Spa Startup/General Questions
- I just bought a new/used spa. What should I do to get it ready to use?
- Misconceptions about spa care.
- How many bathers can I have safely in my spa?
- How much ventilation do you need to have a spa in the house to avoid a moisture problem?
- How do I winterize a hot tub?
- Should I use my hot tub before or after exercise?
- Where should I place my hot tub?
- How long should you stay in your hot tub?
- What are the health adivsories of using a hot tub?
- What are the dangers of soaking too long?
The first thing you should do is rinse and drain the spa.
New or used you should do this because at the manufactures they test the lines to make sure the lines are not leaking. This means they put water through the lines and to combat the lines from freezing they put antifreeze in the lines. For used spas you do not know how the previous owner took care of the spa and if they cleaned the lines or not. You want either the antifreeze or the previous owners’ organics out of the lines before you soak in it. After draining it and cleaning it and refilling it you add your sanitizer and balancing chemicals.
For more tips on sanitation, which sanitizer to use and water balance questions stop into Swim Rite Pools and we can teach you how to take care of a spa properly.
- Spas with ozonators or salt generators do not need any chemicals. This is false. Yes, ozonators helps keep the spa sanitized but it is used more like a backup you should still be maintaining it with a sanitizer. With salt generators and ozonators in spas you still need to balance the water with balancing chemicals. So yes, you need additional chemicals for both of these spas.
- The waters hot so it’s clean. This is false. Bacteria loves hot water the only thing that won’t grow in really hot water is algae but, just because the water is clear that does not mean it is sanitary. The water still needs sufficient sanitizer and water balance.
- Foam in a hot tub is normal. This is false foam tells that the water balance and sanitizer is off. Shampoos, body soap and bather waste leads to foamy water due to insufficient sanitizer.
- A strong smell of chlorine or bromine means there is too much sanitizer in the spa. This is false. The smell of chlorine is telling you there is not enough sanitizer in the spa. To get rid of this problem, add a non-chlorine shock to the spa. Then test your sanitizer level you may need to add sanitizer to the spa.
Well think about this 150 people in a 30,000-gallon swimming pool is the rough equivalent of 2 bathers in a 400-gallon spa. This leads to the sanitizer levels to drop very quickly. Even though your spa may be a 4-8-seater it is up to you to decide how many people you want in your spa. Just make sure to keep your sanitizer levels up and your water balancing chemicals correct before and after letting people in the spa.
Ventilation varies dependent on a few things,
- The size of the spa,
- The size of the room,
- The time of year/what season it is.
A quality exhaust fan should be running the entire time you are in the spa and 1 hour after you are out of the spa to reduce the moisture level.
You should keep the spa covered when not in use to avoid adding to the moisture. Aswell as keeping it covered you should have a spa cover that is in good condition. This will help keep the moisture in the spa.
Check with a certified company in heating and air condititioning for an analysis of the size of your room and the type of vent system you will need.
Here are some tips:
- Turn off the breaker or unplug the hot tub.
- Drain the hot tub.
- Drain the blower.
- Loosen the unions and drain plugs and let the water drain.
- Suck out any of the remaining water with a wet dry vac if it is not equipped with a floor drain
- Use a blower to help remove the water that is stuck in the plumbing.
- Remove filters then soak them in a filter cleaner, store in a dry place for winter.
- Put pool antifreeze into the plumbing lines, jets, fittings, bottom drain and filter canisters.
- Add antifreeze to the foot well.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in winterizing your spa. All spas are not made the same and some may have special instructions to follow.
Either way using the hot tub before or after exercise has benefits. If you use a hot tub after exercise the benefits are relaxing your muscles after strain to promote healing and less stiffness. It is also reccomended that you soak before exercise, for 10-20 minutes according to the hotspring blog this warms up to body and muscles after your soak you should stretch to help your heart rate calm down. Make sure you hydrate often and be sure to drink more water if you’ll be in the hot tub. If you plan to soak in the hot tub after exercise make sure you do a cool down exercise and your heart rate has returned to normal before jumping in the spa.
You should place your spa somewhere near your backdoor or on a back patio. You should do this because during the cold months when you want to use use your hot tub, you will not want to traverse snow with bare feet and your bathing suit to the hot tub. When you go to get out of the hot tub in snow you will definially not want to get out. None wants to run through alot of snow to get back inside of your house. BURRR!
You should also consider your neighbors when placing your hot tub.If it is in site of your neighbors you may be reluctant to use it. If you canot change the position consider planting some shrubs and trees or installing a fence.
Another thing to consider is to lock the spa cover. All spa cover come with the little key to lock the spa shut. That way your nosey neighbors or the kids down the street do not invite themselves over to use your hot tub when you are not home.
- You should always keep the temperature at max between 100-102 degrees.
- For an adult in good health, you should soak for 15-30 minutes if the temperature is over 100 and take 30-minute breaks in between each soak. If it is under 100, say 98-99 you should be able to soak as long as you feel comfortable, but make sure you let yourself cool off if you get to warm.
- For children under 12 and the water is 104 degrees keep their soak under 5 minutes. For water that id between 98-104 degrees they can soak up to 15 minutes. With children you should also avoid full body immersion.
- The seats in your spa have seats at various levels to allow you to move around and cool different parts of your body take advantage of this to keep you from overheating.
- As an absolute maximum 45 minutes to 60 minutes is recommended. Anything over an hour is considered risky.
- Pregnant women should not go into a hot tub, they need to limit the soak time to 10 minutes max.
- People with certain medical conditions, such as high or low blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke sufferers or circulary problems should discuss with their doctor before going into a hot tub.
- People who take certain medications that may cause drowsiness or anticoagulates should speak with their doctor before going into a hot tub.
- The spa should stay between 101 and 102 degrees.
- It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the hot tub is clean and the water is properly disinfected to prevent the spread of disease. It is important to maintain the proper level of disinfectant to ensure clean and safe water.
Symptoms of soaking too long are:
- Dizziness or light headedness: If you feel light headed or dizziness, your body may be telling you that your body is too hot. You should get out and cool down for at least 15 minutes.
- Overheating: Most people do not realize they are overheating until they feel physically ill. Catch some early signs to help you know when to get out. Signs are, Tingling sensation in the skin, headache, fatigue or weakness, an increase or decrease in heart rate, dizziness, sweating or not sweating at all. If you notice any of these symptoms get out of the tub and into a cool dry area. Drink water and care for your body. If the symptoms progress call 911.
- Nausea and Vomiting: Intense heat may cause nausea and vomiting. Remove yourself from the spa and drink fluids.
- Burns on the skin: If your skin begins to redden or burn you may have sensitive skin and it may be having a reaction. This also could be due to the heat or a chemical imbalance in the water. This is a sign that you should get out of the water.
- Decrease in blood pressure: It may be difficult for you to know if you are experiencing a dip in blood pressure unless you have a blood pressure monitor on you at all times. But take note of the warning signs: dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, inability to concentrate, nausea and fainting. Extreme signs are: confusion, rapid or shallow breathing, and weak or rapid pulse.
Keep an eye on your symptoms in the hot tub and if you are concerned soak in 15-30 minutes at a time to avoid health risk.
Spa Equipment Questions
Have questions on running your spa or what to do when there is an issue? Check out our spa equipment questions page.
Not finding the right answer? Check under our other pages or give us a call or send us an email and our knowledgeable staff will be able to help.
Spa Chemistry Questions
Have questions on balancing and sanitation? Or what to do when your water goes cloudy? Check out our Spa Chemistry Questions page.