How To Start Up Your Spa or Hot Tub


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Spring is here and the snow is gone. It may be too cold for the swimming pool, but the weather is just right for the spa. Opening/starting-up your spa properly using these steps will ensure you will enjoy it as it should be enjoyed.

Step by Step


Step 1

When you're ready to open the spa for the season, begin by clearing off any water and/or debris off of the cover. Once the cover is clear, clean it with a solution that is safe for the cover (check the paperwork that came with the cover) and allow it to dry. Once it has dried, you can remove and store the cover.

Step 2

Once the cover has been removed, raise the water level, if necessary, to the recommended level. Now is a good time to insert a clean cartridge or clean the old one (if applicable).

Step 3

Once the correct water level has been reached, start up the pump and filter and it allow it to run while checking for leaks in the pump or plumbing. If there are no leaks present, continue to let the pump run for at least an hour. If there are leaks present, mark them, then turn the pump off while repairs are made.

Step 4

After the spa water has circulated for at least an hour, I would recommend using a sequestering agent or metal remover. Metals are present in tap water and should be neutralized before the chemicals are adjusted.

Click Here to View the Natural Chemistry Spa Metal Free

Step 5

After allowing the metal remover to circulate in the spa for at least 4-6 hours, take a water sample (approximately a foot down) to be tested. The 4 most common chemicals tested in a spa are chlorine/bromine, pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. If you are using an alternative sanitizer, the chemicals needed for start-up will vary.

Click Here to View our Water Testing Kits

Step 6

Once the water results have been determined, you may begin adjusting the chemicals. Make certain that you are following the manufacturer's directions to ensure that the chemicals are being added properly. I would recommend adjusting the calcium first then allowing at least 12 hours before adjusting the pH or alkalinity.

Click Here to View the Natural Chemistry Calcium Hardness 

Step 7

You are now ready to adjust the pH or alkalinity (or both) depending on your results. If both are low, I recommend adjusting the alkalinity first. The increase in alkalinity will slightly increase the pH as well.

Click Here to View the Natural Chemistry Alkalinity Increaser

Click Here to View the Natural Chemistry pH Up

Step 8

Once the pH and alkalinity have been adjusted, you can add the sanitizer. If you are using chlorine, you would follow the product labels and add the granules directly to the spa water. If you are using bromine, you would use Bromine Start, to establish a "reserve" before adding the bromine tablets in a floater or dispenser in the spa. Sodium bromide is typically added at a rate of 1/2 oz. per 100 gallons of water.

Click Here to View the Natural Chemistry Chlorine Concentrate

Click Here to View the Natural Chemistry Bromine Tabs

Step 9

The last step in spa start-up is to shock the water. Whether you are using chlorine or bromine, an oxidizing shock should be used before or after a heavy bather load or at least once a week. The oxidizing shock will eliminate odors and organic build-up in spa water.

Click Here to View our Spa Shock


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 Posted: 4/7/2020 

When one is first starting with a spa, what are the initial amounts of chemicals one should start with (then test to adjust)? Thanks!

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 4/8/2020 

The spa chemicals usually come with a dosage based on gallonage of the spa. Follow those instructions, and go from there.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 10/6/2014 

joyce - Sounds like you don't have sufficient Bromine reserve. Give us a call at 877-372-6038 and ask for Alex. He's our best chemical man. Tell him that you just started filling your hot tub and can't maintain sufficient bromine level.

 Posted: 10/3/2014 

I just filled my hot tub and put in the recommended chemicals.
however, I wasn't told to start up with the bromide granule product; should have I started with this? I cannot seem to keep any bromine in the water ; I have used Bromine Concentrate and have bromine tablets (2) in a floater. What should I do??


 Posted: 11/29/2019 

Just got a jacuzzi from a neighbor. I have no idea what to buy to make it work right. Give me some direction, please

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 12/11/2019 

That depends on what you mean by "make it work." Do you have to replace the whole pump and filter system? Does the control work? Are the jets in working order? Or, does all the equipment work and all you need to do clean it and fill it?

Anonymous  Posted: 12/30/2013 

Thanks, this is very helpful