How To Maintain A Hot Tub (The Complete Spa Maintenance Guide)

How To Maintain A Hot Tub (The Complete Spa Maintenance Guide)

The complete guide to hot tub maintenance. Learn the easy step-by-step guide on how to maintain your hot tub, ranging from filter and jets to heater and pumps. Are you a hot tub owner, and you’re only concerned about the things your hot tub can give you, such as relaxation, a warm bath, and so on? Well, that’s not fair because your relationship with your hot tub has to be of mutual benefit; your hot tub gives you relaxation, and you offer your hot tub proper care and maintenance so that it can serve you longer.

How do you maintain a hot tub? The complete maintenance of a hot tub requires you to:

  • Circulate the water 
  • Ensure the cover is secure and clean
  • Check the water temperature and adjust if necessary
  • Cover the tub when not in use
  • Clean the debris and particles
  • Check for damage to the hot tub and its cover
  • Check alkalinity of water
  • Rinse the cover
  • Remove the filters and rinse them
  • Shock the hot tub water and sanitize it
  • Check the pH and balance it
  • Ensure sanitizer level is okay
  • Clean above the waterline
  • Clean your filters thoroughly 
  • Rinse filters with chemicals
  • Troubleshoot hut tub jets if clogged
  • Check your jets
  • Get a professional to check your hot tub water
  • Repair your hot tub 
  • Get rid of bacteria by flushing the lines
  • Inspect the hot tub’s wiring and hardware
  • Thorough cleaning of the hot tub
  • Draining of the hot tub

Hot tub maintenance is not as high as you may think. All that is required to keep your hot tub running efficiently is just a basic knowledge of water chemistry, a simple cleaning routine, and having a supply of some chemicals and testing materials. But before we get into the hot tub maintenance proper, I would like to familiarize you with the various parts of the hot tub and how they function to keep your hot tub running efficiently.

Parts of a hot tub

  • The Filters – This part is one of the most common parts of a hot tub. It is the part that carries out the routine cleaning of the hot tub water. The filters are also there to ensure that sediments and rubles do not get into the hot tub water.
  • The Jets – This part is made up of 3 parts: the jet face insert, jet backs, and the combination jets. The jets’ overall task is to massage your body parts such as feet, knees, hip, hand, and shoulders. However, the three parts of the jets have their functions to perform. The jet face is responsible for massaging your face area. The jet back handles rubbing the back of the body (the upper back and lower back). The combination jets work on the hand, feet, hip, knees, and shoulders.
  • The heater – This part consists of parts that function to heat the water in your hot tub. It includes features such as the cover, split nuts, tailpieces, plugs, and grommets.
  • The Ozonator – This part helps minimize the number of viruses, chemicals, and bacteria that settle in your hot tub water. 
  • The Pillow – The hot tub pillows comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. It helps you adopt a comfortable position, especially when you are doing therapy and spa. It provides support for your back and neck. The pillow is usually made soft for this purpose.
  • The Plumbing – This part of the hot tub consists of pipes, connectors, and hoses, which flow the water from the pump to the back, and then the jets.
  • The Pump – In this part, water is pumped to the jets and back.
  • The Control Panel – This is the part that controls the other parts of the hot tub. In this part, the temperature of the water is regulated, the jets are controlled with the other components.
  • The Circuit Board – This is the part that where the electronic components are housed. This is a very vital part of the hot tub.
  • Electrical Parts – consists of the hardware components such as plugs and fuses, cords, and others. This is where the supply of electrical energy is facilitated.

Now that you know a thing or two about how the parts of a hot tub come together to make it work let’s get right down to the purpose of this article. Shall we?

First, we shall be looking at general tips that we can use to keep our hot tub clean.

How to maintain a hot tub and keep it clean

  • Change the hot tub water as instructed in your owner’s manual, or make a personal schedule for changing the water.
  • Avoid the habit of eating and drinking while in your hot tub.
  • Always ensure that the filter cartridges of your hot tub are cleaned once or twice a month.
  • Before soaking in your hot tub, make sure you go into the tub wearing a newly washed swimming suit.
  • Always keep residues of detergent or cleaning agents away from your hot tub.

