How to start up a hot tub if it hasn’t been used in a while

hot to start a hot tub
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Has your hot tub has been lying unused for a while?

Closed it down over Winter? 

Or, just bought a second hand tub?

Whether you have stagnant water in the tub or not, it’s likely that the tub and the pipework are full of bacteria and biofilm. So there are some extra precautions that have to be taken to ensure that the hot tub is clean and safe to use when it is started up. 

We look at the steps you need to take to make sure both the parts you can and can’t see in the hot tub are clean and safe.


How to start up your hot tub

Follow these steps below to get your hot tub up and running if you haven’t used it for a while.


1. Remove your hot tub cover

Chances are if your cover has been closed for a while you are going to have a bacteria build up. With the potential for mould or algae on your cover if it there has been stagnant water in the tub. 

Remove the hot tub cover and lay it our, facing the sun if possible to dry it out. Use a mild cleaner on the hot tub cover. We recommend 1:10 white vinegar and water. Wipe down the outer and inner sections and let it dry. 

Use a UV vinyl spray to protect it from future sun damage.

If the cover is in really bad condition, you might need to consider getting a replacement cover.



2. Remove biofilm build-up & bacteria from your hot tub

If you haven’t used your hot tub in a while, chances are there are some nasties lurking in your hot tub pipework in the form of biofilm. 

Biofilm is essentially hot tub plaque. It forms a protective layer over the bacteria, that is virtually impossible to penetrate. It usually forms in hard to reach areas such as pipework, pumps, heaters and corners of the hot tub. If you don’t get rid of this biofilm, you will potentially see white flaky bits floating in the water on start up. And you will likely use a lot more Chlorine with little effect.

To get rid of it we recommend using a biofilm destroyer such as DryOx. This forms a gas which can penetrate the biofilm, destroying it and any lingering bacteria to ensure you are starting with a clean slate. 

1. Fill up your hot tub (if it isn’t already full)

2. Heat the water. DryOx works best at 20 degrees and above

3. Add the tablet

4. Let the pumps run for 1 hour, so it circulates through the pipework

5. Leave in the hot tub overnight (for 12 hours)

(Please follow the instructions on the packet for safe use)

We recommend using o-care as a weekly treatment to help prevent the build up of hot tub biofilm.

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3. Check over the hot tub components

While you are running the biofilm eliminator through the water it is worth checking to ensure that everything in the hot tub is running as it should. 

Especially if you have had it closed down over Winter and not had it emptied by a professional. If there are any leaks or problems it is worth knowing at this point before continuing with the clean and service.

Check all the components including pumps, heaters and controls are working. And check that there is no water loss to indicate a leak. 

For a full step-by-step guide on how to carry out a hot tub service, download the DIY guide below.



4. Drain & clean the hot tub

Assuming you find no faults during the service. You will then need to drain the hot tub down. The chemicals used in the DryOx are strong. And so they should only be used prior to drain down.

1. Drain the hot tub using the built in drainage valve, or a submersible pump.

2. Once all the water is our, clean the hot tub using surface cleaner. 

3. You will want to remove all the jets individually to ensure there is no dirt or bacteria behind them. To do this rotate the full jet counterclockwise until it pops out.

5. Clean or replace the filter

Coast Spas filterThe filter is responsible for cleaning the hot tub. So you will want to make sure that it is clean if you haven’t used it for a while. 

It may be that you have to replace the entire filter if you haven’t used it for a while. 

If not, you can do a filter deep clean using to remove build up of grease and residue. We recommend using Immerse cartridge cleaner for this.

1. Remove the filter cartridge 

2. Fill a plastic bucket or cartridge bath with clean water

3. Empty the contents of the Immerse sachet into the bucket 

4. Rinse the filter cartridge with a hose to remove any loose debris, then place in the bucket

5. Ensure the cartridge is completely immersed and leave overnight.

6. Remove the cartridge from the solution and rinse throughly

7. Allow to dry before replacing the filter for best results.


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6. Fill up the hot tub and balance chemicals

Finally, you can fill the hot tub back up using clean water. 

Once the water is filled, allow it to heat before balancing the water chemistry. 

The two main things you will need to check are:

1. pH

2. Chlorine/Bromine


Should you keep your hot tub running all year round?

We always recommend against turning your hot tub off if you can avoid it. If you keep it running and keep on top of cleaning, you avoid any build up of bacteria. Plus, you get your money’s worth as it’s always available to use.

However, if you do turn it off for any reason for a sustained period of time. Or if you buy second hand, it is worth following the above steps to ensure the hot tub is as clean as possible.

It’s worth following the same steps at your quarterly service and drain also, to remove any lingering bacteria.

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In summary?

Following the simple steps above will help to ensure your hot tub is clean and ready for use. No matter how long it’s been lying for. 

A clean hot tub, helps you and your family enjoy relaxing in a safe environment. 

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Debbie Ekins
Debbie Ekins
Eagle Leisure - Sales & Marketing Manager Mission = to arm you with the knowledge you need to make the best buying decisions. Fuelled by coffee (and naps). Explorer of Scotland and the world.
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