How To Drain A Swim Spa (Properly)

Swim spas have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a versatile and convenient way to enjoy the benefits of swimming and relaxation in the comfort of your own backyard. These self-contained units combine the features of a swimming pool and a hot tub, providing a space-saving solution for those who want the best of both worlds.

To keep your swim spa in top condition and ensure a safe, enjoyable experience every time you use it, regular maintenance is essential. One crucial aspect of swim spa maintenance is draining and cleaning the unit periodically. This process helps to remove contaminants, prevent the buildup of bacteria and algae, and maintain proper water chemistry.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of draining your swim spa properly, so you can keep it clean, healthy, and ready for your next aquatic adventure. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be able to extend the life of your swim spa and enjoy it for years to come.


Gathering Your Tools and Materials

Before you begin the process of draining your swim spa, it’s essential to have all the necessary tools and materials on hand. This will make the task more efficient and help you avoid any unnecessary interruptions. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Submersible pump or garden hose: These will be used to remove the water from your swim spa. A submersible pump is often quicker, but a garden hose will do the job just as well.
  2. Clean bucket: This will come in handy for scooping out any remaining water after the main draining process is complete.
  3. Spa vacuum (optional): If you have one available, a spa vacuum can help you remove debris from the bottom of the swim spa before draining.
  4. Cleaning supplies: Mild detergent, soft cloths, and brushes will be necessary for cleaning the swim spa shell, filters, and cover once the water has been drained.

Safety First: Turning Off the Power

Before you start draining your swim spa, it’s crucial to ensure that the power is turned off to prevent any accidents or damage to the electrical components. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Locate the circuit breaker that controls your swim spa’s power supply. This is usually found in your home’s main electrical panel.
  2. Switch off the breaker that corresponds to your swim spa. This will completely cut off the power supply, making it safe for you to proceed with the draining process.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority when working with electrical appliances and water. By taking the time to gather your tools and materials and ensuring that the power is off, you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful and stress-free swim spa draining experience.

Draining the Swim Spa

Finding the Drain Valve

Now that you’ve gathered your tools and turned off the power, it’s time to locate the drain valve. This is where the owner’s manual for your specific swim spa model comes in handy. Consult the manual to find the exact location of the drain valve, as it can vary depending on the make and model of your unit.

Typically, the drain valve is located near the base of the swim spa, often in a compartment or recess. It may be hidden behind a removable panel or cover, so don’t be afraid to do a little exploring to find it.

Connecting the Pump or Hose

Once you’ve located the drain valve, it’s time to connect your submersible pump or garden hose. Here’s how to do it:

  • If using a submersible pump:
  1. Place the pump at the lowest point in the swim spa, ensuring that it’s completely submerged.
  2. Connect a hose to the pump outlet, making sure it’s secure and leak-free.
  3. Direct the other end of the hose to a suitable drainage area, such as a garden bed or storm drain, away from your home’s foundation.
  • If using a garden hose:
  1. Attach one end of the hose securely to the drain valve.
  2. Place the other end of the hose in a suitable drainage area, just like with the submersible pump.

Let the Draining Begin

With your pump or hose connected, it’s time to open the drain valve and let the water flow. Be sure to monitor the draining process closely, ensuring that the water is flowing properly and not causing any damage or flooding in the drainage area.

Depending on the size of your swim spa and the method you’re using to drain it, this process can take several hours. Be patient and let the pump or hose do its job.

Removing the Remaining Water

Once the majority of the water has been drained, you may notice some shallow puddles or standing water remaining in the bottom of the swim spa. This is where your clean bucket comes in handy.

Use the bucket to scoop out any remaining water, being careful not to damage the swim spa shell in the process. You can also slightly tilt the swim spa to encourage the water to flow towards the drain, making it easier to remove.

With the swim spa now empty, you’re ready to move on to the cleaning phase. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done so far!

Cleaning the Swim Spa

Removing Debris and Cleaning the Shell

With the swim spa drained, it’s the perfect time to give it a thorough cleaning. Start by removing any debris that may have accumulated on the bottom or sides of the shell. If you have a spa vacuum, now’s the time to put it to use. It can make quick work of removing any leftover particles or grit.

Next, focus on cleaning the swim spa shell itself. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down the entire surface, paying extra attention to the waterline and any hard-to-reach areas. Be sure to use a non-abrasive cleaner to avoid scratching or damaging the shell’s surface.

Don’t Forget the Filters

Your swim spa’s filters work hard to keep the water clean and clear, so it’s important to show them some love during the cleaning process. Remove the filters from the swim spa and give them a thorough rinse with a garden hose, making sure to remove any visible debris or buildup.

If your filters are particularly dirty or have been in use for an extended period, you may want to consider soaking them in a filter cleaning solution overnight. This can help to break down any stubborn grime and restore the filters’ efficiency.

Cleaning the Cover

While you’re at it, don’t neglect your swim spa cover. It’s exposed to the elements and can accumulate dirt, dust, and even mildew over time. Give the cover a good wipe-down using a mild detergent and a soft cloth, making sure to clean both the top and underside.

Once you’ve finished cleaning the cover, allow it to air dry completely before placing it back on the swim spa. This will help to prevent any moisture from getting trapped between the cover and the shell, which can lead to mildew growth.

A Clean Slate

With the shell scrubbed, the filters rinsed (or soaking), and the cover cleaned, your swim spa is now a blank canvas, ready for fresh, clean water. Take a moment to admire your handiwork and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve given your swim spa the TLC it deserves.

