Hot Tubs dot Net Saves You Thousands on Quality US Made Hot Tubs!
Toll Free Number 855 458 1436
Hot Tub Operation and Procedures
Starting your hot tub up for the first time requires a few important steps, the first is to read your owners manual for specific instructions pertaining to starting your hot tub for the first time
- Breakers MUST be OFF until your tub is full of water
- It is a MUST to fill your hot tub to the fill line, at least halfway up the skimmer opening. Do not attempt to start with a partial fill.
- While filling your hot tub, open your cabinet door to be sure there are no loose fittings or open drain lines. You can easily HAND tighten pump unions, heater unions and close open drain lines. Tee handled valves should all be open. (Tee Valves are open when the stem is visible)
- Once your hot tub is full, turn on the breaker and wait for any " boot up" processes to complete. Be at the hot tub to observe what is happening and the sequence of events.
- Do not start pressing buttons or setting temperatures until you are certain the boot up is finished. Many hot tubs have a sequence of events that occur at start up. Be patient and let the electronic equipment control the pump (s) blower etc until it appears to be finished with its job of sampling water temperature and self checking operations, what it is supposed to do.
- Air in the lines will be purged and it might make a bit of noise as it is expelled through the jets. Let this process take place and wait until it appears stabilized. When all the air is out of the system, the low speed pump or circulation pump will/should remain on.
- Once the system seems to be operating properly, you can experiment with your buttons and settings while consulting with your owners manual.
Most hot tubs are equipped with an ozone purification system. Since it takes some time for the ozone to build up, its a good idea at start up to add a couple of tablespoons of Sodium Dichlor, a granulated chlorine compound that should be in your hot tub supply inventory. More on this in the article on water chemistry.
It is not unusual for there to be bits of glue and maybe some plastic shavings in the water. You can dip them out with a net, easily.
Your hot tub is filtering anytime the pump is on. It will turn over the entire quantity of water in the hot tub several times during the heat up period. It should be looking pretty good by the time it's ready to use.
If your hot tub is connected to 240 volts and is between 250 to 450 gallons, it should heat around 4 to 6 degrees per hour. Taking into account the temperature of the fill water, you can calculate when it should be at temperature.
Common Start up issues
There are usually two breakers, one in your main electrical panel that feeds the GFCI breaker, and the GFCI breaker itself. Are they both "ON?"
Is your GFCI breaker tripped? Try resetting it. If it trips immediately, see troubleshooting.
EEEK a LEAK?
Don't panic, this is usually something quite simple like a drain line being open of a union fitting that may have loosened. Union fittings are compression fittings. They should be hand tight only. The compression is on an oring inside the union. Union fittings do not require sealant or glue! If hand tightening doesn't work, try re-seating the o-ring.
Power on but nothing happens in the hot tub?
The system will usually shut down if there is no flow. If you hear the pumps running but there is nothing happening after a few seconds in the tub turn off your breaker and check to be sure that your valves are open. Tee handled valves are open with they are pulled OUT and the stem is showing. They are closed when close to the pipe.
Sometimes a pump can develop an air lock. The symptom is that the pump is running but not pumping. Start by turning off your breaker. Then loosen the union on the very front of the pump. Loosen it enough to wiggle it a bit to break the o-ring seal. If your pump is air bound, you'll hear the air hissing out. Just let it hiss until water starts leaking. let it leak a bit to be sure all the air is out. Then hand tighten the union back up again. Re power and let it go through the boot up process. You should now have flow to the hot tub plumbing system.
Your hot tub owners manual is your friend! Keep it close by and refer to troubleshooting procedures you find there. If all else fails, call the manufacturer at the number provided.
This guide is for informational purposes only. It does intend to replace or substitute for the information in your owners manual. Local building codes, electrical codes, and engineering practices must be followed. Consult with qualified individuals in your area!
Hot Tub Care and Maintenance
Keeping your hot tub crisp, clear and sanitary is not a big job as long as you know the basics.
