For many children, a hot tub is a fun experience akin to swimming in the pool. But hot tubs are very different from swimming pools, and parents need to oversee kids’ hot tub use for safety reasons.
For starters, very young (and very small) children should be kept out of hot tubs, due to their body size and development. A good rule to follow is that kids should be kept out of the hot tub until they are tall enough to stand in the middle of it with their heads completely above the water. If you’re ever in doubt, check with your doctor to see if he or she thinks your child is ready.
Once hot tub time has been approved, the following safety tips will help make sure everyone has a positive experience:
- Closely monitor time. Children’s bodies heat up quickly, so you should limit their time in the warm water. The exact time varies depending on your water temperature, but around five minutes is a good place to start.
- Keep their heads above the water. This is an important drowning deterrent, but also a way to prevent infection. Even incredibly clean hot tubs have some level of bacteria in them, so you don’t want to expose children’s eyes, ears, and upper respiratory tracts to these germs.
- Cover screens and avoid the water return. Cover all the outlets in your hot tub with screens, and teach children to stay away from the water return and its powerful suction.
- Supervise, supervise, supervise. Accidents are most likely to happen when adults are not present, so if they aren’t in the spa, children don’t need to be either.
- Lock it up. When the hot tub isn’t in use, be sure to always put on the cover, and lock it securely. This will prevent curious children from accessing the spa when adults aren’t around.
Much of hot tub safety for children is common sense. Educating children on how to use the spa safely — and ensuring parents follow these guidelines — will allow you and your children to enjoy hot tub time together.
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Most people enjoy hot tubs because of their warm temperature and soothing qualities. But did you know that regular use of a hot tub can also provide all kinds of great health benefits?
In fact, they can offer varying levels of relief for people with nagging aches and pains, stiff muscles, headaches, circulation issues, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and a host of other conditions, including stress- and sleep-related issues.
How is this possible? Well, soaking in a hot tub on a regular basis exposes your body to heat, buoyancy, and massage – three elements that combine to offer real benefits to your physical and emotional health.
For example, just some of the things these three important hot tub features can do include:
- Release toxins / contaminants through your pores: Whether you feel a cold coming on or had a bit too much to drink last night, a hot tub can help cleanse your body.
- Raise your body temperature: Once you step out of the tub, your temperature falls again, which can help induce a sense of tiredness and encourage your body to sleep (a great trick for insomniacs!).
- Massage sore muscles and joints: Letting hot tub jets massage your aches and pains is a great way to get relief.
- Reduce your body weight by up to 90%: No, it’s not a diet trick. Hot tubs simply create buoyancy, which helps to almost instantly take pressure off aching joints.
- Open your blood vessels: This can help to improve circulation, decrease blood pressure, and stimulate nerve impulses that boost your immune system and aid digestion.
- Benefit people with Type 2 Diabetes: Surprisingly, regular hot tub therapy can help those with Type 2 Diabetes lower their blood sugar, lose weight, and improve their sleep patterns.
These health benefits are not universal across the board, and it’s important to consult your physician before beginning any kind of hot tub therapy. However, if you’re able to use a hot tub to benefit your body in these or other ways, it’s a wonderful way to maximize everything these products have to offer.
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The very thing that makes hot tubs wonderful – their warm, soothing temperature – makes them a popular place for bacteria and algae to grow. Thankfully, you can avoid these problems by doing regular hot tub maintenance. In fact, keeping your spa sparkling clean all year long is easier than you may think.
Hot tub maintenance is similar to any kind of home maintenance: Do it often, and the tasks are simple, but let long periods of time pass without doing any, and the amount of work increases exponentially.
Maintenance and cleaning instructions vary among different hot tubs, so it’s always a good idea to check the owner’s manual for specific directions. However, just to get you started, here are some basic maintenance tips for keeping your spa operating at peak performance all year long:
- Clean those cartridges: When clogged, they reduce your water flow. To avoid this, remove your cartridges each month and hose them down to remove any build up. Then about every three years or so, just replace them with new ones. Pretty simple, right?
