Soaking in a hot tub or spa can be uniquely soothing and relaxing, but the hot water environment provides some unique hazards along with the benefits. Before adding water to your spa or hot tub, carefully read this guide and your owner’s operating manual. Keeping these guidelines in mind will help you safely enjoy your hot water experience. Also keep in mind the fact that a spa requires special chemical treatment considerations. From a bather load standpoint, 5 people in a 500 gallon spa are equivalent to 219 people in a 20,000 gallon pool. The average person will perspire nearly three pints per hour in water heated at 102 degrees F. Aeration and heat will also result in fairly rapid evaporation and concentration of dissolved solids. So be sure to use only chemicals specially formulated for spas. Never use pool chemicals, they can damage your spa beyond repair.
General Safety Guidelines
People with a medical history of heart disease, circulatory problems, diabetes, or blood pressure problems, and pregnant women should check with their physician before using a spa. People who are taking medications that might cause drowsiness, such as tranquilizers, narcotics, antihistamines, or anticoagulants, should not use a spa without first consulting a physician. Soaking in hot water could lead to sleep or unconsciousness and possibly result in drowning.
Water temperature that is too hot can raise body temperature high enough to cause heat stroke or for women prolonged soaks at high temperatures may rise core body temperatures high enough to risk birth defects, particularly during the first three months of pregnancy. An accurate, shatterproof thermometer should be used to monitor your water temperature. The water temperature should not be warmer than 100 to 104 degrees. A temperature of 100 degrees is considered safe for healthy adults. At higher temperatures you should use your spa for shorter periods of time.
For example, at 102 degrees F. you should use the spa for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Similarly, alcoholic beverages should not be used before or during spa use. Alcohol is a depressant which causes slowed reflexes and drowsiness. Consuming alcohol while soaking in hot water could result in sleep or unconsciousness and possible drowning. Never use a spa or hot tub alone. Do not allow children to use a spa without supervision. Broken or missing drain covers should be replaced immediately to avoid entrapment of long hair or body parts. An anti-vortex drain cover is recommended.
All electrical equipment should be wired according to the National Electrical Code and all relevant local codes under city, county, or state permit. Look for an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) logo on the manufacturer’s nameplate for portable spas and all hot tub electrical equipment. Do not use electrical appliances while using your spa. Tape a list of emergency numbers to your telephone. Include local emergency, medical personnel or fire department, and your own address so a non-family member could easily direct emergency personnel to your home if necessary.
Chemical Safety Guidelines
- Store chemicals according to label directions and keep all chemicals out of reach of children.
- Store spa chemicals away from chemicals used for any other purpose. Keep dry spa chemicals separated from liquid spa chemicals.
- Always add chemicals to water to dilute. Never add water to chemicals.
- Do not mix chemicals with each other before adding to the water. Add chemicals to the spa water separately and allow several minutes between
additions. Use the pump, jets, and filter to help dissolve chemicals.
- Do not smoke around chemicals. Avoid direct skin contact with chemicals.
- Use only clean utensils to handle chemicals and use a separate utensil for each chemical.
- Liquid chemicals may be added directly to the spa water by pouring slowly just above the spa water level to avoid splashing.
- Dry chemicals should be dissolved and diluted before adding to the water. To dissolve dry chemicals, dip a clean plastic bucket of water out of the hot tub and add the proper amount of dry chemical to the water in the bucket. Mix well until completely dissolved, and then lower the bucket back into the spa.
- Allow at least 30 minutes for all chemicals to dissolve and disperse and then retest your spa water before using.