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Alicia Harris's Posts

How to Keep a Hot Tub Clean While on Vacation

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how to maintain a hot tub while on vacation

If you’ve owned a hot tub for any length of time, you know that it requires daily maintenance to keep the water clean and sanitary. But what do you do when you aren’t home to clean the spa for a few days or weeks? How do you keep the hot tub clean while you’re on vacation? Not to worry – we’ve got all your answers right here!

 

First Things First…

No matter how long you’ll be away from home, what the outdoor weather is like, or what time of sanitizer you use for your hot tub, some procedures will stay the same across the board for vacation-proofing your hot tub:

  • Test and balance the water.
    • Test the alkalinity and calcium hardness of your spa water, and balance it accordingly.
  • Clean or replace the filter cartridge.
    • change or clean the hot tub filterThis is one of the most important things to do before you go on vacation. Clean or replace the filter cartridge before you leave.
    • If you leave for a week or two with a dirty filter, you’re going to have dirty water to contend with when you get home.
  • Sanitize the water.
    • Make sure there’s enough sanitizer to get your spa through vacation, and lower the output levels as needed.
    • Since there will be no people in the hot tub while you’re gone, the sanitizer won’t be used up as quickly.
    • Before you leave, treat the water with spa shock, and run the pump for about 30 minutes to ensure the water has been well circulated.
  • Secure the spa.
    • No matter how long you’ll be away, make sure to keep your hot tub cover or entrance(s) locked down.
    • If an uninvited guest goes for a dip in your spa and something bad happens, you may be held liable. Keeping the cover firmly closed will also keep dirt out and heat in.

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s look out how this maintenance plan will change depending on a number of different factors.

 

Planning According to Duration

Short Vacation

If you’re only leaving town for a couple of days, there’s no need to do much else besides the basic instructions listed above. Enjoy your trip, knowing that when you return home the hot tub will be in the same pristine condition you left it in!

hot tub vacation

Long Vacation

Here, it mostly depends on how long you will be gone. A week? Two weeks? A month or more? For 1-2 week vacations, preparation work is extremely important. If you have a friend or neighbor who can drop in a couple times to monitor water quality and add more sanitizer, this will make it easier to keep the water clean and clear while you’re gone. As incentive for adding sanitizer for you, allow them to use the hot tub while you’re gone! To save on heating expenses, you can also decrease the temperature by 10 degrees.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be gone for quite a while, or if it’s been a few months since the spa was last drained and refilled, you may be ahead to just clean and drain your spa before you leave. Be sure to use a product like Jet Clean, which will clear the lines of biofilm and other hidden gunk. Drain the tub, and turn on a blower or low pressure air compressor to completely clear the water out of the lines. This will prevent freezing damage or yucky bio-growth taking over the plumbing. Once the tub is fully drained, thoroughly clean and dry the tub with a soft towel or sponge. Leave all drain plugs off to release any remaining water in the system, and put the spa cover back on to keep the tub clean and out of direct sunlight. It will be ready for a fresh refill when you return!

*Please note that wooden hot tubs cannot be drained for extended periods.

 

Planning According to Weather

Warm Weather

warm weatherIf weather conditions are pretty warm in your area, the main thing you’ll need to worry about while you’re gone is algae growth. Keeping sanitizer levels up is your best defense against an algae outbreak, and shocking the spa before you go will certainly help. If needed, use a spa algaecide to treat and prevent algae. It’s OK to turn off the pump and heater while you’re out of town if there’s no risk of the water freezing.

Cold Weather

cold weatherIf temperatures are consistently below freezing, you’ll need to ensure the hot tub and plumbing will stay thawed while you’re away. As long as the spa is properly heated, it’s alright to drop the water temperature by 10 degrees to save on heating costs. Leave the pump and heater on to keep the water warm and circulating. If you have freeze protection for your hot tub, it will automatically turn on the circulation pump when temperatures approach freezing.

 

Planning According to Sanitizer Type

Bromine or Chlorine Sanitizer

Bromine is the most popular sanitization chemical for hot tubs and spas, and it’s actually pretty easy to manage while you’re out of town. Just load up a bromine floater with 1” bromine tablets, and turn the output setting down to the lowest setting to keep the chemical flow to a minimum.spa bromine and chlorine

For chlorine, just remember to NEVER put 1” tri-chlor (stabilized pool chlorine) tabs into a spa floater. Tri-chlor tablets are intended for use in pools only, but di-chlor granular chlorine can be safely added to spas. If you rely solely on chlorine granules for sanitizing the water, you may need to have a friend or neighbor help out until you get back home. On the other hand, if you have a chlorine hot tub, it’s likely that you also supplement the chlorine with a mineral sanitizer or an ozone system. If that’s the case, keep reading to learn more!

salt chlorine generator for spas and hot tubs

Salt Chlorine Generator

If you have a salt water hot tub, you won’t have to worry too much while on vacation! Just make sure salt levels are sufficient for chlorine generation, and shock the water before you go. The chlorine will not be used up as quickly while the spa is closed, so the generator will not be working as hard to maintain free chlorine levels.

