When & How to Do a Spa Purge

Regular cleaning and maintenance, including spa purge, are a necessary part of hot tub ownership. Proper upkeep will ensure you can enjoy a safe and ready-to-use spa and prevent issues down the road. You may have a good handle on your water maintenance routine, such as balancing chemicals, regularly cleaning or replacing your filter, and even draining and refilling your spa when necessary. But what about the pipes?

While the hot tub’s plumbing may be out of sight, out of mind, it can be a breeding ground for biofilm buildup. The only way to get down into the pipes to clean out contaminants and prevent them from ruining your hot tub experience is to conduct a spa purge. If you’re not yet familiar with the term ‘spa purge,’ essentially, it’s the process of running a cleanser through the pipe system. Its purpose is to remove residue from every part of your plumbing and spa, particularly the areas you can’t reach during regular cleaning.

So how do you know when it’s time to do a hot tub purge? If your water:

  • is murky
  • doesn’t stay clean
  • smells
  • is hard to balance
  • shows other signs of contaminants in the water and potentially the plumbing

It’s also a good idea to conduct a spa purge any time you drain and refill your hot tub, generally every three or so months, depending on usage.

Types of spa purges

There are a couple of different options for doing a spa purge.

Homemade spa purge

You might prefer using natural cleansers, like vinegar, which can be effective at cleaning many things. Unfortunately, a homemade spa purge with vinegar is not nearly as effective against biofilm that’s stuck in your plumbing. A spa purge with vinegar won’t damage your pipes, but since it won’t effectively remove the biofilm, it’s a waste of time.

Hot tub purge flush products

Once you’ve chosen and purchased a hot tub pipe flush product and are ready to clean out your pipes, be sure to read the specific directions for your product before starting. But here are some general guidelines to get you started.

1. Remove the filters. Check to see what shape they’re in. If the filters are really dirty or haven’t been replaced in a year or more, replace them. Otherwise, ensure that your filters are properly cleaned by using a product like Spa Marvel Filter Cleaner.

2. Shock your spa. Although this isn’t necessary, shocking with chlorine or bromine can help the purge process by killing bacteria in the water before you start to ensure your hot tub is clean.

2. Add the hot tub line flush product to the water. Follow the directions for the product you’ve chosen for how much to add. Most hot tub flushes recommend using warm if not hot water for an effective hot tub purge.

3. Run the hot tub line flush through the plumbing. Run the jets for at least an hour to circulate the product in the pipes. Then let it continue circulating with the pumps running to keep the water containing the hot tub line flush moving around. Doing the spa purge overnight will allow it enough time to get into the biofilm and through all the plumbing. Just don’t use the spa while doing a purge.

4. Drain and clean your hot tub. Once the biofilm is broken down, the only way to clear the hot tub flush and loosened buildup is to drain the water completely. After you empty your hot tub, clean all the surfaces to remove any remaining residue.

5. Refill and enjoy!

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