A Beginner’s Guide To Hot Tub & Spa Maintenance

Who doesn’t want to have a nice, relaxing moment in a spa after a long day at work? Isn’t this the reason why we invest our money, resources, and time in constructing hot tubs in our own backyards?

Owning a spa is exciting. A simple soak in it gets your muscles relaxed, soothes your body, and gives you better sleep. It is also the best place to toast drinks with friends, spend time with your family and enjoy romantic moments with your better half.

However, sometimes this soaking spot needs a little care for it to work properly. That means you need to look after it to make sure that its performance is always at peak and that it gives you value for your money.

A spa is a huge investment and if you just purchased one or are new to hot tub maintenance, we have some amazing tips on how you can take care of this baby so that your money doesn’t go down the drain.

A high quality tub can last for up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance with the affordable inflatable ones hanging on for up to 5 years. So, keep this simple hot tub maintenance guide as reference and you will be able to provide your investment with the love it deserves, and most importantly enjoy fulfilling bubbly spa sessions.

The Basics

When you first set up your hot tub, it is important that you familiarize yourself with its essentials so that even when you need to do some repair, it will be easy for you to obtain the parts.

Get to know the model too. It is so unfortunate that some people still universalize all hot tubs as Jacuzzis. Don’t be one of them because this confusion could make it hard for you to get a professional maintenance service when you need it.

It would also be important to read the user manual to know how everything operates. Don’t worry if you bought your hot tub from a second hand equipment dealer because most user instructions can be obtained online.

Understanding every part of your hot tub will help you obtain all the relevant information you need to care for it including, its age, water capacity, and more.

Hot Tub Maintenance Tips

The best hot tub maintenance involves cleaning the cover of your spa and the filter as well as adjusting chemical levels as needed. Cleaning your spa regularly is essential, as it will keep the water healthy and free from disease causing germs and bacteria. Keeping a keen eye on chemical levels is equally important because if the levels are too low, the pathogens can take over and if they are too high, the equipment of you spa can corrode.

Below are 5 ways through which you can care for your hot tub to keep the water sparkling clean for you and other users.

1. Test And Apply Chemicals To Your Hot Tub

· Check Mineral Levels

Check and adjust the levels of your spa chemicals twice a week. You will need to buy a test kit for this. A good hot tub test kit should be able to give a reading of the water alkalinity, total hardness, calcium hardness, bromine, PH, and chlorine. Get one test strip from your kit and put it into the water for about 20 seconds and you will be able to capture the readings.

· Add Chemicals

When adding chemicals to your spa, don’t be tempted to mix everything up. Add one chemical product at a time, giving each enough time to disperse naturally before adding another. This helps in maximizing the effectiveness of each chemical and prevents reactions between additives, which could be harmful to your tub.

Make sure the hot tub remains open for the first 15 minutes after you have poured in the chemicals to allow aeration. It is also important to let the water run as you pour in the additives to ensure efficient mixing of the chemicals.

To make sure you are adding the right amount of chemicals, measure them beforehand as specified on the product label. This helps you achieve the right balance faster and in the right way.

· Perform Alkalinity Test

If your spa is balanced properly, it will give a reading of between 80 and 120 ppm. If it is lower or higher than this, add sodium bicarbonate to bring it up or sodium bisulfate to bring it down. Either of the two substances will dissolve fast into the water but you should still give your tub a few hours before checking its alkalinity again.

· Sanitize Your Spa

Chlorine and bromine based products have been used as a sanitizing agents for spas and hot tubs for years. Though chlorine is more powerful than bromine, most people prefer the latter because it is not harsh on the hot tub material and its smell is not as strong as that of chlorine.

If you are disinfecting your spa wit chlorine, put 29.6ml of the product into the water as often as recommended in the instructions so that the level remains between 1.5 and 3 ppm. For bromine sanitizers the reading should be between 3-5 ppm. While at it, make sure that you only put the appropriate measures of chlorine, as the chemical is quite strong and could damage your hot tub equipment.

