How to start up your spa after the winter

Our guide to starting your spa up for Spring after it's been out of use for a period of time. Covering cleaning techniques and chemical startup procedures.

How to start up your spa after the winter hero

Some people drain and let their spa pool sit empty during the winter months. When the warmer weather comes around in Spring, we get a lot of calls from people needing help getting their spa started up again.

In this article, we'll explain the recommended steps to clean and start your spa up after winter.

Step 1. Turn off the main power

While you’re working on your spa, it’s important to turn the power off. Remove the fuse or turn off the main circuit breaker to disconnect power to your spa.

Step 2. Clean the spa shell

Wipe the inside of your spa down with a soft damp towel to remove any dust and debris that may have settled during the down period. Use BioGuard Squeaky Clean and a small amount of pipe conditioner if needed to remove stubborn oils or scum.

Recommended Spa Cleaning Products

Step 3. Clean or replace filters

Now is a good time to check the condition of your filters. If they haven’t been replaced for around 12 months, you may want to consider replacing your spa filters.

If your filters are less than a year old, it’s still a good idea to give them a good clean before you replace them in your spa.

Remove your filters and soak them in an approved filter cleaning solution, then rinse with a filter wand.

Recommended Filter Products

Step 4. Fill with clean water

Remove your filters if you haven’t already and fill your spa by putting the hose down the filter pipe. This will eliminate the chance of getting an airlock in the spa plumbing.

An airlock happens when water is introduced incorrectly trapping an air bubble in the spa plumbing.

If you have an airlock and have a SpaNet controller you may get an ER-3 water prime error or an ER-4 thermal trip error. Click here for troubleshooting airlock issues on a SpaNet controller.

Once your spa is full, replace the spa filters.

Step 5. Check all jets are in the open position

Now is a good time to check all your jets are open to ensure that water can flow freely through and clean out any stagnant water that may have sat in behind your jets.

Step 6. Set temperature (It may take ½ a degree per hour).

Now your spa has been refilled with clean water, you’ll need to set your spa to the desired temperature.

If you have young children in the home. keep your spa temperature between 32 - 34 degrees (Celcius)

For adults, and if you like your water nice and hot, you can set it up to 38 degrees for adult use (Celcius).

You should expect your spa water to heat up around ½ a degree per hour. (Celcius).

Step 7. Clean or Replace your Spa Cover

Up to 80% of heat is lost from your spa through evaporation off the top. Make sure your cover is in good condition so it provides the best seal, keeping heat in your spa and saving your money on heating costs.

If your cover is worn, waterlogged or old, chances are it won’t be sealing and insulating properly. This means you’ll be spending more on heating costs than you should.

Take the opportunity to refresh the look of your outdoor area with a new spa cover.

Recommended Cover Cleaning Products

Step 8. Test and balance water pH and Alkalinity

Once your water has warmed up to your desired temperature, you need to test and balance the pH and Alkalinity of your water.

The pH of your spa water should be between 7.2 - 7.8

The Total Alkalinity of your water should be between 80 – 160 ppm.

Use your Spa Test Strips to test the pH and Total Alkalinity of your Spa water (read test strip instantly). Take care not to allow moisture in the strip container.

If the test reading is below the OK range for pH and Total Alkalinity add an appropriate quantity of Spa pH decreaser and Alkalinity Increaser. Follow the directions on the container for these chemicals to add the correct amount to your spa.

As a general rule, 45 grams per 1000 litres of this product will increase total Alkalinity by 25ppm and will increase pH as well.

Mix chemical, put into Spa and press the cleaning cycle, circulate for 20 minutes. (Remember to make sure all your jets are open).

If the pH and Total Alkalinity are above the OK Range, add pH Decreaser to reach the OK range.

Step 9. Add sanitising chemicals

CAUTION: The following are suggestions and not advice. As always make sure to follow chemical safety procedures on the chemical manufacturer's instructions.

If you need chemical advice please contact the chemical manufacturer or refer to the dosing information on the label.

Remove your cover while dosing and leave the cover off for 30-45minutes.

Read our Chemical Quick Start Guide for a detailed guide.

Note: Please be advised that many cheap spa chemicals contain a high amount of fillers and a low amount of active ingredients. These chemicals can be detrimental to your spa. We see pump and heater failures weekly from the use of poor chemicals.

The use of non-tested chemicals can void the warranty of some spa manufacturers.

If you use the Poppit® Chlorine-free system read the Poppit® start-up guide.

Step 10. Run a cleaning cycle

If your spa has the option, run a 20minute cleaning cycle. Make sure all your jets are open to ensure your plumbing is thoroughly flushed through.

Step 11. Test and chemical balance again

After adding sanitiser and a couple of days have gone by, we recommend testing your water again and adjusting the balance following the directions in step 8 above.

The reason for this is that it can take some time for your water to settle and the balance may need further adjustments to get it just right for crystal clear water and the best bathing experience.

Step 12. Relax and enjoy your Spa!

Your spa is now ready for you and your family to enjoy.

Got more questions?

Talk to us on live chat, or email us your spa questions and we'll be happy to help!


The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa Store or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd – the parent company of Spa Store: BioGuard® trademark is owned by BioLab Inc.

Poppit® trademark is owned by Waterco.

303® trademark is owned by Golden Eagle Inc.

Zodiac® trademark is owned by Fluidra Inc.

Affiliations: Vortex® Spas, Fisher™ Spas, Spa Store®, and Spa World™ are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd.

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