Owning a hot tub, whether the hot tub is located indoors or outdoors, requires constant maintenance. The newer, plastic-form hot tubs minimize the care required on the surfaces of the hot tub, but still require testing the water in the hot tub. However, owning an older style hot tub such as wood barrel hot tubs, adds to the maintenance hours required for keeping the hot tub usable. This article describes four ways to maintain a wood barrel hot tub.
Wood barrel hot tubs differ from the modern plastic-form hot tubs because they require maintenance on the outer wood surface. The hot tub must be treated with a wood supplement oil, glaze, and wax around twice per year. As well, paint and varnishes should never be used on the outside of the hot tub because they affect the wood’s ability to swell and hold in the water.
Like modern hot tubs, the inner surface of the hot tub should not be treated with any chemicals. Overtime, there will be scum buildup due to the chemicals in the water and they will need to be cleaned and taken out of the hot tub. Since the scum builds up on the surface where the water meets the air, a paper towel can be used to wipe away the scum.
Hot Tub Placement
Placing a hot tub indoors and outdoors has its drawbacks and advantages. For one, leaving a hot tub outdoors requires careful thought to how the weather and other external structures will affect the lifetime of the hot tub. No matter where the hot tub is placed, it should sit on flat and dry ground. If the ground is damp underneath a wood barrel hot tub, then the bottom of the hot tub will collect mold, stink, and possibly erode. Another factor is the temperature. Hot tubs need to be placed in areas of constant temperature. The wood on the wood barrel will continually contract and expand outdoors due to the changing seasonal temperatures. Therefore, treating and checking the hot tub often will help determine if a new location should be found.
Water Maintenance and Scaling
Water maintenance in a hot tub includes testing the pH of the water, testing the chlorine concentration in the water, maintaining the water level, and removing scum. Checking the pH and chlorine concentration of the water assures that harmful bacteria does not collect in the hot tub. This involves using a pH and chlorine meter (handheld instrument or strips will work). Since water will inevitably exit the hot tub from people splashing and the water evaporating, maintaining the water level by adding more water to the hot tub is mandatory. Lastly, the water in the hot tub will create a buildup of hard water scaling where the water meets the air.
To visually test the hardness of the water, one could take a sample of water and boil the water such that all that is left are the total dissolved solids. These solids will be like what is seen in the hot tub. There is not much that can be done about this except to filter the water for natural minerals and keep the hot tub clean as the deposits build up. The longer the scaling sits, the more likely it will act to erode the inner surface of the hot tub and clog any drains and holes in the hot tub.
Maintaining a wood barrel hot tub will ensure that the fun will last. Speaking to a professional will also help to cover all the bases and ensure that the proper maintenance is being administered. Hopefully this article will at least help one to think through some of the more common ways to maintain a wood barrel hot tub.