Using Your Hot Tub for the First Time

You did your research. You found your perfect hot tub. You made the plunge and now your brand new hot tub is sitting there waiting for you…now what? How do you set up your hot tub for the first time? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as dropping a hose in the hot tub and walking away. But don’t worry! We’ve broken down opening your hot tub into bite-sized, easy-to-understand steps. Just follow ModTub’s guide to hot tub opening 101 and you’ll be enjoying the warmth and relaxation you deserve in no time!

Whether you’re a brand new hot tub owner or an old pro who just needs a refresher, here’s our step-by-step guide to using your hot tub for the first time.

Clear the Hot Tub Antifreeze

Once you’ve purchased your hot tub from your chosen retailer, you’ll most likely get it shipped to you either through them or a third party. Many hot tub companies will fill their hot tubs with antifreeze during this journey as a precaution. While this is great for shipping, not so much for actual usage.

To clear out the antifreeze you’ll need to fill the footwell of your hot tub with water. The footwell is, as the name suggests, where you rest your feet while using the hot tub. Ensure you use a hose filter while filling up the footwell. We’ll talk about why later on. Once the footwell is filled, go ahead and run your hot tub’s pump for a few minutes then drain the water. This will help clear out any antifreeze and give you a good base to start from.

Disconnect the Power

This is a short, but very important step. You need to disconnect your hot tub from any electrical sources. The last thing you want to do is give yourself a good shock. Unplug the hot tub and shut off any circuit breakers in the area. Safety is important any time you’re doing maintenance.

Clean your Hot Tub

While not the most fun part of owning a hot tub, it’s a crucial process. Keeping your hot tub clean throughout its use will give it a longer lifespan, reduce hot tub maintenance costs, and keep you healthy.

The best cleaners for a hot tub are going to be non-abrasive, non-foaming cleaners and soft cloth or sponges. If you’re worried about what cleaner to use, there are cleaners made specifically for hot tub use. You should spray and wipe down any surface the water may come in contact with. That means the hot tub shell (which is the actual tub where the water goes) and your hot tub’s cover. Once you’ve wiped down the hot tub, make sure to give it a very thorough rinse. Pro tip: if your hot tub starts foaming down the line, it’s most likely because you didn’t rinse off the cleaner well enough.

Install your Hot Tub Filter

Once your hot tub is squeaky clean, you’ll want to help keep it that way. Hot tub filters trap particles in the water and provide defense against dirty water. This is a great time to install your hot tub filter or replace the old one if you need to. Most filters are easily removed, cleaned, and replaced. Always double-check the owner’s manual to ensure you’re using the right filter. 

Fill your Hot Tub with Water

We’re getting close now! Do one final check: is your hot tub in the perfect location? It will be nearly impossible to move it once you add water. If you’re happy, grab a hose and a hose filter or pre-filter. This filter is really important. Hose water has minerals, metals, and calcium in it which are the causes of a lot of hot tub troubles down the road. Pro tip: If your hot tub water is green, this may be one of the reasons why. 

It will take a while to fill up, but as it gets closer, pay attention to the water levels. You won’t want to fill it to the brim. Once those jets come on and people climb in, water displacement will cause the water to rise. A good rule of thumb is 2 to 3 inches above the top of the hot tub filter. You can turn the power on once your hot tub is filled.

Prime the Pump

Some hot tub pumps have an airlock that needs to be purged when you’re using it for the first time. If you turn on the power and hear the motor running but the jets aren’t, this is most likely the cause. Start by cycling the jets on and off a few times. If this doesn’t work, turn the power off, loosen the hot tub fittings or purge the plug, until there’s no air leaking out, just water. Tighten the fittings back up and turn on the power and check your jets.

Add Hot Tub Chemicals

Now that your pump is primed, you can get ready to add the chemicals. Make sure your hot tub water is at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit before putting the chemicals in. This temperature will allow the granular chemicals to dissolve properly. You’ll need to know your hot tub volume which you can find in the owner’s manual. This ensures you add the correct ratio of chemicals. Measure the hot tub chemicals out and add them to the water.

Never mix the chemicals outside of the water. Unless you’re a chemist with a degree and understand what you’re doing. Even then we highly suggest you do that in a lab setting. Improper handling of these chemicals could lead to a dangerous chemical reaction. 

Run your Pump and Test the Water

To get those chemicals mixed, you need to run the pump for at least 10 minutes at high speed. This will help ensure those chemicals are evenly distributed throughout the water.

After 10 minutes, you can test the water. You want to always test any time you add chemicals to your hot tub. Low levels will cause algae and bacteria to build up in your hot tub. Proper levels prolong the lifespan of your hot tub and keep the water’s pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness balanced. Moving forward, test your water levels at least once a week as part of your hot tub maintenance routine. 

Set Hot Tub Water Temp

The best temperature range for your hot tub water is between 98 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Feel free to experiment with this range. Once you find your ideal temp, do your best to keep it there. Constant raising and lowering of the temperature will increase expenses and cause extra wear and tear to your hot tub. Never exceed 104 degrees. This can cause overheating and unconsciousness. Children under 5 should not use a hot tub over 95 degrees Fahrenheit and even then only 5-10 minutes at a time.

Cover the Hot Tub

Let the water circulate for 10 minutes after adding the chemicals. Then you want to cover your hot tub for 24 hours while the water warms up. Not only will this keep the heat in, but it also keeps your water clean. While outdoor hot tubs are beautiful and relaxing additions to any area, being outdoors means there are pollutants and debris. A hot tub cover will keep your water free from debris and critters. Rain is a big culprit in lower hot tub temperatures. Keeping your hot tub covered keeps it warm and heating costs down.

Test your Water Levels

We know, we know. We already said this. But it’s important! Plus within the 24 hours of heating your hot tub, the levels may have changed once the water stabilized. Give the hot tub level another quick check to ensure everything is ready to go. Adjust as needed.

Enjoy your Hot Tub

It’s finally time! You did all the hard work. You cleaned, you monitored, and you were patient. Now you deserve some rest. Let those wonderful bubbles and jets make all your troubles disappear. 

The Easiest Hot Tub

That wasn’t too complicated, was it? Alright, it was a little time-consuming but you’re in luck. At Modtub, we take care of all this setup for you. Once you purchase a hot tub from us, we want to make the whole experience as easy as possible so you can start enjoying your Modtub as soon as possible. We deliver your hot tub, unload it, set it in your prepared foundation, fill up your hot tub, install the lift, and walk you through the operations. You don’t need to worry about anything except what setting you want your jets on. Our full selection of hot tubs with pricing is available online. If you have any questions you can schedule a free consultation today.

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