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Figuring Out Why Your Hot Tub Water Smells Bad

If you’re trying to figure out why your hot tub water smells bad, there are a number of things to consider. Beyond the annoyance and frustration, you clearly want to resolve the situation – but it’s important to get to the source and uncover the cause.

Once you figure out why your hot tub water smells bad, you’ll be able to remedy the situation and regain the healthy integrity of the water. For the most part, a foul smelling hot tub is a sure sign of bacteria. The worst part is it could be hiding anywhere.

Some of the Reasons Why Your Hot Tub Water Smells Bad

A hot tub with an odour problem is actually not uncommon. There’s no need to worry as long as every effort is being made to find the source of the problem and find a remedy. As such, there are a number of cross checks that you can do when figuring out why your hot tub water smells bad.

Check pH Levels

Hot tub pH levels can definitely affect the way water smells. With a very low pH level, there can be a pungent smell. With a very high pH level, there can be a musty smell. As a rule, it’s very important to check pH levels routinely, and balance where required (best to maintain a range of 7.4 – 7.6).

Sanitizer Levels

Whatever sanitizing product you might be using, volumes and balances should be high enough to kill potential bacteria and anything else that may be smelly. After a few weeks of hot tub use, it’s advisable to “shock” the hot tub water in order to ensure that any bacteria has been eradicated.

Draining Water

If your hot tub water smells bad, and you haven’t done a full draining in some time, this would be a good option. Some hot tub owners actually drain every 90 days. While this option may remedy the smell, draining will not remove the smell if the source of your problem is still unresolved.

Hot Tub Covers

Anyone who owns a hot tub knows that a hot tub cover can deteriorate. Eventually, when a hot tub cover becomes waterlogged, the trapped water can allow bacteria to flourish. It’s definitely possible to dry out the cover and regain its integrity, but sometimes it just has to be replaced.

Hot Tub Filters

Contaminants are supposed to be removed by the hot tub filter. That’s why filter cartridges have to be replaced regularly. An old filter cartridge will deteriorate over time, and will allow mold and bacteria to pass through without being clarified. Filter cartridges should be replaced yearly.

Some Good Tips for Maintaining a Clean, Sanitary Hot Tub

By any definition, a clean hot tub is a result of regular and ongoing maintenance. In addition to keeping all of the mechanicals in good shape, good maintenance protocol also ensures that water is clean and clear – and of course, odour free. On the downside, without the proper maintenance, there is added potential for contamination, impurity, and hot tub water that can actually stink.

Wash Before Tubbing

It’s always a good idea to wash off cosmetics, makeup, and hair products before taking a soak in your hot tub. All of these chemical substances will have an adverse effect on water quality and will compromise the water filter. In the summertime, sunscreen should be rinsed off before tubbing.

Hot Tub Chemicals

In balancing water chemistry, it sometimes happens that too many chemicals are added. When hot tub chemicals are out of balance, water quality issues can ensue. This can quickly create an unpleasant tubbing experience. Water testing and balancing is essential to clean hot tub water.

Clean Water Filter

Neglecting water filters in your hot tub is probably the biggest reason for a dirty (and smelly) hot tub. Like all mechanicals, water filters must be cleaned (and replaced) regularly. Clearly, a heavily used hot tub requires more frequent cleaning. Professional advice might be handy with this issue.

Tub Maintenance

Keeping your hot tub in peak condition is easy and simple – but it requires consistency around the year. Most maintenance can be performed in-house, and with store bought products. If you don’t have the time (or patience), hiring a professional might be the best option for maintenance.

Long-Term Care

Taking good care of your hot tub ensures product longevity. More than that, everything will be working at peak – electricity bills will be lower, chemical needs will be minimized, and water quality will be enhanced. Best of all, less water draining means less water usage all year round.

If Your Hot Tub Water Smells Bad, Seaway Pools & Hot Tubs Can Help

If your hot tub water smells bad, and you’re stuck for a remedy, it may be time to contact the professionals at Seaway Pools & Hot Tubs. If the problem is elusive, we’ll find the source, and we’ll recommend a viable remedy to solve the problem.

In many cases, routine issues with a hot tub can easily be managed with a DIY approach. At the same time, there are issues that require some expertise – everything from chemical balancing, to water hardness, to unusual smells/odours in the hot tub.

All things considered, an annual hot tub check by a professional is highly recommended. As well as checking for the usual maintenance issues, a service professional can identify specific issues that are beyond the scope of the typical hot tub owner.

Whatever your maintenance needs, Seaway Pools & Hot Tubs can provide professional expertise and deliver results. If you’re using your hot tub all year (including the winter), we can provide a maintenance package to ensure everything is working.

The team at Seaway is well trained, specializing in everything from maintenance to installation. We can answer your questions, we can provide good advice, and we can even offer a FREE water analysis to assess the integrity of your hot tub water. Find out more by calling one of our hot tub professionals at 905-294-8030 or filling out a service call request form at

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