When it comes to hot tub maintenance, there are definitely a few golden rules that every hot tub owner needs to follow. While spa care depends entirely on the hot tub that you buy, there are a few important concepts out there that are important to understand so that you can keep your hot tubs clear and clean.
Come with us as we explore the ins and outs of spa care and maintenance.
The Basics of Hot Tub Maintenance
Prior to firing up those jets and sinking into the warm cocoon that is your new spa, you might want to take a second and get familiar with the hot tub model that you have. It is so important to understand the ins and outs of your particular hot tub model so that you can decide on the service that you need.
It is helpful to have your vital stats on hand at all times, including the age of the hot tub water, the water capacity, and any challenges that come with your tub, such as hard water.
Do Hot Tubs Require A Lot of Maintenance?
The newer your hot tub is, the less spa care it will require. Newer spa models tend to be more efficient when it comes to maintenance. On average, caring for a hot tub only requires a basic understanding of scheduling and spa water chemistry.
On average, you can expect to spend around $20 per month on the best hot tub chemicals or best hot tub chemicals for sensitive skin and testing supplies.
See our “How Much Does It Cost To Run A Hot Tub?” page for a full breakdown.
Learning how to clean a hot tub is essential for new spa owners. There are three main things that you need to worry about when it comes to hot tub care, including
Keeping Your Spa Water Circulating
The only way that you can keep your hot tub water free of bacteria and contaminants is by making sure that the circulation system is top-notch. Your spa water should easily be able to pass through your hot tub’s filtration system.
If you have a newer or higher quality hot tub model, you might have an automatic water circulation schedule so that your spa water runs through the hot tub filter one or two times throughout the day.
Water circulation cycles typically happen for 15-20 minutes to make sure that all of the water within the hot tub can pass through the system.
You will need to make sure that you run your spa water circulation system for 15-20 minutes, twice per day manually if your hot tub does not have an automatic water circulation system. The more that you run your circulation system, the cleaner your ho tub will remain.
Get A Spa Cleaning Schedule Down
To keep your spa tidy, we recommend creating a weekly cleaning schedule where you wipe your spa shell and gets off with a sponge and white wine vinegar. You can use your sponge to scrub away any scum.
No matter whether you have your hot tub indoors or outdoors, the water is prone to scum development. However, if your spa is outdoors, you will need to consider unwanted debris, including trash, leaves, dirt, or, in the worst case, stray critters, getting into the water. To prevent issues with water, you will need to clean and clear your hot tub seats, as well as the waterline.
It is important to clean your hot tub’s interior as often as you can, though also take some time to wipe down the exterior too. During this time, make sure to care for your hot tub cover. To help prevent mildew from growing in your spa, we recommend using a 1:10 solution of bleach-to-water to wipe it down.
In addition to the weekly clean, draining and refilling is also necessary. You should drain and refill your hot tub water every four months at least. If you’re using your hot tub very often, you can even drain and refill it more. You wouldn’t have four friends in your bathtub without draining and refilling it, so why would you do it with your hot tub?
You can use a garden hose to refill your spa with ease.
Cleaning Your Filter
Your filers are the heart of your spa. You need to clean your filters so that they are working optimally.
There are three methods that you can use to clean your filters, including rinsing, spraying, and soaking.
We recommend rinsing your spa filter as often as you can. You can either use warm water in a spray bottle or cool water from your garden hose.
If you have been using your spa more often than you usually do, this is especially important.
If your filters need a deeper clean, you need to spray them each week with a special spa filter cleaner. You can’t forget to rinse your spa filter once you give it a deep clean so that the chemicals don’t seep into the spa water.
While you don’t need to do it as often as the other two, we recommend soaking your filters in a special chemical cleaner each time that you refill your hot tub. In doing so, you will loosen unwanted particulates and extend the life of your hot tub. As with spraying your spa filter with cleaner, you must also rinse your spa filter after soaking.
