So, you’ve just got a new hot tub and are looking for an easy-to-understand guide that tells you everything you need to know about hot tub maintenance. We’ve got you covered. This article will cover everything you need, from hot tub chemicals and cover maintenance, to cleaning your hot tub and when to fully drain it.
Maintenance seems like it can be overwhelming at first, but once you break it down into its main components and start using an easy-to-follow maintenance schedule, you’ll be a hot tub pro in no time.
Step-by-Step Hot Tub Maintenance
Hot tub maintenance can be broken down into 6 simple steps which, once you understand how and when to do them, will make maintaining your hot tub an easy process:
- Test your hot tub water daily
- Clean your hot tub
- Filter maintenance
- Regular water circulation
- Cover maintenance
- Drain your hot tub
1. Test Your Hot Tub Water Daily
Test your water daily using testing strips, checking the sanitiser levels, pH levels, and the total alkalinity of your hot tub’s water. As a new hot tub owner, using chemicals and checking for different levels can be a bit overwhelming. However, you don’t need to have a scientific level of understanding, you just need to know the basics and what you need to be aiming for. For more detailed information, you can read our hot tub chemical guide.
Once you become comfortable testing your water, and you see consistent results every day, you can think about reducing the tests to every other day. Bear in mind that you’ll need to test before and after adding chemicals. Additionally, you may need to go back to daily testing if you’re using your hot tub more frequently.
Keeping your hot tub water clean and bacteria free ensures that your bathing experience will remain safe and enjoyable. Making sure your sanitiser levels are correct will ensure that no harmful bacteria will start to grow in your hot tub. To adjust your hot tub’s sanitiser levels, there are two main adjusters you can use, Chlorine or Bromine.
To test your sanitiser levels, dip a test strip roughly 30 cm under the water, holding it horizontally, be sure to follow the instructions that come with your test kits for specific instructions as each kit can vary. Compare your testing strip to the colour chart and add the required amount of sanitiser, based on the strip/chart and the kit’s information.
Sanitiser levels are usually measured in parts per million (ppm). If you use chlorine you should be aiming for 3 – 5 ppm, and if you use bromine you should be aiming for 2 – 5 ppm.
The pH level of a substance refers to how acidic or basic it is. On the pH scale of 0 – 14, 7 is considered neutral, an example of this is pure water. Anything above 7 is considered an alkaline, and anything below 7 is considered an acid. The ideal pH level for your hot tub’s water is between 7.2 – 7.4.
If your hot tub’s water is too acidic or too basic, it can cause many problems, including damaging hot tub components, skin irritation, eye irritation, and poor sanitisation of the water. For a full guide on understanding pH levels and how to correctly adjust them, you can read our blog post on balancing pH levels.
Like with the sanitiser levels, you can test your pH using a testing strip, compare it to the pH chart and then follow the instructions from both your testing kit and pH adjusters to either raise or lower the pH level, aiming to get it around a pH of 7.2.
Total Alkalinity (TA) is another thing you need to monitor and adjust in your hot tub. TA is responsible for “stabilising” your water, which will help with keeping your hot tub’s pH at the right level, and make adjusting the pH, when you need to, easier.
If your TA is too low, you’ll experience a lot of up and down fluctuations in your pH when you add chemicals, if the TA is too high, it’ll become incredibly hard to change the pH when you need to.
TA is measured in parts per million (ppm), with the ideal total alkalinity range being anywhere between 100 – 150 ppm.
2. Cleaning Your Hot Tub
Like with most things, your hot tub will benefit from being cleaned regularly. While cleaning any surfaces under the water isn’t possible, you can still wipe down the exposed surfaces with a micro fibre cloth, this should also include the underside of the cover.
Wiping down the surfaces can help clear any trapped dirt or scum, keeping your hot tub experience more sanitary and enjoyable. This can be done on a weekly basis and shouldn’t take very long to do. Additionally, if you see any leaves or debris in the water, be sure to remove those when you see them, this will help to keep your hot tub and water cleaner for longer.
When you drain your hot tub, which should be done 3 – 4 times a year, take the opportunity to fully clean all the surfaces you can’t normally clean, with cleaning sprays designed for hot tubs, and some damp micro fibre cloths.
3. Filter Maintenance
Having a good quality filter in your hot tub is essential to keep your hot tub experience clean, helping you to relax and experience hydrotherapy benefits without having to worry. Staying on top of your filter’s maintenance can ensure longevity and reduce the amount of expensive new components you need to buy.
How Often Should You Clean Your Filters?
How often you should clean your filters depends on the amount of use your hot tub gets, however, a general rule of thumb is to take them out for a clean every two weeks. When your hot tub is filled with fresh water, whether it’s the first time or after a drain, the filters may become clogged after 3 – 4 days, due to small particles found in tap water.
How to Clean Your Filters
You can easily clean your filters using a specifically designed hot tub filter cleaner. For a quick clean, you can evenly spray the filter, leave it for 15 minutes, and then rinse it clean with a hose.
An additional, but recommended, method of cleaning your hot tub’s filter is by leaving the filter to soak in a bucket of filter cleaner overnight. This will ensure a deep clean, breaking down any stubborn oil from the pleats of the filter. As before, rinse the filter after it has been soaked. Be sure to air dry your filter before placing it back into your hot tub.
