Best Practices for Extending the Life of a Spa

photo of a spa fountain

When buying a hot tub, customers are always concerned about how much upkeep the spa is going to need over time. The answers to these questions can make the difference between reconsidering their purchase or signing on the dotted line, so it’s important to be prepared. What customers need to know is that following simple maintenance routines can help them get the most life out of their spa.

Here are a few key steps to remember when helping a customer care for their spa.

They ask: What do I do when I leave for vacation?

  • If it’s quite cold outside, it is not recommended that you leave your spa off, as freezing temperatures may cause damage. If that’s the case, leave it running at lower temperature while you’re gone.
  • If it will be fairly warm out, you can just turn off the spa and when you return, use a good dose of sanitizer prior to use.

They ask: When and how do I drain my spa?

  • Drain and refill your spa about every three to four months as long as water quality, cleanliness and clarity are being maintained. Some spas will show a maintenance reminder when it is time to drain and fill.
  • Before draining the spa, be sure the power is turned off at the breaker.
  • Locate the hose bib, which was attached to your spa during your initial spa setup.
  • Unscrew the cap to the bib and thread on the female end of your garden hose. Place the other end of the hose in a location safe for water drainage.
  • To start the water flow, turn the valve on the hose bib 90 degrees. Remember to close this once the spa is drained completely.
  • While the spa is drained, it is a good time to perform other spa maintenance duties.
  • Once the spa is filled, perform any pre-treatment your dealer has recommended for your local water. This might include adding stain and scale control and removing metal.
  • The pH affects the chlorine level and alkalinity affects the pH. Therefore it is important to adjust the total alkalinity first, then the pH and then the chlorine level, in that order.

    Using the appropriate test strips, test and adjust your spa’s:

  • Total alkalinity, which should be between 125 and 150 parts per million
  • pH, which should be between 7.2 and 7.6
  • Chlorine, which should be approximately 1-3 parts per million
  • After each use, add two tablespoons of Dichlor and run the spa for 10 minutes.

They ask: How do I clean my filters?

  • If you are a new spa owner, you should visually inspect your filters as they may need more or less care depending on the degree of actual spa use: The more you use your spa, the more frequently you’ll need to clean your filters. Usually it’s about once a month.
  • To clean the filter, first make sure the spa is in “standby mode” or turned off at the breaker. Slowly lift the filter from the spa. This is a good time to check the amount of debris you have. If there is always a large amount of debris on the filters when you remove them, it is better to rinse them with the hose more often. If there is very little debris, they can endure more use before cleanings.
  • Place the filter upright in an area accessible via the garden hose and rinse the pleats under moderate pressure. Go around the entire filter, sweeping the hose from top to bottom, then turn it upside down and repeat. You should see the dirt rinse away.
  • If it is time to soak the filter in a solution, rinse the filter as described. Now follow the directions on the filter cleaning solution, which is often called “filter cleaner” or “filter degreaser.” Note that a spa drain and refill is always a good time to soak the filters.
  • And remember, it is recommended that you purchase new filters every year.

They ask: How do I clean my jets?

  • One or two jets should be removed and checked during each drain and refill, which should occur about every four months, depending on how much you use your hot tub.
  • If there is sign of calcium or mineral build-up, all of the jets should be removed and cleaned. If it’s difficult for you to adjust your jets or if jets are stuck completely, that is clear evidence of buildup. Scrubbing with a 3M pad on both the jet insert and inner jet body should remove it.
  • Be sure that if you are scrubbing many jets that the water is completely flushed from the spa.
  • Calcium and other metals do not disappear over time and will reattach to spa surfaces if not removed completely.
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