10 Things You Should Never Do To Your Hot Tub

No-Sign-What-You-Should-Never-Do-to-Your-Hot-TubWe get calls every day from Olympic hot tub customers who want to know what to do for their hot tubs.  The conversation frequently turns to what they didn’t do that led to the reason for their call.

So, hot tub owners, in the spirit of the New Year, our Service Center staff has compiled the top don’ts for your Hot Spring Spa!  Take heed & keep your hot tub in great working order and ready for a soak anytime you’re ready.

Here’s the list:

  1. Don’t turn the power off and leave your hot tub full of water, especially in the winter. You’re courting disaster if the temperature plummets. Repairing a frozen hot tub is costly! A Hot Spring Spa is engineered to run 24/7 at the lowest energy use of any spa. In case you’re looking at a frozen hot tub right now, call our Service Center 206 431-2876.
  2. Don’t leave your hot tub full & running if you’re not going to maintain the water. This is a sure fire way to end up with a stinky, unsanitary mess that will require a lot of work by you to clean up. (You could always hire our Valet Service~). Don’t know how to maintain the water? Call our Service Center now! 206 431-2876.
  3. Don’t let your hot tub cover get so heavy that it can’t be lifted. It takes the enjoyment out of using your hot tub, costs you money in extra heating costs and will damage the lifter.
  4. Don’t take the hot tub filters out of the filter compartment and forget to clean them before they dry out. You’ll be looking at purchasing new filters.
  5. Don’t forget to clean your filters every 2-3 months even if you aren’t using your hot tub and replace them every 2-2 ½ years. Clean filters are a must to maintain clean water.
  6. Don’t forget to change your silver ion cartridge every 4 months to maintain maximum efficiency and clean water.
  7. Don’t use the hot tub as a bathtub to clean off your dirt & grime. Shower before hot tubbing. As for bath additives, bubble bath is a no-no! No foam in the hot tub, please!
  8. Don’t forget to check your ozonator periodically to find out if it’s working.  Research indicates that up to 60% of older ozone generators are not producing sufficient levels of ozone for sanitation. The presence of bubbles from the spa’s ozone jet does not indicate adequate production of ozone. Is your ozone generator functioning properly? Find out now with an Ozone Detector.
  9. Don’t get into the hot tub if the water is green, has a musty smell or is overflowing with foam. That’s a sure sign that the water is not clean and sanitary.   Drain & refill and follow the start-up procedure for adding water care products.
  10. Don’t ever cover your hot tub with clear plastic or enclose it in a plastic green house. Plastic will magnify the sun’s rays and trap heat, which can cause the cover insulation to melt.


And, number 11, don’t forget to use it often!

Sanum Per Aqua. Latin for Health through Water


 Answers to the Top 5 Hot Tub Service Questions

The Secret to Easy Hot Tub Water Care: Ozone

Bubbles? Yes. But No Foam in the Hot Tub, Please!

Author: Don Riling

Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 25 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through water.

30 responses to “10 Things You Should Never Do To Your Hot Tub

  1. Alice, we recently let our spa and fountain tech go. Our spa is covered with mold! Our fountain looks awful. What can we do? We are not handy and we are old…I don’t know what we were thinking. I need help
    Thank you Juliette

    1. Hello Juliette:
      So sorry to hear of your mold issues.
      Give our Service Center a call M-F 8-5 PDT 1-877-599-6072
      for the advice on what to do.

      Good luck.
      Best wishes,

  2. I live north of Nashville, TN & I am looking for cleaning service for hot tub to b ready for use soon. Could you please let me know cost of paying someone. We left it low energy running all year, I’m sure filters need changing. I appreciate this information. Renee

  3. i drained the hot tub but forgot to unplug it; the heater was on as well for about 4 hours. have i ruined it?

    1. Hello Dee:
      Too bad!!
      Either your hot tub heater has a high limit that shut it off when it got too hot OR it doesn’t.
      You’ll find out when you refill the tub and start it up. If the heater works, you’re good to go.
      If not…a new heater is in your future.
      Good luck,

  4. Hi, my hot tub gets used at least once per week. I am currently leaving the heater on high 24/7. Between uses should I lower the heat but not turn it off completely in order to use less energy? Or would that even be helpful? I’d want to be able to heat it back up within a few hours so would there be any point in lowering the temperature to save energy? Thanks so much!

  5. It does make me sad that I can’t put bubble bath in my hot tub. For one my kids would love it and I think it would encourage us to use it more often. However, I do understand why it is a bad idea and would never do it. I like my spa too much to want to ruin it by putting something in it that I shouldn’t. I do wonder though, is bubble bath in a hot tub a common reason for them needing to be serviced?