As I earlier mentioned at the beginning of this article, keeping your hot tub clean and functioning correctly entails the following three itemized factors. Endeavor always to have them in mind:

  1. Ensuring a simple cleaning routine
  2. Making sure the water circulation in the tub is okay
  3. Balancing the Water Chemistry

Ensuring a simple cleaning routine

Whether your hot tub is indoors or outdoors should be irrelevant in affecting your decision to keep your hot tub clean. If you keep your hot tub out, make sure to check it from time to time because things like materials scattered by the wind and even some debris can get into your hot tub to get it dirty.

Always endeavor to keep the waterline and seat of your hot tub clean and clear of particles. You can also use a cleaning agent like white vinegar to clean your hot tub. Follow the procedure below to use white vinegar for cleaning your hot tub.

Using white vinegar to clean hot tub

You can use just water and vinegar to clean your hot tub. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean a hot tub. You run the risk of damaging the surface of your hot tub over time with the regular cleaning chemicals; vinegar keeps your hot tub’s surface crystal clear. Follow the guide below to use white vinegar to clean your hot tub.

  • Fill the hot tub with water
  • Drain the water out of the tub
  • Get about two jugs of white vinegar, depending on the size of the tub
  • You have to dilute a jug of the vinegar with distilled water
  • Pour a jug of the white distilled vinegar into the hot tub water 
  • Let the vinegar soak into the water and form a solution for about an hour or two
  • Get a sponge or cloth, pour a portion of the undiluted vinegar on it, and use it to clean your hot tub.
  • Allow it for some time, and then rinse with warm water.

Cleaning your hot tub filters

how to clean a hot tub filter

As long as your hot tub keeps running, its filters are also working. If you want your hot tub to run correctly, then you must never neglect cleaning your hot tub filters. You can make use of a garden hose, filter cleaners, towels, and buckets to clean your hot tub filters. Here are three methods you can use in cleaning your hot tub filters:

  • By Soaking – In the process of draining and refilling your hot tub, you can get the filters out and soak them in chemical cleaning agents. This will help get rid of particles from your hot tub filters. Rinse the filters properly and put them back.
  • By Spraying – You can make it a habit to spray your hot tub filters at an interval of a week or two and then rinsing them afterward.
  • By Rinsing – Try as often as possible to rinse your hot tub filters with either a garden hose or warm water, especially if you use your hot tub often.

At some point, you may discover that your filters are at the point where not even soaking them in chemicals can clean them properly. If this happens, then it is time to replace them.

Making sure the water circulation in your hot tub is okay.

Circulating the water in your hot tub

The purpose of water circulation in your Hot Tub is to keep the water moving. It doesn’t matter whether the hot tub is in use or not. Just ensure to keep the water moving. It is essential because it prevents bacteria and some unwanted particles from settling into the hot tub’s filtration system. 

If your tub is fitted with an automated filtration system, all you need to do is to turn on the timer for at least 15 minutes or longer and let it run once a day or twice. This will make all the water in the tub move through the filters. But suppose your tub doesn’t have an automated filtration system. In that case, you can do it manually by turning it on and leaving it for the same duration.

Checking the water temperature

Choosing the right temperature for your hot tub depends not just on personal preference but safety and money too. Keeping tabs on your hot tub water temperature will help save you from spending some extra bucks for repairs. I mean, it would be annoying to find yourself spending some bucks you didn’t intend to because of a problem you could have easily avoided, right?

Here’s what you need to know about checking your hot tub temperature.

A new hot tub usually comes with a limiter to prevent the hot tub’s temperature from exceeding the recommended 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius. Even though your hot tub likely has a built-in temperature limiter, keep a separate thermometer handy. You’ll be able to quickly confirm your hot tub’s temperature, and spot any potential hardware problems such as overheating or heating failure

How to flush, drain and refill your hot tub

Why do you think it is essential to drain the water out of your hot tub and refill it? Typically, when you look at your hot tub water, the water looks good and clean to the naked eyes. But over time, the water begins to deteriorate and becomes hard to balance. So, we need to refresh the water in our hot tub. It is advisable to do this every three to four months. The first phase of the process is to flush your hot tub.

