When maintaining a hot tub, it is important to keep it in excellent condition, as this prevents water problems, the need for expensive equipment, and solves any other issues that may arise.
Basics for Hot Tub Maintenance
When it comes to the maintenance of hot tubs, it is important to take a moment to familiarize yourself with some basic terminology.
For example, it is sometimes called a portable spa or just a spa. Some use the term Jacuzzi; however, this is an unfortunate case of promoting a particular brand name.
Whatever you call your hot tub, it’s important to know the manufacturer and model. With this information in hand, it is much to obtain parts and services when you need them.
It helps your hot tub with “important data,” as well as facilitating your own references and conversations with professionals. These include maximum water capacity, age, and any specific water challenge (such as hard water) that you may need to consider when maintaining your hot tub.
The Three Cs of Hot Tub Maintenance
Think of your hot tub as a small swimming pool. Sure, it doesn’t have a diving board or a bouncy castle you’ll find on eBay, but it does need the same basic care. Three Cs for hot tub maintenance:
Hot tub circulation
Circulating water through the hot tub’s cartridge filter helps keep the water free of contaminants.
Depending on the mode, your hot tub may have an automatic circulation schedule to ensure it runs once or twice a day. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes (or longer) to ensure all the water in the tub goes through the filter. If your hot tub doesn’t automatically cycle, make sure you turn it on for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day, to make sure your water is refreshed.
Don’t be afraid to use these filters. The more you run your hot tub, the cleaner it gets.
Tip: Add some extra cleaning power to your hot tub by adding tennis balls. Hot water extracts oils, lotions, and soaps from your body and clothes, and sometimes your filters can’t get rid of them completely. The fluffy fibers on the tennis balls will dry them out and help keep the water clean.
Bonus tip: The bathtub is running when you’re in it. When to take a bath is a matter of personal preference, but we don’t recommend trying it while sleeping or performing surgery. You can use it during off-peak hours to save money on the first time you slip into the tub. You can also reduce your electricity bill while keeping the water flowing. Plus, those who want to grope in the hot tub might be busy somewhere else instead of trying to bribe their way into your backyard.
Cleaning the hot tub
Cleaning your hot tub is a key part of effective hot tub maintenance.
Both indoor and outdoor hot tubs are prone to dirt, but if your hot hub is outdoors, watch out for debris such as leaves, wind-blown garbage, and the occasional stray animal. Keep the hot tub’s waterline and seat clean to help prevent potential water problems.
Clean your hot tub shell and jet weekly with a sponge and some white vinegar will keep it neat. You can also use it to scrub the scum line at the water’s edge.
Make sure you clean the inside of your hot tub as much as possible and don’t forget to wipe off the outer shell. When you take a hot bath, quickly clean the tub cover with 10% bleach to prevent mold.
Weekly cleaning is essential for hot tub care. However, you should plan to thoroughly clean your hot tub every three to four months, especially if you use it regularly, have lots of guests, or both. After all, you wouldn’t put water in the bathtub at home once a year and expect everyone to reuse the same water, right? Sheet.
Tip: Set a timer to fill the hot tub after you take a shower. It will remind you to go to the hot tub to avoid messy and expensive spills.
Don’t forget your hot tub filter
They work when your hot tub is running, and your hot tub filters need to be cleaned well to work properly. You can clean them in three ways: rinse, spray, and soak.
Rinse your hot tub filters as often with warm water or a garden hose, especially if you’re a frequent hot tub user.
Spray the strainer with the hot tub strainer cleaner about once a week to provide deeper cleaning. Don’t forget to wash it.
Soak the filters in a chemical cleaner every time you clean the hot tub. This will prolong the strainer’s life and reduce stubborn particles. Then rinse thoroughly.
When your filters get to the point where even soaking them in a chemical solution won’t clean them completely, it’s time to replace them.
Hot Tub water chemistry
A clean hot tub is another core component of hot tubs: hydrochemistry. Balancing water in your hot tub is similar to balancing water in a swimming pool but can be tricky due to the huge size differences.
Wait, don’t call your high school chemistry teacher yet. Your target elements are exactly the same as in the pool: pH, alkalinity, and disinfectant concentration.
But before you add anything to your hot tub, you need to know your water chemistry. Once your hot tub is full, test your water to determine pH and alkalinity levels.
Set the pH between 7.4 and 7.6. Values below this range will be too acidic. Water can eat away your hardware, and it can irritate your skin and eyes. Values beyond this range are too basic. Water reduces the effectiveness of disinfectants and tends to be cloudy.
For alkalinity, limit it to 125 parts per million to 150 parts per million. If the alkalinity is too high, scaling and cloudiness will result.
