Hot Tub Care Basics

Hot Tub Care Doesn’t Have to be Hard!

Strong Spas Madrid with Cobblestone Shadowrock Lifetime Warranty CabinetHot tub care need not be a chore.

We suggest you fill your spa with water and then bring a water sample in to the store so we can test it for you.  We will tell you what your water chemistry is like and what to do to prepare your water for use.

However… Most people just can’t resist! They get that new spa home and the electrician finally gets it wired up.  Of course, you have to put water in it so you can tell if it is wired properly.  And then…  Well, it can’t hurt to just hop in it for a little while.  Just to try it.  Aaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!  That’s awesome!

Then there’s that batch of spa chemicals that came with the package.  Maybe if you just read all the labels you can figure it out.  It might be a while before you can get back to the spa store with a water sample and you just can’t wait that long!  We understand. We’d still like you to bring a water sample so we can help you get your water balanced.  It also gives us a chance to talk with you about how your tub is working and answer any questions you may have about how to operate the spa or about hot tub care.

But, if you’re in a hurry to get using your spa (and who wouldn’t be?), then maybe this will help:

Here are the basic steps of hot tub care:

  1. When you first fill your tub, add the stain and scale control according to the dosage on the bottle
  2. Run your tub for 24 hours with just the stain and scale in the water.
  3. After the 24 hours, take your filter cartridge out and rinse it thoroughly before putting it back in.  (You can spray it with a hose, but don’t use a pressure washer.)
  4. Balance the water’s alkalinity and pH. Get the alkalinity balanced before you adjust the pH as
    adding alkalinity will bring the pH number up.  If you adjust the pH first and get it perfect, then add alkalinity, the pH will be too high. Use the test strips that come with the spa package.  You will also have things like pH Plus (or pH Rise, or pH Up), pH Minus (pH Lower, pH Down) and Alkalinity Rise (or Plus or Up).  Add very small amounts at a time to make the adjustment.  Adding a lot at once can push the reading to the opposite end of the scale and start you on a yo-yo effect trying to get your water balanced.  Take it slow.
  5. Once the alkalinity and pH are adjusted you can add your sanitizer.  You may have gotten a mineral sanitizer (Nature II or SpaFrog) with your hot tub care package.  Put the sanitizer stick somewhere near your filter cartridge.  (The package might show putting the stick inside the cartridge, but we don’t recommend it.  They too often end up down the pipe and into the spa pump.)
  6. Put a dose of shock in the water.  You may have gotten a non-chlorine shock, or one with a small amount of chlorine.  The mineral requires one initial dose of chlorine shock to “activate” it; after that, you may use either a chlorine- or non-chlorine shock.  Add shock according to the dosage on the bottle.
  7. Pick a day.  Any day.  And make that your shock-the-spa day.  Once a week you will add a maintenance dose of shock, and if you have a lot of people in the tub on any particular day you will want to add another dose of shock when they get out.


That’s what you have your spa for!  It is common for people to “fuss with” their new spa.  After all, it is a new toy and they want things to be “just right”. Hot tub care doesn’t have to be perfect……  just “in the ballpark”.  So, take it easy, and enjoy your spa

Some other stuff to know:

You should have test strips  to test whichever sanitizer you are using (monopersulfate, chlorine, or bromine for example) alkalinity and pH. They may also test for Calcium Hardness. Water hardness is important because if there is too little calcium in the water it can be corrosive. Think “Tums for your tummy” to neutralize acid. If there is too much calcium in the water it may crust-up your plumbing and heater.

The dose printed on the bottles of spa chemicals often say to add “one capful” per so-many-gallons
of water. Please be sure you are adding a cap-full and not a cup-full! (It has been done before.)
Once your alkalinity and pH are balanced, they do not vary too much in a spa. You may be familiar with balancing the water in a pool. Large amounts of acid rain, leaves falling in the pool, and large amounts of make-up water may change the water balance. This is not a big factor in spa water chemistry. Hot tub care is similar to pool care, only easier!

You may notice your spa water getting foamy or cloudy. Consider it nature’s warning.  It could be due to bathers using some sort of clothing or bathing suit in the spa. (Not everyone wants to be naked in there!) Laundry detergents and fabric softeners, along with body oils, lotions and perfumes can all cause problems with water clarity. There are a number of products made to reduce foam or to break up oils and clarify the water. Use them sparingly as over-use may cause the same problems you are trying to cure!

insparation_palmThere are scents made to be used in spas. These provide long-lasting aromatherapy along with your hydrotherapy. Special spa scents will not cause an oily residue as will perfumes or other scented additives. Some scented things are made to be used in jetted tubs. These jetted tubs are bathtub-sized and are drained after each use. Bath salts and scents made for jetted tubs may not be suitable for use in your spa.

Water temperature is comfortable for most people at around 100° It is recommended that you do not
stay in water hotter than 104° because it will raise your body temperature to an unhealthy level. You may find that you enjoy your spa more and can stay in it longer at temperatures even lower than 100°. In fact, in the summertime, you may not want to heat your spa at all. It doesn’t have to be hot!

Your spa water should be completely changed every three to four months, depending on usage. It is a good idea to time this so you won’t need to change the water during the winter.  When you change the water, you should clean your filter cartridge thoroughly and start the steps above just like the first time you filled your spa.  It is handy to have a spare filter cartridge so that you can clean one and let it dry out completely while you use the other one.  Whenever you take the cartridge out, be careful that nothing (like your sanitizer stick) gets down into the pipe.

You may bring a water sample in for testing anytime from half an hour after we open until half an hour before we close.  Bring about a pint of water in a clean plastic container with a plastic cap.  The
sample should be brought to the store promptly and not left to bake on the dashboard of your car.  This is a good time to ask any questions you may have about your water chemistry and about hot tub care.

If you are now thinking this all sounds complicated, relax!  Hot tub care really isn’t hard.  Like anything new, it just takes a little time to get used to. You will be an old hand at this in no time.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to stop by the store or give us a call at 508-676-3850.Or email us at