Happy Hot Tub Care Guide


When you own and use your own hot tub it is essential to keep it clean and clear of bacteria for a safe and pleasant bathing experience. The basic elements that go into maintaining and balancing your hot tub water are sanitiser, pH adjusters and shock treatments. This handy booklet will guide you through everything you need to know.

This guide can be downloaded in PDF format by CLICKING HERE.


Your hot tub will need to be treated with a Sanitiser to control and prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria can multiply rapidly in a hot environment, so you must maintain an appropriate sanitiser level to ensure any bacteria in the water is killed. There are two main sanitisers available to keep your hot tub clean and these are chlorine and bromine.

Option One – Chlorine

Chlorine is the most popular choice amongst hot tub users as it is the most cost effective and fast acting sanitiser available. Chlorine is available in granules or tablets.

CHLORINE Granules – Chlorine can be added by sprinkling the chlorine granules over the water surface, or by pre- diluting in a container of warm water. We suggest you add chlorine in small amounts to start (unless the level is very low), to prevent over dosing. Then leave the water for about two hours, before retesting. This will give time for the chlorine to work, so if the water is very dirty then all the chlorine will be used up, and you will have another low reading. If the water is properly balanced then a chlorine residual will remain, and no more need be added.

HAPPY HINT: Add a sprinkle of chlorine each time you get out of your hot tub and it will be clean and ready for use next time you want a dip!

CHLORINE Tablets – You can also add chlorine by putting tablets in a floating dispenser. The benefit of this is that there is chlorine being dispensed constantly, however it does give less control than using granules. We suggest you start by adding three-four tablets and adjusting the dispenser flow as necessary. The Happy hot tub dispenser base can be twisted to adjust the flow of water into the unit. Simply twist the base to allow water flow through one hole, two holes, three holes or four holes. There should always be tablets in the dispenser, so DO NOT leave them until they are completely depleted before replacing. Re-test the water again in approximately two hours to see if the level has been raised sufficiently.

HAPPY HINT: For safety remove your floating dispenser when your spa is in use.

Option Two – Bromine

Bromine is an alternative sanitiser to chlorine. It is more expensive and slower acting which means it takes longer
to show a reading when testing and can result in cloudy water. Benefits include having a slightly softer smell, being much more stable in higher water temperatures and it is able to regenerate unlike chlorine (meaning you can keep reactivating bromide salts using a shock, reducing your need to add sanitiser). To use bromine tablets, simply follow the same instructions as chlorine tablets (above). You can also boost bromine levels with bromine granules or by shocking with Non Chlorine Shock.

HAPPY WARNING: Never add water to chemicals, always add chemicals to water!

Salt Systems

Many hot tubs now use salt systems to sanitise the water. Systems such as the HotSpring Freshwater Salt System use salt water to generate chlorine and active oxygen, which in turn kills bacteria. The benefit of these systems include added convenience and more natural feeling water.

How to check your Sanitiser level

To test your sanitiser level dip a Happy Test Strip in the spa water about 12 inches/30cm under the water level, following the instructions on the test strip container, and compare the colour to the chart on the test strip bottle. (Happy Test Strips come in handy pots of 50).

The amount of chemical in hot tubs is usually measured in PPM, which stands for Parts per Million. If you are a chlorine user, keep the chlorine level at between 3-5ppm. If you are a bromine user, try to keep your bromine level between 2-5ppm.

Every hot tub owner uses his / her hot tub differently, so it is impossible to say how much sanitiser is required. Therefore we recommend that you test your sanitiser and PH level as often as possible and adjust accordingly, but you may wish to reduce these checks to every few days if you find your water doesn’t need adjusting that often. However if your usage increases then return to daily checks.

HAPPY HINT: Hold your test strip horizontally to avoid the colours running into each other!

PH Level

The term pH is a way of describing whether your water is acidic or alkaline. The pH scale works from 0-14 with 7 being neutral. Anything below 7 is classed as acidic, and anything above 7 is considered alkaline. You must keep your pH level within the range of 7.2 to 7.8, and ideally 7.2 to 7.4 or you may experience some of the following problems:

Common low pH problems:

  • Corrosion of components

  • Skin and eye irritation

  • Poor sanitiser efficiency (you keep adding more sanitiser)

  • Scale build up

  • Cloudy water

  • Skin and eye irritation

  • Poor sanitiser efficiency (you keep adding more sanitiser)

If the pH level is incorrect you will have problems balancing your sanitiser level, so always adjust this prior to adding sanitiser (but never run the spa without sanitiser in the water). To test your pH level, dip a Happy Test Strip in the spa water, following the instructions on the test strip container, and adjust accordingly by adding pH Minus or pH Plus.