· Test Calcium Hardness

Keep the calcium hardness of your hot tub in check all the time. If it gets higher than recommended, it could form scales in your tub. A lower level of calcium hardness is not good either as it compels the water in your spa to draw minerals from your equipment which could end up damaging your tub. For those whose hot tubs have an acrylic finish, the calcium hardness should be maintained between 100 to 250 ppm and 250 to 450 for tubs with a plaster finish.

· Test The PH Levels

The recommended PH range of a spa is between 7.2 and 7.8. Anything lower or higher than this should be stabilized using sodium bicarbonate or sodium bisulfate to raise or lower the PH levels respectively. You should always check and adjust the PH levels of your spa if the disinfectant you are using is not working appropriately, the water is cloudy, you feel some irritation on your skin when you immerse into the water, or scales have grown on the filter.

· Shock Dose Your Hot Tub

Apart from keeping the PH of your tub stabilized, you should also ensure that the water is safe and healthy to use. You should shock your hot tub at least once a week to kill pathogens and bad odor especially if you have had several people bathing in it at once. The most widely used shock treatments are chlorine and bromine. Use these depending on the sanitizer you use in your tub to keep the water clean, clear, and fresh.

2. Clean Your Hot Tub

Hot tub maintenance cannot be effective without proper cleaning of your spa. Just like an ordinary swimming pool, a spa is prone to developing scum, slime, and algae. Whether indoor or outdoor, you should clean your hot tub thoroughly at least once a week to keep everything tidy.

Those whose tubs are installed outdoors will have a harder time because in addition to fighting dirt from the bather’s body, one has to look out for trash blown by the wind into the tub, dead insects, and debris like leaves.

To keep your spa and everything in it clean for the next soak, follow the following simple tips:

  • For the entire hot tub including the steps, use a mild non-corrosive cleaner, and a sponge or a soft rag. You can also use a nylon scrub to remove any dirt that has built up.
  • If you are just doing a minor surface cleaning, the ordinary baking soda will get the job done
  • To clean your spa pillows, use the instructions provided in the user manual. These will guide you on the removal and cleaning of the pillow fabric.
  • For your hot tub cover, first remove it from the tub and spray it with water to loosen any debris and dirty that may have built up. Once most of the dirt has been cleaned up, get a large sponge and soak it in a mild detergent or baking soda. Use this to scrub the cover of the spa. Do this in a circular motion and spray the cover with water to rinse off the soap. The inner part of the cover should be rinsed without soap and wiped properly with a dry towel.

To make sure that soap and detergents stay out of your hot tub water as much as possible, take a shower without soap before immersing yourself into the spa. Also, if you have been building sand castles in the beach and suspect that your hair could have dirt or sand debris, it would be wise to rinse it thoroughly before soaking into your hot tub. Rinse any sunscreen or lotion off your body too to keep your tub free from chemicals that could raise or lower the PH level of its water.

Cleaning your hot tub weekly is an important part of spa maintenance. However, you should also make a point of completely draining the hot tub quarterly or even more often if you have had many bathers in it or have been using it often, to give it a thorough cleaning.

3. Your Filters Need Cleaning Too

The filters work just as hard as any part of your tub and they deserve a good cleaning too in order to function effectively. Filters can be cleaned using three methods namely, soaking, spraying, and rinsing.

  • Soaking involves dipping the filters in chemical cleaners. Do this every time you change the water of your spa to loosen hard debris and extend the life of the filters. Just make sure to rinse them completely afterward.
  • To spray your filters, you need a spa filter cleaner. Spraying should be done once a week to give them a deeper cleansing. Don’t forget to give them a good rinse after.
  • Rinsing should be done as often as possible especially when the hot tub has been used more than usual. You can do this using your garden hose or warm water.

You should only soak your filters in chemical cleaners if the spraying and rinsing processes don’t seem to work. And if the chemical soak doesn’t give them the cleansing you want, then it is time to get new ones. Experts advise that spa filters be replaced after every three years to keep your soaking spot functioning efficiently.

