A couple enjoys their newly cleaned Limelight® Pulse®

A hot tub offers a soothing, relaxing experience each time you use it. It provides daily enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and can improve your quality of life. Because your spa takes care of you, it's only fair that you give it a little TLC in return. It doesn't take much to maintain your spa on a regular basis —just keep the water clean, and periodically drain it, clean it, and refill it. Here's how.

Lunchtime by the Limelight Flair


Your hot tub is great at keeping itself clean. Whether you use a chlorine, bromine, ozone, or salt water system to purify your spa, you enjoy pristine water, free of contamination, for months on end. With every system, you'll need to change the spa water now and then.

If you use a traditional chlorine or bromine system, you should change the water in your spa about every three to four months. If you use the FreshWater® Salt Water System, you'll need to change the water in your hot tub a lot less often—just once a year.

Discover the FreshWater® Salt Water System.

Keep in mind that if your service agreement includes valet service, your dealer will drain and clean your hot tub for you on a regular schedule, so you can enjoy all of the benefits of your spa without lifting a finger.

Enjoying each other's company while the hot tub drains


Draining your hot tub is a fairly simple process, especially if you placed your spa close to a drain when you installed it. It does, however, involve a series of steps that begins with gathering the equipment you'll need to do the job.

Gather equipment. You'll need a garden hose long enough to reach from your hot tub to a drain. If you're the type who always likes to have the perfect tool for a job, invest in a submersible pump. You'll also need clean rags and a spa shell cleaner.

It's a good idea to locate your hot tub where you'll be able to easily drain it

Drain your hot tub. Depending on the size of your spa, it should take around an hour to drain using the hot tub's drainage spigot, or ten minutes to drain with a submersible pump.

To drain using the spigot:

  • Turn the power to the spa off at the circuit breaker. You don't want the pumps or jets to run while there isn't any water in the spa.
  • Next, find your drainage spigot. Your spa model may have two spigots, a primary and auxiliary spigot. Use the primary spigot to drain most of the water, and then open the secondary spigot to drain the internal bleed lines.
  • Attach the garden hose to the spigot, being careful not to cross-thread. The spigot's threads will be plastic and may break if you apply too much force. Run the other end of the hose downhill or on level ground out to your drain. If you try to run the hose uphill, you'll drain some water but not all of it. It's best to transport the water to an existing drain, to avoid damage to your lawn or patio.
  • Open the ball valve on your spigot so the water can drain.

To drain using a submersible pump:

  • Turn the power to the spa off at the circuit breaker.
  • Place the pump inside the spa.
  • If your pump's outflow hose isn't long enough to reach a drain, connect it to a garden hose.
  • Turn the pump on and let the spa drain.
  • When the hot tub is empty, turn off the pump, remove it from the spa, detach the hose, and return it to storage.
Once your hot tub is empty, it's time to clean the shell.

Clean your empty spa. Once the water is drained, you can easily inspect and wash the shell's interior, and remove and clean your spa filters before refilling it.

Fortunately, your spa's shell is designed to resist dirt and stains, and cleaning it requires no more than a soft, damp rag. Many household cleaners can be harmful to your shell, so check your owner's manual before using any. When finished, rinse the shell with clean water.

Cleaning your spa's filters is even easier than cleaning the shell and should be done monthly.

  • Remove the cover to the filter compartment.
  • Remove any floating items from the compartment.
  • Turn the filter retainer handle to unlock the filter and retainer.
  • Remove the filter cartridge and retainer.
  • Soak your filter in a degreaser, such as FRESHWATER® spa filter cleaner, according to package instructions.
  • Rinse the filter clean with a garden hose, spraying from all angles to ensure you've washed away all debris.
  • Replace the filter and lock the handle. Do not overtighten.
The filter compartment on a Highlife® Grandee®

Refill your hot tub. You can refill your hot tub by putting the hose in the spa and turning on the water. If you choose this method, you might accidentally stumble into a pitfall: an airlock.

An airlock is an air bubble that gets trapped inside your hot tub's plumbing as it's being filled with water. One or more air bubbles can cause the spa to work improperly and could damage jet and circulation pumps if you run them with air inside. Air bubbles are relatively simple to remove, although the best method varies based on the spa model. If unsure, contact your hot tub dealer for information on how best to remove them.

To prevent air bubbles from forming during refilling, you simply need to fill the spa from the correct fill pipe instead of putting the hose directly into the spa shell. With some spas, for example, inserting a hose into the hollow standpipe beneath the filter is correct. Your owner's manual will tell you exactly where to find the fill pipe in your spa. Depending on the size of your spa and the size of your refill hose, it should take about as long to refill it as it took to drain it from the spigot.

To see exactly how simple it is to drain and refill your spa, watch this video produced by a Hot Spring dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Taking care of your spa before you go on vacation or between seasons should take only about two and a half hours. With plenty of time before and after cleaning, you can relax, tend to other chores, or bake a pie to eat in celebration when you're all done!

Hot Spring Spas believes that taking care of your hot tub should be simple so that you can spend more time soaking and less time on maintenance. To find a hot tub that will fit your lifestyle and budget, request a quote today.