Hopefully, you didn’t think that once you filled your hot tub, it would never need to be drained. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Hot tubs and spas need to be drained from time to time for a variety of reasons. The process of draining your hot tub is not all that difficult if you follow the proper steps.
Draining your hot tub can go horribly wrong if you are not sure what you are doing. Take a look at our guide to help you understand everything you need to know about how to drain a hot tub.
Why Do I Need to Empty My Hot Tub?
Your hot tub or spa is kind of like a big bathtub. Every time someone gets into your hot tub, they will be rinsing off whatever was on them and leaving it in the hot tub water. The hot tub water then circulates through the filtration system, and the pipes and bacteria and biofilm will start to collect.
The plumbing system and the hot tub will eventually need to be cleaned, despite using a sanitizer, so that your water can indeed be clean. If you could see some of these bacteria in your spa water, you may want to go through this process more often.
Sanitizing spa chemicals and regular cleaning will do wonders to keep the filter and hot tubs clean, but sometimes draining and complete cleaning is necessary.
The sooner you take care of the sanitation and spa maintenance, the sooner you can get back to the enjoyment of the spa experience knowing your hot tub is clean and safe.
When and How Often Should You Drain a Hot Tub?
Your hot tub will likely let you know when it is time for hot tub maintenance. There will be signs that the water is starting to need to be replaced. Sometimes you may notice that the water has a film or a foam. Other times you may notice a smell coming from the water in your hot tub. If you have reached this point, there is no question it is time to drain the hot tub.
It is a good idea to drain the water in your hot tub quarterly regardless of the type of condition your spa is in at the time. Draining the water is not a project that will be over complicated, but you must make sure to schedule a time to get it done.
Where to Drain Hot Tub Water
If you drain your hot tub in the wrong area, you can create quite a mess in your yard. The first part of this process is to make sure that you keep water away from your home. If you leave the end of the hose near the edge of your home, it could cause flooding in your home.
When your hot tub is draining, you will want to keep moving the end of the hose. If you move the water around the yard, it will be easier to keep it from pooling and flooding. In some areas, you may not be able to drain the water from your hot tub into the yard.
Some areas require you to drain your hot tub water into the sewer system. If this is the case where you live, you can use the garden hose to connect to the sewer system and drain the tub water this way.
How to Drain a Hot Tub (5 Steps)
Step 1: Treat the Plumbing
Before you start draining the water, you must treat the plumbing lines of your hot tub. If you do not treat these before draining, there will be no way to do it after the fact. Use the plumbing cleaner that you can purchase for your hot tub and allow it to clean the tub.
You will notice that your hot tub water may get dirty, bubbly, and have a nasty film on it. This is entirely acceptable, and you won’t have to worry because the next step is to drain the tub.
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Step 2: Drain the Hot Tub
You can use the spa drain on your hot tub to start to release the water in the tub. You can also use a submersible pump to empty the water. A submersible pump is going to be a faster way to drain the water. If you use the spa drain, it will take hours, where a submersible pump may take just a few minutes.
This process will take a bit of time, but you will need to wait until there is no water left until you can start the next step. Don’t walk away until the hot tub is empty.
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Step 3: Clean the Hot Tub
While there is no water in the hot tub, you will want to do quite a bit of cleaning. At this point, you will want to clean and soak the hot tub accessories like the vinyl liner, hot tub filters, the pump, spa jets, and the shell of the hot tub as well. Look at the hot tub parts where bacteria, algae, and mildew can build up. Many people will also work on cleaning the top and outside of the tub to ensure that everything is clean.
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Step 4: Refill
Once your hot tub is cleaned, it is time to refill your hot tub. This draining and cleaning process can be time-consuming, but it will be worth it. When you are ready to refill your hot tub, you must ensure that you stay by your hot tub. Keep the clear water in the tub and ensure that the water level does not get too high.
Step 5: Check Chemicals
Once the water level is back to where it should be, you need to check the chemicals in your water. Depending on where you live, the water quality can change, and you may have to add certain hot tub chemicals or minerals into the pure spa water.
How to Clean a Hot Tub
When you have gotten all the water to drain out of your spa tub, you need to set up a deep cleaning. We recommend using a vinegar and water solution to spray and scrub down all surfaces of the spa. The vinegar and water will strip any bacteria or biofilm accumulated on the walls of the spa.
When you clean your outdoor hot tub, you need to ensure that all surfaces have been wiped clean. You can use household cleaners specifically built for outdoor hot tubs, but you will want to rinse it all before refilling the hot tub. Don’t forget to clean the hot tub filter as well. This can be done by soaking it for 24 hours in a 5 gallon bucket filled with water and a filter cleaner product.
If you have used hot tub cleaner on the spa surfaces, you will create bubbles and foam when you refill it.
Having trouble with your hot tub? Check out our hot tub troubleshooting guide where we cover the most common 11 issues!
How to Refill a Hot Tub
Refilling a hot tub can be a bit of a slow process. The most important thing is to make sure that the circuit breaker to the tub is still turned off even when you are refilling the spa. Turn the power to the hot tub off before you start this process and keep your hot tub off the entire time that you are working on it. There is no reason for the power to be on when you clean your hot tub.
When you are refilling, you will have to keep an eye on the end of the outflow hose not to leave the spa at any point. Make sure that the spa drain is fully closed before you start filling the spa with the hose.
How to Drain a Hot Tub FAQs
How Do You Drain a Hot Tub With a Hose?
You can connect a garden hose to the spa drain and use gravity to help water release from the tub. Pool care using a garden hose can take a lot of time, and the hose will need to be moved around often to prevent flooding.
Can You Drain Hot Tub Water on Grass?
If you let the chemicals in your hot tub dissolve before you drain the water, you can disperse it on your lawn. Water with a lot of chlorine in it can kill your grass.
How Do You Completely Drain a Hot Tub?
Some people will be able to do that by using a hose, gravity, and maybe a bucket or two at the very end. The easy way to do this is to use a submersible pump. You can use a small pump when working with a spa as it is not all that much water to drain. These small pumps are not expensive and will come in handy.
Where Is the Drain Plug on a Hot Tub?
The drain plug is going to be at the bottom of the central panel of your hot tub. The other spot that you could find it is in the corner of the hot tub. Always make sure the circuit breaker to the tub is off before you start draining.
Draining and Cleaning the Hot Tub the Right Way
When your hot tub is drained and then cleaned, you will feel better about the water finally being clean. This can be done in your leisure time. To drain and refill your spa, you can plan on spending a few hours, but your water will be more sterile than it has been in the past.
Anyone thinking about owning a hot tub should also consider purchasing a hot tub cover and a good protectant for it as well. Heavy waterfall from rain could affect the water chemistry and total alkalinity level especially if you don’t have a spa cover. For water testing, you can use a test strip to check the chemical levels in your hot tub. Keep the cover on when the spa is not in use.
If you have been using the tub a lot or notice the water does not seem sparkling and clean, it is time to fill it with fresh water. Stick to this quarterly, and you will be pleased with the condition of your spa and able to get back to relaxation in no time.
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.
Pricing on this page was last updated on 2022-10-01