Essential Hot Tub Maintenance – A Complete Guide For Year-Round Care

How important is hot tub maintenance?

In short, very. The steps you take to properly care for your hot tub go far beyond simply keeping your water looking its best.

It affects every element of your hot tub’s functioning, significantly impacting how well it runs, the repairs you face, the safety of the water, and its overall lifespan.

So it’s safe to say hot tub maintenance reigns as king in the hot tub world. And we’re here to hand over your crown, giving you an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to hot tub care, week by week, and season by season!

Read on to become the master of your hot tub maintenance, and discover truly effortless spa ownership!

Your A-Z Hot Tub Maintenance Guide – Everything You Need

Hot tub maintenance is a topic that can leave people slightly on edge, unsure if they’re taking the right steps to properly care for their investment.

This is particularly true for first-time owners just learning the ropes.

Luckily, the process is actually much easier than you may think, and less time-consuming than often assumed.

Let’s dive into your step-by-step guide (we highly recommend saving this article for future reference!)

hot tub maintenance - checking water quality

Your Weekly Checklist

Estimated Time Needed: 10-15 minutes

Caring for your hot tub is a multi-step process, and some steps will need to be done more often than others.

Your weekly routine will strictly focus on your water, ensuring it remains clean, clear, and safe for you and your guests to enjoy.

1. Check The Water Levels

Over the course of the week, a small portion of your hot tub water will evaporate, with water levels dropping faster with more frequent use.

Generally, you’ll notice a one or two-inch drop in water levels each week (any more is concerning and could point towards a leak), and you’ll want to ensure you top up these levels to ensure your pump continues to get enough water.

If your pump starts making a low growling sound, it’s a surefire sign your water levels are probably too low.

To top up your water, simply toss your hose in and bring the water levels back up to the fill line.

Remember to test and re-balance your water anytime you add additional water to your spa.

2. Test And Balance Your Water

Two to three times a week, you’ll want to test your water to get a reading on your water quality.

Using water test strips or a water test kit, you’ll want to check the following levels and ensure they align with their recommended range:

  • pH: 7.2-7.5
  • Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
  • Sanitizer: Dependant on which one you use.
    • Chlorine: 1-3 ppm
    • Bromine: 3-5 ppm

Using your water treatment products, such as pH up, pH down, total alkalinity increaser, and your sanitizer, bring these levels into range, adjusting alkalinity first.

The quality of your water relies on these levels being within their recommended ranges, and when not properly balanced, you can run into a host of issues, including:

  • Foamy or cloudy water
  • Irritated, itchy eyes and skin after soaking
  • Foul smelling water
  • Scale or corrosion on your shell, jets, and throughout your system
  • Heater failure

To avoid these issues, maintain a strict water testing and treatment schedule.

3. Rinse Your Filters

More than anything else, your hot tub filter(s) are the guardians of your water, trapping debris in their pleats to ensure it doesn’t end up back in your tub.

This naturally results in the gradual accumulation of grime, from dirt to oils and even dead skin cells.

If left long enough, this can lead to reducing water flow through your circulation system, not only making your system work harder to clean your water but also plummeting efficiency!

This makes routinely cleaning your filters essential, and while they will require varying levels of care, each week, you’ll want to give them a quick rinse, washing off any surface debris.

Using your garden hose or sink faucet, rinse your filters off, gently moving the pleats with your thumb to allow water between the pleats.

For an even more thorough rinse, consider adding a filter flosser attachment to your hose to easily clean between pleats.

4. Wipe The Exposed Lip of Your Shell

Speaking of grime, every time you use your spa, your water will inevitably be exposed to oils from your skin, which can result in scum lines on your shell, hovering just above your water line.

To keep your shell looking pristine, take a soft cloth and wipe the exposed portion of your shell, cleaning any grime and lingering dirt away.

hot tub maintenance - filters underwater

Your Monthly Checklist

Estimated Time Needed: 20-25 minutes

Next up, your monthly tasks to ensure your spa is looking its best and running optimally!

1. Spray and Rinse Your Filters

Remember how we mentioned your filters will require different levels of care? This is where a chemical spray comes in.

While your weekly rinse will wash away any debris on the surface, your monthly clean will target those more stubborn layers that a rinse simply can remove.

After removing your filters from your spa, use a “spray on, rinse off” filter cleaner, spray your filters, and set them aside to soak for 15 minutes.

Afterward, thoroughly rinse off any of the cleaning products, and return them back to your hot tub.

2. Clean Your Cabinet

Your cabinet is one of the first things you’ll see when you step into your backyard and toward your spa, so it’s imperative it stays in pristine condition.

Being constantly exposed to blowing dirt, debris, and rain, it’ll need some routine cleaning to maintain its shiny exterior.

Using warm water, some soap, and a non-abrasive cloth, give your cabinet a wash every month, wiping away any dirt that’s clung to its surface over the last few weeks.

