Nothing could be better than the idea of soaking your tired muscles in a soothing hot tub after a long tiring day. Hot tubs can help you soothe your pains and aches, reduce stress, and improve sleep.
That being said, existing and potential users have a lot of questions about hot tub maintenance. Hot tub maintenance costs and time are fairly low, and you can do it yourself as well. It’s important to maintain hot tubs for the life of your equipment and spa, water clarity, and to ensure they are safe to use.
You need to adhere to a strict spa maintenance schedule to maintain a tub. This will dramatically reduce the risk of rashes and other bacterial or chemically caused health problems.
Here is a beginner’s guide to spa maintenance and hot tub maintenance.
Hot Tub Maintenance Basics
Whether you’re a spa owner or you’re a regular hot tub owner, you need to take proper care of your hot tub, and for that, you have to know the basics of hot tub care. Maintaining a hot tub’s cleanliness and keeping it free of bacteria and other contaminants is important.
Spa covers have to go through a lot of moisture and heat, which isn’t very good for the vinyl. To extend the life of your spa cover, remove it once a week to air it out. You can’t use a garden hose (spoiler: you might be able to) to clean your hot tub cover. Clean and rejuvenate the vinyl on your hot tub cover with a marine vinyl cleaner or conditioner or a 303 aerospace protectant.
Following the instructions here will help you keep your hot tub healthy and ready to use whenever you like.
Quick Start Tips to Hot Tub Maintenance
Here are the steps on how to clean a hot tub that you need to follow:
Balance Your Hot Tub Water Chemistry
You need to test your hot tub’s water to determine the pH level and water quality factors. Use the results to make required small adjustments to pH, calcium hardness, and sanitizer levels regularly. You can use test strips to measure the pH levels.
Test the spa water about two to four times a week. You need to keep spa water clean by keeping the water balanced within acceptable ranges. You should maintain chemical levels by adding chemicals in proper quantities.
• Chlorine should be 1.0- 3.0 ppm
• Bromine should be 2.0- 4.0 ppm
• pH should be 7.4- 7.6 ppm
• Total alkalinity should be 80- 120 ppm
• Calcium hardness should be 150- 250 ppm
Maintaining a diary of your test results and making notes on adjustments is a smart move. In many cases, you’ll notice patterns in water chemistry, especially with sanitizer and pH levels. Tap water serves as a good spa water source in many areas. But in some areas, you might run into water quality issues.
Hard or soft water, pH imbalance, high alkalinity, chloramines, minerals, or metals can negatively impact your water chemistry. Utilize a test kit to test your hot tub water after a drain and refill or directly from the source. You will be able to gauge the sustainability of the tap water in your spa. You can also use a spa pre-filter to remove odors, metals, and fine silt from your hot tub.
Stick to a Cleaning Schedule
Consistency is key, even in hot tub care. A regular spa hot tub maintenance schedule is important to maintain a spa hot tub, its equipment and safeguard your health. At the same time, it maintains your hot tub and prevents murky hot tub water, enhancing your experience and making it more fulfilling.
Spa maintenance is much less stressful and easier to follow when you break it into manageable steps. For improved productivity, project planners, educators, and business people worldwide use this well-known technique called ‘chunking.’ It’s equally effective for planning a personal project like a year’s worth of hot tub maintenance. No, you won’t get overwhelmed.
The good news is that even though every hot tub is different, all of them benefit from consistent and simple maintenance, and it’s easier to make a schedule than you think. Before you make a schedule, decide how you will keep track of it. You can use one of the following methods to do it.
Use an App
This high-tech route will let you keep your hot tub maintenance plan on your tablet, phone, or computer. It will also resourcefully ping you when you have to attend to the task. You can set reminders to repeat at regular intervals you select. For example, you can set your chosen application to send you one daily reminder for basic tasks.
For a monthly task, like using a calcium hardness increase or a pH decreaser, adding spa chemicals to your hot tub, or filter a chemical rinse, you can set reminders for a week before. You can also set it for the day the task is due or the day before. This is how you can stay consistently updated and don’t miss any essential tasks.
