Hot Tubs

Hot Tubs

Hot Tub Sanitation Tips and Maintenance Schedules

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By B. Leslie Baird

Keeping your hot tub water clean, clear and safe can be simple if you use the right water treatment chemicals in the right amounts at the right time.

hot tub maintenance

Water treatment chemicals


Warm hot tub water provides an environment for the development of pathogens like bacteria and viruses that may cause diseases and infections. Sanitizers help maintain a healthy water condition by killing pathogens. The most common sanitizer is chlorine. It comes in granular, tablet or liquid form. The recommended level of chlorine in an average-sized hot tub ranges from 3 to 5 ppm. A lesser or higher level may cause bacteria and viruses to thrive, causing waterborne diseases, skin rashes and eye irritations.

Bromine is an alternative to chlorine, working in many ways like chlorine. But like all water treatment chemicals, it needs to be applied according to the manufacturer's instructions in order to achieve the desired results.

Alkalinity and pH Balancers

A healthy water balance is necessary to ensure the safety of hot tub bathers and the proper maintenance of the hot tub. Alkalinity determines the levels of alkali, minerals and bicarbonates in the water while pH balances the softness of the water that can corrode the pumps, heater and other hot tub accessories. Alkalinity level is ideally set between 80 and 150ppm and the pH reading between 7.2 and 7.8, depending on the hot tub type or model. Alkalinity and pH go hand-in-hand and they must be correctly balanced at all times, hence the need for decreasers and increasers.

Shockers and Clarifiers

Cloudy hot tub water is caused by dissolved organic matter and waste like perspiration and urine. Minute particles cannot be filtered by the normal filter system of your hot tub and if they are not shocked or clarified, the water turns dull. Shockers remove the organic matter, while clarifiers coagulate the minute particles into large ones so that they can be trapped by the filters. Generally, shockers are peroxide-based, while clarifiers are polymers. Again, it is important that you read labels and instructions thoroughly because some shockers can cause pinkish slimes and an overdose of clarifiers can cause patches of sticky brown scum that are difficult to clean.

Scum and Foam Absorbers

These treatment chemicals reduce scumming and foaming on the water surface caused by cosmetic products, shampoo, body oils, lotions and other body applications. Scum and foam absorbers emulsify and devour organic contaminants that sanitizers cannot normally destroy, keeping your hot tub water clean, clear and odor free.

Stain and Scale Preventers

Unsightly stains, scales and residue on hot tub edges are caused by metallic and mineral impurities from natural water sources, excessive chlorination, pH imbalance or the combined action of various water treatment chemicals. Stain and scale preventers can effectively control the formation of cloudy precipitates that cause rusty brown or green water.

It is ideal to check the water condition of your hot tub regularly, depending on the frequency of use and the type of hot tub you have. And, as in everything else, moderation is the name of the game when sanitizing your hot tub water.

Maintenance schedules

The more debris you keep from entering your hot tub, the less work you and your filtering system need to perform. Keep your tub tightly covered when you are not using it. This not only keeps airborne dirt out, it reduces evaporation.

To get a sense of maintenance schedules, review the following:

When you stay on top of maintenance, your hot tub will continue to give you joy and relaxation for years to come. Remember that without proper care for a spa, you won't have the same level of clarity in the water or feeling in the hot tub shell. The trick is cleaning in a comprehensive way, from maintenance of filters to changing the waters and preparing your spa for the cold weather.

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