It's that time of the year again. Kids are back to school, leaves are hitting the ground, and you just turned on your furnace. Four months of dark morning and cold nights stretch out before you.
Then you remember it. Your hot tub. Already you can see yourself relaxing after a long day in the steaming water, maybe with a drink in hand. But first, you’ve got to open it for the season. Here are 8 easy steps to get your hot tub opened quickly. Let’s get started.
1. Open the Hot Tub and Inspect
Remove the protective tarp or the hard thermal cover. If it was closed properly there won’t be any water inside. If there is water inside, pull the drain plugs and drain it completely so you can clean it.
Then have a quick look for cracks or splits in the hard shell.
2. Scrub the Hot Tub
Ideally you did this at the end of the last season, and a quick rinse to flush the dust and spider webs off will suffice.
If your tub requires a scrubbing, don’t hold back. If you don’t get rid of those chalky white or green lines now, you’re stuck with them all season. DO NOT use a soap based cleaner, as it will leave a residue that will foam.
A 50/50 white vinegar and water solution will do a great job of erasing those water lines. A weak solution of bleach can also be used, but it can damage the vinyl. Drain all dirty water out of the pool once you’re finished.
Don’t forget to clean the hard thermal cover, top and bottom. You don’t want grime dripping into your freshly scrubbed hot tub. If your cover seems heavier than last year, it’s possible that the foam inside the cover has become waterlogged. Some covers have zippers that will allow you to remove the foam and dry it out.
pHin Tip - You can buy commercial cleaners from your pool store, but there’s no point spending money if you don’t have to.
3. Reconnect the Plumbing and Install the Drain Plugs
Now it’s time to re-attach everything you took apart when the hot tub was closed. This includes the:
- Pump plumbing
- Drain plugs
- Heater plumbing
- Air blower connections
- Other gadgets your hot tub may have
While you’re at it, visually inspect any pipes and valves you can see for cracking.
4. Inspect Your Filter Cartridge
Pop the filter well open and have a look at the filter. Hopefully, you have a brand new one all ready to go for this season. If not, but the filter’s still in good shape, a quick rinse to get the grime off or a 24-hour soak in a chemical cleaner will do the trick.
pHin Tip – ensure you rinse the filters thoroughly if you use a filter cleaner. Rinse twice as long as you think. Cleaner residue is a common cause of foam in your hot tub.
5. You Are Now Ready To Fill the Hot Tub
This will take a while and it’s a good time to check for leaks as the water level rises. Be especially vigilant if your hot tub happens to be indoors.
Fill the tub by sticking the hose in the filter well. This will result in the water flowing through the filter and pipes first, thereby pushing out the air. Built-up air in the pipes can cause airlock and damage the pump.
pHin Tip - be sure to set a timer if you leave your hot tub unattended to avoid flooding.
6. Turn the Hot Tub On
First, make sure the filter area is dry and you aren’t standing in any puddles of water. No sense getting zapped if you don’t have to.
Make sure the heater is turned OFF or ALL THE WAY DOWN. Without proper water flow, your nice expensive heater will burn itself out. Check your GFCI (safety breaker) and make sure it tests and resets. Not all hot tubs have these safety devices but check anyway. Now you may turn your hot tub on.
pHin Tip – hot tub plumbing can hide a lot of nasty water or slime buildup. If your hot tub was not properly drained or you suspect the plumbing is dirty then it is hard to balance the water. If your hot tub water is dirty after this step, drain it and refill. Make sure to use a hot tub system flush to keep the plumbing free of buildup. We will discuss hot tub flushes in a future article.
7. Check the Hot Tub For Proper Function
If everything seems to be running well, start testing your equipment.
- Is the air blower functioning the jets?
- Can the pump go from low to high speed?
- Are your lights and booster pump working (if you have them)?
If all is well, then turn the heater on.
pHin Tip – it can take 24 hours to heat a hot tub depending on outdoor temperature and your hot tub size. Ensure the cover is on the hot tub to decrease this time.
8. Balance and Sanitize the Hot Tub Water
Excellent! You have now got your tub open, running, and heating! Now you can begin the fun work of water chemistry. Add your start up chemicals including shock, and sanitizer. Adjust your pH as needed for the system to work efficiently. Be sure to see our other resources for specifics on hot tub and pool water chemistry:
- Pool Chemicals Demystified
- How Often Should You Check Your Pool Water
- Important Things You Must Know About The pH Level Of Your Pool
pHin Tip – hot tub maintenance is made easy with pHin. It monitors water quality, notifies you by smartphone when you need to add chemicals and ships you the right amounts.
After all this work you’ve earned a good soak in your squeaky clean tub. Enjoy.
pHin is coming to your hot tub and pool soon. Pre-order it now!