A Beginner's Guide to Hot Tub Maintenance
Welcome to Hydropool Midland’s guide on hot tub care! Whether you're a proud new owner or looking to improve your maintenance routine, you'll find actionable tips and useful insights right here.
Daily Water Checks to Begin With
The quality of your hot tub water is fundamental to both your enjoyment and your health. To ensure that your spa experience is both safe and delightful, you should aim to test the water on a daily basis, especially during the initial weeks of ownership. Frequent checks help you better understand your hot tub's specific requirements and avoid potential issues before they escalate.
How to Test Hot Tub Water
Conducting a water test is a straightforward process. Water testing kits are readily available, and they're instrumental in measuring various crucial parameters such as pH levels, alkalinity, and the presence of sanitisers like chlorine or bromine. These kits usually come with strips or liquid tests and are accompanied by detailed instructions. By following these carefully, you'll ensure that the results are accurate, empowering you to take necessary action when needed.
Step 1: Purchase a Reliable Water Testing Kit
Look for a reputable brand and opt for a kit that tests multiple water parameters including pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. Kits usually come with test strips or liquid tests.
Step 2: Prepare the Hot Tub
Ensure the hot tub has been running for at least a few minutes to circulate the water for more accurate results. Turn off any jets or bubblers to get a stable water sample.
Step 3: Collect the Water Sample
Using a clean container or the device provided with your kit, collect a water sample from about elbow-deep in the hot tub.
Step 4: Conduct the Test
Follow the instructions in your kit carefully. If you're using test strips, immerse the strip in the water sample for the time specified. If you're using liquid tests, you'll generally add a few drops to your water sample.
Step 5: Read the Results
After the allotted time, compare the colour of your test strip or liquid sample against the chart provided in your kit. This will give you readings for the parameters you are testing.
Step 6: Interpret the Results
Assess whether the levels of pH, alkalinity, and sanitisers are within the recommended ranges. If they're off, you'll need to adjust the water chemistry.
Step 7: Take Necessary Action
Based on your readings, you may need to add specific chemicals to balance the water. Always refer to your jacuzzi’s manufacturer's guidelines for this.
Step 8: Keep Records
It's good practice to log your test results over time. This can help you spot trends or issues more easily and take proactive action.
Understanding Alkalinity and Hardness
Alkalinity is essentially the water's capacity to neutralise acids and is often considered the "pH buffer" in your swim spa. A proper alkalinity level prevents drastic fluctuations in pH, which in turn minimises the risk of conditions like cloudy water and scale formation. When alkalinity is within the recommended range—typically 80-120 ppm (parts per million)—it facilitates better sanitiser performance and more effective water balancing, contributing to a safer and more pleasant spa experience.
Water hardness refers to the concentration of dissolved minerals in your hot tub water, primarily calcium and magnesium. Proper hardness levels are crucial for preventing issues related to either soft or hard water. Soft water can be corrosive, leading to damage to your jacuzzi’s metal components, while hard water may cause scaling and cloudiness, affecting both the appearance and functionality of your spa. A balanced level of hardness, usually between 150-250 ppm, helps in maintaining a clean, clear, and equipment-friendly hot tub environment.
Your hot tub's filter is crucial for maintaining clean and healthy water, capturing debris, oils, and other particulates. Regular maintenance of the filter not only helps keep the water pure but also enhances the longevity and efficiency of your spa. Filters can be of various types—cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth (DE)—and each has unique maintenance requirements, often outlined in your hot tub's manufacturer's guide.
Regular Visual Inspections
Every week, perform a visual inspection of your filter. During this time, remove the filter and check for any obvious debris such as leaves or hair. Make sure it's seated correctly in its housing when you replace it. Weekly check-ups help you spot any issues before they become significant problems.
Once every 2-4 weeks (depending on how frequently you use your tub), it's time for a more comprehensive cleaning. Remove the filter and use a hose to wash off surface-level dirt and debris. If you're using a cartridge filter, take the extra step of soaking it in a filter-cleaning solution for a few hours. This deeper clean will remove oils and minerals that a simple hose-down can't tackle.
Quarterly Deep Cleaning: Time for Backwashing
Every three months, prepare for a thorough deep clean. If you have sand or diatomaceous earth (DE) filters, this is when backwashing comes into play. Backwashing is the process of reversing the water flow through your filter to flush out trapped debris. This cleaning level is crucial for maintaining optimal water quality and should not be skipped.
Even the best filters have a lifespan, and it’s usually about a year for cartridge types. Always follow your manufacturer’s guidelines for when to replace your filter. Given the critical role it plays in keeping your spa clean and working properly, a worn-out filter is not something you can afford to overlook.
Keeping Your Hot Tub Clean
Regular cleaning of your hot tub is essential for maintaining a sanitary and inviting soaking environment. While you may rely on filters and chemicals to keep the water clean, the physical structure of your hot tub also needs attention.
Cleaning the Cover
The cover of your jacuzzi is the first line of defence against external contaminants like leaves, dirt, and even bird droppings. Remove the cover and clean it with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner. Use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub away accumulated grime, paying special attention to corners and seams where dirt can hide. Once you've finished cleaning, rinse it thoroughly and allow it to air dry completely before placing it back on the hot tub. This will prevent mildew and odour buildup.