HAPPY HINT: Correct pH levels will stop scale build-up in your spa pipework and pumps

Check out our more detailed guide – Balancing Hot Tub Alkalinity and PH

Shock Treatments

In addition to whichever sanitiser you choose to use, it is recommended to “shock” dose or oxidise your water every week with a non-chlorine shock treatment.

Shock dosing is required to do the following:

  1. Break down Chloramines – sanitiser reacts with bather pollutants such as perspiration or dead skin, and produces a less effective chemical compound called chloramines which needs to be broken down. Chloramines have a strong chlorine odour that is often mistaken for too much chlorine, and make the water appear cloudy.
  2. Kill bacteria – some bacteria can become resistant to your sanitiser, so the shock treatment will destroy any remaining bacteria.
  3. Remove organic compounds – people carry organic compounds on their skin, such as dead skin and oils. These can accumulate in the hot tub and cause cloudy water, but shock treatment will remove them.

You can shock dose your water using Happy Non Chlorine Shock, Relax Oxidise Sachets or Shock Gems® which offer a simple pod formula to throw into your hot tub!

HAPPY HINT: A capful of Non Chlorine Shock a week will help keep your water clear!

Check out our more detailed guide – What is Non Chlorine Shock and What Does it Do?

Water Changing

Water can only be chemically maintained for so long before excess build-up occurs and it needs replacing.

We recommend changing your water ever three-four months depending on usage. We suggest that you use Happy Hot Tubs Flush or Clean Start pipe cleaner prior to emptying the hot tub. This will remove any dirt/debris and loosen any calcium from the pipe work, which will then be washed away with the drained water. Before you refill your tub, we recommend using Happy Spa Surface Cleaner to clean the spa shell.

HAPPY HINT: Enquire about our Spa Fresh Service and we will do your water change for you.

Filter Care

What do the filters do?

The surface of the water is skimmed into the filter box, and through filter cartridges to remove dirt and debris.

How often should I clean my filters?

This will depend on your usage, but we recommend you clean them at least once every fortnight. Heavy usage such as parties will mean your filters clog up quicker. However the situation is different when you fill your spa for the first time, or whenever you drain and refill your spa. In this instance the filters may clog up within three–four days because of the small particles contained in tap water and any particles from manufacturing/transport.

What will happen if I don’t clean my filters regularly enough?

It is VERY important that the filters are cleaned regularly otherwise the water flow will be restricted and the spa will automatically shut down. The following diagnostic messages may appear on your touch pad if your filters are dirty; FLO, Heater Dry, LF, DR, OHH, or — (two lines).

To confirm that the filters are the cause of the problem, remove them and run the spa for a few minutes to see if the message clears. If the message still does not clear, then try switching the spa off whilst the filters are removed, and then back on again. Please note that you MUST NOT run the spa for long periods without filters. If the message still appears after trying these measures, then please call 02380 812769 for further advice.

How do I clean my filters?

The quickest way to clean them is using Happy Instant Filter Cleaner. To do this, spray the filter evenly with the instant filter cleaner, wait 15 minutes then rinse the filter with a hose. To make rinsing easier, check out the Happy Hot Tubs Super Blaster which is a useful tool to clean multiple pleats at once!

Another way to clean your filters is to soak them in a bucket overnight with Happy Filter Cleaner solution. This solution breaks down oils from the pleats and gives the filter a deep clean. With both of these techniques, it is recommended

to allow the filter to dry as this resets the fibres in the filter media, making filtration more effective when the filter is put back into your hot tub.

You MUST NOT run the spa for long periods without the filters, so fit a spare set immediately when you remove the existing ones for cleaning.

HAPPY HINT: Put your spare filters in and let the cleaned ones dry before using.

Other Water Products

What other products might I need to keep my tub in premium condition?

Happy No Foam – Available as a liquid or a spray.
This product will reduce the tendency of the spa water to foam, but it will not always stop it entirely. Foam is created as a reaction to natural oils in our skin, as well as contaminants such as remnants of detergents in swimwear, cosmetics and deodorants, etc. Showering with your swimwear on before entering the water will help reduce foam.

Happy Spa Sparkle – This will help clear cloudy water and make your water sparkle. It is a coagulant, which means it will gather small particles in the water together so they are caught in the filters.

Happy No Scale – This product is needed in hard water areas to prevent the calcium build up to form scale on the spa equipment and fittings

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