DIY Tips

Easy spa maintenance

8 January 2013

Owning a spa is all about luxurious relaxation in your own backyard. However, spas require a similar maintenance regime to swimming pools, lest you come home to a cloudy spa filled with algae.

Easy spa maintenance

Rob Anderson from Pool Poppits, which provides 'healthy alternative' solutions, has some essential tips for your weekly spa maintenance so you can be assured of a sparkling clean and healthy spa.

1. Balancing
Balancing the water is the first essential step of properly maintaining your spa.

The term refers to keeping the levels of pH, total alkalinity and calcium hardness in the water steady; the right level of all these things will make the water more comfortable to swim in, and less likely to affect the skin and eyes of swimmers.

Therefore, the pH level needs to be as close as possible to our skin's natural pH, which sits around 7-7.8 on a pH scale of 0-14. Try to keep the pH from going too far above or below these levels as it will make the water acidic (0-6) or alkaline (8-14), making the water uncomfortable to swim in.

Contaminants in the water will general push the pH up, so you can counter this with a product such as Aqua Shine’s Liquid pH Decreaser.

2. Sanitising
Proper sanitisation of your spa's water achieves three things:

  • It kills bacteria, fungi and health threatening contaminants
  • It oxides these contaminants
  • It creates a residual effect which prevents instant re-infection

Sanitising products usually contain chlorine, such as Lithium and Bromine; however, there are some products available that do not, including Baquacil and Hydrogen Peroxide. Note that only Lithium and Hydrogen Peroxide fulfil all three of the functions listed above.

3. Oxidising
Oxidising is the best way to dissolve organic and inorganic material such as make-up, sweat or bugs, which can contaminate your pool. Fortunately, some sanitisers also oxidise, making your job easier.

If you only use your spa a few times a week with around three people in it, then you should only have to oxidise once every two or three weeks (unless your sanitiser does not oxidise, then you need to do it weekly).

However, if there is a higher level of organic or inorganic materials in the water than usual due to more frequent use or use by more people, you might want to oxidise it as soon as you can.

4. Clarifying
Clarifying the water works to prevent or treat water that looks dull or cloudy. Dull water can be a result of heavy use, weather conditions, insufficient filtration, sanitisers not doing their job properly, or contamination by phosphates (which causes the sanitiser to be used up overnight).

If phosphates are the problem, it is more urgent to use a clarifier sooner rather than later, and be sure to use a phosphate starver to hit the problem hard.

Otherwise, regularly working a clarifier into your spa maintenance routine will help prevent the water from becoming dull or cloudy in the first place.

5. Filtering
Filtration of your spa should be ongoing every day. To maintain water quality and cleanliness, a pool filter should run a minimum of four hours a day, even when it is not being used.

Also note that spas which are larger or experience higher use should filter the water for a longer time period. An efficient filter is essential to keep your spa in tiptop condition, and so it is very important to maintain your filter.

Clean the filter cartridges properly and regularly with chemical cleaners rather than just hosing them off. But take care with the chemicals; add them to the water rather than adding water to them.

Let the filters cartridges dry before returning them to the spa.

By going through these five steps every time you clean your spa, you can ensure continued enjoyment and relaxation for many years to come.

And of course, pool and spa owners can always bring in a water sample to their closest Swimart store where it can be tested free of charge.

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