Opening your hot tub for the new season doesn’t have to be confusing and tedious. With proper knowledge of the best practices for safely opening your tub, you can do away with the hassle and guarantee a relaxing soak once you finish setting everything up.
To open your hot tub for the season, clean the tub and remove any dirt and debris. Next, clean the filters by soaking them in a filter-cleaning solution. Prime the pump afterward, fill the tub and add appropriate chemicals. Set your desired temperature and let the tub heat up.
Now that you’ve got a general idea about what to do, let’s take a closer look at how to open your hot tub and ensure everything is in place so that you, your family, and your friends can enjoy a soothing dip.
How to Open Your Hot Tub
Opening a hot tub is pretty simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Step 1: Clean Your Tub
Your first step is to clean out any debris in the footwell or seats, as it’s easier to do so when the hot tub is still dry. Next, take a wet rag and wipe down the entire tub making sure you remove all the debris.
Next, apply a hot tub cleaner to the tub’s surface. In most cases, specially formulated hot tub cleaners easily cut through dirt. They also protect your tub’s shell from damage caused by abrasive particles in other cleaners. Let it sit for a while, then use a rag or sponge to scrub the hot tub.
After cleaning the hot tub, rinse it thoroughly and wipe it down with a towel. Be sure not to leave any traces of the cleaner, as it might affect your tub’s chemical balance, affecting your water clarity and encouraging mold growth.
Additionally, if you had winterized your hot tub when closing it, make sure you flush the antifreeze out of the system before moving forward.
Step 2: Clean Your Filters
Now that the surface of your hot tub is sparkling clean, you’ll need to clean the hot tub filters and give them a thorough wash down. Here’s how:
- Unscrew the filters from their compartment and remove them.
- Soak the filters for about 24 hours in a filter cleaning solution to help dissolve and loosen dirt and organic matter that build up over time.
- Remove the filters from the cleaning solution and rinse them with fresh water. Use a filter cleaning wand to help you rinse them more thoroughly and efficiently.
- Once the filters are clean, carefully screw them back into their housing in the hot tub’s filter compartment.
Tip: If you have another set of filters, you can soak one set while you use the other. This will prolong the life of your filters and ensure they always function correctly at all times.
Step 3: Prime the Pump
Remember to prime your pump, as it’s an essential step when opening your hot tub. When you add water to an empty hot tub, air can get stuck in your circulation system—priming your pump forces air out so water can flow correctly.
While you can set your hot tub to prime its pump automatically, you may have to do it manually because even self-priming pumps sometimes require assistance. To prime your hot tubs:
- Flip your circuit breaker to avoid getting electrocuted.
- Next, access the pump and close the gate valve on the discharge side.
- Turn the bleeder valve slowly until you hear air hissing out.
- When the sound stops, tightly screw the valve back up. If you don’t tighten it, water may leak, and things may get out of hand.
- Turn your breaker back on, power up the hot tub, and check if the jets work correctly.
Step 4: Add Appropriate Chemicals
Let your hot tub fill with water as you prepare your chemicals. Before adding anything to your hot tub, you’ll need to test your water using a good test strip.
If the baseline readings are satisfactory, you can start adding the following chemicals to keep your hot tub water balanced and avoid major problems like bacteria, algae, and biofilm build-up:
Hot Tub Sanitizer
First, you’ll need to assess the pros and cons of the sanitizers (chlorine, bromine, minerals, biguanide, or a saltwater system), then choose the type you want to use. Chlorine and bromine are what most people use in their hot tubs, though.
Chlorine granules (on Amazon) are stabilized, fast-acting, dissolve quickly, and you can add them directly to your hot tub water. It’s best to use chlorine granules in outdoor hot tubs exposed to UV rays because the product contains CYA (stabilizer).
Similarly, bromine granules (on Amazon) dissolve quickly, and you can add them directly to water. However, it’s best to use them in an indoor hot tub, a covered tub, or if you find the “chlorine smell” unpleasant.
Hot Tub Shock
Hot tub shock (on Amazon) is a great problem solver and essential tub maintenance chemical. A weekly shock treatment will prevent algae growth and help clear your water if it starts looking cloudy. It also refreshes your sanitizer levels and prevents any water issues from occurring down the road.
The two types of shocks are chlorine and non-chlorine shocks, and they both have different applications.
Alkalinity Increaser, pH Increaser, and pH Decreaser
Your hot tub’s overall alkalinity levels should be between 100 and 150 ppm, and the proper pH level should be between 7.4 to 7.6. Low pH can cause corrosion in your hot tub, while high pH can cause itchy, dry skin and burning eyes.
You can add an alkalinity increaser (on Amazon) if your water’s total alkalinity dips too low. It can also help bring down your pH levels.
If the alkalinity of your water gets too high, you’ll need to add a pH decreaser (on Amazon) since there’s no product called an alkalinity decreaser. A pH decreaser lowers pH as well. Excessively high pH levels can reduce your sanitizer’s effectiveness and make your water cloudy.
On the other hand, a pH increaser (on Amazon) does the inverse when you add it to the water.
While many products are designed to raise or lower both pH and alkalinity all at once, it wouldn’t hurt to have these individual chemicals on hand.
Line Flush Cleaner
Over time, mineral deposits, dirt, and grime accumulate inside your hot tub’s plumbing. The only way to remove that build-up is by using a line flush cleaner (on Amazon) and draining your tub afterward.
Experts recommend you flush the plumbing and drain your hot tub every 3-4 months.
Step 5: Set Temperature and Wait
Turn on the heater and heat the hot tub to your desired temperature. Ideally, the temperature should fall between 98℉ and 102℉ but don’t go beyond 104℉.
Let the water circulate for approximately ten minutes after you set the temperature.
It would be best to cover the tub for at least 24 hours to help the temperature rise and prevent heat, water, and chemical loss.