Have you noticed that your spa pillows have begun deteriorating much more quickly than you thought they would, or that the underside of your spa cover is starting to wrinkle or discolor? Unfortunately, this could be a sign of a chemical maintenance concern in your hot tub, and while this can be definitely frustrating, it is also thankfully an early warning that allows you to take remedial action before something bigger and badder crops up!
Here’s how you can avoid this situation in the future and extend the life of your spa pillows and by extension other and more expensive components like the heater. Soft surfaces are like the canary in the coal mine; if something is eating away at them, it’s definitely and gradually eating away at harder and more expensive components as well:
Cleaning and maintaining a hot tub is relatively simple but is all about heading off problems before they occur. Humans are covered in bacteria (no surprises here), and while much of that bacteria are harmless, some are not. Either way that bacteria will end up in your hot tub, especially as you use it more and more.
We use chemicals like chlorine and bromine to kill the bacteria to keep the water safe for all, and these chemicals produce corrosive gasses as they do their job. Over time these gasses build up and become trapped under the spa cover. Most people don’t realize the case, but that “off” smell that you sometimes get when you open the lid, or the nasty smell of an inground pool, are the clearest signs that these gasses are building up.
Your hot tub needs to “off-gas” by being opened up at least 3-4 times a week for 15 minutes each time. This simple act will help to reduce the “thermos effect,” where, in trying to trap heat we are also trapping gasses. If you are not using the tub regularly or are going to be out of town for a while, be sure you or a friend get out there and pop the cover periodically, and of course, you can simply remove the spa pillows from your hot tub for the time you are away.
Maintaining water with the right mineral balance takes a little attention to detail, yet many hot tub owners overlook this duty. If levels are too acidic or too low in calcium, your spa pillows are most definitely going to deteriorate more quickly than normal.
Test your own water using simple dip-strips 3 to 4 times a week, and bring a water sample into our store every six weeks for a free test. One of our Purewater hot tub specialists would be happy to check the balance and offer recommendations when something is out of whack. It also should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, if your test or our test shows a need to correct the water balance, it’s up to you to follow through. Be sure to adjust the pH, alkalinity, and calcium as required!
You need to shock your hot tub water on a regular basis to keep your water safe. At the same time, shock treatment can be an intense experience for your spa pillows as it creates a burst of corrosive gas. Most simply, be sure to leave the cover off for 15 minutes each and every time you shock the spa. If you want to truly maximize the life of spa pillows, remove them during and for a couple of hours after each shock treatment. The latter suggestion is fairly impractical, but it works!
You should be cleaning your spa pillows at least once per month. Our Purewater hot tub specialists recommend Spa & Tub cleaner or eco-friendly Clean & Perfect. Rinse off the cleaner and finish with 303 Protectant spray to shield your pillows from chemicals and elements.
If pillow wear is a frequent problem, consider incorporating non-chemical agents like Spa Perfect and Refresh. These natural enzymes are non-corrosive and reduce your reliance on traditional, more corrosive chemicals. Call us if this sounds interesting to you!
Follow these recommendations from our Purewater hot tub specialists, and you will extend the life of your spa pillows and other components. The hard work is done, now it’s time to sink in and relax!