Water chemistry is important to grasp so that your hot tub is always fresh and sanitary. The use of ozone generators on almost all hot tubs today has made a huge difference in hot tub sanitation procedures, but even hot tubs equipped ozone need a little backup sanitation. Ozone is a very strong oxidizer and as such does a fantastic job keeping bacteria and viruses at bay. It also oxidizes any organic material as well. But.. it only works when it is in direct contact with the contaminate! It has no residual effect. That's why "back up" sanitation is necessary. It doesn't take much, because ozone is very effective, so a little backup goes a long way. The best chemical to use for this is a chlorine compound known as Sodium Dichlor.
"Dichlor" as we call it in the biz is a granular chlorine compound that you will add by tablespoons. Since hot tub size, use and "bather load" varies its hard to recommend what your particular hot tub needs will be. With an ozone generator you will want to maintain about 1ppm of chlorine in your hot tub. Usually starting with a couple of tablespoons will allow your test kit to help you decide if you need more or less. When adding, just broadcast it across the surface of the water. Turn your pump on high for a few minutes to help it dissolve. Test your water in about an hour and you'll know where your value is.
Don't worry if you added too much or if your value is above 1 ppm, It's not going to hurt anything and it will eventually disipate.
For the first few weeks, you'll want to check your water at least weekly to be sure your back up sanitizer level is holding and also to get a feel for how your hot tub chemistry responds to use. Testing is easy.. you just dip in a test strip and compare it to the values on the bottle.
Water Balance Matters!
Be sure your test strips also test for pH and Alkalinity. Ph and alkalinity are cousins in the chemical realm. The water you fill your hot tub with will have a pH. Low values are acidic, High values are basic. Either extreme is detrimental. What you are aiming for is NEUTRAL
The pH scale runs for 0 to 14. 7 is dead neutral, but for hot tubs you want to be a little to the basic side. 7.2 to 7.8.The great thing about this is that city water departments strive for the same values that you do for your hot tub. So, if you have city water, you are probably close enough to perfect without having to do any adjusting. If you have well water, you will definitely want to check it with your test strips before you add any sanitizer to your water.
Anything you add to your water will affect pH because everything has a measure of acidity or alkalinity. One of the biggest reasons we recommend Sodium Dichlor is because it has a neutral pH. Are there other chlorine compounds? You bet! Liquid chlorine or bleach is a chlorine compound known as sodium hypochlorite. The reason we don't recommend it is because it has a pH of around 13. Using it all the time would require you to add acid to your hot tub to bring down the pH of your tub.. Conversely the chlorine tablet often used in swimming pools is a compound known as Trichlor. Trichlor has a pH of around 2, VERY acidic. Using trichlor would eventually erode your ph to the point that your water would become "aggressive" towards any metals in your hot tub equipment...such as..your heater element! For those who prefer to use bromine, bromine also has a very low pH
As mentioned earlier pH and alkalinity are cousins. Total alkalinity buffers your pH against changing. Alkalinity and Ph kind of run together. Arm and Hammer, the baking soda people say that in hot tubs, one should not correct for a low pH one should correct for a low alkalinity and the pH will follow. It's true! Feeding your hot tub a little baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) when your pH drifts low will correct that, and buffer it against changing. The right value for total alkalinity in your hot tub is between 80 and 140. Correction needs to be made near the 80 PPM value to bring it up a little.. alkalinity of around 100 to 120 should be about perfect. Your city water alkalinity should be close to these values. Again, well water might need correction.
Basic water (high pH) is not nearly as large of a problem as an acidic problem. If you are using neutral chemicals like Dichlor, you shouldn't have high pH issues. If you do the symptom is scaling and cloudy water. Scaling is easily felt on the surface of the hot tub (it feels like sandpaper)and the Ph will have to be corrected by using an acid. White vinegar is the way to go here. If the hot tub is severely scaled, you will have to drain the tub and use vinegar directly on the scale to remove it.
