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Hot Tub Spas Tips and Tricks

Updated on September 12, 2019
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L. Cargill, Medical Laboratory Scientist, ASCP. Retired blood banker and laboratorian. Loves to write about a wide range of subjects. Enjoy!

Hot Tub Spa

6 person acrylic spa tub with 80 jets - Ahhhh
6 person acrylic spa tub with 80 jets - Ahhhh | Source

Hot Tubs and Spas

A hot tub is basically a tub full of hot water. A full therapeutic spa is today's modern version of the hot tub. Spas come equipped with heaters, pumps, jets for water and a few other features that make water therapy a joy.

Purchasing a hot tub or spa requires a bit of research. First, decide why you want a spa. Is it for fun? for social activities with friends? for physical therapy? for a functional water feature near the pool? Once you decide what the spa is for, you may start narrowing your choices down to the size of the hot tub.

Hot tub and spa sizes are almost limitless. If this is your first spa, you may want to go with a smaller size (less expense and maintenance). There are even inflatable spas to experiment with that cost less than $500. It might pay to check one of these out to see if you are a "spa person". If the time and effort to maintain a spa is not to your liking, then you have only wasted a minimum amount of money.

Once you have located the spot for your spa and you are ready and willing to get into the hot tub lifestyle, there are a few tips and tricks you need to know. The first and foremost thing about having a spa is cleanliness! Spas get very dirty, very quickly. Even an expert chemist will have trouble keeping a spa clean.

Ten Ways to Keep a Spa Clean

  1. Always bathe with soap and water before using your spa! Rinse the soap off thoroughly. The cleaner your body is, the cleaner the spa will be.
  2. Have a foot bath near the spa for rinsing off dirty feet. Even better, have an outdoor shower next to the spa for a total rinse. But especially keep those feet clean!
  3. Always wear a clean bathing suit into the spa. Use a suit designed for swimming or water sports. Other types of clothing materials will retain dirt and body oils and will release the dirt and oils into the spa water.
  4. Wash the spa filter every week! You may have to wash it every other day during heavy use. It's very easy to slip the filter out and flush it with a garden hose every few days.
  5. Follow your spas recommendation for chemicals. Take a bottle of spa water to the spa store for free monitoring every week. Use spa chemistry strips to monitor the chlorine or bromine levels daily. Hot water will use up the sanitizing chemicals faster than a swimming pool.
  6. Maintain the spa's recommended temperature, so the chemicals will work well.
  7. Drain and clean the spa every three to six weeks. Get all of the old water out, clean the walls and jets with recommended cleaners and rinse thoroughly before refilling the spa.
  8. A small hand held spa vacuum cleaner is useful for things that fall into the spa between cleaning.
  9. A spa cleaning sponge, like a "dirty duck" is useful for sponging down the spa for a few minutes while you are enjoying your soak.
  10. Take the time every week to clean the outside cabinet and cover. Sweep the area around the spa at least once a week. Keep a trash can handy for litter.

How to Use a Hot Tub or Spa

Spa users rave about their spas. It's almost all they want to talk about. Relaxing in a hot tub or spa is the perfect way to relax, reduce stress and eliminate muscle and joint pain. The zen quality of running water can't be beat when it comes to whole body comfort.

Deciding when to use your spa is paramount in maximizing your enjoyment.

  • If you are a 'morning' person, it's best to use your spa first thing in the morning and get relaxed for the whole day. If you prefer to bathe in the mornings, then you will probably enjoy your spa in the mornings.
  • If you love to lay out in the sun and get that bronzing action or some vitamin D, then you may love to spa during or after lunch. Sun worshippers often like to be in or near water while tanning.
  • If Venus is your favorite evening star to watch for, or sunsets make you want to get out your camera, then get in your spa right before sunset. Some people prefer to end the day with a relaxing soak.
  • Calling all vampires - nighttime soaks are fabulous if you love the starlight or moonlight. The very thought of going out in the hot sun to soak in hot water is just too much like being cooked as Stew. However, if you love star gazing and soaking in a wonderful jasmine scented spa at the stroke of midnight, then go clothing optional in the middle of the night!

If you are a morning person, you will NOT enjoy using your spa at night and vice versa. Usually, spa owners find their optimal time on their own. If you are unsure, try different times and see which one suits you best.


Hot tubs are generally just a tub with hot water.

Spas are generally a hot tub with pumps for jets of water to create a massage action.

Today's hot tubs are generally referred to as 'spa tubs'.

Acrylic is the material of choice for a spa tub.

Skim filters on the sides of tubs are better than floor filters that may entangle a person's hair.

Therapeutic Benefits of a Hot Tub or Spa

Using a spa regularly will benefit your body in several ways. Warm water soothes the savage beast in all of us.

Spa benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • relief of muscle pain
  • relief of joint pain
  • increased circulation, especially to the extremities
  • decreased stress levels
  • increased metabolism (possible, not proven)
  • promotes better sleep patterns
  • may lower blood sugar in Type II diabetics
  • Increases energy levels

There are some bath salts that can be used in a hot tub or spa to help with relaxation and aromatherapy. Use hot tub/spa products only. They have been engineered to provide maximum benefits with minimum destruction to your tub.

Daily use of a spa is recommended for the best and most consistent benefits, but two or three times a week is also therapeutic.

Always check your tubs pH range and sanitizer level before using a hot tub. There are some rather nasty germs that can grow in hot water. The least damaging one, pseudomonas, will give you a bad earache.

When NOT to use a Spa or Hot Tub:

  1. Don't soak if you have diarrhea or 'skid marks'. Wipe your anal area clean with a baby wipe before entering a spa.
  2. Never get spa water in your mouth or swallow it if you do.
  3. Don't soak without a shower first - be clean, not mean.
  4. Don't let young children get in hot tubs, especially not alone.
  5. Drinking alcohol or doing drugs and hot tubbing really don't mix. Women are especially vulnerable and may faint while drinking alcohol in a hot tub.
  6. Don't use moisturizers before entering a spa. They wash off and clog the filters.
  7. Don't overcrowd the spa - know your hot tub's capacity.
  8. Check with a doctor before using a spa if you are pregnant or have skin problems.
  9. Don't allow the temperature to get too high or too low. 98.8 F. is body temperature. You can get overheated in a very hot tub.
  10. Don't jump, dive or belly flop into a spa or hot tub. Really? Someone has to tell you this?

Checklist for buying a hot tub or spa:

Yes / No / Maybe
Do you have a place for a hot tub?
Consider privacy, overhanging debris, aesthetics
Will the area support 1-3 tons (150 lbs/sq. ft.)?
Decks must meet codes for hot tubs
Is the hot tub/spa big enough for the family?
Size matters!
Can we afford a spa?
Prices are all over, you need a budget.
Does the hot tub have the features I want?
Research every item like materials, insulation, operating costs, ease of maintenance
Have we tried out several models and brands?
There is no substitute to trying before buying
Do I know a contractor that has experience in hooking up electricity and installing hot tubs/spas?
You will definitely need someone with experience!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Lela


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