How to Drain a Hot Tub

A full, functioning spa.
What You'll Need
Garden hose
Wet/dry vacuum
What You'll Need
Garden hose
Wet/dry vacuum

From time to time, you will need to perform a tub drain on your hot tub or spa. The tub will need to be drained and cleaned periodically, especially if you are not using it during the winter. Whatever the reason, draining your tub is important to know how to do. If you leave it too long, bacteria can form in the standing water. In particular, winter maintenance is vital to ensure your hot tub won’t sustain any damage when the weather turns cold.

Initial Steps

The first thing to do is to turn off the heater on the hot tub and switch it off at the main electrical supply. Next, locate the circuit breaker for the tub in the breaker box and turn that off as well. Electrical safety is absolutely vital when dealing with appliances that use water. Failure to follow these steps can be exceedingly dangerous.

Take the cover off the tub and remove the filter to clean it. The filter can usually be washed with tap water and a replacement is only needed if there are obvious signs of wear and tear.

If you’re going to refill the tub immediately, you’ll need to put the filter back before doing so. If you won’t be using your spa for several months, keep the filter in your house after letting it dry thoroughly to keep it from perishing during the cold weather.

Tub Drain

Attach a garden hose to the hot tub’s bottom drain spout. You’ll need to twist the hose onto the spigot so make sure it’s on firmly. A lot of water will be draining from your tub so stretch the hose to a part of the yard where the water drainage won’t matter or where it won't flood. If the hose is long, the water could be used to give your plants a final soaking before the onset of winter. Open the spigot and allow the tub to drain.

For hot tubs with electric air blowers, turn the circuit breaker back on, replace the spa cover, and turn on the blower to let it run for a minute. This will allow the water to drain from the lines. Once you are finished, remove the cover again. If the water hasn't drained through the spigot, use the wet/dry vacuum to clean out the last of it. Turn the circuit breaker off again before continuing.

Couplers, Valves, and Drains

Open the heater housing by loosening the plastic couplers. Each of the pumps will have couplers and you will need to loosen one of the couplers on each of them. Take out the drains or bleeder valves on the pumps to prevent potential problems that could occur during cold weather such as cracking or freezing.

There might still be water in the jet lines. Use your wet/dry vacuum to mop up as much of this as possible. If you can’t get it all out, don’t worry—a little water left in over the winter won’t cause damage and will probably evaporate before it can freeze. This completes the tub drain. Proceed to clean it thoroughly and refill it if it's just regular maintenance.

If you're preparing your tub for the winter season, place the spa cover back on the tub and close the equipment panel. For extra protection, cover the entire hot tub with a tarp.