6 Hot Tub Mistakes to Avoid

Hot tubs can have many benefits – they can help with a post-workout recovery, de-stressing, and even be a place to host parties. If not properly cared for and safe for soaking, hot tub water can pose health risks, like coughs and rashes. Yikes!

The warm water in a hot tub needs special care to remain a safe place for whatever benefits you seek, whether it’s fun, relaxation, or recovery. The certified pHin pool care experts put together a list of 6 Don’ts of hot tub care:

1.       Don’t cut the power on a full tub

Whether you use your hot tub regularly, a few times a month, or a few times a week, it’s necessary to maintain the same water level and a steady temperature. For both cold and warm seasons, this is ideal to maintain the chemical balance vs.  letting your hot tub cool down and then reheating it for each use.

2.       If you see green, don’t get in

If you’re ready for a soak and your hot tub water looks a little off, has a weird foam, green tinge, or flowing foam – don’t get in. These are signs that your hot tub water is unbalanced, unsanitary, or unsafe, and can have health risks. It will need chemical attention to be re-balanced, or you may have to drain and refill the tub to resolve the issue.

3.       Say “no” to plastic covers

Maintaining hot tub water is a delicate balance. A greenhouse setup or a plastic cover can magnify sun rays and trap heat in the tub. This extra heat can make it challenging to maintain a healthy water balance, and can even melt the plastic cover. It’s best to use the hot tub cover recommended by the manufacturer.

4.       Some like it hot – but don’t go over 104° F

The heat of the hot tub can be soothing for tired muscles, or even help with common headache symptoms. But be careful – a hot tub’s max temperature should be 104° F. Heating your hot tub above this level can be unhealthy and dangerous for swimmers, and could also damage your hot tub.

5.       Skip the soaps and suds

Aromatherapy can enhance hot tub relaxation, but it’s best to keep soaps, scents, and suds out of the water. Adding these products is not recommended by most hot tub manufacturers, as they can be detrimental to your system, requiring a drain and refill or  an expensive repair. It’s also a best practice to rinse off in the shower before getting into the hot tub. If you’d like some extra soothing scents, you can try an essential oil diffuser or candles in your hot tub space.

6.       Don’t forget your filters

For best results, hot tub filters need to be cleaned every two to three months and completely replaced every two years. Even if you don’t regularly use the hot tub, changing filters is important, because buildup can be a cause of unbalanced water and affect the lifespan of your hot tub. For a more efficient hot tub, the silver ion cartridge needs to be changed every four months.

Bonus tip #7: Use technology to monitor your hot tub water

Whether you have a service tech who manages your hot tub or you’re taking on the task yourself, the best way to know exactly what’s going on in your hot tub water is to have a smart monitor that analyzes it for you. The pHin has built-in analytics, a mobile app, and Bluetooth connectivity that keeps you informed about your hot tub water and guides you with chemical instructions.

Learn about the three simple steps for pool care with pHin.

4 Ways to De-stress in Your Hot Tub

Your stress levels should drop just thinking about easing into a hot tub and enjoying the combination of heat, jets, and the soothing sound of bubbling water. Here are ways to maximize your well-deserved relaxation time:

1.                  Meditate (or just breathe)

Meditation involves deep breathing and is designed to help you reach a state of mental tranquility. To get the benefits, you only need a calm and quiet place – some practice in homes or studios but the added warmth and movement of the hot tub offers a great time to slow your breathing, quiet your mind, and get to a meditative state. Even if meditation isn’t your thing, the hot tub is a great time and place for a little serenity after a busy day. Relax. Breathe. Be in the moment.

 2.                Wine, or your cup of tea

Enjoying a nice glass of wine in the hot tub can definitely ramp up the relaxation factor. If wine isn’t your thing, hot herbal teas offer antioxidants and a wonderful calming effect too. Sipping your favorite beverage while feeling the warm water can help you forget about the day and relax, no matter what season. One tip: Make sure you have an insulated cup for hot drinks and a non-breakable glass for wine and aim for those with lids to help avoid getting any dirt or leaves in your beverage. They also help prevent or minimize spills!

 3.                Essential oils (or scented candles)

Aromatherapy can intensify your relaxation experience. Lavender, chamomile, vanilla and jasmine are traditionally known as the best scents for de-stressing and relaxation, but scents are extremely personal. You can use those that calm you, or even mix a few for different effects. You can place scented candles near the hot tub (but not on the edges!) to infuse the air with relaxing aromas, or use an essential oil diffuser in an indoor hot tub room. Especially if you use a smart water monitoring system like pHin, it’s easy to get your water balanced again after you’re done. 

