How Often Should You Drain and Refill a Hot Tub?

Drain and Refill a Hot Tub lg

One way to ensure your hot tub is ready to go when you are is to change the water regularly. As a new hot tub owner, you’ve probably wondered how often should you drain and refill a hot tub?

Here’s what I’ve learned in owning 4 of them:

As a general rule, a hot tub should be drained and refilled every three to four months. But infrequent use in addition to proper water and chemical maintenance could stretch that to every 6 months.

However, since how people use their tubs differs, how often it gets used and how many people use it are also big factors in whether you should air on the 3 month side or up to 6 months. But more frequently is always better than not often enough.

The above is just the beginning. Let’s check out a lot more.

What is the best way to drain a hot tub?

The best and the fastest way to drain a hot tub is to use a submersible pump. A submersible pump will drain a large hot tub in approximately 15 minutes.

But that’s not the only way to do it.

A hot tub can also be drained using its spigot (its drain valve) and a hose. However, the second option could take 2+ hours before all the water is drained out. The third option is using a wet/dry vacuum.

We’ll check out how to use the submersible pump and the garden hose.

But make sure you cut off the power supply before you use any of the methods because you don’t want the jets and the pumps to be active while you’re draining the hot tub.

How to drain using a submersible pump

The Professional EZ Travel Collection Submersible Drain Pump on Amazon is the submersible pump that I use. It can pump up to 2,000 gallons of dirty water in an hour. 

So it only takes about 15-20 minutes when you use it to drain your hot tub. It comes with a drain hose, hose clamp, and an automatic float shut off feature.

The hose is 25 feet, so you can put the other end in a part of the yard where the water won’t damage the plants and the foundation of the house.

It is very easy to operate and is completely submersible. It’d automatically shut itself off when the water level is too low to feed the pump.

It is durable, rust-proof, and has a strong impact-resistant casing and a carry handle that makes it very portable. It’s an Amazon choice product that’s got almost 200 ratings, and almost all are 5-star.

CLICK HERE to check it out. It’s worth its weight in gold.

You simply drop the pump in the hot tub and put the other end of the hose in a safe part of the yard. It doesn’t have an on or off switch. But it’s got a sensor that alerts it as soon as I put it in the water.

So, it starts working automatically the moment it’s completely submerged. It drains out the water and shuts itself off once it gets to a low level.

You should then have a wet/dry vac to remove the rest of the water. This last part is something you’d also have to do even if you will be draining with a garden hose.

Remember to cut the power off before you use any of the methods.

How to drain using a garden hose

Simply connect the garden hose to the hot tub’s spigot (its drain valve).

Some models have two spigots. Use the primary valve to drain out most of the water and the secondary one to drain the internal bleed lines.

But don’t worry if you only see one. Just hook up the hose and drain it.

Carefully attach one end of the hose to the spigot. Keep the other end of the hose downhill or on level ground and open the ball valve on the spigot, so the water can drain out.

Depending on your hot tub’s model, it will probably take you 2 hours or more.

Curious about whether you could use a shop vac to clean your tub?

Luckily, that’s what I explored in a recent article of mine. In it, I explained that you could, and why in 1 crucial way, it’s indispensable.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Where should you drain hot tub water?

If the water draining from a hot tub has not had any chemicals added in 3 or more days, and has been allowed to cool down by having the power off overnight, it can be drained on the lawn. However, some cities have regulations that you should drain hot tub water into the sewer system.

However, most people just drain it to an inconspicuous part of the yard after a couple of days of not adding chemicals, and that usually works just fine.

In cities where they require using the sewer system, you have access to the sewer via a special drain on your property.

But, note that this is different from the storm drain which are those curbside water entrances. The storm drain should never be used for this purpose because the drains lead to natural bodies of water containing fish and other wildlife.

And, just as we learned that hot tub water could be harmful to grass, it’s also detrimental to fish and other lifeforms in water.

You can run a hose into a utility sink in your home if you don’t have direct access to the sewer system.

But, by all means, ensure you check the city’s ordinances to know where you are allowed to drain your hot tub water in an environmentally friendly way.

How do you clean the hot tub effectively after the water’s been drained?

