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Outdoor Resources

Hot Tubs: Maintenance and Care

When you invest in a hot tub, you want to keep it going strong for as long as possible. Regular hot tub maintenance can help ensure you get your money’s worth of enjoyment out of the spa. The best way to approach maintenance is on a regular schedule – in fact, as you get into the swing of it, you’ll want to include the maintenance and care tasks on your calendar, so you can know exactly when to perform certain testing or make adjustments to the water. This will keep your hot tub running like new for a long, long time.

Table of Contents

Hot Tub Maintenance: Weekly

There are three key elements to remember when it comes to weekly maintenance: Circulation, testing, and balancing of the water.

  • Circulate the water. You want to make sure your water is moving on a regular basis, so it can flow through the filters. If you use your tub on a daily or near-daily basis, great! But if you aren’t using it for a while, be sure to run the water every day for at least 20 minutes. This helps ensure all water passes through the filter and keeps pulling out any contaminants. Some hot tubs will feature an automatic circulation cycle that can do this for you.
  • Test the water. You’ll want to test the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer level of your hot tub water at least once a week. You should find a pH between 7.4 and 7.6 – those are perfect numbers to keep your water healthy. You will also be testing chlorine (1.0 to 3.0 ppm), bromine (2.0 to 4.0 ppm), alkalinity (80 to 120 ppm), and calcium hardness (150 to 250 ppm). Write down the results so you can see patterns develop over time.
  • Adjust the water. If your numbers don’t fall within the proper ranges, you need to get them there. How you do this depends upon which numbers are off, as there are a variety of chemicals you’ll use to bring the water to tip-top health. Check with your manufacturer, user guide, or a local contractor to figure out the appropriate chemicals and how to use them.

Hot Tub Maintenance: Monthly

Once a month, you’ll get a bit more detailed.

  • Clean the filters. Filters should be deep-cleaned at least once a month. In the weeks between, spraying them down with a water hose should be ample attention. To deep clean them, you’ll want to soak them in a bucket with a dedicated cleaning solution.
  • Clean the tub. You don’t necessarily have to drain the tub to do this. The use of a robotic vacuum designed for hot tubs, just like one designed for larger pools, can be sufficient. Before using the vacuum, run a sponge around the jets to loosen up any debris. Also, pay attention to any corners or spots where debris tends to congregate. Then let the vacuum do its work.

Hot Tub Maintenance: Quarterly

This is more extensive maintenance. It’s still rather simple but more time-consuming. Keep in mind that this is in addition to the weekly and monthly maintenance, not as a replacement for it.

  • Drain the spa for cleaning. Refer to your manufacturer’s guide on how to drain the hot tub. Many of them are as simple as opening a drain and attaching a hose to direct the water to wherever you want it to go.
  • Thoroughly clean the tub. Once the tub is empty, use appropriate cleaners, a sponge, and some rags to clean the walls and seats, paying close attention to the jets.
  • Wipe down the cabinet. Many cabinets are designed to hold up for decades. All they need is the once-over with a damp cloth from time to time.
  • Refill the tub and adjust water levels. When the tub is clean, refill it. Once it’s full, start the hot tub and let the water circulate through the filters and lines. Then test the water to figure out whether you need to balance the pH or other numbers. (Remember to set a timer as you begin refilling your hot tub. This will help ensure you don’t forget about it and let it overflow.)

Hot Tub Maintenance: Yearly

This will be the most extensive maintenance you’ll perform on the hot tub. In addition to draining it and going through a thorough cleaning, you’ll want to add in these points:

  • Replace the filters. Depending upon how often you use your hot tub, you might need to replace them more often. Even if they seem to be looking and working great, yearly replacement is a must – the tiny filtration systems could be clogged with things you can’t see, and thus not working well. A yearly replacement provides peace of mind.
  • Flush all the lines. Use a solution recommended by the manufacturer to run through your tub and clean out the piping. If you’re hiring a pro to handle this yearly maintenance, be sure this cleaning is on their list of to-do items.
  • Inspect and replace your cover, if needed. Some covers only last a season or two, especially budget covers that aren’t meant to last the life of the tub. Inspect your cover closely for cracks, scratches, bowing, or any other issues. Replace it if you need to do so.
  • Replace elements as needed. Look at the various elements of your hot tub, such as the heater, blower (if you have one), lights, and other elements that could burn out or degrade over time. Inspect every area of the tub, looking for anything that might hint at a problem. The faster you jump on that problem, the more likely your hot tub will last for years to come.

Hot Tub Maintenance: Extra Care

In addition to these key elements of hot tub maintenance, there are other points to ponder as you think about keeping it clean and sanitary.

  • Regularly clean at the water line. Use a sponge soaked in white vinegar to clean the area at the water line. This will prevent scum and debris buildup.
  •  Air out the cover. When you test the water or run the hot tub, set the cover in an area where it can dry out a bit. Direct sunlight on the underside of the cover can work wonders for keeping mildew and mold at bay.
  • Clean the cover. As the cover is airing out, wipe it down with a 10% bleach solution, especially on the bottom. This will help prevent mildew.
  • Unplug the tub before serious maintenance or cleaning! If you’re going to empty the tub to do in-depth cleaning or inspect the wiring, unplug the tub. Always stay safe.

If you ever have a problem with your spa or simply want someone else to handle your hot tub maintenance, turn to Modernize. We can connect you with appropriate contractors in your local area who can handle the maintenance and care of your hot tub, as well as potentially spot problems and make repairs to keep your hot tub in great shape for a long time to come.

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