 4.                Jets (or jets, jets, and more jets!)

Take advantage of the variety of jets and seating positions in your hot tub to create true relaxation. If you’re recovering after a busy day at work or home, find the jets that target wherever you carry tension,  whether in your neck, back, and shoulders, or other areas. Adjust the pressure to a more gentle and soothing level so that it’s less intense  if you are recovering from a long ski day or a tough workout. Switch to different positions so that all of your muscles get some attention. And don’t forget your feet! Placing your feet over the jets creates a similar result as reflexology, relaxing all of the tension and stimulating blood flow while stimulating nerves that have a positive impact for your whole body. A hot tub foot massage is pretty magical so don’t skip this important part of your relaxation experience!

Everyone has their own secret for elevating the relaxation effects of their hot tub. Here’s one more tip: the less time you spend worrying about pH balances and chemical levels, the more you’ll be able to focus on stripping away the stress. Use a smart water monitor to automatically monitor your hot tub’s chemical levels and receive alerts if anything needs attention. Knowing that your hot tub is always ready and waiting for you is an easy way to decrease stress and enjoy life!

Questions to Ask When Buying Your First Hot Tub

Congratulations on your decision to join the world of hot tub owners! You have many hours of fun and relaxation in your future. Before you buy, though, you want to answer a few questions to be sure you get the right hot tub for your lifestyle. Should you take it out for a test soak? Does it come with a warranty? How about cleaning, does it require a lot of cleaning? Answering the following questions when buying your first hot tub helps ensure you enjoy your new purchase for many years to come.

Can You Test a Hot Tub before Buying It?

In a word, yes. Taking your hot tub out for a test soak is called “wet testing” and it’s something you do with a demonstration model at the dealer. Most spa dealers offer demo models specifically for shoppers to do a wet test.

During your wet test, pay attention to the seating and the jets. If the seating is uncomfortable, or the water goes too high or too low, you don’t get the full hydrotherapeutic value. Also, make sure that the positioning of the jets is comfortable.

Aim for a 15-minute test soak to get a true feel for the spa.

How Much Does it Cost?

Before conducting your first wet test, determine your budget and decide what you are willing and able to spend. Once you have your figure in mind you can start shopping. When you begin dealing with sales reps, remain confident in your predetermined price range. Most of them work on commission, so they often push larger models or extra features that you don’t necessarily want or need. That’s okay, they’re just doing their job, but if it’s more than you’re willing to spend, don’t let yourself be talked into more hot tub than you want. And, if you want to haggle, go for it. Most hot tubs have a decent markup, so there’s usually a bit of wiggle room.

Where Should I Put My Hot Tub?

While the majority of hot tub owners choose to put their tubs outside, they can also be installed inside. Installing a tub inside comes with three main concerns:

  • Will it fit through the door? Will it fit through my gates? Will I need to pay for a crane service?
  • Will the floor support the spa’s weight? Hint: a full, 3-person tub typically weighs around 2,500 pounds; larger tubs can weigh four times as much.
  • Do you have proper ventilation to avoid moisture buildup?

If you choose to go the more traditional route and install your spa outside, your main concerns are electricity and support. The closer the hot tub is to your home, the less it will cost to install, since it will be closer to any electrical outlets or wiring and you don’t have to worry about underground wiring. As for support, it is important to make sure that whatever surface you place your hot tub on can support the extra weight.

If want an in-ground tub, you need to place it at least four feet deep, or below the frost-line. Since the ground will thaw every spring, you want to make sure that you have the support in place to keep the spa’s shell from cracking once the ground shifts.

What about the Warranty?

Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so request a copy of the warranty for any hot tub you are considering purchasing. The main things you want to keep an eye out for when it comes to the warranty are the:

  • Hot tub shell, usually covered for five years against leaks and failures
  • Plumbing, usually covered for three years
  • Electrical components, usually covered for five years

Although these are your main areas of concern, read all the provisions of your warranty carefully.

The dealer you choose also plays a role. If they go out of business or have a reputation for bad customer service, you may have a harder time getting warranty items handled. You want to be happy with the retailer, the hot tub, and the warranty before making your final decision.

How Often Should the Hot Tub be Cleaned?

It is usually recommended to clean your spa no more than three or four times a year, but it depends on how frequently it is used and how well the water is maintained.  Typically, cleaning your hot tub takes about an hour. Proper water care is vital to your enjoyment of the hot tub and fairly simple, but it’s even easier with pHin.

Should You Shower before Using the Tub?

If you are perspiring, have recently worked out, or have any creams or lotions on your skin, it is a good idea to take a quick shower before hopping into your hot tub. Any contaminants that enter the water can upset the chemical balance and lead to more frequent cleanings or maintenance issues.

As you look at these questions to ask when buying your first hot tub, there are many great tools to simplify the maintenance process. If you want an easy way to ensure the water in your hot tub is always safe and ready for a relaxing soak, 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 right to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.