Answers to Common Spa and Hot Tub FAQs
Are you the proud owner of a hot tub or swim spa? Is your backyard equipped with the features, accessories, and furnishings that dreams are made of?
Or maybe you’re looking to fulfill your dream of owning one finally. Either way, here are some common questions people have when it comes to owning and maintaining a hot tub or spa at their home.
What Is a Swim Spa?
A swim spa is a combination of a hot tub and a swimming pool. Swim spas have long open-concept layouts and are usually 12 to 18 feet in length. They offer the all the benefits of a standard hot tub which is ideal for relaxing and socializing, with a powerful adjustable jet that provides the high resistance necessary for swimming in place or a more moderate current for aquatic fitness training. And once you’re done working out, you can also relax and recover from your exercise in the ergonomic hydrotherapy seats.
How Will My Hot Tub Be Protected from the Elements During the Winter Months?
If you plan to use your hot tub in the winter, keep it heated and covered with a high quality, well-insulated cover when not in use to prevent freeze damage. And if you don’t plan to use your hot tub in winter, you will need to winterize it to protect it from freeze damage.
What Is the Difference Between a Swim Spa and a Hot Tub?
While similar, there are ways to tell the difference between a spa and hot tub.
Swim spas are bodies of water built into the ground, often built alongside an in-ground pool. However, unlike pools, swim spas are usually heated and have benches and built-in jets around the perimeter.
A hot tub, on the other hand, is a portable, above-ground, self-contained unit. This means all of the components, including the plumbing and electrical control systems, are built into the hot tub, so it doesn’t need to be hooked up to external plumbing and it can be moved to a new home. Hot tubs also have jets and can be heated to a set temperature.
What Chemicals Are Needed for a Spa?
Along with chlorine or bromine to sanitize the water, you will also need to use a pH and alkalinity increaser and decreaser to adjust the water’s pH and alkalinity. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine the amount of chemicals needed to make the proper adjustments.
Where Can I Install a Hot Tub or Spa?
Your hot tub or spa can be installed anywhere with a solid, level base that is strong enough to support its weight when filled with water. It should also be located near a power outlet to plug it into, and a hose nearby to fill it up. Follow the installation instructions from your supplier, especially if you plan to sink your spa.
Also, keep in mind that city bylaws may require you to have self latching and locking gates and a five foot high fence depending on the depth of the hot tub. Check with your local city permit office to confirm.
How Long After Shocking a Hot Tub Can You Use It?
If using a chlorine shock, such as chlorine granules, you will have to wait until the chlorine level returns to 5 ppm, which can take 24 hours. But if you are using a non-chlorine shock, wait 10 minutes before you use your hot tub.
What Temperature Should I Keep My Hot Tub When Not in Use?
The ideal hot tub temperature is between 36˚C and 38˚C. If using your hot tub in winter, you may want to turn up the heat to 40˚C.
While you may not need it as hot when not in use, it’s more energy efficient to keep the water heated than to turn the temperature down and have to reheat it every time you want to use it.
Also, keeping the water heated in winter will help prevent freeze damage.
How Often Should I Clean and Treat My Spa Water?
A general rule of thumb is to change your hot tub water every three to four months, and more often if your hot tub gets a lot of use.
You should also test and balance the water weekly. If you’re unsure of how to clean your hot tub or spa, follow the cleaning instructions and care guidelines for the model.
Can You Exercise in a Swim Spa?
Absolutely! Swim spas are designed with exercise in mind. The powerful jet system creates a current to swim, walk, or jog against. And there is ample floor space for exercises such as squats, lunges, reverse crunches, flutter dips, and triceps dips.
How Much Do Hot Tubs Weigh?
Hot tubs weigh anywhere from 2,000 to 5,500 lbs or more when filled with water. Smaller hot tubs with two or three seats usually weigh around 2,000 to 3,000 lbs. And larger hot tubs with six or more seats usually weigh 5,000 lbs or more.
How Often Should I Replace My Hot Tub Filter?
You should replace your hot tub filter every year, rinse it every two weeks with a hose, and clean it with a filter cleaning solution every two months. Rinsing it with a hose will help dislodge any surface debris caught in the filter. And letting it soak in a filter cleaning solution for a few hours will penetrate built-up dirt and debris.
A clean filter will ensure there are no clogs, allowing water to flow well through the filter and the rest of the hot tub’s filtration and circulation system.
There’s a lot to know about spas and hot tubs, so hopefully, these FAQs help to answer some of your questions. And if you still have more questions, contact your local spa and hot tub supplier to get all the answers you need.
Bert Minor has been a part of the landscaping business for nearly twenty years and has gained an excellent reputation as an innovative and creative designer. In fact, several of his designs and projects have been featured in industry supplier magazines. An active and contributing member of the industry, Bert sat on various boards including the Ottawa Chapter of Landscape Ontario and the Landscape Ontario Provincial Construction Committee. Bert also contributed technical articles published in the Canadian National Landscape Association magazine. With a relentless pursuit of knowledge, Bert has attained several industry certificates in landscape design, landscape construction and with the PHTCC—Pool and Hot Tub Council Canada. Prior to joining the landscaping industry, Bert spent several years in management in the services sector primarily in a customer advocate role. His honesty and integrity and his ability to build and develop strong relationships with clients reflects that.