Softub problems: Top 10 Common Issues and Solutions

softub

This article covers some of the more common problems that can occur with softub baths. If your problem is not listed, please feel free to contact them by email or phone and they’ll be glad to assist you. 

Just when you do your research on what type of hot tub is right for you, there is another issue that arises with Softubs in addition to the already-known problems. 

Some of these issues with Softubs are minor annoyances, while others can be very serious problems.

These largely depend on how well the individual softub owner takes care of their spa before encountering these issues.

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It’s important to note that every one of these issues mentioned in this article have been encountered by many different Softub owners — so even if your problem isn’t listed below it doesn’t mean that you’re alone.

You may still be able to troubleshoot and fix some of the issues yourself in order to save money, but if not then you can always contact your local hot tub repair company for assistance.

If you want to know what it SHOULD sound like before checking anything, make sure you’ve listened to the whistle and gurgle file in the files section of this site.

1. Problems with the Softub’s Floor

Issues:  The most common problem that is reported by users of the Softub is that it has a slight slant or slope to its floor. Some are even more extreme but are still within normal tolerances for linear variation in pool liners due to compression.

Solution:  Unibond says this is usually caused by incorrect leveling during installation or an uneven base has been chosen on which to install the spa (e.g., grass). 

It can also be caused by excessive loading if there are too many people using the tub at once; having sharp heavy objects inside the tub; or incorrect operation of the spa (e.g., top heavy users spending too much time at one end).

The problem is easily solved by adding extra ballast to that side of the spa to counteract the effect of water displacement.

2. Air Loss

Issue:  When I turn on my Softub it takes a long time for the air pressure gauge to reach around 1 ATM (atmosphere absolute) and stay there.

After about 4-5 days, the air pressure goes down again. Is this indicative of an issue?

Solution:  No, this is perfectly normal behaviour. The Softub is designed to work on a ‘gravity fed’ system. During normal operation, air will escape from the spa through its overflow/return and top up the pressure as required. The air pressure in the spa does not need to remain constant or at 1 ATM (0 bar).

3. Broken Handrail / Side Handles

Issue:  The handrails and side handles of my Softub have broken – what can I do?

Solution:  You may be able to buy replacement handrails and side handles directly from your local dealer or alternatively contact Unibond Ltd, who manufacture the spas, directly.

For a high quality replacement part that is not manufactured by Unibond, contact Aqua Spa Supplies Ltd for a suitable handrail and handle set.

4. How to Rebalance the Spa if it Tends to Lean to One Side

Issue:  Sometimes my Softub leans towards one side – is this due to a fault with the tub?

Solution:  No, usually this is caused by incorrect leveling during installation or an uneven base has been chosen on which to install the spa (e.g grass). 

It can also be caused by excessive loading if there are too many people using the tub at once; having sharp heavy objects inside the tub; or incorrect operation of the spa (e.g., top heavy users spending too much time at one end).

If you suspect this, try to place some extra ballast on that side of the spa to counteract the effect of water displacement.

5. Softub and Solar Gain – Will it be Damaged?

Issue:  I’m thinking about putting my new Softub in a sunny spot and wondering whether I’ll damage its structure if it is exposed to direct sunlight for several hours each day?

Solution:  No, there will not be any long-term damage to the Softub’s structure if it is exposed to direct sunlight.

However, there may be some slight warping of exterior plastic items due to solar gain (e.g., louvres) which would cause an unsightly blemish on the appearance of your spa.

6. Ice Formation in the Spa

Issue:  I’ve heard that ice can form inside a soft tub when I switch off my spa at night – is this true? And what causes this problem?

Solution:  The only time that ice could form inside your Softub is during winter months when ambient temperatures dip below 0° C (32° F).

The water in the spa will normally be at a temperature of about 36°C (97° F) but if the surrounding air temperature falls to -1.5°C or colder it can freeze, causing ice to form inside your spa. 

This is because:

  • An ice lens will start to form on the surface of the water when it cools below 0° C and,
  • That ice will expand as it freezes, pushing against any adjacent walls until they are pushed outwards due to the sheer force being applied. 

7. Something came loose while I was using my spa

Issue:  Something fell off while I was using my Softub. What should I do?