Flushing your hot tub

Ensure that you remove any floating object from the hot tub water. Proceed to the filter compartment of your hot tub and take out the filters. Make sure you remove any silver cartridges or floating dispensers that might be in the filter too. You need to have a product like a clean start to make this process work for you. You can check out the Amazon store for this product. Follow this procedure to flush your hot tub:

  • First, turn on the jets to full, and pour the clean start into the filter compartment.
  • The biofilms formed from oil residues will become visible around the hot tub’s inner edges.
  • Leave the water to run in the hot tub for about 15 to 30 minutes.

Draining your hot tub

After you must have let the water run in the hot tub for some time, you need to get a product called a submersible pump. The Submersible pump is a product that is used to drain water. It is a 400 watts pump. Follow this procedure to drain the water out of your hot tub:

  • Turn off the hot tub at the isolation switch, and the water will stop running in the tub.
  • Dip the submersible pump into the water from its head and leave it in the water for the hot tub to start draining.
  • While the hot tub is draining, you can start wiping down the residues formed from the flush with a cloth. You can either use the wastewater from the flush or use a surface cleaner product.
  • Continue cleaning the tub until the water is completely drained.

Refilling your hot tub

The aim of refilling your hot tub is to ensure your hot tub stays clean with fresh water always. After draining the hot tub, and rinsing the filters, then you’re ready to refill your hot tub. Follow this procedure to refill your tub:

  • Put in the hose with fresh water running through it, through the filter compartment of your hot tub, to prevent airlocks.
  • Wait for the tub to get filled with water.
  • Once your hot tub is full, you’ll find that the water level is above the top jets and just below the pillow.
  • Remove the hose from the filter compartment, and replace the silver iron in the filters to keep the filters nice and clean.
  • Put the filters back into the filter compartment.

Balancing the Water Chemistry of your Tub

Think of your hot tub as a mini swimming pool. Yeah, that’s right! So, just the way you keep an eye on your swimming pool water, you need to apply a similar treatment to your hot tub, especially when it comes to pH and alkalinity. Balancing the water chemistry of your tub involves the use of chemicals and other kits. Here are the kits and chemicals you need to have around for balancing your hot tub water:

  • Test Strips – These strips are usually kept in a small container. They have pads with indicators in them. You use them by dipping them directly into your hot tub water, and then waiting for the strips to change colors.
  • Liquid Test Kits – This contains a liquid in a dropper bottle. The liquid is usually a reagent that is dropped into the water sample taken from your hot tub water. The liquid is used for detecting components.
  • Sanitizers – This is used for killing bacteria and other things that can contaminate your hot tub water easily. You can use either Chlorine or Bromine for this purpose.
  • pH Increaser – This is used to increase the pH level of the water.
  • pH Reducer  – This is used for reducing the pH level of the water.
  • Baking Soda – It is used to raise the alkalinity level and the pH level. The chemical name is called Sodium Bicarbonate. 
  • Sodium Bisulfate – this is used to lower the total alkalinity. It is sometimes called dry acid.
  • Shocking Agent – Agents such as non-chlorine and Di-chlor can be used to boost the sanitizers by adding oxygen( oxidation process)

Balancing your hot tub water

To balance your hot tub water, you must fill up the hot tub first (refer to your owner’s manual). Balancing the water involves adding chemicals, and it is crucial to note that the amount of chemicals to add to the water can vary; depending on the capacity and size of your tub and how much chemical is contained in the chemical product you intend to use. You should also know the capacity of water your hot tub can hold. The following is the ideal chemical level for hot tub water balancing:

  • PH: 7.4 – 7.6
  • Total Alkalinity: 125 – 150 ppm
  • Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 ppm
  • Chlorine: 1.5 – 3.0 ppm
  • Bromine: 3.0 – 5.0 ppm

When you want to balance your water, the first thing you are required to adjust is alkalinity.  Alkalinity and pH level work together in a way. This is because, balancing the alkalinity first, may be able to bring the pH in line. Getting a balance between your water’s alkalinity level and pH is essential because, if it’s not balanced, the sanitizer may be rendered ineffective.

