To keep your hot tub a safe and bacteria-free place, cut down on maintenance costs, and keep it in a spic and span condition, it is advised that you follow a maintenance routine. This will help prolong the lifespan of your hot tub and will allow you to make the most of your money.
In this article, we have covered some important aspects of hot tub maintenance that you should follow once you have purchased your desired hot tub, also we prepared research for you on how maintenance affects the lifespan of the hot tub. We will address the following questions:
- How to balance hot tub water and whether it is possible to go chemical-free
- How to clean hot tub
- How to drain hot tub properly
- Hot tub winterizing
- Repairing hot tub leaks
- Maintaining hot tub safely
- Where and how to install a hot tub
Balancing the water chemicals
Poorly balanced water can pose serious health risks that include skin and eye irritations. Also, in the long run, it can cause corrosion of the hot tub’s metal parts and end up damaging your hot tub’s main components like the heater and the pump.
On the other hand, water that has been balanced properly will ensure that you have a safe hot tub to get into. There won’t be issues of cleaning a lot of dirt and you will be able to prolong the lifespan of your hot tub safely and effectively.
You’ll need a few additional products to ensure that the water is balanced correctly.
According to our research, the chemicals required should include:
So, the most important question— how do you know that the water is balanced? The test strips (for chlorine or for bromine sanitized system) will reflect the crucial water indicators like the Total Alkalinity, pH, and Total Chlorine or Bromine levels.
Using a sanitizer is an important part of hot tub maintenance. You add a sanitizer after you use the hot tub to protect the water from germs, and purify the water by killing bacteria. There are two common types of sanitizers — chlorine and bromine.
If you have not yet decided what type of sanitizer to choose, jump to the section with hot tub chemicals basics to help you get started.
pH Increaser and Decreaser
Maintaining the correct pH level is crucial otherwise, the efficiency of the sanitizer is reduced and the hot tub water can go cloudy. It can also cause eye and skin irritation.
According to our research, hot tub owners need more pH Decreaser than pH Increaser due to several reasons. Firstly, people are more likely to encounter too high pH levels. Secondly, ph Decreaser also reduces the Total Alkalinity level since there is no such product as Total Alkalinity Decreaser. We advise buying a big volume bottle of pH Decreaser.
Total Alkalinity Increaser
Total Alkalinity (TA) along with pH is the most important indicator of water quality. TA should be in the range of 80-150 ppm. When this indicator is too low, it leads to corrosion of metal parts such as the pump and the heater. If the TA is too high, the sanitizer will work less efficiently and the water becomes cloudy.
Chemical-free hot tubs: Are they possible?
You may consider chemical-free hot tubs if you have sensitive skin, are prone to allergies , and want to refrain from the use of chemicals.
Is it possible to run a hot tub without chemicals? Our answer is yes! You don’t need to use chemicals if you drain the water after each use. While that’s a time-consuming and expensive method, we also came up with other methods to limit the use of chemicals:
Below we will compare these chemical-free methods, their pros and cons, and effectiveness.
Product Reducing the need for chemicals Pros Cons Price Solaxx Ultraviolet Water Sterilizer
50% + Effectively destroys microorganisms
+ Easy to install
- You still have to use chlorine but x2 times less Main Access Power Ionizer
50-75% + Non-corrosive
+ Reduces chlorine use by 2-3 times
+ Easy to install
- Need to check cooper level with test strips
- High price
50-75% + The lowest initial cost
+ Lowers need to use chemicals by 2-3 times
+ No odor
- To make sure it works need to use test strips for ozone check
- Must run for 4 hours per day
- Low lifespan: 2-3 years
Would you like to find out more about going chemicals-free? Do you have any questions or concerns? You can read our full guide on chemical-free hot tubs.
Cleaning hot tub
Cleaning your hot tub is an essential part of the hot tub cleaning routine. It prolongs the life of your hot tub and prevents issues. It is advised to stick to a cleaning routine to streamline the process.
After each use
Having soaked in a hot tub, you should make sure that your spa is bacteria-free. Some germs and contaminants may remain in the water. Use a chlorine or bromine sanitizer to get rid of the contaminants.
