Spa Start-up, Service, Cleaning, and Maintenance
Splash Doctor is a swimming pool and hot tub service and repair company in Southern Utah. We take care of both in-ground and above-ground hot tubs. Whether you live in St. George, Hurricane, Cedar City, or anywhere in between we will take care of your swimming pool and spa service.
We offer quarterly spa service to keep your hot tub running smoothly
We offer not only weekly service plans for your hot tub but a quarterly cleaning, draining, refilling and startup.
If you would like more information on our hot tub service, please fill out our water test and consultation form or call us at 435-668-3880. We have technicians on call that are ready to answer any questions you might have.
Schedule a Free Spa Water Test and Consultation Service in St. George, Ut
To better understand what is involved in spa service we have created this guide.
- What are pros and cons of in-ground vs. above ground spas?
- What is the difference between a spa, jacuzzi, or hot tub?
- Differences between pool and above ground spa maintenance?
- Chlorine vs Bromine
- Hot tub start up process
- Quarterly hot tub draining and cleaning
- Weekly hot tub service
- Hot tub chemicals
- Hot tub filter cleaning or replacement
- How to bleed air from hot tub pump
- Hot tub jet cleaning
What are pros and cons of in-ground vs. above ground spas?
In-Ground Hot Tub
|More durable||Usually not as many jets|
|Can integrate a salt water generator||Less comfortable sitting positions|
|Uses the same water as the pool so circulates often||Not as many jet settings|
Above Ground Hot Tub
|Less expensive||Stand alone so water must be circulated separate from the pool|
|Way more jets||Less salt water generator options|
|Massaging options||Have to drain manually instead of through the pump|
|Much more comfortable sitting positions||Wear out faster|
While both options have many pros, neither option is a bad choice. At Splash Doctor we understand the differences and build our maintenance plans around each specific type of spa. We will ensure the water in your spa is clean, clear, and safe to swim in year round.
What is the difference between a spa, jacuzzi, or hot tub?
A spa and hot tub are used interchangeable and mean the same thing. Jacuzzi is just a brand that has become a household name in the hot tub industry.
What is the difference between swimming pool and hot tub maintenance?
The main difference in swimming pools and spas is the use of chlorine vs. bromine. While everyone knows that signature chlorine smell associated with all swimming pools, many people do not understand that in most hot tubs the chemical used is called bromine.
The reason bromine is used instead of chlorine is its added ability to remain stable with large temperature swings. In a swimming pool you usually will maintain a fairly consistent temperature daily. Hot tubs temperatures are regularly raised and lowered on a daily basis. The fluctuations in temperature are also much higher than in a pool. These large swings can affect PH, chlorine effectiveness, and the alkalinity.
Chlorine Vs. Bromine
In hot tubs, chlorine or bromine is an option for sanitation. The main differences between the two are how stable they are with large fluctuations in temperature. Due to these temperature swings, at Splash Doctor, we normally recommend bromine for stand-alone or above-ground aftermarket spas. For integrated in-ground hot tubs, your swimming pool chlorine will take care of the sanitation.
Hot tub startup process
The process you use to start up your hot tub is fairly basic. There are a few key things that must be accomplished if you want to have your maintenance costs reduced over the life of the spa.
Drain your spa during your quarterly service
Before you drain your hot tub we recommend you add Oh Yuk to the existing water. Let the pump run for 15-20 minutes. This cleaner added prior to draining will help to clean the walls and plumbing later in the process. After you have ran the pump for 15 minutes turn the pump off. We suggest you shut off the power to the spa via the dedicated breaker. This ensures you don’t accidentally get a shock. After turning off the power, use a water pump to remove all the water from the spa. A simple submersible utility pump will do just fine.
Clean the hot tub walls, floor, seats, pillows, cover and outside of hot tub
Before you begin scrubbing the spa walls and floor we suggest using a pressure washer to clean the outside of the spa, Keeping the area around the hot tub will help keep you spa cleaner. There will be less dirt, dust, and grime brought in on people’s feet and with any wind in the area.
Use this time to clean your cover as well. While a pressure washer at a distance can clean your cover fairly well, sometimes it is necessary to add a cleaning solution and a little bit of elbow grease. Keeping a clean cover will help keep dirt and debris out of your spa. If you do not currently have a cover it is time to get one! The amount of chemicals, heating, and water you will save by keeping the spa covered is not an insignificant amount.
