Advice for Hot Tub in AirBnB

dcaton

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Jun 7, 2019
23
Deerfield Beach, FL
We are turning our former house into an AirBnb, and decided to add a hot tub since the property doesn't have a pool. Whether this was a good idea I don't know, but that ship has sailed. I'm sure it will look good in the listing pictures; how much it actually gets used remains to be seen.

We have a pool at our house so I'm familiar with water chemistry, have a TF-100, etc. A SWG isn't in the budget at the moment, so I test daily and use liquid chlorine, except for tablets the few weeks we're out of town.

I have no experience with hot tubs though, and since it will be in a (hopefully rented) AirBnb, daily maintenance is not practical. The property is less than a mile from our house, but I can't just drop in every day to test the water (nor do I want to). Any maintenance needs to be done on a weekly basis.

It is a Dimension One Aurora II, circa 2005, purchased from a dealer. 300 gallons. I've seen it working but don't know how well they cleaned it out. Already ordered some Ahh-some from Amazon and will be ordering new filters soon.

Given that, any suggestions? Seems to me that liquid chlorine is impractical. SWG of some sort, floater with tabs, or is there another option? Chlorine or bromide? Even though there wouldn't be constant sunlight, I imagine a single dose of liquid chlorine would not last an entire week, especially if it was used daily. If it gets heavy use, is there any instructions I should leave for renters, like "drop a tab into water after each use". Would rather not rely on renters having to do something though. I'm looking for the most foolproof way of keeping the water safe in between weekly rental turnovers.

Edit: According to the manual a "Crystal Zone Water Management System" (ozone generator) was an option on this model, but I don't see it.

Thanks in advance.
 
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JJ_Tex

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I dont know spa maintenance, but when I have rented an airbnb or vrbo with a hot tub, they provided the chlorine in baggies for us to put into the hot tub each day.
Obviously that is not TFP, but as the renters it was easy to follow and a way to make sure the spa we were getting in had chlorine.

We have another rental coming up, and I may sneak my test kit into bag or at least buy some test strips to better check out the hot tub before we use it.
 

ajw22

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From a renters perspective I have found many owners clueless about how to keep their pools or hot tubs sanitary. I have found attitudes of the water is clear so it is good. I have gone out to Leslies to buy a basic chlorine/pH test to checkout s rented houses pool and hot tub. Usually I find clear water but 0 chlorine.

I suggest you provide detailed illustrated directions on their responsibilities to maintain the hot tub between uses. Provide a test kit and all chemicals - chlorine, pH down, CYA.

I would appreciate if you told me the water was fresh and it showed a good chlorine level and pH when I arrived. That means you have to drain the hot tub and refill it between guests.

Now many guests are clueless and will get into anything and spill their beers in the hot tub. But if you want 5 stars from my visit you need to show you provided a sanitary hot tub when I arrived.
 
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JJ_Tex

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Granular I assume, not liquid? Did they ask you to put it in every day, or only on the days you actually used it?
Yes. One was pre-measured granules in zip lock baggies with the dates written, one for each day.
The other was just a Tupperware type container full of granules and a scoop, with basic instructions that said to use daily before using the hot tub.

Either way, I added the chlorine first thing when we got there, and visually inspected the tub and water before anyone got in.
 

RDspaguy

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Mar 21, 2020
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Ok. As a guy who maintained vacation rentals in Tahoe for several years I can assure you it was a bad idea to get a spa.
To all you renters out there, do not use rental spas!!!
Here's why:
daily maintenance is not practical
I don't travel without my test kit, and most hotel pools, much less spas, do not make the cut for my family to use. I have been know to call the health department on several occasions. And hotel pools are regulated...
Private rentals are a loophole in pool maintenance requirements. They can be considered private (and therefore unregulated) so long as they are maintained between every group of guests. Nobody checks on that unless there is an issue involving medical bills and lawsuits, so it's often left to the guests to do it. A maintenance company has little hope of properly balancing the spa in the short window between guests so some stuff gets thrown in based on a single test and he's off to the next one. $15 a stop doesn't buy you much. And owner maintained tubs are often worse.
I'd say if daily maintenance isn't practical, neither is having a spa at your rental.
Just my 2-cents worth...
 
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jseyfert3

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The property is less than a mile from our house, but I can't just drop in every day to test the water (nor do I want to). Any maintenance needs to be done on a weekly basis.
My own experience with hot tubs says this won’t work. They need regular testing and adjustments.

