Draining your hot tub can be a bit of a Goldilocks situation. Too often and you waste water, not enough and your health could suffer.
Most experts suggest a standard of every three to four months. This can vary depending on bather load and water chemistry.
According to Ajax Pool & Spa, you can use a submersible pump or a garden hose to speed up this process. This will drain your hot tub in about 10 minutes.
1. Water Chemistry Issues
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with hot tub water. From balancing it to cleaning filters to dealing with rashes, maintaining your spa can make you feel more like a chemist than someone just trying to relax. And as the chemicals work to treat these issues, they can leave behind residues that affect the water quality. That is why getting into a regular schedule of draining and refilling your hot tub is important. This is best done every 3-4 months but can vary based on the amount of use and the water’s cleanliness.
One of the most common reasons to drain your hot tub is because the Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS, are too high. Over time, organic materials such as sweat, deodorant, and skin cells slough off and can add to TDS levels. Combined with chemical buildup and other non-organic materials, this can cause cloudiness or other problems. When TDS reaches 1500 ppm, it is time to change the water.
You can check TDS with TDS test strips or a TDS meter. If you are unable to lower your TDS level through shock treatment or other methods, it is best to drain the tub and start fresh.
When you are ready to drain your hot tub, it is a good idea to use a line flush product to clear the plumbing lines before adding new water. This will help prevent the clogging that can occur from chemical residues and other debris.
After the line flush, you can drain your hot tub using the spigot/drain valve or by connecting a drainage hose to the drain. Draining your hot tub into an inconspicuous area of your yard away from the garden, patio, or home features is important. Never drain your hot tub into a storm drain, which can lead to natural bodies of water that contain fish and other wildlife. Draining your hot tub into a plant bed is also not a good idea because the soil can become saturated with chlorine and other chemicals.
2. Smelly Water
A hot tub is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. That’s why performing routine water tests and adjusting the chemistry as needed is important. However, things can still go awry even with a watchful eye and the best efforts. A foul smell from your hot tub is one of the most common signs that it’s time to drain and re-fill.
The odor may come from various reasons, including low pH, high alkalinity, or high total dissolved solids (TDS). Before you start draining, try to correct the water chemistry issues by hyper-chlorinating and circling the water for 30 minutes. This will sanitize and remove the foul smell.
You may also want to clean your filter, which will help reduce the TDS and improve your soaking experience. The easiest way to do this is by removing the filter, soaking it in a filter cleaning product overnight, and then rinsing and drying it before reinstalling it. This can be done without draining the tub, but adding this to your regular maintenance schedule is a good idea to keep your filters fresh and effective.
Another cause of smelly water is a buildup of biofilm in the pipes. This can result in a musty or stale smell, usually due to organic matter, such as dead skin cells, body oils, sweat, and other contaminants.
When these organic materials are exposed to the sun, they’ll oxidize and produce those odiferous by-products we all know and love. The biofilm can be removed with a pipe cleaner like Spa Flush, but the odiferous smell will likely remain until you drain and refill the tub.
TDS, alkalinity, and pH levels are all factors in how often you should drain your hot tub, but if the water is unpleasant to float in, is murky, or has an unusual smell, it’s definitely time for a change. When you do drain your hot tub, make sure to use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up all the extra water that’s left behind. This is much faster than using a garden hose, and you won’t be left with a body of dirty water to deal with.
The chemicals, sanitizer, and pumps in your hot tub work hard to keep the water clean, but sometimes it will be necessary to drain, clean, and refill the entire hot tub. Foaming, funky-looking, or discolored water is a good sign that it’s time to change the water.
Every time someone uses the hot tub, they shed organic debris such as oils, hair, and skin in the process. This builds up on the sides and bottom of the hot tub but gets pushed into the plumbing lines. If left untreated this can create an environment where harmful organisms can thrive. These organisms are bad for the hot tub and can irritate people who use it and even cause rashes and infections.
When it’s time to change the water, you want to use a product like Fresh Start to flush out any of these organisms in the plumbing. This will help protect the plumbing and equipment in your hot tub and ensure that you are introducing fresh, clean water to the system.
Draining the hot tub in an inconspicuous spot away from storms or sewer drains is important. Using this technique will help prevent the hot tub water from polluting the natural bodies of water, and it will also help avoid any problems with your local environment, such as damaging grass or causing issues with animals that live in or around the water.
Before you drain the hot tub, using a line flush product such as Spa Flush is a great idea to clean out the plumbing. This will help remove any buildup of debris from the pipes and make it easier to drain the hot tub.
Keeping your hot tub clean is the best way to get the most enjoyment and value. A general rule of thumb is to drain and clean the water in your hot tub every three to four months. However, this frequency depends on how much your hot tub is used, where it’s located, and what types of products are added to the water.
4. Cloudy Water
Cloudy water is the last thing you want to see when you pop in for a dip. This means dissolved particles are floating in the water that your sanitizer can’t destroy. This allows bacteria to grow, which is bad for you or your guests.
There are a few things that can cause your spa water to become cloudy. One is a low total alkalinity level. The ideal total alkalinity is 80 – 150 parts per million. If you test your water below the ideal range, add an alkalinity increaser. Another reason your water might be cloudy is a dirty filter. Make sure you clean the filter regularly to keep it from becoming overloaded with debris. A dirty filter causes the sanitizer to work harder, which can lead to more foaming and cloudy water.
Another reason you might see cloudy water in your hot tub is if the temperature is cold. Cold temperatures make it hard for water to hold air molecules. This doesn’t usually cause issues during the spring or summer but can be problematic in late fall and winter when cooler temperatures are the norm.
Finally, if you have people using your spa often, it’s best to have them shower before entering the hot tub. A quick shower will remove most contaminants from the skin that would otherwise enter the water. Showering also prevents soaps, shampoos, and body lotions from getting into the water.
If you don’t have a cover on your hot tub, rain, leaves, dirt, pollen, and other backyard debris can enter the water. This can contaminate the water and make it more difficult to maintain proper chemistry levels.
The answer is quite simple when it comes to knowing how many times a year you should drain your hot tub. If you check the water regularly and maintain proper chemical levels, you can go 3-4 months without draining your spa. However, if you see grit or odors developing, it’s time to do a drain and change the water. Also, if you have a large amount of water in the liner or your spa is over 10 years old, drain and refill it every 6 months.