Hot Tub Maintenance Simplified
If you're reading this, you may be thinking about a hot tub for your home or you may already have one. It's easy to get bogged down by the details and chemistry of hot tub maintenance. What you need in the beginning are the steps. You don't need to understand hot water chemistry to maintain a beautiful hot tub. You just need to follow the basic steps routinely.
A hot tub is a closed system if it's covered when not in use. Unlike a pool, a hot tub isn't exposed to the wind and rain. Hot tubs have fewer variables to contend with. However, massive temperature swings is a variable that is unique hot tubs. The other important variable to consider is use, or hot tub traffic. Each bather inputs their own special chemistry into the tub. Things like lotion, makeup, and sweat can all accumulate with high hot tub traffic.
Before we dive into the steps of hot tub maintenance, there is some basic information to consider. These include the capacity of the tub and the hardness of the water provided by your local utility.
The Simple Steps for General Hot Tub Maintenance
Keep Your Hot Tub Clean
This step is simple and straight-forward. Remove all debris from your hot tub every time before you set your cover. Always make sure the hot tub cover is secure while not in use. You'll be surprised how much effort this simple step will save.
Clean your hot tub shell and jets regularly. Scum (biofilm) will gradually accumulate on surfaces. Brushing the shell and jets will prevent scum accumulation. You can do this while bathing which makes it very relaxing.
This same scum will also build up in your plumbing over time. This means the scum will begin to recirculate when your jets are on. Although there are steps you can take to minimize this, it is important to drain your hot tub and purge the lines a couple of times each year. We will take up hot tub purging in a moment.
You can use white vinegar to maintain your plumbing and jets in-between purges. This will temporarily lower the pH of your water. This will help remove and prevent build up of calcium.
To recap the step of keeping your hot tub clean, we keep the tub debris free at all times, cover when not in use, clean the shell and jets regularly, add vinegar occasionally after bathing, and purge the system 1 to 2 times a year depending on traffic.
Hot Tub Circulation
Circulation is probably the easiest and most neglected step of hot tub care. Circulation equals filtration. You need to move all of your water through your hot tubs filters once or twice a day. Depending on the volume of your hot tub, this process should take no longer than 20 minutes.
It is important to keep your water circulating even in times of low hot tub traffic. Some hot tubs come with automatic circulation settings that you can program and forget. However, many do not. If you tub falls in the latter category, you must develop a routine of running your pump evert day that the hot tub is not in use.
Cleaning regularly and maintaining routine circulation and filtration are 80% of the job. These two steps when done well significantly reduce the need for step three, hot tub water balance.
Hot Tub Water Balance
Hot tub water balance, although similar to pool water balance, is a bit more sensitive. The volume of water in a hot tub is much less than a pool. This means that the changes can happen much more quickly making targets harder to hit.
Check and adjust your alkalinity frequently. Alkalinity is the anchor of your hot tub chemistry. Healthy hot tub alkalinity will measure 100 and 150 ppm. If your alkalinity is too high, you may notice that the water will become cloudy. Over time scaling will occur. Scaling refers to calcium exiting the water solution and being deposited in pipes and on surfaces, especially around jets.
Hot tub pH should be around 7.5 (7.4 - 7.6). This is the optimal range for the action of your sanitizer (bromine or chlorine). A pH measure above this range will impede your sanitizer and could lead to water cloudiness. A pH reading below this reading can be hard on your equipment and may leas to acid corrosion.
When you alkalinity and pH are in good range, your sanitizer will be effective. Now all you have to do is introduce your sanitizer in the provided amount for your tub volume, test, and maintain levels. This will prevent algae, biofilm, and cloudiness.
Maintaining a hot tub can be simple of difficult depending on you. If you test and correct regularly and keep your tub clean and circulation, it's easy. If you neglect testing, leave the hot tub open to exposure, and neglect your circulation, at least 50 different things can go wrong. Sometimes this can happen very quickly.
Just make a plan and stick to it and most thing will work out fine. On occasion, something will go wrong. Once you pinpoint and correct the issue, you can fall back on these steps to maintain your hot tub.