How Often Do You Change the Water in an Inflatable Hot Tub?

Inflatable hot tubs seem like a great idea for a first-time hot tub owner. But for maintaining them, it’s not uncommon to wonder how often do you change the water in an inflatable hot tub?

Here’s what I know from changing mine:

You should change the water in your inflatable hot tub every 3 months. Changing it less frequently can result in cloudy, dirty water that requires more chemicals to be added and puts additional strain on your filter and equipment.

But there are times where it might be OK to wait longer between water changes. And there are things you can do to keep the water quality up in between changes as well.

Cleaning an inflatable hot tub is slightly different than with a regular tub.

Why? Because it is made of softer, less durable material. So if you want to know the best way to clean your tub, read on.

Do I need to change the water in my inflatable hot tub?

Yes. As with regular hot tubs, the water in an inflatable hot tub does have to be changed to maintain water cleanliness and the safety of those soaking in the hot tub.

Over time, even if you shower before getting in, the water becomes contaminated with:

  • Dead skin
  • Sweat
  • Oils from body lotions
  • Deodorants
  • Perfume
  • Debris (leaves, etc)

Most of this gets caught by the filter, so regular cleaning and changing of the filter will keep the water free from contaminants.

You should clean your filter at least every week and give it a deep clean every 2-3 weeks and change the filter every 1-2 months.

Permanent hot tubs can get up to 1-2 years of filter life. But inflatable hot tub filters are cheap and not nearly as durable, and more like the filters on an above ground pool.

In fact, if you’re really on top of changing the water, water chemistry, and filter maintenance, it’s not uncommon to get 2 years of life out of a hot tub filter.

Not changing the water regularly can lead to a build-up, and even adding an excess of bromine or chlorine may not keep the water sanitary enough to be totally safe.

If you haven’t bought your hot tub yet, in a recent article, I discussed whether inflatable hot tubs were worth it, so why not check it out before committing?

Just click on the link to read it on my website.

How long can water stay in an inflatable hot tub?

Inflatable hot tubs are designed to hold water as long as they are inflated. So it is not necessary to let them dry out. Simply change the water every 3 months to maintain cleanliness and sanitation.

If you are a regular user, say 2 or 3 times a week, and you like to use your tub all year round, you may want to leave the water in for up to 4 months provided you keep on top of the maintenance.

This begs the question of whether you can leave your inflatable hot tub on all the time?

Well, I looked into this and wrote about it in a recent article. I get into the pros and cons of that, how inflatables fare during winter, and if it’s better or worse on your electric bill to leave it on all the time.

Just click that link to see it on my website.

If it is just scum marks around the perimeter, you don’t need to empty the tub just for this. You can use white vinegar in warm water on a soft cloth to clean off these marks.

Scum is formed from sweat, skin flakes, and other body lotions that float along the surface, which is why you see a white line as the water level drops due to evaporation and use.

Do I change the water less often in a portable hot tub compared to an inflatable?

No. Changing the water in an inflatable hot tub should happen at the same frequency as a regular hot tub. Changing the water ensures water clarity and cleanliness, and the materials used to build the hot tub don’t affect that.

If anything, you may even want to change the water more frequently in an inflatable hot tub if it gets heavy use.

I say this because the filters on so-called portable (hard-shell) tubs are generally bigger and therefore collect more of the debris and waste material.

Inflatable hot tubs have smaller, more delicate filters.

If you forget to clean them and change them, the water quality will suffer, and you will see it getting cloudy. By changing the filter regularly, the water will remain clear and healthy for you and your family and friends to enjoy.

Filters for inflatable hot tubs often come in packs of 12, so there is no excuse for not having a fresh filter available. These can be cleaned and reused often, giving you at least 12 months supply.

With regular maintenance, checking pH and alkalinity, and balancing the water accordingly, there is no reason why you shouldn’t get three months or more between water changes, just as you would with a portable hot tub.

Remember, always unplug your pump and heater before emptying your hot tub.

How do you clean an inflatable hot tub

Clean an inflatable hot tub after draining, by wiping it down with a vinyl-approved gentle cleaner such as EcoOne and a soft cloth. Harsh cleaners could damage the vinyl, and soap products should also be avoided as they can lead to foam upon refill.

EcoOne is available on Amazon, has great reviews, and is all-natural, containing no harsh chemicals. But I’ll get into that in greater detail below.

You can drain your hot tub water onto your lawn.

But I recommend reading this recent article on my website first. There can be many contaminants in that water, not to mention chlorine or bromine, both of which can be harmful to your grass, trees, and plants.

You also have to be mindful of the fact that there will be around 250 to 300 gallons of water in your hot tub, and that will saturate your lawn, loosening the grassroots and damaging your plants.

Just click that link to read it on my site and get all the details.

Ordinary household products such as Windex can be used to clean your hot tub. But I recommend you look at this recent article on my website. After all, some household cleaners work great but can lead to foam when you fill it back up.

Just click on the link to read it.

You need to use a product that will break down scale, dirt, grime, scum lines, and other organic buildups. I recommend EcoOne shell cleaner – available on Amazon, just click on the link to view it on Amazon.

Because it uses natural ingredients, it is non-toxic, foam-free, and non-abrasive. That makes it ideal for the soft vinyl of an inflatable hot tub.

Once you have fully drained your tub, spray EcoOne onto the surface and wipe off with a soft cloth.

It is good for covers too, and because it doesn’t use VOCs or other harmful chemicals, it can be used indoors without the need for ventilation.

What’s the fastest way to drain an inflatable hot tub?

The fastest way to drain the water from an inflatable hot tub is by using a submersible pump, such as the EZ Travel Collection portable drain pump. This pump can drain up to 600 gallons in as little as 15 minutes.

CLICK HERE to check that out on Amazon.

But there are a few ways to drain an inflatable hot tub. The simplest way is by removing the pump and heater set and releasing the water from there through a hose pipe.

However, it is a slow process and can take over an hour to drain off over 250 gallons of water.

You can speed things along a bit by siphoning water off but be careful not to take in a mouthful of the wastewater. You can also use a bucket, but this is extremely labor-intensive.

This fully submersible pump is available on Amazon.

It can pump up to 2,000 gallons of water per hour, so a 290-gallon, 6-seater hot tub such as the Intex PureSpa will fully drain in less than 10 minutes.

This pump has a 400-watt motor and can be plugged into the same socket as your hot tub. Obviously, you won’t be running both simultaneously – and the overheat prevention mechanism will shut it off when the water level gets too low.

The strong impact-resistant casing gives it a professional heavy-duty feel, and it comes complete with a 25-foot long, 1½-inch diameter hose clamped to the outlet.

And if you later upgrade to a more permanent hot tub, this pump still works great! It’s the exact same pump I use on my hot tub and my above-ground pool.

CLICK HERE to check that out on Amazon.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how often to change the water in an inflatable hot tub?

Inflatable hot tubs are a great way of sampling that spa experience at a relatively low cost. However, they do need the same level of care and maintenance as a regular hot tub.

Look after your water, and your water will take care of you. If you fail to clean and change your filter, don’t add sanitizer as often as you should, and forget to shower before taking the plunge, then you will end up changing the water more frequently.

This is not only an expensive way to run a hot tub; it is potentially a threat to your health.

I hope this covers everything you wanted to know about changing the water in your inflatable hot tub, but if you have any questions, by all means, drop me a line, and don’t forget to click on the links to read associated articles on my site.


Photo which requires attribution:

Respite from Regularity by Vanity Mirror is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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