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Are Swim Spas Easy to Maintain?

Swim spas are amazing! They take up less space than an inground pool but let you swim as  vigorously or as leisurely as you want to. They are easier to keep heated, so you can use them almost all year round. They even cost less than an inground swimming pool. However, you may wonder if swim spas are easy to maintain too?

Swim spas are easier to maintain than an inground swimming pool because of the smaller size. They are even easier to maintain than a hot tub as water temperature is not as high.

To ensure that swim spa maintenance is easy you need to perform some activities on a regular basis.

Are Swim Spas Easy to Maintain?

Follow these 10 very practical tips to keep your swim spa in top condition at all times. It will be sanitized and ready for use when you want it.

  1. Always Shower Before You Enter the Swim Spa
  2. Maintain the Correct Water Level
  3. Remove & Clean the Skimmer Basket Regularly
  4. Test Water Chemistry Often
  5. Broadcast Spa Sanitizer after Use
  6. Shock Your Swim Spa Every Week
  7. Vacuum Swim Spa Floor & Seats
  8. Clean the Swim Spa Filters
  9. Drain the Swim Spa 2-3 Times a Year
  10. Use the Swim Spa Cover

1. Always Shower Before You Enter the Swim Spa

There are quite a few reasons why the water in a swim spa gets contaminated. The swimmers themselves are a big contributor. Each person has micro quantities of organic matter on their bodies, which can be left behind in the swim spa as contaminants.

Soap residue, shampoo, sunscreen, lotions, makeup, etc. are some of those contaminants. Avoid using these before a session in the swim spa. It will help reduce some of the contamination load on the swim spa.

Dirt & grime, sweat, dead skin cells are parts of your body which can also enter the swim spa whenever you use it. 

It is good practice that every swim spa user should take a shower before getting in. A shower will not eliminate all the contamination from the body of the swimmers, but will certainly reduce the quantity.

2. Maintain the Correct Water Level

Every swim spa has a minimum safe water level mark. Before you switch on the pumps and get into the swim spa, make sure that the water level is above this mark. In case the water level is below the minimum safe water level mark, then top it up with a garden hose attached to a filter.

You run the risk of getting air into the water pipe lines if the water level is too low. This can damage your swim spa pumps.

On the other hand you should not overfill the swim spa. Remember that the water level will go up when swimmers enter the swim spa. If the water level is above the skimmer level then the pump will not be able to pull the floating debris into the skimmer.

3. Remove & Clean the Skimmer Basket Regularly

Every swim spa has an in-built skimmer. The purpose of the skimmer is to trap floating debris such as dry leaves, insects, etc. that may fall into the swim spa. The water from the swim spa passes through the skimmer as it is sucked into the filtration system by the swim spa pump.

To reduce the load on the swim spa filter, a skimmer basket is placed in the skimmer assembly. The skimmer basket traps larger floating debris. Over a period of time the skimmer basket will begin to fill up and may even clog. 

You have to remove the skimmer basket periodically, empty out the debris and clean it with a garden hose. After cleaning the skimmer basket placed it back in the skimmer assembly.

4. Test Water Chemistry Often

The quality of your swim spa experience depends a lot on the quality of the water in it. You want to ensure that the swim spa water is free of germs, bacteria, algae and other pathogens. You also want to make sure that the swim spa water will not in any way damage your skin, eyes, ears, etc.

So how do you know that your swim spa water is suitable for swimming? By testing the water chemistry on a regular basis. Swim spa water should be tested at least once a week. However, twice a week is recommended.

In case of heavy usage of the swim spa, you may want to test the water chemistry of the swim spa, every day. Some people prefer to test the water chemistry every time, prior to entering the swim spa. 

The factors that you should be checking for and what the acceptable & ideal range are listed in the table below:

ParameterAcceptable RangeIdeal range
Chlorine Level1.0 – 4.0 ppm2.0 – 3.0 ppm
pH Level7.2 – 7.87.4 – 7.6
Alkalinity80 – 150 ppm80 – 120 ppm

5. Broadcast Spa Sanitizer after Use

The germs & bacteria levels in a swim spa are likely to go up after every use. You should therefore broadcast a spa sanitizer after you have finished using the swim spa for the day.

