Learning Center

Maintaining Your Hot Tub

At Crystal River Spas, we like to offer a variety of hot tub resources and tips on how to maintain your new day spa. It is important for us to know that you are fully confident and equipped with the ins and outs of your new equipment. Because of this, we’ve provided a few videos that will guide you through the process and aid you along the way. As shown below, maintenance is a breeze with a hot spring hot tub from Crystal River Spas. With our certified team by your side, you’ll be able to enjoy your hot tub every step of the way.

HotSpring How-To Videos

Not sure how to properly maintain your hot tub? Our certified experts will guide you! When it comes to the upkeep of your day spa, there are few things you need to know to preserve its overall quality.  Those tips include adding chemicals, cleaning your filters and more! Provided below are a few videos to walk you through each phase of the maintenance process. After you have completed these videos, you will be on your way to sustaining the overall health of your day spa.

 Troubleshooting Your Hot Tub

Have an issue with your hot tub that you just can’t seem to solve? We can diagnose the problem for you! Whenever you see cloudy water or smell a musty odor coming from your day spa, the first instinct is usually to panic. But have no fear! We’ve provided a database of common issues that occur with a hot spring day spa. Scroll through the troubleshooting tips below to diagnose your hot tub and follow the recommended instructions accordingly. Afterward, if you find that you need additional help to repair your hot tub, please reach out to our hot tub certified experts to provide you with a maintenance service.

Dirty Filters: Clean filters with a Filter Cleaner.

Excessive Oils/Organic Matter: Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules or a Spa Shock.

Improper Sanitization:  Add sanitizer (suck as Chlorine or Bromine).

Suspended particles/organic matter: Adjust pH and/or alkalinity with a pH/Alkalinity Increaser or pH/Alkalinity Decreaser.

Overused or old water: Run jet pump(s) and clean filter(s) with a Filter Cleaner.  Drain, clean, and refill the spa.

Excessive organics in water:  Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules or a Spa Shock.

Improper sanitation:  Add sanitizer (such as Chlorine or Bromine).

Low pH:  Adjust the ph with a pH/Alkalinity Increaser.

Excessive organics in water:  Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules or a Spa Shock.

Improper sanitation:  Add sanitizer (such as Chlorine or Bromine).

Low pH:  Adjust the ph with a pH/Alkalinity Increaser.

Bacteria or algae growth:  Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules or a Spa Shock.  – if the problem is visible or persistent, drain, clean, and refill the spa.
Buildup of oils and dirt:  Wipe off scum with clean rag- if severe, drain the spa, use a Surface Cleaner to remove any buildup and to protect the spa shell, then refill the spa.
High pH:  Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules or a Spa Shock and adjust pH and/or alkalinity with a pH/Alkalinity Increaser or pH/Alkalinity Decreaser to recommended range.

Low sanitizer level:  Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules and maintain sanitizer level.

Low pH:  Adjust pH and/or alkalinity with a pH/Alkalinity Increaser or pH/Alkalinity Decreaser to recommended range.

Low sanitizer level:  Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules or a Spa Shock, and maintain sanitizer level

Unsanitary Water:  Shock spa with Concentrated Chlorinating Granules or a Spa Shock, and maintain sanitizer level.

Free available chlorine level above 5ppm:  Allow free available chlorine level to drop below 5ppm before spa use, ideal amount is 3-5ppm.

Total Alkalinity and/or pH is too low:  Adjust Total Alkalinity and pH with a pH/Alkalinity Increaser.

High iron or copper in source water:  Use a Stain & Scale to inhibit metals

Total Alkalinity and/or pH too high:  Adjust total alkalinity and pH with a pH/Alkalinity Decreaser. If scale requires removal, drain the spa, scrub off the scale, clean the spa shell with a Surface Cleaner, refill the spa and add Stain & Scale along with the regular water care products.

High calcium content:  Add Stain & Scale and balance the water using a pH/Alkalinity Increaser or a pH/Alkalinity Decreaser.

Topics For Your Hot Tub (How-Tos)

Detergent residues from bathing suits and soap film from your body may gradually accumulate in your spa’s water. Normally, in about four months the water will become sudsy and should be replaced. Showering without using soap prior to entering the spa, or using only the rinse cycle when laundering your bathing suit, will help to reduce the detergent residue in the spa water.

IMPORTANT:
• Remember to change your water every three to four months.
• Additional products are available to clean where you cant. Spa Purge and Jet Clean do a wonderful job of cleaning buildup of organic waste in the spa’s plumbimg.

