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Spa Opening - Closing Problems

Proper maintenance procedures help protect the spa.
The Pool and Spa Informational Website or

Getting Started and Shutting Down.


Scroll down to browse through some archived SPA and Hot Tub questions and answers.  Please click the Spa Problems Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Spa and Hot Tub Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Spa and Hot Tub Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Spa and Hot Tub Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for Spas and Hot Tubs, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!


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Opening or Closing a spa or swim-spa!!!
Whether opening closing, sanitation and chemistry are important considerations, for proper spa water management.  Salt Chlorine generators are a better way to utilize chlorine, producing more controllable results. They eliminate the need to handle, measure or store chlorine products, while reducing buildup problems.  An Electronic PockeTester Kit is a convenient way to monitor the salt level.
Salt Chlorine Generators - 4 Models Testing The Salt Level Salt Chlorine Generators - 4 Models
SmarterSpa Salt Chlorine Generator, with Chlorine Detection Technology. #1749 PockeTester Kit, for salt TDS and temperature. MegaChlor-CD salt chlorine generator, with Chlorine Detection Technology.
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If you have a pool or spa water testing need, we should have the product.
Scroll down to read through some Question & Answer information.
A ColorQ 2X is a 2nd generation, Bluetooth, Waterproof, all-digital tester, that can measure all the common test factors. There is a model, for every sanitizing need.  The Stain Reversal Kit contains everything needed to remove the metal stains, eliminate the heavy metals and help prevent a recurrence, of the problem. The WaterLink SpinTouch Labs are the ultimate tester, doing up to 10 different water test factors, in just 1 minute.  Voted product of the year.
ColorQ All-Digital Water Testers Stain Reversal Kit, for Pools and Spas WaterLink SpinTouch Labs
#2086 ColorQ 2X, Bluetooth, Waterproof, 2nd generation all-digital pool and spa tester. MetalTrap Stain Reversal Kit, for pools and spas WaterLink SPIN Touch Lab
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If you have a pool or spa water testing need, we should have the product.
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A  lot of variables affect the clarity and quality of the spa or swim-spa water.  Filters require reasonable maintenance and cleaning, on a seasonal or as-needed basis.  If you have a cartridge filter, The Blaster Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner will make that chore much easier.  Fine particles can pass through many filters. An easy-to-install, Magnetic Water Conditioner can help mitigate some the the scaling issues, associated with high calcium hardness.  Some water sources contain heavy metals, which can lead to discoloration and staining problems.  Attaching a MetalTrap Filter, to the garden hose, will remove dissolved heavy metals, avoiding some potential staining problems.
Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner Magnetic Water Conditioners Removes Heavy Metals, from  the water
Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners, for pools and spas. Magnetic Water Conditioner, for calcium hardness and scale issue.s MetalTrap Fiters
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If you have a pool or spa water testing need, we should have the product.
Scroll down to read through some Question & Answer information.

How to start up a new spa or shut one down?

 Most spas and hot tubs remain in use all year long, even in cold northern climes. However, sometimes circumstances will necessitate that a unit be closed for a period of time. Closing or winterizing refers to the steps necessary, in order to protect the unit and related equipment from the possible effects of freeze-thaw damage, during the inactive winter months. Proper winterizing protects your investment and can help make reopening easier and less expensive. Opening refers to the steps necessary in order to return the unit to operating status and achieve crystal clear spa water. If problems arise, refer to the Spa Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Spa Opening?

We were not anticipating using the spa during the winter, so we followed the spa dealer's suggestions last fall, and closed it up. We drained the spa and added some antifreeze. Is there anything special that we need to do to get back into the spa? We use well water and did have some iron problems last year. Thank you.

C. S., Colorado Springs, CO, 5/1/2018

Make sure that you rinse and drain the spa thoroughly, in order to remove all of the antifreeze. There will probably be some mold or other microorganisms, needing to be destroyed. Here is where some planning can save you a lot of time and even money!  You can
METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese. use a METALTRAP Filter to pre-treat all new water added, which helps keep additions of iron and other metals out and minimizes the possibility of staining. You should, also, use the METALTRAP Filter to treat any water added to top off the spa. A single METALTRAP Filter can be used to refill a typical spa about 20 times. All you have to do is attach the METALTRAP Filter to the garden hose that is used to add water to the spa. You will definitely save money, by not having to buy metal treatments. Get the spa refilled and running and add a healthy dose of shock. Make sure that the filter cartridge is clean: using The BLASTER Filter Cartridge Cleaner makes it easy. I'm not certain about which product to recommend, because you did not provide sanitizer information. Basically, you must raise the sanitizer and/or oxidizer levels high enough to completely destroy any microbial accumulations.  This can be done while the temperature is being raised. When the spa temperature is up where you want it to be and the water is clear, there are no signs of microorganisms and there is an adequate sanitizer level, you should be able to resume normal usage. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/1/2018

Un-Winterizing A Spa?