In the next section, we’ll guide you through the process of refilling your swim spa and getting the water chemistry just right, so you can dive back in and enjoy your freshly cleaned oasis.

Refilling the Swim Spa

Closing the Drain Valve

Before you start refilling your swim spa, it’s crucial to ensure that the drain valve is securely closed. This may seem like a small detail, but forgetting to close the valve can lead to a frustrating and wasteful situation, with water continuously draining out as you try to fill the spa.

Take a moment to locate the drain valve and confirm that it’s in the closed position. Give it a gentle tug to make sure it’s properly seated and not leaking. Once you’re confident that the valve is closed, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Filling with Fresh Water

Now comes the exciting part – filling your swim spa with fresh, clean water! Grab your trusty garden hose and connect it to a clean water source, such as an outdoor spigot or indoor faucet.

Place the other end of the hose into the swim spa, making sure it’s securely positioned to avoid any accidental slips or spills. Begin filling the swim spa, keeping a watchful eye on the water level as it rises.

Consult your swim spa’s owner’s manual for the recommended fill level, as this can vary depending on the model and size of your unit. Typically, you’ll want to fill the spa until the water reaches about halfway up the skimmer opening or the fill line indicated on the shell.

Balancing the Water Chemistry

Once your swim spa is filled to the proper level, it’s time to focus on getting the water chemistry just right. Balanced water is essential for a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable swimming experience, as well as for protecting the components of your swim spa from damage.

Using test strips, check the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels of the water. Your swim spa’s owner’s manual should provide guidance on the ideal ranges for each parameter, but in general, you’ll want to aim for:

  • pH: 7.2-7.8
  • Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
  • Sanitizer (chlorine or bromine): 1-3 ppm

If any of the levels are out of the recommended range, add the necessary chemicals to adjust them. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and allow the water to circulate for a while before retesting and making any further adjustments.

Ready to Dive In!

With the water filled and the chemistry balanced, your swim spa is now ready for action! Replace the cover, turn the power back on, and let the swim spa run through a complete heating and filtration cycle.

Once the water has reached your desired temperature, you can finally slide into your freshly cleaned and filled swim spa, knowing that you’ve put in the effort to create a safe and inviting environment for yourself and your loved ones to enjoy.

Regular maintenance, including draining and cleaning your swim spa, may seem like a chore at times, but the rewards – a sparkling clean oasis and peace of mind – are well worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I drain my swim spa?

This is a common question among swim spa owners, and the answer can vary depending on factors such as usage, bather load, and water chemistry. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to drain and clean your swim spa every 3-4 months. However, if you use your spa frequently or have a high bather load, you may need to drain it more often to maintain optimal water quality.

Can I use a regular pump to drain my swim spa?

While a submersible pump designed for spa use is ideal, a regular pump can be used to drain your swim spa in most cases. Just make sure that the pump is capable of handling the volume of water in your spa and that it’s properly secured and positioned to avoid any damage to the spa shell or components.

Is it necessary to clean the swim spa shell after draining?

Yes, cleaning the swim spa shell after draining is an essential step in the maintenance process. Over time, dirt, grime, and even mineral buildup can accumulate on the shell’s surface, leading to a less attractive appearance and potentially providing a breeding ground for bacteria. By giving the shell a thorough cleaning while it’s empty, you’ll ensure a fresh start when you refill the spa.

How long does it take to drain a swim spa?

The time it takes to drain a swim spa can vary depending on the size of the unit and the method you’re using to remove the water. On average, it can take anywhere from 1-4 hours to fully drain a swim spa using a submersible pump or garden hose. Keep in mind that larger swim spas or those with more powerful pumps may drain faster, while smaller spas or those using a slower drainage method may take longer.

Can I leave my swim spa empty for an extended period?

While it’s okay to leave your swim spa empty for short periods, such as during the draining and cleaning process, it’s not recommended to keep it empty for extended lengths of time. Prolonged exposure to air and sunlight can cause damage to the spa’s components, such as gaskets, seals, and even the shell itself. If you need to leave your swim spa empty for more than a few days, consider placing a cover over it to protect it from the elements.

By understanding these common questions and their answers, you’ll be better equipped to maintain your swim spa properly and enjoy it to the fullest.

VII. Conclusion

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the step-by-step process of draining and cleaning your swim spa. From gathering the necessary tools and materials to refilling the spa with fresh water and balancing the chemistry, each step plays a crucial role in maintaining the health, safety, and longevity of your swim spa.

By taking the time to drain and clean your spa regularly, you’re not only ensuring a more enjoyable swimming experience but also protecting your investment. Proper maintenance can help to prevent costly repairs, extend the life of your spa’s components, and provide peace of mind knowing that you’re swimming in a clean and well-maintained environment.

Incorporating regular swim spa maintenance into your routine may seem daunting at first, but with practice and persistence, it will soon become second nature. By setting reminders and dedicating time to this important task, you’ll be able to stay on top of your spa’s needs and catch any potential issues before they become more serious.

Remember, a well-maintained swim spa is a happy swim spa, and a happy swim spa leads to happy swimmers! So, embrace the process, take pride in your efforts, and enjoy the fruits of your labor as you dive into your sparkling clean oasis time and time again.

We hope that this guide has provided you with the knowledge and confidence needed to properly drain and clean your swim spa. By following these steps and making maintenance a regular part of your swim spa ownership journey, you’ll be able to create countless memories and enjoy all the benefits that your spa has to offer for years to come.

So, go ahead, roll up your sleeves, and show your swim spa some love – it will thank you in the form of crystal-clear water, a refreshing escape, and endless opportunities for relaxation and fun. Happy swimming!