Your Complete Guide to Hot Tub Maintenance

Sundance Spas Kingston 980 Series Hot Tub installation with steps

Hot tubs are a great way to relax, unwind, de-stress, and enjoy quality time with loved ones. They are meant to be used regularly! With frequent use, comes the need for routine maintenance. As a hot tub owner, it is important to understand how to properly maintain your spa to ensure that it is always ready when you need it, and that it will provide you with much-needed relaxation for many years to come!

The Importance of Hot Tub Maintenance

By maintaining your hot tub, you are not only extending its lifetime, but you are ensuring that it continues to run optimally with as much energy efficiency as possible. Even minor issues cause your system to work harder than it needs to, hiking up its energy consumption and increasing the risk of bigger problems down the road.

Hot tub maintenance is also important for your health and safety. Improper maintenance leaves your delicate skin exposed to numerous risks, including:

  • Skin irritants
  • Bacterial infections
  • Rashes
  • Illness if water is accidentally ingested

When you use your hot tub, you want to relax, unwind, and turn your mind off. The last thing you want is to worry about the quality of the water, lurking bacteria, or dirt and debris as you lay back to enjoy a nice, leisurely soak. Keeping up with your hot tub maintenance will ensure that the water is circulating properly, the chemical levels are balanced, and the water is nice and clean for each and every use.

If you ever have any questions, concerns, or uncertainties about your hot tub or its maintenance schedule, it is best to consult with a local hot tub technician to ensure that your spa is being maintained properly.

The Benefits of Hot Tub Maintenance

Think of your hot tub the way you think of your car: it is a worthy investment that significantly improves your quality of life that needs routine care to continue providing value. Cars need to be filled with gasoline a few times a month, be taken in for oil changes, have filters and tires that need to be replaced or rotated, and need to be kept clean and dry to prevent paint chips and rust.

Hot tubs contain an intricate system that allows them to provide you with the relaxation you need after a long day. They heat the water and keep it at an optimal temperature, use jets to provide a gentle massage, and are filled with pumps, filters, lighting, and other mechanisms that keep the spa functioning. All of these components require care and maintenance to keep them clean, clear, and working at their highest potential.

The Supplies and Water Care Essentials You Will Need

Fortunately, maintaining a hot tub is a relatively simple task, and requires just a handful of easily accessible tools and chemicals. Here are the products you will need to get started, and how they function in your hot tub.

Chlorine

Chlorine is a well-known and common treatment for pools and hot tubs, and plays a very important role in sanitizing the water. The presence of chlorine makes it impossible for bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms to survive.

Bromine

Bromine is another sanitizer for your hot tub and is a popular alternative to chlorine. It helps to ionize the water in the hot tub by breaking up the particles in the water. If you find chlorine to be irritating, bromine is a great option, as it tends to be gentler on sensitive skin.

Bromine is sold in granule form and dissolves into the water to keep it clean and sanitized. Since it has a lower pH than chlorine, bromine is more effective at keeping the water chemicals balanced.

It is important to note that you CAN NOT mix both chlorine and bromine into your hot tub at the same time. Doing so can create a very dangerous reaction. If you are planning to switch your sanitizing process, it is very important to drain your hot tub first and thoroughly clean the dispensers before adding your new sanitizer of choice.

Calcium

Calcium is a naturally-occurring mineral in water. The ideal calcium level is 150 ppm, but if that number jumps too high, the water will be too hard, and if it dips too low, the water will be too soft. Both scenarios lead to the suboptimal performance of your hot tub, so it is important to balance out the calcium levels to keep your spa working properly.

If your water is too hard, you can purchase a filter to help balance things out, and if the water is too soft, you can add a calcium hardness increaser to the water to bring the levels up to the 150 ppm range.

Biguanides

Biguanides are another alternative to chlorine, and are a popular choice for hot tub owners who would like to take a more natural approach to sanitize their spa.

Biguanides are gentler on skin and hair, and handle high temperatures better than chlorine and other sanitizers do, however they do come with a few downsides. Some of the most common complaints include:

  • Decreased water clarity
  • Foaming
  • Cannot break down organic compounds such as bodily fluids
  • Microorganism immunity
  • Higher maintenance costs

Clarifier

Hot tub clarifiers are used to:

  • Improve water clarity and remove cloudiness
  • Enhance filter performance
  • Balance pH

Clarifiers are a great short-term solution for when you are in a pinch and need to give your hot tub a quick boost. They work by drawing in and enlarging dirt and debris to make it easier for the filter to trap and remove the particles.

While there is no limit for how often you can use clarifiers, if you find that you have ongoing issues with clarify, filter performance, or pH, it is best to seek a more permanent solution.

Enzymes

Enzymes are protein molecules that act as a catalyst for other chemical reactions. They help to remove non-living organisms such as lotion, oil, cosmetics, hair products, from your hot tub to keep it clean and sanitary.

Filter cleaner

The filters in your hot tub work tirelessly to keep your spa free of dirt and debris. In turn, it is important to give them a little bit of TLC with a filter cleaner. This keeps them clear of particles to ensure that they can do their job properly and keep your hot tub clean.

Alkalinity Increaser or pH Decreaser

The pH of your hot tub is the measure of the alkalinity of the water. Having a high pH means that the water is very alkaline and requires some acid to balance things out. Two of the most common pH decreasers are muriatic acid and sodium bisulphate.

On the flip side, if the pH is too low, that means that the water is too acidic and will require an alkalinity increaser to maintain a healthy balance.

Shock

You may be wondering why you need to shock your hot tub if you already use chlorine or bromine. Shock is used on an as-needed basis to give your hot tub a nice big dose of chlorine (or a non-chlorine option) to help break down organic matter that can cause odours and murky water.

If you need any assistance selecting the right products for your spa, it is best to consult with an expert or hot tub retailer to ensure that your hot tub is getting the care that it needs!

Hot Tub Maintenance Routine: What to Do & How Often

Now that you have all the tools you need for your hot tub maintenance, it’s important to make note of what to do, and how often you need to do it! Depending on the task, some maintenance only needs to be done on an annual basis, while other tasks are required monthly, seasonally or weekly. Here is a quick breakdown of hot tub maintenance based on their frequency:

Annual Hot Tub Maintenance

  • Inspect your spa for any signs of leaks or damages
  • Have a professional service technician check out your hot tub to advise of any hidden or serious issues

Seasonal Hot Tub Maintenance

  • Drain your hot tub and give the interior a thorough scrub
  • Soak and clean the filters
  • Flush the lines to clean out any potential biofilm buildup

Monthly Hot Tub Maintenance

  • Clean the cover
  • Check all lines and jets for signs of damage or clogs
  • Give the filters a chemical bath
  • Clean the cabinet of your hot tub

Weekly Hot Tub Maintenance

  • Test the water chemistry no less than twice each week
  • Shock the water
  • Clean the surface of the hot tub
  • Be sure that the cover fits securely
  • Rinse filters

The Bottom Line of Hot Tub Maintenance

Once you’ve developed a routine, hot tub maintenance becomes a quick and simple task. With a few key products, a little bit of time, and a few tips and tricks, your spa will continue running beautifully for many years to come.

If you ever run into trouble or have a question about your hot tub maintenance, the best course of action is to have a trusted service technician on standby to provide support anytime you need them. Since dealing with chemicals regularly can be dangerous if done incorrectly, consider having a professional show you the ropes first, to ensure that your hot tub is a safe, relaxing oasis for you and your family!

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