Hot Tub Filter Maintenance
Cleaning your filter should occur monthly. It involves removing it from its compartment and blasting it with the hose. It's satisfying to say the least.
Draining and Hot Tub Surface Cleaning
Your hot tub should be drained around 4 times per year. More if the bather load is heavy. If the water lacks luster and clarity, if the jets look like smoke, if foam is ruining your bathing time, it's time to drain it.
Hot Tub Draining procedure:
Turn off your breaker!
Open drain valve and let the hot tub empty.
Rinse the sides with fresh water as it drains.
Clean with baking soda on a sponge.
It is not necessary to get every drop of water out of the hot tub unless you are winterizing and planning not to fill it. The fresh water you add will dilute the remaing water and ozone and chlorine will do their job when you fill it back up.
Close drain valve
Fill your hot tub to the fill line before turning your breaker back on.
Start up procedures are exactly the same as the first fill instructions.
Your hot tub cover can use a good cleaning every now and then too. A mild detergent and a sponge should work well. products like vinyl conditioners can keep it gleaming. Don't let anyone SIT on your hot tub cover. It can break!
Consult your owners manual for information!
Always be sure you are maintaining your hot tub in accordance with the manufacturer guidelines contained in your owners manual. Guidelines here are general in nature only. It does not substitute or replace the information in your hot tub manufacturers owners manual and is provided as information only.
Most common start up issues:
GFCI Breaker trips immediately when turned on:
This is one of the most common errors electricians make when connecting power to a hot tub.
Wiring a GFCI breaker is different than a regular breaker. A GFCI breaker has 3 load positions. Line 1, LIne 2 and NEUTRAL. It is unusual to connect a neutral wire to a breaker but there is a specific position for it on a GFCI breaker.The curley white pigtail connected to a GFCI breaker, goes to the Neutral bus bar. But the LOAD neutral, the white wire to the hot tub, goes into a specific position on the breaker itself.
If the Load neutral is connected to the neutral bus bar which is the "ordinary" place one would put a load neutral, the GFCI will trip immediately upon energizing!
Move load neutral from neutral bus bar to the neutral position on the GFCI breaker. Curley pigtail stays on Neutral Bus Bar
Pump Runs But Is Not Pumping
Problem is air lock in pump.
Turn power off! Loosen the suction pump union (the connection on the very front of the pump) This is a compression fitting utilizing an o-ring. Shake the fitting a bit after loosening to unseal the oring from the plumbing. IF the problem is an air lock, you will hear air hissing out of the connection. Once it starts leaking, let it go for a second or two then tighten the union fitting back up (HAND TIGHT ONLY) And try again.
Jets surge when pump comes on
There is not enough water in the hot tub. Fill to fill line, at least halfway above the skimmer bottom opening.
Jets with pump on high speed don't seem to have enough force
Adjust air control knobs on the side of the hot tub. Hydrotherapy is a mixture of air and water. The water pulls the air into the jets by venturi action. If the air controls are closed, the jets cannot draw air. Once the air controls are opened, you will notice a great improvement in the force of water exiting the hot tub jets.
Only sections of the hot tub are working
You will probably find that you have "diverter" valves located on the top of the hot tub. These valves allow the user to concentrate force in one area, another area or all areas controlled by that particular diverter. Experiment with the positions for the results you desire.
Hot Tub Leaking
Observer the equipment area when filling to watch for leaks. Knowing at what point of the fill the water leak is noticeable will be an important clue. Check the obvious first. Any union type fittings can be tightened but only hand tight. Each pump has two, the heater has two. Some hot tubs are equipped with drain valves, make sure it's not just an open drain valve.
