What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Hot Tub?

What Happens If You Don't Clean Your Hot Tub
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Hot tubs are an investment. Getting the most out of them means conducting regular maintenance to keep them in top condition. Unfortunately, life can sometimes get in the way. Busy schedules and changes of plans can make it difficult to take the time to look after your hot tub.

It is easy to think that your hot tub won’t require maintenance if you aren’t using it as much, but that isn’t the case. Hot tubs can be breeding grounds for bacteria if not treated properly. Here is what can happen if you don’t clean your hot tub.

What Hot Tub Problems Might You Experience?

There are a number of different problems you might encounter if you do not clean and maintain your hot tub regularly. Even if you do follow the steps and guidance from your hot tub manufacturer, there can still be some problems you find. By regularly cleaning your tub, you’ll spot potential problems sooner, saving yourself a lot of time and money in the long run. What should you be on the lookout for?

Bacteria Build-Up

One of the biggest problems unused or poorly maintained hot tubs experience is a build-up of bacteria. Spa and hot tub chemicals are designed to work in hot water, helping to kill the bacteria that can build up in the water. If you do not treat your spa regularly, there is a greater risk of bacteria building up. This can cause problems for anyone using the hot tub in the future.

A Build-Up of Chemicals

Hot tub chemicals are designed to help treat bacteria in the water. The problem is that not everyone gets the dosage correct. Many chemicals come with detailed instructions to help you work out the right amount of chemicals to put in, ensuring your hot tub will stay in good condition and will be safe to use. Using too many chemicals can lead to an overdose in the water.

Dirty Water

Hot tub covers help to keep the water clear by preventing debris and bugs from getting into the pool. Sometimes, they still manage to get in, and the water can get dirty. Not showering before and after using a hot tub can lead to the water turning cloudy or green. If your hot tub has a musty smell to it or seems to have a lot of foam sitting on top of the water, do not use it as it will need to be drained and treated.

Blocked Filters

Hot tub filters can become blocked as they get dirtier. The pumps in your hot tub then have to work harder to pull water through clogged filters, making your hot tub less effective at filtering the water. This can lead to a build-up of debris and bacteria, lowering the lifespan not only of your pumps but also the hot tub itself.

What Do You Need To Know About Hot Tub Maintenance?

Hot tub maintenance should be conducted regularly throughout the year to not only extend the life of your hot tub and save you money on potentially costly repairs but also to keep your family and friends from getting sick. Whether you are a new hot tub owner or you have had one for years, it can be difficult to figure out when to clean it.

When Should You Clean Your Hot Tub?

Different maintenance should be completed at different times. Things like checking the hot tub cover, clearing out debris, and checking the temperature are daily tasks. Checking the water for sanitiser levels, pH balance, alkalinity, and chemicals is a weekly task, as is cleaning the hot tub filters, airing out your cover, and checking for any potential damage around the hot tub.

Some tasks are dependent on use. Draining and refilling your tub is something that should be completed every two or three months, allowing you to deep clean the tub. You will also need to replace your hot tub filter every one or two years.

How to Test the Water

There are a few different ways to test the water in your hot tub. One of the easiest is to use test strips. They give you an accurate and fast reading of the levels of chlorine or bromine, pH, alkalinity, and water hardness in your hot tub. You can then add what you need to adjust as required. They are simple to use, as you simply put them into the water about 15cm below the surface and then take them out.

For those looking for a high tech option, photometers will check the water against 7 different parameters. This is a costlier option but offers fast results. Photometers are calibrated specifically for spa temperatures, making them highly accurate. Testing the water ensures that you won’t have issues with chemical overdose or bacteria.

How to Clean Hot Tub Filter

Hot tub filters should be cleaned regularly, with once a week as the recommended amount. This will help to prevent problems with the filter in the future. As with testing the water in your hot tub, there are a few methods for cleaning your hot tub filter. A quick rinse of the filter, once you have taken it out of your hot tub, is the quickest way, but it does not provide the deep clean to remove grease or oil.

A soak is best for this. Once you have turned off your hot tub and removed the filter, you can rinse it to remove large debris. Then, soak the filter for a minimum of 8 hours in a filter cleaner, following the instructions on the bottle. Give it a thorough rinse once this is complete, dry the filter, and replace it.