Shock the hot tub water
A Shock is a large dose of oxidizer, which will help to get rid of contaminants. This procedure will also purge all cleaning products more efficiently. There are two types of shock products— chlorine, and non-chlorine.
Chlorine shock is more efficient in dealing with germs and contaminants but has a foul odor. You may use a shock product regardless of the type of sanitizing system.
To shock water properly you will need:
- Chlorine or Non-chlorine shock
- Test strips
- Chemical-resistant measuring cup
- Safety goggles
- Chemical resistant gloves
Test the water and adjust it if needed. Wear chemical-resistant gloves and safety goggles before starting a shocking hot tub. Then measure the required amount of chlorine or non-chlorine shock with a chemical resistant measuring cup. Add the shocking product in the water and let it circulate in the tub for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Rinse the filter with water
It’s an easy way to keep your hot tub filter clean and prolong its lifespan. You just need to remove the filter and clean it. It is located at the side of a hot tub. Use a garden hose to rinse the filter with warm water. Let it dry and then insert the filter.
Spray filter with cleaner
Some germs and contaminants may accumulate on the filter over time. It is recommended that you spray the filter with a cleaner every month.
Start by removing the filter from the side of a hot tub. Spray the filter with a filter cleaner. Then rinse it with water using a garden hose, this step will prevent cloudy water. Let it dry and reinsert the filter.
Clean the hot tub cover
To prevent dirt from accumulating on the hot tub’s cover and entering the water, you should clean the cover at least once every month.
You will need:
To clean the hot tub’s cover, remove it and place it on the grass. You can rinse off any dirt with a garden hose. Apply the cover cleaner on the surface of the hot tub cover. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes before you clean it with a non-abrasive cloth. Then rinse with water and clean the other side of the cover.
Clean the pipes
It’s easy to miss cleaning the pipes as they are a concealed part of your hot tub. To keep them clean, we recommend flushing the lines before draining.
Firstly, you should remove the filter. Measure the amount of flush line product relative to a hot tub’s volume. Add the product into water and run the hot tub jets at a high speed for 30 minutes or leave to circulate overnight.
Don’t panic if the hot tub’s water foams, it means that the flush line product is effectively removing the germs and biofilms.
Drain the water
You can drain the hot tub’s water using one of the following methods:
Jump to the section with a comparison of these two methods to find the one best suited for you.
To drain water with a garden hose first you should find the main drain plug (usually located at the bottom or at the corner of a hot tub). Attach a garden hose to it, run it to the place you drain the water, and start the draining process.
If you decide that draining with a sump pump is the best option for you. Then attach a hose to the sump pump. Place the sump pump at the deepest part of your hot tub. Run the hose’s open end to the draining place, turn the pump on, and start draining the hot tub.
Soak the filter in chemicals
Soaking filters in the chemicals will provide deep filter cleaning. The procedure will help to eliminate any contaminants and dirt. You will be sure that freshly refilled water will pass through a crystal clear filter.
To soak the filter in chemicals properly, remove the filter. Fill the 5-gallon bucket with water and add a filter soak product in accordance with instructions. Let it soak at least 1 hour in the hot water or leave it overnight in the cold water. That’s all. The filter will be as good as new. Don’t forget to rinse it with water to prevent the water from foaming.
Clean the shell
When your one-person hot tub or more is empty, you’ll be able to see the parts of the shell that need cleaning.
To make shell cleaning maximally efficient make sure that you have the following equipment:
If you still have some questions about the cleaning routine and would like to find more useful tips as well as typical cleaning mistakes, you can read our all-in-one cleaning guide.
Drain the hot tub properly
Over time the water in your hot tub becomes saturated (“old”). Chemicals stop working properly due to water saturation and often lose their ability to balance the water. So, you should drain the water quarterly to keep the water free from germs and allow the chemicals to work efficiently.
To drain the water and clean the hot tub, you will need the following equipment:
- Flush lines product
- Garden hose
- Sump pump (optional)
- Filter soak product
- Shell cleaning spray
- Cover cleaner
- Non-abrasive cloth
- Pre-filter (optional)
- Chlorine or bromine test strips
- Chlorine or bromine sanitizer
Drain with a sump pump or garden hose?
