How to Start a Hot Tub

Fact checked by
Reviewed by

Starting a hot tub is an exciting endeavor that promises relaxation, therapeutic benefits, and a delightful home spa experience. However, to fully enjoy these benefits, it’s essential to begin the hot tub setup correctly and maintain it diligently. Properly starting a hot tub not only ensures your safety but also maximizes its performance and longevity.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of starting a hot tub, whether it’s for the first time, after a period of inactivity, or following the winter season. We’ll cover crucial safety considerations, filling the hot tub with water, balancing the chemicals, and initiating the heating process. Additionally, we’ll delve into the necessary chemicals needed for water sanitation and clarify the steps to achieve a clean and inviting hot tub environment.

By following these instructions and adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines, you can confidently embark on your hot tub journey, basking in the warm waters and experiencing the ultimate relaxation it offers. Let’s dive in and discover how to start a hot tub the right way!

Key Takeaway

  • Starting a hot tub correctly is essential for a delightful home spa experience, safety, and optimal performance.

  • Benefits of properly starting a hot tub include improved water quality, enhanced relaxation, extended equipment lifespan, energy efficiency, and prevention of water-related issues.

  • Starting a hot tub for the first time involves reading the manual for safety and startup procedures, considering safety measures, filling the tub to the appropriate level, priming the pump, and adding chemicals.

  • Safety considerations include inspecting for damages, securing electrical connections, ensuring a stable and level surface, implementing child safety measures, and providing proper ventilation.

  • Filling the hot tub requires determining the appropriate water level, connecting a garden hose securely, preventing foaming, monitoring the water level, and closing the valve after filling.

  • Priming the pump involves opening the air bleed valve, turning on the jets, closing the valve, and checking for leaks to ensure efficient water circulation.

  • Adding chemicals involves testing and adjusting the pH and alkalinity levels, using appropriate sanitizers like chlorine or bromine, and circulating the water for even distribution.

  • Starting the hot tub includes activating the control panel, setting the desired temperature, allowing the tub to reach the desired temperature, and enjoying a safe and relaxing soak.

  • Starting a hot tub that has been sitting requires cleaning the tub, inspecting the cover, scrubbing surfaces, and addressing stubborn stains to ensure a clean and fresh environment.

Benefits of Properly Starting a Hot Tub

Properly starting a hot tub can provide numerous benefits, including enhanced relaxation, improved muscle and joint pain relief, and improved overall well-being. By taking the time to effectively start and maintain a hot tub, users can maximize the enjoyment and therapeutic benefits of this popular home feature. Some of the key benefits one can expect from properly starting a hot tub are outlined below:

Improved water quality

Properly starting a hot tub involves testing and adjusting the water chemistry. This includes testing the pH level, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels, and then adding the necessary chemicals to balance the water. By maintaining the proper water chemistry, you ensure that the water is not only clean and clear but also safe to use. This prevents issues like cloudy water, bacteria growth, or skin and eye irritation.

Enhanced relaxation

One of the main reasons people use hot tubs is for relaxation and stress relief. When a hot tub is properly started, the water temperature is set to the desired level, typically between 100-104°F (38-40°C). This warm water helps to loosen up muscles, improve blood circulation, and promote overall relaxation. It can also alleviate aches, pains, and stiffness, providing therapeutic benefits.

Enhanced safety

Starting a hot tub properly involves checking all the equipment to ensure everything is functioning correctly. This includes inspecting the heater, pumps, and jets for any signs of damage or malfunction. Taking these precautionary steps reduces the risk of accidents, such as electrical hazards or equipment failure, ensuring a safe bathing experience for all users.

Extended equipment lifespan

Maintenance plays a vital role in extending the lifespan of hot tub equipment. Properly starting a hot tub includes cleaning or replacing the filters, which help to keep the water clean by trapping debris and contaminants. Regular filter maintenance improves water circulation, reduces strain on the pump, and prevents clogging, leading to a longer lifespan for the entire system.

Energy efficiency

When a hot tub is properly started, the water temperature is set to the desired level from the beginning, and the heater is programmed to maintain that temperature. This eliminates the need for excessive heating to reach the desired temperature, reducing energy consumption. Additionally, checking and properly insulating the cover helps to prevent heat loss and further improve energy efficiency. These practices contribute to lower utility bills and minimize environmental impact.

Preventing water-related issues

Properly starting a hot tub involves preventive measures against common water issues. For example, balancing the water chemistry helps to prevent foaming, scaling, or cloudiness. Regularly cleaning and maintaining the tub’s surfaces and jets also reduces the chances of algae or bacterial growth. By taking these preventative steps, you can avoid water-related problems, saving time and effort in troubleshooting and resolving them.

Improved performance

Starting a hot tub properly includes checking the water flow and adjusting the jet settings. Proper water flow ensures even distribution and adequate circulation of the water throughout the tub. Adjusting the jet settings allows you to personalize your hydrotherapy experience, targeting specific muscle groups or areas of tension. These steps enhance the overall performance and functionality of the hot tub, maximizing its benefits.

How to Start a Hot Tub for the First Time

Starting a hot tub for the first time can be an exciting experience, but it can also be a bit daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the process. However, with a little guidance, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a relaxing soak in your own backyard oasis.

From filling the tub with water to balancing the chemicals and ensuring the proper functioning of the equipment, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you start your hot tub for the first time and make the most out of your new investment.

Step 1 – Read the Manual

Reading the manual and adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions is a fundamental step in ensuring the proper setup, operation, and maintenance of your hot tub. The hot tub manual provides valuable information and guidelines that are specific to your hot tub model, which may vary from other models on the market. Here’s why it’s essential to take the time to read and follow the manual:

Safety and Proper Usage

The manual contains essential safety guidelines that help prevent accidents and injuries while using the hot tub. It includes information about the hot tub’s weight capacity, proper seating positions, and recommended temperature settings to ensure safe and comfortable use. By following these guidelines, you can minimize risks and create a secure environment for all hot tub users.

