Spring may be the best time of the year to use your hot tub. The air is cool, and the sky at nighttime is usually full of stars. Soaking in your tub relaxes sore muscles, and promotes a restful night’s sleep. Rolling your hot tub care into your spring cleaning routine is easy, and will ensure months of trouble-free hot tub use with crystal clear water.
Flush, Drain & Refill
Whether you’re a year ‘round user or shut your tub down during winter, following a few easy steps will ensure months of clean, clear hot tub water. The first step is to use a spa system flush to clean out any unwanted build-up in your plumbing. If you drain your spa and don’t use it during the winter, it is very important to make sure the entire spa is clean before you refill. That includes the inside of the plumbing. At the bottom of each of the pipes, small amounts of residual water will remain and become stagnant. Flushing the tub prior to filling it with fresh water is essential. Fill your spa, use spa system flush, then drain and refill again.
Check the Equipment / Inspect the Inside
Check the equipment area of the spa. If you’ve winterized your spa, reconnect the plumbing to the pump and heater. Signs of leaking or rust are the main things to look out for.
- Carefully check between the plastic wet end of your pumps and the motors themselves. If you see any signs of water leaking, be sure to replace the shaft seal.
If you ignore the leak, water will soon seep into the motor and destroy it. No need to spend hundreds of dollars on a replacement pump, when you can simply and inexpensively replace the seal. Check the rest of the equipment area including the heater and any other components. Then move on to the filter.
Inspect your spa filter closely. If you notice any of the material coming apart or fraying, it needs to be replaced. The longer you wait to replace the filter, the more difficult it will be to keep your water clean. New filters are inexpensive, and help prevent cloudy water.
You also want to check all the insulation inside the hot tub for any signs of bugs or mice. Many hot tubs allow you to remove all the side panels. Make sure you remove every panel you can, and inspect all accessible areas. Catching problems like mold, rotting wood and pest damage early will save you money in the long run.
Keep the Surrounding Area Clean
Make sure the area around the tub is clean, swept, and the path is clear. Trim any weeds or shrubbery out of the way. No one wants to step on weeds or get scratched by bushes in bare feet and a bathing suit.
If the siding on your spa could use some TLC, now is an excellent time to clean it. Doing so now will make it easier if you’re planning on staining the sides in the summer. (It’s best to stain the wood in the summer, when the exterior of the hot tub is dry, and the chance of rain is less likely.)
Spa Cover Care
If you want your spa cover to provide years and years of trouble free use, you should be cleaning it monthly, and apply a protectant every 1-3 months. The cleansers you use should be mild and alcohol-free. Don’t use harsh chemical cleaners that contain bleach, ammonia, wax or silicone. Those are known to break down and destroy vinyl.
- Clean the cover using a mild cleanser, a soft brush and a sponge.
- Clean both the top and the bottom, and be sure to use an oil-free vinyl protectant on both sides.
Using a vinyl protectant on the top will help keep your cover looking beautiful, and using it on the bottom can help fend off any mildew growth.
Cover lifter mechanisms make hot tub use much more convenient. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “I can’t believe I didn’t get one sooner”, I would have lots of nickels. Cover lifting devices get your cover out of the way with almost no effort at all. They are worth their weight in gold not just because of the convenience, but because they also prolong the cover’s life.
Check, Check and Check Again
Once you’ve cleaned everything and refilled your spa, it’s time to turn it on. Once the spa has power, make sure everything works:
- Check the functionality of all the components, and make sure the ozonator is working.
- Make sure all the buttons on the topside control panel work properly.
- Check all the jets to make sure water is coming out.
Most jets can open and close by simply turning the face of the jet. If you find a jet not working, try turning the face to the right or left. Some jets open by turning them clockwise, and some open by turning them counter-clockwise.
- Make sure your air controls on the top rail of the spa add air to the water jets when they’re open, and take it away when they’re closed.
- Make sure the cover latches are intact. If you find a broken latch, inexpensive replacements are easy to find.
- If you already have a cover lifter, be sure to check it closely to ensure all the bolts and screws are tight.
Water Balance and Treatment
After refilling your tub, it is essential to test your water prior to adjusting any chemistry. You won’t know where to go, if you don’t know where you’re starting point is.
Test the water:
- Start with pH and Alkalinity, adjust as needed.
- Test the hardness, adjust if necessary.
- Add any necessary stain and scale removing treatments, or clarifiers
- Shock the water, and then add sanitizer.
**IMPORTANT** DO NOT add all the chemicals at the same time!
I’ve spoken to countless people that add too many chemicals all at once, then struggle to clear up cloudy water for days afterward. Don’t let that happen to you. Allow the proper amount of time between adding chemicals, based on the directions on the back of the bottle. Be sure to test and balance your spa water weekly. Like anything else, proper maintenance is far superior to trying to bring back water that has turned cloudy or green.
Finally and most importantly, enjoy your hot tub! After a hard day of spring cleaning, there’s no better way to soak sore muscles and get rid of those spring chills.