Tags: Dirty spa filters, Hot Tub Temperatures, Spa Heaters, Spa Repair
Your spa’s been heating up perfectly, well–it was actually kind of slow on the heating giddy-up.
But today that heater is as dead as finding a call center job in America. So you call your local pool/spa dude. “My heater’s out and I’ve got company coming in for the holidays. HELP!!!”
Accommodating your expert analysis of a heater gone bad (driven by your partner’s frantic screams of “That spa has to work before my picky-ass cousin arrives here next week—or else!!!!), you shell out anywhere from $100 to $350 for a new heater, and that doesn’t include two-hours labor of about another $150.
When picky-ass (PA) cousin arrives, he states, “I hope the hot tub’s ready because my back is killing me after that long ride out here.” You assure PA the tub is ready and hand him your best beach towel and bid him a less-than fond farewell as he marches out to the tub. You grab a beer ready for a break from PA, and something from your worst nightmare shrieks, “This tub’s as cold as the Arctic Seas used to be!”
You were rushed to get everything perfect before the company arrived and you probably didn’t have time to check your spa’s filters. And if I asked you, “When did you last check your filters?” an uncomfortable span of silence would follow.
This is exactly why manufacturers install pressure switches and flow switches to the heater. Because if there’s no water flow or flow is restricted by 2 psi, the pressure switch or flow switch won’t close and energize the heating element. In other words, it looks like your heater’s gone kaput.
Do you want the bad news now? Dirty or aged filters restrict water flow.
What I’m saying is, if you went quiet when I asked the question about your spa’s filters, you would have had more green in your pocket, and a longer break from your hot tub soaking cousin.
So here are my top five spa filter maintenance points to save you time, energy and money.
- Once a month remove your filters and hose them down using a spray nozzle.
- When you drain/refill your spa, soak your filters in a filter cleaning solution from your spa store.
- Do NOT use oils to scent your spa’s water that ARE NOT designed for hot tubs.
- Every 6 months checks the fabric on your filters. If it’s “fluffed” replace that filter with a new one.
- Any filter over 3-years-old is ready to replace. Remember: all the water in your hot tub is strained through that filter. So after three years it is done straining.
Tags: Calcium Hardness, Calcium Hardness Tests for Spas, Dirty spa filters, Foamy hot tub water, Foamy Spa, TDS, Total Dissolved Solids, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Yikes! You turn your spa jets on, and suddenly your spa becomes a giant foam machine–or a latte gone wild. First, you scream at the kids asking who dumped soap into the spa. But you don’t have any kids and your spa doesn’t smell soapy.
1) Now ask yourself, how long ago did I drain my spa? Why? High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) will cause foam. If your TDS reading (which you can have tested at your local spa shop) is over 1500 ppm, it’s time to dump the water, clean your spa, and start anew again.
2) Have you cleaned or replaced your spa’s filter in recent memory? If you draw a blank on this question, go directly to your spa’s filter, check it out and if it is anything but lilly white, it’s time to clean it. You can hose it off, but I recommend purchasing a filter cleaning solution from your local spa dealer, like Leisure Time Filter Clean.
Also if your filter has been servicing your spa for over 18 months, it may be time to replace it.
3) Calcium hardness is another cause of foam in your spa. If the calcium hardness is less than 200 ppm, bring it up with a calcium increase product, like Leisure Time’s Calcium Increase.
4) Have you diligently shocked your spa’s water? If not, the foam can easily be reduced with a good shock treatment using a non-chlorine shock, which you can find at your spa dealer. Shock your water, at the very least, once a week.
5) If you are missing a container of dish soap–well, it’s time to deal with the gremilins gone wild.
Tags: Cloudy Spa Water, Dirty spa filters, Spa Chemical Directions, Spa Chemistry, Spa pH, Spa Sanitizer Reading, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Stan from Philadelphia asks: No matter what I do, my spa water is cloudy most of the time, even after I have added bromine to it. I’m getting depressed with my spa. What am I missing?
Cloudy water means turbid water—opaque or murky. You spa’s water should be clear and glistening.
So I’m assuming that your bromine reading is 2 to 3 ppms. If it’s below that, double the shock and bring the bromine reading up to 2-3 ppms. Inadequate disinfection is a common cloudy water cause.
However, I’d bet that you haven’t taken a peek at your cartridge filter for a while. I’m not psychic, but after near 40-years of hearing “My water’s cloudy no matter what! You need to fix my water now,” I’m betting on your filter’s health.
What does that mean? The filter strains your spa’s water. It traps organic wastes like your hair, skin, and other yucky body stuff. If it isn’t regularly cleaned the filter becomes your water’s most likely pollutant.
If your filter harbors a grey or brown tinge, soak that disgusting thing in a cartridge filter cleaner (a product you can find at your pool and spa store designed specifically to deep clean polyester filters) to remove the debris that is entrapped in the filter’s fibers.
Good filter maintenance requires at least a monthly soak in a cartridge filter cleaner. Rinsing your filter with a hose is okay, but not sufficient.
Your filter could also be worn out. Most filters last about two years with regular caretaking. So, if your filter’s fibers are the first thing you notice, it’s time for a new filter.
Now, if your filter maintenance rates an A+, then you need to check your TDS (total dissolved solids). 1500-ppms means drain the tub. High TDS will not allow your bromine to properly disinfect. Most hot tubs require frequent draining. It depends on the size of the tub and how often it is used.
If you have crossed off the funky filter and high TDS, then be sure to check the standards: total alkalinity and pH. See TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS AND YOUR UNRULY TEENAGE MOMENTS: TOTAL ALKALINITY & pH posted below.
Also be mindful of regular shocking.
If your spa is new to your household, you are probably using it more than you will next year. This means that your water is under more stress and requires above average attention.