What's Involved in Hot Tub Maintenance?
Updated: Aug 23
There is no doubt that hot tub maintenance is top of mind for hot tub shoppers. It is one of the most common questions asked, and hot tub salespeople must be prepared to answer the question honestly and correctly. The question is usually "what is involved in hot tub maintenance." The short answer is it is easy. But it is only easy if you know what you are doing. There is no magic pill, and if a dealer tells you that there are no chemicals required or you only must add one product...run! We have even heard of a dealer informing customers that you only need a bit of bleach in the water from time to time! The physical hot tub itself does not require much maintenance. It is the hot tub water that needs your attention. Just because the water is clear doesn't mean the water is safe. Battery acid is clear, and you wouldn't want to bathe in it. Read on for the top tips for easy hot tub maintenance.
Circulation and Filtration are Automated
No matter what hot tub you purchase, it must have the ability to circulate the hot tub water. The water can not sit still and stagnant all the time like a pond. The water must be circulated at least part of the time, and this is done in several different ways. Electronic control systems can be programmed to allow a dual-speed pump to operate at low speed to circulate the water. The more the hot tub is used, the longer the water should circulate each day. When we initially set up a Northern Hot Tub, setting the filter cycles to 4 hours in the am and 4 hours in the pm is usually enough. The pump will automatically turn on during the set time and circulate the water. As the water is being drawn through the filter(s), it is being filtered simultaneously. Some hot tubs, including higher-end Northern Hot Tubs, feature a dedicated circulation pump that can slowly and efficiently circulate the water continually or during set intervals as described above. The good news is that water circulation and filtration are automatically making this part of hot tub maintenance easy!
Water Balance for Hot Tub Safety & Longevity
Any contained body of water must be correctly balanced to ensure the water does not damage the hot tub and allow the sanitizer to work correctly. Water balance ensures that the minerals, including calcium, are in check and the overall acidity levels are neutral. Buyers beware. Many hot tub dealers are not well-read on this topic and overlook the importance of proper hot tub water balance. If you do not balance the water as part of your hot tub maintenance routine, it will lead to costly hot tub repair bills and unsafe water for bathers. If the hot tub is filled using municipal water, it is likely balanced out of the tap. Municipalities balance the water to ensure it does not ruin the municipal pipes! If pH and calcium levels are too high, the water clogs the pipes. If pH and calcium levels are too low, the water corrodes and eats away at the lines. The same goes for hot tub plumbing and equipment. If the source water to fill the hot tub is from a well, the water may require more work to balance. A test strip can test the water balance, and your Northern Hot Tub dealer can quickly help you understand how to make any adjustments. A product is available to help lock in the water balance after it is adjusted correctly. Consider this as part of your fresh fill procedure to make life as easy as possible.
Automatic Sanitation for Bather Safety & Clean Water
You should know by now that Northern Hot Tubs are offered in an all-inclusive package that includes everything. When we say everything, we even mean electronic water purification, which helps to reduce hot tub maintenance efforts. This includes our premium hot tubs and plug and play hot tubs. While the hot tub is circulating and filtering, water is pushed through a unique mixing chamber and injected with ozone gas. The ozone gas is an effective and automatic way to kill germs and bacteria. Municipalities do something similar with ultraviolet light. The water is pumped through a filter and then exposed to ultraviolet light to kill germs and bacteria. Although these methods are highly effective, they are not 100% foolproof. A small amount of chlorine is used to ensure that the water remains safe and free of germs and bacteria for homeowners to use and enjoy. A hot tub also requires a little bit of chlorine or bromine in the hot tub water. This can be introduced in several ways. Some hot tubs have a device that converts salt into chlorine. The misconception is that a saltwater hot tub uses salt as a disinfectant. The salt is pumped through a chamber that converts it to chlorine to kill germs and bacteria, so don't be tricked into thinking that the hot tub is chlorine-free as sometimes promoted. Chlorine or bromine can be manually introduced in a granular form, but this is inconvenient because you would be required to do this daily or every second day. We feel the easiest way to keep a trace amount of sanitizer in the water is to load a floating dispenser with tablets, set it and forget it. Northern Hot Tubs have an enclosed filter area that accommodates the floating dispenser discreetly. Chlorine and bromine do the same thing. Bromine is milder and gentler, so it is preferred in a hot water environment.
A Hot Tub Maintenance Program Makes Life Easy
Random maintenance practices for most products do not yield the best results, and hot tubs are no different. Northern Hot Tubs has a personalized hot tub maintenance program specific to each hot tub model. The program provides exact instructions relating to initial filling, before use, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual hot tub maintenance procedures. All the details can be found and downloaded from the Owner Support section of the Northern Hot Tubs website. The hot tub filter traps fine particles, greases, and oils. Like any filter, it needs to be cleaned and or replaced. The hot tub filter can be cleaned once per month in a hot tub filter cleaning solution. Please do not put your hot tub filter in the dishwasher. This only pushes the particles, grease and oils further into the pleats. The filter needs to soak in the cleaning solution to dissolve and remove everything it has trapped. It can then be thoroughly rinsed off and put back in the hot tub. Many hot tub owners have a second filter or set of filters. This helps hot tub maintenance by always having clean and fresh filters to install each month. Eventually, the filters wear out and need to be replaced. We recommend that the filters be replaced annually no matter how much the hot tub is used as there is only so long that they can be exposed to hot water and chemicals before wearing out.
Dealing with Hot Tub Maintenance Professionals
We suspect by now you get this idea. Much of the hot tub maintenance is automated with advanced electronics and technology. You can even control and monitor your hot tub from your iOS or Android smartphone. There is no such thing as a chemical-free hot tub, but there are hot tub maintenance programs that can reduce your efforts and make life easy. Do not be fooled by "one thing does all" product claims. The hot tub water needs to be balanced, and you always need a little bit of sanitizer to ensure safe, clean, clear water. Several enhancement products make it easier to maintain a hot tub but know they are enhancement products, not total solution products. Professional hot tub dealers know how to help you understand proper hot tub maintenance procedures. The hot tub industry is not regulated, so anybody can sell, service and install them. Not every hot tub dealer has the proper knowledge and experience to provide water care and maintenance instructions. No matter what hot tub you purchase, if the water is not safe and clear, it will be a negative user experience, so dealing with experienced professionals will always pay off in the long run.