Water Care

Spa Care

Keep Your Spa in Top Condition

Spa Care

Keep Your Spa in Top Condition


Spa care products from Montana hot Spring SpasHotSpring Spas are equipped with balanced filtration, meaning that the filter cartridges are sized to meet the needs of the jet pump system. Additionally a separate filter is dedicated to serving the 24-hour circulation system.

As with any water filtering system, the filter cartridges may become clogged, resulting in reduced water flow. In your HotSpring® spa, it is important to maintain a clean, unobstructed filtering system. This not only provides maximum performance from the jets, but allows the 24-hour filtration system to function effectively. Watkins Manufacturing Corporation recommends the filter cartridges be cleaned (either by spraying clean with water or by soaking to dissolve minerals) once every month.

WARNING: Failure to maintain the cartridges in a clean, unobstructed manner will result in reduced water flow through the heater assembly that may cause the High Limit Thermostat or Heater Thermal Cut-Off to trip. If this high limit or thermal cut-off trip occurs during sub-freezing temperatures and goes unnoticed, the spa water may freeze. Any damage to the spa (due to freezing) caused as a result of poor maintenance will not be covered by your spa warranty.

TIP: Rotating the placement of the filter cartridges within the filter compartment after each cleaning will help extend their service life.

Filter Cartridge Removal And Installation Instructions:

  • Remove and carefully set aside the filter compartment cover.
  • Remove any floating items from within the filter compartment.
  • Turn the filter handle (located on the top of the filter cartridge) counter-clockwise until the retainer can be removed from the filter standpipe.
  • Remove the filter retainer and cartridge.

SERVICE NOTE: Never remove the filter standpipe. Debris may find its way into the internal plumbing which may result in blockage. NEVER REMOVE SUCTION FITTINGS.

Filter Cartridge Cleaning Instructions:

Try to time it with a drain & clean. BEFORE DRAINING YOUR SPA: Always clean the filters using a filter degreaser to remove mineral and oil buildup. Simply soak the filter in the degreaser (according to the degreaser directions), then place the filter on a clean surface and spray until clean using a garden hose. It may be necessary to rotate the filter while spraying to remove dislodged debris between filter pleats. Put clean filters back in spa and run jets for 20 minutes. This way if not all of the cleaner was removed by spray rinsing, it will foam up your old water not your new. Drain and refill your spa by putting your garden hose down the gray-capped, hollow filter standpipe.

WARNING: Do not use the spa with the filter cartridges or filter standpipe removed!

TIP: Have an extra clean or new filter on-hand for those times when it is too cold to use your garden hose.


Accessories from Montana Hot Spring SpasPillows that may be included on your model spa will provide years of comfort if treated with care. They have been positioned above the water line to minimize the bleaching effects of chlorinated water and other spa water chemicals. To extend their life, whenever the spa shell is being cleaned, the spa pillows should be removed and cleaned. Body oils can be removed with mild soap and water solution. ALWAYS rinse off the spa pillows thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
The pillows can be conditioned with a silicone-based spa cover cleaner after cleaning. If the spa is not going to be used for a long period of time (that is during a vacation or if the spa is winterized) or when the spa is being super-chlorinated, the spa pillows should be removed until the next use of the spa.

To Remove and Replace the Spa Pillows:

  • Carefully lift one end away from the spa shell.
  • Continue lifting one end until both pillow retainers are released from the pillow.IMPORTANT: Just pulling the pillow straight up and out of the shell recess will eventually damage the pillow. This is not covered under warranty.
  • To reinstall the pillow, carefully bend the pillow slightly to allow one of the pillow retainers to slip into the recess in the back of the pillow.
  • Keeping the pillow slightly bent, slide the other pillow retainer into the recess in the back of the pillow.
  • After the second pillow retainer is in place, press the pillow down into the recess in the spa shell.


Spa care tips from Montana Hot Spring SpasYour HotSpring spa shell does not need to be cleaned unless there is something visible on the surface. A soft rag or a nylon scrubber should easily remove most dirt. If this is not the case, please contact us for a recommendation.

