The 9 Common Hot Tub Questions

Hot tubs are a great way to unwind in the privacy of your own home or backyard. Whether it be with family, friends, or even just by yourself after a long day, your hot tub helps melt away stress and lets you relax. Since you never know when opportunity will strike, you want your tub to be ready whenever the mood strikes. This can be difficult if you don’t know how to maintain your spa, but caring for your tub should be just as easy as relaxing in it. Here are the top hot tub questions to consider.

1) How Often Should I Clean My Filters?

You want to thoroughly rinse your filter with fresh water every other week. A garden hose works great for this, since it easily dislodges hair and most other materials from the filter. You should also soak your filter cartridge in a filter-cleaning compound every three to four months, as well as whenever you change your water. Keep two filters on hand – one in the spa and a clean, dry spare. This allows you to pop in the spare while soaking the main filter. Then, after you rinse the cleaning compound off after the original is done soaking, you can replace it and clean the spare. Your filters last longer and you get to keep enjoying your hot tub.

2) How Often Should I Drain My Hot Tub?

The answer mainly depends on how often you use the tub and your sanitizing system. However, draining and refilling your spa every three to four months is a good schedule to follow to ensure that contaminants and solids that dissolve in the water do not become excessive, which makes it difficult to maintain proper sanitation.

3) Why is My Water Cloudy?

Cloudy water in your spa usually means one of two things: either the filtration system is failing to clean smaller particles out of the water or bacteria are growing in your spa. If it is a problem with the filtration system, products that act like a coagulant to trap the dust and dirt should help. Just make sure to pull out and clean your filters once the hot tub is clean, otherwise the coagulants can break down and reintroduce all the dust and dirt they just collected. If it is bacteria you need to act fast and use a double dose of both chlorine and non-chlorine shock.

4) Can I Use Pool Chemicals in My Hot Tub?

It might seem like a good idea to just use pool chemicals for your hot tub, but that is a big mistake. Pool chemicals are much stronger than those meant for a spa and can cause serious damage to your tub. When it comes to buying the chemicals for your spa, remember that you get what you pay for. Cut-rate products are more likely to include fillers and additional chemicals that can cause issues with your water and the filtration systems. A quality product keeps your hot tub running well for years to come. In addition, product labeling differs between pool and hot tub chemicals, particularly as regards acceptable EPA guidelines. Chemical overdosing is very common when you use products specifically intended for a swimming pool in your hot tub.

5) Should I Use Bromine or Chlorine as a Sanitizer?

The chemicals that you use to sanitize your hot tub really come down to personal preference. Chlorine has a stronger odor, but is a very effective sanitizer. However, chlorine can also cause colors to fade, whereas bromine does not. Bromine also causes less eye, skin, and nose irritation and can be an effective sanitizer in its own right when administered properly in a two-part form.

6) Can I Get a Rash From My Hot Tub?

Yes, but it typically means that something is wrong with your chemical routine, not the tub. Skin rashes can be caused by both a surplus of chemicals and a lack of chemicals. For example, pseudomonas folliculitis is a skin rash commonly known as “hot tub rash.” It occurs when hot tub water is not properly sanitized. It is important to make sure the chemical balance of your water is exactly where it needs to be. This is where your pHin device comes in handy. But, when in doubt, drain, clean, and refill your spa.

7) How Should I Care for My Hot Tub Cover?

Twice a month you should remove the cover and wipe the entire surface with a cover cleaning agent. You only need a few squirts, and make sure to use a clean, damp cloth when you wipe it down. To guard against odors and bacteria growth, clean the underside of your cover with a mixture that is one part bleach to nine parts hot water. You may also use a cover cleaner such as 303 Aerospace vinyl cleaner and preserver. These products are available at most local pool and spa retailers.

8) Why is My Hot Tub Green?

Your hot tub should never be green; this means that there is bacteria growth in your spa. Drain the water and scrub every surface with a chlorine solution, then rinse the tub out with water. Refill your spa and shock the water with a dose of chlorine and non-chlorine shock. Remember, you should use your hot tub if the water is not crystal clear.

If the problem persists even after you sanitize the tub, your water may contain excess copper, which attacks the plumbing and equipment. Similarly, chromium may turn the water a lime green Jello  color. Proper water chemistry, especially pH, balances chromium and copper levels in your hot tub water.

9) Why Doesn’t My Hot Tub Get Hot?

