Regular maintenance will help you keep your hot tub/swim spa in good working order, and save you time and money. A hot tub is a wonderful addition to any home, providing a place for family and friends to spend some time together while being able to relax and enjoy each other’s company at the same time. The thought of having to maintain a hot tub, can be a little concerning for some people, but with the right type of advice from a reputable dealer, this does not have to be an issue and, once you get into the swing of it, will only take you a few minutes a day (or you can choose to have your hot tub maintained by a BISHTA member).
So, the first step to simple and low-cost hot tub/swim spa maintenance is buying a quality product from a reputable dealership. As well as selling a high quality, reliable product with good on-site parts and labour warranty; a reputable dealer should also be knowledgeable and be able to offer straightforward water care advice to current BISHTA standards. If they can’t, be very wary of your dealings with such a company. Sadly, there are a few unscrupulous firms, particularly some internet only, importers of sub-standard products, who offer very poor or no water care advice at all.
Here is a typical sample regime of hot tub maintenance, which will keep your spa water safe and crystal clear, minimise the amount of time and money you spend on it, and maximise the time you spend enjoying it. Check with your retailer for the exact regime for your hot tub/swim spa, as some filter systems vary by manufacturer.
pH to be maintained at 7.0 to 7.6 ideally the closer to 7.0 the better.
If using Bromine: Bromine residual to be maintained at 2 to 4mg/l (ppm).
If using Inorganic Chlorine (usually Sodium Hypochlorite or Calcium Hypochlorite): Chlorine residual to be maintained at 2 to 4mg/l (ppm).
If using Organic Chlorine (usually Stabilised Chlorine such as DiChlor or Tri-chlor): Chlorine residual to be maintained at 3 to 5 mg/l (ppm).
Total Alkalinity to be maintained at 80 to 160 ppm. (industry parameters).
- Always test the water before use, to ascertain pH and sanitiser readings. Add required chemicals, as necessary, to correct any out of parameter readings, according to manufacturer’s directions on the packaging. Check the status of bromine tablets in the dispenser (if using bromine tablets) and add more if necessary. (Use pH Minus to reduce a high pH, OR pH Plus to raise a low pH).
- NB: Do not check pH for at least 20 minutes after the hot tub was last used, to allow time for all bubbles to dissipate.
Ideally Monthly, But Not More Than Three Months (Maximum!)
Please note the following may need to be carried out more frequently.
- Add a clarifying agent according to manufacturer’s instructions to help maintain water clarity. This should not be needed always, but may be required e.g. after a party.
- Check T.A. (Total Alkalinity) level and, if required, add a T.A. increaser.
- Add a Scale & Stain Inhibiting agent according to manufacturer’s instructions to help maintain water clarity and prevent scale formation and cloudy water. NB: Do not carry this out on the same day that you add the clarifying agent.
- Remove the pleated filter cartridge and soak in a specific Cartridge Cleaner that is both acidic and a degreaser. This avoids the need for “Hosing off” with its attendant Legionella Risk from aerosolised water droplets. Gently wash off the Cartridge and then allow to dry. Hence the need for 2 sets of filter cartridges. NB: Do not use a pressure washer for this task, and ensure that the power to the hot tub is turned off while the filter is removed from the hot tub.
- Top Tip: Given that it is necessary to allow a cleaned and rinsed filter to dry out before returning it to the hot tub, it is a good idea to buy a second set of spare filters so that whilst one set is being cleaned, rinsed and dried, the second set can be in the hot tub filtering the water. This ensures that you have no downtime and you can still enjoy your hot tub whilst one set of filters are being cleaned.
- Oxidise (or “shock dose” with non-chlorine shock) the hot tub with an oxidising agent according to manufacturer’s instructions to help eliminate bather waste, after heavy use. Super-Chlorinate with a quick dissolving Calcium Hypochlorite at 20ppm for 2.5 hours to try to eliminate bacteria that may have developed a resistance to the sanitiser at normal residuals and to oxidise biological impurities in the water. NB: If the hot tub is particularly heavily used, after a party, for instance, it may be necessary to oxidise more often.
- Super-chlorination using a quick dissolving calcium hypochlorite will both oxidise to help break down Combined Chlorine and will quickly kill bacteria. Shock dosing a hot tub at 20 ppm for 2.5 hours is recommended upon an initial fill of a hot tub and monthly thereafter.
- Completely drain the hot tub down and clean the inside of the shell with a specialist hot tub surface cleaning product. DO NOT under any circumstances use proprietary household cleaning products such as Jif, Flash, Fairy etc. The drain-down time is dependent on how heavily used it is, especially if the water chemistry becomes harder to maintain despite all your efforts, or if the water looks tired, and slightly musty, despite the chemistry being within the parameters.
Bear in mind that, for obvious reasons, a hot tub will see its heaviest usage in the first six months of ownership, so you will need to ensure you’re particularly diligent until it settles down to a more regular pattern of use.
ALWAYS SWITCH OFF POWER TO A HOT TUB, WHEN REMOVING THE FILTER.
ALWAYS STORE, HANDLE AND ADD HOT TUB CHEMICALS ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTIONS ON THE MANUFACTURER’S PACKAGING, AND ENSURE YOU USE AND OPERATE YOUR HOT TUB ACCORDING TO THE OWNER’S MANUAL.
It is essential that you learn the basics of looking after your hot tub/swim spa. You can also talk with a reputable retailer from BISHTA, as most offer a range of service and maintenance packages according to your needs and budgets.
BISHTA offers a range of informative factsheets on a complimentary basis. These are designed to make hot tub and swim spa ownership and maintenance understandable. Click Here to view and download these.