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General Spa & Hot Tub Care Questions...

6 keys to good spa & hot tub care6 Keys to Good & Easy Spa & Hot tub Care
(it's not just chemicals)

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Key 6 - Purge, Drain & Refill
The last key is Purging, draining & refilling.  This is probably the most important key to spa care because proper purging, draining & refilling MUST be done on a regular basis - usually every 2 to 4 months depending on usage. 

If the spa water is getting funky looking & smelling and it's been several months, don't bother with anti-foams or water clarifiers!  Just drain it.  Let's look at WHY...

Drain & refill spa - key 6 spa careAs you're soaking & relaxing in the nice warm, bubbling waters of your spa or hot tub, your body is releasing literally liters of perspiration, body oils, skin cells, not to mention deodorant, make up, perfume, lotions - need I go on?  In a swimming pool it's not so bad.  But in a spa, well...

Keep this in mind...4 people in a 300 gallon spa is roughly equal to 120 people in a 20,000 gallon pool.  Plus there's the significantly warmer water. Do you remember the last time you took a real bath?  Not a shower - but a bath.  Would you soak in that same water 2 or 3 days later?  We didn't think so! Now I think I have your attention.

The reason a spa gets foamy after a period of time is because you are producing soap.  To make soap you need 3 things: heat, an alkaline base (something with a high or higher pH) & animal fat (read that as body oils & perspiration).

Now you ask, "I thought the chemicals & filter system were supposed to take care of all of that."  Yes and No. Yes, the chemicals & filter will oxidize and remove some of those contaminants, but not all of them.  Most of those substances are "insoluble" meaning they can’t be broken down any further.  Shocks help to oxidize and enzymes help to "eat up" these insolubles, but again, not all.

That's why the spa MUST be regularly purged, drained & refilled.  But how often?  Here's a formula that we use...

1. Determine the number of gallons in the spa.

2. Divided the number of gallons by the average daily bather load (for example, 3 bathers, 2 times per week would equal approximately – 2 x 3 = 6 divided by 7 = 1 bather per day).

3. Then divide that number by 3 to get your answer (in days).

Let’s do 2 examples…

First example: a spa or hot tub with 300 gallons of water that is used by 2 people twice each day 5 - 7days (2 people times twice a day equals a bather load of 4) 
300 ÷ 4 = 75 ÷ 3 = 25 days or about once per month.

Second example: a spa or hot tub with 300 gallons of water that is used by 2 people once each day 5 - 7days (equals bather load of 2) 
300 ÷ 2 = 150 ÷ 3 = 50 days or about once every 2 months.

This formula is not concrete, however it is a good guideline to follow.  Depending on how much the spa is used, directly determines how often it needs to be purged, drained & refilled. Most commercial spas need to be drained & refilled at least once per week!  Or they should!

A quick word about bio-films. Bio-films are colonies of bacteria that grow & thrive in moist areas; any moist area. Research at leading universities has shown that roughly 99% of the bacteria present in a spa or hot tub resides in the bio-film. That means Only 1% is floating around the water. Bio-films need 2 things to grow: a surface & moisture. If you notice a bit of pinkish or white-ish film around your spa pillows, that’s bio-film. But keep in mind that the bulk of bio-film is in the plumbing lines where you can’t easily get at. And did I mention that bio-films are very sanitizer resistant? Read more about bio-films here.

Even if the spa has been standing empty for a period of time without being treated or used, it is recommended that prior to filling the spa, first fill it then purge it by adding a spa plumbing line cleaner (such as AquaFinesse Spa Cleaner, Spa Purge, Spa System Flush, or, Swirl Away) & clean the spa's plumbing lines. Follow the label directions.  This will help provide a more successful experience – bio-films can build-up even when not being in use (Did you ever leave a thermos or cooler with a little bit of liquid in closed up for a period of time? Same problem).  A fill, treat, drain & refill is worth the extra time & effort. By the way, if you own a jetted bathtub, this is a great procedure to perform every few months as well.

If at all possible, from time to time (a couple of times per year), tip the spa on its side to more thoroughly empty the water that is in the lines.  Be sure to check with your local spa professional to avoid damaging the spa.

Remember to follow the other 6 Keys to Spa Care.  They're just as important.

The 6 Keys typically take about 30 minutes or less to accomplish each week.  Yes, that's it!  Just 30 minutes.  Now you can enjoy your pool more & actually work less.  In the long run, you'll also spend less time & money.

Remember, Par Pool & Spa is always able & ready to help if you need us.  Just stop by or give us a call. Always helpful, always friendly.
Ronald Parrs, Basic Author Links to products for all of the 6 Keys:
  1. Circulation
  2. Filtration - products to keep your filter running clean
  3. Cleaning & Maintenance
  4. Testing - test kits & strips
  5. Water Chemistry & Spa Care Chemicals
  6. Drain & Refill Hosting & Servers
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