The most common culprit when your hot tub goes cold is the filter. When the filter gets clogged, the heater shuts off because it needs water flow to be able to operate properly. Pop out your filter and give it a thorough rinse and soak in a cleaning solution. If your filters are over two years old, it is probably time to replace them. If cleaning the filter does not bring back the heat, turn the heater off for about 15 minutes. If it is still not working when you turn it back on, it is most likely time for a service call. Another common cause of heater failure is scale buildup on the heater core or element, typically caused by not using a stain and scale control. Scale buildup on the heater element of only 1/20” can reduce the heater’s efficiency by 40 percent!

To ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced, consider pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Chemicals Demystified: Balance Pool and Hot Tub Water Chemistry in 7 Steps

Besides good filtration equipment and a general cleaning routine, chemicals are the most important factors to maintain a safe and healthy swimming pool or hot tub.

Your Pool or Hot Tub is Similar to a Mini Water Treatment Plant in Your Backyard

Just like how the municipal water you use at home for drinking, bathing and cleaning needs to be treated with chemicals at a water treatment facility in your area, the same way the water in your pool or hot tub needs to be treated. 

Unlike our lakes and rivers, which take care of themselves both ecologically and naturally, our pools and hot tubs are “self-contained” vessels and do not constantly exchange the water. Bacteria and aggressive water can deteriorate the surface of the pool or hot tub, damage the plumbing and equipment, and cause harm to bathers.

Chemicals Help Protect Your Investment and Keep Your Pool Sanitized

Almost every chemical used in a pool or hot tub is to protect the vessel and support system. Only the sanitizer and control of pH are tied primarily to bather health and safety. 

Minerals, pH buffers and shocks are required at times to adjust the water chemistry so that you, your family and friends can be safe from waterborne pathogens, algae infestation, perpetuated cloudy water and deterioration of the pool and its support systems.

 

7 Steps to Maintain Balanced Water Chemistry

Let’s start with the basics: Every pool needs chemicals. Yes, even salt water pools. The role of the salt water chlorine generator (SWCG) is to produce the sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) in the vessel. The SWCG does not maintain the pool or hot tub water balance and does not eliminate the need to add chemicals to maintain a worry-free pool or hot tub.

1. Go for products with high active ingredients

  • Make sure you get the most for your money: read the labels. Get the most concentrated active ingredients and low inert ingredients. It is typical to have some “inert” ingredients, however, the higher the inert ingredients, the lower the concentration of the active products. Whenever in doubt, ask a pool professional for a brand recommendation.

2. Know the parameters of your pool or hot tub

  • Be sure to know the water volume as accurately as possible. It will help you calculate the proper amount of chemicals to add without over- or under-dosing. Just like how you wouldn’t want to give an infant an adult-sized medication or vice versa, you wouldn’t want to over-or under-chemicalize your pool.

3. Add the right amount, evenly distributed

  • Always measure how much your are adding and follow the “directions for use” located on the product labels.
  • Unless stated otherwise, apply the required chemicals in the deepest part of the vessel and with the pump system operating to get a thorough mixture throughout the entire body of water. Rinse empty containers with the pool water and dispose or recycle as required.
  • Some interior surfaces and certain chemicals require pre-dissolving prior to adding them. Again, refer to the “directions for use”. Brushing behind newly added chemicals will help any undissolved product get into the solution and avoid staining or harming the pool or hot tub surface.

4. Follow the proper sequence

  • Since many chemicals interact with each other, make sure you add the chemicals in the proper sequence and avoid unnecessarily wasting the product. 
  • For instance, if the pH, total alkalinity and chlorine all require an adjustment, the proper sequencing to adjust those factors would go in this order: total alkalinity, then pH and lastly chlorine as each of those particular factors are dependent on each other.
  • Additionally, when the “directions for use” instructions call for a time delay, it generally implies a minimum period of time and not sooner than. 

5. Think safety first when handling chemicals

  • Always add chemical downwind and away from you to avoid coming in direct contact with the product.
  • Unless directed, do not add any pool chemicals into the surface skimmer to avoid damage or harm to you and the pool.
  • If there is a spill near the pool, rinse the spilled chemical into the pool water. If an acid is spilled away from the pool, neutralize the acid with some baking soda or copious amounts of water rinsing it to a fully diluted neutralized state. Avoid any spilled chemicals from coming into contact with your skin, eyes or clothing. Use gloves if needed.

6. Remove the cover

  • If you use a cover, always remove it when you add chemicals, and replace it when directed by a professional or the product label.

 7. Store chemicals responsibly

  • You know the drill: always keep pool and hot tub chemicals in a cool and dry area and away from children and animals. A plastic shed or storage bin works great as some chemicals may react with metal and cause staining or corrosion. Clearly label the products in their storage containers and do not mix products together as some can cause chemical reactions and health hazards.

