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A Guide to Draining, Cleaning, and Refilling Your Spa

Draining and refilling your spa routinely is just as important as sanitizing and balancing the water and should not be overlooked.

A good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to draining and refilling your spa is to drain 3-4 times per year. If your spa gets a lot of use with a heavy bather load (more than 1-2 people at a time) then you may find yourself needing to drain and refill more frequently. If you would like to know exactly how often you should be draining, use this equation: Spa Gallonage / Average number of bathers / 3. For example, if your spa is 350 gallons and 2 people use it every day, 350 divided by 2 is 175. Then you divide that number by 3: 58.3. In this scenario, the spa should be drained every 58 days.

Why should you drain your spa water so often when it’s sanitized and chemically balanced, you ask?

When you enter the spa, you bring in a lot of contaminants with you. Detergents from your bathing suits, cosmetics, sweat, hair products, and body oils, just to name a few. Your sanitizer kills bacteria to prevent water bourne illness and also acts as an oxidizer to break down other types of contaminants. However, those contaminants can only be oxidized to a certain point and then become part of the Total Dissolved Solids in the water. This is kind of like the ash in your firepit. The wood that you added to the pit has burned down to ash, but the ash can’t burn anymore and needs to be physically removed. The Total Dissolved Solids in your spa water are the ashes. High TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) make it really hard for your sanitizer to do its job and can cause a lot of problems.


It’s time to drain when…

-You can’t clear your spa water no matter what you try

-Your spa has an odor

-Your spa water isn’t holding chlorine/bromine

-Your CYA/Stabilizer level is high

-The water is foamy and dull looking



Don’t forget to clean the plumbing!

When you drain and clean your spa, you also want to clean the plumbing. Biofilm and bacteria live in your spa plumbing and will be re-introduced into your brand new water. Use a product like SpaGuard System Flush to properly clean the parts of your spa that you can’t see.

When using SpaGuard’s System Flush, follow these steps:

  1. Use prior to draining, cleaning, and refilling your spa.
  2. Remove the cartridge filter and clean with SpaGuard® Filter Cleaner per label directions.
  3. Apply the contents of one bottle (24 oz) directly to the spa water with the pump on.
  4. Circulate water for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn the pump off and completely drain the spa water.
  6. Clean the surface of your spa with Off The Wall® Surface Cleaner.
  7. Reinsert the cleaned cartridge filter.
  8. Refill the spa, balance the water, and resume use.


Chemically clean your filter!

Rinsing your filter off without using a chemical removes large debris off the surface of the pleats. Chemically cleaning your filter removes greases, oils, and metals embedded deep inside the filter material. Not using the cleaner is like washing your hair without using shampoo. Always have a second set of filters on hand to swap out when you need to clean the filters in the spa. This gives them time to completely dry and the pleats to re-shrink so you get the best filtration. This is an important step when draining and re-filling your spa.


Last but not least…

If you have a well or if you know that your city water has metals, use a metal removal product like SpaGuard Stain And Scale Control after you fill your spa. Do this before you add any other chemicals to avoid surface staining and water discoloration. Make sure to wait 24 hours after adding metal removal products before you add your sanitizer.

NEVER drain your spa if the temperature will drop below freezing that day (or that night). If something happens and the spa does not start after re-filling it, you risk the spa sitting all night with cold water and the plumbing freezing and cracking. Always plan around the weather.

Once you’ve completed these steps you are ready to balance the water. Bring us a water sample for a FREE comprehensive water analysis with step-by-step instructions to get your spa ready for use. Happy soaking!


Written by Advanced Spa And Pool