How To Purge Hot Tub Plumbing

Preventative maintenance goes a long way with hot tubs. You’re likely in the habit of regularly cleaning your hot tub shell, the cover and maintaining the water. Yet, there is a part of your hot tub that you cannot see.

Your hot tub plumbing can harbor a lot of nasty biofilms. A biofilm is a buildup of dirt and grime in the form of bacteria and other organic contaminants. And your hot tub plumbing is a great place for bacteria to hide and grow. All that biofilm requires is warm water, organic matter and a surface. Keep in mind it does not need sunlight to grow.

The signs or causes of a buildup in hot tub plumbing include:

  •      Bad smells coming from the water
  •      Difficulty balancing the water, especially after a refill
  •      Relentless dirty water or water film, especially after a shock or refill
  •      An improperly drained hot tub

Biofilm is effectively controlled with a plumbing purge. A purge uses a product containing enzymes that loosen up biofilms. A hot tub should be purged 3 to 4 times a year and it’s great practice to purge the plumbing each time you drain the tub.

Here is a simple plan to make purging a part of your maintenance practice.

Inspect Your Filter Cartridge

Open the filter well and have a look at your filter. If it’s been a year or so, you’ll want to replace the filter. If the filter is still in good shape, give it a quick rinse to get the grime off and use an approved spa filter cleaner, and either soak the filter element in a diluted solution or simply spray the concentrate and follow the directions on the label.

pHin Tip: Ensure you rinse the filters thoroughly as cleaner residue is a common cause of foam in your hot tub.

Shock The Hot Tub (Optional)

If you have time for a deeper cleaning, then it is a good practice to super-shock the hot tub water. This will kill bacteria that are present in the water and allow the purge product to work effectively.

With the hot tub running and jets off, add shock to the hot tub water. Circulate the hot tub for at least 30 minutes. Do not put the hot tub cover on, as shock needs to oxidize or time to release gasses. Do not turn on the jets while shocking, as the product will oxidize too fast.

Add a System Purge

Pour in a hot tub specific plumbing purge product. Follow the directions on the bottle for the amount as each manufacturer differs slightly.

pHin Tip: Be sure to know the water volume of your hot tub. The owner’s manual will give the volume of the tub and the plumbing. This allows the addition of the proper amount of chemicals and avoids under-treatment.

Jet and Circulate

Turn on the jets and allow the system to circulate for at least 30 minutes. If you’re short of time and need to get that hot tub drained then you can stop circulating. If time permits, circulating the hot tub for 24 hours will do a better job of purging those nasty biofilm critters.

pHin Tip: pour in the System Purge product the night before you plan to drain the hot tub. This allows time to circulate your hot tub overnight while you sleep.

Drain and Scrub

Drain the water completely from your hot tub. If your hot tub needs a cleaning, this is a great time. You don’t want to be stuck with white or green slimy lines for the next couple months. Don’t use a soap based cleaner as it leaves residues and is a common cause of foam.

An equal part of white vinegar and water does a great job of erasing those water lines or you can use a spa surface cleaner. Don’t forget to clean the hot tub cover, top and bottom with products designed specifically for hot tub covers.

Fill The Hot Tub

Now that your hot tub is clean it’s time to replace the water. This will take time and it’s a good time to walk around and check for leaks.

Fill the tub by sticking the hose in the filter well. This directs water through the filter and pipes first to avoid trapping air in the system. Trapped air in the pipes can cause airlock and damage the pump.

pHin Tip: Set a timer on your smartphone so you don’t have to be present for the filling.

Balance and Sanitize

Now it’s time to test the water and add the proper chemicals to balance the water.  Add your start up chemicals including shock, and sanitizer. Adjust the pH as needed for the sanitizer system to work well. Here are some additional resources from Chris, our Chemical Manager:

  •      Important Thing You Must Know About The pH Level Of Your Pool
  •      Pool Chemicals Demystified

Flushing your hot tub plumbing is important for many reasons. It ensures cleaner water; a safer environment and you won’t be worrying about the critters floating around in your water.

Hot tub maintenance is easy with pHin. It monitors water quality, notifies you by smartphone when you need to add chemicals and ships you the right amounts. Learn more about pHin.

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