You've purchased your new hot tub, and are dying to try it out. The thoughts of pressurized jets of hot water soothing your tired and aching muscles sounds like a real blessing after a hard day's work. But before you take the plunge, there are a few things you need to know about hot tubs and spas in general. And don't forget the myriad of accessories available to make your hot tub experience much more pleasant!
Hot tubs and spas have come a long way since their conception. The maintenance of a hot tub is much more involved than the normal consumer realizes. Because the water is always hot, it is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs that can quickly turn the hot tub experience into a nightmare. By using a little common sense, and following a regular maintenance schedule, you need not have concerns about the water integrity and safety of your hot tub.
Guidelines for Maintaining Your Spa or Hot Tub
Probably the most important thing to keep in mind when maintaining a hot tub is to be aware of its filtering needs. Filters keep all the contaminants out of your hot tub, such as hair, debris if the spa is placed outside, and dirt that may be tracked into the tub. If the filter is not maintained properly, it puts undue strain on the water pump, and makes for a real mess in the spa.
It is always a good idea to have two filters for your hot tub. They should be rotated at least every two weeks. Having a second filter means you don't have to wait to use the hot tub. One of the best filters to use is called a floating Weir filter. These skimmers will float on the tub surface, telescoping to the height of the water during use, and are easily accessible for filter changes.
Also highly recommended is an ozonator (ozone generator). Although not a necessity, it makes life a lot easier if it is installed in the hot tub. An ozonator works along with your spa chemicals to insure that the water is always pure and fresh. An inlet, generally placed into the bottom of the hot tub, produces ozone, which works to oxidize soaps, sun tan lotions, deodorants, perfumes, body lotions and creams, and even urine. It helps to reduce expensive chemical usage and improves water quality.
The integrity of the water in your hot tub or spa is critical to your health and maintenance of the unit. To keep the water fresh and safe, the use of bromine or chlorine are used to sanitize your spa. Bromine is usually preferred, because it does not give your hot tub that "swimming pool smell." Both work equally well to sanitize the water and it is generally just a matter of choice. There are small "floaters" that you can place bromine tablets into, which float on the surface of your hot tub, releasing bromine in the proper levels to maintain a healthy hot tub. There are also crystals that can be put into the water itself.
Maintaining the pH balance of the hot tub is essential. pH is a measure of the difference between alkalinity and acidity. It is important to carefully check the pH balance of your water on a regular basis. Water that is too alkaline will cause lime and scale buildup in your hot tub. If too acidic, the water will eat up the components of the tub, and will cause irritation of your skin. Simple test strips, which are very accurate, can be used to check the pH balance of your water, and chemicals are available to adjust the pH balance either up or down depending on test results. Maintaining the pH balance at 7.2 - 7.8 is essential, and easy to do with the resources available.
Ideas for Enjoying your Hot Tub
Although all this may sound daunting, it really is just a matter of routine maintenance. Keeping on top of the hot tub maintenance and keeping a regular schedule can go a long way in keeping your spa trouble free and enjoyable. And if you think it sounds as if owing a hot tub is a dreary task, think again! There is so much available today to make hot tubbing an enjoyable experience that it would take a huge catalogue to list them all.
Spending time in a hot tub tends to dry out the skin, but there are many different lotions and oils available to ease dry skin. You can buy waterproof playing cards to use in your hot tub. And how about a floating bar that serves up your favorite libation? You can purchase hand held jets that attach to the existing jets in your hot tub, and use them to give relief to hard to reach places. Special pillows are made for hot tubs, and make relaxing in the spa much more enjoyable. Special cushions that are filled with water help ease sitting in the spa, or can be used as a backrest. Other pillows will hook over the edge of the hot tub for user comfort.
Many people thoroughly enjoy hot tubbing. It is relaxing, reduces stress, and is very therapeutic for the user. Spending a little time to maintain the hot tub can takes the worries out of owning one. And with all the extras and accessories available today, even the most sophisticated users can find something to please them.