Use a Calendar
If you go the paper way, you should get a cheap calendar to keep by the door leading to your hot tub area. If you have an indoor hot tub, then keep it by the hot tub itself. Pick a calendar that has large daily squares with room for notes that you can decipher at a glance.
You can mark out a whole year’s worth of things you need to do in one sitting with a visible and handy reminder of what and when all your tasks should be conducted. Place a pen or marker near the calendar to cross off the tasks once you finish them or add notes if something out of the blue comes up.
Use a Dry Erase Board
These boards aren’t just for office use. You can keep a dry erase board by your hot tub with a list of daily tasks. You can put in a reminder whenever unpredictable tasks come up. Unlike paper, you won’t ruin it if you accidentally spill something or if it falls in the hot tub. Though try not to let any of the pens or markers fall into the hot water, you definitely don’t want dyed water.
Ensure Proper Water Circulation
Proper water circulation helps keep it free of contaminants by draining it through your hot tub’s filter cartridge. Depending on the model, your spa might have an automatic circulation schedule that makes sure it runs once or twice every day.
These cycles circulate water for around 15 to 20 minutes or longer to ensure that all the water in your tub passes through filters. If your tub doesn’t have an automated cycle, you can turn it on for 15 to 20 minutes about once or twice a day to keep your water refreshed.
Don’t hesitate before putting those filters to work. The more you use your hot tub, the cleaner it will remain.
Concentrate on the hot tub water level to ensure that the water is high enough for proper filtration, jet performance, and ability to heat the water. This is usually a few inches above the spa filter. Remember that the water level will rise when people enter the hot tub; hence, you don’t need to fill it too high and risk overflow. Drain or add water whenever required, and you’ll be fine.
Even though it’s a weekly task, this one is fairly simple. If you have an outdoor hot tub, you will have to skim the water to rid the surface of any debris. Besides this, regardless of where your hot tube is, indoor or outdoor, you’ll have to clean the spa shell, jets, and waterline once a week using a non-abrasive sponge and cleaner. BioGuard Off wall surface cleaner is good as it’s safe to use on hot tub surfaces.
While a weekly clean-up is one of the main components of hot tub maintenance, you should also do a complete drain and refill every three to four months, according to your usage. When it’s empty, it would be a good idea to do a thorough cleaning of the entire hot tub.
Your hot tub filter works hard by circulating the water and keeping it free of harmful contaminants. You can aid them by keeping them clean as well. Every week, when you’re cleaning the surface of the hot tub, you can find and remove the filter or filters. Clean them properly with regular water.
You can use a cartridge filter cleaning nozzle to attach a garden hose (it turns out you can use one with the right equipment) to wash between the filter pleats. Place the filter(s) back in the hot tub when you’re done. You can find these nozzles at any Zagers.
You should deep clean your filter by soaking it in a degreasing agent on the same day you drain and refill your hot tub. The degreasing agent will help rid your hot tubs of body oils, residue, and debris. You can use BioGuard Kleen for this.
As an element of hot tub maintenance, you can completely replace hot tub filters each year or two. You can also have an extra set in handy so that you can rotate the filters. Not only will they last longer with this technique, but they also allow you to enjoy your hot tub while one of the pairs is cleaned.
Test Water Regularly
You should test your hot tub water every week with a liquid test kit or test strips. Afterward, adjust the chemistry of your water as needed. To strengthen your spa care regime, follow a consistent hot tub maintenance schedule. Here are some suggestions.
Schedules You Can Follow
Daily Hot Tub Care
• Add a registered sanitizer
• Check and maintain levels of sanitizer even when the spa isn’t used
• Check the water temperature to make sure there isn’t a problem with the system
Weekly Hot Tub Maintenance
• Test alkalinity, sanitizer, pH levels
• Shock the water
• Add stain and scale control
• Adjust the alkalinity and water pH as required
• Clean out the debris above the water line to decrease the number of contaminants
• Wash the filters if required
• Clean the spa’s shell
• Clean down both sides of the spa cover to avoid mold and mildew
Monthly Hot Tub Water Care
• Clean filter
• Check if jets work properly
Quarterly Hot Tub Maintenance
• Wipe the pipes
• Drain and clean the hot tub
• Uninstall and re-install a clean or new filter
• Add chemicals and test levels
• Clean the exterior walls of your hot tub
Hot Tub Maintenance FAQ
It’s common to have a few questions that pop up in your head when you think about hot tub maintenance. Here are some of the most common questions users have.
