how to fill up a hot tub

So you finally have your hot tub set up on its foundation and ready to rock. The only thing you have left is to fill it.

But wait, how do you get all that water in there?

Is there a proper way to fill your hot tub?

While it might seem like something so simple a caveman could do, there are a couple of things you must consider while filling your hot tub for the first time.

How Long To Fill A Hot Tub? Amount Of Time It Takes

While hot tubs are pretty large, they fill much faster than you might think! Depending on the water pressure of your garden hose and the size of your hot tub, it will likely take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to completely fill your hot tub.

How High To Fill A Hot Tub

To determine how high you should be filling your spa, look for the hot tub filter.

The filter is typically located on the side of the spa. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to go no higher than 2-3 inches above the top of the spa filter.

Don’t allow the water to rise above this imaginary line. When you turn the jets on and have people sit inside, the water level will naturally rise.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill A Hot Tub?

The best way to determine how much it will cost for you to fill a hot tub is by multiplying the capacity (in gallons) by the cost per gallon of water in your region. 

For example, let’s say you have a hot tub that holds 400 gallons of water, and the cost per gallon for water in your area is about 0.002 cents. With these numbers, you’d end up spending around .08 cents to add water to your hot tub for the first time. If you end up emptying and refilling it four times per year, you will end up spending around $3.20 per year, which is a pretty solid deal considering how much water spas hold.

Of course, you can’t forget to factor in chemicals and filter changes as well!

See our How Many Gallons In A Hot Tub guide if you’d like to calculate how many gallons of water your hot tub can hold. 

Instructions for Filling a Hot Tub

Before you get started, there are a few things that you will need.

  • A water treatment sequestering agent
  • A pre-filtering garden hose
  • A Phillips head screwdriver

You’ll also want to make sure that your hot tub is already set up in the position you want it in. Once its filled up, you’ll find it pretty much impossible to relocate. You also want to make sure that your hot tub is turned off. If you leave your heater or spa equipment running during the filling process, it can pose a considerable safety hazard.

The thermostat(s) on your equipment system should be off. However, if your equipment system has a hi-limit switch, make sure you switch it ON.

#1 Retrieve the Garden Hose

You can use the water from your garden hose to fill your spa.

We also recommend using a pre-filter to remove any solids suspended in your water, such as heavy metals.

#2 Remove the Control Panel and Filter Closet

We highly recommend filling through this portion of the spa, as you can protect your circulating pump from a potential airlock.

What this does is forces air out of your plumbing line and pumps so that you can safely start up your spa and keep air flowing.

You must make sure no solid items, such as leaves or dirt, make their way into this area. If so, you’ll have to take apart your heater or pump to fish it out.

#3 Start Your Flow!

You’re finally ready to turn the water on and start filling your spa! Once you start your water up, return to the spa intermittently to ensure that the hose is still sitting properly in place.

As soon as your water level gets to the height of the footwell, you can add in your sequestering agent. The chemicals in your sequestering agent will optimize your water chemistry. Before you add anything else, such as chlorine or bromine, we recommend waiting at least 30 minutes.

At this point, you’ll have to wait until it fills up. Like we said earlier, it can take as little as 30-45 minutes, depending on your water pressure and the size of your spa. Larger spas can take a few hours.

If you don’t want to hang out and wait for your tub to fill up, we recommend setting a timer, so you don’t forget about it and create a major flooding catastrophe in the yard.

#5 You’re Finished!

Once your spa is filled up, you can remove your hose and replace your filter.

At this point, you can flip your breaker on as long as you’ve already had an electrician come out and install it. Your spa will go through a priming mode once the power is on, which is meant to activate one pump at a time before you turn on your heat.

Check your command system controls, turn the temperature on and max it out so you can get the temperature to where you’d like it. Once you have reached your desired temperature, you can turn the thermostat down.

Check various components in your equipment system to make sure everything is flowing correctly, including the circulating pump, the jets, and the heater. Then, with your heat OFF, run the jets for around 2-3 minutes to allow your plumbing system to circulate.

You will also want to make sure there aren’t any air blocks at the circulating pump or filters.

Once your spa is filled properly and has been in operation for at least 24-48 hours, you can use a test kit or test strips to check the pH and alkalinity. You may need to adjust the balance depending on the test kit outcome. We explain how to raise and lower alkalinity in a hot tub here.  Different spas require different chemical balances, so make sure to check your manual for proper balance.

You can learn more about spa testing and general maintenance in our recent articles:

Hot Tub Maintenance

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