How to Drain a Hot Tub: The Best #1 Guide

By James Brockbank •  Updated: 02/13/21 •  12 min read

How to drain a hot tub?

There are two methods on how to drain a hot tub. The first is to use a submersible pump to suck the water out of the spa. A 1/4 horsepower utility pump should do the trick. The second is to attach a hose to the drainage valve and let gravity do the work. It can take up to 2 hours to drain a hot tub. However, this depends on the size of the spa and the amount of water it holds.

Stop wasting time and money with hot tub maintenance and confusing water chemistry! The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course will help keep your hot tub balanced, sanitized, and crystal clear all the time.

Check out my list of high-quality hot tub products to help keep your hot tub clean and running great all year long!

I recommend the Superior 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Utility Pump.

Using a hot tub daily can provide you comfort, enjoyment, and relief. It can also improve the quality of your life significantly.

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure that the water is clean. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to maintain a hot tub regularly. Just make sure to keep the water completely clean and drain it periodically.

To know more about how to drain a hot tub, read on.

Let’s get started!

How to Drain a Hot Tub?

Draining the water from your hot tub is a part of its maintenance. The draining process is quite simple, especially if the tub is placed close to a drain. So, if you have not installed the spa yet, then make sure to install it somewhere close to a drain or have a plan to have access to a hose.

You will need a garden hose that is long enough to connect the tub to the drain.

Draining the water out of the hot tub can be done in two ways. These are:

These are the two most efficient ways by which you can drain out the water from your hot tub. If you are in a hurry and want to drain the spa as fast as possible, then using the pump is the best way. But in case you don’t have the pump, you can use the valve method.

Draining a Hot Tub Using the Drain Valve

This is the slower method. But it is the easiest method to drain out the tub because these valves are located conveniently within the hot tub.

You should follow these steps to drain the spa:

Turn Off the Power

You have to first turn off the power of the spa from the circuit breaker. Ensure that the jets and the pumps are not running when there is no water in the tub. This can cause damage to these components.

Find the Drain Valve

Spot the drain valve, which is generally located at the bottom of the hot tub’s main panel. But in some models, it can also be placed right on the corner. Most of the hot tubs come with two valves – a primary valve and an auxiliary valve. You have to use the primary valve for draining most of the water. Once the water is drained, you can open the auxiliary one too to drain the rest.

Attach a Hose to the Drain Valve

You can attach the hose to this drain valve. Now, run the hose to the drain nearby. This is the best way to drain the entire water without damaging your outdoor space. Make sure to open the ball valve so the last drop of water can drain out.

I recommend the Flexzilla garden hose for its length and durability.

Draining Hot Tub Using a Submersible Pump

This is a faster method to drain a hot tub than the previous one. All you need for this is a submersible pump, which can drain the entire hot tub in about 30 minutes. But it depends on the size of the tub as well.

I recommend the Superior 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Utility Pump.

Follow these steps to drain your hot tub using the pump:

Turn Off the Power

In this process, you have to switch off your hot tub’s power at the circuit breaker. As mentioned above, the jets and pumps shouldn’t work when there is no water in the tub. It can cause damages.

Put the Pump in the Footwell

You have to place the submersible pump into the hot tub. Make sure you are putting it on the footwell or at the deepest point of your tub. Now, run the hose from the pump to the nearest drain.

Turn the Pump Off When Draining is Complete

Turn the power of the submersible pump on. Let the water from your spa drain completely. It will take some time, depending on the size and volume of the water.

Step 4

When the water is completely drained, and the tub is empty, switch the pump off. Now, remove the pump from the tub and detach the hose too.

Where to Drain the Hot Tub Water?

The best place to empty your spa water is in the kitchen sink if you live within a municipality. The reason for this is that sewage water from residential areas is often redirected to a water treatment facility before it’s released back into the natural water supply. However, if you live in a more rural area, a sewer drain will work fine.

This ensures that your property doesn’t get flooded with water. If you drain water on the lawn, the water can harm your yard and your patio. So, you have to make sure that the hose, which is draining out the water from your spa, reaches straight to a drain that can wash away the water.

Though the hot tub’s water will not damage the lawn in small quantity, it can cause some harm to your yard if you drain the entire hot tub onto it.

Check out this article from for more information on where to drain the water out of your hot tub.

When to Drain a Hot Tub?

A hot tub should be drained once every 3 to 4 months. However, this depends on how often the hot tub is used, the chemicals being used, and the manufactures recommendation. The best time to drain a hot tub is on a warm sunny day where you can fully inspect the hot tub to ensure everything is in proper order.

No matter how much you keep your hot tub clean to enjoy crystal clear and pristine water, you have to change the water of your hot tub every now and then. It is essential to ensure that the water is free of contamination. Whatever system you have in your hot tub, you will have to change the spa’s water.