At a minimum the renters will have to add stuff, but it’s very far from ideal and certainly not the TFP way,
 

Mdragger88

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Just throwing this out there... but maybe a Controlomatic Smarter Spa swg would help in your situation- as it detects & adds fc. Therefore you wouldn’t risk overdose when it sits empty but you could also have some reassurance that it was being regularly sanitized in addition to the maintenance/clean up person adjusting other parameters & shocking before & after guests. Also perhaps coupled with instructions for guests to add pre measured amounts of dichlor or mps daily during their stay. Or couple it with bromide. The tub would likely need to be purged/drained/refilled on a regular basis (monthly maybe?)
is this air bnb near your home? Aka Would u be able to check on it regularly?
 

dcaton

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Jun 7, 2019
23
Deerfield Beach, FL
I suggest you provide detailed illustrated directions on their responsibilities to maintain the hot tub between uses. Provide a test kit and all chemicals - chlorine, pH down, CYA.

I would appreciate if you told me the water was fresh and it showed a good chlorine level and pH when I arrived. That means you have to drain the hot tub and refill it between guests.

Now many guests are clueless and will get into anything and spill their beers in the hot tub. But if youw ant 5 stars from my visit you need to show you provided a sanitary hot tub when I arrived.

You or I might follow such directions, or even test it on our own, but I've got to believe that the last thing on anyone's mind who is on vacation is hot tub maintenance

I can provide a testing kit, but chemicals? There's no way to know whether someone has the knowledge necessary to add the proper amount of anything, Maybe some prepackaged chlorine, but CYA?

Draining and refilling between every guest seems excessive. I don't know... is that the norm? Certainly if it was obviously dirty or whatever I'd drain it for sure, but there's really no way to know if someone even used it at all.

As a renter, what would prove to you that the hot tub was sanitary when you arrived? Would test strips suffice?
 

dcaton

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Jun 7, 2019
23
Deerfield Beach, FL
Just throwing this out there... but maybe a Controlomatic Smarter Spa swg would help in your situation- as it detects & adds fc. Therefore you wouldn’t risk overdose when it sits empty but you could also have some reassurance that it was being regularly sanitized in addition to the maintenance/clean up person adjusting other parameters & shocking before & after guests. Also perhaps coupled with instructions for guests to add pre measured amounts of dichlor or mps daily during their stay. Or couple it with bromide. The tub would likely need to be purged/drained/refilled on a regular basis (monthly maybe?)
is this air bnb near your home? Aka Would u be able to check on it regularly?
It's probably not an onerous requirement to ask them to add something prior to and/or after they use it, especially if it's convenient and in some prepackaged form. But I'm sure some people won't even use the hot tub and won't read the instructions. Or they do and just don't follow the instructions. How would I even know?

The Controlomatic looks interesting, but expensive. Might have to bite the bullet on something like this though. I just don't think it is safe to rely on a renter doing anything, maintenance-wise.

As I mentioned, the airbnb is less than a mile from my house and I can be there in 2 minutes if need be. I do not want to be going over there every day though, and I doubt most renters are going to want me popping in uninvited either.
 

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dcaton

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Jun 7, 2019
23
Deerfield Beach, FL
I'd say if daily maintenance isn't practical, neither is having a spa at your rental.
Well for better or worse that ship has sailed. If it turns out to be more trouble than it's worth, I suppose we can move it over to our own house.

No maintenance company; my wife and I will be doing the maintenance and as a pool owner and TFP member, I fully understand the need for proper sanitation. And I suppose it's not a big deal to ask renters to add something prior to or after using the spa. I guess I'm more concerned about it sitting unused for a week at at time.
 
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JJ_Tex

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As a renter, what would prove to you that the hot tub was sanitary when you arrived? Would test strips suffice?

I personally think that test strips, test kits, etc. would be intimidating to most renters. Most people are going to just go look at the spa and also see if there are any smells before they make a determination to get in or not. Keep in mind that this is a forum for pool fanatic's, which will not be the case with most renters.

I would stick to either 100% doing it yourself, doing the bulk of the maintenance + simple to follow instructions for your guests, or just forego the hot tub all together.
Note that the 3rd option may not make sense in all environments. If I am in Colorado skiing, I would like to get into a spa at night. We just went to Broken Bow, OK and every single cabin had a hot tub and would would be an outlier if you did not. I'm thinking most guests in FL will be much more interested in your beach access than your spa.
 
