Owner's Frequently Asked Questions
Hot Tub Maintenance
Every 3 to 6 weeks, depending on frequency of use and number of bathers, spray the filter off with a high-pressure garden hose attachment. Depending on use, a de-greaser or de-scaler is recommended every 4-6 months.
Your spa cover is either a Patio Performance fabric cover or a standard vinyl cover and is warranted by its manufacturer. Although basic instructions are provided below, it is important that you refer to manufacturer-provided information that came with the cover. Additionally, your Authorized Dealer may provide more detailed information on caring for your spa cover and what to do to protect its warranty.
Cleaning a Patio Performance™ Fabric Spa Cover
The best way to keep your Patio Performance fabric hot tub cover looking its best and avoiding more intensive cleaning is to simply brush off dust and debris regularly before it becomes embedded and spot clean any stains that may occur as soon as possible.
To spot clean more difficult stains on your cover, use a soapy solution of lukewarm water and mild soap and dab with a cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and air dry. For stubborn stains you may also use a fabric spot remover according to instructions. Always test spot removers for colorfastness first.
If regular maintenance and cleaning is not observed, especially in humid climates, it is possible for mildew to attach itself to foreign substances that are not cleaned from the fabric. To remove mildew, prepare a mild solution of 1/2 cup of bleach and a tablespoon of mild soap in a gallon of water. Spray the area thoroughly and allow to soak in. Wipe away with a clean cloth. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.
Cleaning a Vinyl Spa Cover
At least monthly, clean the spa cover following the directions below.
- Step 1: Remove the cover and lay it down on a flat, clean surface near a garden hose.
- Step 2: Rinse the cover to remove any loose debris.
- Step 3: Clean the top (vinyl) of the cover with a mild solution of dishwashing soap and a soft bristle brush. Using a gentle circular motion, scrub the cover, careful to not let any of the cover dry before rinsing with water.
- Step 4: Rinse the cover thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth.
- Step 5: Use saddle soap (never a petroleum-based product) to condition the cover per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Step 6: Wipe and rinse any dirt from the bottom of the cover.
- Step 7: Replace the cover and secure the locks.
- NOTE: To remove tree sap, use lighter fluid (the type used in cigarette lighters). Use sparingly. Immediately, apply saddle soap to the area.
Regularly clean all pillows with mild soap, water, and a clean cloth. Monthly, treat pillows using a non-petroleum-based product such as 303 Protectant. This will maintain water resistance and luster of the product.
IMPORTANT: Remove the pillows when shocking the spa or when sanitizer levels are high. Leave cover open for at least 30 minutes after shocking to ensure pillows are not affected.
NOTE: Pillow discoloration is caused by accelerated by high sanitizer use and is not covered under the Bullfrog Spa Warranties.
Ask us for gel gloss or any shell cleaner that will not interfere with water chemistry. Recommended at the time of each spa draining.
For normal cleaning, use a mild dishwashing soap such as Ivory® liquid or a window cleaner such as Windex®. For stubborn stains, use a mild liquid cleaner such as Softscrub® or a mild detergent such as Spic And Span®. To apply these cleaners, use a soft, damp cloth or sponge. Rinse well and dry with a clean cloth. To clean hard water stains, remove light scratches and protect your spa shell, contact your authorized Bullfrog Spa dealer.
With normal use of the spa, oils, lotions, and hair spray will build up on the surface of the water. This can leave a residue line around the perimeter. This can be easily removed using a spa surface cleaner or its equivalent. Avoid using cleaning agents that leave suds in the water.
WARNING: Never allow your spa surface to be exposed to alcohol, acetone (nail polish remover), nail polish, dry cleaning solution, lacquer thinners, gasoline, pine oil, abrasive cleaners, or any other household chemicals other than those listed. These chemicals can void the warranty.
Debris from wind, trees, and users will occasionally accumulate on the bottom of the spa. The filtration system will remove the smaller debris; however, debris that is too large or heavy will have to be removed by a spa vacuum. If you do not have a spa vacuum, contact your Authorized Bullfrog Spa Dealer.
For optimum care, each time the spa water is changed, remove all JetPaks. Clean the plumbing (piping for Sport X or back manifold area on A Series, R Series or STIL spas) with a spa surface cleaner and a long, soft bristle brush. For cleaning the JetPak acrylic surface, refer to Spa Shell Care.
Winterization of your spa is not generally necessary unless you plan to be away for an extended period of time. When you are not planning to use the spa for six or more weeks, or when someone is not able to maintain the spa on a weekly basis, you should winterize the spa. To winterize, follow these steps:
WARNING: Prior to winterizing your spa, it will be necessary to Super Sanitize the spa water as per the instructions in the Water Chemistry section. This procedure will help prevent the growth of bacteria, algae and fungi in any areas of plumbing that may not be fully free of water after you drain your spa for its period of winterization.
