Health Concerns

Q) Are Hot Tubs hard on your skin?

Typically, water is good for the skin, however; imbalances in the water can be rough on the skin. Always make sure the water is properly balanced, specifically the sanitizer and the pH balance. Chlorine can cause skin irritations if you have sensitive skin, and it most cases, switching to a Bromine Sanitizer will not cause any irritations.

Q) Last time I was in a hot tub, I got a rash. What causes this?

Rashes can often be caused by insufficient sanitizer levels, or a pH imbalance. Start by testing your water to ensure proper sanitizer levels to prevent bacteria growth in the water. Keeping your pH at prime levels is also key. As long as you follow the Water Balancing guidelines your skin should be irritation free! Sometimes, when your skin has been exposed to the sanitizer, or other chemicals, too long, a rash can also appear. To prevent this, shower and change out of your bathing suits immediately after your soak. Occasionally, a rash can also be caused by "unclean" users in the tub, bringing in all types of contaminants. You can prevent this by instituting a "shower first" rule for hot tub users. If the rash keeps reappearing, it may be a good sign, it's time to purge the plumbing lines.

General Maintenance

Q) How often should I test my water?

You should be testing your water at least 2-3 times per week, using dip-test strips.

Q) How often do I need to change the hot tub water, or clean the tub?

That varies for each hot tub owner. A good rule of thumb is every 2-3 months, also depending on how many users you have regularly and if you have a "shower first" rule. You can also determine when it's time to change the water, by doing a bit of simple math. Take your total gallons of water, divide by 3 then divide by the average amount of users in the tub, and that will give you a rough number of days in between draining and refilling. For example; 375gal divided by 3 = 125, divide that by, let's say 2 regular users, equals 62.5. That means for two regular users, you should drain and refill your tub roughly every 63 days. You can also have your hot tub water tested for TDS, or Total Dissolved Solids. Once that reading is too high, it's time to change your water.

Q) Do I really need to clean the hot tub plumbing lines?

Yes! These "out of sight, out of mind" parts are often ignored, yet over time; the plumbing can become coated with sludge, and grime that can contaminate your spa water that you worked on so hard to keep clear. It's important to periodically purge the lines to ensure premium water quality and to keep the plumbing clean. So when do you know it's time for a good cleaning for your hot tub plumbing? When you notice slime forming in your water; or if the water is cloudy and you smell musty odors, it could be time to flush out the plumbing. Another more serious warning sign is skin rash. If you get a rash on your skin a few days after using your hot tub, it is definitely time to give it a good cleaning.

Q) How do I clean the pipes and plumbing of my hot tub?

Before you start, it might be necessary to shock your hot tub. This can help to kill any bacteria before starting the actual cleaning process. Shock as usual, and allow circulation at high speed for 30 min. Next, add 250 ml of SpaBoss Whirlpool Rinse. Allow water to circulate, with pumps on high speed for 2 hours. Drain the tub. Take advantage of the empty tub, and clean the shell and jets, before refilling. Once that's complete, refill your tub and balance water again.

Q) How do I drain my hot tub?

Most hot tubs have bottom drains which you connect to a hose and run to a drain. However, if you do not have a drain you can simply purchase a submersible pump and drain the spa.

Q) How often should I change, or clean the filters?

It is strongly recommended that you give your filters a thorough rinse once a week, and a deep cleaning once a month. This will ensure maximum efficiency of your filters, maximize the lifespan of the filter; and ultimately clear hot tub water. Most filters, with proper care and maintenance should last you one year. If you’re rotating your filters out monthly (for cleaning) they can last up to two years.

Q) How do I clean the Hot Tub Cover?

Gently brush or sweep any debris off the cover. Do not use any detergent based soaps, alcohol products, dishwashing soaps, or any cleaning products containing bleach. Oil based products or protectants are extremely damaging because they amplify sun rays, essentially cooking your hot tub cover. Harsh cleaners can strip the clear top coating of vinyl causing it to fade, crack, deteriorate and eventually require replacement. It’s best to use the products recommended for a hot tub cover or simply use warm water and some elbow grease. A good way to help prolong the life of your Hot Tub Cover is to keep it clean and conditioned with a product such as Spa Boss Restore. This not only keeps your cover clean, it will also condition and add UV protection. Applying a quality UV vinyl protection to your hot tub cover three to four times a year will help protect it from the harmful effects of exposure to the sun.

Water Balance/Issues

Q) What is the proper guideline for water testing?

Hot tub water should be tested at minimum, twice per week. Using Test Strips is the easiest way to test water levels at home. Simply dip the test strip about elbow deep into the water, and compare your readings with the suggested levels located on the container, or see next question.

Q) What are proper water balance levels? 

