How to Empty a Hot Tub – Four Easy Ways




Do you need to drain your hot tub but are unsure of the best method? Regular draining and cleaning are crucial for a hygienic and enjoyable hot tub experience. Whether performing routine maintenance or preparing for a thorough clean, knowing the right way to empty your hot tub is essential.

Well, we’ll be going over:

  1. What are the four main hot tub draining methods, and how do they work?
  2. How to prepare your hot tub for draining to ensure a smooth and efficient process.
  3. Tips for handling the small amount of water that often remains at the bottom of the hot tub after draining.

Let’s dive in and explore these easy and effective ways to drain your hot tub, ensuring you can get back to relaxing in clean, refreshing waters as soon as possible.

How to drain a hot tub
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Emptying a hot tub can be done in four ways: using a submersible pump for quick drainage, employing the hot tub’s drain plug, creating a siphon with a garden hose, or using a wet/dry vacuum. Each method varies in efficiency and time required, with the submersible pump being the fastest. Manual removal of residual water is necessary after draining.

Four methods to drain a hot tub plus a bonus

There are several ways to drain your hot tub I have described below, all of which I have used at some time or another when carrying out hot tub cleaning over the past 20 years that I have owned hot tubs.

I have a separate article you may wish to read If you want to how often you should change your hot tub water.

Whichever method you use to remove the hot tub water, you should first switch off the electricity to the hot tub. You do not want the pump running while the hot tub empties, which could lead to damage.

I would recommend removing the hot tub filters from the filter compartment before you start to drain your hot tub. This helps to prevent an airlock and ensure that the dirty water in the pipes also drains.

1. Using a submersible pump to drain a hot tub

This is quite a good way to remove the water from your hot tub and it is certainly easy and very quick too.

Obviously, if you don’t have a submersible pump, you will need to buy one. As you will be emptying your hot tub every 3 months, it will be money well spent as it will save you time in the future.

They are not too expensive, and since they will not be pumping a huge volume of water, it doesn’t need to be too powerful, unlike emptying a swimming pool.

A pump similar to the Superior Pump 91250 1/4hp available on Amazon would work perfectly well.

Superior Pump 91250 1/4 HP Thermoplastic Submersible Utility Pump with 10-Foot Cord

You need to connect a hose, drop the pump into the hot tub and switch it on. Job done!

It used to take me about 10 minutes to drain the water out of my hot tub using this method.

The following shows how to drain a hot tub without a pump:

2. How to drain a hot tub with a hose

This is probably the easiest way to drain a hot tub without a pump.

You may struggle to do this on a totally flat site (and definitely if your hot tub is below ground level). When I was in the UK my garden was on a slope away from the house, so I always used this method.

How to go about it:

  • Put one end of a garden hose into the hot tub (after switching the electricity off to the hot tub).
  • The bottom of the hose may start to float, so I had a small metal weight I tied to the end of the hose to keep it down at the bottom of the footwell. You could get someone to hold it at the bottom too.
  • Run out the hose to a convenient garden area where the water can drain out or into a sewage input/drain. Ensure the end of the hose is below the level of the other end in the tub; otherwise, the siphoning effect will not begin.
  • Suck on the hose to get the water starting to flow but make sure you do not raise it above the other end.
  • When the level of the water in the tub goes below the seats use a brush or something else convenient to push the water that sits in them into the foot well so that is also siphoned out.
  • Not everything gets siphoned out, so use a sponge and a bucket to remove the last water.

It used to take about an hour to drain all the water using this method.

If you don’t feel like sucking on the hose to start the siphon (so you won’t get a mouthful of dirty water) then you can buy a self-starting siphon hose which can also be used as a hot tub vacuum to get the sand and other heavy dirt out.

The Shake-a-Vac Spa & Pool Water Vacuum & Self-Starting Siphon Drain for Hot Tubs shown below is available on Amazon.

