Hot Tub Watercare Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Don’t be afraid of hot tub watercare

Many people are afraid of getting a hot tub because they think the watercare is a lot of work and you need a degree in chemistry to get it right. Well, we are here to tell you not to worry.

You always have your owner’s manual to refer to for questions, and if you have a HotSpring hot tub, you have a local dealer to help you with your questions.

Your eyes and your nose are the first alerts that you are doing well with your watercare, or if you have let the water go.

Your water should be crystal clear and no odor.

If you water is cloudy or green, there is a problem. If your water smells musty, there is a problem. If your water is foamy, there is a problem. If your water smells like strong chlorine (and you didn’t just add some), there is a problem.

Here are a few tips to keep you on track.


Often, hot tubbers forget about their filters, but they are an important tool in your hot tub. When your filters are their job, they are taking out the stuff you do not want to be soaking in (dirt, oils, shampoo, etc.)

Weekly or bi-weekly is recommended to keep you tub clean and running well. If your filters are not cleaned, it can put strain on your pumps and even shut your tub off (or cause damage to your components.) Simply, take them out and rinse thoroughly with a garden hose. Every few months, you will want to use a filter cleaner to give them a deep clean.

Also, regular filter cleaning will extend the life of the filters because your tub will not be straining as it pulls the water through the filter. When cleaning your filter, be sure to inspect them for wear – any tears, holes, broken plastic or if the retaining strap falls off – and replace as needed.

What’s next? Dip a test strip. When you dip your test strip in the water, what are you looking for?

  1. FCl – Free Chlorine – the amount of chlorine left after it has cleaned your tub. You should test between 3-5 ppm after shocking your hot tub.
  2. Alk – Alkalinity – the buffer for pH. Always balance the alkalinity before your pH. You should be between 40 & 120 (80 is ideal).
  3. pH – how acidic or basic your water is, improper balance can cause your sanitizer to not work well. The best level for pH is between 7.2 & 7.8.
  4. Hard – Total Hardness – Amount of calcium in your water. You need to be between 25 & 75 if you are using the ACE Salt Water System or between 25 & 150 for ozone.

What is the next step?

OZONE. We recommend, if you hot tub does not come with Ozone as a standard feature, invest in it. It will make your watercare so much easier. The Freshwater III high-output ozone system and a FreshWater Ag+ continuous silver ion purifier (which needs to be replaced every 4 months) will provide continuous cleaning. The ozone system uses Corona Discharge technology that neutralizes contaminates and the silver ion releases ions into the water to inhibit bacteria from growing in your tub. So on a day to day basis, your tub is constantly cleaning itself without having to maintain a high residual chlorine level. Your regular routine will be to shock your tub with chlorine once a week and use a little chlorine or MPS after each use to clean up your tub.

What about salt water?

HotSpring uses the ACE Salt Water Sanitizing System, the only factory integrated hot tub salt water system in the market – our tubs are designed to work with this technology. Using less salt than your tears (1500-2000 ppm) our diamond electrode reacts with the salt to create active oxygen, chlorine, ozone, hydrogen peroxide and MPS – NATURALLY. Then add an Ag+ cartridge and you have 6 sanitizers keeping your water clean and fresh. No need to add chemicals after each use. You simply set the correct output level for the bathing load in your tub and reconfirm it every 30 days to keep producing your watercare naturally. Very low maintenance. You will still need to test your water to make sure your pH and Alk are in range and you want to keep your filters clean. On average, the ACE cell will last 10,000 or use, so that works out to 2-3 years.


You may ask how your cover comes into the mix when you are talking about watercare. Well, it is important to open your cover and let your tub breathe. If you leave your cover closed for an extended period of time, you can be harboring mold, mildew and other nasty things and you will be in for a terrible surprise when you want to jump into the spa.

Be sure to clean and inspect your cover regularly. If there are any tears in the cover, that could be letting rainwater or snow to get into your tub and affect the chemistry. Also, if water is getting into the foam – you will end up with a heavy cover that smells terrible – and that will not make your hot tubbing very fun.

How often should you change your water?

With a Freshwater system, we recommend you dump and refill every 3-4 months (depending on your bathing load.) Each time you add watercare products to your water, you are leaving undissolved solids in your water – they are not harmful, just “stuff” in your water. After a few months, you will notice, although you are following your regular routine, the water just isn’t reacting the way it normally does. Your water will get tired and need to be refreshed.

With the ACE Saltwater System, you are not adding watercare after each use, so your water can last a lot longer. You may only need to change your water every 6 months or annually, saving time and money.

After a party or if your watercare gets ahead of you, sometimes it is just easier to dump the water and start from scratch.

Happy Hot Tubbing!