Check out a recent article of mine, where I explained that you could use dish soap to clean the tub. It may not remove tough stains. You can also use hot water and vinegar to completely remove the residue.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you get water out of the bottom of a hot tub after draining?

A Wet/Dry vacuum can be used to get water out of the bottom of a hot tub after draining. There’s always a small body of water remaining after a submersible pump, or garden hose has been used to drain water. The wet/dry vac removes the water at the bottom and can also be used to suck water out of the jets.

You simply drop one end of the wet/dry vacuum into the water and connect the other to the vacuum. Turn on the vacuum for a few seconds to prime the hose and get the water flow moving.

Then turn it off and quickly disconnect the hose allowing the water to flow onto the ground or wherever you are draining to.

The Wet/Dry vacuum I like and recommend is this Craftsman on Amazon.

It’s got some powerful features. It comes with a powerful 6.5 peak horsepower motor that makes it highly effective. It’s got a big holding tank that makes it ideal and convenient for vacuuming up water. It’s got almost 5,000 reviews on Amazon, and most are 5-star.

CLICK HERE to check it out.

Can you put chlorinated water on grass?

Chlorinated water should not be drained on grass because chlorine discolors and kills grass. So avoid draining hot tub water on pristine parts of the lawn, near tree roots, or flower beds, and instead use an inconspicuous part of the yard.

In the hot tub, chlorine’s effect is reduced because it is mixed up with water. But chlorinated water is harmful when it comes in contact with grass.

Pouring chlorinated water on grass can kill the grass, prevent further growth, and oversaturate the lawn’s surface, which results in damage to the roots.

In addition to the chlorinated water, the contaminants and the fact that the water is warm can damage the grass. While the temperature is soothing to you, it may just end up burning the grass.

Chlorine, as you know, is a concentrated sanitizer.

It’s a chemical that disinfects the hot tub water by killing bacteria and other smaller lifeforms in it.

It’s so potent, a small amount of chlorinated water could damage a huge portion of the grass. In fact, the water could prevent it from growing back.

Since it kills algae fast, it’s conceivable that it will have a similar effect on grass.

Plants and grasses need to be hydrated to grow very well. But, chlorine tends to dry out the surface. Similarly, it dehydrates the grass, gradually killing it off!

But if after testing the water, you’re positive there’s zero chlorine or bromine in it, allow it to cool, then you can drain it on the grass.

I explored the effects of draining chlorinated water on a lawn in a recent article of mine. In it, I also looked at the effects of bromine and shared three ways to drain a hot tub.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do I clean my hot tub without draining water?

To clean a hot tub without draining, shock the water with a chlorine shock, and use a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar to wipe down pillows and exposed surfaces of the acrylic shell.

When the water has been used for quite some time, but you’re not yet ready for a full draining and cleaning, shocking the water is one great way to continue using it.

After testing the water, shock it, wait 20+ minutes, test it, shock it again if need be. That will help reactivate the sanitizer and help keep the water clean, clear, and safe.

You could also use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out sand, leaves, and other debris floating in the water without having to drain it out.

Of course, only do that if the motor is placed on the ground outside the hot tub with no danger of falling in. That requires a hose that is then long enough to reach into the water.

Dip one end of the hose into the tub, so it’s touching the bottom, and the other end outside the tub, such that it’s just a bit above the water.

Then jerk it out. A small amount of water will come out of the outer end. The part that is in the tub can be used to suck up some of the dirt at the bottom of the tub.

The filters can also be hosts to some contaminants. 

So make sure you’re on top of your filter maintenance. That should include rinsing them off every 3 weeks with a hose or kitchen sink sprayer. And then do a deep chemical soak every 3 months.

Check out a recent article if you need the details on how to do either or both of those things. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

We learned that a hot tub should be drained, cleaned, and refilled every 3-4 months on average.

Of course, if you use yours a lot and have many folks over often, you may want to do it a bit more frequently. We looked at where to drain the water and how to completely remove the water at the bottom.

We also learned why chlorinated water shouldn’t be poured onto the grass and when you could. We checked out two ways to drain out a hot tub. One is so fast, you’d only need 15-20 minutes.

Lastly, we checked out some ways to clean the tub when you’re not yet ready for full-scale maintenance.

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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