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Hot Tub Water Care Manual

Testing – Regularly testing hot tub water is extremely important in keeping it balanced. Hot tub water can be accurately tested and analyzed using test strips or liquid test kits. The water quality must be kept within the recommended ranges on the strips in order to keep it clean and to prevent premature wear and tear on plumbing and components. Test strips/kits generally check four key properties of the water which include sanitizer (ie. bromine, chlorine, etc.), PH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

Sanitizers– Sanitizers are very important in maintaining clean water. There are several types of sanitizers listed below that can be used in hot tubs. These products are what keep bacteria from forming and growing in the hot tub.

  • Shock – “shocking” a hot tub means adding a dose (based on gallons) of chlorine (sodium dichlor) or non-chlorine shock (potassium monopersulfate) weekly or after each use to help clear up water and remove odors (breaks down chloramines or bromamines which are byproducts of bromine and chlorine reactions with bacteria). Shocking is extremely important especially after a heavy bather load.
  • Bromine – Bromine is available in many different forms. It can be purchased in tablet, liquid, or granular form. Tablets are time released and are deployed via a floater. Granules and liquid are added more frequently because they dissolve faster.
  • Chlorine – Chlorine for hot tubs is typically sodium dichlor and it comes in granular form. Chlorine is the most widely accepted sanitizer for pools and spas.
  • Mineral Purifiers – Mineral purifiers are a more natural sanitizing alternative widely used in the hot tub industry for bathers that want to reduce bromine or chlorine levels. They come in the shape of a long, round cartridge and typically fit inside of the hot tub filter. Mineral purifiers use silver, copper, and other metals/minerals to sanitize the water and can provide as much as 50-75% reduction in bromine/chlorine levels. They also keep the water more PH neutral, thereby, reducing wear and tear on plumbing and equipment and less frequent adjusting of the PH.
  • Biguanides – Also known as “polyhexamethylene biguanide” are another alternative sanitation system on the market. We advise against these due to premature wear and tear on plastics and equipment.
  • Salt – Sodium Bromide (NaBr) is the kissing cousin to Sodium Chloride (NaCl = table salt) and is becoming more commonly used in hot tubs as a means of sanitation. The sodium bromide salt is converted to active bromine via shocking the water (shock = potassium monopersulfate) or thru a cell installed in the hot tub plumbing line which runs a mild electrical current thru the salt water, thereby, splitting the sodium bromide in to free, active bromine.

Balancers– Balancers are used periodically to adjust PH and Alkalinity level. Recommended PH for a hot tub is between 7.2-7.6

  • PH Increaser – when PH is below 7.2 then you would use PH increaser to raise the PH. If PH is left low then the water becomes more acidic causing damage to the components and equipment of the hot tub.
  • PH Decreaser – when PH is above 7.6 then you would use PH decreaser to lower the PH. If PH is left high then the water becomes more basic causing damage to the components and equipment of the hot tub
  • Alkalinity Increaser – Alkalinity is recommended at 80-120 parts per million (ppm). When Alkalinity is in the recommended range then it helps to preserve PH levels and prevent PH bounce.
  • PH Anchor – PH anchors/balancers are premixed formulations that are added to the water that help stabilize and anchor PH levels requiring little to no adjustment of the PH for a specified period of time
  • Calcium Hardness Increaser – Hardness levels are recommended at 200-400 parts per million (ppm). In most areas of the Puget Sound the water is softer and requires boosting the calcium hardness after the hot tub is filled with fresh water.

Clarifiers– Clarifiers are periodic maintenance products that are used to keep the water clear. Your eyes are usually the best indicator of when these products are needed as the water will appear murky and cloudy.

  • Metal Sequester – Removes staining and damaging metals that may be in the local tap water.
  • Oil Removers – These products are natural enzymes that break down suspended oils and lotions left in the water that can cause scum lines and cloudy water.
  • Dirt Removers – These products remove suspended particles and dirt from the water.
  • Foam Removers – These products suppress and remove foam from the surface of the water.

General Maintenance– The items below are periodic treatments (approximately every 3-6 months) for any hot tub.

  • Shell Cleaners – These are non-foaming cleaners for the shell surface.
  • Filter Cleaners – These cleaners are degreasers and typically require soaking yours filter for several hours or overnight.
  • Plumbing Cleaners or Flush Treatments – These cleaners are used just before draining a hot tub. The treatment is added to the water for several minutes to an hour while the jets are on and water is circulating in order to clean the internal plumbing and then the hot tub is drained to purge the dirty water.

Filters– Cartridge filters have a two-fold purpose in a hot tub. First and foremost, they keep the water clean and clear. They filter out all organic and floating matter inside the hot tub. Hot tub filters also have different densities (ie. 50 square foot or 100 square foot) and depending on the brand and model can have between 1-4 separate filters.

Second, hot tub filters prevent debris from sucking down into the equipment (heater, motors, etc.). It is extremely important to follow the regimen below for filter maintenance because if filters are neglected then you can have cloudy water and an interruption in flow through the motor and heater which can cause errors with the equipment.

  • Clean filters every two weeks with garden hose
  • Deep clean filters every 3 months in a degreaser or filter cleaner
  • Replace filters every 12-18 months

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