How Often Should You Change Your Spa Water?

It’s best to refill your spa every 12-18 months 

Key takeaways: 

  • Cleaning your spa is a good practice, as is changing the water. 
  • We recommend draining and refilling your spa water every 12-18 months. 
  • You can incorporate a draining and refilling into your spa's regular cleaning schedule.
  • Changing the water keeps the inside of the unit clean and the spa working properly. 

So, you invested in a luxurious spa and have been doing a decent job of sanitizing it with chlorine and Spa Shock. Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to maintaining its quality, so great job! Maintenance also includes draining and refilling your spa’s water. 

Many spa owners either don’t know they’re supposed to change the spa water, or they don’t think it’s necessary since the water looks fine to the naked eye. But, not draining and refilling your spa could lead to irreparable damage and possibly even affect your health. Don’t worry, we will explain spa maintenance when it comes to changing spa water below so that your unit stays happy and healthy (and you do, too). 

What can go wrong if you neglect a spa’s upkeep? 

Spas cost money, but if you take care of them, you'll see a great return on your investment. However, if you ignore maintenance, prepare to see your investment go down the drain, no pun intended. No spa can continue to run efficiently without a cleaning/maintenance schedule.  

Failing to clean a spa’s water with regular use or change the water annually can lead to the following issues:

  • A buildup of residue and other particulate matter that will clog your filter cartridge. 
  • Your spa filters won't do as good of a job of filtering and purifying the water circulating through them. 
  • You may start to notice grit (scale) on your spa shell, which will create a rough feel on the surface. 
  • Too much scaling can damage the surface, break the equipment, and cost you a ton of money. 
  • Supersaturated water will make it harder for you to maintain the pH balance.
  • More dissolved solids can also reduce the energy efficiency of the heater.
  • You won’t be able to use it if it becomes uninhabitable from total lack of care. What good is a spa that takes up backyard real estate yet offers zero value in return? 

More frequent usage by people means more dirt and dissolved solids in the water. This buildup can turn the water hazy, foamy, discolored, and unfit for further use. Thus, you will find yourself needing to change the water whether you want to or not. 

Why does spa water need to be changed? 

As the spa’s water sits for longer, its saturation starts to increase from a buildup of sweat, perfumes, lotions, etc. Eventually, it can't dissolve any more solids. Also, it won't dissolve any more salt - calcium chloride. The chlorine or bromine granules you add will now either settle to the bottom or dissolve very slowly. The fresh spa water you started with will turn unsuitable for use because it will no longer be clean. 

After a while, the water may get cloudy, start to smell, and you'll have a hard time maintaining its chemistry. The residue from peoples’ skin who have used the spa has made the water more "dense" than usual. No amount of oxidation or Spa Shock can fix this if it’s been too long without cleaning or draining. 

Spa water cleaning schedule

Ideally, you want to see crystal clear spa water, but that's not always the case. If your water is visibly dirty, that’s a clear indicator that something is not working. As the water in the spa ages, it starts accumulating filth which won't go away with the usual chemical treatments. 

Now, your water quality isn’t going to degrade overnight, but that doesn’t mean you should skip regular cleaning sessions. If owners stick to a proper maintenance schedule, they only need to drain and refill their spas once every 12-18 months. After a year or so, the water may get cloudy and become unusable.

Until then, it should be fine. Stick to a regular cleaning schedule that includes shocking the spa, sanitizing it with chlorine or bromine, and removing any fallen debris. Consistent cleaning ensures you will not need to change the spa water before one year. And, this cleaning is not hard or time-consuming; it’s just sticking to it regularly that’s important. 

Steps to changing spa water

Drain all the water from the spa, flush all the dirt out, replace the filters, and give the spa a thorough rinse to bring it back to its original condition. 

  • Before draining the spa, shut off the power at the breaker. 
  • A siphon hose, or a sump style pump will work best to drain the hot tub or swim spa.

    After draining and refilling the spa, run the pumps for a full 20 minutes to let the new, fresh water circulate through the unit. To finish it off, after a few hours, go ahead and add a few chlorine or bromine granules and some Spa Shock to get the water fully ready for use. 

    Spa maintenance that matters

    Cleaning your spa water is essential, as is draining the water periodically. Why? Because a unit’s jets, pumps, and filters work better when the water is changed from time to time. You’ll get clearer, cleaner, and better-smelling water that circulates better.

    Changing the spa water will make your unit feel brand new. The best part is that all you have to do is incorporate a drain and refill into your regular maintenance schedule every 12-18 months. 

    Did you appreciate this crucial maintenance topic? We have more informative posts to help you get the most out of your spa. All you have to do is head over to our blog

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