- Step 1: Drain the water.Step 1: Drain the water.
NOTE: For Sport X Spas or Bullfrog Spas made before 2013 skip to Step 4
- Step 2: For A or R Series spas. Open all lower valves on the JetPaks to allow the water to drain form each JetPak as you drain the spa. Once the water is completely out of the spa then close each JetPak valve before starting step 3.
- Step 3: Use a wet shop vacuum to vacuum the plumbing lines by placing the vacuum nozzle over each of the lower jet faces in the spa. Lower jets are any at or below the bench seat area.
- Step 4: Remove the drain plug from the pump(s), loosen all PVC pipe unions, and pump air-bleed valves in the equipment compartment. Replace plugs on heater pump. Do not replace the plugs on Pump 2. Tighten the unions or close the air-bleed valves until the spa is de-winterized.
- Step 5: Clean the entire spa.
- Step 6: Remove filter cartridge(s) and clean. Do not reinstall until they are completely dry.
- Step 7: Secure the cover to the spa utilizing the tie downs and locking system. In areas where heavy snow is anticipated, place a large piece of plywood (or its equivalent) on top of the spa cover to assist in supporting the cover with the added weight of the snow. Remove snow off the cover following each snow storm.
WARNING: To avoid water from becoming trapped between the floor suction fitting and the filter pipe . Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the remaining water out of pipe by placing the vacuum end over the filter hole. In a two-pump spa, first plug off one filter using a tennis ball then vacuum out the water. Or pour ½-1 gallons (5-9 liters) of RV antifreeze into the filter hole. NOTE: RV antifreeze is nontoxic and does not require evacuation at start up.
To de-winterize the spa, reverse the Winterization procedure. Refill to the water level mark.
WARNING: Whenever refilling the spa, it will be necessary to Super Sanitize the new spa water.
Refer to the start up instructions in your owners manual.
The neutral wire from the spa to the breaker box must be wired into the breaker itself and not the bus bar. This is because it is not a dedicated 240v spa. If the neutral is wired to the bus bar, the breaker will instantly trip at power up.
If the spa is located in an area that is experiencing hot weather, it is normal to have the spa water temperature rise. Keep spa in economy mode, minimize filtration hours and open lid for heat escape. Never leave a spa unattended while the cover is open do to safety issues.
If OHH is displayed on the control panel, this means that the thermometer has detected spa water temperature above 110 degree F.
Alternate between high and low speed on the pump at least 6-7 times to purge the system.
The wet-end of the pump has a bleed valve, loosen this until all the air escapes and water starts to drip out or, loosen the union on the pump to let the air out until you see water. Do not attempt this while the spa pump is running. If this does not resolve the problem, please contact your authorized Bullfrog Spa Dealer.
If your spa’s pad is slightly sloped it will not affect the performance of the spa or its structure, however, there should be no dips, sags, or unevenness in the pad. Most patios are built to slope away from the house for drainage purposes. There should be no more than a ½” (1.27cm) slope in an 8‘ (2.44m) run. Do not use shims to level the spa, this could create tension on the spa shell which might result in damaging your spa.
A cart or dolly that can support at least 900 pounds is the best way to move your spa. Carpets can also be used to drag a spa on most surfaces.
Attention: Do not lift the spa on the door side because the door side cannot support the weight of the spa and you may break the door.
For LED Replacement in A and R Series Spas, contact us for repair.
To replace a burned out or defective light bulb or LED on a SportX Series spa, complete the following:
- Step 1: Turn off the electrical power at the breaker box.
- Step 2: Remove the equipment compartment door.
- Step 3: Locate the back of the light fixture.
For standard light bulb replacement:
- Step 4: Grasp the light bulb holder (located on the back of the light fixture) and twist counter-clockwise to release the light from the fixture.
- Step 5: Remove the light bulb by pulling it straight out of the light bulb holder.
- Step 6: Replace the light bulb and reinstall the light bulb holder.
For LED replacement:
- Step 4: Insert a small standard screwdriver into the tabbed slot (see arrow).
- Step 5: Carefully pry off the back light fixture cover.
- Step 6: Remove the LED assembly by pulling it straight out. Replace the LED. Reinstall the back cover of light fixture.
For both lighting systems:
- Step 7: Replace the equipment compartment door.
- Step 8: Restore the electrical power supply.
NOTE: For alternate lighting systems, contact us.
Replace the filter cartridge(s) every 1-2 years or when necessary. To maintain warranty protection, use only genuine Bullfrog Filter Cartridge replacements. To clean your filter cartridge(s), complete the following:
- Step 1: Place the spa in Hold mode.
