Nothing says relaxation like a soak in the hot tub. But if your spa water is anything less than sparkling clean, it can quickly become dangerous for users. The small size and high temperatures make it a perfect place for bacteria and other contaminants to grow. To make sure that your hot tub is always safe and inviting for your friends and family, follow these tips from the pros at Doheny’s.

  1. Maintain proper hot tub sanitizer levels

    • The two primary sanitizing chemicals used in hot tubs are chlorine and bromine. Each has its own benefits, and maintaining proper levels is pretty simple.
    • Chlorine is the least expensive option for sanitizer in hot tubs, but it dissipates quickly at high temperatures, so it requires frequent replacement. Shock your spa on opening or after use to bring the free chlorine level to around 10 ppm. After shocking, sanitizer levels should be kept to between 3-6 ppm.
    • Bromine is a more popular option for hot tubs because it lasts much longer, but it is more expensive than chlorine. Add enough bromine initially to reach 10 ppm, then maintain bromine levels of 4-6 ppm using bromine tabs in a bromine dispenser. Hot tubs with bromine still need to be shocked in order to get rid of bromamines in the water.
  2. Keep hot tub water balanced

    • Test your hot tub water several times a week to make sure that the water chemistry is balanced. Use a test kit or test strips to check the following:
      • Calcium hardness - keep levels around 150 ppm. Use a calcium hardness increaser to raise levels.
      • Total alkalinity - look for total alkalinity levels around 50 ppm. Use sodium bicarbonate to raise total alkalinity.
      • pH Levels - 7.2-7.8 is the normal pH range for hot tubs. Use pH Plus or pH Minus to adjust pH levels.
  3. Change water every 3-4 months

    • To maintain a clean, healthy environment in your spa, drain the water, and refill it every 3-4 months. This is not a favorite task for most hot tub owners, but when the total dissolved solids (TDS) level becomes too high, the only way to solve the problem is to change the water. In fact, any time you are having problems balancing the water, draining it and starting over is often the easier and less expensive option.
  4. Clean hot tub filters regularly

    • Clean filters are super important to maintaining a clean hot tub. Set a regular maintenance schedule that includes rinsing the filter cartridges with a garden hose weekly, cleaning them with a spray cleaner monthly, and soaking them every three months. Always keep extra hot tub filters on hand in case one breaks.
  5. Set a maintenance schedule

    • There is a lot to remember when it comes to hot tub care. Use an app, set a reminder on your phone, or mark the calendar so that you remember to check the hot tub chemicals and perform other maintenance regularly.
  6. Place tennis balls in the skimmers

    • Body oils, lotions, deodorants, and hair products can cause problems in your spa. A couple of tennis balls in the skimmers or right in the water will soak up oils and products and prevent them from reaching your spa filter.
  7. Shower before using your hot tub

    • An even better way to ensure that body oils and lotions don’t build up in your spa filter and cause scum on your waterline is to have your friends and family shower off before using the hot tub. It is also a good idea to keep hair up or under a hat, so that hair and hair products stay out of the water. This can save you a lot of time when it comes to spa maintenance.
  8. Clean your hot tub cover with bleach

    • It is common for spa covers to grow mildew and develop a musty smell if they are not properly cleaned. Dilute bleach in water and use a spray bottle to clean the underside of your hot tub cover about every three months.
  9. Keep hot tub heating costs low

    • If you want to enjoy frequent soaks in your spa without the super high heating bills, there are some simple tricks to lowering your energy costs:
      • Heat during off-peak hours - These are the times of day when you pay a lower rate for electricity. Check with your provider to find out your peak hours.
      • Keep your hot tub covered - This not only helps to retain the heat, it also keeps dirt and debris out. Always leave the cover off for 15-20 minutes after adding chemicals.
      • Close air control valves when not in use - When the valves are open and air mixes with the water, this causes the water to cool more quickly.
  10. Protect your hot tub from freezing

    • If you are not going to use your hot tub during the cold winter months, drain all of the water and make sure to clear it from the pipes and jets so that it won’t freeze and cause serious damage. If you plan to continue using your spa during the winter, keep the water temperatures normal and continue your hot tub maintenance routine.

A hot tub is a fun and relaxing addition to any backyard. While keeping it clean and healthy does require some work, the right chemicals and a good maintenance routine will help you get the job done so you can enjoy it. For all of your swimming pool and hot tub supplies visit