How to Drain, Clean and Refill Your Hot Tub

We know that your hot tub is your pride and joy. And why wouldn’t it be? Hot tubs are fun, they’re a great way to socialize and entertain, and they boast a plentitude of fantastic health benefits. What’s not to love?

To make sure your hot tub remains in tip-top condition, it’s important to observe the appropriate maintenance practices. That way your hot tub can keep gleaming and bubbling away to your heart’s content. It’s time we learned how to properly drain, clean, and refill our hot tubs. And don’t worry. It’s not difficult at all. In just a few steps, you’ll be ready to soak and relax in the comfort of your hot tub once more.

The key to a healthy, happy hot tub is regular cleaning to eliminate buildup of contaminants. Not sure where to start?

Don’t you worry. In this article we will be discussing everything you need to know about hot tub care best practices and laying out our step-by-step guide to draining, cleaning, and refilling your hot tub.

The Importance of Changing Your Hot Tub Water

Cleaning your hot tub is extremely important. Not only for maintain the condition of your hot tub, but for your own health too. When water sits in a hot tub for a long period of time, it starts to take on different contaminants. Even if you’re regularly treating your hot tub water with a chemical sanitizer, that water needs to be changed and freshened up eventually.

Many contaminants which you may (and some which you may not) expect, can end up in your hot tub water. Contaminants such as:

  • Lotions and creams
  • Makeup and cosmetics
  • Hair products (e.g. hairspray/ gel)
  • Sweat and bodily oils
  • Traces of urine and fecal matter

Do not be alarmed. The presence of contaminants is completely normal and nothing to worry about. You just need to make sure that you’re prepared to clean your hot tub on a regular basis.

With time, these contaminants travel into your hot tub’s inner plumbing, filtration systems, and pipes. This creates a bacterial layer called biofilm.

Everything You Need to Know About Biofilm

So, a bit more about this biofilm business. If you’ve not heard of Biofilm before, here’s the lowdown.

Biofilm is produced when bacteria and fungi build up in internal pipes over time. When common contaminants reach your pipes they breed and produce a biofilm layer that resists common cleaning products and chlorine.

Common signs that your hot tub is developing biofilm:

  1. The water becomes increasingly cloudy or murky
  2. Your hot tub water starts to smell 

Biofilm becomes stronger and more resistant with time. So we want to be draining and cleaning our hot tubs and pipes regularly to prevent this from happening.

All said and done, let’s delve into the important stuff. How to drain, clean, and refill your hot tub in a few simple steps.

How to Drain, Clean, and Refill Your Hot Tub

A Step-By-Step Guide

So, it’s time to clean your hot tub. Luckily, draining and cleaning a hot tub is quite straightforward. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be good to go in no time at all.

Preparation: What you’ll need

Make sure you’ve got all the necessary equipment ready before you start cleaning.

You’ll need:

  • A garden hose – make sure it can reach between your hot tub and the nearest drain
  • Clean rags or cleaning cloths
  • Hot tub shell cleaner

Some people choose to use a submersible pump instead of a hose. Submersible pumps are specifically designed for pumping water. They are most often used for draining flood water and cleaning out any large vessel of water – that could be a pond, a pool, or (in our case) a hot tub. 

Step 1: Drain

It’s time for the first step. Drainage.

Before you do anything else. Turn off the power. We don’t want any electric shocks thank you very much.  

This is essential for removing that layer of biofilm and any of that nasty bacterial buildup. We recommend using a designated flush product to do this. These solutions are specifically designed to combat biofilm head on. And it’s super simple to use. Simply add the specified amount to your hot tub water approximately 20 minutes before draining. You may notice a foaming effect as the cleaner takes effect.

It’s time to make a choice. Gravity versus power.

The cheapest way to drain your hot tub is to connect a standard garden hose to the hot tub drain outlet. Gravity will empty the water naturally (just make sure your hose is connected to a drain). This option usually takes a few hours depending on the volume of your particular hot tub.

The fastest way to drain you hot tub is to use power. A pump will empty your hot tub in minutes. Run the pump and turn it off as soon as the water has been empties to avoid motor burn up.

Quickfire rundown – hose drainage

  • Turn off the power
  • Find your drainage spigot
  • Attach the hose to the spigot running the other end down to a drain
  • Open the ball valve and drain the water

Quickfire rundown- pump drainage

  • Turn off the power
  • Place pump inside the hot tub
  • Connect pump outflow hose to a drain
  • Turn on the pump and let the hot tub drain
  • Turn off the pump and remove from the hot tub

Step 2: Clean

The draining is done. It’s time to get down and dirty. We need to clean the filter and the hot tub shell.

First clean the filter. We recommend using a specialist filter cleaning spray diluted in water. Grab a bucket of water (approximately 20 liters) and add the specified amount of cleaning product. Submerge the filter in the bucket for 24 hours and hey presto- a sparkling clean hot tub filter. Remember to rinse your filter before replacing it.

Next, clean the hot tub shell. This means a top to bottom surface clean. Spray down your hot tub using a hot tub cleaning product (you may also wish to use alternative cleaning products like diluted bleach or vinegar). Get into all of the corners – this is where bacterial and mildew like to hang out. After a deep scrub, rinse down your hot tub.

Whilst you’re at it, we recommend cleaning your hot tub cover and cabinet as well.

Top tips for a sparkling clean hot tub:

  • Always shower and rinse off prior to soaking in your hot tub
  • Tie hair up before entering your hot tub (this prevents contamination from oils and soap-based products)

Step 3: Refill

Now that everything is looking spic and span, it’s time to refill your hot tub and start enjoying it again. Before refilling make sure your breaker is off. Use a garden hose to refill your hot tub. Fill your hot tub from the fill pipe. This prevents air bubbles from forming and causing an air lock in your pipes. Check your owner’s manual as this should indicate the intended re-fill location.

You may wish to use a hose filter when refilling your hot tub. A filter will remove impurities and sediment, improve overall water quality, and reducing mineral buildup in your hot tub.

Quickfire rundown – refill:

  • Turn off your breaker
  • Turn off air valves
  • Apply a filer to your garden hose
  • Attach a garden hose to the fill pipe (check the owner’s manual)
  • Refill

When Should You Clean Your Hot Tub

How regularly you need to clean your hot tub will depend on many factors, including how often you use your hot tub and how often you maintain it.

If you’re using products such as chlorine, saline, or bromine, your hot tub will maintain itself and keep clean for months. But after three or four months (depending on usage), it’s time to give your hot tub a much-needed clean.

Cleaning (even if your hot tub looks clean) is essential for mitigating the damage and bacterial build-up caused by biofilm.

Signs that your hot tub might need a clean, include:

  • Your hot tub smells bad
  • The water is murky or unclear
  • You’ve been using your hot tub more than usual
  • You’ve not used your hot tub for a long period of time

Start Looking After Your Hot Tub’s Health Today

Hot tubs need regularly cleaning to keep running at their best. Every three to four months, your hot tub will need a spring clean. And that means draining, cleaning, and refilling your tub. Our experts here at Aqua Paradise are always here to help. Visit us in-store at one of our many locations or contact us via our website. Plus for tons of information about all things hot tubs and hot tub maintenance, why not check out our blog and online resource center? We’re here to help with all of your hot tub cleaning and maintenance needs, so don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

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