For most hot tub owners there are times in the year where you’re incredibly busy. When this happens some things, like your hot tub, tend to get neglected. It’s just human nature. When you’ve already got 100 things to do, using your hot tub probably isn’t high on your list of priorities.
The problem comes when that lack of use leads to a lack of maintenance. This is a problem because, as we’ve previously covered, regular maintenance is the best way to extend the life of your hot tub. That’s not the only reasons why regular hot tub maintenance is important, however, here are 3 more!
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Your Hot Tub
1) Fixing A Problem Is Much More Work Than Regular Maintenance
If you don’t maintain some level of sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) in your water, you’re going to run into water quality problems. These can range from cloudy water, to algae blooms to white water mould. Issues such as these can take hours of work to properly clear and can even force you to have to drain and refill the hot tub entirely.
2) Dirty Filters Can Damage Pumps
Water quality issues can also clog your hot tub filters as algae and other contaminants build up on their surface. This causes your hot tub pumps to work harder as they strain to pull water through these clogged filters. This added strain can dramatically lower the lifespan of your pumps.
3) You Might Miss A Problem
Even if the water stays clear and the filters stay clean there’s always the “what if” scenarios. What if the power flickers and the hot tub shuts down? What if your heater breaks and the hot tub starts to lose temperature? While these are usually just minor annoyances in the warmer months, in the winter these can cause big problems.
If the hot tub loses power or loses temperature in the winter and you don’t notice you can end up with a frozen hot tub. Once this happens all you can do is wait for it to thaw and see what the damage is. Damage from freezing can range from a broken fitting to having to replace large sections of plumbing; easily costing over $1000.
How To Get A Neglected Hot Tub Working Again
So what to you do if you’ve already been neglecting your hot tub? How can you get it back up and running? If it’s been awhile since you last looked at your hot tub, follow these steps to get the water clean, clear and ready to use!
Check The Water Clarity
The first thing to do is to check the water. Does it look clear? If so then you’re lucky! Perform a quick water test and add chemicals as needed. If it’s been more than two weeks you should also shock the water to remove any contaminants that have built up in the water and rinse off the filters.
What if the water has a hazy (or green) tinge to it? If you can still easily see the bottom of the hot tub then give it a “double shock” (that is, put 2 times as much shock in the hot tub as you normally would) using either chlorinated or bromine shock and clean the filters with a chemical cleaner. Repeat until the water clears up and then take a water sample to your local hot tub retailer to get a professional water test performed.
If you’re having a hard time seeing the bottom of the hot tub, or can’t see it at all, you’ve got a little more work to do.
Drain The Hot Tub
This extra work starts with draining the hot tub. Before draining, it is best to clean out the pipes and jets with a pipe cleaner like Ahh-Some. This gel breaks up biofilm and other contaminants that build up in the plumbing over time. It is these contaminants that lead to the water becoming cloudy or green in the first place.
Next, remove all of the water in the hot tub using either a submersible pump or the built-in gravity drain in the hot tub. If there is any water left over in the bottom of the tub or on the seats after draining, remove as much as you can with a shop vac.
Note: If your hot tub is not a Self-Cleaning hot tub from Hydropool, ensure that the power to the hot tub is turned off before you start to drain it.
Clean The Hot Tub
Once you’ve removed as much of the old water as you can, it’s time to start cleaning. Clean the surface of the hot tub with a soft cloth and a cleaner specifically designed for hot tubs. If you don’t have a hot tub cleaner, you can also use bleach that has been diluted in water (use gloves). Avoid using household cleaners as they often contain sudsing agents that can make hot tub water foam.
Along with the shell of the hot tub you should also clean the underside of the hot tub cover. Hot tub covers are often overlooked in the cleaning process but can have just as many bacteria on them as the hot tub surface. As steam rises and hits the cover it condenses and fall back into the water; taking the bacteria from the cover with it!
Note: When cleaning the cover, make sure to get in and around all of the stitching and zippers as these are usually places that get neglected.
Rinse And Clean Your Filters
Once your hot tub, and hot tub cover, are clean, it is time to clean the filter. First, rinse it with your garden hose or in your sink to remove any large debris that it has caught. Once it has been thoroughly rinsed, it’s time to clean them using a hot tub filter cleaner. This will remove any oils, lotions and smaller contaminants from the filter.
After leaving them in the cleaning solution for 30-60 minutes, give the filters another quick rinse and allow them to dry. Allowing your filters to dry is important. Over time, the fibres that make up a filter will begin to loosen, allowing larger and larger debris to pass through them. When the filter dries out, these fibres tighten back up; increasing their effectiveness.
Refill The Hot Tub
Now that the hot tub has been completely cleaned, it is time to refill it. Once it filled, turn the power back on. The hot tub will the begin to circulate and heat itself up to temperature.
When the water reaches a temperature of 70F, add in some shock to get rid of any remaining contaminants in the water and let it continue to circulate.
After the hot tub has fully heated and circulated for around 24 hours, take a sample of the hot tub water to your local hot tub retailer for a water analysis.
Check For White Water Mould
One common issue that hot tubs with low sanitizer experience is white water mould. White water mould is a thin layer of bacteria that is white in colour. It grows in the pipes of hot tubs that don’t have enough sanitizer to kill it.
The final thing you should do before entering your hot tub after a water quality issue is to check to make sure that there is no white water mould present in the water. To do this, simply turn the hot tub jets on high speed for 5-10 minutes, then shut them off. If you see what look like small pieces of white tissue paper floating in the hot tub, you’ve got white water mould.
To get rid of white water mould, simply shock the hot tub with chlorinated or bromine chock and maintain a high level of sanitizer for a few days. Check the water every day or so until you no longer see any white water mould, then clean the hot tub filter using the same steps that we’ve just covered.
Neglecting your hot tub can lead to some costly problems; both in terms of cost and in terms of the time it takes to fix them. To avoid these problems, simply make sure that you check on your hot tub at least once per week, even if you’re not using it. The 5 minutes needed to test your water and add chemicals is usually all it takes to prevent serious water quality issues!