9 top tips every inflatable spa owner should know

How to set yourself up for success with your cherished inflatable tub.

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If you're new to inflatable spas – or it's been a while since you took a dip in one – then you may well have some questions about set-up and maintenance. The good news? You can feel assured that the process is hassle-free and straightforward. Let's take a look.

How do inflatable spas work?

couple enjoying their spa

An inflatable spa is designed to mimic a regular spa or jacuzzi. Inflatable spas are typically fashioned from PVC vinyl material on the inside and outside.

Once inflated, you simply fill the tub with water and then turn on the heater which increases its temperature. This heat is retained to keep the water warm for a relaxing soak. The water can be circulated by a pump that creates pulsating bubbles via jets.

Depending on the model, the inflatable spa might have a filtration system to help keep the water and jets clean and unclogged.

Inflatable spas are completely portable, so you don't have to commit to having a permanent structure installed on your deck, patio, balcony or backyard.

When you no longer want to use it, such as during the winter months or if you are moving, then you can deflate the spa to pack it away for easy storage or transportation.

9 tips for setting up and maintaining an inflatable spa

Every model of the inflatable spa has slightly different set-up instructions to make the process easier. You'll want to take the time to read the owner's manual that came with the spa. Typically, the manual is filled with detailed setup instructions. Many manufacturers direct you to an online video of how to complete the setup quickly and effortlessly.

Here are nine practical tips to keep in mind when you're starting out with your tub:

mother and son measuring their deck

1. Choose the best location

When picking out a location for the spa, pay attention to the final dimensions when the spa is fully inflated and filled with water. Measure the area to ensure that the spa will fit when fully assembled.

2. Locate the spa near a power source

Choose a location to set up the inflatable spa that is located near a power source. You shouldn't use an extension cable if it can be avoided. An extension cable is a potential safety issue which can become a fire danger in some situations. If there is not a power point near where you want to locate your inflatable spa then have an electrician install one nearby.

3. Pay attention to the terrain

The area where you set up your inflatable spa should be flat and smooth. If you place the spa on uneven or sloping ground, then the water level will be off, and you won't feel comfortable when you sit in the spa. Also, the water will flow to one side of the spa which can skew it can put stress on one side of the tub which can damage the inflatable liner.

Always check the area where you plan on placing the spa to make sure there are no sharp objects or rough areas that can put a hole in the vinyl surface of the spa. Although the skin of the spa is remarkably tough, when filled with water the pressure can cause a sharp object to puncture the vinyl.

4. Consider the spa's filled weight

If you plan on placing the spa on a deck or floor, then make sure that it can hold the weight of the water-filled tub. A filled hot tub can easily weigh over 900 kilograms.

5. Get help with the set-up process (if needed)

Inflatable spa assembly is remarkably easy. One person can carry out the task, but if you have a loved one who is willing to help then the assembly process is even quicker. You might want to inflate the spa in an open area and then carry it to its permanent location. Although the spa is lightweight, it is large and cumbersome so having two people transport the spa is easier.

6. Inflate the tub

Avoid overinflating the hot tub which can put stress on the seams and eventually weaken them. The sides should feel firm to the touch with only a slight give but not taut. If the sides are overinflated, then they will start to distort when you fill the tub with water and the final shape of the spa will appear crooked.

7. Be careful not to overfill the spa

Avoid overfilling the hot tub. Only bring the water to the fill line which is displayed on the spa's inside surface. Remember, when you sit in the hot tub, the water will rise. Also, the water must have room to bubble without spraying over the spa sides. Most spa models have a minimum and maximum fill line. It is usually best to fill the spa to the minimum fill line. You can then add more water as needed to reach the maximum fill line.

8. Add the right chemicals

You'll want to use your chemical floater with either chlorine or bromine. Keeping the water sanitized makes it safe for use and prolongs the life of the water so you don't have to replace it. You can purchase a chemical test kit to check the various chemical levels in the water to make sure that they are safe.

9. Think carefully about maintenance

Once the pool heats up to the desired temperature, you can add a sanitizer to the water to keep it clean and clear of bacteria which can rapidly grow in untreated hot water. The two main types of sanitizer are either chlorine or bromine. Never use household bleach in your spa or it could easily damage the system or liner plus burn your skin.

Your spa probably came with a floating chemical dispenser where you can place the chlorine or bromine tablet. Depending on the spa's size you can use either two to six tablets. Allow the floater to float freely in the spa water. The tablets dissolve in three to five days and you'll need to replace them. You can purchase slow dissolve tablets which last between one to two weeks

Ideally, you should change the water in the tub every six weeks, especially if several people frequently use the hot tub. If left unchanged, the water can take on a cloudy or dirty appearance even if you are using the required chemicals.

You'll also want to check the filter system and change or clean the filter as needed.

Must-have inflatable spa accessories

Adding accessories to your inflatable spa is a fun perk. The sky is the limit when it comes to trendy choices to add to the fun. Common accessories include:

spa lights

  • Easy-to-reach cup holders for beverages or a tray for snacks. Choose from cup holders and trays that float on the water's surface or attach snuggly to the side of the spa.
  • Non-slip steps are available to make the spa easier to get in and out. Fashioned from waterproof material, the steps sit beside the spa for easy accessibility. Depending on the brand, some of the steps hold up to 159 kilograms.
  • Spa vacuum quickly vacuums up debris such as leaves and other contaminants to keep the water looking pristine.
  • A floating thermal blanket helps hold in the heat of the spa which saves on your energy bill.
  • Weighted hot tub pillows offer head and neck support.
  • Spa lights are a nice perk. They float in the water to add much-needed light after the sunsets. The lights are a great way to add ambience to the entire spa experience.

What else should I be aware of regarding my inflatable spa?

woman joining her friends in the spa

Take into consideration the size of the models that you compare prior to purchasing an inflatable spa. They come in two-person, four-person, or more sizes. If you plan on having guests enjoy the hot tub, then you'll want to buy a bigger piece of kit.

Depending on the brand, you'll encounter various warranties. Always take the time to read the warranty's fine print before purchase. Standard warranties are typically a two-year warranty for mechanical parts and a five-year warranty on the vinyl exterior. In some cases, you can purchase an extended warranty to further protect your purchase.

Although inflatable spas have tough vinyl sides they are not designed to stand up to the sharp claws of a dog or cat. Also, the hot temperatures of the spa can adversely impact the animal.

Bottom line

With an inflatable spa, you can enjoy a combination of portability and affordability. After a long day of labour, climbing into a warm inflatable spa and letting the bubbles soothe away your aches and pains feels like aqua heaven. Inflatable spas are ideal for young and old alike. They are also great for entertaining with friends and family.

Frequently asked questions

What makes inflatable spas unique?

You can use the spa inside or outside. Many people enjoy leaving an inflatable spa on the deck during the summer months and then bring it indoors when the weather starts to turn cold.

Can I place an inflatable spa indoors?

Yes, an inflatable spa works well indoors if you have a solid floor that can support its weight. Make sure the home has a good ventilation system to pull out the excessive humidity created by the spa. Always position the spay away from electrical sockets and any valuable items in case of accidental splashes or drips.

Can children us an inflatable spa?

Never allow children to use an inflatable spa without adult supervision. Most spa manufacturers recommend that children under the age of five not use the spa because hot water can damage their skin.

What if my inflatable spa develops a hole in the vinyl?

Inflatable hot tubs are made from tough multi-layer vinyl, but accidents do happen. Manufacturers typically include a patch repair kit with the spa at the time of purchase. You can also buy vinyl repair patches from a variety of retailers to patch a hole in the spa's skin.

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