Regularly Test & Maintain Your Water
Our first tip is also the most crucial to your long term enjoyment of your swim spa; don’t forget to regularly test and treat your swim spa water! Unbalanced water can cause a host of issues over the long term; from foamy water to scale buildup to green water.
To ensure that your swim spa water stays clear and comfortable to use you’ll want to test it every 2-3 days using a home test kit. Based on the results of those tests, you may need to add in small amounts of balancing or sanitizing chemicals. If you’re unsure about what to add, or how much of it to add, consult your local swim spa retailer for more info.
If you notice that the swim spa is consistently out of balance we recommend that you bring a sample of your water to your local retailer for a free professional test and a more in-depth water care consultation. If everything looks good on your home tests, we still recommend getting your swim spa water professionally tested around once per month. This is because the professional tests are both more accurate than home tests and test for more things; giving you a more complete look at the overall health of your swim spa water.
Add Your Chemicals Correctly
Believe it or not, how you add chemicals to your swim spa water can make a big difference in how effectively those chemicals do their job. To ensure the chemicals you add to your swim spa water are working at peak efficiency you will need to do 2 things:
- Make sure the jets are turned on. Having the jets running while you add chemicals to the water will help to keep the chemicals suspended in the water as they dissolve, which stops them from clumping together on the seats or floor of the swim spa. This ensures that the chemical dissolves fully and is spread evenly throughout the water.
- Add each chemical at least 15 minutes apart. Spacing out your chemicals by at least 15 minutes give each chemical the opportunity to fully incorporate into the water before the next chemical is added. This prevents the chemicals interacting with each other in ways that can reduce their effectiveness and negatively affect the water balance of your swim spa water.
Take Your Water Samples With The Jets Running
Before taking a water sample for testing we recommend that you run the swim spa’s jets for a couple of minutes. This is because the water in the swim spa will develop areas with slightly different water balances than others over time. Taking your test at the surface of the water, for example, might yield different results than if the sample were taken from water at the bottom of the swim spa.
This is especially true of sanitizer levels, with the level of sanitizer typically being much higher near your dispenser. For this reason, it’s usually a good idea to mix the water up for a few minutes before taking your sample. By mixing up the water you even out these differences in water balance; giving you a more accurate result.
Leave Your Cover Off After Shocking The Water
Always leave your cover off for at least 30 minutes after shocking your swim spa water. “Shocking” the water in your swim spa helps your bromine or chlorine work more effectively by releasing gases like Nitrogen that bond with them. Bromine / chlorine that are bonded with these gases are known as bromamines and chloramines. They are responsible for the “chlorine” smell that is common in public pools and are ineffective at sanitizing the water.
Once the gases are released from the chloramines / bromamines, they become effective sanitizers again. If you close your cover immediately after shocking, however, these gases can’t escape; reducing the effectiveness of the shock treatment and damaging the underside of your swim spa’s cover.
Keep Your Cover On When The Swim Spa Is Not In Use
When you’re not using the swim spa, it is a very good idea to keep the cover closed. There are a few reasons for this:
- Closing the cover insulates the water from above, greatly increasing the energy efficiency of the swim spa in the colder months.
- If the cover is closed, debris like dirt and leaves can’t get in the water. This keeps the water cleaner and means that you’ll go through less chemicals.
- If the cover is open during the day, the UV radiation from the Sun can quickly break down the sanitizer in the water, allowing bacteria to grow much more easily.
Store Your Chemicals & Test Kits Indoors
To keep your chemicals and test kits working at peak efficiency you’ll want to store them in a dry space that isn’t too hot or too cold. High heat and humidity can negatively affect the performance of both powder based chemicals and test strips. Extreme cold can also freeze liquid based chemicals, which can degrade their effectiveness once they thaw.
Regularly Clean & Replace Your Filters
To keep your filters working at peak efficiency, you will need to rinse them every 2-4 weeks (depending on use). This can be done either with a garden hose or under a sink. These regular rinsings remove any built up dirt or other particulate trapped in the filter. It doesn’t effectively remove all of the oils and lotions trapped in the filter, however. For that you will need to chemically clean the filters by submerging them in a specialized hot tub / swim spa filter cleaner. This should be done every 3-4 months, depending on how often you use the swim spa.
Over time, the woven layers that make up a swim spa filter will begin to loosen and expand. As they expand, larger and larger material can pass through the filter. This can lead to water quality and clarity issues. For this reason, swim spa filters should be replaced every 12-16 months (depending on use).
Get A Set Of Backup Filters
For best results, you’ll want to let your filters fully dry after a chemical cleaning before you put them back into the swim spa. To ensure that your swim spa doesn’t run without a filter during this time, we recommend rotating between two sets of filters. While you clean one, the other can be put into the swim spa. When it is time to chemically clean that filter, the original can be put back in the swim spa and so on.
Note: In this case each set of filters would only be working for around 6 months of the year, meaning that you would then replace your filters every two years rather than every year.
Keep The Jets Fully Open When Not In Use
When you’re finished using your swim spa, you will also want to ensure that all of your waterfalls and jets are in the open position. Closed waterfalls and jets lead to poor circulation and dead zones in your plumbing. These dead zones are ideal places for bacteria to grow; leading to cloudy water and increased sanitizer use.
Maintain A Proper Water Level
The water in your swim spa should cover around 1/2 to 2/3 of the skimmer hole. Any higher than this and floating debris won’t be skimmed off the surface of the water. Any lower and the pumps might not get enough water flowing through them, which can reduce their lifespan. Once per week, check the water level in your swim spa and adjust if needed.
While swim spas can have a bit of a learning curve, once you master a few basics you’ll find that they’re actually quite easy to maintain. Following these tips will help you to get cleaner, clearer water with less effort, and can save you some money at the same time!