TO DRAIN YOUR SPA:
Disconnect the spa from the power supply by the appropriate method:
• 115 volt models: Disconnect the power cord from the house receptacle. When you do this, be sure to set the power cord in an elevated position so as not to allow water to enter the GFCI plug housing during draining the spa.
•230 volt models: Trip both of the GFCI breakers located in the subpanel

• Located the main drain valve for the spa and remove the drain cap. Attach the inlet of a garden hose to the drain valve (to avoid flooding of the foundation surrounding the spa) and route the outlet of the hose to an appropriate draining area.

NOTE: Spa water with a high sanitizer level may harm plants and grass.

• Open the valve by turning the knob. The spa will drain by gravitational flow.

IMPORTANT: All Hot Spring models will drain almost completely through the main drain valve and the secondary drain. Equipment such as the jet pump and heating system will drain. Any water remaining within the plumbing or equipment after draining will only need to be removed if the spa is being winterized.

• Allow most of the water to drain through the main drain.
• Remove threaded cap from secondary drain. This will drain the remaining water (about one gallon) from the bleedline system.
• When empty, inspect the spa shell and clean as required.

NOTE: For surfaces with hard surface stains use Spa Essentials Surface Cleaner.

• Close the drain valve and reinstall the drain cap.
• Reinstall threaded cap into secondary drain.
• Replace or close the equipment access door and replace the screws.
• To prevent contaminants from entering the spa, Watkins recommends using the FreshStart® 10,000 pre-filter when filling the spa with water. Always fill the spa through the filter compartment.

IMPORTANT: The FreshStart 10,000 pre-filter is designed to remove unwanted contaminants such as rust, dirt, detergents, and algae from the fill water. Dissolved minerals and metals such as lead, calcium, copper, and iron are not removed. Instructions are included with the FreshStart 10,000 pre-filter.

• Refill the spa through the filter compartment BEFORE restoring power.

IMPORTANT: Always clean and rotate the filter cartridges each time the spa is drained for cleaning.

Disconnect the spa from the power supply by the appropriate method:
• 115 volt models: Disconnect the power cord from the house receptacle. Set the power cord in an elevated position so as not to allow water to enter the GFCI plug housing during draining the spa.
• 230 volt models: Trip both of the GFCI breakers located in the subpanel

• Remove and carefully set aside the filter compartment cover
• Remove any floating items from within the filter compartment.
• Turn the filter retainer handle (located on the top of the filter cartridge) counterclockwise until the retainer can be removed from the filter standpipe.
• Remove the filter retainer and cartridge.

SERVICE NOTE: Never remove the filter standpipes when debris is present in the filter compartment. Debris may find its way into the internal plumbing which may result in blockage. Never remove suction fittings.

• Always clean standard filter using a filter degreaser, such as Hot Spring ® Freshwater® Filter Cleaner, to remove mineral and oil buildup. Simply soak the filter in the degreaser according to the package directions, then place the filter on a clean surface and spray until clean using a garden hose. It may be necessary to rotate the filter while spraying to remove any debris lodged between the filter pleats. The Tri-X® filter can be cleaned in the dishwasher using no soap and no dry cycle. Please contact your Hot Spring dealer for details.
• To reinstall the filter cartridge, reverse the order of steps in which it was removed. Do not overtighten!

WARNING: Do not use the spa with the filter cartridges, or filter standpipe(s) removed!

Products to help clean filters:
Spa Essentials Filter Cleaner
GLB Filter Cleanse
Hot Spring Freshwater Instant Filter Cleaner

WARNING: The cover is a manual safety cover that meets or exceeds all prevailing requirements of ASTM Standards for spa safety covers when installed and used correctly as of the date of manufacture. Non-secured, or improperly secured covers are a hazard. Open the cover to its fully open position before use.

VINYL COVER: The vinyl spa cover is an attractive, durable foam insulation product. Monthly cleaning and conditioning are recommended to maintain its beauty.

TO CLEAN AND CONDITION THE VINYL COVER:
• Remove the cover from the spa and gently lean it against a wall or fence.
• With a garden hose, spray the cover to loosen and rinse away dirt or debris.
• Using a large sponge and/or a soft bristly brush, and using a very mild soap solution (one teaspoon dishwashing liquid with two gallons of water), or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) scrub the vinyl top in a circular motion. Do not let the vinyl dry with a soap film on it before it can be rinsed clean.
• Scrub the Cover’s perimeter and side flaps. Rinse clean with water.
• Rinse off the underside of the cover with water only (use no soap) and wipe it clean with a dry rag.
• To condition the cover after cleaning, apply a thin film of Hot Spring Cover Shield to the vinyl surface and buff to a high luster.

