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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 once in a while or it’s part of your daily routine, maintaining a healthy hot tub 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 the plants and wildlife in your yard. But the biggest thing that impacts water quality is you and how often you 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. 

There are a few fundamental water care methods that you should use to keep your hot tub water clean:

  • Scheduled water testing

  • Regular maintenance

  • Draining and refilling

  • Water care systems


There are a variety of water care systems and techniques available including saltwater chlorine generators, ozone generators, in-line chlorine sanitation, and manual chlorine addition. Let’s take a closer look at each of these methods.


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 of 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 amount of chlorine and soften the feel of the water. An in-line chlorine system requires continuous testing and adjustment to the chemical levels of the water but can provide optimal cleaning results with 75% less chlorine than manual chlorine addition.

Ozone Generators

Ozone generators constantly clean hot tub water using ozone to eliminate contaminants. Hot tub owners will also need to add chlorine to the spa on a weekly basis, but like in-line chlorine sanitation, this method uses much less chlorine overall compared to traditional manual addition. In fact, ozone systems can be used in combination with in-line chlorine systems.

Manual Chlorine Addition

Manually adding chlorine is the only hot tub water care choice for hot tubs without an automatic water care system of some type. This method requires regular testing of the water to measure the amount of chlorine, as well as pH and calcium levels. Chlorine needs to be replaced frequently, and this method will need the most chlorine of any cleaning system in order to maintain optimal sanitation. 


Water Care for New Hot Tubs

Regardless of which hot tub 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 particular recommendations for treating new spa water and your Watson’s dealer can help you through the process. 

In general, you’ll need to use some standard start-up chemicals with hot tub water heated to at least 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which will help pH balancers and other chemicals to dissolve effectively. Water care supplies for a new hot tub 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 the type of water treatment system your hot tub has. Use the recommended test strips for your hot tub to check for proper chemical balance.

If the levels of each chemical are within the acceptable range of your test strips, you’re ready to enjoy your hot tub. But if a test strip reveals that chemicals are outside of the acceptable range, you’ll need to sanitize and balance the chemicals in the water.

Thankfully, balancing your hot tubs’ chemicals is a relatively straightforward process. You’ll most likely need to either adjust your chlorine levels or adjust the pH/alkalinity of the water. Follow the instructions on the label of your hot tub chemicals or contact your local Watson’s for the help of a spa expert to walk you through the process.



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.

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