Your backyard hot tub can provide endless relaxation and boast extensive health and wellness benefits.
However, it can only do so with proper care, and while you’ll certainly want to spend as much time in the water as possible, your hot tub maintenance.
Today’s guide is an easy-to-follow schedule, offering six simple spa maintenance tips for prolonging the life of your hot tub, while outlining an efficient agenda so you don’t have to rush around to get it all done.
Even if you don’t use your spa on the daily, you do need to keep it happy and healthy.
Setting aside ten minutes every week is a simple routine you can take on without much lifestyle interference.
Your spa water is a living environment and needs to be kept balanced to be safe and healthy to use.
pH test strips are the easiest and most effective way of determining how your water is fairing.
Most testing strips are all-in-one, meaning you just dip a single strip to achieve multiple results. It’s important to remember – just dip – don’t soak!
Then, simply compare the color of your dipped strip to the color chart on the manufacturer’s bottle to see your results.
Once you know the state of your water chemistry, there is an important order to take action on your test results.
If you follow these steps, you can treat your water with ease.
This is the first colored square you need to deal with before anything else.
The alkalinity of the water will affect all other chemical steps you will take later to balance your spa. Consider it a foundation–if this isn’t stable, nothing else you do will stabilize, either.
Alkalinity should measure between 80-120 ppm, which will fall into the “normal” range on the color guide of your test strips bottle.
Based on your current levels, add your alkalinity treatments as necessary to bring this level into balance.
If your alkalinity was off, your pH levels should be off too, because one affects the other.
If your original-tested alkalinity was significantly off, we recommend you re-test with a new strip after treatment before adjusting the rest of your results.
Now that you have your alkalinity balanced, you can add chemicals to your water to adjust for pH levels.
- If your pH levels are low, your water is too acidic, and your skin will be sensitive.
- If your pH levels are high, the acidity is too low, and your sanitizer will become ineffective.
An imbalance in your pH levels may even result in cloudy water, so if your water looks off, test it and treat it as necessary before soaking.
Imbalanced water can contribute to skin irritations, so your pH and alkalinity are vital aspects to maintain.
Because these are the most common sanitizers for spa maintenance, most testing strips include results for both of these chemicals.
When it comes to your sanitizer, you’ll want to consider how often you use your hot tub.
Sanitizers deplete quickly with high activity. If this is the case with your spa, you might want to consider testing sanitizer levels more than once per week.
Extremely high activity warrants testing before each use.
Pro Tip: Be sure to keep your hot tub cover open for at least twenty minutes after adding these chemicals–the fumes can get trapped, and waft out the next time you open your cover.
Not only does water hardness have an impact on your skin, but it physically affects your hot tub in more than one way.
If your water is too hard, scale can build up in the basin of your spa. If this is the case, you’ll want to add a descaling spa chemical to your water.
On the other hand, if your water is too soft, corrosion can occur on fixtures and inside critical operating equipment.
This can lead to expensive repairs, or even the need for replacement parts.
To reduce the risk of this occurring, consider adding a calcium hardness increaser.
We recommend setting aside 10 minutes of the same day every week, so you don’t need to remember when you last tested your spa.
The state of your hot tub filters will weigh heavily on the longevity of your spa. After all, a clean filter has immeasurable value as it guards against murky water, funky odors, algae, and harmful bacteria.
This bi-weekly cleanse doesn’t have to be complicated, and can be an effortless step in your spa maintenance routine.
Usually, a thorough spray down with your hose is sufficient. A deeper and more comprehensive filter cleaning comes later.
If you really want to make sure this quick rinse does the job, attachments for your hose can be purchased.
These attachments are often specifically constructed with a curved nozzle to help water penetrate between the pleats of your hot tub filter.
These attachments can significantly reduce your cleaning time while achieving a deeper clean than your hose alone would.
You should still use your hose to rinse debris from your filters before you do your soak. After rinsing your filters, follow the below steps.
- Each filter will need its own bucket, so it can soak up the necessary chemicals.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine how much filter cleaner solution you need per gallon of water.
- Soak each filter for a minimum of eight hours.
- We recommend making this an overnight routine, but as long as you get a long soak in, the time of day doesn’t matter.
- Thoroughly rinse your filter with a hose.
- Let it completely dry before use (hence the recommended two sets of filters).
This deeper clean will ensure the grime that makes its way to the center of your cartridge is cleared out, along with any unseen bacteria buildup that your sanitizer doesn’t absolve.
Set a reminder, because even though this maintenance routine isn’t performed often, it’s just as important to check off your list.
This quarterly procedure takes time, and should be completed with an attentive touch, if you want your hot tub to last decades instead of years.
Every four months it is necessary to completely empty your tub. Not only does this ensure you’re enjoying fresh water, but it allows for some vital cleaning to take place.
Follow the steps below to master your quarterly water change routine.
- Turn off your spa by flipping the breaker to the off position.
- Drain your spa completely.
- Give your basin a scrub. Be sure to use a spa-approved cleaner, or opt for a water and vinegar mixture, to prevent foamy water when you refill your spa.
- Check your jets. Adjustable jets should move freely, without effort. Look for hard water deposits or limescale to ensure free movement when your bubbles are on max.
- Wipe down your spa cover. If your hot tub is exposed to the elements, you might want to move this step to a monthly, or even weekly routine.
- Refill with clean water. Charcoal-cartridge hose attachments are available, if you’re concerned with the quality of your tap water.
- Test your water before you add chemicals. Follow the steps outlined in the weekly routine, making sure to adjust alkalinity first.
This all-important maintenance routine should not be overlooked!
We cannot stress enough the importance of freeing your hot tub from chemical buildup, and eliminating accumulating gunk that leads to performance issues.
Your chemical routines help prevent this quarterly event from becoming unmanageable, but skipping this step altogether can reduce the lifespan of your spa by years.
In order to truly extend the life of your hot tub, you should add an extra step to every fourth drain and clean (above). Detox your plumbing with a line flush.
- Perform the line flush before you drain your tub, because you’ll need a complete drain to remove the detox solution.
- Remove your spa filters before you add your detox solution.
- Run your jets on high for 20 minutes.
- Turn your hot tub off completely, and let it sit with the lid closed before draining.
- Drain your spa and continue with quarterly maintenance as scheduled.
We say as needed, but when do you need it?
Here is an easy guideline to help you know when this super-oxidizer should be added to your routine:
If your hot tub is used once (or more) per day, you should consider adding Shock to your spa once or twice a week.
Every time someone uses your hot tub, organic contaminants are added to your water. Sanitizers help combat this, but sometimes it’s not enough.
An accumulation of shampoo, lotions, skin cells, etc. all lead to water scum. A dose of Shock will clear it up quickly.
As chlorine/bromine works to kill the bacteria in your spa water, it sheds a byproduct called chloramines (or bromamines).
This is what leads to that strong, unpleasant odor associated with pools and hot tubs. If you smell this odor, it’s time to Shock your spa.
Pro Tip: When adding Shock to your hot tub, make sure your jets are on low.
You want to make sure the water is moving through the system, but you don’t want the Shock to evaporate too quickly in rapid-stream jets.
Just like when you treat your hot tub with sanitizer, be sure to leave your spa cover off for at least 20 minutes, to let the gasses dissipate.
Does a complete spa maintenance routine not fit into your lifestyle? No problem! Arundel Pool and Spa technicians are at your disposal, for both hot tub maintenance and service requests.
No matter the needs of your family, we have the right solution for you.
To get started, visit or contact our showroom today. Arundel Pool and Spa is located in the heart of Edgewater, Maryland–and more than happy to assist you.