This is a resource for spa-owners including a maintenance schedule, trouble-shooting, winterizing steps and water treatment.
WINTERIZING YOUR SPA:
Some people choose not to use there spa in the winter months. The reasons for this vary, some spa owners aren't around that time of year and need to "shut down" their "tub" to save on unnecessary maintenance and heating. Whatever the reason, there are a few very important steps to remember when draining your spa for the season, specifically in freezing climates. Should this procedure not be followed you could damage your spa beyond a cost which would be reasonable to repair. This happens because there is water remaining in your tub after you drain it. It is not uncommon to leave up to 4 gallons of water in a hot tub after it is drained using the built in drain plug...even if you use a sump pump (recommended) to drain your spa you will leave a substantial amount of water in the plumbing. Following is the procedure we recommend for "winterizing" your spa.
1. Purge Your System. Before you drain your spa we recommend that you use a "spa purge" also known as a "system flush". This is a very simple process and it will help in maintaining the cleanliness of your internal plumbing. This is not a necessary step for winterizing, however that is an ideal time to do it. The process involves adding a prescribed amount of cleanser directly to the existing warm water and allowing it to circulate for a period of time with the filter(s) removed (instructions on container) before draining. This process will attack the build-up of contaminants in the internal plumbing (which can cause odors, cloudiness, and foaming) so that when you drain the water, depending on how dirty the plumbing was, you will likely see these contaminants come out with the water.
2. Cut Power. Drain Tub. When you are ready to drain your tub you will first need to cut all power to the system. Accidentally running a spa with no water will quickly damage or ruin the motors and/or heating element leading to costly repairs. Once you have drained (or pumped out) your spa it is necessary to "blow out the lines". This refers to getting any residual water out of the internal plumbing. Often as your spa is draining it is a good time to clean the sides of your spa. (Penguin Spa has various supplies available for this purpose). As the water level is decreasing (which if you are using a pump will happen quickly) you can use the existing water as a rinse with your sponge.
3. Preparation to Blowing Out the Lines. Remove any jets which you are able to. This will enable you to more easily access the internal plumbing and also give you a chance to inspect their condition and clean them as necessary. Most jets simply twist and turn to remove. If they do not turn this is an indication that there may be a build up of lime or other contaminants which impede there function. In which case they should be cleaned or replaced. Now would be the ideal time to do that. Penguin Spa has a large selection of replacement jets in our store and we can also order jets for you if necessary. Remove filters (should already be removed), diverter valve assembly (cap should simply screw off and diverter, if functioning properly, should be able to be pulled directly out), remove any fittings on your tub which are easily accessible. You should not have to use any tools to remove the fittings. If you wish to remove the filter basket in the footwell for cleaning you can do that with a screwdriver, though it is usually not necessary and definitely no necessary for WINTERIZING.
4. Blowing Out the Lines. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP in WINTERIZING your spa. Once your jets are removed take your leaf blower, or high-power shop vacuum and insert the end into the various ports you have opened in preparation (Step 3). This may take some time as it is advisable to take the time to go back to ports which you have already blown out a second and possibly a third time. As you blow through the various ports you will notice water coming out of the other openings and into the footwell. This is all the water which would have been left in the tub (over the Winter) and probably would have frozen, breaking your pipes and fittings. We have seen tubs with 4 or 5 leaks. They can be problematic to find and in some cases not practical to fix. As the remaining water is forced out of the tub you may notice organic material and contaminants being flushed into the footwell along with the remaining water. This is the material which was built up in your plumbing and is now removed from the walls of the pipes. The amount you will see depends on the original condition. Some spas are maintained better than others and you may not see much of anything at all in the residual water.
5. Drain Plug. If you can access the drain plug on the motor (you will have to remove the access panel) you can also insure there is no water remaining in the pump area plumbing. This is not a critical point as long as you have blown through the lines VERY thoroughly.
6. Clean Jets. If needed you can soak jets or other parts in some diluted muriatic acid to help remove any alkalinity build-up. Be careful when using the muriatic acid and add it into your bucket already filled with water. Rinse parts and determine if any should be replaced. If you prefer you can wait until spring to replace the jets, but the other parts should be returned to their original locations after cleaning. Take care to notice the various rings and seals. Your seals (usually black) should be ok. If they need to be replaced bring a sample in so we can find the appropriate replacement for you.