Last year, my husband and I purchased a Series 880 Sundance Spa and I’ve spent the last twelve months learning the finer things about spa maintenance. Of course the salesman promised taking care of the spa would be “easy,” but what I experienced was a challenge and a bit confusing. At the beginning of my quest to learn and develop a maintenance routine, I found it extremely time consuming.

What I have come to learn in the last year, however, is that once you are familiar with the requirements, maintaining a spa can actually be quite easy (I guess the salesman was telling the truth), it just takes a little of your time each week.

It is important to provide proper and regular maintenance of a spa; it will help it retain its beauty and performance. Spa supplies should be available at your local dealer, and some offer customers who’ve purchased spas from them a lifetime discount, anywhere from five to twenty percent; so be sure to ask.

The following information is a result of my own personal experience, specifically with the Sundance 880 series spas, and is not intended to be an instruction or take the place of an instruction manual. Before starting a water maintenance routine or making any changes to your existing one, always check with your authorized spa dealer.

The Series 880 spas have a programmable “Change Filter” reminder icon that flashes on the control panel display after a specified number of days to remind you to perform routine maintenance on the filter system. The reminder must be reset at each interval. All models include a suction cover filter that prevents debris from entering the hot tub plumbing system when it is running, it is important to clean the cover at least every two months.

The outer pleated filter should be cleaned monthly with a high pressure water nozzle and the filter insert with a low-pressure water nozzle. Be sure to remove any embedded oils and minerals on the filters by using the spa filter cleaners and always remove the center filter inset before cleaning the outer filter.

You should replace the hot tub’s water every three to six months; the frequency depends on a few variables including the amount of use, attention paid to water quality maintenance, etc. You will know when it is time for a change when you cannot control the sudsing and/or you can no longer get the normal feel or sparkle to the water, even though the water balance measurements are all within the proper parameters.

Be sure to remove and clean the headrest ‘pillows’ each time you replace the water. Clean with soapy water, using a cloth or soft- bristle brush. To maintain their water resistance and luster, apply a quality vinyl conditioner once a month. Be sure to remove the pillows when adding chemical shock treatment to your spa water, they can be returned when the sanitizer reading drops below 4.0 ppm.

The hot tub cabinet requires little effort; wipe with a clean towel and mild detergent every few months. The cover should be cleaned regularly using a mild soap and water. Periodic treatments with a special conditioner developed specially for the cover should be used. This will protect it against deterioration caused by U.V. rays from the sun.

To preserve the sheen of your hot tub’s surface, you should clean with a mild soap. Ask your authorized dealer for a recommendation. It is important not to use abrasive cleaners or anything which may have an adverse chemical effect on the surface.

 To decrease the risk of contracting a waterborne illness and/or respiratory ailments, maintain water quality within specified limits. This will prolong the life of the hot tub’s equipment. The water chemistry involved is a balance of several factors, and procrastination with the water’s maintenance will result in poor and potentially unhealthful conditions. It may even cause damage to the spa.

Almost all hot tub water test kits contain a measure for pH testing as well as a sanitizer. A pH midpoint of 7 is neutral, above is alkaline and below is acidic. The manufacturer recommends water maintenance at a slightly alkaline condition of 7.4 to 7.6 pH. To destroy bacteria and organic compounds in the hot tub water, a sanitizer should be used regularly. Most Sundance spas are equipped with a special compartment built into the floating skimmer gate to hold a mineral cartridge designed specifically for sanitizing tablets.

My Spa Maintenance Routine

1.) At Fill-up and Every 12 Weeks:

  • All Natural Water Treatment & Conditioner
  • After filling up the Spa, wait until the temperature reaches its normal state then add the entire bottle of the All Natural Water Treatment & Conditioner, and run all the jets a couple of times. (Note: this is also a good time to also add 2Tbs. of Shock Oxidizer.) 

2.) The Day after Fill-up and Weekly:

  • Natural Clarifier
  • The day after filling-up the Spa, add 1 cap-full of the Natural Clarifier and the run pumps 2 times. Thereafter, add ¼ cap-full weekly and/or when water is cloudy.

3.) Weekly:

  • Test Strips
  • Test the water weekly and depending on the strip reading, use appropriate chemicals. Always contact the authorized dealer if uncertain of the reading or how to proceed.

4.) Weekly or if PH is High:

  • Leisure Time Spa Down
  • Use once a week or whenever test strip requires, add Leisure Time Spa Down. First, TURN OFF the spa, dissolve 3 caps full in water and add to water. After an hour, turn the spa back on. Run the jets twice. (Do not add Natural Clarifier the same day as Leisure Time Spa Down.)

5.) Weekly:

  • Spa Metal Free
  • Add 1 full cap of Spa Metal Free when the Spa is re-filled and 1oz (1/4 cap) Weekly.

6.) After 2 to 3 Spa Uses:

  • Add Clear View Chlor Free – 15 Shock Oxidizer (2 ounces per 300 gallons of water. Run pump for at least 30 minutes.)

7.) To Control Algae:

  • Use Clear View Shimmer N’ Shock, when needed; use as directed.

8.) When PH is Low and/or Water is Cloudy:

  • Baking Soda
  • Add ¼ cup full of baking soda; Run pump 2-3 times. One hour later add ¼ Cup Clear View Oxidizer (#5) and run pump 2-3 more times.

9.) Weekly: Clean Filter.

  • See the manufactures’ suggestions and procedures on filter cleaning.
  • 1. Power to the spa should be OFF, clear and clean all debris from the hot tub.
  • 2. Fill Hot Tub: Place the end of your garden hose into the empty filter bucket. Use clean tap water from garden hose. Fill until water covers all jets but does not touch the bottom of the lowest headrest (DO NOT OVERFILL!)
  • 3. Once full, place filter back into the filter bucket.
  • 4. Turn-on Power: The heater and filter/circulation pump will automatically activate. LCD may flash “COOL” or “ICE” this is normal and the spa will take a few hours to heat-up.
  • 5. When water has reached normal temperature, add Start-up Chemicals and run the jets 2-3 times.

Before starting a water maintenance routine or making any changes to your existing one, always check with your authorized spa dealer.