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Regular Hot Tub Water Maintenance

IF YOU’VE HAD YOUR SPA FOR A WHILE, you know it needs regular maintenance to keep the filters clean, the motors running, and the systems working.  The water also needs regular maintenance, more so than a pool considering their relative sizes.

Without regular spa water maintenance, your hot tub or spa is never very far away from being a bacteria laden cesspool, and there are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost, your spa is a small body of water that relies on circulation and chemicals to stay clean. Secondly, the heat generated from a spa is perfect for stripping oils, dirt, and chemicals off the human body and depositing it into the water, which is why a poorly maintained spa has an awful odor. None of this will happen, however, if you put your spa on a regular maintenance program. Whether you use it nightly or just once per week, you’ll need to keep a close eye on what can become a problematic little piece of water if you let it go.

The first thing you will need for regular spa water maintenance is a way to test the water, and the easiest way to do so is via test strips. There are many kinds of test strips from different manufacturers out there, so select one that has the sensors you need, namely: pH, alkalinity, total chlorine and free chlorine. Sure, more is better, but these ones are the basics of what you need to test.

Get a read for the pH of the water first. It may have been perfect the last time you checked it but heat, dirt, bacteria, algae, and a host of other factors can conspire to raise or lower it. You want your pH to remain between 7.4 and 7.6, which is the optimum range for pool or spa water. Keep this figure in check with the judicious use of acids or bases as required. You’ll find that because of the composition of your city water and the various factors that affect it, your pH will tend to drift off in one direction only – for example, after you treat your pool, it will naturally drift towards being too acidic if you don’t add more chemicals. You’ll need to monitor this drift over time, and knowing this information will allow you to save money by not purchasing the chemical you need to lower or raise the pH, since it will only tend to go the one way.

Determine the health of your sanitizer as well. Chlorine, when used in a spa or hot tub tends to break down because of the heat – it likes to stay below 76 degree water temperature. Sure, you can still use chlorine in the spa – many people with combo pool and spa systems do – you just have to keep a close eye on the levels. All that aforementioned dirt that comes off people’s bodies, all that bacteria is effectively neutralized by the chlorine. If you’re using bromine, which loves temperatures above 76 degrees, you’ll still need to keep an eye on levels since no matter what type of sanitizer you use, it works very hard in a spa or hot tub environment.

The last two things that form your regimen of regular spa water maintenance should be water clarity and algaecide. A clarifier is a good product to use to keep the water crystal clear since the jets and aeration system can often raise a fine particulate in the water, causing it to be slightly cloudy – and there’s nothing quite as unattractive as cloudy spa water. Finally, throw a squirt of algaecide in the water to keep it free of any plant growth. Regular spa maintenance is easy and you can do it yourself – there’s no magic to it other than simply doing it regularly.

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