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Can You Inflate a Hot Tub With Water In It? – A Simple Answer

If you’re wondering whether an inflatable hot tub can be inflated with water in it, the answer is yes – but there are a few things to keep in mind before doing so.  

This blog post will look at why your spa might be deflating, what you need to do to inflate your hot tub successfully, why it’s crucial not to overinflate it and the all-important question, can you inflate a hot tub with water in it?

We’ve been researching inflatable hot tubs for over ten years and this question is constantly cropping up. After all, who wants to empty hundreds of gallons of water just to pump it up a bit. The good news is you don’t have to! 

Keep reading for more information!

How Do You Air Up An Inflatable Hot Tub with Water Inside?

an inflatable hot tub full

Inflating a hot tub full of water is actually fairly straightforward; you’ll just need to make sure that you switch off the power supply and inflate carefully with the water whilst not overinflating the thing! 

It’s easier to avoid overinflation this way, as you’ll be able to see how the hot tub water affects the amount of air you need to add.

Before preparing your hot tub to be inflated, it is a good idea to double-check for any punctures around the hot tub and the weather to make sure it’s dry.

1. Unplug and seal 

First, unplug your inflatable hot tub from its power supply, ensuring that the heater and air jets are disabled, before removing the filter housing and debris screens and sealing the inside vents with black rubber caps.

2. Remove the pump

You’ll now need to detach the pump unit to be used for inflating the hot tub; you may notice a little water spilling out of the hot tub as you do this, but don’t worry, this is entirely normal!

3. Attach the inflation hose

Grab the inflation hose that you used when the hot tub was initially inflated, and attach this air hose to the pump and then to the air valve on the main body of your inflatable hot tub. 

Make sure that everything around the hot tub is tightly sealed, as you want to get as much additional air inside the hot tub as possible! 

4. Turn the pump on and inflate.

someone connecting a pump

Switch on the pump and begin to inflate your hot tub; if your inflatable hot tub has a pressure gauge, you should keep an eye on this, making sure not to exceed 7-10 psi.

If you don’t have an air pressure gauge, a good rule of thumb is that your hot tub should inflate to around 95% of its capacity, so when pressing the side walls, you should have about a centimetre of give in the material. When you inflate hot tubs, be sure not to overdo it otherwise they can leak with water or burst.

5. Reattach the pump

Once you’re happy with the amount of inflation in the hot tub, remove the air hose from the hot tub’s air valve and the pump before attaching the pump to the main body of your spa. 

You can take the stopper caps off the valves and reinstall the hot tub filter and debris screens.

6. Check everything works

All that’s left is to check that the hot tub is in working order! Ensure that the hot tub’s filters and jets are doing their job, and have a quick look for any punctures you may have missed.

Remember, you can always use soapy water to double-check for punctures and tears, but if everything seems rosy, you’re finally ready for a well-earned soak! 

Can You Inflate A Lazy Spa With Water In It?

You can inflate a Lazy Spa hot tub full of water by following our step-by-step guide above. 

These hot tub models tend to have pressure gauges fitted which makes safely inflating them much easier; just make sure not to leave the hot tub running when adding air; otherwise the water level will overfill.

How Do You Know When It’s Inflated Enough?

a girl blowing up a balloon

If hot tubs have a pressure reading gauge fitted, just look for a psi value of between 7-10; if you’ve got this reading, you’ll know you’re all set!

For hot tubs without this feature, it’s a little more abstract, but you’re generally looking to reach about 95% of your hot tub’s maximum air capacity. 

In real-world terms, the walls should be soft to the touch, with about 1cm of give as you apply a little pressure with your hand. The water in the hot tubs should be a few cm below the fill line to start.

Why It’s Important Not To Overinflate

There are a couple of important reasons you shouldn’t overinflate hot tubs, with the first being (unsurprisingly) that you’re probably going to damage the seams of the hot tub if you inflate too much! 

See all our information on how to maintain a hot tub safely if you are new to it or need some advice to prevent problems in the future.

Overinflating your hot tub risks putting strain on the seams and bursting them, meaning you’ll likely have a leaky inflatable hot tub before you’ve even had the chance to take a dip.

People also often forget to account for the weight of hot tub water. If you fully inflate your spa before adding the water, chances are the extra weight of the water will distort the shape of the hot tub and, again, put too much pressure on the seams resulting in water leaking.

Do Inflatable Hot Tubs Lose Air?

Below are some simple reasons for hot tubs deflating, but this guide on portable spas that keep deflating will explain all the issues in more depth.

a woman in a hot tub with foam in her hands

The air valve is leaking.

One of the most common causes of air loss in inflatable hot tubs is simply that the air valve is leaking. In this case, it could be an unfortunate manufacturing error or just due to general wear and tear on the surface top, but thankfully it’s one of the easiest causes to spot! 

You can check whether your valve is leaking by spraying a mixture of soapy water onto the hot tub seal; if any air leaks out, you’ll quickly see bubbles beginning to form. 

Most valve leaks can be fixed with easy tips such as simply tightening the seal from both inside and outside of the hot tubs, though if the problem persists, you might need to consider replacing the part. Always check the manual and instructions if you are unsure on the setup.

The spa is damaged

Unfortunately, leaks are the other most common cause, which we reckon a few readers will have experienced. Punctures and tears at the bottom of the hot tub floor come with the territory for inflatable spa hot tubs, but this one is relatively simple to spot and repair.

Just like with the air valve, you’ll find a soapy water solution to be useful in locating the puncture. Once you have, just mark the area where the water is leaking, deflate the hot tub and attach a waterproof adhesive patch, but make sure that it’s suitable for the material lining of your specific hot tub.

Temperature changes

This cause needs a little bit of science to explain. When temperatures rise, so too does air pressure, and as the molecules in the air collide with each other more frequently, they take up more space within the walls of your inflatable hot tub.

This means that your inflatable hot tub can appear to deflate if the ambient air temperature drops significantly. You’ll also find that the air levels are affected if the water temperature drastically changes, like adding more heat with warm water or removing it with cold water. 

If you have a black hot tub, it will absorb more heat and the air inside the tub lining will expand; therefore, when the temperature drops, you may notice it deflating slightly. If the tub is inside on a solid floor with protection and insulation, you won’t notice this anywhere near as much.


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Inflating a hot tub with water in it may seem like an impossible task, but as long as you are careful and follow the steps above, it can be done. 

If you have a puncture or the valve is leaking, adding more air may be necessary to keep your hot tub afloat. Just remember not to add too much air at once, and inflate your hot tub at a steady pace keeping an eye on the pressure gauge.

John Devlin

Hello, Welcome to my website. I’m John, and I created the InflatableHotTubGuide while researching these spas nearly a decade ago. Since its creation, the site has become the leading UK resource for many models. As a passionate hot tub user, I love to test and explore all the latest machines this industry keeps creating. I hope you find our content helpful.