Both methods have their pros and cons and will be suitable for different hot tub tubs. Here we will consider the pros and cons of each method to help you make the best decision.
+ The cheapest way
+ Perfect for small hot tubs
– Drains water slowly (may take several hours)
– Leaves a lot of water in hard to reach places (foot-well, seats)
+ Drains water extremely fast (on average takes approximately 20 minutes)
+ Removes water more efficiently than a garden hose
+ Perfect for all size hot tubs
– More expensive than a garden hose
Drain and refill the water step-by-step
1. Flush the lines
Before draining, it is important to get rid of the dirt accumulated on the pipes. Flush lines product will deal with this task easily. You just need to add the product into hot tub water (according to a hot tub’s volume) and let it circulate for 30 minutes at high speed. You could also leave it overnight at low speed.
2. Turn the power off
The combination of electricity and water is hazardous. Besides, the pump motor may also get damaged if it is running in an empty hot tub.
3. Drain the water
Drain with a garden hose.
- Find a drain plug, it is usually at the bottom or at the corner of a hot tub.
- Attach the garden hose and run the hose to the place you are going to drain the water.
- Open the ball valve and start draining.
Drain with a sump pump.
- Attach a garden hose to the sump pump.
- Place the pump at the deepest place inside the hot tub.
- Run the open end of a hose to the draining place.
- Turn on the pump and start draining.
4. Clean the filters and shells
A clean filter ensures that pure water fills into your hot tub and prevents dirt from accumulating in the pump. You just need to fill a bucket with water and add a filter soak product. Let the filter soak for at least 1 hour if the water is warm and overnight if the water is cold.
A lot of dirt may accumulate in difficult-to-reach places such as foot-wells and seats. When the water is drained it is time to use a shell cleaning spray to get rid of contaminants and bacteria.
5. Clean the hot tub’s cover
A hot tub cover can get very dirty. Regular cleaning will prevent dirt from building up. Use a garden hose to rinse away leaves and debris and then apply a cover cleaner. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and wipe away with a non-abrasive cloth. Don’t forget to get rid of the product excess with water. Then it’s time to flip over the cover and clean the other side.
6. Refill your hot tub
Once you have drained the water and completed all the cleaning procedures, you can refill the water. But before make sure that the breaker is still off and the jets are opened.
Just stick the end of the hose into the filter compartment and turn on the spigot. You can also use a pre-filter if you live in an area with hard water (contains a large number of minerals) or just want to get the purest water. Attach it to the hose before refilling.
7. Turn on the power
Now you can turn on the power to start the system. The water will circulate and will slowly start to heat.
8. Balance the water
Balancing the water is the last step before enjoying time in a freshly refilled, clean hot tub.
Where to drain hot tub water?
The first place that probably came to your mind is grass in the yard. And yes, you can drain water there but only if the water is balanced. Otherwise, it may damage the grass and plants.
Never drain water in a storm drain since it can be harmful to the ecosystem.
You can also drain the water in the sewer system.
If you still have questions, we recommend you to read our end-to-end guide on how to drain hot tub water properly. You’ll be able to address common questions and fix typical mistakes quickly and easily.
Winterize a hot tub
Winter is coming and it is high time to make a hot tub ready for cold weather. You will need to winterize a hot tub if the temperature in your area drops below 32°F (0°C) and if you are not going to use a hot tub for the winter holidays.
To prepare your hot for the winter season you will need:
- Flush lines product
- Garden hose
- Sump pump (optional)
- Filter soak product
- Shell cleaning spray
- Antifreeze solution
- Cover cleaner
- Non-abrasive cloth
Winterize a hot tub in 9 easy steps:
1. Flush the lines
Before leaving your hot tub for a winter nap, make sure that the hot tub’s pipes are clean so you don’t find a nasty surprise after de-winterization. Flush the lines with a specially designed product.
Pour flush lines product in the hot tub water according to the instructions. Let it circulate for 30 minutes at high speed or leave it overnight at a low speed. And that’s all, your hot tub pipes will be as good as new.
