how long can a hot tub stay empty

You might want to let your hot tub sit empty throughout the winter, during hot summer months, when you go on vacation for extended periods, or when conducting repairs.

Whatever the reason, we’ll outline some protective measures to ensure it stays in pristine condition until you are ready to use it again – no matter how long that may be.

Leaving Your Hot Tub Empty Can Be a Problem

It’s important to know why an empty hot tub is problematic.

A hot tub is meant to hold water continuously. So, when you empty your pool, you risk damaging it.

For example, its liner could dry out and start to shrink or crack. 

The liner could also tear if some debris or other objects are thrown into the hot tub.

If you fail to drain your hot tub completely, water that stands in the pipes and other equipment may turn into a breeding ground for bacteria and algae that are difficult to remove once they start growing. Also, if the gaskets and seals dry out too much, they may start to crack.

The alternative is to leave your hot tub as is with the power on. But, this can weigh heavily on your pockets in the form of high electricity bills. The solution is to drain the water completely and take preventive measures to maintain the condition of your hot tub.

Emptying Your Hot Tub

Emptying your hot tub correctly means ensuring no water is left in the drain pipes.

If any water is left remaining, a temperature drop could cause the water in the hot tub parts to freeze and expand, cracking the fragile parts.

To dry your spa completely, follow the steps outlined here:

  1. Get a sump pump to suck out the water from the tub. If you don’t have a sump pump, buy one at your local hardware store. Although, a hosepipe would also work well.
  2. After draining the water, remove the tub’s drain plug and shut the hole using a cap.
  3. Get a wet/dry vacuum to take out any excess water left.
  4. Switch off the hot tub power and turn off its heater.
  5. After about ten minutes, bring the power back on and run the blower for not less than 30 seconds. Doing this forces out any water left inside.
  6. When the entire tub is dry, turn off the electricity again.

Preparing Your Hot Tub for the Summer

After draining all the water, you may realize that your tub needs some thorough cleaning. A chlorine wash is the most effective for this. It flushes out all the dirt, bugs, and debris. But, if there are stains on the hot tub liner, get a washcloth, mild dishwashing soap, some warm water, and gently clean the interior.

If there are some heavy stains, you may need a tougher cleaning agent. But, don’t use a very harsh cleaner or use a metal scrubber to take the stains off. If you did, the tub’s acrylic finish would be destroyed.

Remember to clean the filters also and when done, give the entire tub a thorough rinse. Drain all the water, and resume the draining process as indicated in the steps above. Ensure that the tub and all its parts are dry before putting them back in place.

You will need to clean it again when the summer is over and you are ready to use it again.

Next, secure the hot tub cover at the top. Closing the empty tub protects the acrylic inner surface of the hot tub from damage due to sun exposure. The damage can be so severe that it voids your warranty.

Preparing Your Hot Tub for the Winter

Preparing your spa for the cold winter months is a little more thorough and detailed than for the summer.

If any water is left in your hot tub parts, it could freeze, expand, and run them.

So, you must ensure that the tub is completely dry.

Use a shop vac to suck any remaining water droplets from the tub surface of your water drained pool. If your hot tub has an air blower, double-check to ensure that the water is all dried there. Do it by turning the power back on and let the blower run for a good 30 seconds. Any water droplets that could have been left are blown away. After this, shut the power off.

Now take out the hot tub filters and put them into a chemical soak for 24 hours. Once cleaned, dry them off manually, or use a shop vac and put them away.

Your next task is at the hot tub cabinet that houses the pumps. Take out the piping and the drain plugs to make it easier for the shop vac to dry the interior of the pipes.

Last, clean the hot tub shell and shut the tub with the cover. Be sure to lock the cover because extreme weather could cause it to blow away, and the interior of your tub could start to get damaged. If your hot tub cover does not have locks and class, use some strong bungee cords to secure it in place.

Additional Tips for When You Empty Your Hot Tub

Use these additional tips to help you secure your hot tub before you leave it unused for a period of time

  • Check to see if there are any regulations

Before you embark on the process of draining your hot tub, check the laws in your area to see if there is any recommended process or restrictions for discarding chemically treated water. Some places have laws that regulate the emptying of pools and hot tub water out to the street or even in the owner’s yard.

If you’re not going to have your tub sitting outside, you could move it to your garage or a storage unit for more protection. Don’t attempt to move it alone, even if you’re convinced that you can ‘hulk’ the tub by yourself. Hot tubs are very heavy, weighing 600 pounds or more, and you cannot safely move this weight without damaging it. Have at least two more persons to help carry it.

  • Wrap the hot tub before storage

Wrap your tub in moving blankets before it is carried to the storage area. Wrapping protects your hot tub during the move and storage. It cushions against anything that may fall on it and protects it from dirt, dust, and debris.

  • You don’t need special storage

You may have come across ads advocating for climate-controlled storage units for long-term storage of hot tubs. But, this is not necessary. Your tub can survive any weather in regular storage. You only need to drain, clean, and pad it. It will still be in pristine condition by the time you use it again.

In Conclusion

Your hot tub can sit empty for as long as you need it to if you take the necessary steps to ensure that it is completely dry before storage. Go through the draining and drying process meticulously, and you will not have to worry about damage to your hot tub.

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