Are Hot Tubs Hard to Maintain ?
Honest Answer – Yes and No !
Let’s dive into this together. (pun intended – you should not dive in a hot tub)
Just like your car or lawnmower, simple things need attention. For example, maintaining properly clean filters, adequate fluid levels, correct tire pressure and the like are required to sustain peak performance, enjoyment and longevity of the product.
Hot Tubs (yes ALL of them) require a little of you time for the same reasons. If you can’t block out a few minutes or so per week, a half-hour or so per month and an hour or so every few months to do some simple tasks, than perhaps a hot tub may not be right for you ?
Stay with us for a moment and we’ll wade into this subject a bit deeper. (sorry, couldn’t help it)
If you follow our simple and proven methods for hot tub care that will not require much of your time or expense. We will lay out the basic subjects to keep in mind and the few steps to use when you are caring for your hot tub.
Essential considerations for proper hot tub care and good water management are to insure that you are testing the levels of sanitizer and pH so that they are kept in the correct range. Also periodic filter cleaning (or replacement) at the appropriate intervals and performing complete water changes every 3 to 6 months is highly advised.
Hot Tub Water Management (you do not need to be chemist to achieve success – really)
Water testing (first things first) is usually done by using dip strips to gauge the levels that are important for your hot tub care. Initially this task occurs a few times (or so) per week and then may taper off a bit as you get more familiar with the general routine.
Sanitizing (keeping your hot tub safe for use)
Hot tubs require proper levels of sanitizer (kills bad things that like to live in hot water). We prefer granular spa chlorine for this job.
There are other types of sanitizers like bromine and hydrogen peroxide products available to use for special circumstances that we can specifically address with you individually.
The easiest and most cost effective advise that we offer is that most everyone should use a teaspoon to tablespoon of chlorine per person after each spa use (or at the end of the day if there are multiple uses within a short period of time). A dose of chlorine every couple of days if you have not been using the hot tub is suggested. The goal here is to maintain a steady concentration of around 2 to 4 parts per million (ppm). We advocate frequency over quantity for your best possible water condition.
Many hot tubs in the market use special devices such as mineral purifiers, ozonators, UVC light systems (or a combination of these) that can reduce chlorine use – but never completely eliminate !
We will delve into these assist device topics in future posts.
Proper pH range
Proper pH levels are important for your comfort (think eye drops and other personal care products), for increased effectiveness of the sanitizer and for protection of your hot tub components.
We prefer that you keep your pH in a range of 7.4 to 7.6. Any reading below 7.0 is considered acidic (low pH and corrosive) and any number above 7.8 is considered basic. Basic water levels (high pH) may lead to scaling which is a mineral build-up on the surface of the hot tub shell (interior) along with the internal plumbing, pumps and heaters. This condition can shorten the life of these important parts of your hot tub.
Most of you have city water that has been conditioned and balanced closely to the pH level that we favor so you may only need to increase your pH a little over time with a sodium carbonate type of product. Those of you with well-souced water, be it municipal or private, will most likely have to lower you pH with a sodium bisulfate type product. It is not uncommon to have to use a fair amount of product initially to get your pH in to the correct range. Once that you have gotten your water within the proper range, the level tends to stabilize and only an occasional adjustment may be needed.
Shocking….. (not to be confused with astonishing and has nothing to do with electricity)
Shocking (also referred to as oxidizing) is accomplished by using a non-chlorine product once a week (or every other week). Our product is called Activate (there are other names out there as well for this). The reason that we want you to do this application of oxidizer is that it helps to “burn off” organic contaminates that enter the hot tub water from users / soakers. Shocking your hot tub also helps turn “combined chlorine” (which is not good and called a chloramine – that’s what gives off the familiar “over-chlorinated” odor that you have probably smelled before) become “free-chlorine” again so that it can get back to work sanitizing you hot tub. When you do this weekly shock treatment – we want you take the cover of of your spa – turn on all of the pumps and blowers – apply the proper amount of shock (generally 2 to 3 ounces) – and let everything run for 20 to 40 minutes with the cover still open to get the job done properly.
General Hot Tub Care
Filter and Water Care
All hot tubs use filters to clean the water. Some hot tub filters are bigger and some are smaller. Some filters are cleanable while others are disposable. Smaller, cleanable filters (35 to 50 sq. ft.) should be cleaned every couple of months and replaced every year. Similarly, larger filters (+50 sq. ft.) should be cleaned once every 3 to 6 months and perhaps replaced every couple of years. Sometimes a brisk water spray is enough to get the filter cleaning job done while other times a special filter cleaning product has to be used. We carry a few different types of cleaners and we can help you choose the best one for your needs. Disposable hot tub filters have varying life spans, so please check with us for our recommended replacement intervals.
* Pro-Tip… the cleaner that everyone is that are using the hot tub, the better. We advise that you use the same bathing suits repeatedly (without laundering). Try keeping lotions, deodorants, make-up and hair products out of the water as these can shorten the life of your hot tub filter and water.
Water – Change can be Good !
Hot tub water gets tired out over time and use, along with the substances that are introduced in to the water from the users. We suggest that you drain and refill your hot tub every 3 to 6 months. Or whenever the balances are way off or if the hot tub water is unpleasant to you or if the water resists your corrective actions.
Please keep in mind that the longer you own your hot tub – the easier it gets to take care of it !
Enjoy your soak and please contact us if you ever need any help with taking care of your hot tub ! Cheers !