To clean the spa inside surfaces we recommend using a product similar AquaDoc’s spa cleaner to help remove buildup and deposits on the surfaces of your spa. Use a microfiber rag to help clean the surface. Do not use anything abrasive as it will scratch your spa. If you have dirt or grime that is being difficult you can use a multi-purpose scrub sponge pad to help.
The best way to keep your spa clean is to stay on top of the maintenance and keep your water chemicals balanced. By keeping the chemicals at their recommended levels you will reduce algae, calcium build up, and more.
We also recommend using a scum sponge for the surface oils and sunscreen that comes off in your spa. This spongy device collects all of the oils and keeps the surface of your spa clean.
Clean filter during weekly spa service
The spa filter is accessed underneath the hot tub. Once you remove the filter you can better determine if you need to do a basic wash, a soaking, or a complete replacement. By keeping up on your hot tub maintenance the spa filter can last for multiple seasons.
If your filter still looks dirty after spraying a cleaning solution on it and using water you may need to try a 24-hour soak. Aqua Doc Hot Tub Cleaner Soak is a great solution to soak your filter. Just follow the instructions on the packaging and leave the filter in the solution overnight. This will help break down the dirt and grime left on the filter.
In instances where the filter has holes, is breaking down, or just can not get clean it may be time to replace your filter. You can order a new filter at Spa Daddy or any other online retailer. They are relatively inexpensive and cheap insurance to keep your water clean and safe.
Add enough water to add jet cleaner to your hot tub
After you have a bright and clean spa shell and cover it is time to add a little water. At Splash Doctor, we use an inline hose filter and recommend you do the same. This helps filter out metals, calcium, and deposits you do not want in your spa. A filter similar to the ones used on RVs is adequate for refilling the hot tub.
After you fill the spa to just below the level of the first jets it is time to add the jet cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the jet cleaner you have chosen to know how much to add. You will then run the pump with the water below the jets to clean out all the gunk and grime in your spa jets. Run the pump for 15-20 minutes to get it really clean.
It is very important to not however that you should never run your pump without water! DO NOT LET THE PUMP RUN DRY!!
After you have ran the pump and the jets are clean you will want to drain the spa one more time. This gets anything else that was hiding in your jets cleaned out of your spa. Use a sump pump type pump and clean out the rest of the water.
Fill up the spa the rest of the way up
Use your inline hose filter to fill your spa all the way up. DO NOT OVERFILL. If you overfill your spa you can damage your control panel, heater and other costly components.
Remove air from the spa pump line
After filling, run your pump for a few minutes. You will more than likely have to bleed the air lines. This is accomplished either through a designated bleeder valve or by loosening the connection to the pump. Open the bleeder valve for enough time so that no more air is trapped in the lines. This same process can be used if you ever get vapor locked where you do not have water coming out of your jets.
Add start-up chemicals to your hot tub
We recommend adding a start up bromine product such as Spa Choice Bromide Booster. This will ensure there are enough bromides in the water to adequately sanitize your spa.
After adding make sure to do a water test. This will let you know if you need to add a ph increaser, a ph decreaser, a calcium hardness increaser, or an alkalinity stabilizer. Always test water chemical levels after adding the product to make sure you hit your target. Do not use test strips, but a quality drop testing product such as a Taylor TF-100. Failure to do so can cause safety issues due to adding too much of certain products.
Quarterly hot tub service includes draining and cleaning in St. George, Utah
At Splash Doctor we take care of everything on your hot tub. We not only provide weekly chemical checks and balancing but on a quarterly basis we will drain and clean your spa. We follow the process described above to make sure you always have clean, fresh water for your hot tub. The draining of the spa will get rid of any built up dirt and oils and keeps your equipment running much longer. By staying up on your weekly cleaning this process is much easier.
Weekly spa service in Southern Utah
Your hot tub requires at minimum weekly attention. Every week the water must be tested, circulated, and balanced. The filter needs cleaning. Any dirt that is on the surface of the spa must be removed. At Splash Doctor, we provide spa service to ensure your hot tub is ready to go whenever you want to use it. We will come out weekly to clean, balance, and circulate your water. We refill your bromine dispenser and make sure all equipment is running adequately.
Hot tub chemicals
Spa sanitizer options
- Salt System
Out of all the sanitizer options, we prefer salt systems to all others. These systems are usually part of a swimming pool and spa integrated system. They are less maintenance, maintain more consistent sanitizer levels, and are not harsh on the skin.