Solution:  No action should be required unless you can identify what has fallen off or if anything inside the spa is damaged. If there are any loose items remaining in the spa, turn off the power switch to ensure that no-one will come into contact with them when using the spa again. 

Call your local dealer for advice on installation or repair or alternatively contact Unibond Ltd, who manufacture the spas, directly at their head office in Droitwich Spa, UK.

8 . How do I Test my Water Chemistry?

Issue:  How often do I have to test my water and how am I supposed to test it?

Solution: It’s up to you how often you perform water tests but most customers do it once or twice a week. Testing is very simple and easy to do, even for beginners.

Customers don’t need any equipment other than the testing strips that are supplied with your spa when new (if you did not receive these please contact your dealer). 

Simply take two or three drops from the test tube that comes with each strip into either one of your spa’s filters or into a glass of fresh water taken directly from the tub.

Then wait for three minutes until all chemicals have fully dissolved before comparing the colour on the strip with the square on the instruction sheet that came free to print or alternatively use this website’s colour chart.

9. How can I avoid getting water in my eyes?

Issue:  I keep getting water in my eyes when I’m using my Softub – what am I doing wrong and how do I fix it?

Solution:  Your spa has a very large surface area so there is a lot of splashing involved if you happen to be within range. It comes as standard with a water treatment system which helps reduce unwanted discharges such as body waste and sweat but also reduces the amount of chlorine required so there is less stinging on your eyes. 

Also, try wearing swimming goggles to avoid getting splashed when you are in the spa – they can either be purchased at any online or high street retailers for around £5/$10.

10. Unibond Leaks?

Issue:  I hear that Unibond spas come with a lifetime warranty but what if I find a leak – who should I contact and how can it be fixed?

Solution:  If you discover there’s a leak in one of your spa’s filters then please refer back to this article in Step 4 (above). Most leaks are usually caused by cracks in one of your filters, so please check this first. 

If the filters are fine then there may be a problem with either the pump or the plumbing that connects it to your spa’s filter system.

Contact Unibond Ltd and they’ll help guide you through what steps you need to take next – if any spare parts are needed, they will arrange for them to be dispatched as soon as possible.

SYMPTOMCAUSESOLUTION
Cloudy WaterExcessive organic contaminants or lack of sanitzerpH or total alkalinity out of balanceDirty FilterCheck and adjust sanitzer level with Softcare ChlorTest water & adjust pH and total alkalinity using Softcare pH Up or pH DownUse Softcare Filter Renu
Chalky White ScaleHigh mineral content in water due to calcium build-upCheck water balance & adjust
Cloudy Green WaterLow sanitizer levelCheck and adjust sanitizer level with Softcare Chlor
Clear Green WaterDissolved copper or iron in spa waterAdd Softcare Metal Gon to sequester minerals in water and check pH level
Brown WaterHigh iron or manganese contentAdd Softcare Metal Gon to sequester minerals in water and check pH level
OdorExcessive organic contaminantsCheck and adjust sanitizer level with Softcare Chlor
Eye/Skin IrritationChloramines or excessive organic contaminantspH or total alkalinity out of balanceCheck and adjust sanitizer level with Softcare ChlorTest and adjust pH & total alkalinity
Scum Deposit on WaterlineOils, lotions and detergents from bathersUse a scrub pad and baking soda to remove deposit
Excessive FoamingBuild-up of body oils, cosmetics and detergents from bathersAdd Softcare Defoam and Softcare Chlor as needed

How do I ensure my softub maintains its heat?

When first filling up your hot tub it’s important not to use boiling water as this could cause a sudden drop in temperature afterwards — using lukewarm tap water is a better solution but make sure you test the temp beforehand with a thermometer. 

The best solution for maintaining heat is to purchase several heating systems designed specifically for inflatable spas which you can place underneath or on top of your outer shell.

The benefit of these kinds of systems is that they work independently from any power source and maintain the ideal temperature without ever having to add additional chemicals.

What size pump should I use in my Softub?

It’s important not to overwork your pump when using an inflatable hot tub and considering that most pumps are designed for spas in residential homes, they can easily become overloaded when pumping out large volumes of water. 

The best solution is to purchase a larger pump made specifically for inflatable spas which will properly circulate the water throughout the interior — this should help with keeping it clean AND also keep any debris or foreign objects from getting lodged inside.