5 Common Problems with Foot Spas & How you can Fix them

So, you just sat down for a good hot soak in your foot spa after a long day. Work was tough today, but you’ve really been looking forward to using your foot spa to unwind. You grab your favorite book, sit in your most comfortable chair, plop your feet into the foot spa, and….it’s not working.

Maybe it’s not switching on, maybe the water just cools down too quickly, or the massaging rollers and bubbles lack their usual punch. Either way, you’re extremely annoyed at having been denied your relaxing foot soak.

But before you get too worked up about this, cursing the manufacturer and/or salesman who sold you this “faulty” appliance, take a moment to breathe and think. Sure, the appliance may well be faulty, but it might also just need a little troubleshooting before it’s right as rain.

And that’s where we come in. At reviewbites.com we make it our mission to tell you everything you need to know about foot spas, and that of course includes what you need to do if your foot spa isn’t working properly.

common problems of foot spa

1 – The Foot Spa isn’t switching on

Now don’t get mad at us…but have you checked if the power cord is properly plugged in?

I know, I know, that’s probably the first thing you thought to check, before you even googled “Foot Spa Troubleshooting” on your phone. Still, to err is human, and if you did by some chance miss this simple step, then you wouldn’t be the first, and you certainly won’t be the last.

More often than not, your foot spa not switching on is mostly a case of the power cord not being plugged in properly. Maybe you plugged it in and switched it on, but the connection’s really loose and the plug isn’t seated in the socket properly. Try adjusting it a couple of angles to see if that does the trick.

Or maybe the outlet itself is faulty. In that case you could try and plugging it in another outlet in your house to see if it works there. Or perhaps you’ve switched on the socket, but missed a power switch on the foot spa itself and just need to switch it on to start up the foot spa.

Only after you’ve exhausted these tips can you start blaming the appliance itself. With regards to the issue of not switching on, there’s really only two possibilities: the power cord may be broken somewhere along it’s length or where it connects to the foot spa, or the foot spa itself may have short-circuited for some unknown reason.

In the former case, you can still salvage your foot spa by taking it to a repairman to fix the power cord, or even DIY-ing it, but only if you have the proper skills, tools, and technical know-how. If your foot spa is short-circuited however, then that’s basically game over. You could still try and get it repaired, but it’s almost always more cost effective to just buy a new foot spa.

A telltale sign of whether your foot spa may have short-circuited is a burning smell from the electronics panel on it. If you do smell even the slightest bit of burning from your spa, immediately switch it off and pull the power plug out of the socket. You DO NOT want the smell of burning electronics and melting plastic polluting your house.

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2 – The water cools down very quickly

A fairly common complaint we hear about foot spas is that they don’t keep the water warm for very long. People are often disappointed by how quickly some foot spas lose heat, and are annoyed by constantly having to refill the foot spa with hot water every couple of minutes.

If your foot spa isn’t keeping the water as hot as you’d like, the first thing you need to do is understand the product you’ve bought. Not all foot spas are manufactured equal, so there’s bound to be quite a difference between a simple foot spa you can buy for under $15 and a premium model that costs upwards of $80.

Expecting a cheap foot spa to have the heating capabilities of a premium one just isn’t fair. And if you bought the cheap one thinking you’d get the premium heating experience, then we’re sorry but you’ve been had. While low-cost foot spas do have their perks, keeping the water warm for long periods sadly isn’t one of them, so you’ll just have to suck it up and change the water every now and then.

However, if the product you bought clearly advertises a heating feature on the box or manual, then it’s a different ball-game. These foot spas are supposed to keep the water warm throughout your usage, so you should definitely be concerned when they don’t.

Fortunately, it might just be that your foot spa isn’t set on the right heat setting. You may have accidentally lowered the temperature setting on the control panel, or may even have selected a preset spa routine on the appliance that runs on a lower temperature setting.

Resetting the temperature settings is fairly simple. There should be a pair of buttons on the control panel at the top marked “TEMP +” and “TEMP -“, or something like that. You can use these buttons to increase or decrease the temperature at which the foot spa will keep the water warm at.

Keep in mind, however, that most foot spas aren’t powerful enough to heat water up to begin with; they are only meant to keep it warm. So, don’t be disappointed if you poured in cold water and it hasn’t even heated up to your desired temperature after 5-10 minutes. Better to start off with hot water than to wait for your foot spa to heat it up for you.

3 – The bubble jets aren’t producing a lot of bubbles

We’ve heard a lot of complaints about foot spas with bubble massagers, and almost all of them revolve around the bubble jets losing their kick after a while. And while there definitely were a few exceptions, in almost every case we were able to solve the problem with a little troubleshooting.

When it comes to bubble jets in a foot spa not properly working, there are 4 major causes:

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A) The air jets are blocked or corroded:

Obviously, if your air jets have been blocked or corroded, they’re bound to be inefficient when producing bubbles for your foot bath. Blocked air jets are actually a fairly common problem with foot spas, and it’s only a matter of time before your foot spa has this problem too.

Air jets can get blocked for two main reasons: Sediments from dirty water or the dirt that is washed off your feet can accumulate over time to block the air jets at the bottom of the foot spa. Or maybe you like to take your foot baths with Epsom bath salts, which have a tendency to corrode your air jets over time.

Regardless of how your air jets got blocked, clearing them is fairly simple process. All you need to do is drain all the water from your foot spa and then prick each air jet hole with a needle. This should dislodge any sediment or corrosion blocking the outlet, after which you should fill the foot spa with water again and run the air jets to push all the sediment out. Throw away this water, and you’re good to go.