If you have a stand-alone spa or aftermarket hot tub bromine is usually your best option as a sanitizer for your hot tub service. It lasts the longest of the add-in sanitizers. Compared to chlorine it keeps the ph a bit lower making the spa easier to manage. It also is less harsh on your skin. Keep your bromine level between 3-5 ppm. We help regulate your bromide levels by using a bromine dispenser.
On a weekly basis, you will want to add shock to your hot tub. This ensures algae is not allowed to form and keeps the water clean.
Alkalinity is your ph buffer. If this level is not in line your ph can move more quickly and not stay balanced. At Splash Doctor, when we provide spa service we try to make sure alkalinity is in check before we manage the ph levels.
Your hot tub alkalinity level should be between 100-150ppm
Ph is the level of acid or base in your hot tub. A higher acid level will result in a lower ph. The more base your water is, the higher the ph.
If ph gets above 8.2 on the scale, you risk calcium build up. This can occur on the spa surface as well as in the heater, pump and plumbing lines.
If ph gets below 7.2 you run the risk of having your water too acidic. This can also cause damage and premature wear to your systems and hot tub.
At Splash Doctor we try to keep ph in a safe range of 7.4-7.7
With in-ground plaster swimming pools and spas, calcium hardness is usually where you want it without having to add anything due to the curing process and other chemicals found in your plaster surface.
A spa that is aftermarket and above ground, it is usually made of fiberglass. This type of spa will need to have a calcium increaser added to keep your calcium levels in check. If your calcium level is too low it can result in premature damage to your shell and components.
Hot tub filter cleaning
Spray and rinse spa filter
If you keep up to date on your filter cleaning you usually will only need to apply a spray on cleaning solution to your hot tub filter. These cleaners usually only need to sit on the filter for a few minutes to break apart oils and grease. After the manufacturers allotted timeframe, rinse with your hose, reinstall and you are done.
Deep soak your hot tub filter
If you have neglected cleaning your filter from time to time or it just has excess dirt and oils built up you can use a product such as AquaDoc Filter Soak to deep soak the filter. This process usually requires placing the filter submerged in a bucket of solution for 24 hours. After the spa filter has soaked you can then rinse with hose water. Depending on how dirty the filter has become you may need to repeat this process multiple times to get the filter clean.
Spa Filter Replacement
If you have tried a deep soaking of your filter and just can not seem to get it clean it may be time for a replacement. Other cases where a replacement might be necessary is if there are any holes or tears in the filter or if the seals are worn out. Replacement filters are relatively inexpensive and a cheap insurance against early pump or heater failure.
How to bleed air from hot tub pump
Whenever you refill the hot tub with new water you will have to bleed the line to get the air all out of it. You also may get air trapped in the lines just from daily use. Allowing this air to remain in the lines can cause big problems for your pump. Running a spa pump with air in it or running it dry altogether is a sure way to destroy your pump.
The process to bleed the air depends on if you have a dedicated bleed valve. This valve will be located on the hot tub pump. It is usually opened either with the lever on the valve or with a flat head screwdriver. While running the pump, open the valve until water is coming out. Keep the bleeder valve open until you have successfully extracted all the air. You may find that temporarily opening and closing the valve back and forth will help get the rest of the air out.
The process for bleeding the air is nearly the same if you do not have a dedicated bleeder valve. The only difference is you will have to allow air to escape at the union just after the pump. Unscrew this union until water and air are escaping. Follow the same procedure to get all the air out of your hot tub jets.
Hot tub jet cleaning
During the refill process of cleaning your hot tub it is wise to use a dedicated jet cleaner. There can be dirt, grease, grime or mold that has built up over time in your jets. This is not accessible with a brush or rag. The best way to clean these lines is to fill your spa to just below the first jet. You then add the manufacturers specified amount of cleaner to the water. Run the pump for 15-20 minutes until it is all coming out clean. You then re-drain the water out of the spa and continue with your refilling procedures.
Give Splash Doctor a call today to receive a free spa service consultation in St. George Utah and the surrounding areas
While hot tub cleaning and maintenance is not difficult, it can be quite time consuming to do it right. If you would rather leave it to the professionals, Splash Doctor is here to help. We do not cut corners. Our technicians clean and maintain your spa as if it was our own. Our goal is to make sure that your hot tub is ready to enjoy whenever you would like. For more information or a free consultation you can either call us at 435-225-7948 or fill the the following information. We will have a technician contact you as soon as possible.