Spa and Hot Tub Maintenance – take a deep breath, this isn’t so hard. And if things get out of control, you can always drain the spa and start over. 🙂
For the new spa owner, or for a person who is new to spa maintenance, I have some tips to maintain water chemistry and spa equipment, along with some regular maintenance and cleaning duties to keep your spa water clean and ready for use!
If you’ve seen my Secret to Hot Tub Chemistry post, you’d know the secret. In short, test the water and make small adjustments to pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Sanitizer level – with regularity. Regular testing would mean testing the spa water 2-4 times per week, and making adjustments as needed, to keep your levels in the proper ranges. Keeping a log is a good idea, just writing down your test results, and any notes on adjustment.
Tap water is pretty good spa water in most areas. But in some areas (and you know where you are), there is soft water or hard water or high alkalinity and pH, or high levels of chloramines, or metals and minerals. You can test your tap water with your test kit, or when testing after a drain and refill, you can measure the suitability of your tap water as spa water. Using a Spa Pre-Filter removes metals, odors and the finest silt from your spa fill water.
Back to the matter at hand, in addition to testing and adjusting the spa water chemistry 2-4x per week, there are other duties and tasks that need to be done to maintain overall spa health.
Clean the Spa Filter
The spa filter can be located under the skimmer basket, and accessed from inside the spa, or it can be a small tank that is opened up underneath the spa, to clean or replace the filter. If underneath the spa, you may have a valve that can be shut to prevent water from rushing out when you open the filter. Loosening a large nut or just turning the filter body counter clockwise is the usual method to access the filter cartridge. Some water spillage is inevitable when opening it up, but if you are careful it can be very little.
If your spa filter has a pressure gauge attached to it, the cartridge needs cleaning when the pressure rises 8-10 lbs, or when flow is noticeably reduced. If you have no gauge on your filter, you should clean the filter on a regular schedule. I clean my own filter cartridge every 4-8 weeks, depending on how often I use the spa. If my hot tub is being used a few times per week, I’ll clean the filter every four weeks, or monthly.
Replace your spa filter every 12-24 months, again depending on usage. Another way to do it is to change it every 10-15 cleanings, because that’s what really breaks down a cartridge. Every time it’s cleaned, fibers loosen up and it loses a little bit of dirt trapping ability. Keep track of your spa filter’s age or cleaning cycles, because at some point soon it’s gonna be Hasta la Vista, baby!
Clean the Spa
A full cleaning of the waterline and surfaces can be done when the spa is drained. Just be sure not to use any old household cleaner or soap. If you are going to use any chemical on your spa surfaces, use something like our Spa Cleaner, to keep out phosphates, nitrates and who knows what else.
Vacuuming the spa can be accomplished with small vacuums that are either battery powered, or garden hose powered. The Pool Blaster spa vacuums are battery operated and fast to use, or you can use the Grit Getter to suck up the little grains that gather in the corners. The Spa Vac connects to your vacuum hose for fast vacuuming of even large leaves.
Floating debris can be removed with a skimmer net, or if you left the cover off during a windstorm and it’s full of leaves, it can also be used to scoop up the larger leaves under the water.
Air-Out the Spa Cover
One of the most important things you can do to help your spa cover live a long healthy life of service is to remove it at least twice per week. Use the spa cover lifter to completely remove it, or gently place it off the spa if you don’t have a spa cover lift. Give your cover a few hours to breathe and shake off some of the constant heat and moisture. This is also a good time to add chemicals or shock the spa if you aren’t using it at the time.
Another spa cover maintenance item is cleaning and conditioning the vinyl spa cover. Especially if your spa cover is outside, spa cover cleaner removes airborne oils and dirt, tree sap and pollen while cover conditioner replenishes the vinyl plasticizers that keep your spa cover vinyl covering soft, strong and looking great.
Add Fill Water
This is so often forgotten, and if the skimmer starts to suck air, in could damage the pump, in some situations. The water level should be in the middle of the skimmer intake, or a little higher. You don’t want it too high, and you never want to over-flow the spa, so keep a close eye on it while filling!
Keep a garden hose close-by. If your garden hose is too far away, set up a sub-spigot by running a hose from a splitter on your current spigot, to a spigot that is mounted on a stake. Then you always have a hose right next to the spa for filling or topping off the hot tub water level.
To take care of 95% of spa care tasks, just remember to…
- Test and adjust your spa 2-4x per week
- Clean the spa filter every 4-8 weeks, replace every 1-2 yrs
- Keep the spa clean; drain & refill every 2-4 months
- Air-Out the spa cover twice per week
- Add water as needed to keep it full
Until next time;
Hot Tub Works