How to Maintain a Swim Spa

Kenneth Wilson

It can take a lot of work to properly maintain a swim spa and ensure the space is clear, clean, and inviting. One of the major factors of swim spa maintenance is water care and this can easily be achieved by following a few simple tips. Some swim spas come equipped with a mineral filtration system, making them energy-efficient and cheaper for you to maintain. 

If you’re wondering what the best tips and tricks are for swim spa maintenance, we’ve got you covered! This article will dive deep on how to properly maintain and clean your swim spa. So, read on to learn all there is to know about taking care of your own.

What Is A Swim Spa?

Swim spas became popular for homes with limited yard space. If you want the benefits of a full-sized pool in only a fraction of the space, a swim spa is your best option. Though swim spas come in different sizes, they are much smaller than normal swimming pools.

Swim spas generate a current that holds the swimmer in place. This mechanism delivers the full effect of a swim workout without touching off the ends of the spa. Moreover, swim spas are far more versatile than pools since you can just increase the temperature of the water to create a hot tub effect.

But even though it sounds like all fun and games, swim spas require rigorous maintenance. This includes cleaning, water filter maintenance, and proper chemical balance of the spa water. If all of these are properly done, then your swim spa will stay in tip-top condition.

Water Care 101

Taking care of your swim spa’s water content may seem daunting, but there are a few easy things you can do to maintain the proper chemical balance of the water. The key to keeping your swim spa’s water crystal clear is balancing its water chemistry.

First, perform regular water tests with paper strips or liquid reagent kits to check the pH and chemical purity of the water. These tests are simple and will only take a couple of minutes to conduct. The things you’ll be testing are calcium hardness, total alkalinity, and pH levels. By checking the results, you can know whether or not you need to add chemicals to the water to bring balance back to it.

If you're frequently using your swim spa, you should perform these tests at least once a month. You may even need to run tests more often if it's used every day. Remember, balanced water chemistry in your swim spa is important as it will keep it safe and pleasant to use. You don’t want the water in your spa to become murky, smelly, or full of bacteria. So, make sure to run those tests and adjust chemical levels as needed.

Swim Spa Chemicals

Let’s take a look at the needed chemicals to use for your swim spa water to remain clean and crystal clear. Each of these chemicals will ensure the water to be fresh and safe to use, so make sure to utilize them properly.

There are a lot of water spa chemical products, but these are the main chemicals you should use to maintain perfect chemical balance of water.

  • Filter Cleaner: Filter cleaner will remove debris and dirt from your filter, which will increase its effectiveness in filtering the swim spa water.
  • Chlorinating Granules: Chlorinating granules are a sanitizing agent that will keep your water clean and bacteria-free.
  • pH Down: This chemical will lower the pH level and the total alkalinity
  • pH Up: This chemical will increase the pH level and total alkalinity.
  • Oxidizer Shock: Oxidizing shock is an oxidizing agent used to free up the chlorine in the water.

Using these chemicals properly will help you maintain your swim spa and keep its water crystal clear and hygienic. This will also maximize the experience of using the swim spa, so make sure to use these chemicals as needed.

Questions About Swim Spa Water Chemicals

Here are a few common questions we’ve heard about the chemicals in your swim spa water.

Does the temperature of the water affect the required chemicals?

Yes, the temperature affects how quickly bacteria can build up in the water. The colder the water is, the fewer chemicals are needed. If you keep the water hot for longer periods of time, bacteria will build up much quicker.

How often should you change the water in your swim spa?

How often you should change the swim spa water may vary, depending on how frequently it gets used and where it’s located. But it's best to change it every six months.

In dual-temperature swim spas, do you have to treat both sides with chemicals?

Even though there is a barrier between the hot tub side and the swim spa side, there can still be varying chemistry levels on both sides. You should balance the chemical content of both sides when performing your routine swim spa maintenance.

What is the easiest way to get your chlorine into a normal range?

It can be tricky to find the proper balance of chlorine in your swim spa’s water, as some shocking agents may not have enough chlorine to properly sanitize the water. Make sure you’re using the correct kind of shocking agent to get this balance just right.

Schedule Your Swim Spa's Water Care

There are a few things that should be done at different times to properly maintain your swim spa during use.

