Hot Tub Maintenance – A Beginner’s Guide to Expert Spa Care

Hot tub maintenance is non-negotiable, keeping your water crystal clear and, most importantly, safe.

But what happens if you’ve been relying on professional service to keep your spa clean and suddenly need to take the role on yourself?

Whether you’re learning new DIY skills to save more money, or are facing the struggle of finding a team that has the space to take on a new client, we’re here to help empower you with your spa care!

Luckily, maintaining your hot tub like a pro isn’t as challenging as you may first fear, and we’re going to walk you through it step by step!

Your Complete Hot Tub Maintenance Checklist

Taking care of your hot tub involves a precise combination of steps, and each one will need to be performed at different intervals.

While some will need to be done each day, others may only need to be done annually!

Don’t let this worry you. Caring for your hot tub can be quite simple with the right guidance, so we’ve put together a comprehensive list for you to easily follow for seamless year-round care.

hot tub maintenance - Sundance Spas waterfall

Daily Maintenance

Your daily hot tub maintenance consists of one thing: circulating your water!

This is a completely hands-off part of your water care, and can be scheduled to automatically run each day.

By circulating your water, you’re able to keep your water treatment products equally dispersed throughout your spa, maintain the temperature of your water, and avoid clusters of bacteria from forming.

Ideally, you should be having your water circulate for eight hours a day. However, this doesn’t need to be done all at once.

It can easily be broken up into various parts and spread throughout the day. This is especially helpful if you live in a community with tiered energy rates.

Best of all, this isn’t don’t only when you’re outside the water. Each time you settle in for a soak, and the jets set the water swirling, the water is being circulated through the system!

hot tub maintenance - man testing the spa water with a pH test strip

Weekly Maintenance

Your weekly duties will require a bit more work, but shouldn’t take you any more than 20 minutes.

These steps focus on keeping your water clean and clear, while maintaining the efficiency of your spa.

Test & Treat Your Water

First up, you’ll need to test and treat your water with the appropriate water treatment products.

While this step is included in the weekly maintenance, you should actually be doing this at least twice a week to ensure your water is always well-balanced.

Improperly treated water can result in corrosion or scale, both of which damage your system over time!

When you test your water, you’ll be looking at a few aspects, each one working together to maintain the quality and cleanliness of your water.

The three most crucial elements are your alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer levels, and can be treated with:

  • Total alkalinity increaser
  • pH Increaser
  • pH decreaser
  • Chlorine, bromine, or any other sanitizer you may be using

What you use to treat these levels is equally as important as the order in which you treat them.

Alkalinity significantly influences pH levels, so you’ll want to balance your alkalinity first, before adding your pH products, followed by your sanitizer.

So, what should these levels be?

Your alkalinity should be kept between 80 and 120 ppm (parts-per-million), while your pH stays between 7.2 and 7.8.

Your sanitizer levels will depend on which one you use. If you’ve opted for chlorine, your sanitizer levels should be three ppm.

If you’ve instead decided to use bromine, you’ll want to maintain sanitizer levels between three and five ppm.

Rinse Your Filters

Each week, you’ll also want to rinse off any debris that’s built up on your filters.

As water circulates through your system, your filters collect any minute debris that’s floating in it. This includes things like oils, dirt, and even dead skin cells!

Rinsing off your filters will help maintain their efficiency each week.

Simply remove your filters from your spa, and rinse them under your faucet or garden hose. To get a deeper clean between the pleats, try using a special attachment for your hose designed for hot tub filters.

Clean Above Your Waterline

As you enjoy the luscious warmth of your water, organic matter from your body and swimsuit is being pulled into the water, such as lotions, makeup, and detergents.

This can leave a film of oil on the surface of your water, which can lead to scum rings on your shell hovering just above your water line, creating the perfect place for dust and dirt to collect.

To avoid this, simply wipe your shell just above your waterline with a soft cloth. This will help lift up that grim and keep the interior of your shell looking sparkly clean.

Shock Your Water

While your regular treatments work to break down bacteria, ensuring a comfortable soaking experience, adding a shock treatment once a week can help break down more stubborn bacteria.

One of the best shock treatments is an oxidizing shock, which can target the organic matter your sanitizer is unable to break down.

Essentially, your shock treatment acts as a backup for your sanitizer, giving it a boost to maintain the safety and clarity of your water.

Wipe Your Cover

Last on your weekly list is to wipe down the outside of your cover with a damp cloth.

Your hot tub cover is constantly exposed to the elements, and quickly collects dust and dirt that’s being blown around your yard.

Wiping it down will help keep it in good condition, and ensure it always looks its best.

hot tub maintenance - man opening the easy access panel of the hot tub

Monthly Maintenance

While your weekly maintenance certainly works to keep your water crystal clear and enjoyable to be in, you’ll want to take a few extra steps each month to maximize your efforts.

Spray Your Filters

Just rinsing your filters isn’t quite enough to maintain their efficiency long term, and can still result in stubborn buildup that your rinse along can’t clear up.

This is where filter cleaner comes in.

Filter cleaner can either be a power or a spray and helps you give your filters a deeper clean when needed.

If you’re using a powder, you’ll want to dilute the appropriate amount, as stated in the instructions on your container, with water in a bucket. Then, submerge your filters in the mixture for 15 minutes.

