Hot Tub Maintenance

by Matt Goering

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Regular hot tub maintenance is key for maintaining both optimal performance and the longevity of your spa. It includes daily, weekly, monthly, and periodic maintenance tasks, as well as keeping a close look out for larger potential problems. Here's a quick list of hot tub maintenance basics to get your hot tub maintenance off on the right foot.

Daily Maintenance Tasks
Your daily maintenance tasks are all about maintaining good water quality. In a hot tub that means checking two things: PH and sanitizer levels. This is easy stuff, and can generally be accomplished by dipping a single, color-coded test strip into the water to check that everything is as it should be. If you're diligent about maintaining your tub, most days this won't mean doing anything more than walking out to your tub, dipping the test stick in the water, and heading back inside. If your PH or sanitizer levels need adjusting, however, you'll need take an extra few minutes to dump the proper additive into your water to get things back their proper levels. Doing so will prevent a host of problems, including scaling, mineral buildup, corrosion, skin irritation, and cloudy and stinky water.

Weekly Hot Tub Maintenance Tasks
The only weekly hot tub maintenance chore is "shocking" the water with sanitizer. Whether you use chlorine or bromine, hitting your tub with an extra strong dose of the sanitizer once a week is an easy way to keep your water clear and crystal clean. Besides shocking your tub, other weekly maintenance rituals are specific to your water type and how often you use your spa. Foaming can be a problem if you use your spa regularly, and can be easily solved by pouring a small amount of foam reducer into the water once a week. And if you live in an area with high calcium or mineral content, you might want to hit your water with a de-scaling agent once a week as well. It will prevent mineral buildup in your pumps, hoses, and on the walls of the hot tub itself.

Periodic Hot Tub Maintenance
Besides the previously mentioned tasks, there are a few maintenance procedures you need to schedule a few times a year in order to ensure your tub operates as efficiently, and as long, as possible.

  • First, if you're not doing it weekly because of your water type, it's a good idea to treat your spa with a de-scaling agent a few times a year to prevent mineral buildup.

  • Second, you'll want to remove and clean your hot tub's main filter(s) a few times a year, as well. This can easily be done by placing them in a dishwasher and running them through a cycle with cold water, or by throwing them into your clothes washer (set to "delicate") and doing the same.

  • Finally, you'll want to drain and refill your hot tub a few times a year, just to ensure you are maintaining optimal water quality in your spa.

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    Other Maintenance Tips
    Besides performing regular maintenance tasks, it also doesn't hurt to perform regular inspections of your hot tub's inner workings in order to catch small problems before they become big ones.

    Primarily, look for obvious leaks or wet areas beneath the tub. Catching these problems early can be the difference between replacing a $10 pump seal and needing a new $250 part. Also, pay attention to your hot tub's functioning, and call in a repairman if you notice any major problems, such as failure to heat, pump, or filter the water. Catching an obvious problem like a failed heater during the dead of winter can mean the difference between replacing the heater with a new unit, and having to replace just about everything on your tub after you thaw it out.

    If you suspect your tub needs repair instead of simple maintenance, it pays to call in a hot tub service professional to get your spa back in working order as soon as possible.

    Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.