If you are lucky enough to have a relaxing spa in your backyard, you know all about the spa maintenance and spa care that comes with it. Using the appropriate equipment and fairly minimal effort will keep your bubbling haven clean and comfortable. Here are the facts about the spa parts and spa chemicals you'll need for upkeep, and the regular chores you'll need to perform to help avoid spa repairs.
Keeping it Clean: Spa Filters, Sanitizers, and More
Filter or Sanitizer: The filter's primary purpose is to clean the spa of particles. There are three basic types of filters available on the market and a few alternatives.
Diatomaceous Earth Filters (DE): DE filters are fine mesh that has been coated with diatomaceous earth. Although these filters are organic, some areas restrict disposal of DE, which is done each time the filter is cleaned or backwashed, which occurs frequently.
Sand filters: These filters force the spa water to pass through a fine sand which filters particles from the water. The sand needs to be replaced every few years.
Cartridge filters: These pass the spa water through a series of grid-like devices made of a pleated mesh material.
Ultraviolet Water Sterilizers: Sanitize spa water with ultraviolet rays.
Ionizer: This type of spa sanitizer kills bacteria by introducing an electric current between two metal electrodes located in the water pipe system.
Ozone Generator: Sanitize by introducing ozone into the spa water.
Sanitizers: Chlorine and bromine are the most common chemicals used to sanitize, or keep your spa free from microscopic particles. Other sanitizers such as chlorine generators and oxidizers are also available. Oxidizers are sometimes teamed with bromine to sanitize a spa.
Skimming: The surface can be skimmed if needed and most large debris such as leaves or twigs will be captured in the skimmer basket. The basket should be emptied regularly.
Spa Maintenance: Spa Pumps, Heaters, and More
Pump and Motor: The pump circulates the spa water through the filter and heater and then returns it to the spa.
Spa Heaters: Ideal spa water temperature is between 100-103 degrees. It is important to purchase a heater with a BTU rating adequate to service your spa's size.
Spa Pack: This special pack refers to portable spas, which come complete with everything needed to operate the system, including the pump, filter, motor, and heater.
Hydro Jets: Agitate the spa water by pushing a mixture of air and water to create water pressure and provide a massaging action. Table spas typically come with a set number of jets, which varies according to the size of the spa. If you design a built-in spa, you can include as many jets as you wish.
Air Blowers: These blowers use air pressure to agitate spa water, creating swirling bubbles on the surface.
Balance: Imbalanced water causes eye irritation, cloudy water, and can spell trouble for your pool's operation equipment. Maintaining specific levels of pH, alkalinity, water hardness, and total dissolved solids will keep spa water balanced. Sodium bicarbonate (soda ash) and muratic acid are the two most common products used to balance spa water.
Testing: Spa water needs to be tested regularly. The frequency depends on your region, weather conditions, and how much the spa gets used. Three to four times a week is a good rule of thumb when it is used regularly.
Test Kits: Chemistry was not your best subject in high school? Don't worry. Simple-to-use-and-read test kits make it a breeze to test your spa water.
Water Change: Though regular use of chemicals in the spa allows you to keep the water sanitized, it is recommended to completely drain your spa and start fresh about every six months.