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Can You Leave a Hot Tub Empty?

You, of course, want to use your hot tub as often and as regularly as possible. In which case the hot tub will always be full of water and in operation. However, there may be occasions when you do not plan to use the hot tub for extended periods. In that case, can you leave a hot tub empty?

Sure. It is totally OK to leave your hot tub empty at times. It is even helpful in some situations and makes sense to empty the hot tub.

The caveat is that you must drain it completely dry, so that there is no risk of water freezing in the pipelines in winter or mold growing on wet spots in summer.

Can you leave a hot tub empty?

Follow the correct draining procedure, cleaning the filters, blowing out the internal bleed lines and your hot tub should be perfectly fine. Use the standard cover and an additional flexible, waterproof and UV resistant cover. 

When you are ready to reuse the hot tub again, clean it up nicely, refill with fresh water, top up the chemicals and your hot tub should be good to go.

In this post I shall explain the occasions when it makes sense to empty out your hot tub, answer questions on how long you can keep it empty, the procedure to follow for draining, blowing out the internal bleed lines and proper storage.

Why Leave a Hot Tub Empty?

It makes a lot of sense to leave a hot tub empty if it is not going to be used for an extended period of time. 

Most people of course love to use their hot tub on a fairly regular basis. You may skip using your hot tub on some days due to lack of time. But for most people, a 15 to 30 minutes soak in the hot tub, before bedtime, is almost a daily ritual.

However, it may become necessary to leave a hot tub empty on following occasions.

Winter Season

Most of us just love soaking in a hot tub during winter. Relaxing in a hot tub when the weather outside is freezing is certainly an extremely enjoyable experience. The colder it gets, the more you love spending time in the hot tub, relishing the warmth. 

However, if your hot tub is outdoors and a bit far from the house, then the thought of the  trip back to the house may put you off from using the hot tub. It is certainly possible to use an outdoor hot tub, even in freezing winter, provided you take some precautions.

But if you choose to empty out your outdoor hot tub during peak winter, it is perfectly understandable. Drain your hot tub and winterize it.

Summer Season

In case the temperature is in the 90+ degrees Fahrenheit range for most of summer, where you live, you may prefer not to spend time in a hot tub. You may be more interested in taking a dip in a cool pool or just being indoors in an air-conditioned space.

Summer months are also when you would rather spend more time outdoors. Go on hikes, take weekend road trips or even go on a long vacation. Your use of the hot tub may become less frequent.

This may be a good time to leave your hot tub empty. You could refill and start enjoying the hot tub post summer.

Long Vacations

Who does not love the opportunity to go on a long vacation? It could be an RV trip, exploring the amazing national parks during summer or a long ski holiday in winter.

So what happens to your hot tub while you are away for such a long period? Leaving the hot tub full of water but without a way to replenish the various sanitizing & balancing chemicals, is a recipe for disaster. 

It is best to drain the hot tub and leave it empty when you go on a long vacation. You will enjoy your vacation more knowing that your hot tub is safe.

Extensive Repairs

Sometimes your hot tub may require extensive repairs. You may have to wait for custom parts that could take quite some time to arrive. In such a situation you should drain the hot tub and keep it empty till the hot tub repairs are completed.

How Long Can a Hot Tub Stay Empty?

There is no time limit on how long a hot tub can stay empty. The caveat is that the empty hot tub must be well protected from dirt, dust, debris, rain, UV radiation, etc. It is also essential that you must have drained it completely dry.

The entire hot tub system should be completely dry and free of water to ensure that there is no mold growth in the warm months and no damage due to water freezing in the cold months.

It is imperative that your hot tub must have a good quality cover which completely seals the hot tub. Most hot tubs come with custom designed covers. The cover must be closed when the hot tub is not in use and certainly when it is empty.

For additional safety, I recommend using a flexible waterproof & dustproof cover. This will ensure that nothing gets into your hot tub while it is not in use.

Should I Keep The Hot Tub Shut Off When Empty?

Absolutely. You should turn the power to the hot tub off from the circuit breaker. 

This will prevent any accidental switching on. An empty hot tub that is still powered on can lead to permanent damages to the pump, filtration system and heater.

You can disconnect the hot tub yourself if you have sufficient experience. But if you are a new hot tub owner and not too sure, you can call in an electrician to do it for you. Alternatively you can take advice & help from the service staff of the dealership that sold you the hot tub.

Once you have witnessed how a professional does it, you can do it yourself the next time. Alternatively you can search for a “how to” video on YouTube and follow the instructions.

Keeping an empty hot tub connected to electricity is meaningless and a waste of energy.

How to Empty Your Hot Tub?

The first step is to switch off the power to the hot tub at the circuit breaker. Hot tubs come with a drain spigot. You can use the spigot or a submersible pump to drain the hot tub.

