How to maintain your Hot Tub
Maintenance of your hot tub means taking care of the WATER in your hot tub.
There is no maintenance you can do to any of the hot tub equipment (besides the filter, more on that later).
However, since the water in your hot tub is in contact with every piece of equipment, maintaining the water properly will prolong the life of the equipment (pumps, heater, jets).
We will be discussing water treatment based on the two main differences between hot tub and pool water.
Higher Water Temperature
Increased 'bather load'
Water Temperature: The temperature range most hot tubs operate in (100-104) is more hospitable to germ, mold, algae, and other microbial growth. This means they grow at a faster pace and more rapidly expand in hot tub water vs. pool water at an average temperature of 81-84 degrees.
Increased Bather Load: The number of people per gallon of water. In a typical Florida pool of 10,000 gallons you might have a family of 5 regularly in the water. This is a ratio of 1 bather per 2000 gallons of water. The same family of 5 in a 500 gallon hot tub is a ratio of 1 bather per 100 gallons of water. The reason this is important is that any type of organic matter introduced into the water by bathers, harmful or not, is diluted more in a larger body of water and if sanitizer levels are adequate, they are more readily destroyed than in a smaller body of water. It's important to note that most residential, fiberglass hot tubs are not much more than 400 gallons and on average are only 330-370 gallons.
All of this adds up to the fact that hot tub water needs attention on a daily to 'per use' basis. You should check your hot tub water daily and let 'sight' and 'smell' be your guide to deciding if treatment is necessary. If your hot tub happens to be used more than once a day, than some treatment is necessary after EACH use. At the minimum, a non-chlorine oxidizer should be added after each use.
A Note about Ozone and Ultraviolet (UV) systems.
Your hot tub may have come equipped with an Ozone or UV systems (or a combination of the two). These systems generally work very well to assist in the maintenance of the water but they are not designed to completely sanitize your water. Yes, I know the salesman might have told you that, or the marketing material may say so. But, the fine print in your owners manual will say that some sort of EPA registered sanitizer must also be used in conjunction with the Ozone/UV system to guarantee safety.
There are two aspects to maintaining recreational water (pool or hot tub): Water Balance and Sanitation.
Water Balance is insuring that the synergy between the levels of pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness result in a body of water that is neither aggressive (attacks and etches surfaces and equipment) or scaling (deposits calcium on pool and equipment surfaces.)
Sanitation is ensuring that the sanitizer level is maintained consistently to prevent the growth of harmful biological organisms.