By now, the weather has grown cold, and most homeowners have closed their swimming pools for the winter. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack away your swimwear just yet. If you have a hot tub or spa, you may be in for a mid-winter soak. In fact, the heated water of a hot tub can be especially luxurious when the outside temperature drops. Of course, if you want to enjoy your hot tub year-round, you also need to maintain it 365 days a year. Daily maintenance doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Even less regular maintenance can go pretty quickly once you get the hang of it. The main thing is developing a good schedule sticking to it. So what is the perfect maintenance schedule for a hot tub or spa? Everyone’s a little different, but here’s a great sample schedule from the pros at The Pool Butler.
Keeping a Maintenance Schedule
If you want to get the most of out of your hot tub, you will need to be sure that you don’t skip maintenance chores. The easiest way to do that is to have a set schedule.
There area few ways we’ve seen people set up their schedule, ranging from the high-tech to the old-school.
If you’re into your technology, set up reminders in your favorite calendar app. Most apps allow you to set tasks that repeat at a desired interval. That’s especially useful for less regular tasks, such a monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance. You can also set up reminders. For the less common tasks, you can set up a reminder a day or even a week in advance to make sure you don’t miss it.
If you like the feel of a pen and paper, break out the old-fashioned monthly calendar. It’s best to use a calendar with ample space in the daily boxes for some notes. You can plot out a few months or even a whole year. Hang the calendar near your hot tub along with a pen for checking off the items as you perform the tasks. There’s something nice about a physical list that lets you cross something out.
If you’re okay with a little extra maintenance of your maintenance schedule, you can hang a dry erase board near your hot tub. It is less susceptible to water damage than a paper schedule, but it also holds less information. You can get dry erase board printed like a calendar with boxes for an entire month. Or, you can just write yourself a list. Make an area for longer-term reminders about monthly, seasonal, or annual tasks. You’ll need to do some erasing and updating on a dry erase board, but some folks love the convenience.
To keep your hot tub at its best, there is no getting around a little daily maintenance. Just work it into your daily schedule. You can make it part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth and fixing your coffee. If you prefer another time of day, you can fit it in anywhere. But try to keep to the same time of day. Consistency is the key and making it a part of a routine will go a long ways toward staying consistent. Don’t worry, the daily check is just that, a quick check. If everything looks ok, there’s nothing else to do.
- As you approach the hot tub, check the cover. It should be on tightly. Keeping the cover on securely is the first step in spa maintenance. It keeps the good chemicals and heat in while keeping fluctuating temperatures and flying debris out.
- After inspecting the cover, pop it open and check the water temperature. It’s easiest just to purchase a waterproof thermometer and keep it in your hot tub. If the temperature is stable, you’re done. If there is ongoing fluctuation, you may have a problem.
- Close the cover and check for any external damage. Little tears and scratches can be dealt with. Keeping the cover clean and damage-free on a regular basis will extend its life and save you money.
Three Times a Week
Three times a week, about every other day, you will need to get a little active. It won’t take a lot of time, but spending those 5 or 10 minutes every couple of days will save you time and money in the long run. These are the tasks that keep your hot tub or spa in good condition for the long run.
- Use a drop tester or testing strips to test the water’s alkalinity. If the pH is fluctuation or is hard to change, your alkalinity may be too low or too high. Checking on it regularly and adjusting as necessary will help prevent problems.
- Again with a drop tester or strips, check the water’s pH. Adjust if necessary. It’s a good idea to keep your pH around 7.5.
- Test the sanitizer levels. The sanitizer, usually chlorine, is what keeps bacteria and algae from taking over your hot tub. Maintaining sufficient levels is vital to your pool’s health.
- Take a wet cloth and clean a little above the water line. You’re just wiping away dust, pollen, and debris that could get into your hot tub water.
Once a week, perhaps on the weekend, you will need to go just one step further. Reserve about 15-20 minutes for your weekly maintenance. As you get used to it, you might find it takes even less time. Keep track of your weekly test results so you can notice any trends.
- Test your water for alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer. Make adjustments. If you notice minor fluctuations during the week, you can let them slide. But once a week you should adjust everything back to their ideal levels. This counts as one of your three weekly checks, too.
- Shock your hot tub. You can use chlorine-based or non-chlorine shock. Just make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions. Leave the cover off for a few hours afterward to let the chemical off-gas.
