There are few things more relaxing and luxurious than sliding into your own outdoor hot tub during a chilly fall day -- whether alone or in the company of friends. Indeed, the presence of an outdoor spa or hot tub can make your house the go-to location for all social gatherings. However, these spas require a bit more maintenance than the traditional bathtub. Read on to learn more about what you should do to ensure the reliable operation of your home spa for years to come.
What components of a home spa are most vulnerable?
Unlike your home bathtub, a home spa or jetted hot tub has several more complex components. A pump is used to force water out through a number of jets, while an intake valve allows the tub's water to recycle itself back through the jets. Finally, a filter is used to drain out any debris in the tub to prevent the jets or pump from becoming clogged. Although these components are designed to withstand the thumping of bodies getting in and out of the spa and exposure to high heat and moisture, without proper maintenance, their lifespan may be limited.
What should you do to maintain your home spa?
- Watch out for debris
Your home spa's biggest enemy is debris. Not only can this debris clog the filter, jets, and intake valve, it can contain or harbor bacteria that will quickly multiply in the warmth of your tub. Always keep your spa covered with a well-fitting cover or plastic top to prevent leaves, pet hair, and other debris from falling into the tub when not in use. Consider locating your tub away from trees, or in a corner of your yard or porch that doesn't allow for much wind or air circulation. Be sure to skim your tub every time you notice floating debris -- although the filter will usually prevent this debris from reaching the jets or intake valve, there is no need to tax the system by requiring it to filter large debris. This way you can eliminate avoidable spa repairs.
- Prevent bacteria buildup
Another problem to which spas can be vulnerable is the buildup of bacteria and algae in the water -- and, consequently, in the filters and pump. Luckily, there are a number of products available to help keep down any bacteria overgrowth and maintain the cleanliness of your water.
- Water treatment and filter cleaning systems
Although many spa owners choose not to have their hot tubs chlorinated (like a pool), there are still filter treatment systems that can help prevent bacteria from multiplying. If you choose to have a biostatic filter installed, your filter itself should handle many of the most rapidly-multiplying bugs. Periodically soaking your filter in a cleanser especially designed to kill these bacteria can ensure that your hot tub will remain clean.
You may also wish to add a diluted chlorine solution to the water in your tub. This solution should help kill any harmful bacteria. Be sure to purchase water pH test strips so that you can test the condition of your water at any time.
- Periodically drain and refill your tub
Most types of bacteria that tend to congregate in hot tubs have a hard time surviving once this moisture and heat has been removed. If you drain your tub every 3 to 4 months and allow it to remain dry overnight, then thoroughly wipe down all interior surfaces before refilling the tub, you should be able to avoid any buildup or overgrowth of bacteria. In addition to removing the bacteria from the tub, a careful wipe down of interior surfaces can remove oil, sunscreen, skin flakes, and other residue that tends to accumulate on hard surfaces.