It goes without saying that most people love relaxing in a hot tub, which is why so many people choose to install one in their own backyard. Of course, when you buy a hot tub, you’re investing a lot of your hard-earned money into it, which means that you should do everything in your power to make sure that your hot tub is taken care of properly. With that being said, if you’d like for your hot tub to last for quite some time, then you must perform the proper maintenance on your hot tub. If you have one of these therapeutic tubs, keep reading to learn how to maintain it to protect your investment properly and to learn proper hot tub maintenance.
How to Maintain Hot Tub
Method 1 – Testing and Applying Chemicals to Your Spa
1. Using test strips, check the chemical and mineral levels in your spa.
One of the most important things to do to maintain your hot tub is to remember to check and adjust the chemicals in your hot tub at least once or twice a week. Most stores, like Walmart, carry test strips, or you can purchase test strips from a pool store, as well. While each package costs under 10 dollars, some test strips provide 6-in-1 readings for such a low cost. These test strips typically test for alkalinity, calcium hardness, chlorine, pH, bromine, and total hardness. All you need to do is put these strips into your spa for as little as 15 seconds, and then you’ll be well on your way to your water test results.
Add only one chemical to your water at a time.
When you’re adjusting the levels of the chemicals in your hot tub, you want to make sure that you only add one chemical to the water at a time. Before adding another, wait two hours after adding the first chemical to allow the chemicals to disperse naturally, which will help maximize their effectiveness. Waiting two hours before adding the next chemical also ensures that there won’t be any chemical reactions between the chemicals you added. Follow these simple tips, and you should have no problem adding the chemicals to your hot tub:
- Make sure that you cover your hot tub for at least 15 minutes after adding the chemicals.
- Your spa should be kept running while adding the chemicals. This allows the jets to mix the chemicals into the water.
- You should always pre-measure your chemicals before adding them to your hot tub.
Check total alkalinity first.
After testing the alkalinity, add sodium bicarbonate or sodium bisulfate, depending on the reading results. Your balanced spa should be between 80-120 PPM in total alkalinity, so make sure you correctly use your test strips. If the total alkalinity goes above 120, add sodium bisulfate, and if it reads below 80, add sodium bicarbonate. After adding the chemicals, cover the hot tub and walk away for two hours. Re-check the alkalinity after two hours and adjust the chemicals as needed.
Use chlorine or bromine to sanitize your hot tub.
Using your test strips, check the chemicals in your hot tub. If your hot tub needs to be sanitized, then you can choose to use chlorine or bromine to do so. While chlorine has been used more frequently in the past, people choose to use bromine more often because it’s less harsh and isn’t as potent smelling like chlorine. Follow these simple tips to ensure that you sanitize your hot tub properly:
- If you’re using chlorine, put 2 tablespoons directly into the water every other day or as recommended. You want your chlorine levels to stay between 1.5-3 PPM, so adjust accordingly.
- The reading on the test strips should stay between 3.0-5.0 if you’re using bromine.
- You could choose to buy a floater for the bromine or chlorine tablets. If you load four to six tablets into the floater, they’ll dissolve over time, and you’ll have to add chemicals less often.
- Make sure that you do not over sanitize your hot tub. This could cause severe irritations to your skin.
Check for calcium hardness.
If you’re able to do so, using soft water in your hot tub would be the best way to keep the calcium hardness in check. If your hot tub has too much calcium hardness, it will cause scales to develop in your hot tub. This can be corrected by using a hot tub defender product. On the other hand, if your hot tub doesn’t have enough calcium hardness, then the water will start to take chemicals from other sources, like the aluminum contained in your hot tubs’ equipment.
- Calcium hardness should stay between 100-250 PPM if your hot tub has an acrylic finish and 250-450 if the hot tub has a plaster finish.
Check the pH levels
Checking the pH levels of your hot tub is the last thing you want to do. The pH should stay between 7.2-7.8. If the pH balance in your hot tub is off, then you should work on stabilizing the total alkalinity first. Refer to the step about balancing the total alkalinity for this step.
Shock your spa
Once a week, put an odorizer into your hot tub. This should especially be done when you have a lot of people using your hot tub. Odorizers are used to kill the waste in the spa water, keeping the water clean and clear. Depending on which sanitizer you use, use chlorine or bromine to shock your hot tub.
Method 2 – Cleaning Your Filter and Cover
Clean the filter every two weeks
- To unclog and clean your spa filter, take the cartridge out of the filter.
- Using a hose, run water over the filter to clean out any dirt or other matter.
- The clean filter should air dry completely before you put it back into the filter.
- You should replace the filter any time that it becomes damaged or stops working. You’ll also know that you need to replace the filter when it gets dirty soon after cleaning it.
- You should replace the filter every time you replace the water in your hot tub.
Clean your hot tub cover once a month
Making sure that your hot tub cover is clean is one of the most important steps to maintaining a clean hot tub. This is because the cover does most of the work when it comes to keeping your hot tub clean. If you have a cover that needs a protective layer over it, make sure to clean the cover thoroughly before applying the vinyl protector. On the other hand, if you have an acrylic cover, you don’t need to apply a protectant, but you do need to wash it every so often. Follow these simple tips to avoid damaging the cover while you’re cleaning it:
Don’t use abrasives, dish soaps, or any detergents while cleaning the cover. This can cause damage to the topcoat of the vinyl, which would accelerate the deterioration process.
- Clean the cover on a hot sunny day so it can dry properly.
Be careful while handling your cover.
It’s unbelievably important that you pay attention to how you treat your cover, as they can deteriorate quickly if they become damaged.
- Never sit or put your feet onto the cover.
- Don’t allow children to sit on the cover.
- Use the handles when opening or closing the cover. Never lift the cover by skirting.
- Don’t drag the cover across the ground.
- Avoid puncturing the top of the cover with sharp objects
- Keep pets with sharp claws away from the cover
- Keeping Your Spa Running Well
Shower before using the tub
It’s important to rinse off any hair or body products before getting into the hot tub. Lotions and other body products can change the color of the water, and they can make the water cloudy, as well.
Change the water every three to six months.
Of course, this depends on how often you use your hot tub and how many people use it with you.
- If you have a typical family spa, then you’ll want to change the water every three months.
- Use test strips to determine whether or not it’s time to change the water.
Leave your hot tub on at all times.
While you may want to turn down the temperature, your hot tub should be on at all times to circulate the water. If you turn the hot tub off for extended periods of time, then algae can build up inside the filter and other equipment.
While there are quite a few steps to properly maintaining your hot tub, it’s certainly worth the effort. You may get sick of cleaning the filter, draining the hot tub, and testing the water, but when you’re getting massaged by five different jets after a rough day of work, you’ll be more than happy you did it!