Startup Procedures

The manual outlines the correct startup procedures tailored to your hot tub model. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to fill the hot tub with water, connect it to the power supply, and set up the filtration and heating systems. Properly following these startup procedures ensures that your hot tub operates efficiently and optimally from the beginning.

Chemical Usage and Water Balance

The manual provides information on the specific chemicals recommended for your hot tub and the correct dosage for startup and ongoing maintenance. It also explains the importance of maintaining proper water balance, including pH levels and sanitizer concentrations, to ensure clean and safe water for soaking. Using the correct chemicals and maintaining water balance will prevent skin or eye irritation and protect the hot tub’s components from damage.

Maintenance Guidelines

The manual includes maintenance schedules and procedures tailored to your hot tub model. It guides you on how often to clean the filter, drain and refill the water, and inspect various components to ensure the hot tub’s long-term performance. Following the maintenance guidelines will extend the life of your hot tub and help you avoid costly repairs.

Warranty Information

The manual usually includes details about the hot tub’s warranty coverage, terms, and conditions. Familiarizing yourself with the warranty information will help you understand what aspects of the hot tub are covered and for how long. It also explains what actions may void the warranty, so you can take the necessary precautions to protect your investment.

Troubleshooting and Support

In case you encounter any issues with your hot tub, the manual often includes troubleshooting tips to help you identify and resolve common problems. Additionally, it provides contact information for customer support or the manufacturer’s helpline, where you can seek assistance for more complex issues.

Step 2 – Safety Considerations

Before indulging in the relaxation of a hot tub, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Hot tubs involve electrical components, hot water, and various features that demand cautious handling. Ensuring a safe hot tub experience requires a few essential considerations. By implementing these safety measures, you can confidently enjoy your hot tub while protecting yourself and others from potential hazards.

Inspect for Visible Damages or Defects

Before filling the hot tub with water, inspect the tub carefully for any visible damages or defects. Look for cracks, leaks, or loose fittings. These issues can not only affect the performance of the hot tub but also pose safety risks.

Cracks or leaks can lead to water damage or electrical issues, while loose fittings can cause water leakage and potential accidents. If you notice any damages or defects, it’s crucial to have them repaired by a professional before using the hot tub.

Secure Electrical Connections

Hot tubs require a reliable and grounded electrical source to operate safely. Ensure that the electrical connections for your hot tub are secure and in good condition. If the wiring looks frayed, damaged, or is not properly connected, it can pose risks such as electrical shock or fire hazards.

If you are uncertain about the electrical wiring, it is recommended to consult an electrician or a hot tub expert to ensure safe and proper wiring.

Stable and Level Surface

The hot tub should be placed on a stable and level surface to prevent accidents or damages. A stable surface ensures that the hot tub doesn’t wobble or shift during use, which can cause injuries or damage to the tub.

Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for recommended placement and use a level to ensure the surface is even. Uneven surfaces can put stress on the frame and components, potentially leading to structural damage.

Child Safety Measures

If you have children, it is essential to take additional safety precautions around the hot tub. Install a lockable cover or fence around the hot tub to restrict access when it’s not in use. This helps prevent unsupervised entry, reducing the risk of accidents.

Additionally, always ensure that children are under strict supervision when near the hot tub and educate them about potential dangers and safety rules. You can also consider placing a non-slip mat or safety grab bars near the hot tub for added stability and security.

Proper Ventilation

It is important to ensure proper ventilation in the area where your hot tub is located. Hot tubs generate steam and release fumes from the chemicals used for sanitation. Without proper ventilation, these fumes can accumulate and create an uncomfortable and potentially hazardous atmosphere.

Ensure there is enough fresh air circulation to prevent the buildup of harmful fumes. This can be achieved by having windows or doors open, using fans, or installing vents near the hot tub area. It is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding ventilation requirements.

Step 3 – Filling the Hot Tub

Filling your hot tub properly is a vital initial step to ensure its optimal performance. By following specific guidelines, you can avoid issues like overfilling or underfilling, which may affect water circulation and chemical effectiveness. Understanding the correct water level and using a garden hose for a steady filling process will set the foundation for a delightful hot tub experience.

Determining the Appropriate Water Level

Before you start filling the hot tub, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or the user manual to find the recommended water level for your specific hot tub model. The water level is a crucial factor that affects the hot tub’s performance, heating efficiency, and the effectiveness of the water treatment chemicals.

Avoid overfilling, as it can cause water to spill out when people enter the tub, and underfilling, which may not cover the jets properly and affect the overall hydrotherapy experience.

As a general rule, most hot tubs have a recommended water level that is around 2/3 to 3/4 of their total height. This means the water level should be approximately 2/3 to 3/4 up the height of the interior of the hot tub when it is fully filled. For example, if your hot tub’s total height is 24 inches, you would want the water level to be around 16 to 18 inches deep.

Connect a Garden Hose

Locate the hot tub’s intake valve, which is typically located near the bottom of the hot tub. Attach a garden hose securely to the intake valve. Ensure a tight connection to prevent any water leakage during the filling process. The garden hose is the most common method for filling a hot tub, as it provides a steady and controlled flow of water.

Allowing the Hot Tub to Fill

Slowly turn on the water supply to begin filling the hot tub. It’s essential to start the flow gradually to prevent sudden surges of water that might lead to overflow or uncontrolled splashing. As the hot tub fills, keep an eye on the water level, and periodically check to ensure it is rising evenly.

Avoid leaving the filling process unattended, especially during the initial stages, as the water level can rise more quickly than you might anticipate.

Preventing Foaming

During the filling process, there might be some air trapped in the plumbing lines, which can cause foaming when the jets are activated. To minimize this, it is recommended to place the garden hose into the filter compartment, if accessible, or hold it under the water surface while filling.

