A Step-By-Step Guide to Filling Your Hot Tub

start up hot tub

A tutorial for first-time hot tub owners

Everything is ready for your hot tub. The concrete patio has been poured, and the electrical has been installed. And the truck has arrived with your spa. The only thing left to do is fill your hot tub with water for the first time.

But is filling a hot tub as easy as grabbing a garden hose? Yes and no.

You do need a garden hose. You want to follow the manufacturer’s directions, though, to make sure you start up your hot tub correctly. 

Before You Fill Your Hot Tub

Are you ready to fill your hot tub with fresh water? You should do these three things before you get started.

Make sure it’s exactly where you want it to be. A hot tub filled with water can weigh several thousand pounds, making it impossible to move.

Gather all of the supplies needed to fill your hot tub. You will need a hose, pre-filter, sequestering agent, and start-up chemicals for your hot tub

Sponge and gentle cleanser for wiping down the inside of your hot tub. You want to make sure your spa is clean before putting in the water. 

new spa
A clean hot tub is key to clean, clear water. Before you fill your new spa, wipe down the surface.

Filling Your Hot Tub for the First Time

It’s almost time to take your first soak in your hot tub. You just need water. These six steps for filling your hot tub will make sure that your spa is safe and ready to enjoy.

Important safety note: You will want to make sure that power to your hot tub is turned off at the breaker. 

1. Attach a pre-filter to your garden hose, which will help remove minerals from your source water and make it easier to balance the chemicals.

2. Remove the filter closest to your hot tub’s control panel. You will want to place the hose, with pre-filter attached, into this area. Filling your hot tub through the filter fitting will prevent an airlock.

3. Turn on the water. Be sure that the hose is staying in the right place and water is flowing through the pre-filter. You should see water begin to fill the footwell. Once that area is filled, add a sequestering agent. Using a sequestering agent will help you combat suspended minerals in the water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. You will need to let the sequestering agent 30 minutes to filter through your hot tub once it’s running before adding any other chemicals.

4. Now, you have to wait. How long does it take to fill up a hot tub? It depends on the size of your spa and the water pressure at your house. 

5. Once your hot tub is filled, it’s time to replace the filter. Be sure to do this before turning on the breaker and restoring power to your hot tub. With the power on, your hot tub will go through a priming mode to manually activate each spa pump prior to the automatic heat cycle being started. 

6. Check to make sure the pump connections are tight. It’s important to make sure you don’t see water dripping from them. 

how to fill hot tub
How long does it take to fill a hot tub? It depends on the size of your spa and the water pressure at your home.

Chemicals for Hot Tub Start-Up

Your hot tub is filled, and power is on. Time to relax, right? 


Before you hop in, it’s important to make sure that your water is balanced and safe. You will need to test the pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and sanitizer levels.

Start with the pH and then total  alkalinity, following the directions on the chemical bottles. Be sure to add the chemicals with the jets turned on. Wait 15 to 30 minutes, test, and adjust if necessary. 

Next, it’s time to add sanitizer. On initial start-up, you will want to add more than what’s safe to use so that the components of the spa are properly sanitized.  It is important not to add the chlorinating granules until the pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness have been adjusted to their proper levels.

Related post: Chlorine vs. Bromine: What You Need to Know

Once the chlorine drops to a safe level, you can hop in, take a deep breath, and say “Ahh!”

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