4. Change The Water Of Your Spa

Following hot tub maintenance tips will keep the water of your tub clean and fresh for a longer period of time. However, sometimes, dirt and soaps can build up forming a residue at the bottom or walls of your spa. At such a time, even adding chemicals to the water to clean it up doesn’t help and the only thing you can do to ensure a safe and healthy soak is changing the water of the hot tub.

5. Add Fill Water

This is one of the most overlooked steps in hot tub and spa maintenance, yet one of the most important. If the water in your hot tub is not at the right level, the skimmer will begin sucking in air, which in some instances can damage the pump. To make sure this doesn’t happen always keep your water at the appropriate levels. If too high, there could be an overflow and if too low, your hot tub could get damaged.

If you don’t have a water source permanently connected to your tub, keep one close so that you can fill or top off the water whenever necessary. Just don’t forget to check the chemical and PH levels after adding the water.

Create A Schedule For Your Spa Maintenance

Create_A_Schedule_For_Your_Spa_Maintenance

Taking care of your hot tub is the first step to ensuring an enjoyable soak. But don’t just do the cleaning or chemical adjusting once and forget about it – you need to be consistent, which is why you need to create a maintenance schedule for it. Doing this will get the process less stressful as you will have broken it into manageable tasks. Also, knowing what needs to be done, when it should be done and who should do it helps you keep track of things so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Maintaining a hot tub is simple but if not done correctly, the tasks involved could easily get your head exploding. So know how you will chunk the process so that things get easier for you to manage. You can use the good old paper calendar and mark the days when certain tasks should be performed or download reminder apps and you will never miss a maintenance date with your spa.

Paper Calendar

Get an inexpensive calendar and stick it to a spot that can easily be viewed. The best spots could be the entrance to your spa or by the spa itself if you have set it up indoors. Your calendar should have large squares and enough space for notes so that you can jot down every important detail regarding your maintenance schedule.

To make things easier for you, create a 6-month or 12-month schedule in one sitting and just put a remainder somewhere on what should be done and when it should be done. Make sure there is always a pen or marker near the calendar to add notes where necessary and cross out the already complete tasks. Sometimes your maintenance schedule could be interrupted by unexpected events and having a pen handy will help you remember to update these on your calendar accordingly.

Erasable Boards

Most people associate erasable boards with an office setting but these can serve as a great schedule planner. Just make a list of all the activities you want to carry out on your tub and hang the board near your spa. The best thing about an erasable board is that unlike your paper calendar, the former won’t get damaged if water splashes on it.

Apps

Most hot tub owners prefer going the tech way when creating a maintenance schedule for their soaking spots. If you join this club, you will be keeping your spa care details in your phone, computer, or tablet and get reminders when tasks need to be done. The best place to set your reminders would be in your phone or tablet, as there are higher chances that these will be with you everywhere you go.

Set the intervals at which you want to be reminded to attend to a certain task. For instance, for those activities you need to do every day, you can set your preferred app to send you a daily reminder. For those that you only get to do once a month, you can create reminders for the week and day before and even the day the task should be performed. Doing this keeps you in the loop about what needs to be done and ensures that you don’t forget important tasks.

Delegating Tasks

Taking care of your spa can be a little daunting especially if you are doing it solo. And sometimes you may have loads of work to do that you may forget about your tub completely or don’t get time to attend to it.

To make sure that none of the tasks listed on your hot tub maintenance schedule go unattended, seek help from members of your family. Everyone wants to bathe in a clean spa so asking them to help out with some of the tasks wouldn’t be too much to ask.

If they agree, let them come with you to the spa and show them how each activity should be carried out. Start with simple tasks like cleaning the hot tub steps, to harder tasks like removing and cleaning the cover, all the way to wiping the inside of the tub. Once they have mastered these, introduce them to more complex tasks like checking the chemical and PH levels, changing the water and shocking the spa.