This allows the air to escape through the filtration system and reduces the likelihood of excessive foaming when the hot tub is in use.

Monitoring the Water Level

As the hot tub continues to fill, periodically check the water level to ensure it aligns with the recommended level specified by the manufacturer. Adjust the water flow as needed to prevent overfilling. It’s a good idea to have a hose bib gauge or simply a marked stick or ruler to measure the water level accurately.

Disconnecting the Hose and Closing the Valve

Once the hot tub reaches the desired water level, turn off the water supply from the hose and then disconnect the garden hose from the intake valve. Make sure the intake valve is closed tightly to prevent any water from leaking out once the hot tub is operational.

Step 4 – Prime the Pump

Priming the pump is a crucial step in the process of starting or restarting a hot tub. Properly priming the pump ensures that the water circulation system is free of air pockets, which can impede the flow of water and reduce the efficiency of the pump. When a hot tub is drained and refilled, or if it has been idle for an extended period, air can enter the plumbing lines. Removing this trapped air is essential for the hot tub to function optimally and provide a relaxing and therapeutic experience.

The Significance of Priming the Pump

When the hot tub pump operates, it creates suction that pulls water through the plumbing system, filtering it and powering the jets for massage and relaxation. If air is present in the plumbing lines, it can disrupt this flow, leading to several issues:

  • Reduced Water Circulation: Trapped air can hinder the water flow, resulting in reduced water circulation within the hot tub. This means that the water may not be adequately filtered and sanitized, potentially leading to a decrease in water quality.

  • Diminished Jet Performance: Air in the plumbing lines can diminish the performance of the jets. The presence of air can cause sputtering or irregular jet flow, depriving users of the full massage benefits of the hot tub.

  • Potential Pump Damage: Running the pump with air pockets can lead to pump cavitation, a condition where the pump impeller spins in a void of air rather than water. This can cause the pump to work harder, potentially leading to damage over time.

  • Inefficient Heating: Air trapped in the plumbing lines can interfere with the hot tub’s heating system. Air acts as an insulator, preventing the water from fully contacting the heating element, which can result in less efficient heating.

Step-by-Step Guide to Prime the Pump

  • Turn off the Power: Before starting any work on the hot tub, make sure the power is turned off at the main electrical source. Safety is paramount when dealing with electrical components.

  • Open the Equipment Compartment: Locate the equipment compartment of the hot tub, which usually houses the pump, filter, and other essential components. The compartment is typically accessible by removing a panel or cover.

  • Identify the Air Bleed Valve: Inside the equipment compartment, you should find an air bleed valve, also known as a bleed screw or bleed valve. It is usually located on or near the pump housing and will look like a small, round, or hexagonal knob.

  • Open the Air Bleed Valve: With the power still off, use a wrench or screwdriver to gently turn the air bleed valve counterclockwise to open it. As you do this, you may hear a hissing sound, indicating that air is escaping from the plumbing.

  • Turn on the Jets: Now, turn on the jets from the hot tub’s control panel. The pump will start to circulate water through the system.

  • Monitor the Air Bleed Valve: As the water circulates, keep an eye on the air bleed valve. Bubbles of air may come out initially, and water should start to flow steadily as the air is pushed out.

  • Close the Air Bleed Valve: Once you see a consistent flow of water coming out of the air bleed valve with no air bubbles, it’s time to close the valve. Turn it clockwise to tighten it securely.

  • Check for Leaks: While the pump is running, inspect the plumbing connections and the equipment compartment for any signs of leaks. If you notice any leaks, turn off the power immediately and address the issue before proceeding.

  • Monitor the Water Circulation: Allow the pump to run for a few minutes, and observe the water circulation. Ensure that the water flows freely through the jets and all plumbing lines, indicating that the system is properly primed and there are no blockages.

Step 5 – Adding Chemicals

Maintaining the cleanliness and safety of your hot tub is contingent on appropriate water chemistry. Adding the right balance of chemicals is essential for sanitizing the water and preserving its clarity. By testing the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels and adjusting them if necessary, you can create an environment that promotes a hygienic and enjoyable hot tub session.

Testing the Water’s pH and Alkalinity Levels

Before adding any chemicals, begin by testing the water’s pH and alkalinity levels. You can use test kits or test strips specifically designed for hot tubs. To use test strips, simply dip them into the water and compare the colors on the strip to the provided chart.

Alternatively, you can collect a water sample in a test vial and follow the instructions on the test kit to read the results. The pH level indicates the acidity or alkalinity of the water, while alkalinity acts as a buffer to prevent drastic pH changes.

The recommended pH range for hot tub water is typically between 7.4 and 7.6. The alkalinity level should ideally be maintained between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million).

Adjusting the pH and Alkalinity if Necessary

Based on the test results, you may need to adjust the pH and alkalinity levels to keep them within the recommended range. If the pH is too high (alkaline), you can use a pH decreaser (usually based on sodium bisulfate) to lower it. Conversely, if the pH is too low (acidic), you can use a pH increaser (typically based on sodium carbonate) to raise it.

To adjust alkalinity, you can use an alkalinity increaser, which is usually based on sodium bicarbonate. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the chemical packaging for the correct dosage and application.

Adding Sanitizing Chemicals

To keep the hot tub water free from harmful bacteria and microorganisms, it is essential to add sanitizing chemicals. The two most common options are chlorine and bromine. These sanitizers are available in various forms such as granules, tablets, or liquid.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific type of sanitizer you are using. There are also alternative sanitization systems available, like saltwater chlorination or ozone generators. Whichever method you choose, ensure that the sanitizer levels remain within the recommended range to ensure effective sanitation.

The recommended level of chlorine in hot tub water is usually between 1.5 and 3.0 ppm, while bromine levels are typically kept between 3.0 and 5.0 ppm. These levels ensure effective sanitation while keeping the water safe and pleasant for users.

