Fire up the Spa! How to Open a Winterized Hot Tub
Opening a hot tub is a lot easier than closing, and a lot less stressful, after you see that nothing's leaking that is! Freeze damage on spa plumbing and equipment is a real possibility, especially with this brutal winter that gripped a lot of the U.S. this year.
Getting the spa ready for another season is something that I have done many times - and in most cases, it's an easy hour long process.
CLEAN THE SPA
Since you have it empty, it's a perfect time to polish up the hot tub interior. For wooden hot tubs, use a brush and baking soda to clean the interior. Don't use use stain or sealer on the inside of the tub, but you can use it on the outside. Linseed Oil is a great product for wood, just wipe it on the outside. It's also great for acrylic spa wood skirts - but it will darken the wood.
For acrylic spas, wipe down the inside with a moist, soft cloth. If you notice any stains or if you have a few small dirty puddles, use a spa cleaner, like our spa care cleaner, to clean and polish your spa surfaces. Never use household cleaners, they can damage your spa, and put strange chemicals into the spa water that could interfere with water balance or be harmful to your spa users.
Don't forget to give your spa cover some attention too! While the spa is filling, place the spa cover on the spa and clean and condition to protect the vinyl with spa cover clean, or one of our many other cleaners and conditioners, made specifically for marine vinyl exposed to the elements. Never use Armor-All type automotive conditioners, which could damage your spa cover.
CHECK THE SPA
Open up the spa equipment access panel and inspect all visible pipes and equipment for any cracks or obvious damage. Check over any wires that are visible, looking for any rodent chewing damage. Replace any drain plugs that were removed, and check that the drain spigot is closed.
Inside the spa, check over the spa lights, jets and drain covers before filling the spa to be sure that they are all securely attached.
FILL THE SPA
Drop in a garden hose and fill her up! Most garden hoses flow at 5-10 gallons per minute, so a 300 gallon spa could fill as fast as 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it to be sure that you don't overflow the spa. If your fill water could be improved, our filter cartridge removes minerals, metals, contaminants, chloramines and odor.
START-UP THE SPA
With the filter cartridge in place and other parts such as a skimmer basket, you can fire up the system, or actually just push the button to start the circulation pump. Test all of your features, like lights, blower, waterfall, high speed pump mode. Check that the heater is on, and set to your favorite soaking temp.
BALANCE THE SPA
Balancing the pool water is super important to protect your spa and your spa users. In some parts of the country, tap water actually is pretty good spa water, in terms of the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels. In other areas, major adjustments need to be done to all 3 to bring them to their proper ranges.
If you use Bromine, you'll need to build up your bromine bank, to be able to raise the bromine level in the spa. Our spa sanitizer is our most economical way to boost the bromides in your spa, necessary if you use bromine tablets, or you'll have trouble seeing a bromine level for several weeks, until enough of the tablets dissolve.
You'll probably want to shock the spa, after you balance the pH, alkalinity and calcium levels. Just follow the label instructions for the right amount to add for your spa. Shocking the spa is also done to initialize spa mineral cartridges, like Frog and Nature2, when you first add them.
HOT TUB OPENING PROBLEMS
No Power: If the spa is dead - no power, check that the breaker for the spa is on, and check any GFCI outlets for a tripped red Test button. If still no power, check that the wires are intact and all connector ends are pushed firmly in place. Steps beyond these include tracing the power circuit to find the short or end point. The problem lies where the power dies.
Pump Hums: If your pump tries to start, but just hums and possibly trips the breaker, it may be 'frozen'. With the power off, use straight pliers to turn the shaft of the motor. For pumps without an exposed shaft, the shaft can be turned at the rear of the motor. If the shaft spins freely, but the motor still just hums and won't start, a motor capacitor is the usual problem.
Leaks: Uh-Oh! Pumps that are leaking along the motor shaft likely need a new shaft seal. If there are visible cracks or leaks that you can see on the pipes or equipment, well - you'll have to get the right materials for repair. Call us if you need assistance. If there are leaks from unseen locations under or behind the spa, they can be hard to find with the spa full of water, especially when they are very small. Try Leak Seal to seal up small spa and hot tub leaks.
No Heat: The first thing to check is that the pump is running, and the spa filter is clean and properly positioned for best flow. Beyond that, spa heaters that don't heat or don't heat enough could have an issue with the thermostat, temperature switch, pressure switch or flow switch.
No Cover: If your spa cover is looking tired, or has become waterlogged, bent or broken - now is the time to order a replacement spa cover. Spring is when most spa covers are purchased, and after this winter, our spa cover designers sure are busy!