What Does Hot Tub Maintenance Really Look Like?
Are maintenance concerns keeping you from investing in a hot tub? Many people hesitate to buy a spa because they worry that maintaining it will be too difficult and time consuming. In reality, keeping your hot tub running smoothly is easy when you follow a simple maintenance schedule. Good hot tub maintenance means taking care of the spa itself as well as the water in it. Here is a simple schedule and answers to a couple of frequently asked questions to illustrate just how easy it is to take care of your hot tub.
Basic Maintenance Schedule
To keep your hot tub running well, you must use it correctly and monitor water quality, filter condition, and cleanliness. Not only does this increase the life of your spa, it also protects the health of those using it. You need to perform some tasks every time you use the hot tub and some only once or twice a year, but all are important components of spa maintenance.
Before Each Use…
Check the water quality before every use. That means using the appropriate testing strips to measure alkalinity and pH levels. If the results of these tests are off, balance the chemicals before using the tub.
After Each Use…
Add sanitizer following every use to combat the growth of bacteria and algae. This ensures the water is safe for the next users.
Once a Month…
Each month remove the spa filter and clean it thoroughly. All this involves is removing the filter, lightly spraying it with a hose, and allowing it to dry completely before putting it back in the spa. You can also soak filters in a filter cleaner to ensure removal of all dirt and debris buildup. It’s also a good idea to have a spare filter on hand so you can use the hot tub while the cleaned filter is drying. The actual cleaning only takes 10 to 15 minutes.
One of the best ways to protect your spa is by keeping it covered when it isn’t in use. Part of ongoing hot tub maintenance includes cleaning and conditioning the cover. Why? Because damage from UV rays can lead to drying and cracking which interfere with the proper fit and protective ability of your cover. Clean both the top and underneath of the cover. It might surprise you to know the process takes less than 30 minutes from removal to reattachment.
- First, remove the cover and flip it over to clean the underside (the side closest to the water surface). Spray it with a hose and use a non-foaming cleanser on a sponge or soft brush to remove stubborn dirt or mildew stains, then rinse clean.
- Next, flip the cover back over and wipe down the top surface with a wet rag, using non-foaming cleanser if desired. Rinse the lid with clear water and towel dry completely.
- Last, apply a vinyl conditioner to the top of the cover and put it back on the hot tub.
Every Four to Six Months…
Every now and then you’ll need to drain your spa, clean it, and fill it with fresh water. Depending on how many people use the hot tub and how often they use it, you should drain and refill your spa every four to six months.
- Start by adding a pipe cleanser to the existing spa water. This will remove biofilm film buildup from the spa plumbing lines. Circulate the water for about 30 minutes. Let it sit for an hour to loosen up any gunk in the lines. Then, circulate for another 20-25 minutes to wash the loosened debris from the lines.
- Now drain the tub. Open the drain plug and let the tub drain. In some cases, you can attach your garden hose to the drain and direct the water to a location away from the hot tub. In either case, gravity does most of the work. It’s okay if a little water remains in the bottom of the tub after you drain it.
- While the spa is draining, you should take the time to clean your filter or to replace it entirely.
- After the tub has drained use a damp towel to wipe down the inside of the shell. Use a spa shell cleaner to scrub the water line and any stains that may be present. Be careful to thoroughly rinse the tub before refilling it.
- Make sure a clean filter is in place then refill your hot tub. Treat the water appropriately and enjoy a nice, clean soak.
This process can take a couple of hours and is worth the effort for a safe, healthy spa experience. And did I mention that it extends the life of your spa, so you can enjoy it for years to come?
Once a year you should have your spa checked out by a service professional. An annual preventive maintenance check-up is just one more way to keep your hot tub working right and lasting longer.
If you choose to close your hot tub during the winter, it is vital that you remove all the water.
- Drain the tub
- Drain the air blower (if your tub has one)
- Remove the filters
- Unscrew the fittings to allow drainage
- Blow out the pipes
- Remove excess water that accumulates in the tub
Swim University offers detailed instructions for winterizing your spa yourself. It’s very important to get every drop of water out of your spa, which is why you may want to have your spa dealer take care of this for you. This also the perfect time for a yearly spa check-up.
If you’re going to be on vacation less than a week, prepping your spa for your absence is easy.
- Test and balance water alkalinity
- Clean or replace filter
- Add sanitizer to the water
- Shock the water before you leave
- Use hurricane straps to ensure your cover is securely attached
For vacations lasting more than seven days, you also need to turn your hot tub temperature to the lowest setting to conserve energy. That’s it!
This may seem like a lot of information, but each task on the spa maintenance schedule (with the exception of draining and refilling) takes less than half an hour. It’s all about keeping it clean. From the water to the plumbing to the shell to the cover, a clean healthy hot tub will provide years of healthy fun and relaxation for every user.