Circulate the Water

After adding the chemicals, run the hot tub’s circulation system for at least 15-30 minutes. This helps in thoroughly mixing and distributing the chemicals evenly throughout the water, ensuring that the entire tub is properly sanitized and chemically balanced.

Recheck and Adjust

Once the chemicals have had time to circulate, retest the water’s pH and sanitizer levels. Make any necessary adjustments to bring them within the desired range. Regularly testing and maintaining proper chemical levels will help ensure that your hot tub water remains clean, balanced, and safe for use.

Step 6 – Starting the Hot Tub

Now that your hot tub is filled and chemically balanced, it’s time to initiate its heating process and prepare for a rejuvenating soak. Activating the control panel, setting the desired temperature, and allowing the tub to warm up gradually are essential steps in this process. Once the hot tub reaches the ideal temperature, you can dive in and savor the relaxation it offers while adhering to hot tub safety guidelines for a worry-free experience.

Activating the Control Panel

Locate the hot tub’s control panel, which is typically situated on the side of the tub or integrated into the top edge. Before proceeding, double-check that the hot tub is correctly connected to a power source and that all safety precautions, such as the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), are in place and functioning correctly.

Press the power button or flip the switch to turn on the control panel. Many modern hot tubs have a digital display that allows you to access various settings and features easily.

Setting the Desired Temperature

Using the control panel, set the desired water temperature for your hot tub. Most hot tubs offer temperature adjustment options through arrow buttons or a dial. Take into account the weather conditions, personal preferences, and any health considerations when setting the temperature.

The ideal hot tub temperature typically ranges between 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (37 to 40 degrees Celsius), which is warm enough to provide therapeutic benefits while preventing overheating.

Allowing the Hot Tub to Reach the Desired Temperature

After setting the temperature, give your hot tub some time to heat the water to the desired level. The duration required to reach the desired temperature may vary depending on your hot tub model, the starting water temperature, and the ambient temperature.

Generally, it takes a few hours for the hot tub to heat up completely. To expedite the heating process and conserve energy, keep the hot tub cover on during the heating period. This helps trap the heat and retains the warm temperature, allowing the hot tub to reach the desired temperature more efficiently.

Enjoying Your Hot Tub

Once your hot tub has reached the desired temperature and the water quality is satisfactory, it is now ready for use! Carefully step into the tub and immerse yourself in the soothing warmth and relaxation it provides.

Remember to follow hot tub safety guidelines, such as avoiding alcohol consumption while using the hot tub and limiting the duration of your soak to avoid excessive dehydration or overheating. It’s also a good idea to shower before entering the hot tub to remove any oils, lotions, or other contaminants that could affect the water quality.

How to Start a Hot Tub That Has Been Sitting

Starting a hot tub that has been sitting idle for an extended period requires special attention to ensure a smooth and trouble-free experience. Neglecting essential steps in the startup process can lead to issues such as dirty water, malfunctioning equipment, or even damage to the hot tub. Whether you’re reviving your hot tub after a seasonal closure or an extended hiatus, following a few crucial steps will help bring it back to life and get you ready for a soothing and relaxing soak.

Cleaning the Hot Tub

Cleaning the hot tub is a crucial step in maintaining a safe and enjoyable spa environment. A thorough cleaning process involves several essential tasks to ensure that the hot tub is free from dirt, debris, and contaminants. Here’s how to clean your hot tub effectively:

  • Draining Old Water: Begin the cleaning process by draining any old water from the hot tub. Over time, the water in the tub can accumulate impurities and lose its clarity and freshness. Draining the old water is essential to start with a clean slate and prepare the hot tub for a fresh fill.

  • Inspecting the Hot Tub Cover: Before proceeding with the interior cleaning, remove the hot tub cover and carefully inspect it for any signs of damage or wear. Check for tears, cracks, or waterlogging that may compromise its effectiveness in maintaining the water’s temperature and cleanliness. If you notice any issues with the cover, consider repairing or replacing it to ensure optimal insulation and protection for your hot tub.

  • Scrubbing the Surfaces: Use a non-abrasive cleaner specifically designed for hot tubs to scrub the surfaces thoroughly. Abrasive cleaners can damage the hot tub’s finish and leave scratches, so it’s essential to choose a cleaner that is gentle yet effective. Pay close attention to areas prone to dirt or buildup, such as the waterline, where oils, lotions, and other residues tend to accumulate. Focus on scrubbing the seats, walls, and floor of the hot tub to remove any visible dirt or debris.

  • Addressing Stubborn Stains: If you encounter stubborn stains or discoloration on the hot tub surfaces, consider using a specialized stain remover or a mild solution of vinegar and water. Apply the stain remover according to the manufacturer’s instructions and gently scrub the affected areas. Be cautious not to use harsh chemicals that may harm the hot tub’s material or affect the water chemistry.

  • Rinsing Thoroughly: Once the surfaces have been scrubbed and cleaned, thoroughly rinse the hot tub to remove any residue from the cleaning products. Rinse multiple times to ensure no cleaning agents remain in the water, as they may disrupt the water chemistry and cause foaming or other issues.

Checking the Equipment

Checking the equipment of your hot tub is a critical step in ensuring its efficient operation and longevity. Regular maintenance and inspection of the hot tub’s components help identify potential issues early on, allowing you to address them promptly. Here’s a detailed explanation of how to check the hot tub’s equipment:

  • Inspecting the Filter: The filter plays a crucial role in keeping the hot tub water clean by trapping debris and impurities. Begin by removing the filter and inspecting it for any signs of dirt, debris, or clogs. If the filter appears dirty or clogged, it’s time to clean or replace it. Cleaning the filter involves rinsing it thoroughly with a hose to remove any trapped particles. For a more thorough clean, consider using a filter cleaning solution or following the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the filter is damaged or shows signs of wear, replace it with a new one to ensure proper filtration.

