Being a spa owner is a pleasure, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility, more so than many would think. Spas require a lot of maintenance, not just to care for the investment itself, but also the health and safety of you and your family.
A well-maintained spa can provide hours of entertainment and offer a range of health benefits like treatment for arthritis and fatigued muscles, improved blood circulation and stress reduction.
Your spa water must be kept clean and sanitised at all times via the correct use of chemicals like chlorine, bromine or spa salts. You also need to perform regular maintenance on your filtration and pump system.
Without sanitation and regular maintenance, your spa can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and other microorganisms, including E.coli and Legionella, which have the potential to cause severe illness.
To achieve this, you will be required to drain, clean and refill your spa, as well as clean and flush your pump and filter system approximately once every three months to ensure you have healthy water to soak in.
Even after you apply your initial sanitisation chemicals after refilling your spa, you will still be required to observe and maintain your spa water in between water cycles.
Your spa will require a heavy dose of chemical sanitisers like chlorine once a week. This dump of chemicals is also referred to as spa shock. This aids in breaking down organic contaminants, and gives your spa an immunity boost.
Weekly spa maintenance 101
As complicated as effective spa maintenance sounds, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure your spa stays in peak condition in between your quarterly dump and refill cycles.
Step 1. Shock your spa
Firstly, let’s go deeper into what spa shock is and why it is crucial. Shocking your spa involves applying a large dose of oxidiser to “shock” the water into a clean state.
Every time you use your spa, there is a wide range of organic contaminants that are being left in the water after your session is over. These contaminants include:
- Body and laundry soap residue
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body lotions and makeup
- Body oils and dead skin
There can also be traces of fecal matter and urine that inevitably make their way into your spa water, not to mention grass seeds, dust, debris and other organic contaminants and environmental pollutants.
Another major contaminant in your spa water ironically comes from your sanitation practices. If you notice a strong chemical smell coming from your water, it likely isn’t the chemicals themselves.
Chloramines and bromamines are byproducts of your sanitation chemicals, killing the bacterias and removing the organic compounds. These byproducts eventually build up in your spa water, becoming contaminants themselves.
Spa shocks bring your chemicals levels back up very quickly, eradicating these byproducts and removing the strong chemical smell.
The correct way to shock your spa depends on the size of your hot tub, the volume of water it holds and the type of sanitisation chemical it primarily uses. But there are a few rules to which you should always adhere.
Wear safety equipment
Make sure you wear adequate protection when using heavy chemicals. Consider wearing protective gear like:
- Long sleeves and pants
- Closed-toe shoes
- Safety goggles
- Chemical resistant gloves
Also, consider wearing a mask if your spa is located in a space with poor ventilation. It is important that you maximise your ventilation during a spa shock the very best you can.
Don’t run the jets
Running the jets while performing spa shocks can increase the release of harmful gases being released. Make sure the water is getting run through the pump and filter, but avoid over agitating the water.
You must leave your spa covers and blankets off throughout the spa shock process to maximise the dispersion of gases. The spa should remain uncovered for a minimum of 20 minutes after the shock process is completed.
Measure the shock
Regardless of the type of spa shock you use, never pour in all your spa shock in one hit. Rule of thumb does not apply here. Carefully measure your shock by the ratio stated by your spa’s manufacturer.
If you are unsure about how many litres your spa holds, we highly suggest contacting the manufacturer and obtaining a copy of your spa’s specific operations manual.
Step 2. Test your water pH
It is essential that you test your water’s pH level weekly to ensure your water is stable. The pH scale is used to test what is acidic, neutral or alkaline. The scale ranges from zero to fourteen, with zero being very acidic, seven being neutral and fourteen being highly alkaline.
Spa water should always be slightly alkaline, also known as basic, between a pH range of 7.4-7.6. Out of interest, this is quite close to your own body’s healthy pH level, which is around 7.35 to 7.45.
A variety of methods can be used to test the spa water pH level. The two main methods, however, are usually via an electronic test meter, or a strip test kit that uses colour reactions to gauge the water’s pH level on the scale. Both these methods will also come with pH correction chemicals to add to your water to achieve the optimal pH level.
Step 3. Sanitise the water
In between spa shocks and quarterly dump, clean and refill cycles, you must perform chemical testing and top-ups daily. Again, this will depend on the spas size and water volume. We suggest referring to the manufactures operations manual for the correct chemical to water ratios.