Maintaining a hot tub can be tedious, but it is not as difficult as the upkeep of a swimming pool. Generally, the smaller the tub, the easier it is to maintain. But what hot tub is decent-sized and maintains itself?
The easiest hot tub to maintain is Aquarest Spas Elite Plug and Play Spa because of its superior filtration system. This tub gets rid of more impurities for a longer period and flows water fast, so microbes don’t infest it. This reduces the burden of balancing tub chemistry.
In this article, you will learn what maintenance is required when you get a hot tub, which features can minimize hot tub maintenance burden, and what makes Aquarest Spas generally easy to maintain. By the end of this brief read, you will know enough to confidently choose a hot tub even if it isn’t mentioned in the post. So let’s get started with the maintenance requirements of an average hot tub.
What Maintenance Does a Hot Tub Need?
If you’ve talked about wanting a hot tub, you’ve probably heard, “maintaining a hot tub is more expensive than buying a hot tub.” Of course, this is an exaggeration, but hot tub upkeep does cost a non-nominal amount. But it is only fair that you figure out what maintenance is required before you make it a key point in your buying decision. Here are a few things needed of you as a hot tub owner.
You have to keep adding pool chemicals to maintain your hot tub health. This is an important step that requires active monitoring and adjusting. This part of tub health maintenance requires a stock of pool chemicals. Since hot tubs are much smaller than a swimming pool, you don’t need multiple containers of pool chemicals at once.
Hot Tub pH Testing
This step can be lumped with pool chemicals because it relates to them. However, the responsibility you have regarding testing is different. To add pool chemicals, you have to buy and store them. To monitor the pH of your hot tub, you have to measure it regularly.
Both of these are different duties that contribute to the same desired effect: a chemically balanced hot tub. While the specific duties aren’t mandatory, the result definitely is. A well-balanced hot tub is safe enough for humans while being deadly for microbes.
Running the Hot Tub Pump Consistently
Microbes are deterred not by chemicals alone. Heat naturally kills some, while the constant movement of water prevents others from propagating. Regardless of how often you run your hot tub, you need to run the hot tub pump for at least 8 hours a day. For maximum efficiency, you should do this in 2 sessions of 4 hours each. Erring on the side of more is fine but avoid running the pump for less than a sum total of 8 hours.
This is a cost-intensive maintenance step that is non-negotiable regardless of the hot tub you get. There is not a single hot tub on the planet that can keep sitting water microbe-free for multiple days.
Replacing the Water
Another non-negotiable of hot tub maintenance is the replacement of water, which must occur every few months. There comes a time when a body of water has overstayed its welcome. This happens around the third month if you use your hot tub often and can happen past the fourth month if you use the tub occasionally.
Either way, you have to drain the tub completely and fill it back up. Do read my article on whether cold water can be added to a hot tub because it has important instructions on how to fill an empty hot tub. If you fill yours without following those steps, your tub’s water heater might get damaged.
Backwashing the Filter
Finally, there is the backwashing burden. Hot tub filters are like most plumbing filters. They remove impurities by imposing a physical barrier. To that extent, they get clogged with what they hold back. Cleaning and sometimes replacing the filter are a consequent requirement.
Repairing the Hot Tub
While this isn’t, hopefully, required very often, it is part and parcel of owning a hot tub. Repairs can start at $50 and go up to the cost of the entire hot tub. That’s why durability is one of the most important traits to look for when you buy a hot tub. Keep in mind that the price of a hot tub doesn’t automatically reflect the frequency of repairs it requires.
Here are some of the note-worthy facts relevant to hot tub repairs:
- Second-hand hot tubs have fewer spare parts – If a hot tub model isn’t available as a brand new product, its spare parts might be discontinued as well. As a result, you’ll have a Frankenstein’s Hot Tub featuring spare parts from different types of hot tubs. It is also unwise to get a second-hand hot tub because flaws of such items take time to surface.
- Expensive tubs have expensive but durable parts – While an expensive hot tub might not be perpetually free of repair requirements, it does feature expensive parts. These parts take longer to wear out, so usage-related repairs don’t happen as often.
- No hot tub is durable enough to survive mishandling – Usage-related repairs affect all hot tubs regardless of price. Don’t overlook hot tub care just because your tub costs more. If you misuse the hot tub, it will get damaged. For instance, letting air into the water inlet will burn the tub’s water heater even if you get the most expensive hot tub in the world.
- Not using a hot tub doesn’t make it last longer – Finally, it is worth remembering that letting your hot tub just sit will not make it last. In fact, lack of use will render many of its small components unusable. More importantly, the tub’s filter pump must run 8 hours a day to keep the water in it from stagnating and attracting microbes.
What Makes a Hot Tub Low Maintenance?
Your choice of hot tub shouldn’t be limited to what I present or approve of. That’s why it is important to know what makes hot tubs easier to maintain besides the specific hot tubs that usually require less maintenance. Here are the key maintenance reducers to keep in mind.