  • Examining the Jets and Plumbing Lines: Carefully inspect the jets and plumbing lines for any obstructions or blockages. Over time, mineral deposits, debris, or even small objects may accumulate in the jets or plumbing, affecting water flow and jet performance. If you notice any blockages, use a pipe cleaner or a specialized hot tub plumbing cleanser to clear them. Gently remove any debris or buildup that may be impeding water circulation, which is essential for an enjoyable and therapeutic hot tub experience.

  • Verifying Pump and Heater Functionality: The hot tub’s pump and heater are integral to its operation, ensuring proper water circulation and maintaining the desired temperature. Turn on the hot tub and verify that the pump is running smoothly and without any unusual noises. Additionally, check that the heater is functioning correctly and effectively heating the water. If you notice any issues with the pump or heater, such as strange noises, leaks, or inconsistent temperature, it’s essential to address these problems promptly by seeking professional assistance or contacting the manufacturer for troubleshooting guidance.

After diligently completing the aforementioned additional steps, you are now ready to move forward with filling the hot tub, adding essential chemicals, and following the startup instructions provided earlier. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure a seamless process and set the stage for a delightful and invigorating hot tub experience.

How to Start a Hot Tub After Winter

If you’ve taken the necessary precautions to winterize your hot tub during the colder months, it’s now time to reverse the process and bring your hot tub out of hibernation. Properly preparing your hot tub for use again is crucial to ensure its smooth operation and provide you with a delightful soaking experience.

Winterizing a hot tub typically involves draining the water, disconnecting power and plumbing, and adding antifreeze to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. Now, as the warmer season approaches, you can follow this comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you reverse the winterization and start your hot tub anew:

Remove the Winter Cover

Begin the process by carefully removing the winter cover from your hot tub. Take a moment to inspect the cover for any signs of damage, wear, or tear that might have occurred during its time in storage. If the cover is still in good condition, proceed to clean it thoroughly with a mild detergent or hot tub cover cleaner.

Rinse off any residue and allow the cover to dry completely before placing it in storage. However, if the cover has sustained significant damage, consider replacing it with a new one to ensure efficient insulation and protection for your hot tub.

Check for Critters and Debris

Before proceeding further, conduct a thorough inspection of your hot tub and its components for any signs of critters or debris that might have found their way inside during the winter months.

Remove any leaves, branches, or other debris that might have accumulated in or around the hot tub during its dormant phase. Ensuring a clean and critter-free environment sets the stage for a smooth reawakening of your hot tub.

Reconnect Power and Plumbing

With your hot tub properly cleaned and debris-free, it’s time to reconnect the power and plumbing connections. Ensure that your hot tub is correctly connected to a reliable power source and that the electrical supply is turned on.

Additionally, reconnect any plumbing lines that might have been disconnected during the winterization process. Check for any signs of leaks around the plumbing connections and address them if necessary.

A secure and well-functioning electrical and plumbing system is vital for the optimal performance of your hot tub.

Refill the Hot Tub

Now that your hot tub is reconnected and ready, begin the process of refilling it with fresh water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the appropriate water level.

As the hot tub fills, take the opportunity to check for any leaks or unusual sounds that might indicate potential issues. Address any leaks or concerns promptly to prevent further complications.

Test the Water

Once your hot tub is adequately filled, it’s time to test the water chemistry. Use a reliable hot tub test kit or test strips to check the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. Proper water chemistry is essential for maintaining water clarity, preventing bacterial growth, and providing a safe and enjoyable hot tub experience.

Adjust the chemicals as needed to achieve the proper water balance. Allow the water to circulate for at least 30 minutes after adding chemicals to ensure thorough distribution.

Start the Hot Tub

With the water chemistry balanced, you can now proceed to start your hot tub. Turn on the hot tub’s circulation and heating system. Take note of the temperature settings and verify that the heater is functioning correctly.

Depending on your hot tub’s size and the starting water temperature, it may take several hours to reach the desired temperature. Allow the hot tub to heat up gradually while you perform additional maintenance tasks.

Clean and Check the Equipment

As the hot tub heats up, take the opportunity to clean the hot tub’s surfaces thoroughly. Use a non-abrasive cleaner specifically designed for hot tubs, as abrasive cleaners can damage the hot tub’s finish and leave scratches.

Pay particular attention to areas prone to dirt and oils, such as the waterline and seats. Ensure that all surfaces are clean and free from debris, creating a pristine environment for your hot tub experience.

Inspect the Filter

With the hot tub operating, it’s essential to check the filter for any debris or clogs that might have accumulated during the winter months. The filter is a critical component of your hot tub’s maintenance, as it traps debris and impurities to keep the water clean and clear. If the filter appears dirty or clogged, it’s time to clean or replace it.

Cleaning the filter involves rinsing it thoroughly with a hose to remove any trapped particles. For a more thorough cleaning, consider using a filter cleaning solution or following the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the filter is damaged or shows signs of wear, replace it with a new one to ensure proper filtration.

Inspect Jets and Plumbing Lines

Additionally, take a moment to inspect the hot tub’s jets and plumbing lines. Over time, mineral deposits, debris, or even small objects may accumulate in the jets or plumbing, affecting water flow and jet performance.

Gently remove any debris or buildup that might be impeding water circulation, as proper water flow is essential for an enjoyable and therapeutic hot tub experience. Consider using a pipe cleaner or a specialized hot tub plumbing cleanser to clear any stubborn buildup.

Enjoy Your Hot Tub

With all the necessary preparations and maintenance tasks completed, your hot tub is now ready for you to enjoy. Step into the warm and inviting waters of your rejuvenated hot tub and bask in the relaxation and therapeutic benefits it provides.

As you soak away your stress and worries, take pride in knowing that your hot tub is operating efficiently and ready to provide you with countless hours of enjoyment and well-being.

What Chemicals Do I Need to Start a Hot Tub

To ensure a clean and safe hot tub experience, starting your hot tub with the right chemicals is essential. A well-balanced combination of sanitizers, pH adjusters, and water clarifiers will help maintain the water quality and protect both the hot tub and its users.