I have a 2005 Spa that I had winterized.  I now want to open spa and fill but not sure on the proper way to un-winterize the spa.  I do have a blower on my shop vac.  Basically, how to I get the antifreeze out of all the lines and jets. including pump, etc?  Please advise and thanks.

Adrianne U. 7/8/2016
SmarterSpa Salt Chlorine Generator for Spas.

I would open the valve and let any liquid drain out.  Leave the valve open and start hosing down the inside, for about 15 minutes.  Flush out the skimmer, return and lines, as well.  This should flush out any residual antifreeze.  After that, you should be ready to refill the spa.  Ever think of sanitizing with a salt chlorine generator?  We offer several affordable no-installation required models.  It will eliminate the handling. measuring and storage of chlorine products.  Enjoy the season.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 7/8/2016


Spa Winterizing?

I have an outdoor 275 gallon spa with a cover. I was wondering if it would be possible to add a few gallons of antifreeze and some chemicals to help keep the spa from freezing over the winter. I won't be using it and I don't want to pay for the electricity. Thank you.

John C., Fishkill, NY, 1/4/2014

Adding a few gallons of antifreeze to a 275 gallon spa will have almost no effect on preventing freezing. The only thing you can do is to completely drain the spa and remove as much water as possible. Use a shop vacuum to blow out the lines. At that point, you might want to add a gallon or two of a propylene glycol based antifreeze (used in boats and campers) and pour it into the lines or other areas that might still hold some water. Afterwards, cover the spa securely and seal to prevent water from getting in. Make sure that snow or ice does not accumulate on top and collapse the cover. The spa manufacturer might have additional winterizing instructions, in a spa maintenance tips guide, that you can follow or you could check with a local spa professional. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/4/2014

Frozen Hot Tub?

Please Help! I have a hot tub that's been outside in Below Zero temperatures for the winter. It's been covered up to keep snow off it. Water was drained out before winter hit, but no vacuum was available to get all the water out. What parts do you suppose I'll need to replace before attempting to use it again. The tub itself still looks new. It's only three years old. Thanks for your advice.

Leslie in Alaska, 2/23/2006

I'll take that to mean that some water, few inches, remained in the bottom? Depending upon the spa design and features that could have allowed some pipes to have water in them and this could result in freeze-thaw damage. There is no way to be sure, other that filling the spa with some water. A schematic might help determine which pipes, if any, might need replacement. Good luck and I hope that I have been of some help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/24/2006

Extended Absence?

We just refilled our spa and switched to a non-chlorine regimen of maintenance with mineral purifier cartridge (about 2 weeks ago). Now we will have to not use the spa for several months due to certain health concerns. What is the best way to maintain our spa during this period - should we empty it, turn the heater off only or keep the temperature low (how low?) and adding chemicals? We live in central Florida. Thank you for your help.

Rich and Irena L., Florida, 5/30/2012

You have two basic choices. Draining the spa completely will be the least expensive, but could result in seals drying out. This is
something that you might have to confirm with the manufacturer. This is probably the safest course of action, as it avoids the possibility of electrical problems. Otherwise, shut off the heater and make sure that the water is balanced. If you are supplementing the mineral sanitizer with chlorine boost the level to about 5 PPM before leaving. If the spa has an ozonator, the chlorine should not be needed. Because the spa will not be in use, you should be able to cut the hours of filter operation in half. Ask yourself, if you really want to leave this equipment switching on and off for several months? I would opt to drain the spa. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/30/2012

Is Anti-Freeze Necessary?

I recently closed my spa, I hired someone to do it. I felt the guy he hired did not do a good job. Let's say next spring when I open the spa, some of the pipes are damaged, who is responsible for it? Do you have to put anti-freeze to close the spa? Thank you.

Verna, 12/18/2006

This could easily become a case or you said and he said. Not all spas are alike and some things may have to be done differently. I doubt that it is possible to completely drain all of the water from the lines, especially those on the floor. What does the instruction manual say? Water remaining in the lines could subject the pipes to freeze-thaw damage. Removing as much water as possible and then adding a few gallons of a propylene glycol based antifreeze should help prevent a problem. Next spring, fill the spa, clean and drain to remove the antifreeze. I hope this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/18/2006

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Power Outage?

We had a short power outage today and started up the hot tub without problems a few hours later, but it got me thinking - what should I do if we ended up having a long period of power outage? Temperature today with wind chill was -10 degrees F. How long would it take before pipes would freeze and again - what should I do if we had a long period of power outage? Thanks.

 Cindy S., 2/6/2007

This is a very good question. I really can't tell you how long it will take to run the risk of freeze-thaw damage, as it depends on spa size, temperature and how well it is insulated. Eventually, it will freeze, given the worst case scenario.  It should be a minimum of several days and by that time, it may prove difficult to drain completely. Under good circumstances, it is difficult to completely empty a spa. Adding a few gallons of a propylene glycol formula antifreeze (RV vehicles and marine applications) to the last of the remaining inch or two might help. I suggest that you ask the manufacturer, as they know their product best. Let's hope the outages are few and short.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/6/2007

Deep Blue Spa Water?

