Beginner’s Guide to Spa Water Treatment and Maintenance



If you’re new to the world of spa ownership, don’t worry! This handy water treatment guide will help you get started.


Perhaps you prize your hot tub for its wellness-related benefits, such as improved circulation and relaxed muscles. Or maybe your spa is a source of rest and relaxation, providing you with some much-needed “me” time after a long day. Either way, there’s nothing quite like a nice, long soak to put your body and mind at ease.

Of course, being a spa owner isn’t all about taking it easy: To keep your hot tub clean, inviting, and in proper working condition, you’ll need to establish a good water treatment routine. If you’re new to the world of spa ownership, don’t worry! This handy water treatment guide will help you get started.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. A good test kit

Testing is an essential part of keeping your water balanced and clean. Most pool supply retailers sell chemical test kits or easy-to-use, color-changing test strips – you simply dip the strip and wait for the results. You’ll want to find a kit that measures the following:

  • Alkalinity. Ideally, your spa’s water should have an alkalinity between 80 and 200 parts per million – or “PPM,” for short. If your alkalinity is too low, you can use an alkalinity increaser (Acti Alkafix). If the water’s alkalinity is too high, it may be a sign of an underlying issue with calcium hardness.
  • pH. High pH can lead to algae, mineral buildup and scaling, and even eye irritation. Low pH can cause corrosion. The ideal pH is between 7.0 and 7.6. You can use chemical increasers (Acti pH Plus) and decreasers (Acti pH Minus) to help bring your pH in line if it’s too high or too low.
  • Calcium hardness. Excessive calcium can result in hard-to-remove deposits on surfaces and equipment. The calcium hardness in your spa water should be between 150 to 200 PPM. If your test results are higher than the recommended range, talk to your pool professional.

2. Chlorine or bromine

Chlorine and bromine help sanitize your spa water and prevent harmful bacteria from building up. These chemicals essentially perform the same functions, so you only need to choose one. Which is best for you? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision:

  • Price: Chlorine (Acti Long Tab) is slightly less expensive than bromine (Acti Brom Tab), which makes it a good choice if you’re on a budget.
  • Effectiveness: While both bromine and chlorine will help keep contaminants in check, bromine packs more of a punch when it comes to killing bacteria.
  • Water balance: Chlorine has a high pH, which means that you’ll need to keep a close eye on your water chemistry. You might even need to use a chemical pH decreaser. Bromine, on the other hand, has no effect on your spa’s pH.

3. Shock treatment

Shock treatments help break down organic matter and prevents the growth of algae and bacteria. Shock treatments also help keep your spa water crystal-clear and odor-free. There are two kinds of shock treatments available:

  • Oxygen-based shock treatments (Acti Brom Shock)are typically used as part of routine spa maintenance.
  • Chlorine-based shock treatments (Acti Shock) are most often used for emergency treatments, like a sudden algae outbreak.

4. Spa and filter cleaning solutions

Eventually, you’ll need to drain your hot tub and do a good, thorough cleaning. To clean the shell of your hot tub, you can purchase a special spa cleaner from a pool supplier – or you can use a mixture of water and white vinegar or water and bleach. To clean your filter, rinse it to remove larger particles of dirt and debris. From there, use a specialized cleaning solution for a deep cleaning. (Keep in mind, though, that you’ll eventually need to replace your spa filter when it gets too dirty).

Have fun, stay safe!

Remember, when dealing with any spa chemicals, test kits, or other treatments, it’s important to follow some basic safety tips:

  • Before using any spa chemicals or test kits, read the instructions completely.
  • Use and store all spa chemicals as directed.
  • Avoid using expired spa chemicals.
  • Wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles when handling spa chemicals.
  • Wash your hands immediately after handling any chemicals.


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  • Martin

    I appreciate you informing us that there are special cleaning solutions required for our spa maintenance if we want to properly remove large particles of dirt and debris. I recently opened a swim spa business, so I need to know what to do and who to call for hot tub maintenance in the future. I'll keep this in mind while I look for a spa repair service to contact for help later on.

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