Some whirlpool tubs don’t come with a panel for easy access. When fixing such a tub, you should start with determining whether the problem is with the pump or the plumbing.
A jetted tub comes with two main components, which are the pumping and plumbing. One of the components or both of them can fail and demand repair.
Gaining access to the problem to fix it will depend on the mechanical part that has failed and whether the tub is located outside or inside your home.
Some tub repairs can be easily made without having to go through the access panel. However, if you want to access the plumbing or pump, then you’d need to access them from below or the surrounding sides of the tub.
Locating an Outflow or Inflow Problem
First, allow the tub to fill with water. Then inspect the source of the problem with the whirlpool tub.
In case water is not entering the bathtub, you’ll need to check the water supply line. Maybe the plumbing requires some repair.
If repairing the water supply line requires access beneath the tub and you don’t have access to it, then go to the next steps to learn how to create a panel for accessing the supply line.
Fill the tub with water and check for leaks. If possible, check where the leakage is coming from, maybe from the overflow drainage or the main drainage, or some other location.
Also, check for leakage below the bathtub. This can be done by checking through the crawlspace or from the basement. In case the bathtub is located outside, check for leaks from beneath the deck.
Upon spotting any wetness, trail it to its closest source. The overflow drain and main drain are usually connected together. They’re repairable from below the bathtub through a plumbing access panel.
Locating a Water Jet or Pump Problem
If you rule out the plumbing lines as the source of the problem, then you should focus on the seals surrounding the water jet.
Some types of seals are repairable while others require replacement externally. You’ll probably have to create a port to access the seals.
Next, ensure the tub is full and start the pump.
In case you fail to hear any sound, then you’re probably having an electrical problem. In this case, troubleshoot the power line feeding the pump for any issues.
In case the pump sounds like it is straining or laboring with little water circulation or no circulation at all, then your problem might be with the jet lines or pump.
Next, listen keenly and try to approximate where the pump is located below the tub at one side. You’ll need to access the area where the pump is located to either flush the jet lines or to replace a faulty pump.
Determining an Access Point below the Tub
There are three possible ways of accessing the pump. You can access it from below the floor, from an adjacent wall of another room or within the closet, or from the wall surrounding the sides of the tub.
Create a port for observation. Drill a hole through the selected spot. The hole should be large enough to fit the saw and work it.
Next, create a hole through the floor or drywall. This hole should be large enough to allow you to view the area behind it using a flashlight or bright torch.
Now try to check where the pump is located. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll easily find it. If you fail to locate it, then adjust the access point.
Get a straight edge tool and a pencil. Use them to mark the exterior boundaries on the area you found as the access point.
The marking should be square-shaped to allow for easier refilling after doing the repair.
The access point should be marked with sufficient width and height for easy maneuvering within it while working with your hands and tools or if you’ll need to remove the bathtub pump.
Take a saw and cut through the floor or wall to create an access panel upon seeing the pump through a hole. Trim off any jagged debris using a matte knife.
If you wish, lay a rug or towel on the bottom edge to avoid any physical diversions or scrapes.