Add the disinfectant of your choice according to the instructions on the package and re-test to make sure the pH and alkalinity are in the optimal range. You can speed up the mixing of chemicals (and help your hot tub heat up faster) by closing the air valve.
If you’ve used your hot tub after a long period of inactivity, or you’ve used it extensively, it’s a good idea to shock your hot tub to make sure it’s completely disinfected. Maintain the hot tub regularly to keep the water safe and clean.
Test your water weekly, use a dipstick or liquid test kit, and adjust your water chemistry as necessary.
Tip: Always have the necessary chemicals at hand so you can adjust your water as needed:
- PH increaser
- PH decreaser
- Alkalinity increaser
- Sanitizer (chlorine, bromine, etc.)
- Test strip
Following these three Cs can lay a solid foundation for your hot tub care and set you on the legendary path to soaking satisfaction. To further consolidate your hot tub treatment plan, add an effective and consistent hot tub maintenance plan. You can expand your hot tub skills with more advanced quests while minimizing the risk of accidents.
Develop a Hot Tub Maintenance Schedule
When it comes to hot tub maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of snazzy filters and crazy repairs. Well, no one is going to embroider these words on a pillow any time soon. At least, we hope not. But the truth is, preventive and practical maintenance is the first step to enjoying a hot bath.
What is the key to good maintenance? Consistency and simplicity. You’ll find that when you break the process down into manageable steps, the stress is greatly reduced, and the task is much easier to track.
This technology, known as “chunking,” is being used by educators, project planners, and business people around the world to improve their productivity. But it’s just as effective at planning a personal project, like a year of hot tub maintenance, without making your head explode.
Each hot tub is different, but each hot tub benefits from simple and consistent maintenance. Setting a schedule to keep your hot tub wet is easier than you might think.
Decide how you want to track your tasks before you do anything else. You can set up calendar reminders in apps like the Google calendar or apple’s iCloud, or use a paper calendar or whiteboard to make things easier.
Use an application
This high-tech route lets you keep everything on your phone, tablet, or computer and remind you when you finish each task. You can set the reminder to repeat at an interval of your choice. For example, you can set up your selection application to send a daily reminder of a basic daily task.
For monthly tasks, such as chemical cleaning your filters, you can set reminders the week before, the day before, and deadlines. This way, you can keep updating, and important tasks won’t be left out.
Use a Calendar
If you choose the paper route, we recommend that you buy a cheap calendar that you can place in the doorway to your hot tub area, or, if your hot tub is indoors, by the hot tub itself. Choose a calendar with large squares and plenty of room to take notes so you can see the details at a glance.
You can list your tasks for a whole year at once, giving yourself a handy visual reminder of what needs to be done when. Hang a marker next to your calendar so you can cross out tasks you’ve completed or taken notes if something unusual suddenly happens.
Use a Dry Eraser Board
They’re not just for the office! You can hang a dry board near your hot tub, list your daily tasks, or add a reminder to deal with any unusual problems that might crop up. Unlike paper, it can’t be damaged by spills or accidental dunks. Just don’t let any marks fall into the hot tub, or you might end up with dyed water.
Build your hot tub maintenance calendar
Once you’ve decided how to track your tasks, the next step is to assemble the task list and decide when you need to finish them. This phase is also a great time to find overlapped tasks so that you can schedule your annual hot tub maintenance tasks on the same day and your weekly or quarterly tasks on the same day to save you time and effort.
For example, you know that you will perform hot tub maintenance tasks, such as checking for surface damage, at the same time every day. So if you decide to set aside a portion of your morning to take care of your hot tub, you can set aside a portion of your week to complete your weekly tasks, such as cleaning your hot tub cover.
To expand on this idea, if you schedule your weekly hot tub maintenance on Thursday mornings, make sure your monthly and quarterly maintenance is also scheduled on the right Thursday. This will help you establish a consistent routine and avoid the potential disaster of neglecting important tasks.
Of course, some tasks take more time than others. If you need to set aside some extra time to complete tasks that you don’t do very often or spread them over two days, you can do these tasks with the same overall schedule.
Figuring out what to do and when can seem a little difficult, but never be afraid. Follow an example of a hot tub maintenance plan to easily create your own calendar.
Sample Hot Tub Maintenance Schedule
Just like your car, your computer, or you, your hot tub needs regular maintenance to be in top condition. Your hot tub will have its own special needs regarding hydrochemistry, accessories, and maintenance. But these tasks, broken down by day, week, month, quarter, and year, are universal.
