If you own a hot tub, you know 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 and enjoyable experience, and reduce the likelihood of unexpected, expensive repairs. 

This comprehensive hot tub maintenance guide will 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. Following these five simple steps ensures your hot tub remains clean, safe, and enjoyable for years.

1. Keep the Water Clean and Balanced

The first step in hot tub maintenance is maintaining clean and balanced water. Regularly test the water chemistry (pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels) and adjust as needed. The pH should range from 7.4 to 7.6 and alkalinity from 80 to 120 ppm. Add sanitizers, such as chlorine or bromine, to maintain proper levels and kill bacteria. You should also regularly shock the water to eliminate contaminants and maintain 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 leaves, insects, or debris from the water's surface 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 in 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.

We recommend covering it with a hot tub cover to save yourself a few minutes each day. This will keep out leaves, small animals, and other foreign debris. 

3. Check the Equipment Regularly

Inspecting the equipment regularly is essential to maintain a properly functioning hot tub. 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. Check for clogs or contact a professional if the jets are malfunctioning.

4. Hire a Professional for Regular Maintenance

While you can handle many maintenance tasks independently, hiring a professional for regular maintenance is highly recommended, 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 expertise or when absent. They can also provide valuable advice on optimizing your hot tub's performance and extending the spa's 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, the number of people using the hot tub at once should be limited 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 to stay on top of these tasks. With consistent maintenance, you can keep your home spa clean, safe, and enjoyable and 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. Using a skimmer net removes 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 weekly to ensure that it 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 alkalinity levels and sanitizer.

In addition to testing the water chemistry, it is recommended to be shocked weekly. Shocking the water helps eliminate 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 your filter type. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the proper cleaning method for your specific filter.

Quarterly: Drain & Refill the Water

You should completely drain and refill the water in your hot tub every three months. 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:

  1. Turn off the power and disconnect the electrical supply.
  2. A submersible pump drains the water, directing it away from plants or sensitive areas.
  3. 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 challenges, though they are different from 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. We've covered you, from handling maintenance while on vacation to dealing with cloudy water or malfunctioning jets.

What to Do While on Vacation?

Suppose you plan to be away from home for an extended period or own a rental property. In that case, it's essential to take the necessary steps to ensure your hot tub remains in good condition. Test, balance, and shock the water chemistry before leaving to ensure it's appropriately balanced and bacteria-free. If you're going on 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. Hence, it's essential to monitor the temperature and adjust as needed. 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 autumn. Skim the surface regularly and consider using a cover to protect it 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, it's time to thoroughly clean your hot tub. 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 water filtering. 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. Please 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, ensuring 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. Various factors, including improper water chemistry or inadequate filtration, can cause it. To clear up cloudy water, test the water chemistry and adjust the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels as needed. Then, remove organic contaminants from the water with a chlorine or non-chlorine shock treatment.

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 the water.

Why are the jets not working in my hot tub?

There are a few reasons why your hot tub jets may not work. 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 the diverter valve is adjusted correctly to allow water flow to the desired jets.

Maintaining your hot tub should take less than one hour per week. The cost of chemicals, cleaning equipment, and professional maintenance visits will likely only cost you a few hundred dollars each year—a small price to pay for a hot tub in your backyard.

February 08, 2023 — andrei newman