There seems to be a common mis-conception about how much it truly costs to maintain a hot tub. To alleviate any concerns over the amount of money you may have to spend to keep your hot tub in good condition, we developed a list of 9 products that are a must, but most of these will last you at least 6 months to a year (and a few are optional!).
1. Test strips or a test kit – this is invaluable as it will help you keep your hot tub water clean & clear and help to avoid any skin irritation from your water. A test kit will last longer than test strips, and allows for more in depth testing, however, the test strips are great for convenience.
2. Defoamer – this is an item that will definitely be necessary when you first start using your hot tub, or definitely if you have guests over. We tend to under-estimate how much laundry soap actually remains on our clothing, so if you have recently washed your bathing suit, or have a large group of people using the hot tub, you will definitely want to add a capful of this prior to getting in the hot tub. A bottle of this product should last quite a while, as you will only add a capful at a time.
3. Chemical Sanitizer – whether your hot tub calls for bromine tabs, granulated chlorine after each use, or a Frog Cartridge, you will want to make sure you have this on hand the day you fill up your hot tub, and administer as directed by your hot tub dealer. There is nothing more frustrating to get ready for a soak in your hot tub, only to find it has turned green because you didn’t have your sanitizer ready to go…
4. pH Up – Your hot tub’s pH is vital for your water to be kept clean and clear and to keep your water from being corrosive or building up scale. You will want to maintain a pH reading of 7.2 – 7.8, and add pH Up if your pH becomes too low. Low pH is referred to as acidic and makes your hot tub water corrosive, which is one of the last things you want with hot tub water, as it will wreak havoc on your heater and equipment.
5. pH Down – As discussed above, keeping your pH at the proper reading is imperative for maximum hot tub enjoyment – water with a pH reading greater than 7.8 tends to cause cloudy water and scale to develop. A high pH level will also reduce the effectiveness of your chlorine sanitizer.
6. Alkalinity Increaser – Your hot tub water’s alkalinity reading tells you if your water can resist changes to the pH that are caused by your sanitizer of choice. Water alkalinity acts as a buffer, so if sanitizers are added that would normally cause pH to move up or down, these changes are controlled and do not result in significant fluctuations in your pH. You want to maintain a total alkalinity reading of 80 – 150 ppm, higher is ok, but you want to stay under 200.
7. Extra Filter (optional)– most portable hot tubs today utilize cartridge filters. Depending on usage, you will want to clean your filter every 3 – 6 months, which simply consists of taking the filter out and rinsing with a high pressure nozzle on your hose, or, for very dirty filters, soaking in a mixture of muriatic acid and water. While not a necessity, it is handy to have a secondary filter on hand to put in the hot tub while you are cleaning the first filter – that way you are not rushed and aren’t leaving the hot tub high and dry with no filtration if you are called away in the middle of your cleaning.
8. Cover protectant – If your hot tub sits in direct contact with the outside elements and is not fully covered by a porch or patio, you will want to invest in a cover protectant spray or wipes – this product helps maximize the life of your cover in the harsh environment the sun causes. You only need to apply this product every 4 – 6 months, so one purchase will last a while.
9. Cover lifter (optional) – while this is not a vital hot tub supply, we find it to be an invaluable asset. Hot tub covers are heavy, and for any females out there like me, that enjoy the occassional (or frequent) hot tub soak by themselves, being able to get the hot tub cover on and off easily is a necessity!
Most of these items will be included with your initial hot tub purchase, and will last you at least the first 6 months of hot tub ownership, if not much longer, leaving you more time to focus on relaxing and enjoying your new purchase!