Beginner’s Guide to Hot Tub Maintenance

So, you finally did it, you bought that long sought after hot tub. You have dreamed about enjoying a hot tub for years. The relaxing evenings of with a glass of wine is always picture perfect during those stressful days. However, did you imagine the hot tub maintenance and care that goes behind a nice and clean hot tub? I’m sure you didn’t, BUT it is a reality that you need to face. An important one to make sure your hot tub has a long life of clean water and many relaxing nights. We are here to help you learn the simple basics and needs to maintain your hot tub and keep it in great condition and reduce costly upcoming issues.

Know what you have

This sounds pretty basic, I know, but knowing the name and brand of your hot tub is important. This will help you to get parts and service when you need them. Also knowing your hot tub’s specifications and limits. These are more specifically the water capacity, age and any water challenges that are necessary (such as hard water).

Maintenance Basics

Circulation, Cleaning and Chemicals. Keeping in mind these three basics, your hot tub will run smoothly all year long.

Circulation – this is important as still water is never a good idea. Circulation helps keep your water of contaminates. Most hit tubs these days have automatic circulation that you can schedule and time to run.  The circulation cycles can vary from 15-30 minutes and cycles the water through the filters. Let those filters do their job, the more you run your hot tub the cleaner it is, so running it can never hurt.

If you don’t have automatic circulation on your hot tub, simply turn it on and run it once or twice a day for 15-20 mins.

TIP: Add a few tennis balls to your hot tub after you have used it. Hot water removes oils from our skin, including lotions and soaps we use daily. These make the filter work ‘extra hard’ when trying to clean your water, so to help it along, place tennis balls in the water.  Oil is attracted to the felt on the balls and it helps to collect those oils.

Cleaning – Keeping your hot tub is one of the most effective maintenance tasks you can tackle. Scum is a common occurrence in hot tubs and can be tackled with a few easy steps. Once a week use white vinegar and a sponge or cloth to wipe away scum on the water’s edges. Also wiping down the jets and spa’s shell will keep your hot tub clean.  If you have an outdoor hot tub, you will need to remove debris like fallen leaves, broken branches, sometimes even trash or small critters. 

Also, a quick rinse down with a 10% bleach solution will make sure that mildew stays away.

Once every 3-4 months or more if your using it often, you will need to completely drain your hot tub and refill. Fresh water after a few months is a nice relief and reduces germs.

Be sure to check your filters!

Your filters will also need a regular cleaning to work well and properly. A simple rinse, spray or soak will do. Your local pool store has a filter cleaner to use when cleaning your hot tub filter. After some time when it looks as if they are getting clean, a filter replacement is probably due.

Chemicals – Maintaining your hot tubs water is very similar to a pool’s water. However, it’s slightly different due to the reduced size body of water. Before you add any chemicals be sure to get a baseline reading of your water after it has been freshly refilled. Simply test your water to get a current reading of the pH and alkalinity levels.

Aim for a pH level of 7.4-7.6 and 125 -150 parts per million (ppm) for your alkalinity.

For alkalinity, shoot for 125 parts per million (ppm) to150 ppm. If alkalinity gets too high, it can cause scaling and cloudiness.

So now go…go enjoy your hot tub! Invite friends over, make sure those jets aim at your lower back and reap the rewards and enjoyment of it. With these simple steps, you will enjoy your hot tub for years to come.


> Learn more about how to maintain and clean your swimming pool here.

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