From chlorine or bromine for sanitization to pH increasers and decreasers for proper water balance, understanding the necessary chemicals will set the foundation for a refreshing and enjoyable hot tub soak. Let’s explore the essential chemicals required to start your hot tub and create an inviting oasis for relaxation.

  • Chlorine or Bromine: These are the most common sanitizers used to disinfect the water and kill bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. Chlorine is more commonly used in hot tubs, but bromine is also an excellent alternative, especially for those with sensitive skin or chlorine allergies.

  • pH Increaser and pH Decreaser: These chemicals are used to adjust the pH level of the water. The ideal pH range for hot tub water is typically between 7.4 and 7.6. pH increasers raise the pH level if it’s too low, while pH decreasers lower it if it’s too high.

  • Alkalinity Increaser: Alkalinity helps buffer the pH level, preventing rapid fluctuations. The recommended alkalinity range for hot tub water is typically between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million). Alkalinity increasers are used to raise alkalinity levels when needed.

  • Calcium Hardness Increaser: Calcium hardness refers to the level of calcium dissolved in the water. Maintaining proper calcium hardness (usually between 100 and 250 ppm) helps prevent water from becoming corrosive or scale-forming.

  • Water Shock (Oxidizer): Water shock, often in the form of non-chlorine shock or chlorine shock, is used to oxidize organic contaminants, such as body oils, lotions, and sweat, to prevent cloudy water and foul odors.

  • Water Clarifier: Water clarifiers are additives that help improve water clarity by coagulating tiny particles and debris that might make the water appear cloudy or hazy. Using a water clarifier can aid the hot tub’s filtration system in effectively removing these particles, resulting in crystal-clear water and a more visually appealing hot tub experience.

  • Test Kit or Test Strips: A reliable test kit or test strips are essential for regularly monitoring the water’s pH, alkalinity, sanitizer levels, and other chemical parameters. Regular testing ensures the water remains balanced and safe.

  • Defoamer (Optional): Sometimes, excessive foaming can occur due to the accumulation of soaps and other residues. A defoamer can be used to control and reduce foaming in the water.

Before adding any chemicals, it’s essential to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. It’s also recommended to check your hot tub’s specific requirements, as some models may have unique chemical needs. Properly balancing the water chemistry not only ensures a safe and comfortable soak but also helps protect the hot tub components from damage and extends the overall lifespan of the hot tub.

How to Start a Saltwater Hot Tub

Saltwater hot tubs offer a unique experience and a range of advantages that set them apart from their chemical-treated counterparts. In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the process of starting a saltwater hot tub and delve into the differences and benefits of using saltwater for hot tub maintenance.

1. Choosing the Right Saltwater System

One of the first steps in transitioning to a saltwater hot tub is selecting the appropriate saltwater chlorination system. These systems come in various forms, from simple floaters to advanced electronic units. The choice depends on the size of your hot tub, your budget, and your maintenance preferences.

Some saltwater systems automatically monitor and adjust chlorine levels, making maintenance more convenient, while others may require manual monitoring and adjustments. Take time to research and consult with experts or retailers to find the system that best suits your needs.

2. Gathering the Necessary Materials

Before you begin the conversion, ensure you have all the necessary materials at hand. Typical items required for starting a saltwater hot tub include a salt cell or generator, pool-grade salt (usually sodium chloride), test strips, a saltwater test kit, and a pH balancing agent, such as sodium bisulfate. Having all the materials ready will streamline the process and minimize interruptions during the conversion.

3. Draining and Cleaning the Hot Tub

If you already have a traditional hot tub, you’ll need to drain it completely before converting it into a saltwater hot tub. Once empty, take the opportunity to clean the tub thoroughly to remove any lingering chemicals, debris, or bacteria. Cleaning the hot tub at this stage ensures a fresh start for your new saltwater system.

4. Installing the Saltwater Chlorination System

Installing the chosen saltwater system is a critical step in the process. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to properly set up the system in your hot tub. This usually involves mounting the salt cell in a strategic location within the hot tub’s circulation system. Ensure that all connections are secure and that there are no leaks.

5. Adding Salt to the Water

Once the saltwater system is in place, it’s time to add the required amount of salt to the hot tub. The amount of salt needed depends on the system and the hot tub’s size. It’s essential to use pool-grade salt, as table salt and other varieties may contain additional additives that can interfere with the saltwater chlorination process. As you add the salt, the hot tub’s jets should be turned on to aid in the dissolution process.

6. Allowing Salt to Dissolve

After adding the salt, it’s crucial to allow sufficient time for it to dissolve fully. The rate of dissolution depends on factors such as the water temperature and the amount of salt added. On average, this process can take several hours to complete. Patience is key during this stage, as properly dissolving the salt ensures a well-balanced and effective saltwater system.

7. Checking and Adjusting Water Chemistry

Once the salt has dissolved, use the saltwater test kit to check the hot tub’s water chemistry. Measure the salt levels to ensure they fall within the recommended range for your specific system. Additionally, test the pH and alkalinity levels of the water and make necessary adjustments using appropriate chemicals.

It’s worth noting that saltwater hot tubs often boast a more stable pH compared to traditional chemical-based hot tubs, which can reduce the need for frequent pH adjustments.

8. Monitoring and Maintaining

After setting up your saltwater hot tub, regular monitoring and maintenance are crucial to ensuring its optimal performance. Regularly check the salt, chlorine, pH, and alkalinity levels of the water to ensure they remain within the recommended ranges.

Saltwater systems generally require less frequent attention than chemical-based systems, but they are not entirely maintenance-free. Periodically inspect the salt cell for any mineral buildup, which can affect its efficiency and longevity. Regularly clean and maintain the salt cell as instructed by the manufacturer.