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Mdragger88

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Since u r close you would be able to monitor it fairly closely at least.
You could do the saltron mini but it just has a preset amount of hours - i have mine on a timer so it’s spread out throughout the day. It still requires some manual additions though if you dont set it high enough to make up for heavy bather loads. If u set it high enough for that you risk having way too much fc if no one uses it. The replacement cells are roughly the same price for the saltron & the chloromatic. I believe their life expectancy is similar as well. The chloromatic is higher $$ starting out due to its brain...
I know in my personal tub it really lowers the amount of fiddling once i have the startup complete. My ta, ph, ch etc. all stay the same generally-& the swg keeps the fc from ever going to the no zone.

I just Follow the sticky @ the top of this forum to get set up, simplifying it by using granular cya sometimes & then letting the swg take over the daily dosing only adding bleach w/ extended or heavy bather loads.
 
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Mdragger88

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Well for better or worse that ship has sailed. If it turns out to be more trouble than it's worth, I suppose we can move it over to our own house.

No maintenance company; my wife and I will be doing the maintenance and as a pool owner and TFP member, I fully understand the need for proper sanitation. And I suppose it's not a big deal to ask renters to add something prior to or after using the spa. I guess I'm more concerned about it sitting unused for a week at at time.
I was going to suggest bringing it home as well if it doesn’t work out.
I have left my spa for a week’s vacation multiple times with no issues - i just adjust the swg accordingly
 

dcaton

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Jun 7, 2019
23
Deerfield Beach, FL
I'm thinking most guests in FL will be much more interested in your beach access than your spa.
Really don't know, but the vast majority of short term rentals down here, whether they're houses or multi-unit buildings, have pools. That's not an option for us, at least not right now. Whether a hot tub is a good idea or not, we'll know in time. The expense is a fraction of what a pool would cost, and within our current budget.

The ControlOMatic line of SWG's have good reviews on Amazon. Maybe that's the way to go. I can provide simple instructions for guests, but there's no way to force them to do anything so I need some sort of fallback to keep things decent between weekly cleaning/maintenance between guests.
 
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RDspaguy

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In my experience guests are bad at following instructions, with a few exceptions, of course. If it's close then you can take the time to maintain it regularly, and it's not the unused times you will have trouble with. It's the spilled drinks, heavy (unwashed) bather load, fabric softener/make-up/hair product residue, ph issues, and chronically low sanitizer levels that will have you pulling out your hair.
I do recommend ANY sensor controlled chemical automation system for this circumstance, even a swg. They also have ph controllers, but it would have to be mounted outside of the spa.
 

ajw22

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It's probably not an onerous requirement to ask them to add something prior to and/or after they use it, especially if it's convenient and in some prepackaged form. But I'm sure some people won't even use the hot tub and won't read the instructions. Or they do and just don't follow the instructions. How would I even know?

If you provide a sanitary hot tun when they arrive then it is on them to keep it that way. You need to provide the tools to keep it sanitary just as you provide other cleaning supplies int he house for guests.


As I mentioned, the airbnb is less than a mile from my house and I can be there in 2 minutes if need be. I do not want to be going over there every day though, and I doubt most renters are going to want me popping in uninvited either.

You need to start them off sanitary and then give them the instructions and tools to keep it that way.

I am not most people but test strips would not cut it for me. Even a basic OTO cholrine/pH 2 way test it is better then test strips. But if I found both test strips and a halfway decent test kit I would think positively of the owner.

All I care about for short term hot tub use is if there is chlorine in the tub and the pH is in the 7's. I don;t care about the TA or CH in the water. Now if you noted in the Hot Tub care instructions that the fill has a TA of XX and CYA XX to me it would be great and many other folks would not care.
 

dcaton

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Deerfield Beach, FL
If you provide a sanitary hot tun when they arrive then it is on them to keep it that way.
That's a good point.
Now if you noted in the Hot Tub care instructions that the fill has a TA of XX and CYA XX to me it would be great and many other folks would not care.
Good idea. I could print up a form and fill it in with the test date and results and date for each renter. Sort of like the restroom cleaning log you see in some stores. At least they would know it's taken care of, and for the more knowledgeable it would probably be a plus and help get us good reviews. Will definitely leave test strips and a simple test kit.
 
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Bperry

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Any reason not to just check and sanitize the spa when the place gets cleaned after renters have left and before new ones come in? Unless they’re renting for weeks at a time, I think I’d rather train a cleaning person to check the water and adjust appropriately than count on renters doing anything.
 

Leebo

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Let’s remember to keep this thread on track, we’re talking pools and Spa’s here. 😀No need to discuss the end of the world......

 

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