Ease of Monitoring
Hot tub chemical balancing is harder than pool chemicals because the concentration of ‘foreign entities’ in a hot tub is much higher than their concentration in a swimming pool. One person in a swimming pool occupies less than 1/100th of the pool’s area. In a pool where chemicals and water are the native materials, a single human is less than 1% foreign material. The same person might occupy 20% of a hot tub. The resulting disruption in the pH of the hot tub is higher compared to the pool’s disruption. Interestingly, adding chemicals isn’t the hard part. It is monitoring the chemical balance that’s a chore. Hot tubs that have a smart chemical balance or pH monitors are easier to maintain.
Most hot tubs have the same cleaning system. They use a combination of heat and motion to skim dirt or incinerate microbes. Good hot tubs are really good at doing the same stuff that average hot tubs do, just okay. The better your heat pump, the less you need to maintain your tub. The better your tub filter, the less work it requires. Good flow also reduces scale buildup, which can be a problem that keeps on giving. If your hot tub water is hard, mineral deposits will line the pipes. This can restrict the flow of water, which can reduce the rate at which it is heated and filtered, attracting microbes and accumulating dirt in the process. Make sure your hot tub has decent plumbing, so you don’t have to play hide-and-seek with potential problems.
Low Breakdown Rate
Finally, you need to consider the rate of repairs that your tub requires. All hot tubs require repairs. Knowing which hot tub will have you running to your local repair guy more often is the key to being a carefree hot tub owner. There are two main ways to figure this out. The first is to go by customer reviews. While a single review can be biased, multiple customers appreciating the durability of a product is usually an indicator of truth. The second way is to look at the manufacturer’s warranty and buy the hot tub that has the most rock-solid repair policy. Generally, hot tubs that are genuinely made with durable components come with a strong warranty. Both of these methods have pros and cons.
The advantage of assessing tub strength by customer reviews is that you learn more about other aspects of the product you’re trying to purchase. The drawback is that it is theoretically possible for a hot tub manufacturer to pay hundreds of people to lie about it.
On the other hand, the advantage of a manufacturer’s warranty is that it gives you something to use when your tub does break down. But if the manufacturer isn’t based in the US, then there is no knowing whether the warranty will be honored.
The middle-ground seems to be as follows: be careful with the reviewers you trust. And buy hot tubs from a US-based business if you’re in the states.
Why trust me: I don’t have a blog focused on selling hot tubs, and I write about helpful topics that contain zero pitches or promotions. More importantly, I’m giving you the tools to pick out a hot tub independently. I also disclose affiliate links, and my personal policy is to put my readers’ interests above affiliate opportunities.
Which Hot Tubs Are the Easiest To Maintain?
Now that you know how you can tell high-maintenance hot tubs from low-maintenance ones let’s go over the hot tub that I find easiest to maintain according to the same criteria.
Aquarist Spas Elite Plug and Play Spa is the easiest hot tub to maintain because it is durable and rarely breaks down. That’s why the elite spa’s manufacturer gives a 5-year warranty on it. The hot tub has high heat efficiency and a perfect water flow rate that enables a clean water environment.
That said, it doesn’t allow smart monitoring of the water’s chemical balance, which means you need to get a digital monitor to help balance the acidity and alkalinity of your tub water with ease. Such smart monitors are easy to get and can be used with any hot tub.
All in all, if you’re looking for a hot tub that is easy to maintain in terms of lower repairs, then the Elite Plug and Play Spa is enough. But if you’re looking for a spa that is also easy to use every day, then you need to get a digital monitor. Since these monitors are relatively low priced, you might wonder why Aquarest doesn’t just tack one onto the Elite spa. Smart monitors are easy to damage and require their own assembly line, which is why most hot tubs don’t come with these pre-attached.
In my estimation, what the Elite Plug and Play Spa has is much better. Here are some key features that reduce the maintenance burden of this specific hot tub.
|Feature||How it eases maintenance|
|29 Hydrotherapy jets made from stainless steel||No rusting, which means a lower replacement burden|
|Polyethylene shell (tough and impact-resistant)||A large part of hot tub maintenance is dealing with the dents and scratches on its exterior. This hot tub doesn’t dent as easily.|
|Digital Controls||With manual controls, it is easy to overheat a tub and scald its interior or underheat it and leave the water vulnerable to microbes. Digital controls make operation and usage easier.|
|Full Foam Insulation||Higher heat-retention keeps the pump from over-working to heat the water. More importantly, the wiring and small components of this spa are not affected by the water temperature.|
|Made in USA / Offers a 5-year warranty||Warranty is often provided by manufacturers that are confident in their products. Since durability is one of this spa’s key selling points, a 5-year warranty inspires confidence in the product’s durability as well.|
|Easy to set up||It is a ‘plug and play’ spa for a reason. The entire spa can be hardwired by an electrician and can be set up indoors too!|
|It can be used indoors||Everything related to outdoor maintenance (hail, wind, excessive rainfall) goes away if you set this spa indoors.|
The easiest hot tubs to maintain are ones that have multi-year warranties. Generally, their exterior shell is hard, and they have mostly positive reviews, often citing the ease of their operation. You can look for these features in every hot tub or spa you consider or go with the tried-and-tested option above.