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The 6 Basic Steps to Caring for Your Spa or Hot Tub


A Comprehensive Overview of Spa Care Tips and Suggestions

The purchase of a spa or hut tub is an important investment in health and well being. Protecting that investment by properly caring for the spa and spa water is important.

A simple maintenance routine can ensure long lasting and trouble free ownership along with peace of mind that the spa water is clean and safe. Spas are meant for relaxation, Following these simple steps should keep it that way.

Get in the habit of practicing some basic spa care rules everyone should observe.  Preventing problems before they occur will give you more enjoyment from your sparkling clear spa – not to mention the perfect environment for relaxing with family and friends. There are 6 essential keys to spa care:

1. Circulation

Proper water circulation will help prevent the growth of algae and bacteria, ensure even distribution of care products, as well as promote filtration. As the water circulates, it passes through the filter, trapping suspended particles. Properly circulating spa care products help keep the water inviting and ready for your soaking pleasure.

The quality of  a spa’s circulation system, frequency of use, number of bathers, and the amount of organics and debris that enter hot tub water determine the amount of circulation that the hot tub needs.  The following chart shows suggested circulation durations for Bullfrog Spas and is a general guide of all spas and hot tubs.  If possible, it is best to split the circulation time into two cycles that start approximately 12 hours apart.

                       Hours of Circulation per Day
# of Spa Uses per Week
# of Bathers14 hours4 hours6 hours8 hours8 hours
24 hours4 hours6 hours8 hours8 hours
34 hours6 hours8 hours8 hours10 hours
44 hours6 hours8 hours10 hours10 hours
54 hours8 hours10 hours10 hours12 hours
6+4 hours8 hours10 hours12 hours12 hours

2. Filtration

Many spa issues are caused by poor filtration-when the filter is dirty or clogged, debris stays in the water.  A properly cared for filter captures hair, oils and cosmetics. (Most spas have a cartridge filter.) Because spa filters trap many contaminants, cleaning has two steps: spraying off loose debris, then using SpaGuard Filter Cleaner to remove oils and other contaminants embedded into the filter. You need to clean your filter every 4 to 6 weeks. Check your owner’s manual or ask your Bullfrog Spas associate for information on how to remove and clean your filter.

3. Cleaning

Contaminants such as dirt, oil and even bacteria can accumulate at the waterline, much like a bathtub ring. Regular cleaning preserves spa surfaces and prevents unwanted build-up.  Off The Wall® Surface Cleaner and SpaGuard Cleaning Mitts are powerful, low-sudsing cleaners that work specifically with spa water chemistry. Use them to remove the ring of oil and dirt that serves as a breeding ground for bacteria and to prevent residue from building up around the waterline and inside skimmers.

4. Draining and Refilling

Regular draining and refilling is a normal part of spa maintenance. Over time, the water absorbs and dissolves minerals, chemicals and other soluble material. Bullfrog Spas of Orem can perform a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) test to help determine if it’s time to replace your water. High TDS can make the water look dull, become foamy, and develop an odor. How often you drain and refill your spa depends on how often you use it.

This simple formula can help:

Spa gallons ÷ Daily bathers ÷ 3 = Days between draining

Example: 300 gallons ÷ 2 daily bathers ÷ 3 = 50 days

Note: a bather is one person in the spa for 15-30 minutes.

5. Balance and Sanitization

There are two primary components that affect spa water quality: sanitizer (bromine or chlorine) residual and pH. When both are within their recommended ranges, your water is comfortable, protected and clear; sanitizers and “shock products” work efficiently; and spa surfaces and equipment are protected. Recommended bromine or chlorine residual levels are:

  • Bromine Residual using Brominating Tablets
    • Residential = 2 – 4 ppm
    • Commercial = 4 – 6 ppm
  • Bromine Residual using Brominating Concentrate: 3 – 6 ppm
  • Chlorine Residual using Chlorinating Concentrate: 3 – 5 ppm

Maintain pH between 7.4 – 7.6 (the ideal range; acceptable range is 7.2 – 7.6). By adding SpaGuard Spa Sentry, it holds the pH within its optimum range. Spa Sentry is formulated to “watch over” the pH and protect the water from pH changes.

 Brominating Tablets Brominating Concentrate Chlorinating Concentrate Soft Soak®**
 pH 7.2 – 7.6 7.2 – 7.6 7.2 – 7.6 7.2 – 7.6
 Total Alkalinity 125 – 150 ppm 125 – 150 ppm 125 – 150 ppm 80 – 120 ppm
 Hardness* 100 – 200 ppm 100 – 200 ppm 100 – 200 ppm 200 – 300 ppm
 Chlorine n/a n/a 3 – 5 ppm n/a
 Bromine 2 – 4 ppm 3 – 6 ppm n/a n/a
 Biguanide n/a n/a n/a 30 – 50 ppm
 Peroxide n/a n/a n/a 5 – 12 ppm

**Spa Sentry not compatible with Soft Soak®.

6. Testing

The chemistry of your spa water needs to be checked regularly. Use SpaGuard products to maintain the correct levels, including: sanitizer residuals, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, metals, and total dissolved solids. BioGuard® 4-way Test Strips – and Soft Soak® 4-way Test Strips for Soft Soak spas – test pH, total alkalinity, and sanitizer levels with only one strip.

Maintaining proper levels will make the water clear and comfortable, kill bacteria that can multiply rapidly in a spa, protect spa surfaces from stains caused by metals, and protect spa equipment from scale. There are 3 essential chemical areas to maintain.

  1. Sanitization – kills bacteria to help prevent the transmission of disease.
  2. Oxidation/shock – removes residues and restores clarity and comfort.
  3. Water balance – ensures spa user comfort, water clarity, sanitizer efficiency, and longevity of spa surfaces and equipment.