If you’re using a spray, simply pre-rinse your filters, then spray with your filter cleaner and set them aside to soak for 15 minutes.

After the 15 minutes, thoroughly rinse your filters to remove any of the cleaner and the grime it pulled up, before returning them to your spa.

Clean your Cover

Each month, you’ll want to expand your regular cover cleaning to include the underside of it as well.

This side of your cover is constantly exposed to the moisture of your spa, and even the chemicals that slowly evaporate from the water.

If not cleaned on a regular basis, this can lead to mildew or mold developing.

To clean the underside of your cover, remove it from your spa and lay it bottom-side up on the ground.

Then, using warm soapy water and a cloth, wash your cover to remove any chemicals or moisture buildup that may be lingering on it. Pay close attention to the corners and any tight section that may be more difficult to reach.

After you’ve finished washing the underside, dry it off, and return your cover to your spa.

To bring this clean even further, you can apply a UV protectant to the outside of your cover once it’s back on your spa. This helps reduce the damage the sun can cause, keeping the color from fading and cracks from forming.

Inspect Your System

Your system works hard every day to keep your water circulated, warm, and clean.

Inspecting your system once a month can help you catch any potential signs of problems rising, ensuring you get them taken care of before they grow into larger issues.

During your inspection, you’ll want to check the seals for any signs of leaking, ensure your insulation is dry, and check for any leaking around the edge of your cabinet.

Wipe The Cabinet

The cabinet of your hot tub plays a significant role in how your spa looks in your space. With its stunning color, textures, and accent lighting, it becomes a statement piece that draws the attention of everyone who enters your home.

Much like your cover, your cabinetry is exposed to the elements 24/7, so it’s important to include it in your maintenance routine.

Cleaning your cabinet once a month will help keep it looking its best, and maintain its premium condition.

Do not use any abrasive materials to clean your cabinet. Instead, opt for a soft cloth and warm, soapy water.

hot tub maintenance - empty Sundance Spa

Seasonal Maintenance

You may be wondering, with all the steps above, what else could possibly need to be done, and it’s because of those steps that you need to do a seasonal reset.

Soak Your Filters

Much like your monthly clean, your seasonal filter cleaning will aim to provide a deeper clean and revive your filters to their previous glory.

For this clean, you’ll want to dilute your filter cleaner with water in a bucket and leave your filters to soak overnight or for 24 hours.

This helps deeply penetrate the pleats, lifting any difficult-to-remove grime that  has embedded itself in the fabric.

To ensure you can still enjoy your spa while your filters are soaking, simply replace them with another pair and circulate them out each time this seasonal clean needs to be done.

This way, as they soak and dry afterward, you can still enjoy your spa.

Drain & Deep Clean Your Spa

Each time you add your treatment products to your water, you’re raising its total dissolved solids (TDS), which can make your water increasingly difficult to treat.

To combat this, you’ll want to provide yourself with a fresh start by draining and deep cleaning your spa.

Step 1: Clean The Lines

Before draining your hot tub, add some line cleaner to the water and turn your jets on, allowing it to circulate through your system for fifteen minutes.

This helps break down any grime that may have built up in your pipes, around your jets, and on your heating element.

Step 2: Drain Your Spa

After fifteen minutes, turn off the power to your spa, and use the drain valve and a hose to drain all the water from your spa.

Step 3: Clean & Inspect the Shell

Once all the water has been drained, use a shell cleaner to clean your shell.

As you do this, take time to clean around your jets and inspect their seals for any signs of damage.

Once you’re confident the shell is clean, rinse the cleaner off and drain it from the basin.

Step 4: Refill The Spa and balance the Water

Next, you can close up your drain and begin refilling your spa with fresh water. Once the water is just below the headrests, you can remove the hose and turn your system back on.

Now that you have a fresh basin of water, you’ll need to test and balance the water with your alkalinity, pH, and waiting products.

hot tub maintenance - changing the filter in a sundance spa

Annual Maintenance

Finally, your annual hot tub maintenance ensures you replace the necessary elements of your system that have a 12-month lifespan.

Change Your Filter

Hot tub filters are only recommended to use for 12 months, and should be replaced after that time.

While you may have to replace them sooner if they are damaged at any point during your routine cleanings, if they are still working after 12 months, you’ll need to switch them out for new ones.

This ensures your filters are always in premium condition and able to efficiently filter your water, keeping energy costs low and water clean!

Replace Your CLEARRAY®️ Bulb

If you have a Sundance®️ Spas hot tub, you’ll want to ensure you’re changing your CLEARRAY®️ bulb once a year as well.

This bulb works with your CLEARRAY®️ Active Oxygen System to sanitize your water with a precise mixture of oxygen and UV-C light. Over time, this bulb weakens, much like any other lightbulb in your home.

To keep this system functioning properly, and continue enjoying the benefits of cleaner water with fewer chemicals, you’ll want to ensure you change this bulb each year.

Hot Tub Maintenance and Support in Salisbury, MD

At Pool Tech, we’re dedicated to ensuring our customers get the very best service possible. Whether you’re looking for guidance when water issues arise, or require a hot tub repair, our team is here to help.

Contact us to learn more about the ways our team can support you and your spa.

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