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Background:

I have a Galbocca 2-person Plug and Play HotSpa (tm?) that I imagine is quite old. It came with the house I'm renting, so I have no idea exactly how old it is, but the company doesn't seem to have a website.

Judging from their LinkedIn page and cross-referencing the address listed there with Google Maps, I think it's safe to say that this company is now out of business.

The problem:

Except for some issues regulating the thermostat, it worked fairly well last winter. Towards the end of the season, I noticed some water pooling on the floor near one side of the bottom exterior of the tub. So, I drained it almost down to the bottom (maybe 2-3" of water in the foot well), and the leak stopped. It is an indoor tub.

I'm now looking to fix it, so I drained the rest of the water out and examined the bottom. This is what I saw:

Bottom of foot well - Galbocca 2 person hot tub

As you can see, the veneer seems to be bubbling and peeling, as if water has infiltrated the surface. On closer inspection of the bubble under the intake suction vents:

Crack in skin of hot tub

Ah ha, that must be the leak! This is even the same side where I saw the water pooling.

But...wait a minute. That crack could only have formed after a bubble appeared, which means that water must have already been infiltrating the surface before the crack formed.

It also seems that similar bubbles have formed, even on the other side of the tub:

More bubbles in skin of tub

So, am I reasoning this out properly? Is this the source of the leak, or a symptom of a leak somewhere else?

I should note that I lifted the tub with my car jack to see if I could get at it from the other side, but the entire underside is completely filled with spray-foam insulation.

  • Are you sure you didn't cause the cracking because of lifting the tub? And, if you're renting, shouldn't your landlord be responsible for this? – alt Jun 16 '15 at 13:33
  • It's possible, but I only lifted it a few inches and I was very careful. I didn't hear any crunching sounds. Normally I would ask my landlord, but he just bought us a new roof last month. I figured I should try to fix it myself first ;-) – alexw Jun 16 '15 at 15:42
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    Hmmm... you're the kind of tenant I would probably love to have, if and when I end up renting out my property(ies). But really, it's his property, and he needs to be notified of everything that's not right. Note that he didn't buy YOU a new roof, he maintained HIS property. Please always remember this distinction. – alt Jun 16 '15 at 17:21
  • Fair enough. Well, I told him and he's going to check it out this week. After sealing the crack and filling it with water again, it seems to only leak when the pump is running. So, I believe it is an issue with a gasket around one of the jets. – alexw Jun 16 '15 at 17:42
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I'm a bit confused how did you get to the conclusion that crack could appear after a bubble? I’m not saying you are wrong but not sure how you have concluded this. Anyway unless there are some other cracks this is 99% sure the reason why your tub is leaking. And if there is some more cracks or problems this is one of them for sure.

  • My reasoning is that the bubble forms, then the acrylic becomes brittle, then someone steps on it, cracking the acrylic. – alexw Jun 16 '15 at 15:44
  • I guess that is possible, but acrylic is somewhat elastic but you should pay attention to those bubbles and the reason that they appear is most likely inadequate surface preparation. – python starter Jun 17 '15 at 7:17
  • Surface preparation...during manufacturing? – alexw Jun 18 '15 at 22:22
  • well either during manufacturing (mistakes always can happen) or which is more likely maybe house owner did something on its own. – python starter Jun 19 '15 at 22:54
  • I have seen these bubbles on tubs in the past it comes from the thin plastic delamanation from the fiberglass that was chopped and shot onto the shell. If the bubble cracks then the tub will usually leak. If you only have a leak while running now it may be a pump shaft seal that is leaking, usually the pumps are accessible I would check that and make all the jet fittings are tight they are usually a oring seal. – Ed Beal Mar 14 '18 at 15:32
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After sealing the leak with some silicone adhesive-sealant, I refilled the tub and ran the pump. I noticed that there is no leak until I run the pump, and it gets noticeably worse when I turn on the jets.

I believe that the leak is coming from one of the jet fittings (probably a worn-out gasket). Since there is no leak when the water is just sitting in the tub, I believe the delamination in the acrylic is an unrelated issue.

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