Check out our full article on cloudy hot tub water and some important information to prevent it!

But the main question is – when to change it? There is no straight answer to this question. If you are using the traditional bromine and chlorine system in your spa, you have to change the water every 3 to 4 months. In case you are using the modern freshwater system, you don’t have to change the spa’s water that often. You can change it once in 12 months.

If you find it quite hard to balance the chemicals in your hot tub and the pH level is hard to manage, you can drain out the water entirely and refill it back again. If the hot tub’s water has a pungent smell or if it seems unclear, then changing the water can help. You can drain out the tub completely using one of the two methods.

Basically, you can change the water of the spa if you are facing any of these circumstances:

Consider Using a Water Care Monitor

Monitoring the health of your hot tub can often be challenging if you are not testing the water on a regular basis. This can also be a problem if you go on holiday or you are unable to take care of your hot tub due to mobility issues.

The pHin Smart Water Care Monitor for pools, hot tubs, and inflatable spas continuously tests the water and alerts you when to add chemicals with the integrated mobile app.

The mobile app will inform you when to add chemicals such as chlorine, and how much chemical is recommended. This is done by entering your hot tub or pool’s unique dimensions.

Simply scan the bar code of any chemical brand and the pHin app will calculate how much chemical is to be added to the water. Most products and brands are recognized by the application.

The pHin device will sample water more than 1000 times per week to give you an accurate reading compared to using test strips.

The pHin device works with different water types including chlorine, bromine, and saltwater hot tubs, swim spas, inflatable hot tubs, and pools.

This unique device comes with a lifetime warranty to ensure your water remains clear and ready for you to use at all times.

How to Refill a Hot Tub?

The best way to refill a hot tub is to use a hose or tap water. If your hot tub is a hard-sided spa then place the hose inside one of the filter housings to fill the spa plumbing to remove any air out of the system. Filling a hot tub could take 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of the spa. Don’t fill the hot tub if it’s below freezing outside and remember to keep the hot tub shut off at all times until it’s completely filled with water.

Filling the hot tub is much easier and more convenient than draining it. You will be able to refill the hot tub by simply putting the hose in the hot tub. Now, you have to turn on the water. But by doing this, you can accidentally get an airlock.

Basically, the airlock is an air bubble that can get trapped in your hot tub’s plumbing when you are filling the water. If there are one or more air bubbles present in the spa water, it can cause improper functionality. It can even cause damage to the circulation system and the spa jets. But these air bubbles are quite simple to remove. The method of eliminating airlocks can vary from one hot tub model to another.

You can take some prevention measures to ensure that you don’t get air bubbles in the spa when you are refilling it. All you have to do is fill the tub using the correct fill location instead of putting a garden hose directly into the tub shell. In some hot tubs, the proper way is to insert the hose into the hollow opening just beneath the filter. You can follow the manual instruction that comes with the hot tub to find out where this opening is precisely located.

How to Flush and Clean Hot Tub Pipes?

Once you know how to drain a hot tub and refill it, the next thing you have to know is to flush the hot tub plumbing. As important it is to change the spa’s water, it is vital to ensure that the pipes and other components are clean when draining the spa. Dust and dirt accumulated in the plumbing or the filters can result in contaminating the freshwater again. So, you have to start flushing and cleaning the hot tub. How to do that? Here are the details.

Luckily, the hot tub shell is mostly designed to resist stains and dirt completely. Hence, cleaning it doesn’t require much effort. You can use a soft, damp rag to wipe the shell and clean the tub thoroughly. But when it comes to flushing and cleaning the spa’s plumbing, you have to make some effort.

Check out our full article on cleaning an inflatable hot tub for some great tips!

Before draining the hot tub, add a healthy amount of hot tub cleaner into the spa water and run the pumps to circulate the water. This hot tub cleaner will dissolve any biofilm, calcium buildup, dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants within the hot tub and its plumbing before the water is drained. I recommend Oh Yuk Hot Tub Cleaner to clean your spa.

Don’t use the hot tub while flushing the water lines with this chemical as it can greatly irritate your skin. Leave the chemical in the hot tub overnight. The next day, turn the hot tub off completely and begin draining it.

How to Drain a Hot Tub: Conclusion

how to drain a hot tub

This is how exactly you can take care of your hot tub or spa. Follow each step mentioned here regarding how to drain a hot tub and clean it, and fill it back up.

You can do this before the spa season starts to enjoy pristine and clean water for a fantastic hot tub experience.

It will take a few hours to complete all 3 of these steps – drain, clean, and refill.

You can use the hot tub from the next day and enjoy your spa experience to the fullest.

I hope you found this article on how to drain a hot tub helpful.

Thanks for visiting

James Brockbank