    1. Hello James:
      Thanks for writing. Interesting question! Putting bubble bath in a hot tub may not be a common reason for a hot tub service.
      Rather bubble bath really messes with the water chemistry. Bubble bath burns up chlorine quickly. It’s a nuisance to try to balance the water.
      Try to appreciate the clean, clear water of a well maintained hot tub. The jets should provide all the bubbles you need for great relaxation.
      Happy hot tubbing,

  6. Cleaning your filters is something I have a really hard time remembering. The filters on my hot tub model are deep inside the unit and are a pain to get to. I think it’s a combination of out of sight, out of mind and the tediousness of it. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get better at that with my hot tub!

  7. Hi. I have a Balboa spa. Can I turn it off in the summer simce we’re not using it as much?

    1. Jenni–Thanks for your question. I’m not aware of Balboa making an actual hot tub, just controls & parts for various tub brands. However, in our experience it’s really best to leave your tub full of water if not being used and just keep a base line of sanitizer in the tub, as well as making sure the pH level & alkalinity are in the correct range. You can certainly turn the temperature down as well if you’re not planning on using the tub. If you really want to drain it, be sure the tub AND the plumbing/equipment are drained completely, the filters are cleaned and removed from the tub for storage in a dry area, the tub is wiped down well and the cover is secured to the tub so the shell doesn’t suffer any solar distress from sitting empty. Hopefully that helps!

  8. I used to love hot-tubbing with my family at our cabin. That’s a good tip to not cover your hot tub in clear plastic. Plastic can let light and heat in without letting that same heat escape.

  9. We are buying a house with a hot tub that is five years old, however, it is empty. The owners said last time they used it it worked. But i dont know when that was. My question is, is there a way to see if it works without filling it with water?

    1. Rachell–It’s not likely you could achieve determining the tub’s overall operation without being filled with water. Best thing to do: Find out the brand of the tub and find the local dealer that can service and support that particular brand and have them come do an overall check of the tub (with water in the tub, powered and heating). With it being only five years old, chances are good it can be brought back to good working condition. Congrats on the new house!

  10. We just bought a Hot Spring Prodigy model for up to 4 or 5 adults. The majority of time just the 2 of us will use it all year. We probably will use it 3 to 5 times a week for 30 min. Our hot tub is outside on a cement pad. We live at 6,400′ in Central NE Nevada.
    What would be the best savings to consider when deciding to leave it heated (104 deg) 24/7 or turn it up in the AM before use in the evening?

    1. John–Hot Spring is the only manufacturer to provide an energy calculator on its website based on a 3rd party energy study conducted for them. If you go to http://www.hotspring.com and go to the Hot Tubs 101 section, there is a place there for you to plug in your local utility company’s cost of power per kW. It will help you get a great estimate on your monthly operating cost. (Hint–it’s not expensive!) https://www.hotspring.com/hot-tub-installation-planning-tools/energy-efficient-hot-tubs-energy-costs

  11. Thank you so much for this list of items to help you maintain a healthy hot tub! A lot of these look like things that could really easily be overlooked, like changing the silver ion cartridge every 4 months to maintain cleanest water and maximum efficiency. I would imagine that hiring a professional service to come inspect your equipment every now and then would be a really good idea as well.

  12. Can you drain the hot tub if you are going away for a month or is it better to just turn off the power. I don’t want to leave the power running while gone, just in case there would be a problem.

    1. Liz–In our experience, a hot tub is truly better left filled. One month is such a short period to go through draining it and running the risk of something happening that could have been avoided by leaving it filed.Turn the heat to a moderate temperature–maybe 70 degrees. It will keep the water warm enough to prevent any freeze issues in a colder period. Be sure the filters are clean as well, so proper flow reaches the heater to maintain the set temperature.

  13. I recently purchased a hot tub from my neighbor who drained and it has not been in use since March 2017 (3 months). I have to replace the heat exchanger system as well. My question is, do I keep the cover off until I am ready to fill with water or cover it. I actually covered it since it is in direct sun light for 24 hour and noticed it really heated up. So for now I have the cover off.

    1. Michael–A hot tub shell should never be exposed to sunlight/UV rays for extended periods. The shell could suffer solar distress, which would in turn increase the chance for a blister or crack.

  14. I have a Sundance Spa and I want to go away for a few months so can I drain it and clean it out and turn the power off will it be ok

    1. Leora–In our experience, for just a few months, it’s likely better to just balance your water, lower the temperature about 10 degrees and leave the tub filled. I would consult with your local Sundance dealer to determine their recommendations with that brand.

  15. I would like to use my hot tub as a cold plunge for post workout (weird maybe)…Can I put ice in it with heater off, but still turn on the jets?? And can I run the filters ?

    1. Carmen–I don’t know about putting ice in your hot tub. Obviously you fill your tub with cold water when you re-fill it and it doesn’t cause issues. You should be able to lower the temperature, but your tub can only be run at the lowest temperature you can set the controls at once started up.

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