To enjoy a safe and clean hot tub, it's essential to pay close attention to the chemistry of your water. While your hot tub's manufacturer can provide you with specific details on how best to care for your particular spa, there are some maintenance principles that apply to every hot tub.
You need to clean your hot tub and treat the water on a regular basis. Change the water every three to four months, depending on use. If you have an ozonator, you'll need to change the water half as frequently.
A complete cleaning and care routine also includes washing down the tub shell with pre-formulated or homemade hot tub cleaners. If you prefer the latter, mix ½ cup of bleach into 3 gallons of water to concoct a safe but effective cleaning agent.
You should also clean the filter at least once a month and replace it as soon as necessary. Cleaning a hot tub filter is easy; simply soak it in a filter-cleaning agent overnight and rinse it well before replacing it.
When you fill your hot tub with fresh water, you'll have to treat the water with balancing hot tub chemicals. To start, you'll need your water to be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit; granulated chemicals dissolve more readily in warm water.
Using inexpensive hot tub chemicals, you'll need to adjust the pH level so it falls between 7.6 and 8.2. With a pH meter, you can test the water and add pH enhancers or detractors (called "pH ups" and "pH downs") until you reach an optimal balance.
To sanitize the spa water, you have a choice between bromine and chlorine. Never combine hot tub bromine with chlorine, as their effects will cancel each other out and your water will be extra-vulnerable to contamination.
Other products you can use to ensure you enjoy a clean hot tub include stain- and scale-control products, water clarifiers and odor-control formulas. While these are not, strictly speaking, necessary to maintain safe, clean water, they are inexpensive and do a lot to enhance the usability of your spa.