Doing a quick search in the forum reveals a ton of threads from people with broken and leaking Gemmy Bubble Foggers. As much delight as these little machines bring, they often break with very little use. I wanted to create this "home base" thread to post solutions and repair suggestions from forum members. I might do a tear down how-to as well after the season.
These units almost always leak out fog juice from the base. Part of the issue has to do with the terrible build quality of these machines. So there are multiple leak points that develop rapidly upon first use. But the other issue that's unavoidable is that the fog filled bubbles tend to land on the machine and create wet patches on and around the unit. One of these issues can be remedied, one is just a case of poor design due to the built in fan not pushing bubbles out far enough. Below are some common and more easily accessible leak points along with suggestions for repair. I'm currently addressing a leak on my unit (pictures below). After pulling the unit apart and reading other posts here in the forum, there appear to be threemain leak points: The fog juice container in the back of the unit, the connecting tube between the fog juice container and the air bubble producing container. and the hole in the air bubble producing container. My own fogger is having an issue with the tube that connects the fog and air bubble containers. Below are pictures along with suggested fixes. Please offer up your own solutions as well in the replies.
Here is a picture of the back of the unit with the metal backing pulled up and over the fog juice container fill hole. Many people report that their foggers leak from the indicator window pictured. However, the indicator window is actually just a hole in the metal that is pushed up against the plastic fog juice container. If we remove the metal backing with indicator window all the way (see next picture) we can see that any leaks in this area are actually just leaks in the flimsy thin plastic fog juice container itself.
This second picture shows the plastic fog juice container. If you have any leaks in this container (especially along the seams that happen to run parallel to the fog juice indicator window), I would recommend sealing with caulk or some other permanent water proof construction sealant. Hot glue works ok, but it doesn't stick to damp plastic very well over the long run. Hot glue might work for very small holes in the container. Note the small tube on the right that connects the fog juice container to the air-bubble chamber part of the fogger. This tube connection is a second common source for leaks.
In this picture you can see a close up of how this tube connects to the air-bubble chamber on the right. The small tube easily can be disconnected from the fog juice container on the left or the air bubble container on the right. You can see in the picture that I've added a zip tie to the jog juice container side of the tube to prevent leaks there. In my case, when I opened my fogger, I found that the connecting tube was completely separated from the air bubble container on the right, likely causing a slow dripping leak. WARNING: when you open up your fogger in the back, it's likely that you will actually cause this disconnect to occur because the back metal plate fits over the fog juice container hole during construction. Removing the back plate forces the fog juice container to pull back from the connecting tube, and the tube itself is held to the air-bubble chamber with weak glue. It's a pretty horrible design as the tube is not securely fastened to the containers, and over time will surely separate. I believe this is an extremely common problem with these units. Unfortunately, using a zip tie on the air bubble container side of the tube is not an option because the space is too tight and the angle is too severe. Hot glue also doesn't work here as well because the plastic tubing is wet and very non-porous, so the glue just slides right off and does not bond with the plastic. My current repair attempt involves using liquid nails epoxy on the tube. You might also try caulk or something similar that forms a strong water proof seal with plastic. It's important to use a very strong epoxy for this repair because reassembling the unit requires pulling and contorting the fog juice container into place. If the repair isn't strong, you will immediately reintroduce the leak during reassembly.
This picture shows my messy repair of the tube that connects the chambers.
The picture below shows what I believe to be the most common cause of leaks in bubble foggers. The air bubble producing container has a copper rod that's attached to the fog heater. The rod runs into a small hole in the bottom left of the air bubble container. I believe the way fogging/bubbling system works is that the air bubble container sucks fog juice into itself while the copper rod heats up to create the fog. This small hole in the air bubble container is the source of so many leaks because the air bubble container pulls in some fog juice while it's working, and any jostling or movement of the bubble fogger while there's any fog juice in it will cause the excess fog juice to leak out of this hole and make its way all over the bottom of the fogger. I'm pretty sure the hole in the air bubble container is by design, but it's a pretty poor design. So my best advice is that you only fill your fogger once you have it in its permanent seasonal location, and then try not to fill the fog all the way to the max line. This prevents excess juice from making its way into the air bubble container on its own. Also, do your best to drain the bubble fogger at the end of the season rather than let fog juice sit in the unit. There's no way to avoid spillage from the air bubble container because as soon as the unit runs for a bit, there will always be some leftover fog juice in the air container. Word to the wise: always keep your bubble fogger level!
- Broken Bubble Arm
The other common complaint with these units is a malfunctioning bubble arm. Usually the symptoms are obvious: the fogger turns on, the fan runs, but the arm never drops into the bubble fluid. Other signs that the arm is broken is a very loud noise coming from the arm that sounds like a clogged fogger. Of course, in this case the arm doesn't move at all as well. Inconsistent arm movement (going down but not up) also indicates a gear problem. Finally, if you can manually move the bubble arm up and down (don't force it at all) with zero resistance, then you have a broken gear. I do not currently have pictures of the gear assembly for the bubble arm, but the issue is almost always a broken or stripped plastic gear in the housing. EDIT:See my post from 1/9/16 for a picture of one of the broken gears (there are three that control the arm movement). Unfortunately, finding a replacement gear is probably unlikely. I have not heard of anyone being able to repair a stripped gear in these units. If you have successfully repaired the arm, please post in this thread. I will update this post with a how-to teardown and as more issues are identified and resolved. Hopefully this helps some of you out there before the big day next week.