Before you fill up your new hot tub, read the owner’s manual. You first have to set it up. You cannot just hop in. However, the little work required to get your spa systems going properly is worth the effort. The manual itself will give you valuable insight into how your new spa works, how not to damage it, and how to maintain it for many happy years to come. This guide will help you set it up:


Every hot tub will have two electricity requirements. The owner’s manual will guide you on which your spa needs. Those requiring 120V are popular “plug-n-play” spas. Lightweight and portable, they typically use this standard voltage, with many operating on a 15 amp household circuit, also rather standard. These cords plug into the outlet and have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or GFCI, plug at cord’s end.

Dedicated circuits protect against overload. However, spas requiring 240V are typically acrylic and full-sized. Designed to work on GFCI protected, hard-wired, 240V, they need 50 amp household circuits, as well as installation by a qualified electrician. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, manual disconnect access must be at least five feet away for safety, in sight of the hot tub.


Most spas ship with some antifreeze in them. This is to prevent freezing of the plumbing in potentially freezing conditions. To protect against issues with water balances, fill the hot tub’s footwell with water and run the pumps for several minutes. Once done, drain properly. Then, there are a number of steps to follow before filling your hot tub the first time:

Unplug spa at the breaker, or switch it off.

Remove the equipment door or access panel. Open your gate valves, as this will allow easy flow of water through the pump, the heater, and eventually into the hot tub. Check again that you closed the drain valve, or you will lose water as you pump it in.

Using a mild, non-abrasive, and non-foaming cleanser, spray the spa interior and wipe it clean. Avoid common household cleansers, as they change the pH, damage the shell, and cause foaming.


Once finished with your prefill check, it is time to fill your spa. Install the cartridge with your well water filter, and then close the filter area with a hose to prevent air lock. Using a hose-end filter will reduce the quantity of contaminants in the water, and will make water balancing easier. Fill to manual-recommended water level. Low water levels can damage the heater element and the pump.

While filling your hot tub, open the equipment door to check for possible leakage from the plumbing. Often, fittings loosen during shipping, so tighten any loose fittings by hand the moment you detect them. Do not use wrenches or other tools, as they crack nuts very easily and often worsen the leaks. Hand tightening is safest and best for your tub.


When sure all fitting is tight and there is no leakage, close the equipment door and switch all spa systems on. Do this at the circuit breaker, and read your manual to know how to operate the controls on your new hot tub. It can take anywhere from seven hours to a full day to heat spa systems, depending on the voltage used, tub size, and external temperature.

Test all of the buttons topsides to check that all components work properly. Press all the controls to turn jets and blowers on, test all other settings, to ensure water flows properly where it should. If the pump is running and water is not flowing from the jets, an air pocket could be in the way. This is obvious when the pump fails after filling the spa and starting it. You also need to prime the pump as per the manual.


Before you introduce any sanitizers to these spa systems, test the water and balance it correctly. It is vital that you balance your water before adding sanitizers, which can cause cloudy, discolored, even stinking water. Additionally, keeping water balanced will promote clean, healthy, clear water in your tub, and it will lengthen the lifespan of the equipment.

Create a logbook for spa systems. Once you establish the system, balancing water becomes easy, especially if you use the same water source to fill the hot tub. Make a record of all the supplies that you use, all the times you clean the well water filter, even your weekly chemistry checks, and each chemical used. Chemicals depend on the sanitizer, so take the guidance offered in your owner’s manual.


Unlike regular baths, spa systems do not require filling every time you use them. They rely on a sanitizer system to disinfect and purify the water of bacteria and other potentially dangerous microorganisms. You will need to use chemicals, even with an Ozonator or UV system installed, just no way around it. Check your manual to see which sanitizer systems are most effective for your hot tub.


Unfortunately, as with all things good in life, maintenance of your hot tub is non-negotiable. You will need to look after it, and while it may seem like a bothersome task, maintenance is very easy if you just remember a few points, and stick to them. At least 95 percent of all maintenance and care involves remembering just these five tips:

Test water balance and adjust where necessary every two days or so.

Clean the well water filter every month, two if used infrequently, and replace every year or two.

Clean, drain and refill your hot tub every three or four times a year, every three or four months.

Take the spa cover off to air out the tub at least twice a week.

Keep the hot tub full by adding water whenever necessary.


Although setting up and caring for spa systems may seem complex, even overwhelming at first, it really is easy once you get it done. To keep your hot tub in the best condition for longer, consider using company-made water balancers, sanitizers, parts, clarifiers, and other accessories or supplies to ensure compatibility. Using the wrong components can damage your spa, so remember your owner’s manual.