Maintaining the right water chemistry can be intimidating and time consuming.

It often becomes a guessing game, and if not done correctly, constant chemical imbalance can be detrimental to the health and safety of your pool. 

Thankfully, the guessing game is about to change. With pHin, you can have a perfectly balanced pool 24/7 without all the hassle. It’s fast and easy. 

Order pHin at www.phin.co.

3 Easy Ways to Extend the Life of Your Hot Tub

The lifespan of a hot tub can vary greatly, depending on its quality and price tag. A low-end hot tub may only last five years, while a high-quality one may still be bubbling away twenty years later. But the single most important factor in determining the life of your hot tub is not the manufacturer’s warranty: it’s how well you take care of it.

This article breaks down some simple pHin tips that will keep your hot tub clean and enjoyable to use for years to come.

  1. Keep Your Water Balanced

Imbalanced water is not only unsafe to soak in and unpleasant in appearance; it can also corrode the equipment and electrical or even scale up your hot tub’s pipes.  This will shorten the life of your tub. Test the water every few days to ensure that all chemical concentrations are well within their limits.

Maintain your pH between 7.2 to 7.8, with a chlorine level of 1.5 – 3.0 PPM (Part Per Million) or a bromine level of 2.0 – 5.0 PPM and a total alkalinity of 80 to 120 PPM. Also, you want to keep an eye on the “total hardness” level, which is a measurement of how much calcium, magnesium, and other minerals are in the water. This should be kept between 100- 250 PPM for an acrylic hot tub finish, and 250-450 PPM’s for a plaster finish. If the hot tub’s calcium level is excessive or you visually detect a scale-like crust at the waterline, you can use a product to assist in preventing scale in hard water environments.  

But while balanced water is great for your hot tub’s parts, the gases released every time you add large amounts of chlorine or bromine to your hot tub are hard on your hot tub cover. Save your cover’s underside from peeling or going brittle by leaving your cover off for twenty minutes after shocking your tub. This will prevent a buildup of chlorine gas.

pHin Tip: You may also consider adding a floating blanket to further prevent sanitizer gasses from deteriorating your expensive hardtop cover! A floating blanket increases the thermal insulation threefold by creating an insulative, dead airspace between the convention cover and the floating blanket.

But won’t the tub lose a lot of heat that way? Given the fact that you shouldn’t soak in your hot tub for at least twelve hours after you shock it, it makes sense to turn the temperature down to 101F for a while. This will not only save you energy, but also gives your heater a break, thus extending its life. Next time you want to use your tub, simply turn it up again to your desired temperature an hour beforehand. 

  1. Keep Your Water Clean

Keeping your water clean is actually quite different from keeping it balanced. You may think you’re quite clean when you step into the hot tub, but the reality is that the average body is coated in perspiration, natural oils, cosmetics, and other body contaminants. 

Showering before using your hot tub is an excellent way to prevent this. Not only will this reduce the ‘chlorine-smell’ (a result of chlorine broken down while fighting contaminants) but less body oil in the water will keep your filter running well.

Regularly removing your hot tub filter and cleaning it according to the manufacturer’s instructions is another great way to extend the life of your hot tub. A clean filter is more effective and results in less stress on the pumps. 

pHin Tip: Do not use household products to clean your filter as they often contain ingredients which are not compatible with hot tub chemistry. This often results in uncontrollable foaming.

There is a limit, however, to how clean you can keep your water with regular hot tub use, and eventually the old water will become difficult to balance. Some suggest changing it as often as every three weeks, while others claim that you can keep it clean for months with the right maintenance habits. As a general rule, if your water is starting to foam, look cloudy, or leave a ring around the edge of the tub, it is likely time to change it. A good rule of thumb is 3 months. 

Those who live in colder climates should keep in mind that it’s not wise to drain a hot tub when the temperature is below freezing. Frozen water expands by nature, which can crack pipes and do all kinds of damage. Try to time your water changes accordingly so that you’re not stuck with gungy water in the middle of February.

  1. Pamper Your Cover 

The hot tub cover will typically begin to show its age far before the rest of the tub, so it’s extra important to give it the maintenance it needs. Tips to extend the life of your cover include:

  • Protect it from the sun and elements. Hot tub covers that are protected by a gazebo or similar shelter will last longer.
  • Do not allow anyone to sit on the cover, even pets or small children. This will cause it to sag or break. Hot tub covers are built to keep heat in, not to support weight. 
  • If you live in a climate with cold winters, brush any accumulated snow off the cover. Be sure to use extra caution to avoid tearing or damaging the cover.
  • If possible, remove the inner foam sections from inside the cover and flip them once a year. This will help prevent sagging. 
  • It is recommended that you regularly treat your hot tub cover with some kind of vinyl protectant. Research your specific cover type and learn the best way to protect it.

