General Tips for Hot Tub Maintenance

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With most of us spending more time at home over the past year, maybe you’ve been considering adding a hot tub, Coleman SaluSpa, or Jacuzzi to your back yard.

While some people refer to all hot tubs as jacuzzis, this is actually a brand name rather than a catch-all term. Jacuzzi is a company that’s been making hot tubs since the 1960s. In 1968, Jacuzzi invented the first hydrotherapy jet, and the brand continues to make outstanding hot tubs, leading to the name being so widely used.

Whether you opt for a Jacuzzi, a Coleman tub, or a traditional inflatable hot tub, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with hot tub maintenance to ensure you spa stays safe and healthy for all bathers.

I. 3 Routes to Maintaining Your Hot Tub Efficiently

  1. Pay close attention to the circulation in your hot tub
  2. Implement a cleaning schedule
  3. Ensure the water chemistry is balanced

1) Pay close attention to the circulation in your hot tub

You need to keep the water in your hot tub circulating to clear it of contaminants. This occurs when the water passes through the cartridge filter on your spa.

Some spas have an automatic schedule for circulation that runs once or twice a day. Typically, these cycles will filter water for 15 minutes or so. This is time enough for the water to make its way through all the filters onboard.

If your hot tub is not equipped with an automatic filter cycle, manually flick it on for at least 15 minutes twice a day to keep the water fresh.

For anyone still uncertain the water is full refreshed, try adding some tennis balls to your tub once you’ve finished up. Hot water will extract soap, oils, and lotions from your clothes and body. Sometimes, the filters are unable to remove all these contaminants. The fibers on a tennis ball, though, will soak them up and keep your water spotless.

2) Implement a cleaning schedule

Cleaning your hot tub is one of the most crucial components of proper hot tub maintenance.

Both indoor and outdoor tubs will develop scum, but outdoor hot tubs run the additional risk of attracting debris like leaves or trash.

Use a sponge and some white vinegar on the shell of your hot tub. You can also use this solution to clean the jets. Scrub the scum line at the edge of the water, too.

Clean the inside of the tub frequently, and wipe the shell down as well.

Cleaning the cover of your hot tub using one part bleach to ten parts water should effectively stave off mildew.

Aside from cleaning your hot tub weekly, you should also aim to deep clean your tub three or four times a year. Consider deep cleaning more often if you use your hot tub often, or you regularly have lots of bathers using the spa.

When it comes to cleaning the hardworking filters in your hot tub, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Rinse the filters
  • Spray the filters
  • Soak the filters

Rinse the filters

Use warm water or your regular garden hose to rinse the filters as often as possible.

Spray the filters

Spray the hot tub filters weekly using a dedicated hot tub filter cleaner. Rinse them thoroughly afterwards.

Soak the filters

Every time you drain then refill your spa, you should soak the filters in a chemical cleaner. This will firstly loosen any stubborn particles, and it will also prolong the lifespan of your filters and your hot tub. Rinse them thoroughly after cleaning.

If your filters are getting to the point where even a chemical soak doesn’t get them clean, it’s time for filter replacement.

3) Ensure the water chemistry is balanced

Balancing the water chemistry in your hot tub is much like balancing your pool water chemistry. The scaled-down size makes things a little trickier, though.

Firstly, you’ll need to establish a baseline reading to determine alkalinity and pH levels.

Here are the chemicals you’ll need:

  • pH increaser
  • pH decreaser
  • alkalinity increaser
  • Sanitizer
  • Shock
  • Test strips or liquid test kit
  • Defoamer

When you’re looking to adjust the pH in your hot tub water, shoot for a level between 7.4 and 7.6 on the pH scale. If you obtain values below this range, the water is too acidic and could corrode your hardware and irritate your eyes and skin. If you obtain values above this range, the water is too basic, impairing the effectiveness of your sanitizer and making the water cloudy.

With alkalinity, you should aim for 100 ppm to 150 ppm (parts per million). When alkalinity is too high, scaling and cloudiness can occur. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda for every 100 gallons of water in your hot tub to address the issue of alkalinity.

Adding sanitizer is straightforward. Always follow the directions on the package closely, and test the water again once it’s sanitized.

If you install a saltwater system in your hot tub, you can use salt instead of chlorine. Remember that the hot tub system will turn this into chlorine anyway, so you’ll still be adding this chemical to your water, albeit in a different form.

When your pool has been used heavily or unused for a spell, you should consider shocking the hot tub to ensure it’s fully sanitized. Using shock regularly will keep the water safe and clean.

Make shocking a regular part of your scheduled hot tub maintenance to keep your water safe and clean.

You should test the water in the hot tub weekly, using a liquid test kit or strips. You should then adjust the water chemistry as required.

If you take care of these three elements of hot tub maintenance, you’ll build a firm foundation for a lengthy lifespan and plenty of joy when you’re relaxing after work.