Method Using the Spigot

  • Locate the drainage spigot. Sometimes a hot tub may have two spigots; a primary and an auxiliary spigot. 
  • Always use the primary spigot to drain most of the water. After that you should use the auxiliary spigot to drain the internal bleed lines.
  • Connect one end of the garden hose to the spigot. The other end should lead to the drain
  • Make sure the garden hose is not entangled and runs straight on level or downward sloping ground
  • Open the ball valve on the hot tub spigot to drain the water

Method Using a Submersible Pump

  • Connect a long enough garden hose to the outlet off the submersible pump
  • The other end of the garden hose should lead to the drain
  • Make sure the garden hose is not entangled and runs straight on level or downward sloping ground
  • The pressure of the submersible pump can even push the water on an upward slope, if required
  • Place the pump inside the hot tub and turn it on

Using a submersible pump will drain your hot tub in much less time than draining it through the spigot.

Once you have completely drained the hot tub the next step is to drain the floor. Follow it up by loosening the union between the pump and heater.

Remove the filters and clean them either by rinsing them with a garden hose or by immersing it in a bucket full of filter cleaner solution and leaving it for 24 hours. Dry the clean filter using a shopvac and store them separately.

You also need to make sure that all internal lines within the hot tub are completely dry and free of any water or moisture. Any remaining moisture will become the breeding ground for mold growth in hot & humid weather.

You can blow out the lines using a shopvac. Use it for 15 to 30 seconds on every jet and water outlets or inlets in the hot tub.

Blowing Hot Tub Lines

Suck up any remaining water on the hot tub floor using the submersible pump.

It is relatively simple to clean the hot tub shell interior because it is made from nonstick material. Use a sponge or soft dry absorbent microfiber cloth to clean every square inch of the surface. Do not forget to clean the hot tub cover as well.

Can You Leave a Hot Tub Empty in Summer? 

Yes you can certainly leave your hot tub empty during summer, if you do not plan to use it for an extended period of time

However,you must ensure that

  • The hot tub is disconnected from the power source
  • The hot tub is completely drained and the internal lines are blown
  • The filter is cleaned and stored separately
  • The interior of the hot tub shell is cleaned and dried using microfiber cloth
  • The hot tub cover is fastened securely. Add an additional hot tub cover that can protect both from rain and intense sun

TIP 1: Close the hot tub cover securely to prevent dust and debris from getting in. Add an extra waterproof & UV resistant cover.

TIP 2: Blow the internal pipe lines completely dry using a shop vac. Ensure there is absolutely no water or moisture remaining. This is the only way to prevent mold growth.

You can use a dehumidifier if you have an indoor hot tub.You can buy a dehumidifier from Amazon using the link below:

You can even make your own dehumidifier using simple ingredients such as rock salt, baking soda or charcoal. Check out this interesting article 6 DIY Dehumidifier Options from Spruce.

Can You Leave a Hot Tub Empty in the Winter?

You can leave a hot tub empty in the winter provided you follow the correct procedure as outlined below:

  • Disconnect the hot tub from the power source
  • Drain the hot tub completely
  • Blow out the internal bleed lines and ensure there is no water or moisture
  • This will eliminate the risk of ice formation and cracking of any pipelines

An extended power outage during severe winter is a distinct possibility. Most homes do not connect the backup power supply to the hot tub. If the hot tub is full, there is a high risk of water freezing and internal pipes cracking.

It makes sense to empty out your hot tub during winter to prevent freeze damage to your hot tub.  

You should only keep the hot water full & operational if you are going to be home during winter and you have adequate power back up equipment to weather a long power outage.

Should I Empty My Hot Tub Before a Vacation?

Yes. It is better to empty out your hot tub, if you are going on vacation for a week or more. 

The water chemistry of a hot tub needs to be monitored and adjusted, at least once a week. Delay this essential hot tub maintenance procedure by more than a week and the water chemistry parameters may go out of the recommended range.

You may just come back to find significant algae, mold & bacteria growth in your hot tub. 

This will be more trouble than you bargained for. To clean up you will need to shock the hot tub, drain it, clean it, refill it and add all the chemicals. This is time consuming and costly.

Save yourself all this trouble by emptying out the hot tub before you go on vacation. You will not only save not only on the chemicals but also on the power required to run the hot tub. The risk of any unexpected damages will also be eliminated.

There are a few solutions if you do not want to empty the hot tub while you are on vacation.

You may request a friendly neighbor to take care of it or alternatively engage the services of a professional company. They will come by to take care of your hot tub on a regular basis while you enjoy your vacation.

Should I Leave My Hot Tub on All the Time?

It is better to keep your hot tub running all the time when you are home and expect to use it on a regular basis.

Regular, continuous hot tub operation ensures there will be no bacteria buildup and the water will always be clean, since the pump & filter is running.

Believe it or not, it actually takes less electricity to maintain a hot tub at a constant temperature. Switching it off when not in use and switching it on when you need it, may consume more electricity.

A hot tub can take anywhere between 3 to 8 hours to heat up. The cooler the weather outside the more time it takes to heat up to 100 degrees F, the ideal temperature for a soak in a hot tub.

By keeping your hot tub on all the time then you do not need to plan your soak in the hot tub many hours in advance. The hot tub is ready whenever you are!

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and helpful.

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