A jetted bathtub has two main system components: plumbing and pumping. Either or both may fail and require repair. The task of gaining access depends on which mechanical part of the system failed and the tub's location inside or outside of the home. Some repairs may be made without an access panel, but if you need to get to the pump or plumbing you will need access from below the tub or its surrounding sides.
Locate Your Problem: Inflow or Outflow
Fill the tub with water to investigate the cause of your whirlpool's problem.
If no water is entering the tub, repair your plumbing supply line problem as you would any faucet in your home.
Follow the steps below to create an access panel if making the supply line repair requires access under the faucet and you do not have it.
Look for leaks when the tub is filled with water. Determine if possible if the leaks are coming from the main drain, the overflow drain or from another location. Search for leaks below the tub via a crawlspace or basement or under your deck if the tub is outside.
Follow the wet trail where it leads you as best you can. The main drain and overflow drain are connected and often can be repaired in place with plumbing access found below the tub.
Locate Your Problem: Pump or Water Jets
Ruling out the drain lines draws your focus to the seals around the water jets. They may be of a type that can be repaired or replaced externally but often you will need to create an access port.
Start the whirlpool pump with the tub full.
If you hear no sound at all, your problem may be electrical. Troubleshoot the electrical supply line for obvious problems.
If the pump is making a laboring or straining sound and yet little or no water is circulating, you have narrowed your search to the pump or its water jet lines.
Listen carefully and determine the approximate location of the pump under one side of the tub. You will need to gain access to repair or replace the pump and/or to flush the water jet lines from the pump.
Determine Your Best Access Point
There are three ways to access your pump: from underneath floor, through an opening in the tub's wall-surround sides or from inside a closet or an adjoining wall from another room.
Make an observation port. Drill a pilot hole large enough for your saw to be inserted and work properly. Cut a hole into the drywall or floor large enough for you to see behind it with your flashlight.
Locate the pump. You either have found the correct location or you may need to adjust where you cut your access port based on your findings.
Use a pencil and straight edge and mark the outer boundaries of the access port in the form of a square for easier renovation after you have repaired your jetted tub. Mark your access port with sufficient height and width to maneuver within with tools in your hands or to completely remove the pump if that becomes necessary.
Saw through the wall or floor creating your access port when you have a hole directly in front of the pump. Trim away jagged debris with your matte knife. You may wish to lay a towel or rug over the lower edge to prevent scrapes or uncomfortable physical diversions.