Don’t Procrastinate

Everyone knows that problems ignored are far more likely to get worse than better. Tears in your hot tub cover can start the spread of mold and mildew. Under-chlorinated water can become contaminated with algae. Dirty filters are not going to magically clean themselves. All these problems, if not dealt with, will shorten the life of your tub. 

Treat your hot tub well, and you should be enjoying warm and relaxing for years to come.

How to Prepare a Hot Tub For a Major Storm

The post How to Prepare A Hot Tub for A Major Storm first appeared on Swim University.

Strong storms can be a nightmare for hot tub owners and especially new hot tub owners that aren’t sure what they should do to prepare for their new hot tub for the coming storm. The most common types of damage from storms you will see on your hot tub are:

  • Water Contamination
  • Falling Debris
  • Hot Tub Cover Damage
  • Frozen Plumbing (Winter Storms)

Preparing your hot tub for a storm, whether it’s a severe spring thunderstorm or a winter storm bring several inches of snow can be avoided if you simply take a little time before the storm arrives to prepare your hot tub. Knowing how to prepare a hot tub for a major storm can prevent damage and save you money on repairs.

Strong Thunderstorms

The spring and summer months are notorious for dishing out some of the strongest storms of the season, depending on where you live. These storms can bring high winds, heavy rainfall and even hail and in some areas you could even be in the path of hurricanes or potential tornadoes.

Turn Off the Power

Anything that is connected to your hot tub that uses electricity must be shut down completely. This includes any lighting in the area and of course your heater and pump. Consider switching the circuit breaker off that controls your hot tub and anything that surrounds it that could generate a surge of electricity that could damage the components of your hot tub.

Remove All Loose Items

Bring all loose items that are close to the hot tub inside and out of the way of the storm. These items can include any tables and chairs, hot tub accessories and even potted plants that could get blown into the sides of the hot tub.

Add Extra Chemicals

Before the storm hits, go ahead and add extra chemicals to the water such as chlorine or hot tub bromine to be sure your water stays clean even if storm water happens to enter the hot tub.

Protect Your Equipment

Any part of your hot tub that is exposed and could be damaged should be wrapped with waterproof plastic carefully to be sure they are padded from wind damage and protected from the onslaught of falling rain. If the parts can be easily removed, consider taking them off and bringing them inside during the storm.

Cover Your Hot Tub

This issue is debated among hot tub experts everywhere with some believing that you should leave your hot tub uncovered to prevent damage to your cover. However, falling and blowing debris could damage the inside of your hot tub if it hits hard enough. If that happens, wouldn’t you rather your hot tub be covered causing only damage to the cover itself?

If you do cover your hot tub, be sure to strap it down tightly. Hot tub covers can act as kites in high winds and could be blown off if they aren’t properly strapped down to your hot tub. If you want to minimize the damage to your hot tub cover, consider purchasing plywood and strapping it down on top of the cover to shield it from damage.

Winter Storms

The winter months can bring a whole different breed of storm to your doorstep depending on where you live. Large snowfalls and cold temperatures present a totally different type of problem that you must address.

Consider Draining Your Hot Tub

Most hot tub owners love using their hot tubs during the cold, dark winter months. However, if a major winter storm is heading your way you may need to prepare for the worst.

Consider Power Outages

If you believe you could lose power for more than a few hours during a major winter storm, you may want to consider draining your hot tub before the storm hits. When you drain your hot tub, be sure you take the time to completely dry out all of the parts of your hot tub so they do not freeze. If you don’t, the frozen water could cause cracks to form in the plumbing leading to leaks and expensive repairs come springtime.

Try a Thermal Blanket

If you choose not to drain the water from your hot tub, you may want to pick up a thermal blanket that floats at the surface of your water. These blankets prevent heat from escaping so your water stays warmer for longer and could be all you need to get through those short power outages during the worst winter storms.

Keep an Eye on Your Cover

Your cover should be on your hot tub at all times during the winter storm. However, you will want to keep an eye on your cover especially if you are getting several inches or more of snow. Even just a few inches can add a lot of weight to your hot tub cover and could cause it to tear. During the storm and after the storm take a few minutes to clean the heavy snow off your cover so it doesn’t have to support all that weight for long.

Major storms present their own unique set of problems for hot tub owners, but if you are properly prepared, you will be able to reduce the risk of damage to your hot tub saving you money on expensive repairs in the process. For more, check out pHin.