Cleaning the Shell
The shell, or the interior lining of your hot tub, is in constant contact with water, making it prone to scum, mineral deposits, and bacterial growth. Depending on how dirty it is, you might need to drain the hot tub for a thorough cleaning. Use a hot tub-specific cleaner to scrub the surface, focusing on areas around the waterline, where grime is most likely to accumulate. For hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, especially around the jets, specialised brushes can make the task easier. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving any cleaner residue.
Cleaning around the hot tub
The area around your hot tub can contribute to its cleanliness. Debris on the deck or patio can easily find its way into the water. Pool rooms can provide a convenient space to keep your hot tubs water away from debris.
Make it a habit to sweep and mop the surrounding area, and consider using outdoor mats to trap dirt that could be carried in on feet.
Cleaning the interior
Once the exterior and the shell are sparkling, shift your focus to the interior. For the floor and walls, use a spa vacuum to remove any sediment or debris. Skim the water's surface with a net to capture any floating leaves or insects. After a thorough cleaning, it's wise to shock your hot tub. This involves adding a large dose of sanitizer, usually chlorine or bromine, to kill off any remaining bacteria or algae, ensuring that the water is as clean as possible.
Hot Tub Foam – What to Do if It Appears
Foam in your hot tub can be unsettling, affecting both the appearance and quality of your spa water. While the presence of foam generally points to an imbalance in water chemistry or contamination, it can be easily managed with timely intervention.
Step 1: Identify the Cause
Hot tub foam usually results from soap residues, body lotions, or an imbalance in water chemistry. Understanding the root cause can help in resolving the issue efficiently.
Step 2: Turn Off Jets and Remove Foam
Switch off the hot tub jets to prevent further foam creation. Skim off as much foam as possible using a net or similar tool.
Step 3: Test Water Chemistry
Using a water testing kit, check the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels of your hot tub. An imbalance in any of these could be contributing to foam.
Step 4: Balance Water Chemistry
If your test shows imbalanced pH or alkalinity, use the appropriate chemicals to bring levels back to normal. Make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines for dosage and application.
Step 5: Shock the Hot Tub
Perform a shock treatment using either chlorine or a non-chlorine shock. This helps in breaking down contaminants that may be causing the foam.
Step 6: Use Antifoam Agents
If the foam persists, use a hot tub-specific anti-foam agent. Apply it according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Be cautious as excessive use can interfere with water chemistry.
Step 7: Clean or Replace Filter
Sometimes, a dirty filter can contribute to foaming. Check your filter and clean it if needed. In extreme cases, you might need to replace the filter.
Step 8: Drain and Refill (If Necessary)
If all else fails, draining and refilling the hot tub is the ultimate solution to get rid of persistent foam.
Draining Your Hot Tub
Draining your hot tub is crucial for maintaining water quality and prolonging the lifespan of your spa's components. Over time, contaminants and chemical residues can accumulate, making it harder to balance water chemistry and potentially causing damage to your equipment.
How often Should you Drain your Hot Tub
Typically, a hot tub should be drained every three to four months. However, the frequency may vary depending on usage and water quality. Check your manufacturer's guidelines and monitor water quality to determine the optimal draining schedule for your specific hot tub.
How To Do It
Disconnect Power: For safety, make sure all electrical components are turned off and disconnected.
Locate and Attach Hose: Find the drain valve usually located at the base of the hot tub and attach a hose for directing the drained water.
Open Drain Valve: Open the valve to release water. This may take some time, so plan accordingly.
Clean and Refill: Once drained, use the opportunity to clean your hot tub before refilling it with fresh water.
Restore Settings: Turn the power back on and adjust your spa settings, making sure to rebalance your water chemistry before use.
Your Hot Tub Do's and Don'ts
Here’s a cheat sheet of best practices and some things you should avoid when it comes to running your spa:
What to Avoid
Test water chemistry before each use
Ignoring water tests or doing them infrequently
Always shower before using the hot tub
Entering the hot tub dirty or with lotions on
Use a cover when not in use
Leaving the hot tub uncovered, risking debris and evaporation
Follow manufacturer's chemical guidelines
Using household cleaning products or incorrect chemicals
Inspect and clean filters regularly
Neglecting filter maintenance, leading to poor water quality
Regularly inspect for leaks and wear
Ignoring signs of wear and tear, leading to bigger problems
Run circulation pumps daily
Turning off pumps for long periods, risking water quality
Drain and refill the hot tub quarterly
Infrequent draining, leading to imbalanced water chemistry
Use plastic containers for drinks
Using glass containers that can break and cause injury
Supervise young or inexperienced users
Leaving children or inexperienced users unattended
So there you have it, a walk through the multifaceted world of hot tub maintenance, offering insights into everything from water testing and chemical balancing to cleaning practices that cover every inch of your hot tub. While maintenance may seem like a chore, it's an essential part of preserving your hot tub's longevity and ensuring a safe, clean, and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Hydropool Midlands isn't just a hot tub seller; we're your long-term partner in spa care. From low-maintenance options like our self-cleaning swim spas to hands-on support for any issues you may face, our expert team is dedicated to your hot tub's longevity and your peace of mind. Reach out to learn how we make your dream hot tub a reality.