Hot Tub Setup – A Start-up Guide for New Spa Owners

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You’ve chosen the hot tub placement site, your spa has arrived, and you’re ready to start using it! The great news is, once your spa is in its final location, initial start-up is easy. I’ve put together the steps to make setting up your hot tub a breeze. You’ll be relaxing in your spa in no time!

Read your hot tub owner manual

Before proceeding, you’ll want to make sure you’ve read your owners manual. This information will help you get an idea of how your spa works and prevent any mishaps or damage to your new tub.

(240V spas will need to be hooked up by a licensed electrician.)

Prepare Your Spa for Fill Up

Make sure all electrical power to the equipment at the circuit breaker is turned off, as you will need to access the spa equipment inside the cabinet.


Inside your spa cabinet:

  • Make sure your gate valves are open, this will allow water to flow through the pump, heater, and into your spa.
  • Double check that your drain valve is closed or you will end up with watery mess around your tub.

Next: Clean the interior of your new spa with a suitable mild, non-foaming, non-abrasive cleanser.


Q: “Won’t I need to rinse the spa of any cleaners before filling it?”

A: Products such as CleanAll are earth friendly & biodegradable, containing nothing that will harm you or your spa if left in the water. Clean All is very mild and will be diluted when you add the water to your tub.

*Common household cleaners should be avoided as they can cause damage to the spa shell, foaming problems and alter pH balance.

Now it’s Time to Fill Your Spa!

Tip: Before filling, be sure that your filter cartridge is installed. This will ensure that your new spa water is being properly filtered from start-up.

The best way to fill your spa is with a garden hose placed over the filter area (which will help to prevent an air lock). A good option is to use a hose end filter, which will reduce the amount of impurities such as iron, lead, and other contaminants that could make it into your tub. Be sure that your spa is filled to the water level specified in the owner’s manual. Low water levels can cause damage to the pump and heater element.


After your tub has been filled with water, it is a good idea to re-open the equipment door on your spa cabinet and check for any leaks around the fittings. It is not unusual for fittings to loosen during shipment. If you do detect any small leaks around any of the union fittings, you will want to make sure to hand-tighten them right away.

“With new components, hand tightening should be ample to make sure the fitting is sealed tightly. Using a wrench could easily crack the nut and cause the leak to worsen.”

– Mark, Hot Tub Expert

Power up!

Belize Topside 2

Once you have checked that all fittings are tight and made sure no leaks are occurring, you can replace the cabinet door and turn the power back on at the circuit breaker. Review your owner’s manual on how to operate your new spas controls.

*Hot tubs can take approximately 7-24 hours to heat, depending on spa size, voltage and other factors such as outside temperature.

Check the functionality of all the components such as buttons on the topside control panel and jets to make sure water is flowing.

Choose Your Sanitizer System

Cleanwater Blue System

Cleanwater Blue is an easy-to-use, healthy alternative mineral water purifier in liquid form. One bottle lasts 4-6 months. Cleanwater Blue is odorless and will not cause red eyes or skin irritation. This sanitizing system frees you from the chore of frequent maintenance, as it requires testing and dosage only twice a month.

Bromine System

Brominating Tablets provide excellent sanitizing for spas and hot tubs, without nearly the odor of chlorine. Bromine tablets are slow-dissolving for optimal use in warmer water. These tablets are placed in a floating dispenser which releases a metered amount of sanitizer into your spa as the water circulates.

Nature2 System

The Nature2 spa purifier fits inside your spa filter cartridge. The unit sanitizes by releasing a small amount of minerals into the hot tub water during circulation and lasts for 4 months. If used with Oxy-Spa or Dichlor granular chlorine, Nature2 is an odorless system.


If you are still unsure of which sanitizer you would like to use, visit our Hot Tub Sanitizer Comparison guide.

Get All Your Start-Up Essentials

Rather than buying all the products needed for your spa setup separately (which can become costly), the best way to get all of your supplies for a lower price is to buy a Pro Supplies Kit. This will equip you with all of the essential products to get your spa up and running.


Balancing Your Water

Balance your water with test strips

Balancing your water before you introduce your sanitizer is important in order to avoid unwanted problems such as cloudiness, discolored or bad smelling water. Keeping your water balanced is crucial to promote long equipment life, and healthy, clean, clear spa water. While taking the time to balance your hot tub water may seem like a tedious task at first, you will soon get the hang of it, and it will become a simple routine.

Using these easy to follow printable instructions, depending on your sanitizing system, will be the simplest way to learn how to balance your water and add your sanitizer system.

Bromine Quick-Start Guide

Cleanwater Blue Quick-Start Guide

Nature2 Quick-Start Guide

Time to Enjoy!

Once your spa has heated and you’ve allowed your chemicals to circulate for at least 30 minutes, it’s time to put on your suit and hop in!

Remember, our Spacyclopedia can provide you with tons of insight and useful information on your new tub.