3. Wipe Down Your Cover

Much like your cabinet, your cover is exposed to all the same elements, leaving a layer of grime building up on its surface.

However, unlike your cabinet, you touch your cover every time before you get into your spa, bringing that debris with you into the water!

After you’re done with your cabinet, give the outside of your cover a clean as well.

Your Seasonal Checklist

You may be wondering why we haven’t included a time estimate here, and there’s a good reason for that.

Unlike the other routines above, your seasonal care is a bit more complex, requiring a few different steps that each take a varying amount of time.

After all, if we said this process took 12 hours, you might very well stop in your tracks, but when those 12 hours are simply letting your filters soak, it’s not really an accurate time estimate.

Let’s explore the necessary steps in your seasonal routine, to get a better understanding of the timeframe (and effort required) for each one.

1. Deep Clean Your Filters

This is a 12-hour process, but the only work that’s required of you is to remove your filters and toss them into a diluted mixture of filter cleaner (based on the bottle’s instructions).

Then, simply leave them to soak all night long!

The next morning, simply pull them out, give them a thorough rinse, and return them to your spa.

Align this with your seasonal drain (see below) for a seamless process, leaving you with a completely clean spa to lead you into every season.

2. Drain and Deep Clean Your Spa

Every 3-4 months, you’ll need to fully drain your hot tub, give it a deep clean, and refill it with fresh water.

Over time, the level of total dissolved solids increases in your spa (from your treatment products), and your water will become increasingly difficult to maintain.

Performing a seasonal drain will help ensure you’re always soaking in the cleanest water possible while protecting your system and making maintenance easier.

To drain your spa, follow these steps:

  • Add line cleaner to the water, running the jets on low for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the power off to your spa.
  • Drain the water by attaching a hose to your drain spout.
  • Use a non-abrasive shell cleaner to thoroughly clean inside your shell. Thoroughly rinse.
  • Inspect your jets and heating element for corrosion or scale.
  • Re-install your filter if you performed your quarterly soak the night prior.
  • Refill your hot tub using your garden hose. Use a hose filter attachment to pre-filter the water going into your spa if desired.
  • Test and rebalance your water.

This process can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on drain time.

Want to watch how it’s done? Check out this video:

3. Clean & Protect Your Cover

Just like you clean the top of your cover each month, you’ll want to pay special attention to the underside of it every few months.

Consistently exposed to a highly humid environment, you run the risk of bacteria accumulating in the nooks and crannies of your cover, resulting in mold or mildew.

To keep this from happening, remove your cover from your spa, lay it bottom side up, and wipe it down with a soft cloth and a 9:1 water, bleach mixture.

Be sure to pay close attention to any crevices where bacteria could be hiding.

Your Annual Checklist

Estimated Time Needed: 15-20 minutes

Finally, we’re onto those few and far-between steps that only need to be done once every 12 months!

Replace Your Filter

It’s typically recommended to replace your hot tub filter(s) every 12 months, but this varies based on brand, so it’s best to follow the directions outlined by your manufacturer.

With that said, this may need to be done sooner if you’ve discovered any damage to your filter throughout the year. This could include rips, tears, or pleats pulling out from the end caps.

To make this process as easy as possible, create a reminder in your phone or calendar of when they were changed last.

Install a New CLEARRAY®️ Bulb

If you have a Jacuzzi®️ Hot Tub that is outfitted with the CLEARRAY®️ water management system, you’ll need to replace the bulb every 12 months.

This system uses UV-C light combined with oxygen to kill bacteria, but over time, much like any other bulb, it weakens.

To ensure this system is able to work effectively, replace this bulb yearly with a genuine, Jacuzzi®️ CLEARRAY®️ Bulb, following the steps outlined in this video:

Is Professional Hot Tub Maintenance Worth It?

When it comes to your spa, keeping it in tip-top shape is non-negotiable, and including the professionals in your hot tub maintenance routine is a must, at least for yearly inspections.

How you include them is up to you, and will vary based on your unique needs.

Services vary by provider, but at Swim World, we want to make owning a hot tub as effortless as possible, no matter your skill level or schedule, which is why we offer a full range of services, including:

  • Hot tub repair and troubleshooting
  • Water treatment services
  • Deep cleaning
  • Water changes
  • Filter cleaning

Whether you want to hand off the more taxing job of draining and deep cleaning your spa, or need someone to step in and care for your hot tub while you escape on vacation, we’ve got you covered.

Hot Tub Maintenance Services in Chelan

Embrace truly effortless hot tub maintenance with the trusted professionals at Swim World!

With our 40+ years of experience, we’re passionate about making hot tub ownership more accessible, with premium services to meet your every need.

Looking to invest in your first hot tub, or ready to upgrade to the newest and greatest model?

Our showroom is stocked with top-of-the-line models from world-renowned brands, ensuring everyone who walks through our doors discovers a luxury experience.

Contact us to learn more, or visit our friendly staff today to bring relaxation to your backyard!

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