16 Step Hot Tub Chemical Start Up Procedure

Written by: Stuart Lockhart



Time to read 5 min

Starting and maintaining a hot tub may initially seem daunting, especially if it's your first time or you've neglected it for a while. The key to a successful and enjoyable hot tub experience is understanding and applying the proper maintenance techniques using essential hot tub chemicals and spa products. This comprehensive guide will take you through the 16 crucial steps to start your hot tub like a pro, ensuring a safe, clean, and relaxing soak every time. 

1. Understanding Hot Tub Basics: The Importance of Maintenance

Owning a hot tub is a delightful experience, but it comes with the responsibility of regular maintenance. Whether you're a new owner or have had your spa for years, understanding the basic requirements for starting and maintaining your hot tub is crucial. This involves using the right spa chemicals and hot tub products to ensure the water is safe, clean, and inviting. 

2. Preparing Your New Hot Tub: The Initial Steps

Starting on the right foot is essential if you've just purchased a hot tub. Manufacturers often ship hot tubs with a small amount of antifreeze to protect against freezing temperatures during transportation. While this is great for ensuring your hot tub arrives in good condition, something other than antifreeze is something you want to soak in. Begin by filling the tub's footwell with water, running the pumps for a few minutes, and draining it. This process clears any residual antifreeze from your plumbing system, making it safe.

3. Restarting a Hot Tub After a Break

Suppose your hot tub has been sitting idle for a while. In that case, it's essential to drain and thoroughly clean it to remove old water and any bacteria that might have formed. After draining, refill the tub with fresh water. Choose a high-quality jet and drain cleaner, adhering to the instructions on the package, to ensure a thorough cleaning. 

4. Safety First: Disconnecting Power Before Cleaning

Safety is paramount when dealing with electrical appliances, especially those involving water. Before you begin any central cleaning or maintenance, ensure all power to your hot tub is completely disconnected. This means unplugging your tub and turning off the circuit breaker. Remember, water and electricity are dangerous, so taking these precautions is vital.

5. Cleaning Your Empty Hot Tub: A Critical Step

Before you enjoy your hot tub, it's essential to ensure it's clean. This involves not just the water but the tub itself. For new hot tubs, this means thoroughly cleaning all surfaces that come into contact with water. Use a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth to avoid damaging the shell, and rinse well to prevent foaming later on. 

6. Filter Maintenance: A Key to Clean Water

Your hot tub filter is crucial in maintaining the cleanliness and clarity of your water. This is the perfect time to install or clean new filters. For new hot tubs, install a filter cartridge into every filter well, following your owner's manual instructions. Remove, inspect, and clean any filter cartridges installed for hot tubs being restarted. Filters can be cleaned with a spray-on filter cleaner or soaked in a chemical solution overnight. 

7. Filling Your Hot Tub: Tips and Techniques

When filling your hot tub, it's recommended to use a hose filter. This helps remove impurities from your water source, preventing issues like mineral buildup and discoloration. While filling, place the hose in the filter well to help circulate the water and avoid air locks in the plumbing.

8. Priming the Pump: Ensuring Efficient Water Flow

Air in your hot tub's lines can lead to operational problems. To avoid this, priming the hot tub pump is necessary. This process may vary depending on your hot tub's make and model, so consult your owner's manual for specific instructions. Some hot tubs have a self-priming mode that can be activated via the control panel. In contrast, others may require manual priming using a bleeder valve. 

9. Adding Start-Up Chemicals: Balancing Your Hot Tub Water

Once your filters are clean and installed and your hot tub is filled and primed, it's time to add the start-up chemicals. This step should only be done once the water temperature reaches 80ºF (30ºC). The right balance of hot tub chemicals is essential for maintaining water safety and clarity. Follow the instructions on the chemical packages carefully, and ensure you're using the correct amounts for the volume of water in your tub.

10. Running Your Hot Tub: Distributing the Chemicals

After adding chemicals, run your hot tub with the jets on a low setting for at least 20 minutes. This helps to distribute the chemicals throughout the water evenly. However, during this process, keep your air valves off, as too much air can affect your water's pH balance and the efficacy of the chemicals.

11. Testing Your Water: Ensuring Chemical Balance

Testing your hot tub water is an essential part of maintenance. This ensures that the chemical balance is correct, preventing skin irritation, hot tub damage, and bacterial growth. Learning to test your water might seem challenging for new hot tub owners, but it becomes easier with practice. It's recommended to test your water at home weekly and have it professionally tested at a local spa supplier monthly.

12. Setting the Water Temperature: Comfort and Safety

Finding the right temperature for your hot tub is a personal preference. Still, keeping the water between 98ºF and 102ºF (36ºC and 38ºC) is generally recommended. It's crucial never to exceed 104ºF (40ºC) as this can be dangerous for bathers and potentially damage your hot tub. Use a separate thermometer for an accurate reading. Try to maintain a consistent temperature to avoid stressing your hot tub's heating and circulation systems. 

13. Covering Your Hot Tub: Retaining Heat and Preventing Evaporation

After setting the temperature, cover your hot tub for about 24 hours. This helps the temperature to rise to the desired level, retain heat, and prevent loss of water and chemicals through evaporation.

14. Final Water Test: Ensuring Optimal Conditions

Once your water has stabilized after the initial chemical addition and temperature setting, perform a second water test. This helps ensure that the chemical levels are still correct and adjust as needed.

15. Additional Considerations Before Restarting Your Hot Tub

Before you start enjoying your hot tub, consider a few more things:

  1. Inspect your hot tub for any physical damage, such as cracks, stains, or signs of mildew.
  2. Check the wiring and electrical components for any signs of wear or damage.
  3. Suppose you spot any issues, especially with the electrical system.

In that case, it's best to call a qualified electrician for a professional inspection. 

16. Enjoying Your Hot Tub: The Reward for Your Hard Work

Once you've completed these steps, your hot tub is ready for use. Take a moment to appreciate your hard work. Relax and enjoy the soothing warmth and bubbles of your well-maintained hot tub. Regular maintenance using the right spa chemicals and hot tub products will ensure your hot tub remains a source of relaxation and enjoyment for years.

Have you got a hot tub, a swimming pool, or both? Great! You've come to the right place if you want quality hot tub and pool chemicals shipped to your door. At Pool Goods, we are here to help you enjoy every day in your hot tub with the best pool and spa products on the market shipped right to you!