Most hot tubs will need to be drained and refilled every 3 months or so. Draining a hot tub can be relatively quick, or it can take half of a day depending on the draining method you decide to use.
Many hot tub manufacturers install a gravity drain either inside the hose bib area of the cabinet or as an external attachment for a garden hose. The idea is to connect the garden hose to the drain adapter and then turn on the valve that allows the water to just drain out of the attached garden hose.
The problem with this method is that it can take several hours for the water to drain out, and there will still be left over water in the hot tub that requires scooping or bailing. Some manufacturers may suggest to run the spa pump in order to expedite the draining, but this is not a good idea because as you get to the bottom, if the pump runs dry without water in it, it can damage the pump.
Gravity Drain Method Without Factory Installed Drain
This is a little trick that works quite well if your spa does not have a built-in drain and drain connection. Some budget models are built without any type of drain, so the spa owner is left to fend for themselves when it comes to removing the water. It would take a long time to bail out with a large canister, and the spa is too heavy to tip over.
So an alternate gravity drain method is to still use a garden hose, but begin by actually filling the spa a little. Turn the water on and leave the hose deep in the footwell of the spa. Sometimes it will stay on its own, sometimes you may need to put something with a little weight on the hose where it goes over the rim of the spa to keep the hose in the spa. Now simply turn the water supply off and disconnect the hose on the supply side (where the water tap connects to the garden hose) while leaving the hose inside the hot tub footwell on that end.
Now through suction/reverse gravity, the water will begin draining out the supply side of the hose and it actually gets sucked up over the edge of the spa and back down and out due to the suction effect (as long as there is no air in the hose). This works well, but also as above can take several hours depending on spa size. You will also not be able to get the rest of the water out of seats, but you may get more out of the footwell before it begins to suck air – at which point you lose your gravity suction and the game is over.
Express Pump – Submersible Pump (Electric)
This is how the pros drain their spas. Repair people who need to quickly drain a spa use a submersible pump. Spa owners who want their spa drained in about 20 minutes simply keep a sump pump or submersible pump on hand, insert it into the middle of the footwell and lay the larger hose attached to the pump out for draining. The pump is plugged in and activated and the water is pumped out quickly. Note this does not work with any pump, it must be a submersible pump specifically designed for underwater use.
Submersible Pumps Hot Tubs are available online in Canada:
The Quick Drain is a portable hot tub draining solution that does not require power. For spas located further away from an outlet, or for those that don’t want to bother with power, the QuickDrain is an alternative that drains 5x as fast as standard gravity drain.
Time to drain a tub is about 30 minutes (vs. 15-20 min. with a powered pump) but vs. several hours of waiting for the gravity drain method. QuickDrain will drain all the way to the bottom and also remove large items such as broken glass, pebbles etc..
Other creative methods of draining the hot tub water may include having all the neighborhood kids over for “ship bailing party” (supply lots of little containers), get many hoses and use the second suction method above for somewhat better performance, wait for it to evaporate (not suggested) or even waiting for an 8.0 earthquake (although, unless you are in Southern California, it may take a very long time).
So our recommendation is to buy a submersible pump and get the job done fast. Alternatively, you can also use a mechanical quick drain device that works quite well.
Drain out your water with a larger diameter hose such as those used with either a submersible pump or the QuickDrain and the time it takes to drain out the spa water will be minimized so you can refill it and begin to enjoy your spa again.
Universal Discharge Hose
Most of the submersible pumps on the market attach to a thicker diameter hose. This allows more water to be pumped out faster.
See sample hose Flotec FP0012-6U-P2 Universal Discharge Hose Kit, 24-Feet by 1-1/4-Inch or 1-1/2-Inch. These types of discharge hoses come in various lengths and either 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch diameter with adapters that attach to the submersible pump. Hose clamps are included. Check the thread on the sump pump to be sure it is female so that the male adapter from the hose kit will fit into it. If you get a sump pump with a male thread on it, you will need a female adapter for the hose.