You know that it is time to replace your filters if you can’t get a complete clean from a chemical soak.
Head over to How Often To Replace And Clean Hot Tub Filter for more specific information.
Balancing Your Water Chemistry
Just like you need to balance your swimming pool water with chlorine, you also need to balance your spa water. Of course, with such an incredible size difference, balancing the chemicals in your spa can be a bit more difficult.
Prior to adding any chemicals to your spa water, you will need to understand your baseline water chemistry. You must test your spa water to get a reading on the alkalinity levels and ph level once you have filled your spa.
Understanding hot tub chemicals:
- Alkalinity Increaser: Protects your pH from any drastic changes.
- pH Increaser or Decreaser: These both help to adjust the pH level in your spa
- Sanitizer: These usually include bromine or chlorine. Sanitizers are used to kill bacteria
- Test Kit: To test your spa, you can either use a liquid testing kit or test strips. These tools can help keep all of your chemical levels in the right place.
- Shock: Di-Chlor or non-chlorine shocks can often be used to give sanitizers a boost to remove bacteria and chloramines by introducing oxygen.
Adjusting Alkalinity and pH
When testing your hot tub, you should aim for a pH that is somewhere between 7.4 and 7.6. Anything value that sits below 7.4 is considered acidic. Acidic water is more likely to irritate your eyes, hair, and skin. It might also end up eating away at your spa equipment.
Any value above 7.6 is considered basic. Your water will end up looking cloudy and will reduce the overall effectiveness of your sanitizer.
When it comes to alkalinity, you should try to shoot for the range of 100 ppm-150 ppm. You will get cloudiness and scaling if your alkalinity gets too high.
Adding Sanitizer To Your Spa
It is necessary that you follow the instructions on your sanitizer package when adding sanitizer. Once you add your chosen sanitizer, you will once again need to test your alkalinity and pH to make sure they remain within the optimal ranges.
To speed up your chemical mixing rate, we recommend turning the air valves off.
You can switch over to a saltwater system if you don’t want to use as much chlorine, though keep in mind that saltwater will turn into chlorine as it runs through the system. Even though it comes in a different form, it is still technically chlorine.
Why You Should Shock Your Spa
If you have been using your hot tub very heavily or you just started using your spa after leaving it inactive, it’s a wonderful idea to give your hot tub a good shock. Shocking your spa will help sanitize it.
If you can find a way to regularly shock your hot tub, you will be able to keep your water safe and clean at all times.
See our How To Shock A Hot Tub With Bleach page for full instructions.
Testing The Water In Your Spa
Use a liquid test kit or test strips to test your water out every week. You can adjust the chemistry in your water as you need.
Get a Cleaning Schedule Down
To prevent your filters from going bad and prevent your hot tub from needing further maintenance and repairs in the future, you are going to want to get a schedule down.
The key to great hot tub maintenance is simplicity and consistency.
You will find it far easier to keep a schedule of your tasks and ease your stress.
To do this, it is important to break down your maintenance into actionable steps so that you refrain from feeling overwhelmed.
Start by assembling a list of tasks and making a decision of when those need doing. You may be able to identify overlapping tasks, helping you to schedule certain maintenance tasks on the same days and times, minimizing your required effort.
If you create a daily task for yourself, such as inspecting your spa for cosmetic damage, you can also use that time to clean your spa cover once per week.
Let’s say that you decide to schedule the majority of your spa maintenance on Tuesday afternoons, you can then schedule your monthly or quarterly maintenance routines on Tuesdays.
Of course, there will be a few tasks that will consume more of your time than others, but creating a schedule for yourself will keep things less time-consuming.
Daily Hot Tub Maintenance
In most cases, it will only take a minute or two to attend to the daily maintenance of your spa. Include some of these things in your daily checklist:
- Clean and Secure Your Spa Cover: Secure your spa cover to keep in your heat and chemicals. In doing so, you will also keep unwanted debris out while keeping any children and pets safe.
