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    Getting Your Spa Ready For Spa Season

    January 6, 2012

    get your spa and hot tubs ready, I'm coming over!

    Winter time is Spa Time; cool nights and hot water just seem to go together well. For many of our customers, after the pool is closed or no longer used much, the spa or hot tub draws them together.

    In this blog post, we discuss how to get your spa ready, after a long period of down time.

    Items Needed To Open Your Spa For The Season:

    • New filter cartridge
    • Acrylic Spa cleaner
    • Chlorine or Bromine
    • Spa Purge / Nature2 Spa Cartridge
    • Test Strips or Spa Water Test Kit
    • Garden hose

    Spa or Hot Tub Initial Inspection:

    • Make sure the electricity to the spa is turned off.  Look in your electrical box to ensure that the spa circuit breaker is in the OFF position.
    • If the spa was not covered, debris may have accumulated throughout the winter months.
    • Check to see if there is any water in the spa. If there is any remaining water, use a submersible pump, hooked up to a garden hose, to pump the remaining water out of the spa. If you don’t have a small pump, use a sponge and a bucket, or a shop vac.
    • Most portable spas have a drain out valve.  This is usually found either to the left or right of the spa pack.  The spa pack (spa pump/filter) is located directly underneath the control panel. Connect a garden hose to it to run the drain water away from the spa area.

    Spa Cleaning Process:

    Concrete Spas

    • In preparing to clean an in-ground concrete spa, you will need protective work gloves, goggles and a respirator if you are performing an acid wash (only on concrete spas).
    • Use a light mixture of 5 parts water added to 1 part muriatic acid in a flower watering can.
    • After pouring the acid onto the concrete / plaster surface, use a scrub brush quickly.
    • Hose off immediately, within 30 seconds, with water from a garden hose.
    • After neutralizing the waste water pH level, dispose of the spa wastewater /cleaning chemicals in an area and method approved by your local or state authorities.
    • If the spa is not badly stained, simply hose clean, or pressure wash. After filling, a shock with granular chlorine will brighten up a white plaster finish, without an acid wash.

    Acrylic Spas

    • Use a non-abrasive Acrylic Cleaner, and soft cloth to clean your spa shell.
    • Rub the cleanser with a soft cloth, in a circular motion; buff to a shiny finish.
    • Be sure to remove all cleanser with a clean cloth and water, before filling the spa.

    Wood Hot Tubs

    • Use a stiff scrub brush and water to clean the wooden slats. Avoid using chlorine.
    • For calcium deposits, a small amount of pH down granular can be used, or a light acid washing may be done (see above); be sure to rinse quickly and thoroughly.
    • Avoid using other cleansers or chemicals to clean a wooden hot tub.

    Spa Equipment Hookup:

    • Once your spa is clean, remove any winterizing plugs from the return lines and skimmer.
    • Remove the side access panels to expose the plumbing lines and equipment.
    • Make sure all the shut-off valves are turned to the ON position.  These are found in the front of the spa to the left or right of the spa pack - underneath the front panel.
    • Check tightness of pump drain plugs, filter housings, and any pvc unions.
    • Add your skimmer basket, spa jet fittings and other accessories at this time.
    • Replace your spa filter cartridge annually, or clean well with spa cartridge cleaner.

    Filling Up the Spa with Water:

    • Now you’re ready to fill your spa with water. A garden hose hooked up to your outside spigot will suffice (Do not put on the panels at this time.  The electrical power to the spa should still be off).
    • Turn the water on and fill your spa, half-way up the skimmer mouth in either the inground or portable spa.
    • The electrical power can now be turned on by resetting the breaker to the ON position.
    • Make sure the power to the control panel, the spa pump, heater and jets are on.   The heat light should also be visible on the control panel.
    • Add 1 bottle of Spa Purge to the spa, to break down bio-film inside the pipes and fittings of your spa. Allow to circulate, on high speed (without heat) overnight, then drain & refill.

    Spa & Hot Tub Start-Up:

    • Now that the water is circulating, make sure there are no visible leaks in the plumbing lines located in the equipment access area of the spa.
    • Let the spa continue to operate for at least a day with the panels off, checking for leaks.
    • If the spa water is heating up (a minimum of 2 degrees per hour) and there are no visible leaks, the panels can be re-attached. Once the spa has reached its proper temperature setting (below 104 degrees), you are now ready to balance the water chemicals.
    • Test the spa water with test strips or a reagent type water testing kit. Adjust the levels of pH, Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness to within the proper ranges.
    • Add small chlorine or bromine (not both!) tablets into a small spa floater. Install a Nature2 Spa Stick into the spa filter. You're all ready to go!

    And now, with the spa cleaned, inside and out, and your spa water balanced - you are ready to enjoy winter nights in your spa or hot tub. Enjoy!  

    Bob Arnold
    SPP Spa Expert

    Blog Author
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