- Out with the old, in with the new. Your filters can’t keep every unwanted particle out of your hot tub, so replacing the water every few months is important for keeping things clean. The amount of usage your spa gets dictates how often the water needs to be changed, but as a general rule you should shoot to do it every three to four months.
- Chemistry is key. Maintaining the correct chemistry in your hot tub is important for preventing bacteria and algae growth. Consult the owners’ manual to see which chemicals are recommend for use on a regular basis.
- Don’t forget about the cover. Don’t apply cleaner to the inside of your cover, as it will just contaminate the water once you put it back on. Instead, whenever you notice residue accumulating, wipe it off with a wet rag and then dry thoroughly.
As you can see, hot tub maintenance is pretty simple. With these basic tips under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a sparkling clean spa all year long.
The key to enjoying your hot tub is to keep it clean. No one wants to relax in water that’s swimming with algae or infested with bacteria. Plus, if you let your spa get too dirty, you risk developing more intense contamination that’s much harder to handle.
That’s all the bad news. The good news is that cleaning your hot tub isn’t all that complicated, and well-maintained spas require minimal work. In fact, if you clean regularly, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of those problems.
Before you begin your cleaning regimen, it’s important to start by investing in a good water testing kit. You can get one from your local pool supply store or home store. Once you have a kit, you should test your spa water regularly to make sure you have the correct chemical balance. Maintaining this balance is an important key to a clean, healthy hot tub.
Once you’re ready to start cleaning your hot tub, follow this basic regimen to get the best results:
- Drain the water.
- Clean and sanitize the spa surface using a soft sponge or rag and a non-abrasive cleanser that doesn’t create suds. Your owner’s manual should list a few recommended brands for your specific spa type.
- Carefully remove hot tub pillows and clean them with a mild solution of water and soap. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove all the soap residue.
- Remove your hot tub lid, hose it off to remove debris, and scrub all surfaces with a very mild solution (think about 1 tsp. of soap to 3 gallons of water). Be sure to thoroughly rinse the lid, and pat it dry.
- Remove filters and hose them off to remove any built-up debris and dirt.
- Wipe down the outside cabinet of your hot tub and spray it with a mild solution similar to that used in step #4.
How often you do this hot tub cleaning regimen varies based on how many people use it on a regular basis. If it’s heavily used, once a month is probably good. If you use it more sporadically, once every two or three months should be fine. Cleaning your hot tub might not be the most enjoyable activity in the world, but doing it regularly ensures that you’ll have a great experience every time you use it.
If there’s a serious problem with your hot tub’s functionality, it’s always a good idea to get a professional involved to properly diagnose the problem. However, there are also many hot tub repairs you can take care of yourself, especially when it comes to the water.
Lots of different water-related issues can occur in a hot tub, but if you know how to diagnose them, the solution can actually be quite easy.
Some of the major water problems you may encounter include:
- Cloudy water
- Foul-smelling water
- Musty smells
- Chlorine odor
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation / rashes
- Organic buildup / scum rings
- Algae growth
Although that list looks intimidating, the good news is that most of those problems are caused by the same general issues: build-up of dirt, excessive amounts of organic material, unbalanced pH levels, low sanitizer levels, or general overuse / a lack of cleaning.
The equally good news is that the majority of those issues can be taken care of with one of these simple steps (or sometimes, a combination of them):
- Wiping off built-up scum / debris
- Using your spa chemicals to adjust the pH / alkaline levels
- Adding sanitizer and/or shocking the spa with it
- Allowing the chlorine level to drop below 5 ppm before you get in the water
- Removing and cleaning the filters
In more extreme cases, you’ll need to empty your hot tub water, clean the interior, and refill it, but that’s something you should be doing every few months regardless.
As you can see, most water problems fall into the category of common hot tub repairs, and they are easily solved with just a few simple steps. And by regularly cleaning your spa, you can help prevent these problems from occurring in the first place.