Starting a Hot Tub for Hydrotherapy and Wellness

In the fast-paced modern world, finding moments of peace and rejuvenation has become essential for maintaining a healthy mind and body. Hot tubs offer more than just a place for relaxation; they can serve as healing and restorative spaces for hydrotherapy and wellness practices.

By incorporating elements like aromatherapy, hydrotherapy techniques, and mindfulness, you can create a rejuvenating sanctuary that promotes physical and mental well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deeper into how to start a hot tub with a focus on harnessing its therapeutic potential for hydrotherapy and overall wellness.

1. Choose the Right Hot Tub

Starting your journey towards hydrotherapy and wellness begins with selecting the right hot tub for your needs. Look for models that prioritize comfort and therapeutic features. Opt for hot tubs with adjustable jets that target different muscle groups, contoured seating that offers maximum support, and ample space for stretching and movement during hydrotherapy exercises.

Additionally, consider getting a hot tub with customizable settings that allow you to tailor your experience according to your specific wellness goals.

2. Set the Ambiance

Creating a soothing ambiance around your hot tub is essential for setting the tone for relaxation and tranquility. Soft and warm lighting is a fantastic way to achieve this. Consider installing LED strips or placing candles strategically around the hot tub area. The gentle glow of these lights not only creates an inviting atmosphere but also encourages a sense of calmness and serenity.

3. Harnessing Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can significantly enhance the healing experience in your hot tub. Essential oils have long been used for their therapeutic properties, such as lavender for relaxation, eucalyptus for respiratory benefits, or peppermint for a refreshing experience.

Use a safe and appropriate aromatherapy diffuser specifically designed for hot tub use to release the scents gently into the air. As you soak in the warm water, the aromatic oils will soothe your senses, providing a deeper level of relaxation and enhancing the overall therapeutic effect.

4. Mindful Soaking

Approaching your hot tub sessions with mindfulness and intention elevates the entire experience to a new level of healing and restoration. Instead of simply soaking passively, practice mindfulness by focusing on the sensations of the warm water enveloping your body, the sound of bubbling jets, and the aroma of the essential oils.

Engage in deep breathing exercises and meditation while you soak, allowing your mind and body to fully embrace the restorative benefits of your hot tub sanctuary.

5. Exploring Hydrotherapy Techniques

Hydrotherapy is a powerful wellness practice that utilizes water’s therapeutic properties to promote healing and relaxation. Explore different hydrotherapy techniques to address specific wellness needs:

  • Hydro-massage: Adjust the hot tub jets to target areas of tension and discomfort in your body. Experiment with varying pressure levels and positions to find what works best for you. The combination of warm water and massaging jets can provide relief from sore muscles and joint pain.

  • Contrast Therapy: For those seeking a more invigorating experience, consider alternating between warm water and cold water therapy. Quick dips in a cold pool or taking a cold shower after a hot tub session can stimulate circulation, reduce inflammation, and offer numerous health benefits. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before attempting contrast therapy, especially if you have any health conditions.

  • Stretching and Movement: Utilize the space in and around the hot tub for gentle stretching exercises and low-impact movements. These activities can help improve flexibility, promote relaxation, and release tension accumulated during daily activities. The buoyancy of water makes stretching easier on your joints, allowing for a more effective and comfortable experience.

6. The Power of Sound Therapy

Incorporate sound therapy into your hot tub experience to further enhance relaxation and healing. Relaxing music or the sounds of nature can complement the calming ambiance, promoting mental relaxation and tranquility. Consider playing soothing sounds through waterproof speakers or use noise-cancelling headphones for a more immersive experience.

7. Hydrotherapy Add-ons

To optimize your hot tub experience, consider incorporating hydrotherapy add-ons that complement your wellness goals. Hydro jets for your feet can provide targeted relief for tired and achy soles, while a hydrotherapy pillow can offer much-needed support for your neck and head during relaxation sessions.

8. Maintain Clean and Balanced Water

A vital aspect of creating a healing and restorative hot tub space is maintaining clean and balanced water. Regularly clean and sanitize your hot tub to ensure a hygienic environment for your wellness practices.

Use natural or eco-friendly water treatment products to maintain water quality while minimizing the use of harsh chemicals. This ensures that your hot tub remains a sanctuary of health and relaxation for both you and the environment.

9. Practicing Safe Hot Tub Use

While hydrotherapy and wellness practices can offer numerous benefits, it’s crucial to prioritize safety at all times. Always follow hot tub safety guidelines to prevent accidents and injuries. Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, especially if you have certain health conditions.

Consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about using a hot tub for hydrotherapy, and ensure you are aware of any specific precautions based on your individual health status.

10. Embarking on a Holistic Wellness Journey

By starting your hot tub journey with a focus on creating a healing and restorative space, you are embarking on a holistic wellness journey. This is not merely about soaking in warm water; it’s about embracing an integrated approach to well-being that nurtures both your body and mind.

Regular hot tub sessions focused on hydrotherapy and mindful wellness practices can help reduce stress, alleviate physical discomfort, improve sleep, and enhance overall quality of life.

Common Hot Tub Start Up Issues and Troubleshooting Tips

Starting up a hot tub can sometimes come with various issues and problems that can be frustrating for new and experienced hot tub owners alike. Here are some common hot tub start-up issues and troubleshooting tips to help you identify and resolve them:

1. Hot Tub Doesn’t Turn On

  • Check the Power Supply: Ensure that the hot tub is properly connected to a power source and that the power supply is working. Check the circuit breaker or GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) to see if it has tripped and needs to be reset.

  • Verify the Control Panel: Make sure the control panel is functioning correctly and is not displaying any error codes. If there is an error code, refer to the hot tub’s owner’s manual for troubleshooting guidance.

2. Low Water Flow or Weak Jets

  • Check for Clogged Filters: Dirty or clogged filters can restrict water flow and reduce the power of the jets. Remove the filters and clean them thoroughly or replace them if they are worn out.

