When Should you Drain and Refill your Hot Tub?

Preventative maintenance goes a long way with hot tubs. Here is a simple plan to make draining, cleaning and refilling yours easy.

(Please check with your manufacturer’s instructions if those are available. The points below are fairly universal, still, checking with your manufacturer is highly suggested.)

Clean Filter

Open the filter well and have a look at your filter. If it’s been a year or so, you’ll want to replace the filter. If the filter is still in good shape, give it a quick rinse to get the grime off and use an approved spa filter cleaner, and either soak the filter element in a diluted solution or simply spray the concentrate and follow the directions on the label. Ensure you rinse the filters thoroughly as the residue can cause foam.

Click here to purchase Leisure Time® Spa Instant Cartridge Clean.

Shock (Optional)

If you have time for a deeper cleaning, then it is a good practice to super-shock the hot tub water. This will kill bacteria that are present in the water and allow the purge product to work effectively. With the hot tub running and jets off, add shock to the hot tub water. Circulate the hot tub for at least 30 minutes. Do not put the hot tub cover on, as shock needs to oxidize or time to release gases. Do not turn on the jets while shocking, as the product will oxidize too fast.

Purge Plumbing

Your hot tub plumbing can harbor a lot of nasty biofilms. A biofilm is a buildup of dirt and grime in the form of bacteria and other organic contaminants. Your hot tub plumbing is a great place for bacteria to hide and grow. Biofilm is effectively controlled with a plumbing purge, using a product containing enzymes that loosen up biofilms.

Pour in a hot tub specific plumbing purge product. Follow the directions on the bottle for the amount as each manufacturer differs slightly. To avoid under treatment, make sure to know the water volume of your hot tub. Turn on the jets and allow the system to circulate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours to thoroughly remove biofilm.

Drain and Scrub

Drain the water completely from your hot tub. Don’t use a soap based cleaner as it leaves residues and causes foam. An equal part of white vinegar and water does a great job or you can use a spa surface cleaner. Don’t forget to clean the hot tub cover, top and bottom with products designed specifically for hot tub covers.

Refill, Balance & Sanitize

Now that your hot tub is clean, it’s time to replace the water. This will take time and it’s a good time to walk around and check for leaks. Fill the tub by sticking the hose in the filter well. This directs water through the filter and pipes first to avoid trapping air in the system. Trapped air in the pipes can cause airlock and damage the pump. Once full, follow the instructions in your pHin Mobile App to balance and sanitize the water in this order: Adjust Total Alkalinity (TA), then pH, then sanitizers.


Simple Fixes for Common Plumbing Problems in Your Pool

Part of owning a pool or hot tub means taking care of any problems that might occur, preferably while it’s still early days and the problem is easy – and inexpensive – to fix. While some issues, such as chemical balance, are simple to understand and correct, dealing with plumbing problems confuses most people.

Plumbing issues in particular require swift action. Waiting leads to further damage and expensive repairs. While fixing a plumbing problem may seem daunting, there are simple solutions to common plumbing problems pool owners experience.

Air in the System

Any air in your pool system can be a serious issue, as it restricts water flow. This may cause cloudiness in the pool or even lead to the filter tank bursting due to pressure build-up, which may not be apparent when viewing the filter pressure gauge. One symptom of an air leak in your system is when streams of air bubbles come from the water inlets into the pool. There are a few things that might cause air to enter your system, all of which have a simple remedy.

Check the water level of the pool, as a low water level can cause the surface skimmer to pull in air. If low water is the only issue, refill the pool to the proper level. Speaking of the surface skimmer, another component to inspect is the skimmer weir. The weir is the “flapper door” inside to mouth of the skimmer. It’s purpose is to actually create the “skimming action” by free-floating on the uppermost surface of the pool water level. The weir can become faulty and stick in the mouth closed position, literally creating a dam effect inhibiting the flow of water.

Other common causes can be the circulation pump and valves, typically located on the suction side and in front of the pump. The circulation pump has a hair and lint strainer pot with a cover and gasket / o-ring. When the gasket o-ring becomes flattened or the cover becomes damaged (cracked or warped), it can break the airtight seal, allowing air to flow into your filtration system. For valves, a cover is sealed by a gasket or o-ring and may begin to leak, the lid can warp or crack and let in air.

To determine if the circulation pump or a valve is the culprit of your air leak, start up the system and relieve any existing air by opening up the air bleed valve on top of the filter tank. Once the gauge has achieved the expected pressure, turn off the system and watch the pump area. If there is a small spray of water in any of these areas, then you pinpointed the leak. From there, replace all necessary parts and remember that you should never let an air leak go unattended.

Dirt and Debris

Dirt and debris is at the forefront of every pool owner’s mind, though usually in the form of thinking about cleanliness and water chemistry. However, dirt and debris can enter the plumbing and cause problems for you and your pool. Debris entering the filtration system can cause clogs or even wedge itself in valves and covers, letting in air. If the filter or strainer is clogged with debris, clean the strainer, then backwash the filter or change the cartridge. Dirt and debris may also clog the skimmer line, so your pool filter fails to work properly. If this is the case, turn off the pool pump and (if possible) the power to the motor. Clear any existing debris from the basket and use a plumbing snake designed for the particular type of plumbing to remove the clog from the skimmer’s piping.

Changes in Filter Pressure

The filter in your pool or hot tub must work perfectly to ensure optimum water safety.  A change in filter pressure is a common problem that, luckily, has an easy fix. Decreases in filter pressure are usually caused by clogs, trapped air, or incorrect valve settings. This can be remedied by checking valve settings, clearing suction lines, or replacing damaged hardware. Increases in filter pressure are usually caused by something blocking the filter, such as debris or an algae bloom blocking inside the filter. This can be prevented with regular pool cleanings and consistently clearing your pool of algae.

A pHin smart monitor helps ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays perfectly balanced. If you prefer to hire professionals for your plumbing issues, check out Pool Service on Demand, where you can connect with qualified, local pool care professionals.

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.