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9 Easy Steps for Setting Up Your Hot Tub or Spa

Did you finally purchase the hot tub or spa of your dreams, but don’t know how to get started? The variety of cleaners, sanitizers, test strips, and other chemicals to add to your water can be overwhelming.

It’s important to verify that you’re setting your spa or hot tub up correctly in order to keep you and others who will use your spa safe. If you don’t properly prepare the water, bacteria can contaminate your water and put you at risk.

Ensuring that your water has the correct pH level is essential in maintaining your spa. If the pH level is too high, the water will become scale-forming. This can shorten the life of your equipment and cause you to use more sanitizer than you otherwise would. If the pH level is too low, the water will become acidic. When water is acidic, it can prevent your sanitizer from working as well as it should, which will allow harmful contaminants to remain in the water.

Alkalinity is also extremely important. Water alkalinity is how well the water neutralizes acids. Maintaining alkalinity works as a buffer to keep the pH levels of your spa from fluctuating rapidly. Poor alkalinity levels can affect not only the appearance of your hot tub, but also your skin. Low alkalinity can corrode metal parts, erode the surface of your hot tub, and stop the water from balancing chemicals that prevent algae. High alkalinity can cause extremely high pH levels that are difficult to lower, as well as causing scale.

Additionally, it’s vital to properly sanitize the water in your spa. If you don’t do this, the quality of your water will be majorly affected. This could mean cloudy water, algal blooms, or even white water mold. This can then cause extra buildup in filters, which in turn can damage and ultimately shorten the lifespan of your hot tub pumps because they will have to work harder.

Luckily, Scioto Valley is here to help. We will help you navigate your way through the staggering amount of available products to find what works best for you and your spa.

Reference our helpful step-by-step instructions below in order to get your hot tub or spa set up and ready for use immediately.

  1. Clean the spa surface with Citrabright, a citrus-based cleanser, or a similar product.

    • Spray Citrabright on the surface of your spa.
    • Wipe the surface of your spa with a cloth or paper towel.

  2. Polish the surface of your spa with Leisure Time Fast Gloss or similar product.

    • Make sure the surface of your spa is clean and dry.
    • Using a dry cloth, apply Leisure Time Fast Gloss to the surface of your spa.
    • Spread evenly over the surface of the spa using circular motions.
    • Allow to dry for approximately 10-15 minutes.
    • Use another clean, dry cloth to wipe off the residue.
      • Use a fresh cloth for every new area to ensure you don’t redeposit the residue.
    • Repeat steps if necessary.

  3. Fill the spa and turn on the power.

    • Before filling your spa, make sure that it’s in its final location. Do not attempt to move your spa after filling.
    • Securely place your hose in the spa.
    • Turn on the water and wait for your hot tub to fill. Be sure to keep an eye on your spa while filling to avoid overflow.
    • Make sure the heater thermostat is either turned all the way down or is off.
    • Additionally, make sure that the spa pack area is dry before turning on the power to your spa.

  4. Test water for pH and total alkalinity. In areas where hard water is a problem, test for calcium hardness. Adjust as necessary.

    • The ideal pH level for your spa water is between 7.4 and 7.6.
    • Prepare a test strip for use in your spa. Wash your hands before handling test strips.
    • Ensure that the test strip is appropriate for the type of sanitizer being used in your spa.
    • Take a sample of your water in a clean glass.
    • Follow the instructions on the packaging of the test strips for how to test the water.
      • Usually, you should dip the test strip briefly in the water and wait approximately 20 seconds before checking the color codes results.
    • If you wait over a week between testing your water, it may be a good idea to shock it.
      • This can be done using oxidizer to remove contaminants.
      • If you use an oxidizer, do not cover your spa for at least 20 minutes to allow the gases that will be emitted to escape.

  5. Add Leisure Time Metal Gon or Swimway Metal Remover to prevent stains from metals present in the water. (Follow directions on the product label.)

    • If using Leisure Time Metal Gon, pour the entire bottle evenly around your spa’s edge.
      • Run the filter for at least 30 minutes.
    • If using Swimway Metal Remover, use 2 oz (4 tablespoons) for every 500 gallons of water in your spa.

  6. Add Leisure Time Spa Defender or Swimway Scale Preventer to prevent scale from forming on spa support equipment. (Follow directions on the product label.)

    • If using Leisure Time Spa Defender, use 2oz (4 tablespoons) for spas up to 800 gallons.
    • If using Swimway Scale Preventer, use 2oz (4 tablespoons) for spas up to 500 gallons.

  7. Add a spa sanitizer such as Leisure Time Spa 56 Chlorine/Brominating Disinfectant or similar product. (Follow directions on the product label.) Adjust pH and Alkalinity if necessary.

    • Use 0.5 oz for every 500 gallons of water.
    • After adding, wait 5 minutes before checking the pH and alkalinity levels.
    • Note: Wait for 15 - 30 minutes between each chemical application.

  8. Add Natural Chemistry Spa Perfect. Follow directions on the product label.

    • The purpose of this product is to reduce unwanted nonliving organic contaminants such as body oils, sunscreen, cosmetic products, etc.
    • Spa Perfect also works as a continuous cartridge filter cleaner.
    • Use 1oz per 500 gallons of water.

  9. After the initial start-up, consult the owner’s manual or contact us for additional information on operating your spa.
  10. Note: To avoid freeze damage, never fill the spa when the temperature will go below 35 degrees during the first 24 hours.