Hot tubs and spas are a popular retreat for many and why not? There is nothing in the world like the sensations one receives while enjoying a hot tub: Soothing heat, hydrotherapy massage, that "melting away" sensation that allows one's mind to relax no matter what kind of a day you've had. For many, a hot tub can be a respite from the pain of arthritis or sports injuries. For others a social centerpiece for their home, and for still others, a private escape and maybe all of the above. It's sometimes hard to even think about the safety aspects of your hot tub because so many good feelings are enjoyed there. But sometimes it's the good feelings that might let us forget about certain safety issues. If you own a hot tub now or are considering buying a hot tub, this list of hot tub safety items can help us all be aware and reminded that safety is important around hot tubs.
- Avoid Falls! Water is slippery and makes for slippery surfaces. Make sure that you have a good safe method for entering and exiting your hot tub. You should have steps that allow you to gain easy access to your hot tub. The best way to enter however is by using the steps until you can comfortably sit on the edge of the hot tub and then swing your legs over and into it. The same method should be used for exiting. Trying to walk up steps that do not have a handrail and then walk down into the tub is asking for trouble. The seated position is best for all entry's and exits. It is not uncommon for one to experience slight dizziness upon completion of a hot tub experience. Sit on the side until you feel steady before exiting the tub. ALWAYS watch and assist elderly guests who may not be accustomed to the feelings of heaviness that comes from re-entry into the atmosphere. Let them take their time when entering and exiting and be sure they are supported.
- Heat: When is Your Hot Tub Too Hot? The maximum safe temperature for a hot tub is 104 degrees. Keep in mind however what is happening to your body when you are soaking in water at that temperature: it is raising your core body temperature. Because of this, it's a good idea to limit your stay in a hot tub at max temperature to 15 minutes or less. As the core temperature of your body goes up, you can experience fever like symptoms: aching, weakness, dizziness and chills because you actually DO have a temperature over normal. This can contribute to weakness and dizziness when exiting the tub. It never hurts to spend a few moments sitting on the edge to cool down before actually exiting the hot tub. If you want to enjoy longer soaks, set the hot tub temperature closer to body temp. Many people enjoy using their hot tub best at around 100 degrees. You get all of the benefits of hydrotherapy, but can enjoy your soak longer without feeling overwhelmed when you are ready to leave the hot tub.
- Children: Hot Tub Safety For Children Children are of special concern in the hot tub because they see it as a little pool, which it is. But they need to know early on not to go underwater in the hot tub. Suction fittings located near the bottom can entrap hair etc. Heat is especially a factor with children as well. Keep temps on the lower side of max if children will be using the hot tub. Horseplay should never be allowed.Never let kids use a hot tub unsupervised. Cover latches should be locked anytime the hot tub is not in use.
- Water Quality: Hot Tub Water Chemistry IS Important. Your spa should not be used if there is any doubt that it is sanitary. The temperatures that are maintained in hot tubs are perfect as a breeding ground for bacteria. Ozone and mineral purifiers are good and greatly reduce the amount of chlorine necessary for sanitation, but backup chlorination is essential as well, specially when anticipating high bather loads like for a party. Add chlorine before any such event and plan to drain afterwards. Pimple like rashes are caused by bacteria being injected into the pores by the jets. This will not happen in a properly sanitized hot tub. When preparing to use your hot tub, always remove the cover and allow it to run on high speed for a few minutes so that any chemicals, including ozone, can gas off before you enjoy your soak.
- Electrical Safety: Hot Tub Electrical Safety. Keep all electrical items, lamps, fans, radios, tvs, etc at least 5 feet away from the hot tub. They should only be plugged in to a GFCI protected outlet. Be sure that your hot tub is wired by an electrician following the electrical standards in the NEC. Have the wiring job inspected to be sure that it has been done correctly. Anything metal within a 5 foot reach path of the hot tub should be bonded with a number 8 wire to the hot tub equpment bond lug. This includes screen enclosures, AC units, metal fences etc. Do not touch any electrical appliance with wet feet and wet hands. Children need to be instructed of these dangers as well.
There really is nothing better than having your own personal hot tub retreat, but staying safe around your hot tub, both for you and your guests is vital.