How to Clean Hot Tub Plumbing? (Beginner’s Guide)

It’s usually advised to clean the hot tub plumbing before it gets clogged by debris but that is easier said than done. Unlike other parts of the hot tub like the shell that is easily accessible to the user, you can’t reach the pipes of the hot tub.

So how do you clean something you can’t even reach? The simple answer is to use a hot tub line flush. Hot tub line flush will break down all the grime that has accumulated in the hot tub plumbing over time making it easier for the filter to trap them while the water is being circulated.

But that’s just the simple answer. Let’s dive deeper to discover how to clean and prevent a build-up of grime in the hot tub plumbing.

Can You Clean Hot Tub Plumbing By Yourself?

While it’s recommended to hire a plumber or a hot tub expert for this, you can still do it by yourself. Cleaning hot tub plumbing isn’t as hard as it sounds. All you have to do is have the right products and the right step-by-step guide (check down below for ours).

Cleaning a hot tub plumbing system takes time because you will also have to also drain, clean, and re-fill the hot tub. But, it’s a necessary step because if your hot tub plumbing lines are clogged or contain dirt then it’s not safe to use the hot tub.

How Often to Clean Hot Tub Pipes?

If you regularly use the hot tub then it’s recommended to clean your entire hot tub plumbing system every 12 months. If you don’t use the hot tub for more than 6 months then you should clean the hot tub the next time you re-use it (before).

The reason behind this is that if the hot tub is being regularly used, then water with sanitizers will go through the hot tub plumbing lines and get rid of the bacteria and dirt.

If the hot tub isn’t regularly used then the dirt and bacteria will start to build up over time. And, the next time you use the hot tub all that dirt and bacteria will go into your hot tub water.

Another indicator that you need to flush the plumbing lines of your hot tub is if you notice skin rashes on your body after using the hot tub.

This means the water is heavily contaminated by biofilm (or bacteria). If you also notice the water is becoming murky, smelly, or you start to notice particles floating in the water and sticking to the shell of the hot tub, then it’s time to flush the plumbing lines.

How to Clean Hot Tub Plumbing?

Using hot tub line flush is the best way to clean the hot tub plumbing but you shouldn’t just add the line flush. There are a few preparatory steps to take to ensure you clean the plumbing properly.

1. Turn Off the Hot Tub

The first thing to do is to turn off the hot tub. It’s never a good idea to clean the hot tub while it’s on. The control switch to turn off the hot tub is usually located on the control panel.

2. Clean or Replace the Filters

After turning off the hot tub, you should take out the filters for a good clean. The filters are the part of the hot tub that is responsible for trapping dirt and debris. The filter prevents dirt and other contaminants from being circulated in the water. If the plumbing lines are clogged, one of the reasons for that is because the filters are clogged too or dirty.

Another reason for cleaning the filters is to make it easier for the filters to pick up the debris that will be flushed out from the pipes. When you add the line flush to the hot tub plumbing, the line flush will break down the contaminants in the plumbing lines so the filter can trap them when the hot tub is turned on.

If the filters are dirty, then the contaminants being flushed out from the pipes wouldn’t be picked up and they would just be circulated in the water all over again. So this is an important step you shouldn’t skip. If the filters are damaged or worn out, you should replace them.

3. Add the Hot Tub Line Flush

The next thing to do is to add the hot tub line flush. Add the right amount of the line flush to clear the biofilm from your hot tub’s plumbing system. After adding the line flush, turn on the jets and let them run for about 30 minutes too. The line flush will be circulated through the plumbing lines and through the hot tub too.

The hot tub line flush will break down any grime, slime, or dirt that has solidified over time inside the lines of the hot tub. After the line flush has broken down these particles, would be flushed out of the plumbing lines and trapped by the filters.

After about 30 minutes, you should turn off the jets and the hot tub. Then cover the hot tub and leave it for a few hours. It’s usually best to do this in the evening or at night so the hot tub can be left overnight.

4. Drain the Hot Tub

The best way to completely rid your hot tub of any grime that may have accumulated in the plumbing lines is to drain the hot tub. Not only does this get rid of the grime that has been flushed out of the plumbing lines, but it’s also beneficial to you.

After adding the hot tub line flush to the plumbing lines, the water in the hot tub will be filled with all sorts of contaminants that will make the water very dirty and unsafe for you. Adding another dose of sanitizer might work but you will quickly notice grime and debris floating in the water again. The best bet is just to drain the hot tub.

