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Water Care Basics for your Backyard Oasis

Whether you’re a first time owner or a seasoned pro, every hot tub requires periodic maintenance to keep it at its best.  Today we’re going to talk about one of the easiest yet intimidating topics, especially for new hot tub owners – water care.

Before we dive in, do not be overwhelmed by terms like pH, alkalinity, hardness, and oxidizers that may remind you of high school chemistry – no thanks. We’re going to break this down into three easy steps, and before you know it, you’ll spend less time stressing and more time relaxing in your backyard oasis. Keep in mind that individual hot tubs/spas and local water supplies vary.


  1. Balance the water – get the right type of water in your spa. Since most water is treated municipal water found in household water systems, you need to measure the pH. This will also help extend the life of your spa. Once your tub is full use one of the strips to test the water. Dip it in the water and look at the color. Compare it to the colors on the side of the bottle. We’ll be checking for total alkalinity, which if you have a good reading, the pH tends to stay put and is easier to control. You’ll also check for calcium hardness. The test strips will tell you to increase or decrease each one.
  2. Use a sanitizer, which helps stop any impurities from growing. You have several options available to use like chlorine, bromine, bigauinide, and mineral sanitizers. Use only one of these sanitizers in your spa. A common mistake in spa water care is using too much of a water care supply instead of not using enough. You will either manually add a small amount of it on a routine basis, or in some cases, the spa will do it for you.
  3. Use a shock to remove the “bad stuff.” Once you’ve killed the impurities from step 2, you need to remove them. If you forget this step the water will still be cloudy, with a musty odor. Oxidizing or shocking the contaminants removes them from the water, leaving it looking fresh and sparkling. This step is a continuation from step 2 within the same system or treatment plan (chlorine, bromine, bigauinide, or mineral).

Most manufacturer’s recommend changing out the water every four months. Many people, however, drain their hot tub only twice a year. So, you won’t do this adjusting as often as you think.

Now that wasn’t too hard, was it? Once those three steps are complete, you’ll be relaxing in your fresh, clean hot tub before you know it! If you have any additional questions, make sure you give us a call. One of our experts will be happy to help.