Hookahs Hookahs

Hookah troubleshooting: My rotating hookah seems to be leaking, how do I fix it?

Here's a quick fact about Rotating Hookahs: They make the perfect party hookah!  Why?  Have you ever had a group of people over at your place, sitting around your hookah, and it tips over because some klutz tugged on the hose a little too hard? And then the coals burn a hole in your favorite berber rug you got at that flea market in Des Moines? I bet you it wasn’t a rotating hookah. When it comes to the ease of passing the hose from person to person and in general sturdiness, it doesn’t get any smoother than with a rotating hookah. There’s a good reason many hookah lounges use them!

So back to the topic of this blog.  Suppose you have a rotating hookah and you're not getting enough smoke out of it.  You're doing everything right but something seems amiss.  The most common problem is that there's a leak in the seal, and it's actually pretty easy to fix.   Here I present to you how to diagnose a leak, how to fix it, and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.

First thing, remove the bowl, tray, and hose(s).  With one hand, you’ll want to plug up the top hole with your thumb. What you do with your other hand depends on the kind of rotating hookah you have:

Auto-seal Rotators: Unscrew all of the hose adapters (including the release valve cap if you have one) and remove the BB’s. Be careful not to lose them! Now screw ONE hose adapter back on (without the BB). You’ll then want to take your fingers and firmly place them over the remaining holes where the BB usually sits. If you’ve got more holes than available fingers, you can also use tape.

Non auto-seal Rotators: Use your rubber stoppers to plug up all but one port (on multiple-hosed rotators). If you have a single hose rotator with a release valve, unscrew the valve cap and place your thumb over the hole.

Now this is going to look really strange if you happen to be alone and someone walks in on you, but what you want to do is blow through the remaining hose port. Ideally, with all available air holes blocked by your fingers (or stoppers), there shouldn’t be any give at all. If you feel air escaping around the edge of the glass, you, my friend, have an air leak. Don’t panic! Fixing the leak simply takes a few extra, easy steps:

1. Unscrew the center shaft from the “hub”, and then unscrew the hub from the top of the glass. This is best done with a friend. Make sure you grip the glass firmly with both hands while the other firmly grasps the hub, and twist. Be careful!

If you don't happen to have a friend with you, wrap the base in a towel and place it between your knees.

DO NOT grab the hub by the hose connectors. This will put stress on them and may cause them to loosen, or even snap off (D'oh!)
2. Once you get the hub off, you’ll see the black rotator grommet. This is what needs to be adjusted to secure the seal. It should be positioned towards the bottom of the threads as seen in the picture.

Now all you’ll need to do is screw the hub back on, and in the same manner as you got it off. It’s important that you screw it on as tight as possible - the tighter it’s on, the stronger the seal will hold. Once again, be careful! Repeat the ol’ “plug and blow” test. If everything went according to plan, you should have an air-tight rotating hookah ready to smoke!

Keep in mind that you’ll only need to do this once, if at all.    Once a firm, air-tight seal has been established on your pipe, you won’t need to unscrew the hose hub again (whew!). Water can be changed by pouring it in and out of the center hole in the hub (where the center shaft screws in).  Ta-da!

As always, happy smoking!

Comments (5) -

  • Here are couple more little tips on how to fix a leaky hookah. Wish i had pictures but unfortunatly i do not. Welp first off, the type of hookah i have is very similar to the one shown above. I have a 2 hosed lunar. As stated in the article above, the most delicate part of the hookah is the hose adapters. After having my hookah for almost 4 years now, the hose adapters are starting to become just a little loose(i am verrry careful with them). There seemed to be a tiny leak where the hose connector meets the center metal hub of the hookah. This tiny leak, while hardly visible to the naked eye, is just enough to cause a significant drop in air pressure inside the hookah, making it a bit more difficult to get a good large drag. So what i did, is i found a non toxic hot glue, and a hot glue gun. i even emailed the company to make sure the glue was non toxic(They emailed me some sheet with the different possible hazards of the product, and how to prevent the hazrds). I washed off and dried the area that i was to glue. then i made a small ring of glue around the bottom of the hose connects to cover up the leak. No glue actually went inside the hookah, and the has smoke never tasted different or plasticy at all. Vwala!!! It now is 100% airtight sealed! And the glue dries clear, so it is hardly noticible, just be careful to make a nice neat glue ring around the hose connector, because hot glue dries really quick and becomes stringy, and you dont want a bunch of glue strings stuck all over your hookah. The best part is, if you screw up, you should be able to peel the hot glue right off, and try again! And once you are satisfied with your gluing repair, it should last for quit some time! I repaired my leak a couple years ago, and the glue looks just the same, and the hookah is sealed just as well! Hope this helps out some fellow hookaists! Enjoy!
  • A common problem that many people do not realise when they have a bad hookah that it is simply air getting into the shisha vase and as you have explained how to fix this problems making all the seals on the hookah are air tight. good post.
  • I have a four hose supernova, and over the past couple of months water has accumulated in the space between the threads of the hub and the glass bowl. I thought it might be a leak in the bowl grommet but it wasn't that. I tried adjusting water levels but it still gets a little water in the space. The only solution I have found is overloading the glass bowl with ice so the water is pushed down. Any suggestions?