Before using your swim spa, check the spa water with a test strip for pH and sanitation levels. You’ll need to adjust the water’s chemical balance accordingly. Make sure the pH stays within proper levels of 7.4 to 7.6 pH and 2 to 4 ppm free chlorine. Do not enter the spa if the water appears cloudy or if the chlorine levels are not balanced correctly. This can include having a chlorine level above 5 ppm, or having no chlorine present.

After using your swim spa, you should test and treat the water again to make sure the levels have stayed the same during use. Skin oils and other factors may change the pH levels or other chemicals in the water. Also, the number of people who used the spa can have a direct effect on the chlorine levels. The levels may decrease if many people have used it at the same time. You’ll need to use the oxidizer or non-chlorine shock treatment accordingly.

In addition to the above water tests, you should run three more tests throughout the week to ensure the chemical level of water is stable. Remove the water filter and soak it in a filter cleaning solution overnight, then rinse it thoroughly and replace it before use. This method should be done every month.

You should also drain your swim spa every six months and refill it with fresh water. Assess whether or not the water filter needs replacing by checking for any damages.

Following this simple water care schedule will keep your swim spa in its most pristine condition. It will also allow you and your family to continue enjoying it in safety.

Water Filtration

Every swim spa should be equipped with a water filtration system. A water filter is important since it’s responsible for the removal of debris and dirt particles from the water, keeping it clean and fresh-looking. Having a bunch of debris floating around you will not be a good swim spa experience.

So, make sure to clean your water filter at least once a month. You can do this by removing the water filter and spraying it down with fresh water, taking care to remove any debris trapped within it. After it’s cleaned, it should be soaked in a filter cleaning solution for at least an hour.

When you start to see signs of wear and tear and breakdown in your water filter, it's best to replace it. Your water filter may last a long time depending on the brand you use, as filter lifetimes vary. You should plan on replacing the filter after every one to three years of use.

Swim Spa Deep Cleaning

In addition to the recommended water care outlined above, your swim spa will also need regular deep cleanings to maintain target cleanliness levels. You’ll start by draining the swim spa water and giving the inner shell a thorough scrub with the proper swim spa cleaning implements. It will help remove dirt and grime that has built up over the months of use. It will also take care of any algae or aquatic mold that may have taken hold. Make sure to use a strong cleaning solution to remove the more stubborn build-up.

You’ll also need to gauge how often you should do a deep clean based on how often your swim spa gets used. If it's only used once in a while, you won’t have to do deep cleaning as frequently. But if it’s often used by many people, it will require much more frequent deep cleans to prevent build-up from happening.

The frequency of deep cleans can also be affected by the location of the swim spa. If it’s located in an area with lots of airborne debris, such as under trees or in an area with a lot of airborne dust and dirt, you’ll need to perform these cleans more often. Try to place your swim spa in a location that is removed from the pollen-producing trees and dirt or gravel roads, as these can introduce high levels of airborne contaminants into the swim spa water.

Use A Swim Spa Cover

Another effective way to reduce the amount of maintenance required for your swim spa is using a swim spa cover whenever it’s not in use. There are many reasons why you should do this, beyond reducing the amount of required maintenance.

First and foremost, the cover will prevent dust and debris from getting into the spa water. It can be a lifesaver in some locations with high levels of airborne debris, such as those discussed above. It will also prevent moisture and heat from escaping when the spa is not used. It can also prevent the chemicals in the spa water from becoming overly concentrated and help reduce your dependence on the spa water heater.

A swim spa cover will also prevent unwanted people and animals while not in use. An open swim spa can be a drowning hazard for some, especially small children, and a swim spa cover will help to eliminate this threat. You can get a lockable swim spa cover to ensure the best results.

Final Thoughts

It can be hard work to properly maintain a swim spa, but it is so worth it! To be able to enjoy crystal clear, clean water is all you could ask for. With the water and swim spa care outlined above, we hope we’ve given you a good basis to know how to properly care for your swim spa.

Make sure to follow the water care schedule included to know when you need to test your spa water, clean and change your water filter, replace the spa water, and when to give it a good scrub. By following this schedule and all other outlined tips, you’ll be a swim spa maintenance pro in no time!

Kenneth Wilson
August 19, 2021
Exterior, Pool

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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