SERVICE NOTE: To remove tree sap, use cigarette lighter fluid (not charcoal lighter fluid). Use sparingly, and rinse with a saddle soap solution immediately afterwards, then wipe dry.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
• DO remove snow buildup to avoid breakage of the foam core from the additional weight of the snow.
• DO lock cover lock straps to secure the cover when the spa is not in use.
• DO NOT drag or lift the spa cover using either the flaps, or the cover lock straps.
• DO NOT walk, stand, or sit on the cover.
• DO NOT place any metal or heat transferring object on the cover or place an type of plastic tarp or drop cloth over the cover as this may result in a melted foam core, which would not be covered under the warranty.
• DO NOT use any lifting mechanisms, chemicals, or cleaners except those recommended by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation, or its Authorized Sales and Service Dealer.

Products to help clean your cover:
303 Aerospace Protectant

WARNING: The cover is a manual safety cover that meets or exceeds all prevailing requirements of ASTM Standards for spa safety covers when installed and used correctly as of the date of manufacture. Non-secured, or improperly secured covers are a hazard. Open the cover to its fully open position before use.

VINYL COVER: The vinyl spa cover is an attractive, durable foam insulation product. Monthly cleaning and conditioning are recommended to maintain its beauty.

TO CLEAN AND CONDITION THE VINYL COVER:
• Remove the cover from the spa and gently lean it against a wall or fence.
• With a garden hose, spray the cover to loosen and rinse away dirt or debris.
• Using a large sponge and/or a soft bristly brush, and using a very mild soap solution (one teaspoon dishwashing liquid with two gallons of water), or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) scrub the vinyl top in a circular motion. Do not let the vinyl dry with a soap film on it before it can be rinsed clean.
• Scrub the Cover’s perimeter and side flaps. Rinse clean with water.
• In like manner, rinse off the underside of the cover with water only (use no soap) and wipe it clean with a dry rag.
• To condition the cover after cleaning, apply a thin film of Hot Spring Cover Shield to the vinyl surface and buff to a high luster.

SERVICE NOTE: To remove tree sap, use cigarette lighter fluid (not charcoal lighter fluid). Use sparingly, and rinse with a saddle soap solution immediately afterwards, then wipe dry.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
• DO remove snow buildup to avoid breakage of the foam core from the additional weight of the snow.
• DO lock cover lock straps to secure the cover when the spa is not in use.
• DO NOT drag or lift the spa cover using either the flaps, or the cover lock straps.
• DO NOT walk, stand, or sit on the cover.
• DO NOT place any metal or heat transferring object on the cover or place an type of plastic tarp or drop cloth over the cover as this may result in a melted foam core, which would not be covered under the warranty.
• DO NOT use any lifting mechanisms, chemicals, or cleaners except those recommended by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation, or its Authorized Sales and Service Dealer.

Products to help clean your cover:
303 Aerospace Protectant

Water Care Instruction

• The ideal pH level for your spa water is 7.4-7.6.
• The pH level is the measure of acidity and alkalinity. Values above 7 are alkaline (a base); those below 7 are acidic. Maintaining the proper pH level is extremely important for:
• Optimizing the effectiveness of the sanitizer.
• Maintaining water that is comfortable for the user.
• Preventing equipment deterioration.

If the spa water’s pH level is too low, the following may result:
• The sanitizer will dissipate rapidly.
• The water may become irritating to spa users.
• The spa’s equipment may corrode.

If the pH is too low, it can be increased by adding Spa Essentials pH Increaser to the spa water.

If the spa water’s pH level is too high, the following may result:
• The sanitizer is less effective
• Scale will form on the spa shell surface and equipment.
• The water may become cloudy.
• The filter cartridge pores may become obstructed.

If the pH is too high, it can be decreased by adding Spa Essentials pH Decreaser to the spa water.

IMPORTANT: After adding pH increaser or decreaser, wait two hours before testing the water for pH. Measurements taken too soon may not be accurate

It is important to check pH on a regular basis. The pH will be affected by the bather load, the addition of new water, the addition of various chemicals, and the type of sanitizer used.

• The recommended Total Alkalinity for your spa water is 125-150 ppm.
• Total Alkalinity is a measure of the total levels of carbonates, bicarbonates, hydroxides, and other alkaline substances in the water. TA is reffered to as the water’s “pH buffer”. In other words, it’s a measure of the ability of the water to resist changes in pH level.

In particular, if the TA is too low, the pH level will fluctuate widely from high to low. Fluctuations in pH can cause corrosion or scaling of the spa components.

