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  • Writer's pictureAqua Warehouse

How To Drain A Hot Tub - 5 Ways to Empty, Clean & Refill your Hot Tub

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Hot tubs provide a suitable way to relax, wind down or deal with a long and stressful day. Since hot tubs give much enjoyment and relaxation, it is only fair that you provide yours with some care in return.

You don't have to do too much when it comes to hot tub maintenance. Just drain the tub, clean it, and refill it with fresh water. But how do you empty a hot tub?

We will give you some tips and instructions to ensure you drain your hot tub properly and keep it in optimal condition.

Why Do You Need To Empty Your Hot Tub Periodically?

Why Do You Need To Empty Your Hot Tub Periodically
Why Do You Need To Empty Your Hot Tub Periodically

Hot tub water should be drained at least every two months. This is because:

  • Every time you use a hot tub, the inorganic and organic chemical levels rise as the chemicals make their way into the water.

  • Things like perfumes, deodorant, lotions, and skin cells get into hot tubs during use.

  • You need to keep hot tub water clean by eliminating the built-up dirt and using additives like bromine or chlorine.

What Are The Signs You Need To Drain And Clean Your Hot Tub?

Some situations might indicate it's time to drain a hot tub. These include:

  • If you haven't used the hot tub in a long period

  • If you always use the hot tub

  • If you have had guests enter the hot tub

  • If you have tried every possible method and still the water doesn't become clear

  • If the hot tub starts giving off a bad or foul smell

In such cases, empty and clean the hot tub/spa. It is better to prevent a problem than need to look for a solution to it.

What To Do Before Draining Your Hot Tub

So, if you want to know how to drain a hot tub, several methods are available to follow, but you need to do one job before draining.

Flush The Hot Tub Plumbing Lines

You will need some plumbing cleaner, sometimes called a line flush product. It breaks down contaminants like biofilm and bacteria. You need to check with your local dealer for guidance on the amount you should use for the size of hot tub you have.

  • Pour the plumbing cleaner into the filter housing and allow it to circulate in the hot tub for about 20 mins.

  • You can leave it longer if it's the first time.

  • As the product begins to work, you might start seeing an unpleasant-looking foam appearing on the surface of the hot tub water.

  • It's not something to worry about, as the cleaning product extracts the biofilm from the deepest part of the pipes.

  • You should allow it to continue doing its work before cleaning the spa by hand.

What Are The Different Hot Tub Draining Methods?

Hot tubs/spas are investments that you need to take care of to ensure they continue working as intended. That's why you should remember the following information about how to empty a hot tub. Below are the different methods and steps to drain a hot tub. They will help you learn and understand how to drain a hot tub.

How To Drain Your Hot Tub Using The Drain Spigot?

Where Is The Drain Plug On A Hot Tub?

Every hot tub features a primary spigot for draining, and it can be found close to the bottom rim, which is just on the outer part of the spa.

Some models have two spigots. The primary spigot is for draining the hot tub/spa, and the auxiliary spigot is for bleeding the plumbing lines. If the primary spigot is located over a drain in the floor, leave the drainage valve opened and let the water flow directly into it.

However, if the drain is not nearby, attach the spigot to a garden hose and then place the other end into the drain, before opening the drain valve.

Using this method, most hot tubs/spas will be drained in about one or two hours. There might also be pools of water left depending on the contours of the hot tub. You can make use of a mop to remove any remaining water droplets.

How To Drain A Hot Tub Using A Submersible Pump?

You may want to use a submersible pump if you need to drain the hot tub quickly. Pumps force the water out quickly.

  • First, use the circuit breaker to cut off the power supply to the hot tub/spa.

  • Second, take the pump, attach an outflow hose, and lay the pump in the centre of the base of the hot tub/spa.

  • Finally, check and make sure the other end of the hose is located in the nearest drain.

If the drainage hose is too short, make it longer by attaching a garden hose. When ready, switch the pump on and let the tub/spa drain.

Always watch the pump to ensure it is safely draining and constantly drawing water. The pump might overheat if it is taking in too much air.

How To Drain A Hot Tub With A Hose?

If you cannot invest in a wet/dry vacuum or a submersible pump, it is still possible to drain a hot tub with a hose.

  • First, connect one end of the hose to a tap. Place the other end into the tub and turn on the water.

  • When the hose is filled with water, stop the water flow by bending the hose a bit.

  • Disconnect the hose from the tap and place that end of the hose below the level of the hot tub and then release the bend you made. The water should start flowing.

  • When the process is done, there might still be some small pools of water in the tub. You can use a dry rag to absorb the excess water.

Using A Wet Or Dry Vacuum

You can use a dry or wet vacuum to help drain a hot tub. This method is faster than using the drain spigot but is not as quick as a submersible pump.

Start by placing the vacuum hose into the tub/spa water with the other end connected to the vacuum. Switch on to prime the hose and let the water flow through the hose. Then turn it off and disconnect the hose from the vacuum. The siphoning process will then keep the water flowing to wherever you want to drain it.

Place the open end of the hose on top of a sewer or existing drain to let the water drain into it. When the water level is low, reconnect the hose to the vacuum to remove any water left. Don't forget to remove those little puddles of water.

How To Drain A Hot Tub Completely?

These are the steps to completely drain a hot tub.

  • First, switch off the power to the spa and locate the drain valve cap. You can find the valve cap for the drainage valve close to the base of the hot tub on the side.

  • Identify the type of drainage valve it is before connecting the garden hose.

  • Then, run the other end of the drainage hose downhill or on level ground to the desired drain.

  • If there are still puddles of water that you can't get, try using a wet/dry vacuum.

Where Do You Drain The Hot Tub Water?

