Hot tubs are, as the name implies, a very small and hot body of water. For this reason, even a small amount of contaminants like body lotions, sunscreens and organic material can have a large effect on water chemistry. Consequently, it is very important to properly use your hot tub chemicals to maintain the best quality of water in your hot tub. This will enhance your enjoyment while also extending the life of your hot tub!
The first step to properly maintaining your hot tub is through sanitizing the water. Hot tubs use either Bromine or Chlorine to sanitize. Both work perfectly well, however if you are trying to decide which sanitizer is right for your spa, we recommend starting with Bromine. This is primarily because Bromine is not pH dependent whereas chlorine’s effectiveness as a sanitizer will decrease if your water is not properly balanced. Since pH tends to rise in spas, which lowers chlorine’s effectiveness we tend to recommend Bromine to ensure your hot tub is always properly sanitized and safe to use. Speaking of safety, It is important to NEVER mix bromine and chlorine in the same hot tub. If you are looking to switch from one sanitizer to another you MUST drain and refill before doing so.
Most hot tub owners will use a floater filled with their sanitizer of choice to sanitize their tub. This floater is removed before entering the spa and placed back in the water when you are done. There are many factors which can affect how quickly your sanitizer is used up how many pucks of sanitizer you will need to keep in your hot tub to maintain an ideal sanitizer residual of around 3-5 ppm. Consequently there is no set number of pucks that will maintain a perfect sanitizer residual in your spa. We recommend playing around with how far open you keep your floater and how many pucks you place into the floater each week until your find the amount that works with your water volume, spa usage habits and spa temperature to maintain an ideal sanitizer residual.
Furthermore, when you have had a heavy bather load in the hot tub (one bather is one person for 15 minutes) this will drastically decrease your sanitizer residual. It is important in these situations to then add some granular sanitizer or some extra shock to your hot tub to give that depleted sanitizer a boost.
The next most important step in proper use and maintenance of a hot tub is balancing your water. We recommend coming in after your hot tub has been freshly filled for initial balancing instructions. After that it is recommended to come in at least once a month for additional check-ups. The primary reason for this is to ensure that your pH and alkalinity are in range. In spas, pH tends to rise and alkalinity tends to fall. This is a normal result of the chemical reactions that occur within your hot tub. Regular testing will ensure that your pH and alkalinity never come too far out of the ideal range. This will help improve bather comfort and increase the lifetime of your hot tub equipment.
In addition to maintaining a sanitizer residual there are a couple other things that hot tub owners need to be doing on a regular basis to optimize their hot tub experience. As spas are small bodies of hot water it is very important to oxidize out bather wastes on a weekly basis. This is accomplished by shocking the tub. Further it is important to prevent stain and scale formation. Additionally hot tub owners may wish to add enzyme based cleaners that help with waterline scum build up.
Draining and Refilling
Hot tub water should be drained approximately every 3 months. However, this number is not set in stone and if your spa is heavily used you may need to drain and refill more often to ensure optimal water quality and safety. When it is time for you to drain and refill it is important to clean your pipes using hot tub pipe cleaner. This will remove biofilms and scale formation in your pipes and help your spa run as efficiently as possible.
If you are a new hot tub owner and would like a more in depth lesson on how to properly maintain and care for your hot tub using one of our maintenance systems you are welcome to come down for a free lesson with our water lab technicians! Contact the water lab at (204) 233-8822 to book an appointment!