leaks, thats right multiple air leaks.

When you are in the find and repair process make sure you get them all at the same time. This a job you want to get right first time.

Exterior Punctures

The most common inflatable hot tub puncture, and finding them requires using the tried and tested, low tech method of soapy water. 

Just mix a little soap and water in a spray bottle. Make sure it is thoroughly combined and mixed before starting.  Then go round the hot tub liner in a methodical way, checking just a small section at a time. Obviously any leaks should show up as the air bubbles from the tub. Be patient and don’t rush this, pinhole leaks can be notoriously difficult to spot. Adding a little colour tint (non permanent and removable of course) to the water can assist picking up the small difficult to spot leaks.  When you find them mark them

Internal Punctures

Pretty rare unless you have let someone with stiletto heel shoes in your tub.  But like anything if it can happen it will happen.

Bubbles from these leaks are obviously easy to spot just by observing the still water in the tub. On a blustery day if the tub is outside it can be a challenge, so you’ll need to wait on good leak spotting weather. If you find any mark them with waterproof tape or pen. If that’s difficult, mark the exterior section that corresponds to the internal leak.

Ok, good so we’ve got our air leaks spotted,, now how to repair them?  Every inflatable hot tub owners first instinct is to try to repair them with the tub full of water.  Depending on the severity and location of the leak it might just be possible, but the majority of the time it doesn’t work because of the escaping air stopping good adhesion.  If the patch doesn’t stop the leak, now we have a mess, the rogue patch can’t be peeled off because it’s stuck down, badly!!!

Solution!! a bigger patch to cover the first one, that might work too, but you can see where this is going!!

 Patching Inflatable Hot Tub Air Leaks 

The only way we recommend tackling an inflatable hot tub puncture is with an empty, deflated tub.

 This is the hassle part of the repair, but lets look at it as an positive opportunity to give our tub a complete water refresh. This is never a bad thing, and well worth doing periodically anyway on a well used tub.

Some inflatable hot tubs come with colour coordinated patches included in the box, but there are plenty of PVC and vinyl patch kits on the market too. A transparent patch kit is obviously the preferred solution. Sticking a generic white patch on your beautiful coloured hot tub livery stands out like a spot on a beautiful face so take the time to source the correct one for your tub.

 How To Avoid An Inflatable Hot Tub Puncture 

Punctures are not an inevitable part of inflatable hot tub ownership. The PVC fabric is extremely robust and strong and will last many seasons with proper use.

But here are a number possible of causes of early deterioration of the tub fabric and your inflatable hot tub puncture.  Some just need minor monitoring, and adjustments of tub treatment. Others are a little more difficult to control.

  • Prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Exposure to temperatures below 35ºF
  • Wear and tear due to extremely high usage

  • Bad winter storage practice.
  • Pet claws
  • Rodent attack

  Prolonged Exposure To The Sun 

Whether in a pool area or a back yard an inflatable hot tub is just a brilliant addition to your summer lifestyle.

It looks great wherever it is,  but like most things exposed to the all day, everyday, it will be affected by damaging UV rays. A season or two in the full sun will inevitably affect the hot tub liner material, just as it would anything else left to bake.

The easy solution is to remember to cover the tub when not in use. That way the any sun damage is restricted to the cover and not the more fundamental part of the tub, the liner.

Another and more elegant solution is siting the tub under a soft top gazebo. That serves as both a sun protector and a great focal point too.  We have written a full gazebo guide here >>

 Exposure To Temperatures Below 35ºF 

It’s unlikely that the tub will be left to fend for itself in nearly freezing conditions, but if it is then expect problems not only from the PVC fabric but the pump and heater assembly.

No recommendations here except don’t do it, the tub needs to be brought inside and stored, or even better re-inflated to enjoy through the winter months.

 Wear And Tear 

We own a hot tub to give ourselves and family the maximum pleasure from it.

Children in particular love hot tubs in the summer with the water temperature set low and just the bubbles running. The tub is a wonderful thing for them to enjoy with their friends.  Often over exited and exuberant children use the tub as a plaything, and that’s not really what it’s designed for.

The tub is there for everybody, and we all love to see and hear our children having fun, but it is a factor in early tub deterioration.

It’s a factor that we at Home Hot Tub Guide at least are willing to live with, we love those moments.

 Bad Winter Storage Practice 

Putting our inflatable hot tub to bed for its winter hibernation is just one of the list of things we need to think about as fall draws towards winter. Improper storage can lead to a very disappointing outcome when springtime rolls around the following year. We have written a full explanation of best inflatable hot tub storage practices here >>

  Pet Claws

The PVC fabric is easily strong enough to withstand a domestic cats claws on an occasional basis. When the hot tub becomes a substitute scratching post action needs to be taken fast.

There are plenty of products available to sprinkle or plug in to keep feline creatures away from your tub if it is getting frequent night visitors attracted by the warmth.

 Rodent Attack 

Anything left outside or in storage can be a subject to interest and  nocturnal visits from a neighbourhood rodent community. If you have one that is.

This is a difficult one to control but not impossible. Rodents can be attracted to PVC especially when our tub is in storage. Outside attacks are known around the tub base, but rare.  They are very hard to detect but if you have any suspicions then there are various non toxic solutions using ultrasonic sound to keep the uninvited critters away. We have touched on these in our guide to tub storage linked above.

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