This spa startup guide will walk you through how to start up a hot tub. We will talk about how to balance your spa’s water chemistry as well as the proper preparation and ongoing maintenance so that you can get the most out of your spa. Keep reading to get all the information you need for your HotSpring Spa startup.
Table of Contents
How to Start Up a Hot Tub Part 1: Preparing Your HotSpring Spa
Owning a spa can be one of the best luxury items you could ever own. That being said, if you don’t install and prepare the spa the correct way, you could be looking at some serious damage and repair bills.
Here are a list of things you MUST do before you start enjoying your spa:
Make sure your spa has been properly installed by a professional and is in line with the local codes. This includes the location of the spa, the foundation of the spa, and the electrical installation of the spa. For more details, a Pre-Delivery Instruction booklet can be obtained from either your HotSpring Spa dealer or online at: www.HotSpring.com/planning-tools/pre-delivery-instructions
Things you will need for start-up:
- FRESHWATER 5-way Test Strips or FRESHWATER Salt Test Strips Available if using the Salt system.
- pH Up & pH Down
- Chlorine Granules or Prefered Sanitizer
- Calcium Hardness Increaser & Alkalinity Increaser
- Clean Screen® pre-filter to remove unwanted contaminants from the tap water. This is recommended, not required.
- Water hose for filling the spa
Things You Should Never Do!
• Never power up the spa until it has been filled with water! Power to the spa automatically activates critical components within the spa, such as controls, heater, circulation pump, and other systems. If power
is supplied to these components prior to the spa being filled, the
components will be damaged, and this may result in a non-warranty
• Never fill the spa with hot water or cold water with cold water temperature below 50º F (10º C)! Tripping of the high-limit thermostat may result causing your spa to stop functioning.
• Never use your spa after filling until all of the steps listed below START-UP
• Never add chlorine if treating your spa with polyhexamethylene biguanide (Biguanide, PHMB, eg. BaquaSpa®) sanitizer.
How to Start Up a Hot Tub Part 2: Starting Up or Refilling Your Spa
The following instructions from the HotSpring Owners Manual must be read and followed exactly to ensure a successful start-up or refill.
- CLOSE ALL DRAINS AND FILL THE SPA with water through the filter compartment. Your HOT SPRING spa water level should be maintained approximately 1½” above the top of the highest jet.
- AFTER THE SPA HAS BEEN FILLED with water and the equipment compartment door is secured, power must be applied to the spa.
• 115-volt models: Connect the GFCI to the waterproof receptacle and push the RESET button on the GFCI.
• 230-volt models: Open the door of the electrical subpanel, If your spa is a GRANDEE, ENVOY, VANGUARD, or ARIA model, reset the 30 amp GFCI breaker first, verify the system is primed, then reset the 20 amp breaker. If your spa is a SOVEREIGN or JETSETTER model reset the 20 amp GFCI breaker first and verify the system is primed (see step 3), then reset the 30 amp breaker. Close and secure the subpanel door.
- TO CHECK THE OPERATION OF THE JET SYSTEM and to purge any remaining air from the heating system:
• Push the JETS icon on the Home Screen.
• Push the double jet icons to run the jet pumps on high speed for one minute.
• Press the OFF icon (far right) once the jet system is fully operational
(as indicated by strong, non-surging jets), priming of the spa is complete, to shut the jets off. Weak or surging jets are an indication of a low water level condition or clogged filter cartridges.
IMPORTANT: Be sure the COMFORT CONTROL Levers are open by turning each one clockwise and checking to see that the SMARTJET lever is pointing in the (3 o’clock) position.
- USING A TEST STRIP AND APPLICABLE CHEMICALS,
adjust Total Alkalinity (TA) to 80 ppm, Calcium Hardness (CH) to
100 ppm (if using Salt System 25-75 ppm), then spa water pH to
between 7.4 and 7.8. These procedures are listed in the “Water
Quality and Maintenance” section.
IMPORTANT: Always add spa water chemicals directly into the
filter compartment with the jet pump on high speed for at least
ten minutes. Adjusting the Total Alkalinity (TA) as the first step is
important, as out-of-balance TA will affect your ability to adjust the
pH correctly and will prevent the sanitizer from operating effectively.
- SUPERCHLORINATE THE SPA WATER by adding 1½ teaspoons of chlorine (sodium dichlor) per 250 gallons (950 liters) of spa water. Press the Clean Cycle icon on Home screen to circulate the spa water for a ten-minute period.
- DURING THE SUPER-CHLORINATION PERIOD, rotate the SMARTJET lever(s) through both operating positions, letting the spa water circulate (with jets on) for equal periods of time. The HotSpring spa’s SMARTJET levers are designed to operate in the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions.
- SET THE TEMPERATURE CONTROL, the spa is pre-programmed to reach 100°F (38° C), and will normally do so within 18 to 24 hours. You may raise or lower the water temperature by:
• Press the temperature window in the Home Screen to display the Set Temperature Screen.
• Press or to change the water set temperature.
Place the vinyl cover on the spa and allow the water temperature to stabilize. Make sure you secure the cover in place using the cover locks. Periodically check the spa water temperature. When the water temperature climbs above 90°F (32°C), proceed to the next step. To prevent tampering, you can lock your desired temperature setting. Refer to the Operating section for details.
- ROTATE THE SMARTJET SYSTEM LEVER(S) TO THE PRIMARY POSITION (3 O’CLOCK) Activate the clean cycle as described in step 5 to turn on the CLEAN cycle for ten minutes to circulate the spa water. After the clean cycle is complete, test the spa water for Free Available Chlorine (FAC) residual. If the residual is between 3 and 5 ppm on the test strips (between 1-5 ppm if using the salt system) go on to the next step. If the residual is less than 3 ppm, superchlorinate the spa water by adding 1½ teaspoons of chlorine (sodium dichlor) per 250 gallons (950 liters) of spa water. Activate the clean cycle again to circulate the spa water for another ten-minute period.
- ROTATE THE SMARTJET SYSTEM LEVER(S) TO 2ND
POSITION (9 O’CLOCK) Activate the clean cycle as described in step 5 to turn on the cycle for ten minutes to circulate the spa water. Test the spa water for Free Available Chlorine (FAC) residual. If the residual is between 3 and 5 ppm on the test strips (between 1-5 ppm if using the salt system) go on to the next step. If the residual is less than 3 ppm, superchlorinate the spa water by adding 1½ teaspoons of chlorine (sodium dichlor) per 250 gallons (950 liters) of spa water. Then Activate the clean cycle again to circulate the spa water for another ten-minute period. Repeat this procedure until both SMARTJET lever(s) operating positions have been tested.
- RECHECK the Total Alkalinity (TA) at 80 ppm, Calcium Hardness (CH) at 100 ppm (if using Salt system between 25-75 ppm), then spa water pH at between 7.4 and 7.8. using a FRESHWATER 5-way test strip.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you adjust your Total Alkalinity first, as
an out-of-balance condition will affect your ability to adjust the pH
correctly, and will prevent the sanitizer from operating effectively.
The spa is ready for use when the spa water has circulated through each SMARTJET lever operating position and the chlorine level remains between 3 ppm and 5 ppm.
- TEST WATER WEEKLY OR BEFORE EACH TIME
THE SPA IS USED
Thank you for reading our guide on how to start up a hot tub!
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- Our Parts Finder which allows you to find exact-match replacements for your hot tub.
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