II. Suggested Hot Tub Maintenance Schedule

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Now you know what you need to do in order to keep your hot tub running smoothly, we’ll break this down into more manageable chunks for you.

  • Daily maintenance
  • Three times weekly maintenance
  • Weekly maintenance
  • Monthly maintenance
  • Quarterly maintenance
  • Annual maintenance

Daily maintenance

Compile the following daily hot tub maintenance checklist and take care of these areas:

  • Make sure the cover is clean and secure
  • Check the temperature of the water, making adjustments as required. Any dramatic changes in temperature can indicate a serious system failure
  • Check for any damage

Three times weekly maintenance

Take care of the following three times each week:

  • Check the alkalinity levels of the water
  • Check the hot tub sanitizer levels
  • Clean all above the waterline, and wipe away any debris that’s accumulated

Weekly maintenance

Look to combine as many of the following weekly tasks as possible so you can streamline hot tob maintenance and save yourself time:

  • Test pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels
  • Sanitize the water
  • Shock the water
  • Rinse the hot tub filter to ward off bacteria and algae
  • Wipe the spa cover inside and out

Monthly maintenance

Once a month, it’s time to start cleaning your spa a bit more thoroughly. The object here is to target the grit and debris that accumulates in your hot tub’s jets and filters.

Monthly maintenance also gives you the opportunity to get more specific with water testing.

  • Rinse your hot tub filter using a chemical rinse. Using the solution will help to clear more dirt and debris than you could achieve using water alone
  • Inspect the jets closely. Have they become clogged or frozen? If so, you may need to call in a contractor
  • Get a professional to check your spa water. They will have access to more precise equipment, and they should also be capable of troubleshooting any water chemistry issues before they become more serious

Quarterly maintenance

Every three or four months, you should explore your hot tub more thoroughly.

  • Empty the hot tub and clean it thoroughly. Conduct an inspection to make sure that everything is working properly
  • Block off a day to drain and refill your hot tub
  • Clean the cabinet of the hot tub thoroughly. You’ve spent all this money on a great investment, so make sure you look after it. This also gives you the chance to attend to any damage, either cosmetic or structural, before it develops into a more severe problem
  • Soak your hot tub filter using a chemical soak. This is a supercharged version of a chemical rinse that will deep clean the filter and remove all contaminants efficiently
  • Drain, clean, and repair your tub. The ideal time to conduct repairs is when you’re draining the spa. Draining is a great way to counter the buildup of chemicals and gunk in the tub that your regular hot tub maintenance hasn’t cleared. By working on the tub while it’s empty, you can give yourself a clearer run

Annual maintenance

Some of the above tasks could be rolled out annually, but we’ve suggested that you take care of them quarterly as this should minimize the amount of work you need to do over time. Little and often is a highly effective strategy where hot tub maintenance is concerned.

You should make sure you attend to all of the following elements of maintenance on an annual basis. The more organized you become and the more effectively you combine and coordinate tasks, the more seamless your spa maintenance will be.

Each year, you should:

  • Flush the lines. This serves to remove biofilm and bacteria. You should consider using line flush whenever you drain and refill your spa
  • Conduct a close inspection of the wiring and the hardware in your hot tub. Check closely for any damage caused, whether by pests, chemical imbalance, or general wear-and-tear
  • Inspect the hot tub cover. Look out for any moisture that’s worked its way in. Check also for mold and mildew, both of which can easily spoil your spa
  • Call in a hot tub professional for an annual overhaul and tune-up. They can double-check all the wiring and hardware so you have no niggling safety concerns
  • Make any tweaks to your maintenance calendar required based on what you have learned over the past year

III. General Safety Tips for Hot Tub Maintenance

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To wrap up today’s comprehensive guide to hot tub maintenance, keep the following handy hints in mind:

  • Never allow the temperature of the water in your hot tub to go above 104F. This should be even lower if you plan to let kids use the hot tub at any stage
  • Never leave any kids of non-swimmers unattended in your spa
  • Do not exceed the maximum suggested capacity for your spa and never cram in too many people
  • Avoid using any electrical appliances in or near your hot tub
  • Keep glass away from the spa
  • Steer clear of alcoholic drinks in the spa
  • Speak with your healthcare provider before using a spa if you have high blood pressure or any cardiovascular issues. The same applies if you are pregnant
  • Always wear gloves when you’re cleaning your hot tub or changing the filter cartridges

IV. Conclusion

By taking care of all the elements we outline above, you’ll keep the water in your hot tub safe and healthy, and you’ll also extend its lifespan.

Fortunately, once you strip away the science and start blocking tasks together, you’ll see that the best hot tub doesn’t demand too much tasky maintenance. Take care of everything on our list little and often and you’ll never feel like maintaining your spa is too much effort.

Here at Wild River Country, we’ll starting our next period of expansion, so watch this space for more great guides to all the best outdoor gear. Don’t panic, though, we’ll still be continuing with all our pool guides, too, so pop back soon and don’t miss out Be sure to bookmark our blog before you go.

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