Balancing Total Alkalinity (125 – 150 ppm)

Total alkalinity is the ability of the water to neutralize acid, it reduces the acidity in the hot tub water. Proper alkalinity prevents the water pH from fluctuating. If it is too high, it renders chlorine ineffective, and also makes cloudy water form up in your tub. You may find this irritating to your eyes. Follow this procedure to balance the alkalinity of your hot tub:

  • The first thing to do is make use of the test strips. When you are retrieving a strip, ensure that the opening of the container is facing down, to avoid contaminating the other strips in the container. You risk ruining the test when your hand touches the other strips.
  • Carefully dip the strip into the hot tub water, with just a quick movement of your hand; to avoiding getting it too wet. Remove the strip from the water, and check the back of the strip to compare the color. Whatever color you get from this test determines what you will do next.
  • If the alkalinity level is low, and you want to raise it; add baking soda to the water. Here is the complete guide on how to increase the alkalinity of your hot tub. If the alkalinity level is high, and you want to reduce it; add sodium bisulfate. Click here for the complete step-by-step guide.

Balancing pH level (7.4 – 7.6)

pH level is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. The pH Scale goes from 0 to 14, and at 7, the reading is said to be neutral. The lower the pH, the more acidic the water, and the higher the pH, the more basic the water. Your water needs balancing because acidic water can make your eyes and skin itch. When balancing the water pH, aim between 7.4 to 7.6. It is essential to balance the pH level before adding sanitizers. Follow this guide:

  • After determining what to do next with the test strip, careful again not to let the strip come in contact with the other strips.
  • Dip the strip in the water, and take it out. Check the back of the strip to find out how high or low the pH level is; based on the color you see.
  • If the pH level is too low, you can increase it by using the pH increaser from your test kit. If the level is too high, use the pH decreaser from your kit to correct it.
  • Add the appropriate amount of chemicals after balancing the pH level, and follow the instruction at the back of the strip bottle. Keep in mind that if you do not balance your pH, your sanitizers can be rendered ineffective. So, it is important to keep testing until you get it right.

Sanitizers Level (1.5 – 3.0 ppm)

Your hot tub’s warm water is a potential breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and other elements that can cause diseases. You need to sanitize and disinfect your hot tub’s water to get rid of these unwanted germs. Sanitizing your water will give it that fresh smell, and make it clean for use. Follow this guide:

  • If you are at this step, it means you ticked the correct boxes in balancing the water pH.
  • Use the strip once again; dip it into the water to determine the alkalinity and pH levels of your water.
  • Chlorine and Bromine are chemical sanitizers. Add anyone you prefer between the two, and watch your water to see the reaction.
  • Always remember to spread your chemicals across the water surface with all the therapy pumps in your hot tub turned on.
  • Wait for about 30 – 60 minutes before retesting 
  • Continue testing until the alkalinity and pH levels are within the recommended ranges.

Using bromine to sanitize hot tub water

Whether you want to use chlorine or bromine to sanitize is a thing of preference. Some people prefer using bromine to sanitize because it is believed that; unlike chlorine, bromine can withstand heat when subjected to heat. Here is what you need to know. To use bromine, follow this guide:

  • Take off your hot tub cover
  • Put off the jets but let the hot tub motor continue running to make the water move gently.
  • Run the usual test and adjust the pH level of the water.
  • Add the recommended amount of shock product by slowly pouring it in.
  • Let the motor continue running and then test your chlorine level after some hours. Make sure to attain the recommended chlorine level.

Extremely high or low test results can take a while to get properly adjusted. So, keep working at it until your hot tub reaches the proper levels.