How Do You Maintain a Hot Tub?
There are many steps you need to balance hot tub water to the right pH, calcium hardness, total alkalinity, and sanitizer levels.
Water Treatment and Conditioner
After you clean the spa filter and refill the hot tub, you can heat it to your desired temperature. For easy hot tub maintenance and an enjoyable hot tub experience, you should add a water treatment like Spa Marvel Water Treatment And Conditioner. You can use one bottle for up to 500 gallons of water.
Total Alkalinity, pH, and Hardness
Check the total alkalinity of the water and adjust depending on that. Test the pH and see if you need to adjust pH levels. Retest them and ensure they’re in acceptable ranges.
Measure the hardness of the water and if it’s too low, use a calcium hardness increaser. If it’s high, drain six to 12 inches of water capacity to replace it with fresh water. After this, you must wait for 2 to 3 days and then retest the hardness.
Protect From Impurities
To protect hot tubs from metal and mineral impurities naturally occurring in water, use a stain and scale control product. Look for one that’s formulated for hot tubs only and follow the recommended instructions.
However, unlike other household products used to clean water, if you use Spa Marvel Water Treatment and conditioner to clean your hot tub, a stain and scale control product won’t be necessary.
Sanitize With Chlorine or Bromine
Measure the level of chlorine and bromine in the hot tub water. After this, you can add chlorine and bromine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also shock the hot tub water once every week.
Shock the Water
Remove the hot tub cover fully and adjust the pH and total alkalinity if necessary and according to requirements. To prepare for shocking the tub water, switch on the hot tub for the correct distribution of the shock. Also, switch off any aerators or air jets so that the chemicals can do their job properly.
Apply the appropriate amount of shock and let the lid stay open for 20 minutes after you shock the water. Please don’t use the spa until the sanitizer levels have dropped down to their normal advised ranges. In a lot of cases, the recommended bromine and chlorine levels are 3 – 5 ppm.
As soon as the sanitizer readings are in range, ensure that the total alkalinity and pH readings are acceptable and adjust whenever necessary.
Non-Traditional Hot Tub Water Mechanisms
There are multiple non-traditional spa water treatment mechanisms you can find in the market. They reduce the use of traditional, unhealthy hot tub chemicals, which are hard on the equipment.
These non-conventional spa maintenance systems include ionizers, ultraviolent light systems, enzymes, and ozonators. Such hot tub maintenance systems can dramatically reduce the frequency and amount of adding harsh chemicals. They’re great for convenient hot tub maintenance.
Is a Hot Tub High Maintenance?
Not really. You just require a basic understanding of water balance and a schedule. The overall hot tub maintenance cost and time are relatively low. If you want, you can always get hot tub plumbing from companies that offer the service.
You can do it by yourself as well with some chemicals and testing supplies. This will cost you about $20 per month. You can also watch videos online to see a virtual demonstration of hot tub care.
What Do You Put In a Hot Tub After Every Use?
Add a pinch of chlorine every time you get out of your hot tub to clean it. This will make it ready for use the next time you want to dive in.
You can use chlorine tablets to add chlorine to a floating dispenser. The advantage of using these is that chlorine gets dispensed constantly. However, it will give you less control than using chlorine granules.
You can begin by adding three or four tablets and then adjusting the dispenser flow according to your needs.
Should I Put Chlorine in My Hot Tub Every Day?
You don’t need to add chlorine to your hot tub every day. According to the calendar recommended, you should check the alkalinity and pH levels weekly and adjust accordingly. You can also sprinkle some chlorine after every use to keep it ready for your next use.
pH values below 7.4 to 7.6 will be too acidic, and it might eat away at your hardware. It’s most likely to irritate your eyes and skin as well. At the same time, values above this range will be too basic, and the water will be prone to cloudiness.
Concluding on Hot Tub Maintenance
Hot tub maintenance won’t seem like a big deal to you once you follow the recommended instructions. It’ll be like any other routine chore that you can carry out without getting bored or exhausted. Not to mention your hot tub experience will be enhanced many times around.
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.