You’ve got a new hot tub? How exciting! Unfortunately, it’s not quite time to fill it with water and jump in. First, follow these simple steps to get started with your new spa.
- Get to know your hot tub. Carefully read the owners’ manual, to familiarize yourself with your particular spa. Absorbing the valuable information contained in the manual will help you avoid any mishaps that could damage your new spa.
- Double check the electrical requirements. Different hot tubs require different types of voltage, so this is worth another dive into the owner’s manual. Some spas are lightweight and portable and use standard 110-120V voltage. Often called “plug-n-play” these hot tubs can plug right into an outlet. Hot tubs that use 240V voltage are usually full-sized, acrylic spas. If this is your kind of spa, you need to hire a qualified electrician to hard-wire it into a circuit. While 240V spas are more complicated to connect, they heat up more quickly than 120V spas.
- Prepare the tub for filling. Typically, hot tubs are shipped with a little bit of antifreeze to protect their plumbing. It’s important to make sure that you add water to the spas footwell and drain it thoroughly, so you won’t have any problems with balancing the water. Turn off electricity flowing to the spa, remove the access panel, and open the gate valves to let water flow through the pump, heater, and spa. Double check to be sure that your drain valve is closed, and spray and wipe clean the inside of the hot tub with a mild, non-foaming, non-abrasive cleaner designed for spas.
- Put in the water. Install the filter cartridge, then place a garden hose over the filter area to prevent an air lock. Fill to the level specified, making sure to reach the recommended level because low water can damage the pump and heater element. Reopen the equipment door so that you can check for leaks around the plumbing. If necessary, hand -tighten anything that’s leaking. Do not use a wrench to tighten it, because that can crack the nut and make the leak worse.
- Power it up! Once you’re sure there are no leaks, replace the cabinet door and plug the spa back in or turn the power back on at the circuit breaker. Double check the operation of the controls in your owners’ manual. Expect your hot tub to take anywhere from 7 to 24 hours to get to the right temperature. Test all of the controls to make sure they’re working. Turn on the jets, blowers, and so on to be sure the water is flowing. If it’s not, there may be air in the plumbing. Check the owners’ manual again for instructions on how to prime the pump.
- Balance your water. You’ll want to balance the water before you put in any chemicals to avoid cloudy, discolored, or foul-smelling water. Having a good balance will protect your equipment and keep your spa water healthy and clear. After the water has circulated for about 30 minutes, test your water using test strips, a liquid testing kit, or a digital testing meter, looking at pH, total alkalinity (TA), calcium hardness, and your chosen sanitizer.
- Add the necessary chemicals. The goal is to balance your water to a neutral state. Ideally, that means a pH between 7.4 and 7.6, TA between 80 and 120 ppm, and CH between 175 and 250 ppm. You can raise the pH and TA with baking soda, lower the pH with muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate, lower the TA with pH decreaser, raise the CH with calcium chloride or calcium hypochlorite, or lower it by draining or diluting the water. Once you’ve got these levels correct, add in chlorine, bromine, or an alternative sanitizer. If the tub will be exposed to sunlight, add cyanuric acid to protect and prolong the life of the chlorine. Once the chemicals are added, let the water circulate for about 30 minutes.
- Set the temperature. The hot tub should be between 90°F and 102°F. Don’t go above 104°F, because it can be bad for the hot tub and the people in it. Allow the hot tub to reach the desired temperature before you test the water one final time.
- Check the chemicals. When the hot tub is at the right temperature and the pump has thoroughly dispersed the chemicals. test the water again to make sure no levels have spiked or dropped with the heat. Adjust as needed.
- Keep up with routine maintenance. Test the water frequently, because pollutants can disrupt the chemical balance in a spa very quickly. The water should be tested at least weekly, or more frequently if it’s used many times a week. Use a hot tub cover to help the tub retain heat, keep debris out, and prevent water and chemicals from evaporation. Check your filter every two to three weeks and swap out the water completely about every three months. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy your spa for years to come!
When you’re ready to choose the perfect hot tub, Aaron Pools has a wide range of options for you. Established in 1972, this family-owned-and-operated business has a dedicated, award-winning team with over 400 years of combined experience. We love to help improve the quality time that families spend together at home, and that’s why we’ve installed thousands of swimming pools and hot tubs, from Cape Cod to Connecticut. For the best possible service from our highly experienced installation team, call 508-689-5042 or contact us today.