How To Drain An Inflatable Hot Tub & How Often Should You?

Inflatable hot tubs offer a unique and easy way for someone to experience a hot tub, but like any hot tub ownership, it requires maintenance. One of those steps includes changing the water. Doing so maintains a healthy experience for everyone involved.

There are three ways to drain a hot tub: opening the drainage valve, using a shop vac siphon, or a submersible pump (which is probably fastest). A hot tub needs to be emptied every two months when the water gets cloudy, develops an odor, generates foam, or when the TDS exceeds 1500 ppm

Being a responsible hot tub owner is important, and sometimes we can forget simple maintenance steps. However, draining the water is vital to maintain the health of the hot tub, its filters, and the people that use it. Changing the water can be easy and painless if you know what to do.

How Do You Drain an Inflatable Hot Tub?

Inflatable Hot Tub

Draining an inflatable hot tub is an integral part of its maintenance that should be performed regularly. Learning to do so correctly can make it run smoothly and efficiently, with the least amount of problems.

  1. Disconnect the hot tub from any electrical power sources.
  1. Remove the filter system housing.
  1. Cover the debris screen with the stop caps through the hot tub pipes.
  1. Remove the pump itself.
  1. Connect the lower water pipe, which can be found on the outer part of the hot tub, to the hose adapter.
  1. Since chemicals are involved, ensure the other end leads to a safe place for drainage, usually away from plants, flowers, or animals.
  1. Uncap the lower valve to let the water flow out.
  1. Once emptied, gently scrub the inside of the hot tub to remove particles and chemical residue. Remember to clean the cover lids and other accessories that come in contact with the water.
  1. Wash the hot tub with fresh water, allowing it to empty as well. Avoid using soap or detergent; use water purifiers and rinse thoroughly before refilling the hot tub with clean water.
  1. After cleaning the hot tub, remove all external hoses and close the valves.
  1. Pump in fresh water through the inflatable valve and add the required chemicals.
  1. Put back the lids and heat the water through the double heater component. 

What Is the Fastest Way to Empty a Hot Tub?

You can go about draining a hot tub in several ways besides just letting the water flow out of the valve. Most of the quicker ways require purchasing additional equipment, but if the draining is time sensitive, it might just be worth it.

Submersible Pump

The fastest way to drain a hot tub is by using a submersible pump (on Amazon). The speed at which the hot tub can be drained depends on the flow of that specific pump.

If the pump can remove 30 gallons of water per minute, roughly 1,800 gallons an hour, it will be incredibly fast, considering the average hot tub holds 450 gallons. With that speed, the hot tub could be drained in 15 minutes instead of several hours of free-flowing from the open valve and piping.

Submersible pumps generally include a sensor that automatically shuts off when the water is emptied. This prevents the need to constantly watch the pump work and allows you to hook it up and come back sometime later.

Or, you can use your time more efficiently and take that 15 minutes to clean the hot tub filter and other accessories. 

There will be a small amount of water left in the bottom of the hot tub that the submersible pump can’t reach, which can easily be sucked up with a wet/dry vacuum or manually removed. 

Shop Vac Siphon

Another method for faster hot tub emptying is using a wet/dry shop vac (on Amazon) to start a strong siphon.

To use this method:

  1. Drop one end of the vacuum hose into the hot tub and connect the other end to the wet/dry vacuum.
  1. Turn the device on for a few seconds and let the hose prime to get a flow moving. 
  1. Once you have suction, turn off the vacuum and quickly disconnect the hose so that the water continues to flow out at an increased volume instead of opening the hot tub valve. 
  1. While the hose is draining the water, you can use the wand end of the shop vac to remove any dirt or debris on the floor or seats of the hot tub. 
  1. Once the water level is too low for the siphon to pull any more, hook the hose back up to the wet/dry vacuum and manually remove the last few inches of water. 

This method is not as fast as the submersible pump, but it will empty the average-sized hot tub in a few minutes. The larger the hose diameter, the quicker the water will move, and the faster the hot tub will empty. 

How Often Should You Empty an Inflatable Hot Tub?

Private Jacuzzi

Draining an inflatable hot tub is an important part of maintenance that needs to be done frequently. You can go by several indicators to determine when it needs to be done.


Two months is generally the time in which hot tub water is good. At that two-month mark, chemicals will need to be added, which is a good time to change the water. The risk comes when people don’t think the water is dirty because it could still be clear or hardly used. 

However, the longer that water stays standing and in use, the more germs will accumulate and can pose health risks to anyone that uses it. Emptying the water at two months and adding a fresh batch of chemicals is a good way to maintain the water at a healthy consistency. 

Cloudy Water

A visible sign that the water needs to be changed is when it becomes cloudy or muddy looking. Before emptying it, you can always try adding some chlorine and some coagulants to see if the water returns to normal. If it doesn’t, it is a good sign to empty and refill the hot tub.


If the water starts to smell bad or different, then that could be a sign that the water needs to be changed. Foul water means that it has been contaminated with germs or some other substance and is no longer hygienic to use. Try adding some disinfectant chemicals to purify it and if that doesn’t work, change the water. 


Foaming water is another sign that the water should be emptied. You can try adding a foam remover or de-foamer, but if there is still a film on top of the water, you need to change the water and start fresh.

Testing the Water

It’s always a good idea to test the water regularly. If it comes back with high TDS (total dissolved solids), you will likely need to change the water. A good indicator is anything above 1500 ppm that requires the hot tub to be emptied and refilled.

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