- Step 2: Remove FilterCap™ and filter plate.
- Step 3: Remove cartridge(s) by turning counter-clockwise.
- Step 4: Using a garden hose with a nozzle or other high-pressure device, clean cartridge(s). Work top to bottom on each pleat.
- To remove collected suntan lotions or body oils, soak cartridge(s) in warm water with a Filter Cleaner or detergent.
- To remove calcium deposits, soak cartridge(s) in a plastic container using a 1:10 ratio of Muriatic acid to water solution. Calcium deposits indicate a high spa pH, which should be corrected.
- Step 5: Reinstall cartridge(s) and FilterCap and plate.
- Step 6: Press any button to reset the control system.
- IMPORTANT: Using a brush to clean a filter cartridge could cause damage to the cartridge.
On the front of the Ozone Purifier (optional) is the indicator light. To verify that the Ozone Purifier is working properly, check to ensure that the indicator light is glowing while the filter pump is running during a period when the pump has been activated automatically.
IMPORTANT: The indicator light will not be on when any jets button has been activated manually. The light will remain off for 30 minutes thereafter.
NOTE: If the indicator light does not turn on during automatic filter pump operation, contact us for service.
As a manufacturer we do not recommend the best sanitizers to use because water varies based upon region and source (calcium, pH levels, minerals, metals, etc.). Visit us for best service.
Yes! Never leave a spa unattended while the cover is open due to safety issues. Also, it is recommended to keep spa covered at all times and the spa out of direct sunlight to avoid damage that may be caused by direct sunlight. Never leave an unfilled spa in the sun.
WARNING: A non-secured or improperly secured cover may pose a safety threat to children and may also cause damage or injury if blown off by wind. Always remove entire cover before using the spa.
IMPORTANT: Do not stand, sit, or place any item on the cover that could damage it. Gently remove any snow accumulations over 2” (5.08cm). Do not use any cleaners other than those recommended. Always secure the cover with all of the cover locks when not in use, whether the spa is empty or full of water. When Super Sanitizing your spa, always follow the cover care instructions provided in the Super Sanitation section.
If the spa will not be used for at least two weeks, lower the temperature to the lowest setting of 80 F (26°C) or place in low range heat mode. Lowering the temperature will cut the cost of operation, however; you will need to adjust the temperature setting approximately 4 hours before use in order to heat the spa to 100 F (38°C).
IMPORTANT: For all no-use periods, and on a weekly basis, be sure to have someone visually check that the spa is functioning correctly and to also maintain the spa water chemistry. Not doing so may lead to corrosion, staining, and/or scaling to the spa and its equipment. During periods of freezing temperatures, a spa that has malfunctioned may be subject to damaged plumbing or equipment as a result of ice buildup within the spa. If the spa cannot be checked and maintained on a weekly basis, then consider winterizing the spa.
Hot Tub Placement
Select a structurally sound flat surface that is reasonably level to serve as your spa’s foundation to prevent serious damage to your spa. A foundation that shifts or settles may cause stress to the spa shell. The foundation that your spa rests on must have a weight bearing load capability of supporting the weight of your spa, its water, and the people using it. The maximum filled weight of a spa can be as much as 6,000 lbs (2,722 kg), plus the weight of the occupants that use the spa.
If your spa’s pad is slightly sloped it will not affect the performance of the spa or its structure, however, there should be no dips, sags, or unevenness in the pad. Most patios are built to slope away from the house for drainage purposes. There should be no more than a ½” (1.27cm) slope in an 8‘ (2.44m) run. Recommended flooring materials include a concrete pad, concrete pavers or bricks, pea gravel, or crushed rock (1.5” [3.81cm] or more), or a reinforced deck. Additionally, your authorized Bullfrog Spa dealer should sell or recommend pre-formed spa pads.
NOTE: Concrete foundations should be a minimum of 4” (10.16cm) thick and should be reinforced with either rebar or mesh. For electrical grounding purposes, the rebar or mesh should be attached to a bond wire.
WARNING: Because your spa pad must provide continuous support for the entire base of the spa, you should never level it with shims. If it is necessary to level your spa, make sure the entire spa’s structure is fully supported, both in the center as well as the outer edge. When leveling your spa, there should be no voids beneath it. Contact your authorized Bullfrog Spa dealer before making any leveling adjustments. Structural damage to the spa resulting from incorrect installation, placement on an inadequate foundation, or improper leveling will void the spa’s warranty.
