A Guide To Draining Your Hot Tub

Having a hot tub is a great way to relax and soak your troubles away, but this luxury comes with some responsibility. Since hot tubs are small and enclosed, they can get grungy pretty quickly, and you have to drain and clean them often. Here’s a complete guide to help you drain your hot tub so you can keep it clean and fresh all year long.

A hot tub should be drained every 2-3 months, or more often if it’s used frequently. Hot tubs come with drainage valves, so all you have to do is open the valve and let the water drain out. You may need a hose if your tub isn’t near a drain gutter. A submersible pump can speed up the process.

Every time you use your hot tub, you leave behind dead skin, oils, and sweat, which builds up over time. Even if you think your hot tub looks clean, it’s probably full of bacteria. Draining and cleaning it is the only way to get rid of the gunk, so let’s take a closer look at the when, why, and how of draining a hot tub.

How Do You Drain a Hot Tub?

Close-up of wooden hot tub

Draining a hot tub is a pretty simple process; you just have to turn off the power and open the drain spigot located near the bottom of the tub. But you should know a few things before attempting to drain your hot tub.

First, the location of your hot tub makes a difference in how easy it is to drain. If your hot tub is near a drain gutter, you can simply open the drain spigot and let the water run out into the gutter.

But if it’s not, you’ll need to hook up a garden hose to direct the water away from your home. The built-in spigots are mostly small, so it takes a while for the tub to drain fully.

If you want to speed up the process, you can use a submersible pump to help remove the water. This is especially helpful if your tub is big or located in a difficult spot.

What Should You Do Before Draining a Hot Tub?

Start your preparation by reading the owner’s manual for your hot tub. Each model is different, and you want to make sure you understand the process before beginning. Once you’ve read the manual, gather the supplies according to the instructions. You’ll need a garden hose and/or a submersible pump.

Add the cleaning solution to the water and run the jets for 15 to 20 minutes to help dislodge any dirt or debris that may be stuck in the pipes. Now you’re ready to begin draining your hot tub. But before that, turn off the power so that no one accidentally turns on the jets while your tub is empty.

What Supplies Do You Need to Drain a Hot Tub?

Here is the list of supplies that you’ll need to drain your hot tub:

A Garden Hose

If your tub isn’t near a drain gutter, you’ll need a garden hose to direct the water away from your home. A normal hose will work fine; just make sure it can be fixed to the drain spigot securely.

A Submersible Pump (Optional)

A submersible pump (on Amazon) can be helpful if you want to speed up the draining process. These pumps use suction to remove the water from the tub, so they work well even if your hot tub is in a difficult spot.

For example, if your tub is placed below your house’s sewer system, the normal spigot and hose will not be to drain the tub into the sewer. You can either buy or rent the pump from a hardware store.

Wet Vacuum (Optional)

If you have a wet vacuum (on Amazon), you can attach it to the water spigot and then connect a hose to the vacuum. This will produce suction and increase the water flow out of the tub. Or you can also create siphon action by placing the end of another hose in the hot tub and then plugging it into the vacuum to start draining through an extra hose.

Cleaning Solutions

If you’ve decided to drain the tub, it’s the best time to give it a good cleaning. Add a good hot tub cleaning solution (on Amazon) to the water and run the jets for 15 to 20 minutes to help dislodge any dirt and clean biofilm from the tub sides.

If you have hard water issues or it’s been a while since you’ve given a deep clean to your tub, you may want to use a jet cleaning solution (on Amazon) to flush out the plumbing line. This will help remove any build-up in the pipes and clean jet internals.

Others Tools

  • Clean rags: Have a clean rag or some paper towels on hand to handle spills or in case you need to clean something up while you’re working.
  • Bucket: You’ll need at least one bucket to hold cleaning solutions.
  • Sponge: A sponge can help dislodge any dirt or debris stuck on the sides.
  • pH balancer: With all the chemicals and cleaning solution added, the tub water becomes highly acidic in nature and can damage the things it comes in contact with (plumbing, concrete, plantation, etc.). Therefore, you must neutralize the water with a pH balancer (on Amazon) before draining it out, especially if you’ve vegetation around your tub.
  • Owner’s Manual: Make sure you have the owner’s manual by your side as each model is different, and you want to ensure you understand the process before beginning.

How to Use the Drain Valve

Hot tubs have built-in drain valves to make draining easy. The drain valve is located outside the tub, near the bottom — look near the deepest part of the tub. Some tubs come with two drain valves, one for draining the main spa and the other to empty the internal lines.

The type and structure of the valve may vary from brand to brand. Some have a round knob that you twist to open or close the valve, while others have a lever-type handle.

Some high-end manufacturers set up these drain valves inside small compartments for aesthetic reasons, so you may have to remove a panel first to access the valve. The owner’s manual can guide you to the location of the drain valve.

Once you’ve located the drain valve, it’s time to begin the process. If you intend to clean the tub, add the cleaning solutions to the water now and run the jets for 15-20 minutes. This will help loosen dirt or grime built up in the tub. Then turn off the power to the tub at the breaker box.

Most hot tub valves are equipped with a spigot so you can attach a hose to it and direct the water into a sewer line without creating a mess. If your tub is already near a sewer line, you can simply open the valve and let the water drain out.

Otherwise, hook up the hose to the spigot and put the other end into a floor drain or septic sewer line. Now open the valve and let the water begin draining out.

Hot tub valves are small, so it can take hours before the tub is completely drained. Use a submersible pump if you want to speed up the process.

How to Use a Submersible Pump

If you have a rather large hot tub or don’t want to wait hours for gravity to do its work, a submersible pump can help you drain the tub quickly. A submersible pump will take 15 minutes to do what a drain would do in 2 hours.

To use the pump, start with the same procedure as above. If you want to add cleaning solutions, do so now and run the jets for 15-20 minutes. Then turn off the power to the tub at the breaker box. Next, get your submersible pump; it will have an intake vent and a discharge vent.

Attach your hose to the discharge vent and place the other end of the hose in a drainage hole or sewer. Plug the pump’s power cord into an outlet and put it in the deepest part of the tub, ensuring the intake vent is completely submerged.

Once the pump is in place, turn it on and let it do its work. The water will start flowing out of the tub through the hose. You can leave it running until the tub is completely drained, but make sure you turn it off as soon as the water level goes below the intake vent.

The pump will start making a weird noise and can overheat if it sucks in the air for too long. Remove the hose and the pump once the tub is drained.

How Often Should You Drain Your Hot Tub?

View of the open working hot tub

On average, you should drain and clean your hot tub every 2-3 months. But the frequency should be adjusted depending on a few factors like how often you use it, how many people use it, if the water is maintained well, if you live in an area with a lot of hard water, etc.

If you’ve got a big family and everyone loves taking a dip in the hot tub, your tub will accumulate a lot of dead skin cells, hair, oils, and other contaminants, so you’ll need to clean it more frequently.

On the other hand, if you keep a check on the chlorine and pH levels, the water may not get dirty as quickly.

Another important factor is the size of your tub. Smaller tubs get dirty faster than larger tubs as the water to contaminants ratio is higher. So, if you’re a smaller tub, you may need to clean it every month.

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