But your hot tub and spa maintenance will only be successful if everyone is held responsible for what they do. So make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do and when. Add this information to your calendar so that you can easily identify who does what and when. This way, you will be able to keep track of things and find out if there are individuals who have dodged their duties.

If your schedule planner is an app, then you may want to print out the tasks.  Put the list in areas that are easily visible by everyone so that no one will say they didn’t know what they were supposed to do. Hence, there will be no excuses for not getting the job done.

Just don’t forget to ask everyone to cross out activities once they have completed them so that it gets easier for you to identify those that are not done. Inspect your hot tub every day to ensure that every task is performed correctly.

How To Breakdown Your Spa Maintenance Schedule

Just like your swimming pool, your hot tub needs special care in regard to repairs, accessories, and water chemistry. Performing your maintenance tasks daily, weekly, monthly or yearly ensures that your tub is always being taken care of, which keeps its performance at its best. Your spa maintenance schedule should involve the following:

Daily Checklist

  • Check the cover to make sure it is clean and properly secured. If the cover of your hot tub is fitted properly, it will kick out debris and other dirt from the tub and keep your water safe.
  • Take note of the temperature of your spa water and adjust it accordingly. A drastic change in temperature could indicate a serious problem with the system.
  • Check if the cover or spa is damaged especially if your system is installed outdoors where it is exposed to elements, animals, and other dangerous objects.

3-Times A Week Checklist

  • Check and adjust the PH and alkalinity of your hot tub’s water. These two are very important when it comes to the chemistry of your spa water, so make sure they are always balanced.
  • Take note of the sanitizer levels of your tub to avoid sickening your family and friends
  • Clear all the dirt and debris that could get your water contaminated and interfere with the chemical balance

Weekly Checklist

  • Test the water of your spa including its sanitizer, PH, and alkalinity levels. If you are going to adjust them, make sure to test again afterward before dipping yourself into the tub.
  • Shock dose your spa to keep it healthy and free from bacteria and pathogens
  • Rinse your filter to keep away bad odor, algae, bacteria and cloudiness
  • Wipe the cover of your hot tub both inside and out to protect it against funky smells, mildew and mold

Monthly Checklist

  • Chemical rinse your spa filter to clean out dirt that might have been left behind by the weekly water rinse
  • Check your spa jets to see if they are frozen or clogged and troubleshoot them accordingly
  • Have a professional check your hot tub water. Who knows, they might help you identify a water quality issue that you never even knew existed!

Quarterly Checklist

  • Clean the cabinet of your spa
  • Drain your spa, change the water, and repair any damaged equipment
  • Chemical soak your filter. This is an improved version of a chemical rinse as it gives your filter a deeper clean.

Yearly Checklist

  • Check your system for damaged hardware and wiring. Sometimes chemical imbalance, pests, and wear and tear may harm your equipment.
  • Have a professional evaluate your hot tub for potential issues
  • Keep an eye on your cover for moisture absorption, mold and mildew infestations, and physical damages
  • Check to see if your filter needs replacement
  • Update or replace your spa care schedule if necessary.

Globo Surf Overview

Looking after your hot tub is the first step in ensuring a healthy soak. It is also the best way to avoid spending money on repairs and parts replacement. Hot tubs are expensive and the last thing you need is to spend more money than you already have.

Keep the water chemical and PH levels regulated, clean your hot tub inside and out, give it a shock dose, and rinse the filters accordingly. This is all you need to have a clean, healthy, and safe soak for years.

Sure, the process may look daunting, but if scheduled properly, you will find it simple and even enjoyable. Chunk the process into smaller manageable tasks and delegate these to the members of your household. Let everyone know what they are supposed to do, how, and when. Understanding what needs to be done and having a proper routine maintenance will guarantee your system a long, healthy future.

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Sources

  1. How To Clean Your Hot Tub: A Beginners Guide, robertallenpoolsandspas.com
  2. How To Maintain A Hot Tub, hintsandthings.co.uk
  3. How To Maintain Your Spa Or Hot Tub, wikihow.com
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!