Chlorine – 1-3ppm

Bromine – 3-5ppm

pH – 7.2-7.8

Alkalinity – 100-150ppm

Calcium Hardness – 200-400ppm

Q) Why do I need to test for Alkalinity?

Alkalinity, Total Alkalinity; or TA, is the buffer of pH, and if it’s not balanced correctly, you may get an inaccurate pH reading. Alkalinity is the ability to control the pH more effectively. Alkalinity levels should be balanced before making pH adjustments. Low Alkalinity levels can cause rapid changes in the pH, and easier irritate skin and eyes. High Alkalinity levels can make your pH levels hard to adjust, and also cause skin and eye irritation; and also result in poor sanitizer efficiency.

Q) What does the statement "Shock your hot tub" refer to?

“Shocking” your hot tub is a water treatment process involving the addition of a larger dose of chlorine or non-chlorine granular product to break down organic contaminants that cause odor and cloudy water. This process oxidizes the contaminants that “bind up” your chlorine or bromine, restoring it and allowing it to perform at peak efficiency. Typically, after this treatment, water quality and clarity is restored. Shocking your hot tub should be done regularly after use and/or weekly to maintain clear, clean water.

Q) Why is my hot tub water foaming?

Foaming hot tub water can be caused by a few different reasons – too soft water, cosmetics, hair products, detergents on swimwear, low quality chemicals; or total dissolved solids (TDS). To prevent foaming water, institute a “shower first” rule, balance the Calcium Hardness levels in your water, and use good quality hot tub chemicals. You can also purchase a floating “Spa Ball” which will help to absorb any of the cosmetics, hair products, or detergents; that do make their way into your hot tub.

Q) Why is my hot tub water discolored?

Depending on the color, this can mean a few different things.

- Green water can be a sign of algae growth, or copper deposits from your water fill source. To determine what your situation may be, touch the insides of the hot tub; if it feels slimy, most likely the cause is algae. If it’s not slimy, chances are its copper. High copper deposits can be cleared up by adding a metal sequestering agent.

- Yellow water can also be a sign of algae growth. Yellow algae are a particularly resistant type of algae that may exist in a dark, heated tub, even with the use of sanitizers. When in full “bloom” it will deposit itself as sheets across the spa surfaces. Yellow water can also be caused by excess pollen in the springtime, or iron in the water. Iron in the water will turn the water yellow after shocking.

- Brown water is usually caused again, by high mineral levels, namely iron. Water with high iron levels may turn brown within hours of shocking the water or making big pH adjustments. Brown water can also be caused by contaminated fill water. To prevent brown water from your fill source, use a pre-filter on your hose.

- White, milky, or cloudy hot tub water can be caused by high calcium, high alkalinity, ineffective filtering or pumping, or; air in the system. Contaminants from cosmetics, lotions, hair products, can also cause white water. A more serious cause of white water, is white water mold. This type of mold typically grows in clumps and clusters, and is usually a result of poor hot tub/water maintenance. This type of mold is difficult to remove but can be done by removing filters, raising chlorine levels to 30ppm, running the spa for several hours, draining, and wiping out the tub and jets. You’ll want to clean the spa pillows, baskets, thermometer, etc. in a strong bleach solution also, to remove any mold from these surfaces and prevent it spreading throughout the tub again.

- Pink water, or pink algae, is a close relation to the white mold discussed above. Pink algae are more a bacteria but displays characteristics of algae. Typically, you won’t see pink water very often, and pink algae won’t usually turn the water pink except; in very mature colonies. Treatment of pink algae is similar to white mold treatment; hit it hard with chlorine, (30ppm), and using a purge product to clean out the plumbing and lines. Be sure to replace your filters, and thoroughly clean spa accessories in a strong bleach solution.

Q) Why is my hot tub water cloudy?

Cloudy water can be attributed a few factors.

1. High calcium or, high alkalinity levels. Check, and balance these levels.

2. Low sanitizer levels. Check and bring your sanitizer levels back into recommended range.

3. Cloudy fill water; to prevent this, use a pre-filter when filling your hot tub.

4. Air in the system. Tiny particles of air, or tiny bubbles, can make the water appear cloudy. This could also, be a sign of an air leak, on the suction side of the pump. Last but not least, low water levels can also bring air into the spa, and give a hazy appearance.

5. Spa filter issues. The filter may not be in place properly, allowing water to bypass the filter. Gummed up filters also cannot perform efficiently. Make sure to thoroughly deep clean your filters regularly.

6. Spa pump issues. You may need to increase your filtration cycles to keep up with proper filtration.

7. Again, cosmetics, hair product, detergents; can all contribute to cloudy water. Making sure everyone showers before hot tub use will help prevent cloudy water from these contaminants.