When you buy a foot spa, you expect a relaxing session as soon as you put in your legs. When one feature isn’t working, it’s a major disappointment. With the main features being the roller, heat, and bubble massages, we focus on what causes the failure of the latter and the solutions you should explore.
Among the causes of your foot spa not bubbling are blocked or corroded air jets; leakages; a bad relay, motor mechanism or air pump; or poor air inflow. All of these issues have their solutions which are quite simple and may not require the input of an expert.
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Why Your Foot Spa Won’t Bubble
The reasons behind your foot spa not bubbling include the following:
1. Blocked or Corroded Air Jets
The bubbles from your foot spa come up from the bottom upwards. They are generated by air blown into the water by the foot spa. If the air jets are blocked or corroded, they’ll not allow air to flow into the water and create bubbles.
The reason behind the blockage or corrosion can be the use of dirty water or substances with corrosive properties, such as Epsom salts. On the one hand, dirty water has sediments that accumulate in the water jets causing blockages. On the other hand, corrosion will lead to the collapse of the air outlets leading to blockages.
This type of issue is called a suction leak and can result in bubbles or sucking sounds on other parts of the foot spa but not where they’re needed. If the bowl holding the water leaks, the air pump’s air will be lost to the environment rather than going to the air jets. Unless the air is forced into the air jets, it’ll not bring out the bubbles from the jets.
3. Bad Relay, Motor Mechanism or Air Pump
This occurs when, after turning on the bubble massage function, you hear a humming sound, yet there are no bubbles coming out. The humming sound is often the faulty part struggling to pump air in but failing to get any into the air jets.
4. Poor Air Inflow
The air pump depends on the available air around it to pump air into the air jets and out into the bowl of the foot spa. If the air around it isn’t enough due to a restriction, it will, in turn, not pump out enough of it into the air jets.
A typical air pump on a foot spa is made up of a small piston(s) that pulls out to draw in air and then is forced in to push the air into the air jets. These stages occur quickly, such that you see the bubbles emerge continuously.
Any one or a combination of these issues can lead to the lack of bubbles from your foot spa.
How to Restore the Bubbles in Your Foot Spa
The solutions to the above issues are as follows:
1. Keep the Air Jets Clear
The easiest way to keep the air jets clear is to use very clean water for your massage sessions. Avoid using water with sediments at all costs. Always check whether your particular foot spa allows for use with Epsom salts. These salts tend to corrode some parts of the foot spa, especially if it’s not stated that it’s to be used with Epsom salts.
You should also create a routine to clean the air jets at least once each month. You simply drain the water from the foot spa and then prick each air jet with a needle. Fill it with water, then run the bubble massage feature to remove any sediments.
One of the easiest ways to keep dirt from the air jets is by cleaning your feet before putting them in the foot spa. Wash them clean, dry them with a towel, then put them in the foot spa for your massage session.
2. Seal Any Leaks
Leaks tamper with the effectiveness of the parts of the foot spa to the extent that most of the functions will not work. The solution to this is to identify the exact location of the leaks and then seal them up.
If the leak is on the side of the bowl of the foot spa or the PVC piping, you can use various methods, among them the following:
- Repair Epoxy
For PVC and most plastic materials, repair epoxy comes as a putty or liquid formula with the latter as a syringe. You can repair both joints and surface leaks with either of them. You simply dry the area, then apply the epoxy. Keep the area dry for at least 30 minutes before using it.
- Rubber and hose clamps
Using a combination of rubber and hose clamps for leaks in the piping system does the job quite well. You wrap the rubber around the damaged area, then tighten both ends with rubber clamps. This keeps the leaking area within the seal of the rubber, thus stopping it.
- Fiberglass wrap
A fiberglass wrap is a piece of fiberglass clothing with a coating of water-activated resin. You place it in water, then wrap it around the leaking section of your foot spa. Give it about 15 minutes to dry up, and you’ll be good to go. Ensure the wrap is at least 2 inches on either side of the leak.
- Silicone or rubber repair tape
This type of tape is wrapped around the leaking area and sticks on itself rather than the part you’re sealing. For this reason, you’ll need it to go all the way around it to create an overlap for a tight seal.
With these options, your foot bath should be ready for use in a short time.
3. Fix or Replace Broken Parts
If the air pump or other part is broken, check the manual for the foot spa to ascertain if it’s repairable. If not, you’ll need to call in an expert or simply replace it. Being small and averagely-priced appliances, most of the parts cost a few dollars and can take a very short time to replace.
However, the poor voltage sometimes causes a lack of bubbles in the air pump or motor. For this, simply check the circuitry and the power input. If your foot spa is complex, call for an expert to avoid damaging it and voiding the warranty.
4. Loosen the Screws on the Base
When the base of the foot spa is too tightly sealed, the piston for the air pump may not receive enough air for pumping to the air jet. You call let in some more air by releasing the screws on the base of the foot spa.
Flip it so the bowl faces downwards, then release the screws on the base through a 75-degree turn in the anti-clockwise direction. That’s equal to ¾ of a turn to the left.
This turn is just enough to let in the air yet still tight enough to keep the integrity of the foot spa.
You should make it a routine to clean the home foot spa at least after every use to prevent infections and other issues.
With these solutions, your foot spa should work as needed. If, after using all the options here, none works (or you’re not able to do either due to warranty issues or lack of tools), simply return the unit to the vendor and have it fixed or replaced. I provide the solution to a spa not heating water in another article.