2. Turn off the power
Turning off the power is important as it will reduce life-threatening risks and will prevent the pump motor from breaking. The motor may damage if it runs in an empty hot tub.
3. Drain the water
You can drain water on the grass (if hot tub water is well-balanced: pH level is in the range of 7.2 – 7.8; Total Alkalinity is 80 – 150 ppm) or in the sewer system. Never drain water in storm drains.
4. Loosen the unions
Unions connect the pump and heater to the hot tub’s pipework. If you loosen the unions, the remaining water from the plumbing system will drain.
5. Soak the filter in chemicals
To make sure that your filter is free from organic contaminants and germs soak the filter in chemicals for at least 1 hour. Rinse it with clear water and let it dry. Once it is dry, reinsert the filter in the hot tub.
6. Remove the excess water
Shop-Vac (also known as Wet-Vac) will blow-out the pipes and remove excess water. Some water may remain even if you drained the water with a sump pump. Shop-Vac works as a vacuum cleaner and removes the remaining water. It will also clean the dirt from the hot tub shell making the cleaning process much quicker.
Open the jets and insert the hose of Shop-Vac into the nozzle of each jet. Start absorbing water with the jets and then move downwards to remove the excess water.
7. Clean the hot tub shell
After a hot tub is drained, you can easily see all the dirty areas and effectively deal with them.
To clean the hot tub shell use shell cleaning spray. Apply the product on the surface, and clean with a non-abrasive cloth. Don’t forget to rinse the shell with water to get rid of excess cleaning product.
8. Pour antifreeze
We recommend adding an antifreeze solution due to one simple reason — you will not get rid of all the water from a hot tub, even if you use a Shop-Vac. An antifreeze solution is a kind of “safety bag” which prevents any leaks after de-winterization.
Use only Propylene Glycol as an antifreeze as it is non-toxic and will not damage your hot tub. Using an automobile antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol) is not recommended as it is not an antifreeze product for hot tubs.
9. Clean and secure the cover
Before leaving your hot tub for winter, clean its cover properly to prevent dirt build-up over the time you don’t use a hot tub. Rinse the hot tub cover with water to remove dirt and debris. Use a cover cleaner, let it sit for 15 minutes, and gently wipe the surface with a non-abrasive cloth.
Don’t forget to secure the hot tub cover to prevent living creatures from getting in.
Read the full winterization guide in our article on proper hot tub winterization. As a bonus, we present a highly efficient trick which will allow you to make the most of winterization.
Repairing hot tub leaks
The hot tub has a lot of openings that may leak. Leaks can appear in different places such as a pump, heater, pipes, valves, connections, or the shell. Preventing a leak is highly important since, in the long run, even the smallest leak may lead to significant damages and can harm your property.
But how can you find the leak and fix it? Did you know that a leak sealer will get rid of any problems in 80% of cases if you use it under the first 24 hours?
Let’s have a look at how to deal with leaks.
How to find the hot tub leak?
To find a leak you will need:
- Flashlight (to look into darker areas and find a leak)
- Dark food color (if you can’t find a source of the leak)
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the tools, you may find a leak without some of them, everything depends on the source of the leak.
Now, how do you locate the leak?
- If the water leaks from the underside of the hot tub, remove the side panels and check with a flashlight. Before you check, don’t forget to turn off the power.
- Inspect the spa equipment section. Parts may become unusable (they will need to be replaced).
- Check the valves that lead to the pumps and the heater. Don’t forget about unions, they may be loosened.
- Inspect all the pipes that go towards the jets.
- Observe the dropping water level. For instance, if it stops dropping at the level of the jets, then it’s most likely that a jet is the source of leakage.
- Check whether the shell of the hot tub has cracks.
- Multiple leaks can be detected by adding dark food color in the water. Drop dark food colorant in the water in front of the jets and keep an eye out for where the food coloring falls. If it leaks outside of the jet, you may have found a leak. Repeat this test for all jets if you didn’t find a leak.
How to fix the hot tub leak?
