If you're a hot tub owner, you know that regular maintenance is necessary to keep your home spa in optimal condition. Proper maintenance will prolong the lifespan of your hot tub, ensure a safe & enjoyable experience, and reduce the likelihood of unexpected, expensive repairs. 

In this comprehensive hot tub maintenance guide, we’ll walk you through five simple steps to keep your spa running smoothly. From keeping the water clean and balanced to checking the equipment regularly, we've got you covered. We'll also provide you with a simple maintenance schedule, so you know exactly what needs to be done and when.

5 Simple Steps to Maintain Your Home Spa

Taking care of your premium hot tub doesn't have to be complicated. By following these five simple steps, you can ensure that your hot tub remains clean, safe, and enjoyable for years to come.

1. Keep the Water Clean and Balanced

The first step in hot tub maintenance is to maintain clean and balanced water. Regularly test the water chemistry (pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels) and make adjustments as needed. The pH should range from 7.4-7.6 and alkalinity from 80-120 ppm. Add sanitizer, such as chlorine or bromine, to maintain proper levels and kill bacteria. You should also regularly shock the water  to eliminate any contaminants and maintain water clarity. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended shock treatment and frequency. This process should happen at least once every 7-10 days.  

2. Clean the Hot Tub Regularly

Nobody wants to sit in a dirty hot tub. To prevent the buildup of dirt, debris, and bacteria, or disruption of your hydrotherapy schedule, make sure to add these to your maintenance routine: 

  • Remove any leaves, insects, or debris from the surface of the water using a skimmer net.
  • Clean the spa cover using a mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry before placing it back on the hot tub.
  • Scrub the interior surfaces of the hot tub with a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft brush. Pay special attention to the waterline and any visible scum or residue.
  • Clean the filter regularly to ensure proper filtration. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning or replacing the filter.

To save yourself a few minutes each day, we recommend covering it with a hot tub cover – this will keep out things like leaves, small animals, and any other foreign debris. 

3. Check the Equipment Regularly

To maintain a properly functioning hot tub, it's important to inspect the equipment regularly. Here are some key areas to check:

  • Inspect the pump and motor for any signs of leaks, unusual noises, or malfunctions. Replace any worn-out parts or contact a professional for repairs.
  • Check the heater and thermostat to ensure they are working correctly. If you notice any temperature fluctuations or inconsistencies, it may be a sign of a faulty heater.
  • Examine the jets to ensure they are clean and free from obstruction. If any jets are not working properly, check for clogs or contact a professional for assistance.

4. Hire a Professional for Regular Maintenance

While there are many maintenance tasks you can handle on your own, it's highly recommended to hire a professional for regular maintenance, especially if you own a rental property and can’t perform the maintenance yourself. A professional can perform more in-depth inspections, cleanings, and repairs that may be beyond your scope of expertise, or when you’re not present. They can also provide valuable advice on how to optimize the performance of your hot tub and extend its lifespan.

5. Enjoy Your Hot Tub Responsibly

Lastly, remember to enjoy your hot tub responsibly. Avoid using lotions, oils, or excessive amounts of soap before entering the tub, as they can build up and affect water chemistry. Encourage your guests to shower before using the hot tub to minimize the number of contaminants. Additionally, limit the number of people using the hot tub at once to prevent overcrowding and maintain proper water balance.

Suggested Hot Tub Maintenance Schedule

To keep your hot tub in optimal condition, it’s best to establish a regular maintenance schedule so that you stay on top of these tasks. With consistent maintenance, you can keep your home spa clean, safe, and enjoyable, as well as prevent expensive repairs from a lack of care.

Daily: Skim the Surface

Take a few minutes each day to skim the surface of your hot tub to prevent debris from sinking to the bottom and clogging the filter. Use a skimmer net to remove any leaves, insects, or other floating debris. This simple daily task will help to maintain the cleanliness of your hot tub water, and should only take 5-10 minutes.

Weekly: Test the Water Chemistry & Shock the Water

Test the water chemistry of your hot tub on a weekly basis to ensure that the water remains balanced and safe to use. Use a test kit to measure the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels. Adjust the water chemistry as needed to keep the pH within the range of 7.4-7.6 and maintain the proper levels of alkalinity and sanitizer.

In addition to testing the water chemistry, it is recommended to shock the water on a weekly basis. Shocking the water helps to eliminate any contaminants that may have accumulated and restores water clarity. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended shock treatment and dosage.