  • Inspect the Pump: The pump may be clogged or have air pockets. Ensure the pump is properly primed as described in the previous section on priming the pump. Additionally, check the pump for any debris or blockages that may be hindering water flow.

3. Water is Cloudy or Discolored

  • Check Water Chemistry: Test the water chemistry using a water testing kit. Ensure that the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels are within the recommended range. Adjust the chemicals as needed to balance the water.

  • Inspect the Filters: Dirty or clogged filters can also lead to cloudy water. Clean or replace the filters regularly to maintain water clarity.

  • Shock the Water: If the water remains cloudy even after balancing the chemicals, you may need to shock the water with a non-chlorine shock treatment to oxidize organic contaminants.

4. Hot Tub Doesn’t Heat Up

  • Check the Temperature Setting: Verify that the temperature setting on the hot tub’s control panel is at the desired level.

  • Inspect the Heater: The heater element may be faulty or worn out. If the water remains cold and the temperature setting is correct, the heater may need to be replaced.

  • Examine the Flow Switch: The flow switch is a safety feature that prevents the heater from operating when there is insufficient water flow. If the flow switch is malfunctioning, it may prevent the hot tub from heating up. Consult the owner’s manual for guidance on testing and replacing the flow switch.

5. Excessive Foaming

  • Monitor Chemical Levels: High levels of body oils, lotions, and soaps can lead to foaming. Ensure the water chemistry is balanced and maintain proper sanitizer levels to prevent foaming.

  • Use Defoamer: If foaming persists, you can use a hot tub defoamer product to break down foam and prevent its reformation.

6. Unusual Noises

  • Inspect the Pump and Motor: Unusual noises, such as grinding or rattling sounds, may indicate a problem with the pump or motor. Check for loose components or debris that may be causing the noise.

  • Bubbles in the Plumbing: Air trapped in the plumbing lines can cause bubbling or gurgling noises. Ensure the pump is properly primed to remove any trapped air.

7. Smelly Water

  • Shocking the Water: If the water has a strong odor, it may be due to the presence of bacteria or organic contaminants. Shock the water with a chlorine-based shock treatment to eliminate the odor-causing substances.

  • Drain and Refill: If the water remains smelly, it may be time to drain and refill the hot tub to start with fresh water.

8. Error Codes on the Control Panel

  • Refer to the Owner’s Manual: If the control panel displays error codes, consult the hot tub’s owner’s manual for a list of error codes and their corresponding troubleshooting steps.

  • Contact Customer Support: If you are unable to resolve the issue based on the error code information in the manual, contact the hot tub manufacturer’s customer support for further assistance.

While starting up a hot tub can come with some challenges, troubleshooting common issues can help you identify and resolve problems effectively. By following these troubleshooting tips and regularly maintaining your hot tub, you can ensure a smooth start-up process and enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating hot tub experience. Remember to consult the hot tub’s owner’s manual for specific guidance and seek professional help if needed for complex issues.


Starting a hot tub is a gratifying experience that opens the door to relaxation, therapeutic benefits, and overall wellness. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can confidently begin your hot tub journey and create a soothing oasis in your backyard.

Properly starting a hot tub involves crucial steps like reading the manual, prioritizing safety, filling the tub with water, priming the pump, adding chemicals, and initiating the heating process. Additionally, we explored how to revive a hot tub that has been sitting idle or coming out of winter hibernation.

Ensuring the right chemical balance in the water is vital for a clean and safe hot tub experience, and we provided insights into the necessary chemicals required for water sanitation. Moreover, for those seeking a unique hot tub experience, we discussed starting and maintaining a saltwater hot tub, as well as how to harness the therapeutic potential of hydrotherapy for overall wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to shock my hot tub when I first fill it?

Yes, it is recommended to shock your hot tub when you first fill it with water. Shocking the hot tub means adding a concentrated dose of sanitizer, typically chlorine or non-chlorine shock, to quickly kill any bacteria or contaminants that may be present in the fresh water. This initial shock treatment ensures that the water is clean and safe to use. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or the instructions on the shock treatment product for the correct dosage based on your hot tub’s size and water volume.

2. How long does it take for a hot tub to heat up?

The time it takes for a hot tub to heat up can vary depending on factors such as the size of the hot tub, the starting water temperature, the ambient temperature, and the power of the heater. On average, it can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours for a hot tub to heat up to the desired temperature, which is typically around 100°F to 104°F (37°C to 40°C). Energy-efficient hot tubs with powerful heaters and good insulation may heat up faster, while larger hot tubs or those in colder climates may take longer.

3. How long does a hot tub take to turn on?

The time it takes for a hot tub to turn on depends on the specific model and its features. In general, turning on a hot tub involves pressing the power button or activating the control panel. Once you turn on the hot tub, it should start the circulation pump and heating system. The time it takes for the hot tub to be fully operational, including reaching the desired temperature, can take several minutes to a few hours, depending on the heater’s power and the current water temperature.

4. How long does it take to set up a hot tub for the first time?

Setting up a hot tub for the first time can take several hours, depending on the complexity of the installation and the preparation of the site. The process involves preparing the location, leveling the ground, installing the hot tub, filling it with water, connecting the electrical supply, and priming the pump to remove air from the plumbing. Additionally, you may need to balance the water chemistry, add sanitizers, and configure the control settings. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for a proper and safe setup.

5. Can I use my hot tub straight away?

After setting up and filling your hot tub for the first time, you may need to wait for it to reach the desired temperature before using it. This can take several hours, as mentioned earlier. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that the water chemistry is properly balanced and sanitized before use. Check the water’s pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the water is safe and comfortable. Once the water is heated and properly balanced, you can enjoy your hot tub and indulge in a relaxing soak.

Photo of author

Written By Scott Keller

Scott Keller is an experienced pool industry professional with over 20 years of expertise in gunite pool design, construction, and maintenance.

Leave a Comment