Here are some basic tips on using your hot tub or spa that are occasionally overlooked. They will help keep your water cleaner and clearer, and even save you some money!
Oil and soap based products are the number 1 enemy of crystal clear spa water. Never use regular household cleaners for cleaning your spa. These products contain soap or ammonia based products and are very bad for your water chemistry and if you don't get all of the product out of the spa you could wind up with a very large "bubble bath".
One of the most common causes of foamy hot tub and spa water is residual detergent in bathing suits. Try running an extra rinse cycle in the washing machine, or re-rinse swimwear by hand.
When not using your spa, keep the Air Control Valves closed. These are the valves or dials on top of the spa that allow air to mix with the water coming out of your jets. Besides these valves letting cold air into the spa water and increasing heating costs, this air can also be full of air borne debris and algae spores that can cloud your water and increases your chemical usage.
Personal hygiene products belong in the shower. Hair spray, hair mousse, styling gels, deodorant, anti-perspiration, sun tan lotion, excess sweat, make-up, skin creams of any sort and excess soap or dyes in bathing suits will cloud your water and clog your filter, reducing its life and increasing your maintenance time.
Floating oil-absorbing sponges (The Dirty Duck ) are fantastic at reducing the amount of clogging oils that are sent through your filter. Remember to squeeze them out occasionally and to replace them when they start to deteriorate or when they no longer float.
Make sure your filter cartridge is fully seated in the filter compartment. This ensures 100% of the water passing through the filter, rather than bypassing it. Remember to clean the cartridge once a month for maximum longevity and to replace it every 1 to 2 years. The fibers of the cartridge start to break down and deteriorate after a while and wont do an adequate job of filtration after a while. It's a not a bad idea to have two filter cartridges on hand for your spa and use them on an alternating basis. This way, while one is being cleaned by soaking in a "Filter Cleaner" solution, the other one can be used in your spa to reduce the down time of your spa.
Make sure to test your spa water at least once per week and always after adding new water. Make sure that the pH and TOTAL ALKALINITY is within the proper ranges. This is MOST important. Either adjust the pH and Alkalinity manually each week, or use "pH Balance". If you're using a liquid test kit be sure to clean it after every use, keep the solutions out of the sun and to replace them ever year. Also, always get your sample water from at least 12 inches below the surface. If you're using test strips be sure to replace them if they are 6 months past the expiration date.
One quick and easy way to vacuum debris from the bottom of your spa is to simply use a garden hose and siphon it out.
If you have an in-ground spa you know you should never drain the water if it's rained in the last few weeks, or if the ground is wet (if you didn't know this, glad you're here). If you do it's very possible that the spa will float out of the ground. But if you find yourself in that position and you need to change the water here's a neat little trick. Drop a sump pump in the bottom of the spa, them spread a large sheet of plastic over the top of the water. As the sump pump removes the water, run water from a garden hose on top of the plastic. If the hose and pump are running at the same speed the water level wont drop and the old and new water wont mix.
Set the hot tub heater thermostat to maintain 102ºF.
Shift hot tub water heating to off-peak times
Turn down the thermostat when you're on vacation
Reduce pumping cycles
Use a foam cover with good insulative qualities
Add a floating blanket
Avoid wasting water
Drain the hot tub only when necessary
Create windbreaks around the hot tub
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