Mineral Sanitizer

mineral floaterMineral sanitizers are valuable in that they can supplement most other sanitizer systems – bromine, chlorine and ozone, included. Some mineral sanitizers are packaged as floaters and paired with bromine or chlorine, while others can be dropped directly into your spa filter. Aside from the standard pre-vacation spa maintenance, you’ll just need to make sure that your mineral cartridges are good to go. Most mineral cartridges last about 4 months, so if needed, just replace them before you leave.

Ozonator

spa ozone generator

Just like a salt chlorinator, an ozone generator won’t require much extra effort before you close up the hot tub. Just ensure everything is working properly and the water is properly balanced and sanitized before you go. You won’t have to worry about overdosing the tub on ozone, so you don’t even need to adjust the timer if you don’t want to.

 

With a little extra planning and preparation, your hot tub will be ready to use in no time once you return. Don’t let routine hot tub maintenance keep you from enjoying the vacation you deserve!

 

Hot Tubs vs. Swimming Pools: What’s the Difference?

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Hot tubs and swimming pools are a lot alike. They’re pools of water that allow people to relax and enjoy themselves. They both require proper sanitization, circulation, filters and regular cleaning. But if you’re dealing with a spa or hot tub that’s detached from the pool, this is where the similarities end. Contrary to popular belief, these tubs of hot water are not just “small swimming pools,” and they should be maintained differently than a normal swimming pool. Here’s why.

hot tubs vs swimming pools

Water Volume per Person Ratio is Lower

Imagine this scenario: 5 people show up for a backyard pool and spa party. Soaking in a 500-gallon spa, those 5 people share about 100 gallons of water each. In the 25,000-gallon swimming pool, it would take 250 people to match the same volume ratio as the hot tub. Crazy, right?

As you can imagine, this ratio plays a major role in water chemistry, tub cleanliness and the ability of the filter cartridge to do its job properly. Having extra sanitation methods in place, cleaning the spa filter every 1-2 weeks, and asking spa users to shower first will go a long way toward keeping your spa or hot tub clean.

Bacteria Thrive in Warm, Moist Areas

Warmth and moisture are bacteria’s best friends, so it’s no surprise that they flourish quickly in spas and hot tubs. Even if the water is actively managed with proper water chemistry and adequate circulation, a lapse in care can cause a layer of biofilm to build up on spa surfaces, the spa cover, the filter and plumbing lines in no time at all.

Overgrowth of bacteria in a hot tub is particularly concerning because the warm temperatures of spa water opens the pores of the skin and set the scene for a bacterial infection. While biofilm and bacterial growth can be problematic in swimming pools as well, algae blooms are a more common concern.

Water Chemistry Differs

Pool chemicals and spa chemicals may share the same names, but they’re not the same product. Chemicals behave differently in hot water because of increased molecular activity at higher temperatures.

For example, chlorine is a quick and effective option for sanitizing water. Pool chlorine is stable up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it starts to dissipate from the water. The problem is that most hot tubs operate between 95-104 degrees. This is why chlorine for hot tubs is specially formulated to withstand the higher temperatures. Some spa owners opt to use bromine (a more stable sanitizer), or they use chemical alternatives like ozone generators for added protection.

Pool chemicals are also stronger than spa chemicals, and using them in your spa or hot tub can cause damage to the tub and equipment. It’s especially important to monitor pH levels in hot tubs since high pH – a common problem for hot tubs – can lessen the effectiveness of chlorine and bromine.

Hot Tubs Require Regular Draining

Unlike a swimming pool, which rarely ever needs drained, hot tubs and spas need to be drained, thoroughly cleaned and refilled every 3-4 months. This is because of the low water volume to person ratio paired with the fact that chemicals and filters can only do so much to maintain water quality.

At least twice a year, it’s important to also flush the pipes before draining the tub. This flush will get rid of any biofilm lurking in the plumbing. Otherwise, you’ll end up right back where you started once the tub is refilled. Using a product like Leisure Time Jet Clean will help keep your plumbing in top shape.


There are other obvious differences between spas and swimming pools, including the use of an insulated spa cover (which also requires regular care), different filtration options, quantity of return jets and so on. If you’re lucky enough to have an in ground pool and spa combo, the care for both will be quite similar since the plumbing systems are connected. But for portable hot tubs or those running on a circulation system independent from the pool, understanding the different maintenance requirements will prevent a number of problems down the road.