How to Drain and Refill a Hot Tub

Draining and refilling your hot tub can feel like an arduous task, but it is important to extend the life of your tub. Many hot tubs come with a hot tub drain valve, which is the easier way to drain them. Turn the power to your hot tub off, attach a hose that is necessary to take the water to a drain and turn the valve. Then you simply need to wait. If you have a submersible pump, turn off the hot tub, place the pump into the deepest point, and turn the pump on.

Once your tub is drained, you can wipe down the shell of the hot tub. Then simply fill the hot tub through the filter housing using a hosepipe. Filling through the filter housing reduces the chances of an airlock occurring, helping to extend the life of your tub.

Getting Your Hot Tub Ready for Winter

There is nothing quite like using your hot tub in winter. The warmth of the tub with the harsh weather outside is the perfect way to relax and unwind, offering a number of healthcare benefits. The question is, how do you care for your hot tub in winter?

Some users like to keep their hot tub running during the winter, while others will empty it and shut it down, only using it in the summer. Which method is best?

Option 1: Keep it Running

One of the most effective ways to look after your hot tub in the winter is to keep it full and running. This provides the best protection to the various parts and pipework in the hot tub itself. While many assume that the best thing to do is to drain the hot tub, any water that may remain inside of it, no matter how little there is, runs the risk of freezing and causing pipes to crack. When you refill your hot tub, this could then lead to leaks.

Keeping your hot tub full and running throughout winter means that you can protect the pipework more effectively and still continue to use it. There are a few ways you can save on running costs if you decide to keep the hot tub running in the winter.

  • Make sure you protect your hot tub with a cover. Lids and covers are essential for hot tub owners, as they fit securely over the tub and prevent debris from getting into the tub, such as leaves and branches but also keep the heat from escaping. Debris can block filters and cause damage to the internal workings of the hot tub, making covers important to use.

Option 2: Drain it Completely

Another popular method for looking after your hot tub in the winter is to drain it and turn it off. Simply switching the tub off is a bad idea, as the water can freeze in the pipes and cause a number of problems further down the line. You’ll need to use a submersible pump to fully drain your tub and make sure there is no water left in the system at all. When shutting down or winterising your hot tub, it is recommended to use a professional hot tub company to do it for you as they have all the tools and knowledge to do it safely and properly.

If you know that you will not be using your hot tub at all in the winter, this is the best method to ensure it is working properly in the future and care for it during the winter. Referred to as winterising a hot tub, whilst using a hot tub professional to do this for you is probably easiest, it is possible to do it yourself. 

  • Drain the hot tub completely. This means using a pump or a built-in gravity drain, followed by a very thorough wet and dry vacuum on all of the jets. Using the vacuum will make sure there is no water left in the tub and prevent freezing problems.
  • Clean and dry the hot tub. This will help to ensure that there is no moisture left anywhere and that your hot tub will be ready to use again in the spring.
  • Fit the hot tub cover over the hot tub. This will prevent any debris from damaging the hot tub throughout the winter and allow you to keep it ready to use for the warmer months. Then, it is best to get an additional cover cap to sit over the whole hot tub cover which will protect the vinyl from the elements. 

When Winter is Over

Whether you have decided to keep your hot tub running throughout the winter or drain it, you’ll want to make sure everything is working properly in the spring. The best way to do this is to complete hot tub maintenance as you would at any other time.

Give your hot tub a thorough clean, check for damage, and then refill it. You should always refill the hot tub while it is off and ensure your hose is filling through the filter housing as this helps to push out any airlocks within the pipework. This will help to extend the life of your hot tub and give you the best experience with it in the future. Repairing hot tubs can become a complicated and expensive process, so the best thing to do is conduct regular maintenance as keeping an eye on it and identifying issues before they become serious problems is best.

Regular Maintenance Can Help You Spot Problems

Regular maintenance can help to keep your hot tub in top condition, but it can also alert you to potential problems. You might find that your hot tub doesn’t get to the recommended temperature. If so, this can be an indication that there is a larger problem you need to address.

It can help to create a maintenance plan for your hot tub and add it to your diary. This will keep you on track for looking after your hot tub and ensure you get the most out of it for years to come.