Shake-a-Vac Spa & Pool Water Vacuum & Self-Starting Siphon Drain for Hot Tubs

3. Use the hot tub drain valve

Most hot tubs have a drain valve (sometimes called a spigot, drain plug, or spa drain), which you can use to empty. My current hot tub was originally on the sun terrace of our apartment and was plumbed into the drain so that I could empty it by just opening a valve.

When I had it moved to my house, there was no suitable drain nearby, so I now use my submersible pump or the method shown below.

Where is the drain plug on a hot tub? On most hot tubs, you will probably need to remove a side panel to find the drain valve and then connect a hose, a pool backwash hose, or even plumb it in permanently to an existing drain nearby, depending on your situation.

You can buy these drain valves that connect a hose easily.

Hot Tub Spa Drain Valve - Cabinet Exterior Flush Mount - Attaches to Garden Hose

When the water level in the hot tub goes below the seats, use a brush or something else convenient to push the water that sits in them into the foot well so that it is also drained out.

It used to take about 40 minutes to drain all the water using this method.

4. Use a shop vac or wet/dry vacuum

Some types of vacuum cleaners can be used to pump water. These are normally known as either shop vacs or wet/dry vacuums.

You can push the hose down into the hot tub and then pump the water into a convenient drain if one is nearby. Using other methods, you should be able to vacuum most of the water that normally remains in the bottom of the hot tub.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying one especially to drain the water from your hot tub (as buying a submersible pump might be a better idea). Still, if you already have one, consider using it.

It used to take about half an hour to drain the water using this method.

Bonus method: Use your pool’s pump system

This is the fastest way to drain a hot tub quickly as it empties in less than 5 minutes.

But of course, many would not be able to use this method as you need a swimming pool close to the hot tub.

Fortunately, my hot tub is next to my pool so a few times I have used the pool’s pump system to empty the hot tub (very quickly) by connecting the vacuum hose, putting the multiport valve to waste and switching on the pump with the other end of the hose in the hot tub.

The hot tub water is sucked out and goes through the pool pump and out through a backwash hose.

I emptied my hot tub in less than 5 minutes using this method.

how to empty hot tub

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How to Empty a Hot Tub - Four Easy Ways 1

How to get water out of the bottom of a hot tub

Whatever method you use to drain a hot tub, inevitably, you will be left with about an inch at the bottom. I have tried a few methods to remove this but in the end, I always fall back to using a bucket and a large sponge to remove this water.

You will have to get into the hot tub to do this but with a large sponge (the sort you might wash your car with) you can soak up the water in no time and squeeze it into the bucket. It only takes a few minutes and then you are done.

How long does it take to drain a hot tub?

Depending on the method you use, it can take anything from an hour if siphoning the water with a hose to only 10 minutes if using a submersible pump.

Whichever method you use, the hot tub will not be emptied completely, so you will have to manually drain the remainder, which will probably take an additional 10 minutes.

How long can a hot tub stay empty?

You can leave a hot tub empty for as long as you need to and give it some protection.

You should cover the hot tub to protect it from rain, sunlight, and dirt if it is outside. If it will sit empty over winter you will need to ensure that there is no water in the tub or in the pipework so that it will not become damaged during freezing weather.

If the hot tub is inside then apart from perhaps covering to keep dust off you shouldn’t need to do anything more.

More hot tub information

Do hot tubs need plumbing?

How to shock a hot tub

Draining a hot tub FAQs

Can you drain a hot tub on grass?

Draining water onto a lawn might damage the grass due to the amount of chlorine (or bromine) in the water. Most people use city fresh water on a lawn that contains chlorine, although not as much as in the hot tub.

Is hot tub water bad for plants?

Due to the amount of chlorine (or bromine) in hot tub water, directly watering most plants with it may not be a good idea. However, draining the hot tub into an area of the garden with fewer plants should not do any harm.

Is hot tub water grey water?

Hot tub water is considered grey water, just as bath water and other water used in the home is.

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