In some cities, there are laws in place that make sure the water from a hot tub is drained into the sewers. In most cases, you can gain sewer access through a specific drain location in your area.

What if you don't have access to the sewer system? You can drain the water in your yard or have the water drained through a hose into the utility sink in your house.

How To Clean Your Hot Tub?

Everyone loves a clean hot tub/spa. By completing these simple steps, you'll have no problem keeping it sparkling clean. Follow this step-by-step guide after draining your tub to clean it thoroughly before refilling it.

  • Take out the filter and clean it with a hot tub filter soak or a filter cleaning spray.

  • Using a hot tub filter soak means leaving the filter inside for a day to purge and purify. If the dirt remains after 24 hours, it is time to purchase a new filter.

  • Thoroughly rinse the filter, ensuring no cleaning agent is left to prevent foaming.

  • Now, it's time to clean the outside of the hot tub. Choose a good cleaning product, and spray it on the hot tub. Focus on the places where bacteria and mildew might be growing.

  • Then, remove the grease and dirt using a non-scratch scrubber or soft cloth to wipe down the surface.

  • Make sure the surface is rinsed well and all the water drained, or you run the risk of having foamy water when you refill.

  • When rinsing is complete, check to see that the spa jets are open to lower the risk of water pressure issues caused by trapped air.

What To Clean A Hot Tub With After Draining?

The materials you can use to clean a hot tub include a hot tub scrubber, garden hose, and a high-quality cleaning solution.

How To Refill Your Hot Tub

These are the steps to take to fill a hot tub the right way.

  • First, close the ball valve and replace the tub/spa's spigot cap.

  • Then, locate the filter compartment and insert the hose into it before turning on the water. What this does is help prevent air lock and allow the plumbing lines to get filled appropriately. Make sure there is no excess water in the tub/spa.

  • Switch on the spa circuit breaker and proceed with the startup process, including adding sanitiser and other chemicals.

  • Make sure the air valves are turned off if you have any. Use the hose filter to avoid stains getting into the water.

  • Take note of the calcium hardness, alkalinity, and pH of the water and adjust if necessary to prevent any type of issue from arising.

  • Cover the hot tub and let the chemicals mix before heating the water to the desired temperature.

How Often Does A Hot Tub Need To Be Drained, Cleaned, And Refilled?

To ensure your tub is always ready whenever you want to use it, change the water frequently. Whether you are a new hot tub owner or have had one for quite some time, the answer to questions about how often you should drain, clean, and refill your tub will depend on how often you use it.

The general rule is to drain, clean, and refill a hot tub every three to four months. But if you don't use it often and do proper water and chemical maintenance, you might only need to drain your tub every six months. In general, it is better to drain it, clean and refill it more frequently than less often, even though people use their hot tubs in different ways.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Now that you know hot tubs can be drained using different methods, it is also essential to avoid some things. Avoid these mistakes to ensure that your drainage process is hassle-free.

Forgetting To Turn Off The Power

If you don't turn off the power before you drain the tub, you could end up spraying yourself and other people with water. The jets in the hot tub becomes exposed as the water level drops. Turning off the power is a bit of good advice to avoid damage to the tub/spa components.

Failing To Drain The Water To The Right Location

Be careful when draining your spa. You must ensure the water drains to the correct location. Don't drain your hot tub straight into a storm drain. The chemicals present in the hot tub water are harmful to insects, animals, plants, and grass. So check with your water company about where you should drain the water.

Utilising The Wrong Tools For Cleaning

Always use the appropriate tools to clean a hot tub. You can damage hot tub filters by using a pressure washer to clean them. Instead, use a drainage hose to get the job done.


Domestic hot tubs give you a soothing and relaxing experience that anybody would crave. Make sure you give your tub/spa the little TLC it deserves so that it always provides you with the relaxation you need.

Regularly drain the water, clean the filter compartment, and refill the tub with clean water. Some regular care will let you spend more time enjoying a nice soak rather than worrying about expensive maintenance services.


What Is The Fastest Way To Empty A Hot Tub?

Instead of using the drain valve, you can drain a hot tub faster by using a submersible pump. The speed at which your tub drains depends on the pump flow rate. Some pumps can drain up to 30 gallons of water per minute. Usually, a sensor on a submersible pump turns it off when the spa is completely drained.

Can I Drain My Hot Tub Into A Septic Tank?

We do not recommend that you drain hot tub water into a septic tank as the system is not made to handle that much water. Draining hot tub water in this way will agitate the solids and push them along the drain pipes, clogging them.

How Do I Get All The Water Out Of My Hot Tub?

It is simple and easy to empty a hot tub. You can use the hot tub drain valve at the bottom of the spa. Alternatively, use a standard garden hose or submersible pump to drain the water.

How Long Does It Take To Drain A Hot Tub?

Depending on the size of the hot tub and the method you use to drain, it could take anywhere from one hour to two hours.

Should I Drain My Hot Tub In The Winter?

If you have no plans to use the hot tub during the winter months, ideally, you should drain it. This will help prevent problems like unnecessary maintenance and algae growth. Plus, it reduces running costs.

Can I Drain My Hot Tub On My Lawn?

Draining your hot tub onto the lawn or patio could be harmful. Tub/spa water contains chemicals like bromine and chlorine that could discolour and kill your grass or plants.

Can I Drain My Hot Tub And Leave It Empty?

There is no problem in leaving a hot tub empty after draining it. However, it is important to drain it effectively and completely to ensure there is no remaining water left in the hoses and pipes.




Jess Court

I'm Aqua Warehouse Groups Marketing Officer - overseeing all things news worthy in the hot tub industry, with tips and tricks that are bound to make a splash.

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