Elevated Installations: Be certain your deck or elevated structure can support the maximum filled weight of your spa along with the total weight of occupants that use it. You must know the deck’s weight-bearing load capacity and ensure that it is greater than the maximum filled weight of your spa combined with the occupants using it or serious injury or structural damage could result. Consult a qualified Structural Engineer or Contractor before the spa is placed on an elevated structure or deck.
You will need to ensure that you have the appropriate space equipped with electrical source (dedicated 220/240v 30/50a circuit). You will usually need to hire an electrician to wire your hot tub before it can be used. Depending on codes where you live, an electrician can either hook up the tub once it’s delivered, or set up the wires ahead of time. Some hot tub companies can help finalize the wiring when your tub is delivered.
The installation of all spas must be in accordance with national and local wiring rules. Always have a licensed electrician perform the electrical installation. Each Bullfrog Spa is manufactured and tested to a standard that provides maximum protection against electrical shock. Improper wiring may prevent the spa from operating safely which could result in electrical shock, injury, or death. Improper wiring could also lead to a malfunction of the spa’s equipment and risk of fire. When considering a location for your spa, consult with a licensed electrician pertaining to the following:
- Overhead Power Lines: Based upon the national and local wiring rules that apply to your area, you will need to install your spa at the required minimum horizontal and vertical distances from all power lines.
- Service Disconnect: Based upon your area, a disconnect device must be incorporated into the fixed wiring in accordance with national and local wiring rules. If the national and local wiring rules permit, a GFCI Sub-Panel may be used to substitute the service disconnect, providing that it is located within the same parameters.
- Electrical Outlets, Switches, and Devices Based upon the national and local wiring rules that apply to your area, you must install your spa at the required minimum distance from all electrical outlets, switches, and devices.
- Bonding: Based upon the national and local wiring rules that apply to your area, the Control System Box located inside the equipment compartment of your spa must be bonded to all metal equipment, handrails, fixtures, enclosures, pipe, or conduit that are located within the maximum specified distances. The bonding is to be connected to the ground lug connector on the exterior surface of the Control System Box and all metal items previously described.
- Equipment Compartment Access Make sure the spa is positioned so access to the equipment compartment will not be blocked.
Some people choose to install tile or custom wood around their spas. If you are installing your spa with custom trimming, remember to allow access for service. Should your spa need service, a technician may need to remove the spa’s equipment compartment door or side panels, or access the spa from beneath. Also, it is always best to design special installations so the spa can still be moved, or lifted from the ground.
For service purposes, also allow easy access to the circuit breakers in the electrical service panel (permanently-connected models), or to the interrupter switch on the end of the power cord (cord-connected models).
If using a cover-lifting mechanism, allow up to 24” (.61m) of clearance behind the spa. Check with your authorized Bullfrog Spas dealer for the exact clearance requirements for the cover-lifting mechanism.
Avoid installing the spa in a pit or low area where water may accumulate and damage the spa or its equipment. Choose a site where water will drain away from the spa. Your spa contains an equipment compartment, which houses all of its electrical components. Allowing water into the equipment compartment can damage the electronics, or may result in tripping your spa’s circuit breaker. For 120V~/60Hz, cord-connected spas, avoid plugging your spa into an electrical outlet that is susceptible to water. Likewise, avoid positioning the spa’s electrical cord as to allow water to enter the cord’s interrupter switch.
Other Common Questions
Most hot tubs are square or rectangle and between 6 and 8 feet in external dimensions. The larger the spa, the more people it will generally accommodate. It’s good to measure the space where you intend to place your spa before shopping. Also, keep in mind it’s sometimes necessary to leave an additional space of 1 to 2 feet around at least 1 to 2 sides of the spa to accommodate accessories like cover lifters and to allow for access.
Hot tubs come in sizes that accommodate anywhere from 2 to 10 people. Your intended use will determine how many people you need your hot tub to accommodate. A common size seats 5 or 6 people. However, if you are just using it for yourself and another guest or two, a small spa with a capacity of 2 to 3 will be perfect. If you are looking for something you and your kids or a group of friends can enjoy together, look for a spa that fits 8 or more people.
Learning how to manage the chemistry in your hot tub is not overwhelming and anyone can do it. In order to maintain clean water ready to use at any time, regular use of these items is commonly required to balance spa water: test strips, pH Increaser, pH Decreaser, bromine sanitizer, chlorine sanitizer, oxidizer, and anti-foam treatment. Water should be tested at least every time the spa is used. The cost of maintenance supplies depends on frequency and volume of use (how often and how many people), so it can vary from one owner to another.
The most common water sanitizer is chlorine, the same sanitizer used in many municipal water systems. Bromine is also used. Sanitizer usage can vary by how often you use your spa and what water care accessories you have. For example, if the spa has an ozone generator, that can significantly cut down on how much chemical maintenance your water will require.