- Check Your Water Temperature: Note drastic changes in temperature. Drastic changes could mean that there are serious issues within the system.
- Check for Cosmetic Damage: If your spa is outdoors, exposed to the elements and outdoor critters, checking for cosmetic damage is incredibly important.
Weekly Hot Tub Maintenance
To keep your hot tub in top-notch condition, you will need to follow a weekly maintenance routine. It is best to schedule these at similar times to save yourself stress and time.
- Check Your Total Alkalinity
- Check Your pH Balance: Alongside your total alkalinity, your pH is one of the most crucial parts of water chemistry.
- Clean The Waterline: To keep the water chemistry balanced and keep the water from getting contaminated, you will want to wipe the debris off the top of the waterline.
- Check The Levels of Sanitizer: To keep your spa water clean, clear, and bacteria-free, you will need to keep an eye on your sanitizer levels.
Monthly Hot Tub Maintenance
You will need to get down to the more serious aspects of hot tub maintenance once per month. We’re talking about looking at your filters and jets, as well as testing your water with a more in-depth sense.
- Give Your Jets a Once-Over: Are your jets frozen or clogged? IF so, you may need to troubleshoot them.
- Rinse Your Filters: Get your filters a chemical rinse to get rid of unwanted crud that accumulates. If you use your hot tub very often, you can substitute a water rinse with a chemical rinse.
Quarterly Hot Tub Maintenance
Your hot tub requires a bit of in-depth attention once every four months or so. Empty the water out of your hot tub, clean it out, and keep everything in order. Make sure that you clean your hardware every time that you empty and refill your hot tub water.
- Clean Your Cabinetry: If you give your spa a cleaning every quarter, you will be able to touch up structural damage and prevent anything else from happening in the future.
- Soak Your Filter: Soaking your filter is like chemical rinsing on steroids.
- Drain, clean, and Make Any Necessary Repairs: There is no better time to take care of necessary repairs than after your drain your spa. When your spa is empty, you can see what type of spa maintenance is in order.
Need a Hot Tub?
While some of the monthly and quarterly tasks could certainly be yearly tasks, we recommend doing them more than on average to give yourself an optimal experience.
However, depending on your schedule, here are a few maintenance tasks that you can tackle once per year.
- Flush Biofilm and Remove Bacteria: Make sure that you flush your lines when you drain and refill your spa.
- Inspect Your Hot Tub Wiring and Hardware: Make sure to look for damage that appears with pests, chemical imbalances, and wear and tear.
- Hot Tub Cover Inspection: Make sure to check for moisture absorption, mold and mildew infestations, and physical damage.
- Get a Professional Tune-Up: You may want to consider getting a professional tune-up to check for hardware and wiring problems or getting any potential problems looked at.
Keeping Your Hot Tub Safe While Not In Use
Keep An Eye On The Weather
During the summer, the main thing that you are going to want to keep an eye on is algae growth.
To stop algae from growing while you aren’t using your spa, you may want to consider shocking it every so often.
If you live in an area that gets colder, meaning the outside temperatures drop below the level of freezing, you need to consider the plumbing risks.
Always make sure that your spa is heated properly, though also remember that heat will escape much faster when it is colder.
Once you have your spa heated to the optimal hot tub temperature, turn your thermostat down by about 8-10 degrees. You will keep your water warm without blowing tons of money on heating bills.
Lock Your Cover
Always keep your spa cover locked when you are not using your spa. Not only will this help keep critters and debris from getting into your spa, but it will also keep children and pets from getting in when you’re not around. Make sure to keep your spa cover locked tight whenever your spa is not in use.
Final Thoughts – The Importance of Hot Tub Care
While you should never feel tethered to the burdens of hot tub care and maintenance, note that it only takes a little bit of time and effort to keep your spa as clean as possible.
Simply perform the proper spa care tasks and you will be the happy spa owner that you’ve dreamed of.