How-To Guides | Hot Tub & Spa Safety Tips - Guide for a Safer Soak

For healthy, safe and relaxing soaks, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make spa safety simple with a bit a sensibility and our helpful tips.

Maintain Sanitizer & Water Balance

Clean, balanced water is mandatory for hot tub safety. Bacteria and viruses thrive in untreated hot water. Before getting into any spa, use test strips to check sanitizer, Total Alkalinity and pH levels.

hands holding test strips over hot tub

Spa water that is cloudy, or has a strong or musty odor, is indicative of poor sanitation and excess contaminants. Shock with dichlor to clean up problem water, and add Oxy-Spa Non-chlorine Shock after each use to prevent cloudiness.

This oxidizing process breaks down the organic material that feeds bacteria and algae, and also improves sanitizer effectiveness.

graphic of blue microbes

Chemicals & Spa Supplies

Store spa supplies in cool, dry, well-ventilated locations, away from direct sunlight and out of children and pets reach. Clean up drips and spills immediately and follow directions and precautions on the label.

Do not mix spa chemicals and treatments prior to addition to the water. Use a small bucket filled with clean water to pre-mix dry products. Avoid adding un-dissolved granules that may damage the spa shell or liner.

As a rule, never add water to acid, always add acid to water. This helps avoid any potentially harmful reactions or splashing. Use a gentle, buffered acid instead of harsh muriatic acid for both pool and spa.

Food and Drinks

Enjoy alcoholic beverages after using the spa, not before or during. Hot water intensifies the effects of spirits and may cause overheating and drowsiness. Drink plenty of cool water instead, staying hydrated and keeping core body temperature regulated.

excited couple in spa with alcoholic drinks

Glass and ceramic containers can break and leave shards to harm bare feet. Any drinks or snacks consumed in or near the spa should be in shatter-resistant plastic bottles, cups and plates. A hot tub tray will safely hold items to curb spillage into hot tub water.

spa caddy tray safely holding beverages and phone

Medical Concerns

Using certain prescription drugs can cause drowsiness, dehydration, decreased heart rate and other issues in hot water. Talk to your doctor before entering a spa to prevent adverse reactions.

Those with health issues like heart disease, diabetes, high/low blood pressure should check with a doctor before spa use.

Be prepared by learning CPR and first aid, especially in households with children or those with health issues.

Water Temperature

duck thermometer

Long soaks in too-hot water can cause overheating and other medical complications. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has found that 100-102°F is a safe temp for most adults. Because of this, most tubs are set with a 104° max temp.

Limit spa sessions to 15 minutes, with less time when soaking at hotter temperatures. Dizziness and nausea are signals that you have been soaking too long, and you should exit the spa.

Thermostats can vary by a few degrees, so your top-side control reading may be slightly higher than the spa water. Test water independently from your spa controls using a floating thermometer.

Pregnancy, Children and Infants

Children have more sensitive skin and are prone to overheating, so use caution when introducing them to the hot tub. The CSPC recommends water no more than 95°F for kids over five. Turn down the temperature and give the spa time to cool before children enter. Check with your pediatrician before bringing children and infants five and under into a hot tub.

Full submersion increases the risk of heat stroke or entrapment danger. Have children sit in higher “cool-off” seats or use a booster seat to stay well above the water line. Restrict soaking time between 5-10 minutes.

Do not leave children unattended in any amount of water, hot or otherwise, even if your child can swim.

pregnant woman in pink dress next to spa

Expectant mothers should use extreme caution with spa use. Fully submerging in hot water raises body temperature, and can potentially harm the baby. Before entering a hot tub, pregnant women should consult a physician and follow their advice to avoid possible complications.

Suction Covers

Limb entrapment or entangled hair can occur with dangerous older spa suction covers. Jet pumps create powerful suction that may pull hair or clothing toward the suction cover. This poses a significant drowning risk to children with heads underwater.

close up of VGB compliant suction assembly

Federal regulations require all spa suction covers to be VGB compliant. Passed in 2008, this act aimed to prevent drowning in spas and pools. Have a professional evaluate your spa if older than 2008, and replace outdated covers with VGB compliant suction fittings.

These covers reduce suction when blockage occurs, but apply caution. All spa users, especially kids, must keep their heads above water and away from any suction covers.

Hot Tub Wiring

For 240V spas, the National Electrical Code requires an approved manual disconnect device. This must be located at least 5 ft. away, and within line of sight of the spa for safety. Make sure that your hot tub's electrical system is properly wired, grounded, and protected by a GFCI.

graphic of home and spa with GFCI disconnect

How to wire a 240V spa

Plug-and-Play spas should be plugged directly into a dedicated outlet to avoid overloading the circuit. If your spa does not include an in-line GFCI cord, have a licensed electrician install a 15-amp GFCI protected outlet. Never use an extension cord to plug in a spa.

Spas should be placed at least 25 feet from power lines and at least 5 feet from any cords. Provide adequate solar or battery powered lighting at ground level, especially if using the spa at night.

Electrical Devices

Do not bring any corded electrical device, like a radio, near the spa to avoid risk of electrocution. If any plugged-in item falls into the spa water, unplug it instead of reaching into the water to retrieve it.

When using wet/dry vacuums or other electrical appliances to clean a drained spa, use extreme caution to avoid electrocution. Do not stand in a puddle of water, always have dry hands and feet, and wear rubber-soled shoes. All outlets within 10 feet should be GFCI protected.

Spa Cover

Hot tub covers not only insulate, but protect against unwanted entry by children and animals.  They should be in good condition with functional straps and locks. If your latches are broken or missing,  replacement cover locks can easily be installed on an existing cover.

Keep the cover secured snugly when the spa isn’t in use and instruct children not to play on the cover.

Old, waterlogged covers are often too heavy to lift safely, and can grow mold and mildew. Replace waterlogged or damaged covers with a spa cover that meets the ASTM safety standards.

woman securing spa cover

Patio Area, Safety Rails and Steps

After a soak, wet feet and wobbly legs can make it difficult to exit the spa. Install a sturdy handrail or two and a set of non-slip spa steps to prevent falls.

Maintain wood decking with waterproof sealant and restore splintered or slippery boards. Non-skid mats around the spa provide additional security against accidents.

Spa with steps and handrail

Tub Together

Not only is using the spa more fun with a partner, but is much safer. Accidents and emergencies can easily be avoided with another adult. Children should never be left alone in any spa or pool for even a moment.

Recently viewed