Daily Hot Tub Maintenance
Chances are, you only need to spend a few minutes on your home hot tub’s daily maintenance. Make sure your list includes:
- Ensure the cleanliness and safety of the hot tub cover. A safe lid keeps heat, water, and chemicals inside while keeping debris, pets, and children outside.
- Check water temperature and adjust as needed. Watch out for any drastic temperature changes, as they may indicate a serious system problem.
Check bonnet and air cushion for damage. This is especially important for outdoor hot springs that are exposed to animals and nature.
Perform hot tub maintenance three times a week
Adding these tasks to your list three times a week will help keep your hot tub in tip-top condition. Don’t forget to schedule them close to or at the same time as your daily tasks to save you time and stress.
- Check the alkalinity of the water.
- Check and balance the pH. Along with alkalinity, the pH of a hot tub is one of the most important parts of hot tub chemistry.
- Check your sanitizer levels. Hand sanitizers can keep your mineral water clean and free of germs that could make your friends and family sick.
- Clean above waterline. Wipe away debris that could contaminate the water and disrupt the chemical balance.
Weekly hot tub maintenance
These tasks require TLC only once a week. Look for opportunities to combine tasks, and if you’re tracking potential water quality problems, don’t forget to carefully track the water chemistry of your hot tub to compare it to your daily and monthly levels.
- Test the hot tub water. Check your alkalinity, pH, and disinfectant levels weekly, and if you adjust them, test them after the time period recommended by the manufacturer. Note: This step is one of the steps you check three times a week. Efficiency, that’s great!
- Shock and sanitize the water. When you vibrate your hot tub, it recharges your disinfectant and keeps your hot tub healthy.
- Rinse the hot tub filter with water. A clean filter is worth the weight of gold and prevents murky water, foul odors, bacteria, and the dreaded algae bloom.
- Wipe off your hot tub cover. Cleaning the lid from the inside out prevents mold, mildew, and the unpleasant smell they can cause.
Monthly hot tub Maintenance
Every month, it’s time to go over the details. Specifically, the “grit” that builds up in your jet and filter. You can also do the next phase of the water test.
- Clean the filter with chemicals. This deeper cleaning removes dirt and pain better than water. Just use a chemical cleaner instead of washing with water once a week.
- Check your hot tub jets. Is it blocked or frozen? Oh, oh. It’s time to take a look at your hot tub shower.
- Have your hot tub water checked by a professional. Professionals have more advanced testing equipment that can help you spot and fix water quality problems before they become disasters.
Quarterly Hot Tub Maintenance
Every three to four months, your hot tub needs deep care. Pour it out and clean it well to make sure everything is in good working order. Schedule a time of day for emptying and replenishing, along with your other tasks; give yourself time to clean the lid and take care of your hardware when the hot tub doesn’t work.
- Clean your hot tub cabinet. Wash once a quarter, your hot tub will look great, and you can repair any cosmetic or structural damage.
- Soak the filter in a chemical solution. This is a super version of chemical cleaning; to give your filter a deep clean, it needs to keep your hot tub contamination-free.
- Drain, clean, and repair your hot tub. The best repair time is when you drain and clean your hot tub. Quarterly emptying and cleaning will keep the entire hot tub free of chemical buildup and other goo and gels that can cause performance problems. Soaking the filter while the tub is empty will kill two slimy birds!
In theory, many of the tasks we recommend could be done annually without a significant impact on your hot tub experience. But for optimal performance and the most enjoyable hot bath, we recommend making it a monthly or quarterly task.
Remember, when your hot tub is empty and drained, you can participate in weekly or quarterly tasks such as cleaning, maintenance, and system flushing.
That said, we recommend that you complete these tasks at least once a year, and preferably often:
- Flush lines to remove bacteria and biofilms. It’s actually a good idea to use pipes to flush whenever you drain and replenish your hot tub.
- Check the hardware and wiring of the hot tub. Be aware of damage caused by wear and tear, pests, and chemical imbalances.
- Ask a professional to make a change. They will evaluate all of your hardware and wiring, both internal and external, for potential problems.
- Check your cover. Be aware of body damage, moisture absorption, mildew, or fungal infections.
- Replace or update your hot tub maintenance calendar. With time, you’ll know what works best for you and your hot bath. The New Year is the best time to adjust your maintenance plans for the coming year.
Keep up your maintenance
Performing basic and preventative hot tub maintenance is a real bargain compared to the potential costs associated with maintenance and equipment replacement.
With a little more forethought and regular, ongoing maintenance, you’ll find it easy to keep your hot tub in tip-top shape, freeing you up to do the most important thing of all: enjoy your hot tub.
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Thanks - Andi
Hi, Andi here. I own Buildahottub.com and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.
Today, I've helped over 1000 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi