Hot tubs are supposed to be a relaxing addition to a home, but if they cause stress due to maintaining them, the purpose is completely defeated. Here is a guide on how to care for and maintain the popular fiberglass model. Following these steps will ensure your full enjoyment every time you take a dip, and it will ensure a long life time of the hot tub itself.
What You Will Need
There are not many products that you will need to purchase to ensure the cleanliness and longevity of the hot tub. First, you will need chlorine or bromine tablets. Second, you will need a “spa down” and “spa up” type product to alter the pH level if needed. Third, you will need spa test strips to maintain the levels of both the chlorine and pH. Finally, if your hot tub is one that is susceptible to foam, you will likely want a defoamer spray or gel. There are additional products that can be purchased to keep the hot tub even cleaner or fresh smelling, but generally, the fewer chemicals you put in the hot tub, the better.
Maintaining the Water
While the intent of a hot tub is to have a soak in relaxing hot water, there is no reason why the water should be steaming when it is not in use. Keep the hot tub at a lower temperature (about 80-90 degrees) whenever no one is occupying it. As long as you turn the heat about 30-45 minutes before you plan on using the hot tub, you will have fresh, steamy water each time. Consistently hot water will cause the helpful chemicals to burn away more quickly, cause erosion to the surface of the tub, and break down the heating mechanism long before it is due.
It is also important to test the water twice per week. The pH strip will have a reading that can be compared to the chart on the container. As long as the chlorine level and pH levels are balanced, the water in the hot tub is safe to submerge yourself in. Depending on whether the strip reads that the water levels are too high or too low, you will either need to add more chlorine or a chemical that reduces the level. Make sure to wait a half an hour before testing the water again, and keep the filter running during this time to allow the water to flow.
No matter how careful you are about checking and maintaining the chlorine and pH levels in the hot tub, it is important to change the water in it at least every 6 months. You may even want to do this more often if you use your hot tub on a regular basis. This is as much to add fresh water as it is to allow the fiberglass to be sealed. After the water has been drained, clean the filters and use a protective sealant on the fiberglass to prevent the chemicals from eating away at the surface. Refill the hot tub and begin the process of maintaining the water all over again.
Maintaining the Cover
While the cover may just seem to be just an accessory to the hot tub, it is actually quite important. A tightly fitting cover will ensure that the heat will not escape. Not only does this make the hot tub more energy efficient, it prevents the water from evaporating through way of steam. The more the water evaporates the more maintenance the water will need. Even though any solid, tight fitting cover will work in protecting the hot tub, the best choice would be an insulating cover. It will cost more, but it will pay for itself by reducing your energy bill.
Just as the fiberglass of the hot tub needs to be protected with a sealant product, so does the cover. Conditioning the cover once a month will prolong its life by protecting it from the outside elements. The damaging UV rays of the sun will keep the vinyl from cracking and hardening. As soon as a crack is created on the surface, the cover is significantly less productive. A few cracks render it practically useless.