Thanks for a great site. I hadn't used my spa lately but I keep the heat on daily during periods of freezing weather to protect the pipes. I went to use the spa and when I opened it up it looked like someone had poured blue dye in it. There was a blue ring and the filter had a blue residue on it. The water had gotten very acid. I drained and cleaned the tub and system, but I don't know what caused it to turn blue. First time in 20 years. Best regards.

Rodger G., 2/21/2016

A blue color? The cause was low pH (below 7.0) and the presence of chlorine or bromine. This resulted in corrosion of copper in the heater. You probably only paid attention to the chlorine level during this period of disuse. Hopefully, the damage was not extensive. In the future make sure that the pH is 7.2-7.6. A TA around 100 PPM can help maintain a proper pH. I hope that I have cleared up the mystery.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/22/2016

Away For A Few Weeks?

I have just drained my spa and in the process of doing a spring cleaning. However, I will be gone for the next three weeks, and will not have anyone to do the required weekly maintenance. Will it hurt anything to keep the spa empty until my return. I live in Northern Nevada, with temps currently into the high 20's, low 30's at night. Thanks!

Mary J., Nevada, 3/8/2006

A lot depends on the actual spa design. If all the water is removed that is one thing. However, if there can be small amounts left in the pipes, it could freeze and that would be bad thing. If unsure, fill the spa up and add a full bromine floater. Make sure that the pH is around 7.8 and you should be good for a few weeks, especially if the heater is off. If you have an ozonator, there should be even fewer problems with the water quality, during your absence. With all the water in, freezing is not likely to occur overnight, under the conditions that you described. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/9/2006

Winterizing A Pool/Spa Combo?

We are going to be closing our inground pool and spa combination down for the winter. This is our first year of ownership. Until now we have been doing all of the maintenance ourselves. What is involved in winterizing a combination such as ours. Our spa did not come with a Spa Care Guide or a Problem-Solver, so your help will be appreciated.

Carla M., New City, NY, 9/2/2013

Closing a combination pool/spa unit, such as you are describing is more complicated than winterizing separate units. It would be best to allow the builder and/or an experienced service company to close the pool/spa for the first time. You may not be able to just empty the spa, cover it and be finished. Hydrostatic pressures could "pop" the spa out of the ground and this can result in severe damage. If the possibility of hydrostatic pressure causing such a problem exists, in all likelihood, the spa will have to be left with some or most of the water in it, before completing the winterizing procedure. Depending upon how the unit is actually constructed, there are various steps that need to be taken. All the lines have to be blown out and as much water removed, as possible. A propylene glycol based antifreeze should be added to completely fill all the lines. Do not use automotive antifreeze. Drain all equipment. All equipment that can be drained and removed to a safe indoor location, should be treated according to the manufacturer's directions. Seal off the skimmer intake with a plug, remove the weir, place an ice compensator in the skimmer (a plastic bottle or crushable shape), add antifreeze to the skimmer. Place a poly or vinyl sheet (at least 6 mils thick) on the bottom (helps deal with the hydrostatic pressure) and refill the spa to just below the skimmer. Place an ice compensator or crushable shape on the water surface. This will help avoid freeze-thaw damage. Add some winterizing chemicals, as used in the pool. Cover the spa securely with a solid cover and hold down with water bags or other suitable means. Use a cover pump to prevent accumulations of water on the cover top. Before the arrival of serious winter weather, check the water level to make sure that it is still below the skimmer. The pool, of course should be winterized appropriately. These instructions are a guide - your spa might require something different, making it important to check with the builder or dealer! I hope that I have been of assistance. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/2/2013

Closing For The Summer?

My question is that I have a hot tub and I want to close it down for the summer months. Will it cause a problem. I have no water in it and I turned the power off and put a box of baking soda in it. Thanks.

Jacqueline L., 5/13/2009

The baking soda might help, but will not be enough. Most likely you will see mold growing on some surfaces and elsewhere in the plumbing. Remove the filter cartridge and allow to dry out. After the summer, when the spa is refilled, you will probably have to add some extra chlorine to eliminate any mold growth. Once you get the sanitizer level stable and the chemistry right, as long as the water is clear the spa should be good to go. I hope that this information will be helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/13/2009

Opening  And Removing The Cover?

We have a large hot spa and the cover is really a handful to manage. What is an easy solution, that won't cost a fortune.

Jackie T, Kissimmee, FL,  11/14/2010

The best thing is to use something that will make it easier to remove and replace the thermal cover. A spa cover lifter is just what you are looking for.  There are several affordable models, with little or no installation required.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/15/2010

Draining For The Winter?

Is it possible to drain the spa for the winter and not have any damage to it? What would I need to do?

Mike, 11/5/2008

Try as you might, if you drain the spa, there is a possibility that some water will remain in some of the lines in the lowest part of the spa. This could lead to freeze-thaw damage. If you have to drain the spa, make sure that you remove as much water as possible and add some propylene glycol based antifreeze. Consult the spa manufacturer's manual for other recommendations and suggestions. Good luck and have a good winter.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/5/2008

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