Hot tub water gets dirty every time it's used. However, there are chemicals you can add to the water, bromine or chlorine, that can get rid of germs and leave the hot tub sanitary and ready for bathers. Unfortunately, that will only take you so far. Once it has been used a good number of times, the water will have to be changed out, as adding more chemicals stops being useful.
Basic Guidelines for When to Change the Water
A good baseline for changing out the hot tub's water is about every three months, as long as you are caring for the water's chemistry during the whole time. Of course, the exact frequency that you change it also depends on how often it is used. If a hot tub is used often and by many people, it will build up too many germs, strands of hair, skin flakes, and body oils to be pleasant to sit in. When you start a new season with a hot tub that has a fresh filter element and clean water, you will want to use your hot tub more and won't have to sit in a dirty, germy tub.
If the hot tub has a lot of visitors, it may need to be changed out more frequently. When you use the hot tub, notice whether the water is clear or not. If it has a layer of sediment on the surface of the water, it's likely time to change the water out.
Formula for Determining When to Change the Water
There are a couple of units of measure that you can use to calculate when a busy hot tub needs its water changed. First, you need the approximate water volume of your hot tub. Then, you need to know how many people get in the hot tub at a time. If you have your manual, it may have the volume inside. Or, you can estimate based on how many people can fit into it. For instance, a hot tub that can seat two people has a volume of about 170 gallons. For your bather number, all you can do is an estimate based on how often you remember people using it.
Once you have your numbers, you can plug them into a simple equation. Divide the volume of the hot tub by three, and then divide that number by the estimated number of bathers who use it. With the 170-gallon example above, and with a bather number of two, this would add up to the number 28. You would then need to change that water about every 28 days.
What Else to Do When Changing the Water
First, drain the tub completely. When the water is drained out in order to change it, it's the perfect time to clean out the hot tub and perform perform all needed maintenance. This will ensure that when you do put fresh water into the tub, the water will indeed be clean instead of picking up a layer of dirt and grime. It's also the time to clean out the filter and the plumbing. Both can hold onto the hair dirt and oils that your water is susceptible to.
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