  1. Hi Martin, You are very welcome! Thank you for the feedback, I”m glad you found the article helpful. Have a great week! Thank you, Bonni The Spa Depot


  2. Where do I locate the main drain on my spa i have used a pump to get the ter out but there is still water in the base of the spa


  3. Excellent information!! This information will help the needy to get an idea of how spa works and prevent any mishaps or damage to the new tub. You have provided good startup guide for hot tub setup!


  4. Hi Stephen, Great question. If you have a drain near the base of the spa it will more than likely be located in the spas equipment area, or somewhere on the baseboard. Since not all spas have drains at the bottom, we often recommend using a wet/dry vac to remove any remaining water. If you have any further questions please feel free to call our tech support at (800) 823-3638 M-F 8am-5pm Pacific. Thank you, Bonni The Spa Depot


  5. Hi Ted,
    Yes, we can help get you what you need! Depending on what year your Oval II is, we can email or send you a hard copy. Please give us a call at your convenience: 1-800-823-3638 and ask for Mark.
    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
    Thank you,
    The Spa Depot


  6. I have a two person Belize oval I spa (about 5 years old) but I have misplaced my manual. I have never understood the mysterious symbols on the control/display panel. What do those icons mean?
    Thanks for any help you can offer.


  7. Hi James,
    Thank you for your comment. We can help you with the manual and identifying the buttons on your top side control. Please give us a call at your convenience: 1-800-823-3638. One of our technical support specialists can email you the manual and go over the buttons with you.
    Thank you,
    The Spa Depot


  8. I replaced the main pump and motor on my spa. It is a two pump system. When I turned the power back on it appears to be in some endless loop. It turns the lights on, cycles through the colors, flashes them on and off. Turns circulating pump on and off same with heater and main pump. This has gone on for two hours. It will take no input from the control panel. Help!!!


  9. Hi John,
    Thank you for checking with us! Turn the power to the spa off and unplug the topside control panel from the circuit board. Make sure both the plug and receptacle look good, and if you find any corrosion, clean it off prior to plugging it back in. Turn the power back on. If that does not fix the problem, please email a photo of the topside control panel and circuit board to We will be able to find the correct replacement topside. Replacing your topside should take care of the problem.
    Thank you,


  10. Hi Carol,
    Acid is typically used to bring down stubbornly high pH. If your source water has a high pH level, it would be good to use acid to bring it down to the proper range. If your pH level is in the proper range to begin with, you do not need to add acid to new water. We do offer a muriatic acid replacement called Acid Magic. Acid Magic is safer for all spa or pool pH reduction and cleaning applications because it can’t burn intact skin. We have it available here:—Muriatic-Acid-Replacement-P662C634.aspx
    Hope this helps!
    Thank you,


  11. We have just purchased a house with a hot tub and have no idea how to make use it. It’s a model:M-3321a. We need to know how to use the chemicals and do we leave the hot tub on 24/7?


  12. Hi Clive,
    Our Spacyclopedia is a wonderful resource to get your started with your newly acquired hot tub. It should contain any information you might need:
    If you run into any problems or questions the Spacyclopedia can’t answer for you, feel free to give us a call! We have a great customer care team that will be able to troubleshoot any issues you have.
    (800) 823-3638 M-F 6am-5pm Pacific


  13. Hi Valerie,
    Check your sanitizer level. Musty water usually means you don’t have enough bromine/chlorine/mineral sanitizer. If you do use a mineral sanitizer, then be sure to supplement with non-chlorine shock after each use.
    If your sanitizer level is within range, the musty smell may be coming from your spa cover. Older spa covers collect water inside, growing mildew, which can drip back into the water. Learn more about musty spa covers here:


  14. thanks for the great info! very easy to follow. quick question, does it matter if the cover is left on or off after chemicals have been added and the spa is circulating? and should the filter be left on or is it ok to turn it off when it’s not being used? thanks again!


  15. Hi Tyler,
    Great question! It’s best to leave your spa cover off for about 30 minutes after adding chemicals to let gasses escape.
    The filtration cycle is important to the cleanliness of the spa and should be on a regular cycle, like twice a day for 2 hours each, or whatever your spa manual recommends.
    Let me know if you have any further questions.


  16. First time with a hot tub, and it came with the house. Excited to use. Was told it needseems a new heater. Not sure though. Gentleman who gave us the house wasn’t very handy with tools so I’m thinking it could possibly be something else. Any suggestions??


  17. Hi Charles,
    I would recommend giving our technical department a call and speaking with one of our hot tub experts. They will be able to walk you through any issues you are having with your new tub, as well as recommend any supplies you may need.
    (800)823-3638 M-F 6am-5pm Pacific


  18. Hi Jason,
    Since every spa is different, cabinet access can vary greatly. Some spa cabinets use screws to attach the main access panel, others have a locking panel, etc. If you need some help finding access, please email a few photos and a short message to our technical care team at They will be happy to help.


  19. Very useful piece of information! The images helped great deal in understanding the entire process of hot tub set-up. Thank you!


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