Can a Hot Tub Sit Empty?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published May 15, 2024

We realize we’re a company that sells hot tubs, but in truth, we don’t get this question a lot from people who have just bought a hot tub. No joke: They are usually too busy using it. The questions about emptying a hot tub typically come a bit later.

At Hydropool, when do people ask about leaving a hot tub empty? If they have a hot tub at the cottage or cabin, then they will ask if it’s better to leave it empty when they aren’t there.

That’s who often the type of purchaser who asks this question. It can come from Canadian snowbirds, who travel south to places like Florida for the winter and want to know if they should empty their hot tub at either location. Or someone who only uses their hot tub in the winter and wants it put away for the summer. They are all reasonable decisions.

Whatever the reason you’re looking to leave your hot tub empty, the answer is that yes it can be left empty. There are some steps to make sure this works for you but it is entirely possible. We will go through our recommendations in this article and explain what works best.

We will cover:

  • How to winterize your hot tub
  • How to “summer”ize your hot tub
  • When you should consider emptying your hot tub

Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a strong sense of whether to empty your hot tub or not and what to do in each situation.



Can I leave my hot tub empty in the winter?

Yes you can but you want to be extremely careful about making sure you get all the water out. Especially in winter, if any water is left in your tub, it can freeze and cause cracking.

When draining your hot tub, it is important to get out every last drop. Here’s a video you can follow on how to drain your hot tub. Below that, we’ll go through the steps to ensure your hot tub is winterized.

Here’s our guide to winterizing your hot tub:

  • Start by turning off your power supply to your hot tub and drain the water as you normally would when you change it. There are two common methods, using the drain plug with a garden hose or using a sump pump, which is faster … you just have to have a sump pump.
  • For either method, once you are finished, make sure to remove the drain plug from the hot tub. Once the water has drained, use a shop vac to go over the entire surface to suck up every last water droplet you can.
  • If your hot tub has an air blower, make sure that you check to make sure that all the water has been removed from it. This can be done by turning off the heater and turning the electricity back on to run the blower for approximately 30 seconds to remove any leftover water drops. Once you are finished, shut off the power again.
  • Next, remove all the filters from your hot tub and clean with a 24-hour chemical soak before storing for the winter (you should be doing this with your filters regularly: see your local retailer for the cleaner). Once cleaned, make sure all the water has dried from the filters and use a shop vac if you need help getting the last few drops out from the filter area.
  • In your hot tub’s cabinet, locate the pumps and remove the drain plugs and piping. Use a shop vac to suck out any water inside the pipes.
  • Finally, give the shell of your hot tub a good clean and secure tightly with the cover. It is important to have a lockable cover that cannot be blown away in high winds or storms.

This guide should work for more hot tubs but be sure to check your owner’s manual for any special instructions. If you have any questions, contact your local retailer.

Can I leave my hot tub empty in the summer?

Letting your hot tub sit empty in the summer isn’t a problem provided that you have it properly secured with a cover. Having your hot tub covered is essential - in fact, one of the easiest ways that an acrylic hot tub can be damaged is by being left empty in direct sunlight. Doing so can actually void your warranty, so keep your cover on!

Follow the instructions above to drain your hot tub and remove any existing water.

After you drain your hot tub, give the shell a good cleaning and take the time to properly clean and store your filters.

With summer storage, our best advice applies to starting back up again. Once you are ready to start using the hot tub again, give the hot tub another quick clean to remove any possible bugs that may have gotten inside from the pipes. They aren’t likely to show up over winter, but they are common in summer months.

When should my hot tub sit empty?

A hot tub can sit empty if you need it to. In general, we say empty it when you know you’re going to be leaving it unused for several weeks at least. And we have two guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. In the winter, make sure all of the water is out that you can get out. If there’s any water left, it can freeze, expand as it does so, and cause all sorts of cracking and breaking problems. In the summer, you need all the water out for different reasons. You don’t want to create mildew problems, for example, or have your hot tub become a haven for insects.
  2. But here’s the second guideline: you also want to make sure your cover stays on your hot tub in the summer to protect your acrylic shell if it’s dry.

If you’re able to follow the steps above and keep your hot tub completely drained, you should have no problem with re-filling your tub when it comes time to use it again.

We hope we answered all your questions about hot tub emptying, but we know there’s a chance we didn’t. If so, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your query, by reaching out to your local retailer here.  

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