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Hot Tub Safety: What You Need to Know

Wooden Hot Tub under a gazebo with wooden steps

Hot tubs are a great investment and they offer many benefits, but remember, they come with responsibilities.

There’s many aspects of health and safety to consider when buying a hot tub, including: the installation, the setup, daily usage, maintenance and ensuring the safety of others.

This guide is designed to cover everything you need to know about hot tub safety, to ensure you don’t put yourself and others at risk.

Ensuring a safe hot tub installation

Installing a hot tub isn’t an easy job, that’s why we offer a full installation service using our hot tub fitting specialists.

Our fitters use specialist equipment such as a spa dolly, spa wedge, trailers and cranes to transport and move your hot tub safely into place. All of this is covered in a site survey risk assessment that we conduct before the installation process.

Seriously consider the area you want to install your hot tub, the units are heavy and will need a strong, solid, level base to hold the hot tub when filled with water and people.

Always leave the job of electrical wiring to the professionals, you can read more about electrical installations in our guide here.

Making sure your hot tub is safe

Before getting in, make sure your hot tub is safe. As the owner, you are responsible for the maintenance, water quality and overall safety of your hot tub.

Before each use, check the sanitiser chemical levels to ensure the water is safe and clean, as well as the pH levels, these can be adjusted accordingly using the appropriate chemicals.

If the sanitiser level is low, you should add chlorine or bromine to sanitise your tub and allow the level to drop to 3-5mg/l before use.

We have a handy hot tub chemical guide where you can find out more about sanitising your hot tub and achieving the correct pH levels.

Hot tub temperature

Most hot tubs can be set as low as 26°C and have a maximum temperature of 40°C for safety reasons. The ideal hot tub temperature is down to personal preference; however, we recommend starting with your body temperature.

The average normal body temperature is 37°C, which is 1 degree lower than the temperature that most hot tub factory settings are set at. 38°C seems to be the most comfortable temperature for bathers, as it also allows the temperature to drop, something that naturally occurs when people enter the water.

You can find out more about hot tub temperature and why it matters by reading our hot tub temperature guide.

Can I use my hot tub without chemicals?

Running your hot tub without the addition of appropriate chemicals can be extremely dangerous because bacteria experiences optimal growth at temperatures between 25°C to 40°C, the same temperature as your hot tub.

It is important to remember that hot tub chemicals, like chlorine, help maintain the cleanliness and safety of the water for yourself and others. Using your hot tub without chemicals could turn the water green within a matter of hours, posing a huge safety risk to users. You can read about what to do if your hot tub water is cloudy, foamy or green here.

If you’re still unsure about using chlorine in your hot tub or are unable to due to skin sensitivity, there are alternative options, such as Bromine.

Bromine is a similar chemical to chlorine; however, it can be kinder to the skin. It is also more efficient at higher temperatures, a benefit that is often the most appealing to hot tub users.

How soon can you use hot tub after adding chemicals?

Waiting times vary depending on the type of chemical and the amount used. It can be anything between 20 minutes to 24 hours.

There isn’t a set time you need to wait before using your hot tub, you just need to make sure all the chemicals are dissolved and at a safe level before entering.

If you get into the water too soon, you could put yourself at risk of skin irritation.

Test the water before entering to ensure the chlorine levels are safe. If you have used a non-chlorine treatment, you can generally jump in to your hot tub around 20 minutes after the treatment.

Hot tub safety guidelines

Once you have decided on an ideal temperature for your hot tub and the water levels are safe, you should consider the rules that need to be applied to ensure the health and safety of yourself and others.

Hot tub hygiene

Hygiene should be your number one priority when using your hot tub. If the water is not maintained on a regular basis, bacteria and debris can put users at risk of infection.

Always shower or bathe before entering the tub to keep the water free of germs and body products, such as perfume and lotions.

We also recommend showering after you get out to ensure that the chemicals are not left sitting on your skin.

If you have been unwell, have an open wound or any other infection or illness, you should avoid using the hot tub until you have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.

How long should you stay in a hot tub?

It may be tempting to spend hours soaking in your tub but spending too long in the hot water could cause your body to overheat or lead to other health risks.

Limit your soaking time between 15-30 minutes to avoid potential heat-related health risks such as heat stroke and exhaustion.

If you have any underlying conditions, consult a medical professional before using a hot tub.

Drinking alcohol whilst in a hot tub

A glass of wine or a couple of beers can be relaxing while you’re in the tub but try and keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum. Heat from the water can amplify the effects of alcohol and can cause dehydration.

Try to avoid spillages as this can negatively affect the pH balance of the water. If you were to accidentally spill a drink in your hot tub, you would need to test and balance out the pH level accordingly.

Physical hazards

There are always risks when it comes to getting in and out of a hot tub. Splashes of water can cause the surrounding area of your hot tub to become slippery.

Ensure handrails or steps are installed and secured properly to the hot tub or the ground to avoid any injuries from slips or falls.

Make sure any outlet openings are properly constructed with a screen installed over them to prevent users getting trapped underwater due to the power of the suction.

Users should never place their heads underwater, especially if they have long hair or wearing jewellery as they could become caught and trapped in the outlet, causing a fatal accident.

Ensuring the safety of other hot tub users

The safety of others is just as important as your own, especially for those who are deemed vulnerable.

Make sure that the water temperature is comfortable for anyone using it and that children are always supervised.

Can you go in a hot tub when pregnant?

If you’re pregnant, you should consult a doctor before using a hot tub to find the safest way of doing so.

It is advised that you lower the temperature below 35°C and limit soaking time to less than 10 minutes to avoid overheating, causing harm to yourself and the baby.

To learn more about using your hot tub when pregnant, take a look at our blog post here.

Can children go in hot tubs?

It is recommended that only children over the age of 5 are allowed in hot tubs, however, the temperature should be slightly lower than normal (around 35°C) and soaking time should be limited to 10 minutes to allow their body temperature to regulate.

Never leave children unattended whilst in a hot tub.

Can babies go in hot tubs?

Babies and toddlers should not be allowed in a hot tub as their thin skin makes them more susceptible to overheating. Their skin will also be more sensitive to the chemicals in the hot tub and could lead to irritation.

Keeping your hot tub water clean

Your hot tub water should be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to keep you and your guests healthy and safe.

Before every use of your hot tub, always check the safety of the water by looking at the sanitiser and pH levels. If these are too low, you should adjust the levels accordingly by adding in the appropriate chemicals (chlorine or bromine) and using Jacuzzi pH+ or pH- depending on if you want to increase or decrease the pH levels. You should not use your hot tub if the water levels are not safe.

If you want to know more about cleaning your hot tub, read our hot tub cleaning guide.

Now that you’ve read our essential hot tub safety guidelines, relaxing and enjoying your hot tub experience will be even better. Following these rules will ensure everyone stays safe and it’ll make your job of keeping the water clean easier too.

If you enjoyed this, why not read our hot tub buying guide for further help and advice.

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