The most important aspect of hot tub maintenance is cleanliness. Hot tubs are becoming more affordable and much more common as a home leisure addition.
But, is it hard to maintain a hot tub? It is not difficult but a hot tub requires more time and effort than a swimming pool, mainly due to it’s size and the smaller quantities of water that hot tubs use.
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Is it hard to maintain a hot tub?
You’ve had a hot tub installed or you’ve bought a home that has one and now you are wondering just how difficult is it to maintain?
It is important to look after your hot tub, in particular keeping the water clean and the chemical levels at the right proportions.
If you do this you will prevent problems both for the tub and for the people that use it. Thankfully it isn’t difficult to do if you have the right information.
Why is it necessary to maintain my hot tub?
There are two prime reasons. Firstly hot tubs are expensive and with some simple cleaning and checks you can identify any issues that need repair before they become serious.
Secondly, and more importantly are the health risks that an unmaintained tub can present to you and your family and friends.
Hot tubs use a small quantity of water which gets dirty very quickly. This dirt comes mainly from the people that use the tub.
If the water is not treated properly with chemicals or if it is left in a dirty state, then germs and other bacteria will breed very quickly in the warm environment.
This bacteria can be nasty and can cause skin complaints and other infections.
So, hot tub maintenance is vital for safety.
Chemical levels in hot tubs
You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when adding chemicals to your hot tub or when calibrating dosing systems.
The most common chemical used for hot tub water treatment is the same as that used in swimming pools – chlorine in a water solution or tablets.
By their very nature hot tubs will use more chemicals than swimming pools as they are harder to keep clean and the chlorine requirements are much higher.
The water is warmer than a pool and this provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. The people using the pool are in a smaller area – 4 people in a hot tub is like 150 people in a swimming pool.
Typical chlorine levels in a hot tub should be between 3 to 4 ppm ( parts per million ) compared to a swimming pool where the level is normally 1 to 2 ppm.
Cleaning your hot tub filter
To keep your hot tub running well it is important that you clean the filter regularly.
When your tub is in use, if you have the option to backwash the filter, then you should do this daily, ideally before you use the tub. This will reverse wash the filter, sending dirt down the drain.
You should backwash until the tub is 50% full and then refill with clean water. Don’t forget to test and re-chlorinate afterwards before the tub is used.
You should also remove the filter basket and clean it thoroughly twice a week when the tub is in use.
You will also need to clean the paths, any surrounds, gazebos and other features that are in close proximity to the tub.
Changing your hot tub water
In an ideal world you should or would change the water in your hot tub after everytime that you use it.
A hot tub is like a big bath and the water gets dirty. Your pump and filter can only remove a certain amount of solid pollutants from the water and the chlorine will take care of the rest.
However, when the water gets dirty the chlorine becomes less effective, the dirtier the water the more chance of bacterial infections for you and anyone else that uses the tub.
If you cannot change daily then you should, at the very least change the water weekly and at this point undertake a clean of the tub and a ‘super chlorination’ too.
Should you rent your home with a hot tub for holidays, then you should always change the water in between guests.
Cleaning the hot tub
Whenever you change the water in your hot tub you should clean the tub.
The best way to do this is to use a stout, long handled brush to scrub the tub. Use a clean water and make sure that you get into all nooks and crannies.
If necessary use a cloth or a lightly abrasive sponge to remove body fats and other debris that might have accumulated on the sides and bottom of the tub.
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Super chlorination of your hot tub
This is a process that most home hot tub owners will not practise but which is performed commercially for maximum cleaning. It is a good idea to do this with your home tub to keep the entire tub and supporting system clean.
After you have cleaned out your hot tub, refill it as normal and set the pump(s) running as normal.
To super chlorinate your tub you need to raise the free chlorine level to 10 – 12 ppm and leave the tub overnight with the pumps running.
This process will clean out the entire system and kill any bacteria that may be lingering within the pump or pipes.
For maximum effect put the tub cover on for five minutes and run the jets. This will clean the jets and also clean the cover. Remove the cover before leaving the tub overnight.
In the morning drain off half of the water and then refill with fresh water, Check the chemical levels to make sure that the chlorine is at 4 -5 5 ppm before you use the tub.
You should aim to do this process at least twice a month or more often if your tub is used a lot.
Use the cover
When your hot tub is not being used always use the cover. This will keep out dirt, leaves, insects and animals that might decide to have a bath.
It also helps to keep the water warm which will reduce your heating bill.
Is it hard to maintain a hot tub? No, it isn’t but, if you want to do it properly and have a clean, safe hot tub then you will have some work to do.
The process is simple and within the ability of most people and you should try to learn how to look after your tub yourself – it will save you money.
Keep your hot tub clean and you will get more pleasure from it and it will last longer too.
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