Filling Your Bullfrog Spa & Initial Startup Instructions
Your first relaxing experience with your Bullfrog Spa awaits. As you eagerly anticipate the rejuvenating moments ahead, we’re here to guide you through the process of filling and using your spa for the very first time. We can’t wait for you to enjoy your Bullfrog Spa!
*Always refer to your owner’s manual for the most accurate information for your particular spa model.
Before You Start
Turn Off Power
Make sure the power is off to your spa prior to following the spa filling procedure. Failure to do so may result in serious injury. Do not turn power on to the spa without water in the spa. Serious damage to the pumps and/or heater may occur.
Open All Jet Valves
To avoid a possible airlock condition be sure to open all valves in the JetPaks and all other jets in the spa before filling. This will allow as much air as possible to escape from the system during the filling process.
JetPak valves should be turned counterclockwise to open them.
Jets fixed to the hot tub shell should be turned clockwise to open them.
Filling Your Bullfrog Spa
Filling your Bullfrog Spa is a simple process. To ensure a smooth experience, please refer to the instructions below that correspond to your specific Bullfrog Spa series. By following these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to enjoying your spa in no time.
Important: Never fill the spa with soft water unless an appropriate mineral supplement is immediately added (see your authorized Bullfrog Spas Dealer). If your water is extremely hard, it is preferable to either dilute the water’s hardness by blending the water with water from a water softener, using a mineral filter, or by the addition of a special water softening chemical (see your authorized Bullfrog Spas Dealer).
Spa Filling Steps for A Series (2023 and Later), M Series, and Swim Series
Step 1: Select any seat with a JetPak and remove the JetPak.
Step 2: Place a garden hose in the JetPak bulkhead.
Step 3: Fill to the water level indicator or just above the midpoint of the filter intake grate.
Spa Filling Steps for A/R Series (2022 & Prior), X Series, and STIL
Note: Images show spa with filter plate removed for clarity.
Step 1: Remove filter cover by lifting until snap fittings release.
Step 2: Remove a filter cage cap
Step 3: Place garden hose inside the inner chamber of the filter cage.
Step 4: Fill to the water level indicator line located on the right side of the grill on the face of the filter plate assembly.
Step 5: Reinstall the filter cap(s) and filter snap cap.
The spa cover comes with tie down straps and locking hardware that attaches the cover to the spa or decking. If your dealer did not install the cover, refer to the Cover Installation Instructions included with the cover. The spa cover is critical in maintaining a safe and secure spa environment. In addition, keeping your spa covered when not in use is important for maintaining spa water at the desired temperature and saving energy. When the spa is not in use, always place the cover over the spa and secure it by pulling down on the cover strap, clicking the two sides of the cover clips together, and locking each clip with the key provided. The cover should remain in place and locked when not in use to prevent unauthorized entry and prevent the wind from inadvertently blowing it open.
Prime the Pumps (& Remove Airlocks)
After filling your spa, you need to prime the pumps and remove any airlocks so the spa will operate correctly and to prevent any damage to pumps. Follow the instructions below depending on which spa series you have.
Priming the Pumps for A/R Series (2022 & Prior), M Series, X Series, and STIL
After turning the power on at the main power panel, the control panel display will go through an initializing sequence. This sequence displays information regarding the configuration of the hot tub control. After a few seconds, your control will display a standard status screen with time, jet and light status, temperature status, operation mode, etc.
Pumps must be primed directly after filling to ensure the correct operation of your spa. After initial start-up, verify that the home status screen appears on the panel. To prime the pumps, press the “Jets 1” button once to prime on low-speed. After the pump turns on and water is visibly flowing from the jets, wait a few seconds and then press “Jets 1” again to initiate the high-speed operation of Pump 1. The pump has primed when water is flowing from the jets.
If your spa is equipped with a second jet pump repeat the priming process for Pump 2 by pressing the “Jets 2” button once to turn on low speed and then a second time to turn Pump 2 on high. If you have a spa model with 3 pumps, press the “Jets 3” button to prime the third jet pump. All pumps will have primed when water is observed flowing from the jets associated with each pump.
Important: Pumps should not be allowed to run without priming (no water flowing out of the jets) for more than 2 minutes. Doing so may cause damage to the pump(s).
Note: Sometimes momentarily turning the pump off and on will help it to prime. Do not do this more than 5 times. If the pump(s) will not prime, shut off the power to the spa and call for service.
Priming the Pumps for A Series (2023 and Later) and Swim Series
External Air Bleeder Instructions
These instructions should be followed at initial and subsequent draining and refilling to prevent pump cavitation caused by trapped air within the pump and plumbing system. Turning on the power to the spa before performing this priming process may make the priming process more difficult.
After filling your spa, using caution, carefully remove the air bleeder screw from the external air bleeder fitting with a standard screwdriver or ½” socket to unscrew it in a counterclockwise rotation.
Air Bleeder Screw / O-Ring Note: To prevent losing the bleeder screw and O-ring, grasp the screw while unthreading. Once removed, air and water will begin to escape through the opening.
Allow water to flow freely from the external air bleeder fitting for approximately 60 seconds. Note: Use a wet/dry vacuum or tray to catch escaping water for spa installations located indoors.
After 60 seconds, reinstall the bleeder screw and O-ring. First, by hand and then by using a standard screwdriver until snug. Do not over-tighten.
Turn on the power to the spa and turn on one pump at a time starting with pump 1, ensuring that each pump is properly primed. If you discover a pump is not moving water properly after 30-60 seconds, turn off the power to the spa and repeat instructions above.
Note: Spa equipment with circulation pumps are not as noticeable when operating correctly; for this reason, you will need to watch the control panel closely for approximately 60 seconds or until the display reads “Heating to 99°F (37°C)” (or Heating to 104°F / 40°C). If the panel displays ERROR NO FLO, turn off the power to the spa and repeat steps above.
Heating the Spa
Within 1 to 2 minutes after spa start-up and initialization, the water temperature will be displayed in the center of the home status screen. Press the up and down buttons to set the desired temperature.
When the set value is lower than the current temperature, Cooling to xx.x” will appear at the bottom of the screen. When the set value is higher than the current temperature, “Heating to xx.x” will be indicated. Normally there may be a short delay before the heating starts, during which “Heating suspended” is indicated under the value.
How long does it take a hot tub to heat up? This depends on several factors such as outside temperature, the temperature it’s starting at, and the size of the spa. In general, hot tubs increase a few degrees per hour. Normally, you can plan on using your hot tub by the next day, if not sooner.
Initial Water Care & Chemistry
Water care in hot tubs involves balancing the Alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer levels of your hot tub water to get them in the recommended range. You first start with a test strip to test the levels and then compare the levels to the recommended levels. You adjust Alkalinity first, then the pH, then the sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) levels. Usually this involves adding small doses at a time of chemicals that raise or lower levels to make adjustments. Alkalinity should be between 80-120 ppm and pH should be between 7.2-7.8.
Although it may seem scary if you have never done it before, it can actually be quite easy. After a little practice, it’ll become second nature to you. Please see our complete guides to water care & chemistry for detailed instructions depending on whether you are using the FROG @ease system or not.
Water Care Guide if Using FROG @ease System
Water Care Guide if NOT Using FROG @ease System
What to Do if You Still Need Help
If you are still needing assistance with getting your spa ready for use, please reach out to your local store from whom you purchased. They are your local expert on Bullfrog Spas products, local water chemistry and care, and warranty items.