Shocking your hot tub

Shocking the water in your hot tub should form a part of your weekly hot tub routine. It removes the residues that leave our bodies(sweat, oil, and urine) while in the water. It also gets rid of bacteria from the water. Shocking your hot tub water can also suffice when your sanitizer level is unusually high. Sometimes your water can become impervious to the chlorine effect. If this happens, you can either drain your hot tub or shock the water. 

The only way to make sure your hot tub water is completely sanitary is to regularly add shock. Knowing which type of shock to use, and how to add it will help keep your hot tub clean and clear. Shocking hot tub performs three functions which are:

  • Removal of organic contaminants – Things like shampoo, make-up, and even dead skin cells can build up in your hot tub over time, and this can make your hot tub water cloudy. 
  • The killing of bacteria – Hot tubs can become incubators for bacteria that are harmful. Although keeping your hot tub water and sanitizer levels balanced can help, adding shock will help kill anything that your sanitizer couldn’t.
  • Removal of chloramines and Bromamines – Sometimes, you will notice that chlorine smells in hot tubs. While Chlorine is getting rid of bacteria and contaminants, it produces waste products called chloramines which causes that smell. Hot tub shock helps eradicate chloramines and brings your sanitizer levels up. Using bromine is also similar.

How to Shock your Hot tub

Shocking your water can bring harm to your skin, and bleach your cloth. So, you’ve got to be careful when doing this. Follow this guide:

  • Ensure that you are wearing protective gloves and something to protect your eyes. If you must wear a cloth, it should be a condemned one.
  • Depending on the size of your pool, determine the amount of shock product that would suffice.
  • Cautiously prepare the chemical you prefer to use.
  • Pour the shock and prepared chemical into the pool, and make sure to disperse the chemicals evenly.
  • Leave the chemicals in your hot tub water to do their work.
  • Check your pool chemistry and balance any parameters that need balance.
  • Run your pool filtration system for about 24 hours, to deal effectively with the germs.

Calcium Hardness (175 – 250 ppm)

This is the measure of how hard the water in your hot tub is. If you live somewhere with hard water, you know how you can get calcium deposits on your faucets and showerheads, right? Well, you want the water in your hot tub to be a little bit on the harder side. If it’s too soft,  it can eat away your hot tub shell, pipes, and other parts; slowly breaking them down over time.

To keep the calcium hardness of your hot tub water steady, you can add calcium hardness increaser.

Planning Your Hot tub Maintenance Schedule

If you want to get the best out of your hot tub so it can serve you for long, you must never neglect the importance of planning a maintenance schedule.

The schedule dictates how often in a particular period of a given time, a hot tub owner takes care of the hot tub. It could be how often in a day, week, month, or year.

Here is a list of recommended hot tub tasks that you can adopt in maintaining your hot tub:

Daily Tasks
  • Circulate the water 
  • Ensure the cover is secure and clean
  • Check the water temperature and adjust if necessary
  • Cover the tub when not in use
  • Clean the debris and particles.
  • Check for damage to the hot tub and its cover
Weekly Tasks
Monthly Tasks
  • Clean your filters thoroughly 
  • Rinse filters with chemicals
  • Troubleshoot hut tub jets if clogged
  • Check your jets
  • Get a professional to check your hot tub water
Annual Tasks
  • Repair your Hot tub 
  • Get rid of bacteria by flushing the lines 
  • Inspect the tub’s wiring and hardware
  • Thorough cleaning of the hot tub
  • Draining of the hot tub

Always keep in mind that if you don’t give your hot tub the adequate care it needs, you will find yourself always having to splash some bucks. Taking care of your hot tub should be a vital aspect of what you do; if you own one. A hot tub is a big investment. So, when yours become faulty, it is usually more costly to repair than to replace. Therefore, it is advisable to replace the faulty parts to save cost.

Once you understand how to manage the basic concepts of hot tub maintenance, you’ll be able to keep your hot tub clean and clear without a ton of troubleshooting. Your owner’s manual will suffice when it comes to taking care of your hot tub, and also getting to know the specifications of your hot tub(water capacity, depth, width).

So, Avoid the trouble of having to solve a problem that can be easily avoided today, and start paying attention to your hot tub today.

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