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Ultimate Hot Tub Maintenance Guide For Beginners

Purchasing your first hot tub is an exciting experience.

You pick the perfect model, watch as it gets installed, and then finally get to reward yourself with a luxurious soak in hot, crystal-clear water and experience your first jet-powered massage!

To take full advantage of the many health benefits your hot tub offers, you’ll want to ensure you care for it in the best way. 

An essential part of maximizing the lifespan of your spa is creating a well-rounded hot tub maintenance schedule. 

While caring for your hot tub may seem daunting, especially as a first-time buyer, we’ve got some experience in keeping hot tubs running at peak performance, and we’re going to break it down for you in this article!

Let’s get started!

What Supplies do I Need for My Hot Tub?

Before your hot tub arrives, you’ll want to ensure you’ve purchased the right products to care for it from day one!

While there are many hot tub care products and supplies on the market, you’ll only need a few basic items to get started. 

As you get more confident and better understand your hot tub, you can adjust the items you need and invest in any others that would be a welcome addition to your tool kit. 

Here are some of the items you should have in your arsenal before your hot tub arrives.

  • pH test strips
  • pH and Alkaline balancers
  • Water care products, such as chlorine or bromine
  • Shell cleaner
  • Soft brushes and cloths
  • A surface skimmer 

If you’re unsure what brands or types of products you need for your hot tub, contact our Ace Swim & Leisure team, and we’ll help you find what you need.

Beginners Guide For Hot Tub Maintenance – 5 Tips

Once you’ve purchased the necessary care products for your hot tub, you’ll be ready to create a hot tub maintenance schedule. 

Taking care of your hot tub doesn’t have to be hard. 

Some steps will need to be done more frequently than others, particularly those that involve treating your water, however, they are also the least time-consuming. 

Don’t worry about your hot tub care taking up too much of your time. When you stick to a routine and keep up with its needs, maintenance won’t become overwhelming and will be quick to complete. 

Here are the most important things to include in your hot tub maintenance routine. 

1. Balance Your Water

You may have heard people say that their water is “hard.” 

This is something that occurs when the mineral level in water is too high and can cause calcification on surfaces over time. 

Water quality will vary based on where you live and will heavily influence how you treat your water, especially after a refill. 

Balancing your water is possibly one of the most important parts of maintaining your hot tub. 

If your water is unbalanced, it can cause lasting damage to your hot tub’s shell and system from the water being too acidic or not acidic enough, which results in corrosion or scale build-up. 

Once a week, or directly after a water change, test your water with your pH test strips. Many of these strips will also give you a value for the alkalinity of your water as well, which is vital. 

You’ll want your pH level to be between 7.2 and 7.8 and your alkaline level to be anywhere from 80-120 ppm. 

Based on your starting levels, you’ll want to use pH and alkaline increasers and decreasers to bring your levels back into the proper range. 

Always adjust your water’s alkaline levels first. When you add your alkaline balancing products, they will drastically influence the range of your pH, whereas your pH will have much less influence over your alkalinity. 

Once you’ve brought your alkaline levels into balance, then adjust your pH to bring it into range. 

2. Keep Your Water Clean

The last thing you want to experience is leaving your hot tub feeling stressed and uncomfortable. 

If you don’t treat your water with the right chemicals or simply don’t treat your water properly, this may be exactly what happens during your next spa session!

Treating your water is how you keep it clean and clear, ensuring there is no buildup of bacteria that can leave you with irritation, rashes, or even infections!

The good thing is that treating your water is easy!

Your hot tub’s water system will determine what kind of products you’ll need to treat it with. 

If you have a chlorine system, you’ll want to always have chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine on hand, whereas if you have a salt water system, you’ll want to keep salt cells and treatment products in stock. 

Simply measure the sanitizer levels in your water, and add it according to the guidelines. Depending on usage, you should add sanitizer once or twice a week to keep your water clean and ready to use. 

You’ll also want to include an oxidizer in your arsenal as well. Over time, organic matter such as oils, cosmetics, lotions, and hair care products can build up in the water. While your sanitizer will help break some of this up, it can be difficult to remove from the water. 

An oxidizer is specifically designed to break down this type of matter, making it easier for your sanitizers to strip them out of your water. 

Pro tip: When you add chemicals to your hot tub, they will produce gas as they treat the water. For this reason, it’s important to leave the cover off, so these gases don’t get trapped between your cover and the water. This would leave you with higher chemical levels which could result in irritation. 

Additionally, you should always wait 24 hours before jumping into your hot tub after treating it. 

3. Skim The Water’s Surface

Keep your water clean by skimming the top of it after each use. As the water is exposed to the elements, dirt, dust, and other contaminants can be blown onto its surface. Skimming it with a fine mesh skimmer will help you keep your water clean. 

Make this even easier by adding some hot tub sponges or tennis balls to your water after a soak. As they float on the water’s surface, they’ll absorb any oils and organic matter from the water. 

Additionally, you should clean the exposed lip of your shell once a week with a soft cloth. This will keep debris from falling into the water that would leave you with a scum line around your hot tub.

4. Circulate Your Water

Stagnant water creates the perfect atmosphere for bacteria to develop, leaving you with dirty, cloudy water

Often, this won’t be discovered until you go to use your hot tub next, making you delay your plans of an evening soak and instead spend time treating your water to bring it back into balance. 

This is why it’s important to circulate the water in your hot tub once a day for at least 20 minutes, even if you’re not using it that day. 

This will help ensure the water moves through your system, and the filters can clean any contaminants out of the water each day. 

If you live in an area that has tiered energy costs throughout the day, schedule this for a time when energy costs are at their lowest. 

5. Drain, Clean, and Refill

This process is one of the most time-consuming, however, it will only need to be done once every 3-4 months. 

While your sanitizers, filters, and oxidizers will help keep your water clean, they can’t do so forever. 

Your water will slowly build up dirt, oils, and bacteria over time as you use it. Your filters can strip much of this out, but as they become dirty, they won’t be able to do as effective a job. 

This is why draining your water and cleaning your shell are so important.

Once you’ve drained the water out of your hot tub, use a high-quality shell cleaner to clean the entire surface of your shell. 

You’ll also want to perform a deep clean on your filters during this time. Simply take them out, run them under water to flush out any dirt and debris that’s built up on them, and then submerge them in some filter cleaner. 

If you cannot get your filters clean, simply replace them with new ones.

At this time, you’ll want to clean the underside of your cover as well. Your cover is constantly exposed to steam and chemicals. This can lead to the development of mold or mildew over time. 

Mix one part bleach to nine parts water, then use a soft cloth to clean the inside of the cover. This will help remove any contaminants and extend the life of your cover. 

Once your hot tub has been fully cleaned, refill it with the garden hose, test its pH and alkaline levels, and rebalance it!

Pro tip: use a submersible pump to drain your hot tub in as little as 15 minutes, getting you back to relaxing before the end of the day!

Hot Tubs For Sale in New York


You’re now ready to start taking care of your hot tub like a pro! 

Put your newfound skills to the test with a new hot tub from Ace Swim & Leisure

If you’ve been looking for the perfect hot tub, pool, or swim spa to elevate your backyard, Ace Swim & Leisure can help! With four locations throughout Western New York and leading brands like Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs, Jacuzzi® Swim Spas, and Dream Maker SpasTM, we’ve got you covered. 

Visit one of our four showrooms, or contact us today to get started!

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