Spa sanitizer granules are a steady source of free available chlorine (FAC). They are similar to, but not the same as pool chlorine tablets. Once broadcast, they will control algae growth, kill bacteria and destroy organic contaminants. The granules are stabilized and do not degrade under UV radiation.

  • Dissolves Quickly and Completely
  • Stabilized Spa Chlorine
  • 56% Available Chlorine
  • Controls Algae & Kills Bacteria
  • Use as per Directions on Product Label 

6. Shock Your Swim Spa Every Week

Spa sanitizers by themselves are not enough to keep your swim spa sparkling clean all the time. Contaminants & pathogens slowly build up.

You therefore need to shock your swim spa at least once a week. In case the swim spa is used heavily the shock frequency can be increased to even twice a week.

Swim spa shock can be chlorine based, which both shocks & sanitizes. Swim spa shock can also be non-chlorine based (potassium monopersulfate or MPS). Shock is an oxidizing agent and will work to rejuvenate your swim spa water

Shock breaks down contaminants to clear the spa water and eliminate the odor.

Shock rapidly kills germs and disease carrying bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella and Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM).

Shock eradicates chloramines. Chloramines are generated when chlorine is spent killing the pathogens. The chlorine smell that you get from a swim spa is actually from the chloramines, not the chlorine. Shock will make your spa smell fresh again.

  • Multi-purpose shock with four benefits in one: shock, clarifier, flocculent and pH buffer
  • Restores water sparkle and removes unpleasant odors
  • Treat and soak in as soon as 15 minutes*
  • Compatible with chlorinated or brominated spas and those using ozone or ionization systems

7. Vacuum Swim Spa Floor & Seats

The skimmer basket will catch all the floating debris, such as dry leaves and dead insects. The smaller contaminants, which are dissolved in the swim spa water, will be trapped by the water filter.

However, spa swimmers or a wind storm can bring in sand or grit into the swim spa. These will sink to the swim spa floor & seats. The only way to get them out is by using a swim spa vacuum cleaner.

Vacuuming the swim spa floor & seats, once a week, is a good maintenance practice. You can do it earlier if you feel the grit under your feet.

8. Clean the Swim Spa Filters

You need to clean the swim spa filters regularly. Dirty or clogged filters are no longer effective. They will not be able to clean the swim spa efficiently.

The swim spa filters continuously trap the contaminants suspended in the water. As time passes, the water filters start to clog up.

Moreover the pumps will have a hard time pushing the water through the jets. The water pressure will start dropping.

The swim spa water filters should be cleaned at least once a month. Flushing them with clean water should usually be sufficient.

However, once every 3 to 4 months you should clean them with a filter cleaner. You can do this by soaking the spa filter overnight in a bucket filled with filter cleaner. The filter will be clean in the morning.

You will also need to replace the filters once a year as they will start showing signs of wear and tear.

9. Drain the Swim Spa 2-3 Times a Year

Keeping your swim spa sparkling clean & hygienic is a continuous endeavor. Daily sanitization, weekly shocks, occasional vacuuming help. But they are not enough.

Over a few months, your swim spa will become saturated with contaminants. The presence of warm water and contaminants will encourage germs, bacteria, mold, algae and other pathogens to grow. 

The swim spa water will start to lose its clarity and will become cloudy, foamy and smelly.

At this stage, no amount of chemicals will work. Draining and refreshing the water is the only solution! A swim spa should be drained, cleaned and refilled every 4 to 6 months.

If the swim spa is used sparingly and just by family members, then 6 months should be fine. But, in case of heavy usage draining every three months may be required.

10. Use the Swim Spa Cover

Swim spa covers are considered an essential accessory. They serve the following purposes:

  • Keep yard debris, rain, snow, etc. out of the swim spa
  • Projects the acrylic shell of the swim spa from UV damage
  • Locks in the heat making yours swim spa more energy efficient
  • Improves safety and prevents kids or pets from falling in accidentally

You should always put the swim spa cover on, when you are not using the swim spa. It will make it easier to keep your swim spa clean.

Follow these 10 practical tips and you will be convinced that your investment in a swim spa was well worth the money!

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and helpful.

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