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How Often Should I Drain a Swim Spa?

As a diligent swim spa owner, you have been adding the spa sanitizer every day and shocking your swim spa every week. Great! Then why are you noticing that the water in your swim spa is no longer as clear as it was a few months ago? When did you last drain your swim spa? How often should you drain a swim spa, anyway?

A swim spa should be drained, cleaned and refilled every 4 to 6 months. If the swim spa is used sparingly and just by family members, then 6 months should be fine. But, if friends often join you in your swim spa, then you may want to drain your swim spa, possibly, every three months.

The more clean you can keep your swim spa, the less often you will have to drain and refresh the water. Ensuring that every user takes a shower before getting into the swim spa will certainly help. Regular sanitization and weekly shocking will also help.

How often should I Drain my Swim Spa?

Do You Need to Drain a Swim Spa?

So you should drain the swim spa every 4 to 6 months and fill it up with fresh water. But what is the purpose of this exercise? Why do you need to drain a swim spa?

You, your family and your friends spend several hours a week in the swim spa. It is absolutely essential that the spa should be clean & hygienic, free from germs & bacteria.

Disinfecting or sanitizing your swim spa is a continuous endeavor. On a daily basis you must add the spa sanitizer after you have finished using the swim spa. This will keep your swim spa reasonably sanitized and keep the germs & bacteria within limits.

Next you must shock your swim spa every week to get rid of organics, disease carrying bacteria and the chlorine smell. Shock is essentially a very high dose of chlorine for a short period of time.

In spite of all these efforts your swim spa, over a few months, will become saturated with contaminants. The presence of warm water and contaminants will encourage germs, bacteria, mold, algae and other pathogens to grow. 

The swim spa water will start to lose its clarity and will become cloudy, foamy and smelly.

When your swim spa has reached such a stage, no amount of chemicals will be able to get the water chemistry back to the recommended levels. 

This is the reason you must drain your swim spa, clean it properly and refill it with fresh clean water. Add the required chemicals to get the water chemistry in balance.

How Often Should I Test the Water?

You may get an indication regarding the poor water quality of your swim spa when it starts to get cloudy & smelly. However, that is too late. 

You should monitor the water chemistry off your swim spa on a regular basis. So how often should you test the water?

At the very least the swim spa water should be tested once a week. Ideally it should be tested every alternate day. Make it every day if your swim spa has heavy traffic.

Actually a really good practice is to check the chlorine and the pH level before you get into the spa. This way you are sure that you are getting into a spa which has the right water chemistry. 

Similarly it is a good idea to check chlorine and pH levels before you stop using the spa for the day. Any deficiencies can then be made up by adding the right chemicals. They will work overnight and get the spa ready for you the next morning.

Testing the swim spa water, using test strips, is the only sure way of knowing what and how much of each spa chemical you need to add. The ideal water quality requirement for swim spas is pretty much the same as that for a swimming pool.

The recommended levels of the three parameters that you must check are in the table below:

ParameterAcceptable RangeIdeal range
Chlorine Level1.0 – 4.0 ppm2.0 – 3.0 ppm
pH Level7.2 – 7.87.4 – 7.6
Alkalinity80 – 150 ppm80 – 120 ppm
Calcium Hardness150 – 400 ppm200 – 300 ppm

When Should I Clean the Water Filters?

The swim spa filters continuously trap debris. As time passes, the water filters start to clog up. If you do not clean the filters often enough, then in essence the filters are no longer effective. 

Moreover the pumps will have a hard time pushing the water through the jets. The water pressure will start dropping. So when should you clean the water filters?

The swim spa water filters should be cleaned at least once a month. Flushing them with clean water should usually be sufficient.

However, once every 3 to 4 months you should clean them with a filter cleaner. You can do this by soaking the spa filter overnight in a bucket filled with filter cleaner. The filter will be clean in the morning.

You will also need to replace the filters once a year as they will start showing signs of wear and tear.

Where Do You Drain the Swim Spa Water To?

Draining your swim spa is easier said than done. Admittedly a swim spa is much smaller than a swimming pool, but it still packs in around 6000 gallons of water. So where do you drain the swim spa water to?

It is highly unlikely that any local authority in the US or any developed nation will permit you to drain your swim spa water into the storm water drain system. 

The reason is very simple. Storm water drains are designed to prevent flooding by quickly channeling rain water to rivers or lakes. The water in the storm water drain system is not treated.

The chemicals, especially the chlorine, in the swim spa water is hazardous to humans and deadly for aquatic life.

You should therefore always drain your swim spa water into the sewage water drain system or to a septic tank.

Even draining the swim spa water Into your backyard is not a good idea as it will kill the grass and other vegetation.

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

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