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Hot Tub Water Troubleshooting

MAYBE YOU INHERITED YOUR hot tub from the previous homeowner, or maybe you’ve had it since day one, and now it’s starting to cause some problems. You feel like you need to intervene and do something, but adding more sanitizer isn’t working, and the problems you’re experiencing come back with a vengeance.


The good thing about hot tub water troubleshooting is that you can pull the plug at any minute, and start with new water. Unlike a pool, which might take days to drain, most hot tubs can be drained the same day and refilled with new water, which more or less solves any problems you might be experiencing. The key, however, is not to experience problems in the first place, and draining the spa every time you have a problem is not an effective or economical way of dealing with bad water. Keeping the water dialed in to begin with is the way of having years of trouble free spa usage. Here’s how to solve some of the most basic spa problems:


Odor: One of the biggest complaints about spa water is odor, and it’s extremely common. As you soak in your spa, the hot water opens your pores and strips your skin of dirt and oils that – no surprise – wind up in the water. Once the water cools down, you get a smell that’s not unlike dirty bathwater, and occasionally a ring of scum around the waterline that’s comprised of dirt and skin cells. There are two ways to keep odor in check, and they should be used simultaneously. You need to aggressively circulate the water while at the same time bringing the sanitizer up to shock levels temporarily in order to kill the bacteria that causes odor. Shocking the spa will clear up the odor posthaste. What if the odor is a rank chlorine type smell? Check this out – that means your chlorine levels are too low. What you smell isn’t chlorine – its chloramines, the spent chlorine molecules that have attacked bacteria and used themselves up. Strong chlorine odor is always a sign of chlorine levels that are off.


Cloudiness: With its aggressive jets and aeration systems, your average spa is able to stir up quite a bit of particulate in the water. This particulate is an accumulation of debris and fine bacteria that gets blasted into even finer pieces making the water cloudy. In the order of magnitude of hot tub water troubleshooting, cloudiness isn’t that big of a deal since it doesn’t really affect the water quality. It is a visual thing, however, and part of the spa experience is derived from soaking in crystal clear water. Keep some clarifier on hand for this problem. Water clarifiers are chemicals that eliminate water particulate by breaking the particles down into even finer (and more invisible) particles. This combined with circulation makes the water sparkly clean again.


Algae: Algae is one of those hot tub water troubleshooting issues you hope you never get, because one it’s there, it’s there to stay. Although most spa owner’s first course of action is to simply add algaecide, you need to also combine this with other strategies to really eradicate a persistent algae bloom. Of course with a small spa it’s easiest to simply drain the spa, but you may not have that option on a large in ground spa. Hit your algae problem first by giving the spa a good scrub with a gentle brush to loosen all the growth. Begin circulation the water aggressively and add a good amount of algaecide, and keep an eye on your filter cartridges, cleaning them frequently until they remain clean.


Hot tub water troubleshooting is easy and you need to remind yourself that you can fix any problem that comes your way with a little patience.





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