- Remove your hot tub filter and rinse it out with some plain water. A clean filter will do a better, more efficient job cleaning your water. On some of the less frequent maintenance schedules, you will use chemicals for an extra clean.
- Clean your spa cover. Just wipe it down with a specialized cleaner or some very diluted bleach. Clean the top and bottom. Dust and pollen can settle on the top of the cover and wiping it down weekly will prevent a buildup. Wiping the inside of the cover weekly prevents the accumulation of mold or algae.
Every month, you will need to do a slightly more intense cleaning. You can synchronize your monthly check with your daily and weekly checks to save time. In addition to the daily and weekly tasks you should:
- Rinse your filter with specialized filter cleaning chemicals. Not every rinse needs to be with chemicals, but doing it once a month will clear out any dirt or grime that is really stuck in the filter.
- Inspect your hot tub jets. Assuming you use your hot tub regularly, you would probably notice if a jet wasn’t working correctly. Still, take this opportunity once a month to deliberately check each jet to make sure it is working and there is no external damage like cracks or loose parts.
- Bring your water to a pool store for professional testing. This takes a little extra time and planning since you actually have to go somewhere. Professionals can do a much more detailed, thorough, and precise check of your water and its chemical levels.
Once a Season
There are certain types of deep cleaning and maintenance that you really only need to bother with about 4 times a year. We suggest doing it at the change of seasons to keep it simple. However, you can really schedule these additional maintenance tasks any time as long as they are done about once every three months.
- Give your hot tub cabinet a thorough cleaning. Get out a brush and the appropriate cleaning fluid for the material of your hot tub cabinet. Of course, you can clean the cabinet as necessary if it gets dirty or you think it’s looking grimy. Just make sure that you give it a thorough cleaning at least once a season.
- Drain the hot tub and do a deep clean on the entire shell. Take note of any damage, like chips or cracks, and call a professional if you need repairs. This is your chance to get rid of any chemical, mineral, or gunk buildup below the water level. All of your other cleanings are mostly above water level.
- Refill the hot tub. Make sure not to overfill, though. When you’ve refilled the hot tub, test the water and adjust it until your alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer levels are where they should be.
- While you are cleaning and refilling the tub, soak the filter in a chemical filter cleaning solution. This quarterly soak will really get out the built up fine debris.
Annual Hot Tub Maintenance
Once a year, preferably right around the same time each year, you should do a full tune-up. You could get away with performing a lot of the monthly and seasonal tasks annually, especially if you don’t use your hot tub that often. Similarly, if you use your hot tub less during a particular season, you can do everything less often. On the other hand, taking care of your monthly and quarterly tasks monthly and quarterly will guarantee the best hot tubbing conditions.
The following tasks should be done at least once a year. Remember, you can schedule your maintenance so that your monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance fall on the same day.
- Flush all of the plumbing lines. This gets rid of bacteria and biofilm that builds up over time.
- Check all of the hardware and wiring on your hot tub. Hot tubs are usually pretty simple devices, but there are some components that can degrade over time. Weather, pests, chemicals, and everyday wear and tear can all take a toll. If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, bring in a pool cleaning and maintenance professional.
- Bring in a professional for a full tuneup. A pool maintenance professional will look at every aspect of your hot tub or spa and make any necessary repairs.
- Carefully inspect your hot tub cover. You should be cleaning it weekly, but at least once a year you should give it a close look for mold, water absorption, and cracks in the lining. If there is any damage, ask your pool professional for a recommendation on repairs or replacement.
- Finally, take this opportunity to create your new maintenance schedule for the coming year!
Professional Hot Tub and Spa Maintenance
As you can see, maintaining your hot tub or spa is simple, but it does take some time and consistency. If you want to do it on your own, we recommend keeping a good schedule and making sure you stick to it. However, sometimes you may not have the time or the will to do it on your own. If that’s the case, don’t just leave your hot tub to fend for itself. It isn’t self-maintaining, and neglect can end up costing you more money in repairs and reduced lifespan. Instead, contact The Pool Butler to arrange for cleaning and maintenance services. Whether you want us to come in and to your seasonal tasks or you want us there weekly, we’re here to help. We want you to enjoy your hot tub or spa for years to come. Contact us today to get started.