Fiberglass Whirlpool Bathtub Leak – Standing Water Only!

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    • #276065
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      Please help! I have a 15 y/o fiberglass whirlpool bathtub that developed a leak ONLY when the tub is used (weight? standing water?). Showering is not an issue — I have 3 daughters, and that shower runs 16 hours a day w/no leak. It was purchased in the Northeast at either Pergament or Rickels (days before Home Depot took over the world!). I have called 3 plumbers in (all licensed), and one claimed there was no leak (???), another begged off citing no experience w/fiberglass/whirlpools; the last one claims it needs to be replaced since he doesn’t know why it leaks. However, he’s willing to do some research if I can provide the manufacturer’s name. I’ve looked high and low — the bottom of the tub, inside of the removable panel, under the rim, etc. Mind you, it IS installed, so I don’t have access to the entire underside. But I find NO markings of any sort. I’ve even checked for stampings on the molded jet pieces.

      This has been a problem for about 3 years. I’ve convinced my kids not to use the tub, but it seems so sad to not use a perfectly good whirlpool tub! Fortunately, when the tub is used, the leak is through a clean “hatch” above my refrigerator — no water damage is occuring aside from the ceiling tile in the kitchen.

      My hunch/gut reaction as a non-plumber is that the weight of the water (it begins leaking after about 1 – 2″) was causing the drain to separate (gasket?) from the tub and allowing water to leak down. Plumber insists this isn’t the case, and applied silicone caulk on the bottom of the drain fitting to “prove” his point. It still leaked. But the fiberglass tub is odd in it’s construction — there seems to be a cut-out where the drain was installed that overlaps the bottom of the tub itself. My second thought was perhaps water was travelling into the jets and leaking at the junction of the drain. But current plumber is not sure if that’s the case. And rear jets are not accessible. Front 2 are dry.

      Any suggestions? Experience with a similiar problem? List of possible manufacturer’s from this “era”? Anything? I’m not wealthy — I’m actually quite broke, so replacing it is really NOT an option. Particularly since I’d also have to replace ceramic tile walls/floor in addition to the cost of a new install.

      Help???

      Thanks in advance…
      L.

    • #293356
      robertgf
      Participant

      my guess is that the leak is on the whirlpool piping and not on the drain

    • #293357
      LaurelPieper1
      Participant

      robertgf,

      Thank you for your reply. Your guess is that the intake/jets are taking in water once the level reaches them and then leaking at some point in the flow to the drain? We haven’t run the jets in about 5+ years (my kids are afraid of them!), so I know it’s not related to the actual whirlpool operation…

      Any suggestion on how I can locate the manufacturer?
      Thanks,
      L.

      » This message has been edited by LaurelPieper on 08 December 2002

    • #293358
      robertgf
      Participant

      since you don’t know where the leak is and showering is not a problem my guess is that when you fill the tub up the jet and intake piping fill with water and leak alot of times when those tubs are installed the pipes unfortunatley get used as a handle and the leak doesn’t show up till later

    • #293359
      bungie
      Participant

      Place water into the tub, but below the piping for the jet intake let it sit, see if you get a leak from below.

      If not then VERY slowly start to fill the spa and watch under till it starts to leak. Stop the water straight away. Now here is the part you are not going to like, leave the water in the tub until it stops driping, you then know the level in the tub that the leak/hole is and can look at it from there.

      Over the years I have come across this problem and the cause was that the weight of the water pushed the tub down, but the trap was sitting on a beam under the tub, having no movement the tub pushed the plug and waste up and let water in under the seal.



      DISCLAIMER

      All advice is given with-out seeing the job, and hence all advice MUST be taken as advice with limited knowledge on the exact situation. NO responsibility can or will be taken. And yes, I am a licensed Plumber and Drainer with my own business in Brisbane Australia.
      Try visiting ….
      Macadamia nuts and Aussie productsProstate cancer kills 2600 per/year in AustraliaEcommerce books

    • #293360
      Robert Stephen Morton
      Participant

      Hey. has anybody thaught of the pump seal?
      Alternativly, hire a decent sewer camera with a rotating head so you can inspect all parts.
      I am quite willing to travel.
      Bob

    • #293361
      robertgf
      Participant

      ta’know i was going to say pump seal and i forgot to, however one time i saw a jacuzzi that only leaked from the seal when it was ran not merely filled with water

      » This message has been edited by robertgf on 10 December 2002

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