It’s that time of year…the weather’s getting cooler, the kids are back in school, and everyone’s closing their pools for the winter. With the change in seasons comes an increase in hot tub use, so it’s also time to think about maintenance.

Even if you keep up with regular spa maintenance, it’s important to drain and clean your spa regularly; spa chemicals, body oils, and non-organic materials like hair products and lotion can build up over time and cloud the water. Now is the perfect time of year to drain and clean your hot tub so you can start fresh before the cold months come.

“How often should I drain the water in my hot tub?”

Our customers frequently ask us how often they should be draining their hot tub. Other sources will give a complicated calculation to figure this out, down to an exact number of days. To make it easy, we generally recommend you drain and clean your hot tub at least every 3 to 4 months.

You’ll get a good idea of what’s necessary for your specific spa once you’ve owned it for a while. It’s possible you may need to change the water more frequently – if your son’s football teammates often come over to soak after practice, for instance! At the very least, you’ll know that your water needs to be changed if it looks or smells off to you.

How to Drain and Clean Your Hot Tub

The process for emptying your hot tub may vary slightly depending on the model. Check your owner’s manual for exact instructions, or let us know if we can help!

Before Draining


Flush the Plumbing

The day before you plan to drain your hot tub, you’ll want to flush the spa jets and lines with a spa purge product – we recommend Simple Purge. Remove the spa filters before using this product, and be sure to follow the directions on the package. Don’t be alarmed at any gunk that might surface during this time – brown or black buildup in the water is a normal result of the purge process.

Disconnect the Power Source

Safety first! Once the spa purge has run its course, turn off the circuit breaker for the hot tub. It would not be good for the spa’s pumps and heater if the hot tub began running without water it.

Prepare to Clean the Filters

You might as well clean the filters during the time you’ll be waiting for the spa to drain. We recommend using Simple Blue Filter Cleaner Tabs. Submerge the filter in a bucket of warm water with the tablets for at least one hour. If the filter is especially dirty, you may soak the filter for up to 24 hours. Make sure to follow any cleaning directions for your specific type of filter.

Drain the Water

You can drain your hot tub by using a garden hose. You could also use a submersible pump, which will drain the water more quickly. Either way, make sure to direct the water toward the street or into the yard – wherever there will be proper drainage.

If you’re using a hose, locate the drain valve on your hot tub and connect the hose, then open the valve to start draining. When as much water as possible has drained, remove any leftover water with a wet vac. It’s also a good idea to hold the wet vac to the jets to suction any remaining water out of the plumbing.

Clean the Tub

Once the tub is drained, give the shell a good cleaning. We recommend using BioGuard’s Off the Wall surface cleaner.  Add the appropriate start-up chemicals prescribed by your Owner’s Manual. Balance the alkalinity and pH using the appropriate chemicals as quickly as possible to keep water clean (and get you back to soaking)! After cleaning and rinsing the tub thoroughly, using the wet vac again if necessary, make sure the drain valve on the hot tub is tightly shut.

Refill the Tub

Before refilling the spa, pour a full bottle of Fresh Start evenly around the spa’s edge. Put the filters back in place, then use a hose to refill the tub. Once the tub is full, turn on the power supply and run the spa for a full 24 hours.

Remove the filters again after this 24 hour period and give them a rinse to remove any of the metals that might have been filtered out since the Fresh Start was added.

Add the Proper Startup Chemicals

Bring a sample of your spa’s water to a local Zagers store to be tested, and adjust the pH, total alkalinity, and total hardness as needed. Insert a new mineral cartridge in the filter. Pour half teaspoon of SpaGuard Chlorinating Concentrate into the hot tub for every 100 gallons of water.

Allow the water to circulate with the new chemicals. Wait for the chlorine to test at a safe level (ideally between 1 and 3 ppm) before enjoying a soak in your spa’s brand new water. Turn on jets and pump and ensure they are working properly. If you notice any strange noises, don’t wait! Contact your hot tub dealer right away.  Finally, once you have drained, wiped refilled and treated your hot tub, it’s time to kick back and relax in your freshly cleaned tub. After all that work, you deserve a little relaxation!

As always, if you have any questions about hot tubs or hot tub maintenance, we’re here to help. Contact Zagers and let our hot tub professionals get you the answers you need.

Other Considerations for Fall Spa Maintenance

A couple more things to consider while we’re in fall maintenance mode:

Do You Need a Replacement Hot Tub Cover?

Before winter comes, it’s a good idea to clean and check the condition of your hot tub cover. Signs you might need to replace the over include any waterlogging, unpleasant smells, damaged hinges, or damaged vinyl on the cover, or the water not staying warm when the tub is covered. Zagers can custom order replacement hot tub covers to the exact dimensions of your tub to ensure a tight fit; just let us know what you need!

Closing and Winterizing a Hot Tub

If you don’t plan to use your hot tub over the winter months, a proper closing will be crucial for avoiding damage throughout the season. We recommend you allow our team of experts to winterize your spa rather than doing it yourself, as there’s a risk of the tub freezing and being ruined if this process is not done correctly.

If you’d like to schedule spa maintenance or a drain and clean appointment with a Zagers spa technician, contact us today. We’re always happy to help with your pool or spa!