Did you just drain your hot tub?

Or are you starting it up for the first time? You’re in the right place!

Follow our essential startup steps so you can relax with confidence:

New Hot Tub?

If you’re filling your new hot tub for the first time (new from the store or newly adopted!) consider purging it first. Check out our article on “When it’s Time to Purge Your Hot Tub.”

Yes, purging will take extra steps and extra time, but will very likely save you time and effort in the future. Clean, crystal clear, softer feeling water that stays that way for weeks is not far in your future!

Draining and Refilling?

You too may want to check out our article on “When it’s Time to Purge Your Hot Tub. This article also has practical tips on how to drain your hot tub.

Once drained, it’s ready to clean.

First you will need to drain your hot tub to ensure you clean the tub correctly.

Step 1: Clean and Drain

The first step of startup is to clean the hot tub surfaces. It’s crucial to clean all surfaces as bacteria left behind could easily get into the water.

Clean the shell (the actual tub or the hard surfaces of your hot tub) and the cover. Also, clean hot tub pillows, rails, inside the jets, the exterior of the hot tub … every surface.

Bacteria will cling to any possible surface, and the surfaces hardest to reach – underneath the curve of the rail, for example – are prime spots for bacteria!

Then, rinse the surfaces thoroughly to prevent any unwanted foam in your hot tub later.

Expert advice: Use a non-abrasive cleaning solution with a gentle cloth or sponge to keep your shell safe from scratches!

Step 2: Filter Care – Clean or Replace

The filtration systems in hot tubs help keep water clean and clear by removing debris.

Clean or replace filters regularly to ensure efficient water circulation. This helps maintain the quality of water in you hot tub.

This step is to fill up the hot tub. This image displays a filled hot tub in the forest.

Step 3: Fill It Up

Before you fill your freshly cleaned hot tub with water, it’s a great idea to take a sample of the fill water you plan to use to your local retailer to check for Total Hardness. If it tests higher than 250 ppm, here’s 2 solutions:

  1. Put a hose filter on the hose you use to fill the hot tub and then fill it.
  2. Fill the hot tub with water as is and then add descalers or metal out products to help bring that Total Hardness down.

When you fill your hot tub, ensure the water level is above the jets but below the skimmer.

Be cautious not to overfill, as the water level will rise when people get into the tub!

This is the heat step for the hot tub. It is recommended to have the water at 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4: Turn Up the Heat

We recommend you set the water temperature between 100 F – 102 F – you can always adjust this based on your personal preference.

Heating times vary, but it typically takes a few hours to reach your desired soaking temperature.

Most hot tubs won’t heat water over 104 F; at that temperature, your body will overheat quickly – numerous health issues are associated with overheating your body.

Step 5: Balance the Water

This is the most important step of hot tub startup, for several reasons:

Water that’s out of balance, whether it’s pH, Total Alkalinity or Total Hardness, can not only make relaxing in the hot tub uncomfortable, but can also permanently damage the walls, equipment and other surfaces around your hot tub.

Balance the water to ensure that it is ready to be enjoyed.

Keeping your hot tub water balanced protects your surfaces and equipment from corrosion and scaling and allows your hot tub’s sanitizers to work more effectively.

Expert Advice: Always balance in order of: 1. Total Alkalinity 2. pH  3. Total Hardness. Stick to this order and the process will be much smoother and easier.

Ideal Water Balance Levels

  • Total Alkalinity 80 – 120 ppm

Starting with Total Alkalinity first will make it simpler to balance the pH. If your Total Alkalinity tests low, add a Total Alkalinity increaser or TA Up.

If your Total Alkalinity tests high, add the same product that lowers pH – it’s usually called pH Decreaser or pH Down.


  • pH 7.2 – 7.6

Proceed to pH only when Total Alkalinity is between 80 – 120 ppm. pH is important to maintain clean, clear water that doesn’t attack surfaces or irritate skin.

If your pH tests low, add a pH Increaser or a pH Up product. If your pH tests high, add a pH Decreaser or pH Down product.


  • Total Hardness 150 – 250 ppm

(Total Hardness is also known as Calcium Hardness or Water Hardness, in this article, we use the term Total Hardness.) Proceed to Total Hardness only when pH is between 7.2 – 7.6.

Even though you checked your fill water’s Total Hardness earlier, it is important to check Total Hardness again to prevent corrosion of your hot tub’s surfaces. If your Total Hardness tests low, add a Calcium Increaser.

Additional Water Balancing Tips:

  • When adding adjustment chemicals, add them in small increments and follow label directions carefully.
  • Wait 6 hours between adjustments so your adjustment chemical has enough time to do its job.
  • If balancing your hot tub takes longer than 2 days, add a chlorine shock to maintain sanitizer levels.
  • Maintaining water balance is an ongoing process. You must regularly test the water and adjust the chemical levels accordingly.

When Total Alkalinity is between 80 – 120 ppm, pH is between 7.2 – 7.6 and Total Hardness is between 150 – 250 ppm, your water is balanced, and you’re ready to add your choice of sanitizer.

We recommend FROG® @ease® – a complete hot tub sanitizer that makes water maintenance so much easier, and water Cleaner, Clearer and Softer® – for much longer!

This is the FROG @ease Floating System. This product is for hot tubs and swim spas. It cleans and maintains hot tub water. It utilizes 75% less chlorine than traditional practices.

Want more water balancing tips? Download our FREE Water Balancing Guide for Hot Tubs!

Step 6: Time to Enjoy, Without Worry!

It’s now time to indulge in the relaxation you signed up for!

To ensure all cares and worries are left behind, keep these hot tub safety tips in mind:

Hot Tub Safety Tips:

  • Limit your soaking time to 15-30 minutes per session to prevent overheating
  • Ensure you’re hydrated and maintain hydration while soaking by drinking enough water daily
  • Never leave children unattended in the hot tub
  • Avoid using the hot tub if you have medical conditions that could be exacerbated by heat
It's time to enjoy and relax in your hot tub. If you followed this guide then you should be able to start enjoying the hot tub you worked so hard to clean.

The Startup Wrap-Up

Proper hot tub startup improves the overall experience and cleanliness of your hot tub. Thanks to this guide, you can successfully start up your hot tub and create a special space that promotes relaxation, rejuvenation, and memories! Enjoy!


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Jeanne Rozel - April 13, 2024

your dlight print is very hard to read.

FROG Products - April 13, 2024

Hi Jeanne! We apologize and appreciate the feedback. We will take this into consideration going forward.

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