Once you have found the leak, we will show how to address it depending on the source and severity of the leakage.
The pump is the most common cause of leaks. Turn off the power and look for water leakage under the pump.
If you have found water, you will need to replace the pump seal and most likely the pump itself.
Fixing a heater is tricky and we recommend consulting with an expert. In most of the cases, the leaks here mean that the heating system parts should be repaired or replaced.
Connections, unions fittings
Connections around the pump and heater are a very common source of leaks because they loosen over time.
In most cases, all you need is to tighten or reseal the connections, It can be done manually or you can use a tool.
The manufacturers recommend removing leaking valves and replacing them with the new ones.
You can easily repair pipe leaks with a liquid binder glue (Plast-Aid). The glue will expand, and the pipe leaks will harden, and become extremely strong.
Hot tub shell
Shell leaks are rare. But in the case of leaks, they can easily be repaired with an acrylic and PVC repair kit.
Plast-aid Multipurpose Repair Plastic
Price range: $
– Highly efficient in repairing pipes leaks
– Easily deal with cracks on the shell
– Can be colored becoming invisible in the shell
Inflatable hot tub leaks
The inflatable hot tub may leak due to 2 reasons:
1. A leaky air-valve
To check whether the air-valve is leaking, you should soak the valve in soapy water. If you see bubbles, it means that the air-valve is loose and is the cause of the leak.
To fix a leaky air-valve, you should deflate the spa, hold the rear end of the valve and turn it clockwise until it tightens. Check if you have fixed the problem by repeating the test with soap.
2. Damage or puncture
To find a leak, you should mix water and a little soap into a spray bottle and shake it. Spray it onto the surface of the inflatable hot tub. The presence of large bubbles will indicate a leak.
Silicone is a quick and inexpensive way to repair a hot tub. You just need to seal the puncture by applying silicone and then allowing it to dry.
However, silicone may not stick well to some inflatable hot tub surfaces (due to the type of material). For a better result, we recommend using a special repair kit. The vinyl repair kit includes a tube with vinyl glue, a transparent vinyl patch, and an applicator for the glue.
If you would like more information about hot tub leaks, their types, and how to prevent them, read our article on how to fix a hot tub leak.
Maintain hot tub safely
You should keep your hot tub safe whether your hot tub is in use or not. We provide you with 4 accessories which will help to maintain the hot tub safely and prolong its lifespan.
Cover the hot tub
A hot tub cover is essential and here we will explain why. Firstly, it protects the hot tub water from getting contaminants from the environment, so you won’t need to clean the hot tub as much and you will need fewer chemicals. Secondly, the hot tub cover will prevent heat from escaping, thereby saving you money on hot tub heating.
The perfect hot tub cover is waterproof and UV resistant, it prevents dust from the outside from getting into your hot tub.
To ensure that you can climb into a hot tub safely, we recommend that you use steps and handrails. The steps should be with slip-resistant grips and handrails to provide support and minimize the risk of injuries. The possibility of getting injuries is especially high when you are wet and getting out of the hot tub. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Price range: $$
– A slip-resistant platform for easily climbing into a hot tub
– Quick snap without additional equipment
– Durable blow-molded plastic
Price range: $$$
– Safe and easy access in a hot tub
– Mounts directly on spa cabinet
– Durable textured Black finish
According to the American Burn Association, your skin can burn in 2 seconds if the water temperature is 148°F (64°C). It is important that you pay attention to the water temperature to prevent health problems.
The safe temperature for bathing is not higher than 100°F (37°C). To measure the water temperature, we recommend using a specially designed thermometer that floats on the water’s surface.
Where and how to install a hot tub
You probably already have a place you plan to put a hot tub in but we recommend taking a look at the requirements below since there are some requirements for both indoor and outdoor installation.
Installing hot tub outdoors
The optimal location for placing a hot tub is outdoors. What can be better than soaking in a hot tub under the starry sky on a hot summer night, right? But it doesn’t just involve placing it on the grass in your yard. You can place your hot tub anywhere provided there is a firm foundation (max 10x10ft / 3x3m).