You can find more information about filter care, as well as our guide to various hot tub filters, in our maintenance and care guide.
4. Regular Water Circulation
One part of your hot tub’s maintenance circulation that is easy to do is to make sure that the water is circulated regularly. Regularly circulating the water helps to keep the water clean and contaminant free, by passing water through the hot tub’s filters.
Some hot tubs will have an automated setting that will start up the hot tub’s jets once or twice a day, for only around 15 minutes. If your hot tub doesn’t have an automatic schedule for this, you can turn on the jets manually for 15 minutes to achieve the same result.
5. Cover Maintenance
A high-quality cover is crucial to having an energy efficient hot tub, as well as helping to keep the water clean when the hot tub isn’t in use. This is why making sure your cover remains in good condition is key to good hot tub maintenance. Regularly cleaning both the outside and inside, your hot tub cover will help to prevent bacteria from growing, keeping your hot tub experience sanitary and safe.
Why Do You Need a High-Quality Cover?
Having a hot tub with a high-quality filter is essential, as it can drastically reduce the running costs of your hot tub, by reducing the amount of heat loss. This is because the water’s surface is responsible for up to 60% of a hot tub’s heat loss.
When your hot tub isn’t in use, you should place the cover back on, this reduces both heat loss and evaporation, keeping the water in its most ideal conditions. An additional benefit is that a cover can increase the time it takes for fresh water to heat up to the ideal temperature.
Your Cover When Using Hot Tub Chemicals
When both testing and adding chemicals, make sure the cover is fully removed from the hot tub, and then wait 20 minutes or so, after putting chemicals in the water, before putting the lid back on. This gives a chance for any chemical gases to escape and disperse, which, if trapped by a cover, could damage the cover, ruining its seal.
6. Draining Your Hot Tub
While chemicals, proper maintenance, and the hot tub’s chemicals can help to prolong the quality of the water, eventually you’ll need to fully drain your hot tub. Before draining your hot tub’s water, use a hot tub flush solution to help remove any dirt, debris, and hardened calcium from your hot tub’s pipes. This will all get removed from the system when the water is drained.
Once the water is drained, take this opportunity to fully clean the entire tub, with hot tub safe cleaning spray and micro fibre towels. During this period, you can also clean the hot tub’s filters too. While the hot tub is empty, this is a good opportunity to thoroughly inspect the shell and the cover for any signs of damage.
Once cleaned, you can refill your hot tub with fresh water from a hose, and then once full, turn on your hot tub to heat up the water – this could take up to 12 hours depending on the size of your hot tub.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to drain and refill your hot tub 3 – 4 times per year.
An Easy Hot Tub Maintenance Schedule
- Test for sanitiser, alkalinity, and pH levels
- Adjust sanitiser levels if needed, following package instructions
- Check levels even if the hot tub hasn’t been used since the last check
- Check the water temperature
- Make sure any debris or obvious dirt is removed
- Adjust alkalinity and pH levels if needed
- Rinse filters if needed
- Wipe down the sides and cover
- Clean filters properly (this should be done twice a month)
- Check the jets are working properly
- Clean pipes with a hot tub flush
- Empty and clean hot tub
- Clean filter/replace filter if needed
- Refill water
- Test and chemicals to achieve desired levels
- Inspect hot tub for damage
- Organise a professional inspection by a hot tub engineer
You can find more information about our recommended hot tub maintenance schedule, and other areas of maintenance in our hot tub care guide.
To summarise, your hot tub maintenance can be made up of 6 areas: Testing/adjusting chemicals, cleaning, maintaining the filter, regularly circulating the water, looking after your cover, and draining/refilling your hot tub.
Making sure you do these tasks, on the schedule we’ve provided, will go a long way to prolonging the lifespan of your hot tub’s components. This ensures that you can always enjoy a relaxing hot tub experience.
At Platinum Spas, we have plenty of guides and articles available to you, so you can learn how to get the most out of your hot tub experience. We have been working with hot tubs and swim spas for over a decade, this experience and expertise has helped us develop premium hot tubs that deliver a luxurious experience.
If you’re looking for a way to socialise and relax in your garden, a Platinum Spas hot tub might be for you. Get in touch with our friendly team of experts, and see how we can help you achieve relaxation today.
Hot Tub Maintenance FAQs
While hot tubs will need regular maintenance in the form of testing and balancing the water, and wiping the surfaces clean, a lot of the more time-consuming tasks such as draining, cleaning, and refilling the hot tub only need to be done once every 3 – 4 months.
Once you get into the rhythm of an easy-to-follow hot tub schedule, hot tub maintenance becomes easy, with only small daily or weekly tasks needing to be completed, none of which are very time-consuming.
Maintaining your hot tub can be broken up into 6 key elements:
– Testing your water for chemicals, and adjusting as needed
– Wiping down your hot tub’s surfaces and cover regularly
– Regularly circulating your water to pass it through the filters
– Regularly cleaning your filters
– Cleaning your cover and inspecting for damage to keep the seal intact
– Draining, fully cleaning, and refilling your hot tub every 3 – 4 months
In addition to this, picking out any leaves or debris that you see in the hot tub will also help to keep your hot tub cleaner for longer.