Taking care of your spa is simple and important to keeping your water clean and the spa running well. Good spa maintenance involves regularly cleaning the cover and filter of your spa and checking the chemical levels and adding the right chemicals as needed. It is especially important to maintain the right chemical levels in your hot tub because your spa equipment will corrode if the chemical levels are too high and bacteria can take over if the chemical levels are too low. Simple cleaning for your cover clean, as well, will help keep your spa working better longer and protect from bad bacteria and germs. Overall, regular attention to your spa maintenance will keep your hot tub water sparkling and inviting for all bathers.
Use test strips to check the chemical and mineral levels in your spa. You should be checking and adjusting the chemical levels in your spa 1-2 times a week. You can buy spa test strips from most department stores or from a spa store. Packages of these strips cost around 7 dollars, and some test strips provide 6-in-1 readings, including total alkalinity, calcium hardness, chlorine, pH, bromine, and total hardness. Put these strips in your spa for as little as 15 seconds and then view the results.
Add one chemical to your spa at a time. When adjusting hot tub chemical levels, add one chemical to the water, and then wait a full two hours before adding another chemical. This will allow the chemicals to disperse naturally and will help to maximize their effectiveness. Waiting also minimizes the risk of a chemical reactions between the additives that can cause problems.
Keep your spa cover off for at least 15 minutes after you have added your chemicals.
Keep your spa water running when you add the chemicals. This is important because you want the jets to mix the chemicals in the water well.
Pre-measure your chemicals before you add them to your tub. Be careful not to heap the chemicals into your tub, you want to make sure you are achieving the right balance by measuring the chemicals before adding them.
Check total alkalinity first. Depending on the test reading, add sodium bicarbonate (spa up) or sodium bisulfate (spa down) as needed. Use your test strips- a well-balanced spa should be between 80-120 PPM in total alkalinity. If the total alkalinity goes above 120, you should add sodium bisulfate (spa down). If the test strip reads below 80, add sodium bicarbonate (spa up). Add these fast-dissolving spa products to your spa, and then recheck your alkalinity in a couple of hours. It is important to maintain your alkalinity first because it affects your pH.
Use chlorine or bromine to sanitize your hot tub. Make sure to use test strips to maintain the correct chemical levels. Chlorine is the old standard for sanitizing your spa; however, it has been largely replaced by bromine because bromine is less harsh and has a less potent smell. chlorine can be purchased in granular form or in 1-inch tablets. You can only buy bromine in 1-inch tablets.
If you are using chlorine, put 2 tablespoons directly into your spa water every other day or as recommended so that the chlorine level stays between 1.5-3 PPM.
If you are using bromine ,the read on the test strips should stay between 3.0-5.0.
Buy a floater for bromine or chlorine tablets. You will load 4-6 tabs into the floater, and they will dissolve in your spa over time. Using the floater, you won’t have to add bromine or chlorine to your spa as often; however, continue using the test strips to check the chemical and mineral levels in your spa once a week.
Do not over sanitize your spa with chlorine. Make sure you put the appropriate level of chlorine in your spa, but do not add more than the recommended amount, because it could damage the spa’s equipment and cover.
Consider adding a mineral based purifier to reduce the amount of chlorine or bromine you have to use. Nature2 makes a product called Zodiac that reduces the amount of chlorine you have to use to maintain your spa.
Check for calcium hardness. The best way to keep the calcium hardness in your spa in check is to use soft water in your spa. If your spa has too much calcium hardness, it will cause scales to form in your spa. You can use a spa defender product to protect against these scales. On the other hand, if your spa does not have enough calcium hardness, the water will start to draw minerals from other sources, like the aluminum or iron in your equipment. In this case, use a calcium booster to balance the calcium hardness in your spa.
Calcium hardness should stay between 100-250 PPM if the spa has an acrylic finish and 250-450 if the spa has a plaster finish.
Check the pH levels last. Add sodium bicarbonate (spa up) or sodium bisulfate (spa down) as necessary. Your pH should stay between 7.2-7.8. If the pH is off, first work to stabilize the total alkalinity. Then make sure you have added the proper amounts of chlorine/bromine to your spa. And then if the pH is still off, add spa up/spa down or a pH balance product to your spa pH level.
Your pH levels may be adjusted if: the sanitizer you use is not working well, your spa has cloudy water, scales have developed on your filter, or the water is causing skin and eye irritations.
Shock your spa. Put an odorizer into the water once a week, especially when there have been a lot of bathers using the spa. Odorizers kill the bather waste in your spa and keep the water clear and clean. Use Ozone as a shock treatment if you use mineral sanitizers. Use chlorine or bromine shock treatments, depending on which sanitizer you are using in your water, to shock your water once a week as well.