Here are some of the place we recommend to place a hot tub:
- Wide stone or concrete paving around the house. The material is usually at the ready standard, just make sure that the surface is level and the paved area is big enough to place a hot tub.
- Deck around the backdoor. If you have a deck around the entrance doors or along the wall, this is an ideal place for placing the hot tub. Don’t forget to consult with your contractor to find out how much weight the deck can bear. If a hot tub is too heavy, you can always consider buying a lighter, inflatable hot tub.
If none of the above options work, we have another one — you can place a hot tub anywhere provided that you prepare a surface for your hot tub.
You can prepare the surface using the following two ways:
- Concrete slab. This method costs between $150 and $200 on average. All that is required is to pour the concrete in a suitable area.
You need to measure the dimensions that fit your hot tub. Remove the sod to a depth of three inches. Place 4-inch-tall limiter bars. Pour the concrete into space in two to three layers, smooth with a long straight bar, and leave for at least 72 hours. Gravity will align the slab.
- Pre-fab Pads. If you don’t want to spend time on a concrete slab, you can use Pre-fab Pads. It’s a simple but more expensive approach. On average people need six pads, which will cost between $450 to $500.
Make sure that the surface is level. We also recommend using gravel for backing under the pads.
Price range: $
– Stable and secure platform for placing a hot tub
– Has connectors for different hot tubs
Handi Spa Hot Tub Deck Foundation
Price range: $$$
– Protects the underside of your hot tub
– Easy to install
– Made of durable polyethylene resin
Installing a hot tub indoors
Installing a hot tub indoors is a bit challenging, besides the surface that you place a hot tub on, you should also consider whether the place is safe and won’t pose any health risks due to inadequate ventilation. You may also need permission to install a hot tub.
You can install a hot tub in the following places:
- Basement. It is a good option since it is isolated from the main living area of the house. You will not have to worry whether the floor can support your hot tub because the basement floor can support any hot tub weight.
But keep in mind that a hot tub is a source of moisture that can lead to mold and rot. Ensuring that you have quality ventilation will be a good solution. The bare minimum is installing an exhaust fan. We also advise using a fan heater which will equalize the room temperature. It is also recommended to add a dehumidifier that will get rid of moisture from the air.
Price range: $
– Portable and easy to control heater
– Effectively equalize the room temperature
Price range: $$
– Helps to eliminate humidity
– Silent operation
– Easy to install, doesn’t require any tools
Price range: $$$
– Effectively eliminate moisture from the air
– Durable and modern design
- Ground floor. The best place on the ground floor is a bathroom. A bathroom generally has good ventilation; most of the other rooms will be damaged by moisture. If you cannot put a hot tub in the bathroom a dehumidifier will help.
- Custom room. If you have the budget, you can create a custom room.
To make the room safer, build it closer to the ground. Use only moisture-resistant materials like teak, cedar, ceramic tile, or FRP for walls.
Connect the drain on the floor and additional pipes to the hot tub. Due to safety reasons, all electrical connections must be outside the room.
If you’re wondering how to place a hot tub in the right spot and are concerned about typical mistakes and how they can be avoided, you can find more information in our article on how to pick & prepare a place for a hot tub.
For proper hot tub maintenance, you should have a routine to follow to ensure that you can make the most of your hot tub and you can enjoy your time whilst being safe in the water. The first step is ensuring proper installation, then you need to make sure that the water is clean and balanced correctly. You need to drain the water and don’t forget winterization and prepare for the frosty season. There are some hot tub accessories that you can buy to make the hot tub safe and prolong its life. These accessories include a hot tub cover to protect from contaminants, steps to make climbing into the hot tub easier, handrails for added support, and a thermometer that will help to maintain a hot tub safely.
🤔 How do you maintain a hot tub?
❓ Is it difficult to maintain a hot tub?
👌 What chemicals do I need to maintain a hot tub?
💡 Can I use a hot tub without chemicals?
🔍 Does fixing a leak for hot tubs work?
Yes! If your hot tub has a small leak, the leak sealer will 80% deal with it if you use it in under 24 hours. In our article, you can find information on how to find a leak and fix it.
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