Low TA can be corrected by adding Spa Essentials Alkalinity Increaser or Spa Essentials pH Increaser .

If the TA is too high, the pH level will tend to be high and may be difficult to bring down.

High TA can be corrected by adding Spa Essentials pH Decreaser.

• Sanitizer is extremely important for killing algae, bacteria and viruses, and preventing unwanted organisms from growing in the spa. At the same time, you don’t want too high a sanitizer level, or it can irritate your skin, lungs, and eyes.
• Always maintain the sanitizer level in your spa at the recommended level for each type of sanitizer which can be found on the bottle.

Watkins recommends only the following sanitizers:
• Concentrated Chlorinating Granules (99% Sodium DiChlor) (Do not use Hypochlorite)
or
• Brominating Concentrate

The Following chemical terms are used in Water Quality and Maintenance. Understanding their meaning will help you to better understand the water maintenance process.

Bromamines: compounds formed when bromine combines with nitrogen from body oils, urine, perspiration, etc. Unlike chloramines, bromamines have no pungent odor, and are effective sanitizers.

Bromine: A halogen sanitizer (in the same chemical family as chlorine). Bromine is commonly used in stick, tablet, or granular form.

Calcium Hardness: The amount of dissolved calcium in the spa water. This should be approximately 150-200 ppm. High levels of calcium can cause cloudy water and scaling. Low levels can cause harm to the spa equipment.

Chloramines: Compounds formed when chlorine combines with nitrogen from body oils, urine, perspiration, etc. Chloramines can cause eye irritation as well as having a strong odor. Unlike Bromamines, chloramines are weaker, slower sanitizers.

Chlorine: An efficient sanitizing chemical for spas. Watkins Manufacturing Corporation recommends the use of sodium dichlor-type granulated chlorine. This type is preferred because it is totally soluble and nearly pH neutral.

Chlorine (or Bromine) Residual: The amount of chlorine or bromine remaining after chlorine or bromine demand has been satisfied. The residual is, therefore, the amount of sanitizer which is chemically available to kill bacteria, viruses and algae.

Corrosion: The gradual wearing away of metal spa parts, this is usually caused by a chemical action. Generally, corrosion is caused by low pH or by water with levels of total alkalinity (TA), chlorine (Ch), pH or sanitizer which are outside the recommended ranges.

DPD: The preferred reagent used in test kits to measure the Free Available Chlorine.

Halogen: Any one of these five elements: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine.

MPS: Monopersulfate is the non-chlorine oxidizer used with the FreshWater Ag+® silver ion purification system.

Nitric Acid: The formulation of nitric acid, a highly corrosive chemical, is a byproduct of the ozone generating process. Nitric acid is produced in very small quantities and is readily dissolved in the water stream with ozone.

Oxidizer: The use of an oxidizing chemical is to prevent the buildup of contaminants, maximize sanitizer efficiency, minimize combined chlorine and improve water clarity.

Ozone: Ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent which is produced in nature and artificially by man. Ozone forms no byproducts of chloramines (ozone actually oxidizes chloramines) and will not alter the water’s pH.

Pathogen: A microorganism such as bacterium that cause disease.

pH: The measure of the spa’s water acidity and alkalinity. The recommended pH for the spa water is 7.4 to 7.6. Below 7.0 (considered neutral), the spa water is too acidic and can damage the heating system. Above 7.8, the water is too alkaline and can result in cloudy water, and scale formation on the shell and heater.

ppm: the abbreviation of “parts per million”, the standard measurement of chemical concentration in water. Identical to mg/l (milligrams per liter).

Reagent: A chemical material in liquid, powder, or tablet form for use in chemical testing.

Sanitizer: Sanitizers are added and maintained at recommended residuals to protect bathers against pathogenic organisms which can cause disease and infection in spa water.

Scale: Rough calcium-bearing deposits that can coat spa surfaces, heaters, plumbing lines, and clog filters. Generally, scaling is caused by mineral content combined with high pH. Additionally, scale forms more readily at higher water temperatures.

Super-Chlorination: Also known as “Shock treatment”. Super-Chlorination is a process of adding significant doses of a quick dissolving sanitizer (“dichlor” is recommended) to oxidize non-filterable organic waste and to remove chloramines and bromamines.

Total Alkalinity: The amount of bicarbonates, carbonates, and hydroxides present in spa water. Proper total alkalinity is important for pH control. If the TA is too high, the pH is difficult to adjust. If the TA is too low, the pH will be difficult to hold at the proper level. The desired range of TA in spa water is 125-150 ppm.