One of the most common misconceptions in pool and spa ownership is that spas are easy to take care of, because they are so much smaller than swimming pools. This is not true, but they are smaller and require less physical effort to keep clean, so long as you have a few basic components. Some basic items that will maintain safe spa water are a high quality spa cover, a Polaris 5-100-00 Spa Wand (hand powered vacuum device),Purity silt silt net, small spa pole for attachments, a nylon brush, submersible pump (if no drain line in cabinet of spa), and a good Taylor K-2006 chemical test kit.
Water chemistry is a little more tricky and sensitive in spa water, because there is a lot less water than a swimming pool. A little too much of any chemical can result in very aggressive water, so you have to be very careful and methodical in your balancing and adding of chemicals or use a local, water chemistry certified spa cleaning service.
Something you have to understand is that you have alot more body mass to water ratio in spa water, so organic fluids and materials that come out of your body(urine,blood,saliva,etc., YUCK!) or off your body (sweat and hair, etc.) will mix into the spa water. You will probably notice foamy bubbling from time to time and this stems from leftover soap residue in your hair, body, or swimsuits. Foam down is a product you can use to neutralize the foam.
Tap water has calcium and other minerals in the water. As the water evaporates and new water fills in, these materials will stay solvent in the water and over time can make the water aggressive, hard, and/or saturated with dissolved solids. In essence, all the byproducts of your chemical balancing and bodies in the water remain in the water. This is what is referred to as highly saturated water and can be measured as total dissolved solids. On top of this, conditioner levels can grow swiftly in tablet chlorinated spas. You can learn a lot more about conditioner in our article Pool Conditioner is Important.... The easiest and best way to fight this issue is to drain and refill the spa every 2 to 3 months or when it gets very cloudy.
Regular Spa Draining is Very Important to Maintain Safe Spa Water!
Draining your spa is not that difficult, but you need to know how to use the drain line in the equipment cabinet or syphen to drain your spa unless you have a submersible pump. I always recommend hiring a state licensed, spa cleaning service for homeowners. If you are an expert and doing it yourself, it is a good idea to add Applied Biochemists Thiotrine Chlorine Neutralizer to the water which strips out the chlorine in the water before you drain. Then test the water for chlorine before you start to confirm that it has a zero level of chlorine. Many cities have laws against chlorinated water draining into the street, so check your local, city ordinances before draining.
Another idea is to drain the water on your lawn, planter, or other area that can absorb the water. Watch and see how that area reacts to your spa drains a week later to make sure it does not damage plants or any other materials as there can be a lot of salt and other, harmful byproducts in your spa water.
The next step is to add water to your spa tub until it fills to your normal water line, turn equipment back on, confirm pumps are prime by turning all the jets on, and make sure heater is heating. Portable spas take a little while to heat up due to their small heating elements (compared to above ground equipment), so plan accordingly if your planning on safe spa water for a certain event. Observe how long your spa takes the first time, so you know how long it will take the next time you drain it.
Look For A Spa Cleaning Service Who Belongs To IPSSA!!
Unless you are an expert, I recommend hiring a water chemistry certified, licensed spa cleaning service to maintain your spa. Almost all members in IPSSA (Independent Pool and Spa Service Association) have water chemistry certification and are heavily insured.
Draining and refilling your spa with fresh water not only provides safe spa water, but it also helps protect your spa equipment. Aggressive spa water can rapidly decrease the lifespan of your spa equipment. Salt from sweat is corrosive and can damage metal faster especially when combined with hot, chlorinated water. Spa water on it's own is somewhat aggressive as it is hot and sanitized. Chlorine can be aggressive and smell fowl, but your spa needs a strong sanitizer and I will take a little unpleasantness over a bacterial infection any day of the week! Always make sure you have enough sanitizer in your spa!
Lets go over how to physically clean your spa with the tools we discussed. Start out by lifting up the spa cover and use the nylon brush to brush your water line without rubbing metal or hard plastic on your spa shell. The next step is to pump the spa wand and vacuum the bottom and seats of your spa. Now all you have to do is softly brush the spa shell to keep from getting slippery or slimey.
Make sure you have a cabinet or chest to keep your tools in, so the weather and sun does not wear them down rapidly. Keep your spa cleaning service tools clean, so they do not add more debris into your spa when you use them.
A Good Spa Cover Is The Best Protector Of Your Safe Spa Water!
The best protector from debris and weather is a good spa cover. A spa cover also helps keep your water warm by trapping heat inside and not allowing cold weather outside to cool down the water. In addition to these benefits, A spa cover also protects the water from evaporation and in California, that is very important. It is a good idea to buy a spa cover with locking mechanism straps for child safety and wind protection. Ordering a spa cover can be complicated, because you need to know the dimensions and where you want the straps and handles. Always measure the spa not the old, spa cover for proper measurements. Spa covers will shrink or expand over time.
These are just a few ideas that can help you create a more pleasurable and safe spa water experience in Irvine, Ca.
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