 

Product Spotlight: Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

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Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

How cool would it be if you could move your hot tub anywhere, anytime? Or, if space is a factor, wouldn’t it be great to have a small hot tub you could store out of the way until you wanted to use it? I’ll let you in on a little secret…you CAN. It’s all possible with the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub. And here’s the best part: you don’t have to break the bank to own one.

Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

This portable hot tub is more than just a pool of bubbling warm water. In fact, the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Hot Tub offers all the benefits of a standard hot tub, but with unparalleled convenience and maneuverability that only a portable model can provide. The Miami inflates in seconds, and setup is a breeze – no tools required! Use it anywhere you’d like: indoors, outdoors, or pack it in the trunk and take it on vacation.

The rapid heating system quickly warms the water to temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll be ready for relaxation in no time. Just set your preferred temperature on the digital control panel, turn on the heater, and you’re all set. The control panel also lets you operate the filtration system and massage feature with the simple touch of a button. The inside of the hot tub is printed with an attractive light blue mosaic pattern, which makes it even more enticing to take a long, relaxing soak.

The Miami holds 192 gallons, meaning you’ll save money on water and heating expenses with less to maintain. The compact size also makes it perfect for couples, but four adults can easily fit inside the hot tub. Fully inflated, it measures 71” wide and 26” tall. Everything you need is included in the Lay-Z-Spa Miami package:

  • Inflatable tub with 81 air jetsLay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub
  • Pump/heater with digital control panel
  • Reinforced inflatable cover with closure straps
  • Two filter cartridges
  • Floating chemical feeder
  • Water hose set
  • Inflation hose
  • Setup and maintenance DVD
  • Heavy-duty repair patch kit
  • Adapter cover, screw valve and hose adapter

In short, the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub lets you enjoy all the benefits of hot tub ownership at a fraction of the cost. It comes with everything you need to get set up and running in no time. The added benefits of portability and easy setup make this hot tub a popular option for almost any application. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

Spa Covers: Get the Most from Your Investment

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spa cover

 

Spa covers are one of the most important investments you can make for your spa or hot tub. Not only will a cover keep your hot tub free of debris and ready to use, they also play an important role in conserving heat, water and chemicals. Quality hot tub covers can cost $250-$500, sometimes cost more. But with proper care and regular maintenance, you’ll extend the life of your spa cover and get the most from your investment.

 

Choosing the Right Cover

Sizespa cover measurement
It’s important to buy the right size. Improperly sized spa covers diminish your cover’s ability to conserve heat, water and chemicals, plus the foam panels are more susceptible to damage. A poorly fitted cover can also be an eyesore. With Hot Tub Works, you can easily search covers according to the make and model of your spa, or you can request a custom size and shape.

Insulationspa cover foam
For this part of the equation, it’s important to consider where your spa is located. Do you live in a mild climate, or are snowy winters a trademark for the area? An indoor model or a spa in warmer climates can use thinner, lower density 1 lb. foam, whereas an outdoor spa in cooler climates will need thicker and heavier 1.5-2 lb. density foam.

Other Options
There are more options to increase the efficiency and longevity of your new Hot Tub Works spa cover. A continuous heat seal provides additional structural support and helps in reducing heat loss. To prevent moisture from penetrating the foam, a double vapor barrier around your core is the best policy. If you live in windy or stormy climates, prevent damage to your cover by upgrade the existing safety straps with heavy-duty ASTM approved wind straps. Choose from 11 custom color options to complete the look of your new hot tub cover.inside a spa cover

Maintaining Your Cover

Let It Breathespa cover lifter
Even though the foam cores are sealed with a vapor barrier to lock out moisture, regular airing it out helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the rest of the cover. Simply open the cover and leave it off the spa for an hour twice a week or a few hours once a week. Using a spa cover lifter will make this job significantly easier, and a lifter will also prevent cover damage while it’s off the spa.

Strap it Down
When your spa or hot tub is not in use, it’s important to keep the cover strapped down or otherwise secured to prevent it from blowing open or falling into or off the spa. Securing your cover is also a safety measure to prevent accidents with children or pets.

Lighten the Load
On that same note, it’s important to keep heavy objects (including children and large pets) and excess snow accumulation off spa covers. Although covers are reinforced with sturdy metal braces, the added weight can damage the integrity of the foam and/or bend those braces, causing a progressive sagging effect.

Clean and Conditionspa cover cleaner and conditioner
Mother Nature is hard on vinyl covers. Freezing winters, sizzling summers, strong storms and the sun’s harsh UV rays all take their toll on a cover. To keep your cover looking better longer, it’s important to regularly clean and condition it. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as detergents, dish washing soap, alcohol-based products or products containing bleach, oil or silicone, as they can damage the vinyl. Only use specially formulated cover cleaners or cover wipes. Abrasive scrubbers will damage the finish, so use a small towel, soft sponge or soft-bristled brush instead.