Of course, it would be best if you could just avoid blocked bubble jets to begin with. To make sure you don’t have to spend a tedious half an hour cleaning your foot spa, always make sure to wash your feet before you soak them in a foot spa, and to always use clean, sediment-free water. You should also check whether it’s safe to use Epsom salts with your foot spa, by consulting the product manual.

B) Suction leaks

If you can hear odd sucking noises or see bubbles coming out of areas where they shouldn’t, your foot spa is probably suffering from a suction leak. These can happen when the bowl holding the water has a leak, and the air inside the pump is lost to the environment instead of being pushed through the air jets.

Your best chance of solving this problem is identifying exactly where the leak is on your foot spa and sealing it up effectively. Depending on where the leak is and how big it is, you can seal the leak with the following items:

  • Repair epoxy: Can be used on joints and surface leaks. Comes in a putty form or liquid in a syringe. Dry area before application.
  • Rubber and hose clamps: Can be used on stopping leaks on the piping system. Wrap the rubber piece around the leak and then tighten the seal with rubber clamps.
  • Fiberglass wrap: Can be used on both pipe and surface leaks. It is a piece of fiberglass clothing with a coating of water-activated resin, so you’ll need to soak it in water for a minute before applying it. Use a piece big enough to sufficiently cover the leak and let the wrap dry for 15 minutes after application.
  • Repair tape (silicone or rubber): Can only be used on pipes. Because it only sticks to itself, you’ll have to wrap it around itself several times to seal the leak.
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C) Poor air intake:

Another reason why your foot spa’s bubble jets are performing poorly could be poor air intake by the air pump. The pump might be working its hardest to push air out of the jets, but with no proper inlet to suck air in, it just can’t do a good enough job.

To solve this issue, you can try and loosening the base of your foot spa to allow more air into the air pump. Flip the foot spa over to face the bowl downwards and locate the screws fixing the base to the foot spa. Turn each screw three quarters of a revolution anti-clockwise; this should be enough to let air into the bottom of the foot spa and the air pump to work properly again.

D) Bad relay, motor, or air pump:

A bad relay, motor, or air pump is often the culprit if on turning the bubble jet feature on you can hear the motor humming, but the foot spa isn’t producing any bubbles. The humming noise is proof that a faulty component inside is making your foot spa struggle to produce any air bubbles.

In this scenario, you almost always have to take your foot spa to a repairman, since you really don’t want to void your warranty or risk creating a bigger mess by trying to repair your foot spa on your own. Luckily, these parts are rather cheap and easily replaceable, so you may not have to pay more than a couple of dollars to get your foot spa working again.

Before you take it to the repairman, however, do check if the issue isn’t simply with the voltage supply. Low voltage will make the motor run weaker, so be sure to check your mains before you spend a dime on repairs.

4 – The vibrating massagers aren’t working or are too weak

After bubble jets and heating, the thing most people often complain about are the weak massagers on their foot spas. Massaging rollers are supposed to enhance the experience of using a foot spa, so when they fall short of expectations, people are bound to be annoyed by them.

Much like the heating feature, however, you really need to be careful about what product you’re buying. Cheap foot spas may feature massaging rollers at their base, but they are mostly non-motorized, meaning you’ll have to rub your feet on them on your own. And even if they are motorized, you really can’t expect them to be phenomenal in their operation.

With premium models though it’s a different story. You pay good money for these foot spas, so it’s only fair they deliver on an excellent massaging experience.

If your foot spa massagers are too weak or they aren’t working, the first thing you should try is fiddling with the controls. Odds are you’ve set the rollers to a weaker setting, or have perhaps activated a preset spa treatment that has a lower massage setting by default. Consult your manual on how to work the control panel and your rollers should work fine with a little tweaking.

If this doesn’t work, however, you might have to take your foot spa in for repairs or claim the warranty if you have one. Alternatively, if the rollers are the only part of the foot spa that isn’t working properly, consider buying a separate foot massager; it may be a cheaper option for you in the long run.

5 – The foot spa is spilling and leaking water

The last thing you want after enjoying a long, relaxing foot soak is to clean up a puddle of water off the floor when you’re done. Even if it’s very small, a leak in your foot spa can be a real nuisance: you’ll constantly have to refill the foot spa with water as it drains out, and when you’re done, you’ll still have to mop up the floors (and pray no one slips and hurts themselves before you can!).

We’ve already talked about how you can fix a leak in your foot spa; after you’ve located it, you can seal it yourself using the appropriate method:

  • Repair epoxy: Can be used on joints and surface leaks. Comes in a putty form or liquid in a syringe. Dry area before application.
  • Rubber and hose clamps: Can be used on stopping leaks on the piping system. Wrap the rubber piece around the leak and then tighten the seal with rubber clamps.
  • Fiberglass wrap: Can be used on both pipe and surface leaks. It is a piece of fiberglass clothing with a coating of water-activated resin, so you’ll need to soak it in water for a minute before applying it. Use a piece big enough to sufficiently cover the leak and let the wrap dry for 15 minutes after application.
  • Repair tape (silicone or rubber): Can only be used on pipes. Because it only sticks to itself, you’ll have to wrap it around itself several times to seal the leak.
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As for water spilling out of the top of the foot spa, your only recourse is to fill it up with water no higher than the recommended level. If you want a deeper soak, then we’re afraid you’ll just have to invest in a bigger foot spa.

Other than that, you can avoid wet floors by simply placing the foot spa on a large folded towel before you put your feet in. That way any water that spills out will be automatically absorbed by the towel and you won’t be left with a big mess to clean up later on.

And with that we’ve covered just about all the troubleshooting tips for a foot spa. But don’t despair if you’re forced to buy a new foot spa in spite of all these tips; just use our buyer’s guide for the best foot spas in 2021 to make sure you get the best product this time around.

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