Monthly: Clean the Filter

A dirty or clogged filter can hinder the performance of your hot tub and lead to cloudy or dirty water, which will prevent you & your guests from using it. To clean the filter, remove it from the hot tub and rinse it thoroughly with a hose to remove any debris. If the filter is heavily soiled, you may need to soak it in a filter cleaning solution or replace it altogether, depending on the type of filter you have. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the proper cleaning method for your specific filter.

Quarterly: Drain & Refill the Water

Every three months, it is recommended to completely drain and refill the water in your hot tub. Over time, the water can become saturated with dissolved solids and chemicals, leading to imbalanced water chemistry and reduced water quality.

Before draining the hot tub, turn off the power and disconnect the electrical supply. Use a submersible pump to drain the water, directing it away from plants or sensitive areas. Once the tub is empty, clean the interior surfaces using a mild cleaner and rinse thoroughly.

After cleaning, refill the hot tub with fresh water, following the manufacturer's instructions. Test and balance the water chemistry accordingly and allow the water to reach the desired temperature before using the hot tub again.

Troubleshooting FAQs

Maintaining a hot tub can come with its own set of challenges, though they don’t compare to the benefits of owning one. We’ll address some common troubleshooting FAQs to help you overcome any issues you may encounter during your hot tub maintenance journey. From handling maintenance while on vacation to dealing with cloudy water or malfunctioning jets, we've got you covered.

What to Do While on Vacation?

If you're planning to be away from home for an extended period, or if you own a rental property, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your hot tub remains in good condition. Test, balance, and shock the water chemistry before leaving to ensure it’s properly balanced and free of bacteria. If you’re leaving for vacation, set the hot tub to "vacation mode" or lower the temperature to conserve energy and reduce the risk of overheating. Whenever it’s not in use, cover it to prevent debris and save yourself some maintenance time when you return. 

Seasonal Maintenance Considerations

Different seasons can bring unique challenges to hot tub maintenance. Here are some considerations for each season:

  • Summer: Hot tub water can heat up quickly in the summer heat, so it's important to monitor the temperature and adjust as needed. Be sure to keep the water properly balanced and shock it regularly to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Fall: Falling leaves and debris can quickly accumulate in your hot tub during the autumn months. Skim the surface regularly and consider using a cover to protect the hot tub from excessive debris.
  • Winter: Freezing temperatures can damage your hot tub if not properly winterized. Insulate your hot tub and use a thermal blanket to retain heat. Consider investing in a freeze protection system to prevent freezing and potential damage to the plumbing and equipment.
  • Spring: As the weather warms up, it's time to give your hot tub a thorough cleaning. Drain and refill the water, clean the filter, and inspect the equipment for any signs of wear or damage.

How to Replace the Filter

Over time, hot tub filters can become clogged and less effective at filtering the water. Here's a step-by-step guide to replacing the filter:

  1. Turn off the power to the hot tub and locate the filter compartment.
  2. Remove the filter cover or cartridge holder, depending on the type of filter system.
  3. Take out the old filter and dispose of it properly.
  4. Clean the filter compartment to remove any debris or buildup.
  5. Install the new filter according to the manufacturer's instructions, making sure it fits securely.
  6. Replace the filter cover or cartridge holder and ensure it is tightly sealed.
  7. Turn on the power and run the hot tub to ensure proper water circulation.

Why is my hot tub water cloudy?

Cloudy water is a common issue in hot tubs and can be caused by various factors, including improper water chemistry or inadequate filtration. To clear up cloudy water, test the water chemistry and adjust the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels as needed. Then, shock the water with a chlorine or non-chlorine shock treatment to eliminate organic contaminants.

Wait a few hours for the water to circulate & filter after adding the chemicals. If it’s still cloudy, you may need to replace the filter or use a clarifier or flocculant to help clear up the water.

Why are the jets not working in my hot tub?

There are a few different reasons why your hot tub jets may not be working. Here are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to identify & fix the issue:

  • Check the water level to ensure it is at the appropriate level. Low water levels can affect the performance of the jets.
  • Inspect the jets for any obstructions or debris. Clean them thoroughly to remove any buildup.
  • Check the pump and motor for any signs of malfunction or damage. If necessary, contact a professional for repairs or replacement.
  • Ensure that the diverter valve is properly adjusted to allow water flow to the desired jets.

Ultimately, maintaining your hot tub should take less than one hour per week. And with the costs of chemicals, cleaning equipment, and professional maintenance visits, it’ll likely only cost you a few hundred dollars each year – a small price to pay for a hot tub in your own backyard. 

February 08, 2023 — andrei newman