Hot tubs usually have a valve at the base of the hot tub. This valve can be opened or turned to drain the hot tub. You should connect a hose to the valve so the water isn’t drained around your hot tub.

5. Clean the Hot Tub

After draining the hot tub, you should clean the shell of the hot tub before refilling it with fresh water. Don’t use detergent to clean the hot tub. You should use special hot tub cleaners or cleaning solutions to clean the hot tub.

Many detergents have a high level of acidity and that can corrode the plumbing lines of the hot tub. Hot tub cleaning solutions are a safer option. The hot tub cleaners come in spray bottles, so you can just spray the solution on the shell of the hot tub and wipe it with a rag.

Another alternative is to use a mixture of white vinegar and water to clean the hot tub. Baking soda works too but it should be used with caution. Mix a bit of white vinegar with water and use the solution to clean the shell and other parts of the hot tub.

After cleaning the hot tub, ensure to rinse it thoroughly to prevent any chemical from being left behind while you refill the hot tub. After rinsing the hot tub, leave it to dry.

6. Refill the Hot Tub

When the hot tub is fully dry, you should refill it with fresh water. You should use a hose filter while refilling the hot tub to prevent excess minerals, metals, and other solids from getting into the hot tub.

Many of us use fresh water to fill our hot tub. Freshwater isn’t the cleanest of water sources. Freshwater usually has metals like iron and minerals like magnesium and calcium inside the water body. Not to mention other solids and particles that may be floating inside the water.

If you add that water directly into the hot tub, you will have a nasty case of biofilm build-up in the plumbing lines of the hot tub.

7. Add Sanitizers to the Water

After refilling the hot tub, you should add sanitizers to the water. Either bromine, chlorine, or any other sanitizer should be rightly added to the water in the hot tub. This will ensure you have gotten rid of any contaminants in the hot tub plumbing.

You may also consider shocking the water. After adding the sanitizers, you should turn on the hot tub and let the jets run for a few minutes so the water is well circulated and the chemicals can get to every nook and cranny of your hot tub plumbing.

8. If Nothing Works, Call For Help

If you have done all of the above and you can still notice particles floating in your water or a nasty smell coming from the hot tub, then that usually means the plumbing lines have been severely affected by grime and contaminants.

The best-case scenario, if this happens, is to put a call through to your plumber or hot tub installer to come and have a look at the hot tub plumbing.

They might have to take the hot tub apart to know what’s wrong. The solution is usually to replace the pipes of the hot tub.

How to Prevent Grime From Accumulating in the Hot Tub Plumbing

The best way to prevent grime and debris from accumulating in your hot tub’s plumbing system is to maintain a good cleaning routine of the hot tub.

This include:

  • Adding sanitizers to the water regularly
  • Checking the water balance and pH levels
  • Cleaning the filters regularly
  • Reducing the level of contaminants in the water by using hot tub scale remover
  • Using a hose filter whenever you want to fill or refill the hot tub
  • Draining the hot tub and cleaning the hot tub regularly.

All of these steps will prevent the build-up of grime, slime, debris, dirt, bacteria, and of course, biofilm in the plumbing lines of your hot tub.

Yes, we know. It takes a lot of work but it’s all worth it to have a safe and clean hot tub.

Can You Clean Hot Tub Pipes With Vinegar?

White vinegar includes no chemicals and it isn’t harmful to you or the hot tub. So, using white vinegar is a great way to clean hot tub pipes. Different bacterias and biofilm build up in your hot tub pipes over time and before you clean the hot tub pipes, you have to get rid of these bacteria first.

Put white vinegar into your plumbing lines and let the hot tub run. The white vinegar will go through all the pipes and come back to the tub. This way white vinegar will be able to clean most of the junk there’s in the plumbing line.

But, white vinegar isn’t strong enough to clean the whole plumbing lines. We recommend using white vinegar only if you recently cleaned your hot tub pipes. If your hot tub plumbing lines contain too much dirt and bacteria then you should use a hot tub line flush product.

Can You Clean Hot Tub Plumbing With Bleach?

No, you shouldn’t use bleach to clean hot tub plumbing lines. If there’s chlorine in your plumbing line (and, there is) then bleach won’t be able to disinfect the plumbing lines or the water. Moreover, bleach shouldn’t be mixed with anything else than water.

If you do use bleach in your hot tub plumbing lines, then you won’t be able to get the entire bleach out of the plumbing, and the next time you fill the hot tub, you will also have bleach in your water.

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