April 17, 2012 6:34:20 AM PDT
For many years now we have been repeatedly asked what we would recommend for off season spa maintenance. In an effort to save the costs, many of our customers have thought it prudent to have the spa shut down (emptied). Though on first flush it may appear to save money, on further inspection, this might not be the best course of action here is a true story and why we changed our service policy.
Eight years ago now, one of our long term clients sent us an email on the 18th of Dec. saying , “oh my gosh I forgot to inform you that we have guests coming in for two weeks, on the 21st, please get the spa ready , sorry for not letting you know sooner.”
We had shut down his spa as was good practice, at the end of the previous season, so we were not too worried and we went and set it up, all went well until water came shooting out of the side of the spa. We called in the spa suppliers, as it was under warranty, to come and repair it, we emptied it and waited, they finally came out a few days later and said that the tub needed to be full and then left after taking $150.00 for their visit. We filled the spa and they came back the following day, yep there was indeed a leak, and of course we had to empty it again so that they could work on it by tipping it on its side so they could dig out the insulation to get at the part. Back again, after ordering and getting in the part (a back-check valve) from California and fixed it, elapsed time two weeks. In the meantime the rental agent had to move the renter to new accommodation, total cost to the client, repairs and loss of revenues approximately $3,600.00. Needless to say he was not a happy camper!
In an effort to prevent this from ever occurring again we instituted our off season maintenance programme.
Professionals, including us, when emptying a spa will do the following;
- Firstly, they will dechlorinate and pump out the spa water, then they will employ a wet /dry vacuum to suck out any remaining water in the lines and jets and then blow them out as an added measure,
“Often good usable water (12 to 1500 litres) is thrown out. Even though every effort is made to remove water from the lines, there will always be water left in the cover as well as water will get into the spa through the cover hinge from the weather. In some spas a tablespoon of water in the wrong place can cause unforeseen and costly damage.”
- Secondly, they will remove all the jets to vacuum grit etc. which can get caught inside.
“The jets often will break and need to be replaced prematurely, even though this should be done on occasion, once every two years should suffice.”
- Thirdly, they will disconnect the main pump lines, taking apart all the unions and allowing the gaskets to air dry.
“The allowing of the gaskets and the pumps/wet ends to dry out is one of the main causes of leaks when restarting, often causing replacement of the wet ends and sometimes the pump.”
- Finally, they will clean and dry polish the shell surface, clean the spa cover, and apply vinyl treatment and clean up surrounding area.
This procedures is what most spa suppliers have recommended be done if there is a need for a spa shutdown, they do not recommend that a spa be emptied and left empty for any length of time especially where inclement weather is a major factor.
Conclusion and recommendation
Even though there appears to be some savings in regards to power, this is small when measured against the possible costs of repairing the spa in winter conditions, added to this, there is the security benefit of someone visiting your unit once per month in the off season. Further your spa can be easily and safely set up for the season with minimum effort and time.
Off season spa maintenance service
At the end of the season, if the water chemistry is good, we will turn down the water temperature to 80 degrees F, if the water has a high degree of solids, we will change out the water and set the temperature to 80 F or econo mode; we will put in sanitizer and stain and scale, we will test the operations and check out the tub. We will note any missing or broken parts and we will order them. Once a month, we will walk over the unit, we will top up the sanitizer and put in stain and scale and check out the spa operations. Previous to the beginning of the following season, we will empty and fill the spa, put in new filter(s) and set the temperature to 104 F balance the chemistry of the water, replace any broken jets or parts.