Swim Spa Troubleshooting (top 5 common issues)

Something not looking or sounding right with your swim spa? Or worse – not smelling, right? Never fear, because we’ve written up a guide to the top 5 most common issues that come up specifically for swim spas and what you can do to remedy them. 

Read on for our swim spa troubleshooting tips and how you can put preventability measures in place to stop issues from recurring.

Common swim spa issue #1 – Cloudy or discoloured water

One of the most easily noticeable and off-putting issues a swim spa can have is water discolouration. It can easily make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable with getting into the spa. More often than not, this has something to do with the chemical balance and cleanliness of the water (or lack thereof). The exact quality of the water can tell us a lot about what’s wrong with it – is it looking a little brown? This is often indicative of high iron or manganese levels and can be remedied with a sequestering agent. If the water appears more on the green side, take note of whether it is cloudy or clear. Clear green water means a high iron or copper content and can also be resolved with a sequestering agent, however the story is slightly different if the water is cloudy. Cloudy green water indicates either low alkalinity or low sanitiser levels, so make sure you test the sanitiser levels first, and if the reading is too low, consider using a shock treatment. If it’s the alkalinity levels that are too low, use a pH increaser. 

If the water is cloudy but not discoloured, this could indicate a number of issues and will require you to test the water thoroughly. First, check on your pool filter – you may need to clean it with some filter cartridge cleaner to ensure it can perform. Another issue may be an excess of chemical solids in the water, which can be fixed using a clarifier that will help remove small particles. Aside from these possible explanations, you could be looking at an incorrect pH balance, total alkalinity, calcium level or lack of sanitiser. Test the water for each of these factors and correct accordingly with either a sequestering agent, sanitiser, pH increaser or pH decreaser.

Common swim spa issue #2 – Jets not working properly

One of the most important features of a swim spa is its jets – it’s what differentiates it from just any old spa! Specialised jets in swim spas are designed to allow you to swim in place and get a workout, unlike regular spas or pools. So what do you do when the jets are acting up or are performing poorly? First, make sure everything is in working order. Check the pumps to make sure they are operational and check if your filters need to be cleaned. Next, ensure the jets and air controls are open. If your jets are still not functioning as they should, make sure you check on the water levels of your swim spa and ensure that they are well above the minimum water level required – you’d be surprised how many people forget to do this!

Common swim spa issue #3 – Foaming, odour, skin irritation

Sometimes it’s not just the way the water looks, but also how it smells and affects your skin. It’s important to check for any chalky, white scale deposits in the water as these are mineral deposits, and can be removed using a sequestering agent. A strong chlorine odour will indicate the combined chlorine level is too high and can be combated with a non-chlorine shock treatment. This is also a great way to combat any organic contaminants or pH imbalances that cause skin or eye irritation. Remember to adjust pH levels as necessary afterwards.

This can help with possible foaming, which is usually a sign of a high concentration and build-up of chemicals due to contaminants (things like body oils, cosmetics, and other things we bring into the spa). If you’re finding that foaming is still a problem, use a foam reducer or enzyme reducer on a weekly basis as part of your regular spa maintenance until no longer needed.

Common swim spa issue #4 – Metal fixtures are pitting

Pitting metal fixtures can again be the result of chemical imbalances in the water, so it’s important to test sanitiser levels, pH levels, and total alkalinity and adjust as necessary. Pitting of metal fixtures can also happen if the fixtures themselves aren’t being taken care of, so make sure you are rinsing and cleaning them regularly. Rinse metal fixtures with non-chlorinated water and wipe with a soft cloth to do this. For extra care, check your swim spa’s manual for a section on regular maintenance procedures and assess whether there are any additional stainless steel care instructions.

Common swim spa issue #5 – Swim spa won’t turn on

Finally, the last common issue owners may run into with swim spas is if the spa stops responding altogether and nothing on the spa operates. The first port of call is always to check the control panel display to see if there are any messages to indicate why it won’t function. Error messages will refer to the diagnostic section on your swim spa, and from there you can examine what’s going on and what needs to be done to fix the issue. If the control panel display is blank or if the spa is still not responding, contact your spa dealer for assistance.

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