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We are a week in to owning our first hot tub. In that week I feel I have learnt more than I did in the weeks before googling how to set up a hot tub for the first time. I guess one of the main issues is that there are so many different brands and sizes that there is no one answer fits all but here is my quick pointers that I would like to have found before I set up out hot tub. We struggled to get hold of a hot tub as I think once lockdown happened everyone ordered all of the stock! We managed to get one and it came much sooner than the lead time. I have seen that shops are getting them back in now.
1 It took about three hours to fill the hot tub. It was then another fifteen hours waiting for the water to heat up. In hindsight we would have been better filling it to the minimum level so that there was less water to heat up. We filled up from the hose and it was cold water. I know some people fill up from the hot tap so it is a quicker process. Make sure you have level ground and consider what your going to put under it and around it. We have a ground sheet and a hot tub mat (linked here Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub Floor Protector, 10 Piece Protective Pad Set for Spa and Pump (Fits All Models Except Maldives) )under ours and it is on the grass. Over it we have a gazebo, I don’t imagine that this is a long term solution in the uk with the wind and at some point I would like to build something a little more robust.
2 You should shock the hot tub with chlorine when setting up. You need to leave it for 24 hours after that shock. We didn’t know this so used the hot tub as soon as it was warm enough. It was fine but it would have been better to do this first. Our hot tub is a six person mspa. We added four teaspoons of chlorine powder as the shock dose. It is possible to find a table online with a list of how much chlorine each tubs need initially, just search for how much chlorine is needed for a shock dose.
3 Test strips are essential to work out if the hot tub is safe to use. You will need them to make sure that the chlorine is at a safe level and that the other levels are ok. We test ours first thing in the morning as tend to use it at night. For our water, and it will be different depending on the water where you live, people using it and many other things, we add two teaspoons of chlorine a day and every third day we add a teaspoon of PH+. We have found the test strips really important to have a daily overview of how the water is doing. Here is a link to the ones we have been using.
4 Chemicals need to be balanced in a certain order, the total alkalinity needs to be correct first. You can use bicarbonate of soda to balance. Next make sure the PH levels are right, it alters the effects of the chlorine so this needs to be sorted before the chlorine. Finally it is important to get the chorine levels right. This bit was the easiest and we add two tea spoons full of chlorine diluted in warm water each day. Clearwater CH0018 Lay-Z-Spa Chemical Starter Kit for Hot Tub and Spa Water Treatment (Includes Chlorine, pH Minus, pH Plus, Foam Remover and Test Strips)
5 There is lots of ‘stuff’ that you can add to the hot tub to make it more enjoyable. Here are some of the things we have added to our set up, a water hammock, a drinks holder and a projector as well as a storage box. There are lots of things that you can add as you go along, the essentials are the outdoor plug and for us some hooks near the back door to hang towels and some outdoor fairy lights. We are loving the hot tub and have sat out in the garden every evening since we got it. It has been a welcome change after months at home. We are set for summer!!