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Hot Tub Water Care: The Key to a Healthy Soak

Posted by Watson's on Apr 28, 2023 3:00:00 PM

Proper water care is essential for a clean and enjoyable hot tub experience. Whether you use your hot tub occasionally or it’s part of your daily routine, maintaining healthy hot tub water means investing in regular water testing and treatment.

Here’s everything you need to know about hot tub water care so you can enjoy clear, healthy water with every soak.

Hot Tub Water Care Fundamentals

There are many factors that contribute to the quality of the water in your spa, from particles in the air to debris from plants and wildlife in your yard. However, the biggest impact on water quality comes from how often and how many people use your hot tub. Without proper treatment, harmful microorganisms like bacteria and algae can grow in your hot tub. Excess mineral buildup from poor sanitation can even cause hot tub systems to malfunction. So, it’s important to practice regular water care in order to keep your hot tub safe and functional.

Essential Water Care Methods

To keep your hot tub water clean and safe, you should use the following fundamental water care methods:

  • Scheduled Water Testing: Regular water testing helps maintain the chemical balance in your hot tub, ensuring the water is safe and pleasant.
  • Regular Maintenance: Cleaning filters, checking water levels, and inspecting for wear and tear keeps your hot tub in top condition.
  • Draining and Refilling: Periodically draining and refilling your hot tub prevents the buildup of harmful substances and refreshes the water.
  • Water Care Systems: Utilize appropriate water care systems like saltwater chlorine generators, ozone generators, in-line chlorine sanitation, or manual chlorine addition.


Hot Tub Chemicals and Cleaners


Types of Hot Tub Water Care Systems

Salt Water Chlorine Generators

Saltwater chlorine generators automatically generate chlorine from low levels of salt in your hot tub’s water. This system takes the burden off the hot tub owner and treats the water to inhibit bacterial growth and maintain a balanced pH.

In-Line Chlorine Sanitation

In-line chlorine sanitation systems automatically dispense chlorine and other essential minerals to maintain a constant level of chlorine and soften the feel of the water. Although it requires continuous testing and adjustment, it provides optimal cleaning with 75% less chlorine than manual addition.

Ozone Generators

Ozone generators use ozone to constantly clean hot tub water by eliminating contaminants. Although owners still need to add chlorine weekly, this method uses much less chlorine overall compared to traditional manual addition. Ozone systems can be combined with in-line chlorine systems for enhanced effectiveness.

Manual Chlorine Addition

Manually adding chlorine is necessary for hot tubs without an automatic water care system. This method requires regular testing of the water to measure chlorine, pH, and calcium levels. Chlorine needs to be replaced frequently, making this method the most labor-intensive but effective for those without automatic systems.


Clean Hot Tub Water


Water Care for New Hot Tubs

Regardless of the water care system your hot tub uses, you’ll need to take some steps to prepare the water when first installing the spa. Each manufacturer will have their own recommendations for treating new spa water, and your local Watson’s dealer can guide you through the process. Generally, you’ll need to use some standard start-up chemicals with water heated to at least 82 degrees Fahrenheit. These supplies usually include:

  • Test strips
  • Chlorinating granules
  • pH & Alkalinity Down
  • pH & Alkalinity Up
  • Water clarifier
  • Oxidizing hot tub shock solution

Testing and Balancing Your Hot Tub Water

Testing and balancing your hot tub water ensures that the water is clean and safe to soak in. The amount and type of testing you’ll need to do depends on your hot tub’s water treatment system. Use the recommended test strips to check for proper chemical balance. If the levels are within the acceptable range, you’re ready to enjoy your hot tub. If not, you’ll need to sanitize and balance the chemicals.

Balancing your hot tub’s chemicals is straightforward. Typically, you’ll need to adjust the chlorine levels or pH/alkalinity of the water. Follow the instructions on your hot tub chemicals or contact your local Watson’s for expert assistance.


Checking Hot Tub Chloring With Test Strip

Shop Hot Tub Chemicals >


If you’re interested in finding a new hot tub or need supplies for the cleanest spa, Watson’s has everything you need.

When you shop with us, you’ll find an amazing selection and personalized service, along with the guaranteed lowest prices in the USA. We have a wide variety of hot tubs from the leading brands along with tons of pool and spa supplies to make your spa stand out. Shop online or stop by your nearest Watson’s location today.

For a comprehensive guide on the essential chemicals needed to maintain your hot tub, check out our overarching article here.


Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I test my hot tub water?

You should test your hot tub water at least once a week. If the hot tub is used frequently, consider testing it every few days to ensure optimal water quality.

What are the signs of poor water quality in a hot tub?

Cloudy water, a strong chlorine smell, or skin irritation after use are common signs of poor water quality. Regular testing and maintenance can help prevent these issues.

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