How to Start a Hot Tub in 12 Easy Steps


Starting and maintaining a hot tub can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re new to hot tub ownership or have let your spa sit idle for a while. But fear not, as we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide on how to start a hot tub like a pro. Whether you’re a seasoned hot tub owner or a newbie, follow these 12 steps to ensure your hot tub is safe, clean, and ready for a relaxing soak.

1. Rinse and Drain

For New Hot Tubs

New hot tubs often come with a small amount of antifreeze to protect the plumbing during transit. However, this isn’t suitable for soaking. To start, fill the footwell with water, run the pumps briefly, and then drain to clear the drain valves and out any antifreeze.

To Restart a Hot Tub

If your hot tub has been sitting idle, it’s essential to drain and clean it to eliminate old water and potential bacteria colonies. After draining the spa water, refill the tub with fresh water and use a high-quality jet and drain cleaner to ensure a thorough cleaning job.

Tip: Ensure all fittings are properly reconnected, including drain plugs garden hose, pump connections, heater, air blower, and valves.

2. Turn off All Power

Safety should always come first. Before performing any hot tub maintenance, unplug your hot tub and turn off the circuit breaker to ensure there’s no electricity running through the system. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination.

3. Clean the Empty Hot Tub

Just like you wouldn’t bathe in a dirty tub, you don’t want to soak in a dirty hot tub. Clean all surfaces that may come into contact with water, including the shell and cover. Use a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge to avoid damaging the shell. Rinse thoroughly to prevent foaming later.

4. Install or Clean the Filter

Your hot tub’s filter is crucial for maintaining clean water. Whether you have a new hot tub or are restarting one, make sure to install new filters or clean the existing ones. Ensure they are placed correctly in the hot tub filter wells to promote effective filtration.

5. Fill Your Hot Tub

Filling your hot tub correctly is essential to prevent issues down the line. If possible, use a hose filter to remove impurities from your water source, such as minerals, metals, and calcium. This prevents clogging and ensures clean water. Be mindful of water levels and avoid overfilling.

6. Prime the Pump

Air in the hot tub’s lines can lead to problems, so it’s crucial to prime the pump. The process varies by manufacturer and model, so consult your owner’s manual for guidance. Some control panel and panels have a self-priming mode, while others require manual priming using a bleeder valve.

7. Add the Start-Up Chemicals

Once the filters are clean, and the water is fresh, it’s time to add start-up chemicals. Wait until the water reaches 80ºF (30ºC) before adding chemicals to ensure proper dissolution. Measure and add the required chemicals based on your hot tub’s water volume, and always keep chemical measurements separate before adding them to the hot tub chemicals together.

Important: Use chemicals specifically designed for hot tubs, not pool chemicals.

8. Run the Pump

After adding chemicals, run the pump for at least ten minutes on high speed to evenly distribute them in all the air and water, ensuring a balanced chemical composition.

9. Test Your Water

Testing your hot tub water is crucial to maintaining proper water chemistry throughout. Ensure your water’s pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels are within the recommended range. Test the water regularly and have it professionally tested monthly for precise results.

10. Set the Water Temperature

Maintain your hot tub’s water temperature between 98ºF and 102ºF (36ºC and 38ºC) for a comfortable soak. Avoid exceeding 104ºF (40ºC) to prevent burns or damage to your hot tub. Use a separate thermometer for accuracy.

11. Cover Your Hot Tub

Cover your hot tub for approximately twenty-four hours after setting the temperature. This helps retain heat, prevent water and chemical evaporation, and allows the temperature to stabilize.

12. Test Your Water Again

Once your hot tub water flow has stabilized, retest the water to ensure the chemical levels are correct before using it. This step is crucial to your safety and the longevity of your hot tub.

In conclusion, starting or restarting your hot tub doesn’t have to be a complicated process. By following these 12 steps diligently, you’ll have a clean, safe, and enjoyable hot tub experience. So, see how to turn on a hot tub, sit back, relax, and let your worries float away in your well-prepared hot tub.

By following these comprehensive steps, you’ll ensure that your hot tub is always ready for relaxation and enjoyment, and your hot tub professional website can potentially outrank others with this detailed guide on how to start a hot tub.


  • Jason

    Jason is an experienced writer, having contributed to many popular websites over the years. He currently writes for Big Hot Tub, a blog about everything hot tubs. When he's not writing or working on his blog, Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.