Once your cover is clean, apply spa cover conditioner to keep the vinyl soft and pliable and resist damage from UV rays. Clean and condition your cover at least 3-4 times per year for best results. In between cleanings, it helps to keep it brushed off or wiped down to prevent accumulation of leaves, pollen, dust and dirt. In the event of mold or mildew growth, swab the area with diluted vinegar and allow the cover to dry out completely.

Other Tips
Check your cover regularly for damage or signs of wear. If the moisture seal around the foam core gets punctured or torn, patch the affected area immediately to prevent the foam from absorbing water. In addition, you can keep the foam cores from sagging by flipping them over once per year when the cover is completely dry. Another option to prolong the life of your cover is to purchase a cover cap for extra protection against UV rays, inclement weather, dirt and debris.

 

Whether you’re looking to update to a better spa cover, or you need to replace your old waterlogged cover, you’ll find everything you’re looking for at HotTubWorks.com – including products to help you get the most from your spa cover. Build your own fully customizable cover, or browse our selection of pre-made covers ready for next day shipment.

 

Top Hot Tub Accessories For True Relaxation on Mother’s Day

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hot tub accessories for mother's dayAlthough motherhood comes with its own rewards and perks, like hugs and messy artwork, coming in a close second is a quiet moment in the spa with a basket full of hot tub accessories. Being a Mom can be stressful. Moms run the house like a well-oiled machine, work to keep food on the table, help juggle school work with sports and other extracurricular activities, and let’s not forget the countless hours spent lending an ear, offering advice and helping their children grow up to be the best they can possibly be.

What better way to show appreciation to the mother in your life than with the gift of rest and relaxation on Mother’s Day? If you own a spa or hot tub, this will be pretty simple to do! Check out these luxurious hot tub accessories meant to treat your mother, grandmother, wife or other maternal figure to a day of relaxation on this special holiday. These are gifts she’ll not only appreciate on Mother’s Day, but long after, as well.

 

hot tub accessories

Aromatherapy Crystals by Spazazz

A relaxing session in the spa or hot tub can be made significantly more satisfying with a bit of aromatherapy. Spazazz offers more than 20 different scents from their line of aromatherapy crystals. It’s an all-natural product that acts as an anti-inflammatory and a stress reliever, and there’s a scent for just about every preference and purpose. There’s an invigorating Eucalyptus Mint and calming Warm French Vanilla from their Original Crystals line. Their specially formulated Rx Crystals products help ease pain in joints and muscles, boost circulation and revitalize energy levels. Better yet, try the Rx Detox Therapy Crystals to give the body an all-over boost. If you’re looking for something a little different, take a walk on the wild side with the incredible scent options offered through the Escape Crystals line of products. Who says that hot tub accessories can’t be romantic? There’s also a series of alluring Mood Crystals available for a relaxing night in.

 

hot tub accessories

Lighted Beverage Chiller

From wine and champagne to water or soda, it’s hard to beat a cool, refreshing beverage while taking a relaxing soak in the hot tub. Why not liven up the spa’s scenery with a color-changing LED lighted beverage chiller? Whether it’s cool, relaxing tones or warm, energizing colors, this unique ice bucket lights up in 24 different color settings to set the mood and help your mom ease into her favorite state of mind. After Mother’s Day is over, this trendy chiller is sure to be a conversation starter at your next backyard get-together. Built for outdoor and indoor use, this weatherproof ice bucket is also rechargeable and can last 8-10 hours on a single charge.

 

 

hot tub accessories

AquaChek TruTest Digital Test Strip Reader

One of the most time consuming parts of owning a hot tub or spa is maintaining proper water balance. Before you start adding or adjusting chemical levels, you first spend several minutes analyzing test strip results. With hot tub accessories like the AquaCheck TruTest Digital Spa Tester, this task just got infinitely faster and easier. Simply add an AquaChek TruTest Test Strip to the digital reader, and get a clear-cut numerical reading for levels of free chlorine, bromine, pH and total alkalinity in mere seconds. Save your mom the time and hassle of visually analyzing old-fashioned test strips, and give her the gift of convenience and precision with this fast, accurate and easy-to-use water chemistry tester.

 

 

While she’s busy relaxing and enjoying her time in the spa, take Mother’s Day just one step further to show your mom how much you really care. Surprise her with a personal gesture such as a handmade decoration, a mid-day brunch, an outing to the movies or the local art museum, or you can even bring her a classic greeting card. The options for showing your appreciation are absolutely endless!