SERVICE NOTES: Iron and copper in the water can stain the spa shell if allowed to go unchecked. We stock a stain and scale inhibitor and a pre-filter attachment for your garden hose if your spa water has a high concentration of dissolved minerals. The use of alcohol or any household cleaners other than what we suggest to clean the spa shell is NOT recommended. DO NOT use any cleaning products containing abrasives or solvents since they may damage the shell surface. Damage to the shell by the use of harsh chemicals is not covered under the warranty.

Spa Cabinet

There are two types of spa cabinets (or skirts): Everwood® or Redwood.

Everwood® skirted models have skirts consisting of a rigid polymer that combines the durability of plastic with the beauty of redwood. Everwood® won’t crack, peel, blister, or delaminate even after prolonged exposure to the elements. Cleaning of Everwood® consists of simply wiping down the skirt with a mild soap and water solution to remove any stains or residue. Do not rub the Everwood® with an abrasive material or use abrasive cleaners as this may damage its texture. Treat with a protectant every time you drain & refill your spa. As with most products, prolonged exposure to outdoor weather conditions can cause fading. We carry the stain needed to keep your Everwood® skirt looking new.

Redwood skirted models are made from natural clear-heart redwood. During the manufacturing process of the spa, the cabinet is sealed with a lightly tinted stain for protection and to enhance its beauty. If your spa has a real redwood cabinet, do not use wood sealers or wood furniture-type oils (that use tung, teak, or lemon) to seal the skirt as they will cause the redwood to blacken. Discoloration or aging of the redwood skirt is considered natural. We carry the original factory finish stain that Watkins Manufacturing uses in production.


The vinyl cover is an attractive, durable foam insulation product. Monthly cleaning and conditioning are recommended to retain its beauty.

To clean and condition the vinyl cover: Remove the cover from the spa and with a garden hose, spray the cover to loosen and rinse away dirt or debris. Using a large sponge and/or a soft bristle brush, and using a very mild soap solution (1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid with 2 gallons of water) or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), scrub the vinyl top in a circular motion. Do not let the vinyl dry with a soap film on it before it can be rinsed clean. Scrub the cover’s perimeter and side flaps. Rinse clean. Rinse off the bottom of the cover (use no soap), and wipe it clean with a dry rag.

To condition the cover after cleaning, apply a thin film of cover conditioner to the vinyl surface and buff to a high luster.

Important Reminders:

  • Do remove snow buildup with a broom to avoid foam core breakage. (not a shovel!)
  • Do lock cover straps to secure the cover when the spa is not in use. In high wind areas, Do use a wind strap.
  • Do not drag or lift the spa cover using either the flaps or tie down straps.
  • Do not walk, stand or sit on the cover.
  • Do not place any hot items or objects that will magnify or conduct heat on the cover; foam core damage may result.
  • Do not use any chemicals or cleaners except those recommended by Watkins Manufacturing Corp. or its authorized sales and service dealer.

WARNING: A HotSpring® spa vinyl cover is a manual safety cover that meets or exceeds all prevailing requirements of ASTM Standards for spa safety covers when installed and used correctly as of the date of manufacture. Non-secured or improperly secured covers are a hazard. Open the cover to its fully open position before use.


A mineral build-up in the injector is usually indicated by a marked decrease in bubbles exiting from the heater return/floor drain. Go through the HotSpring Spa Quick-Reference Troubleshooting Guide for functional or mechanical problems with the spa or ozonator before performing this maintenance.

If after going through the Quick Reference Guide you suspect that there is a build-up in the injector, refer to the following instructions.


This is a non-warrantable maintenance procedure. You, the spa owner, should perform the procedure. Dealer performance of this service will be billed at regular service rates.

Instructions for the Current Freshwater CD Ozonator

  • Disconnect power to the spa.
  • Remove the equipment door.
  • Locate the neoprene tubing that connects from the bottom of the ozonator and the injector.
  • Put 16 oz. of white vinegar in a cup or bucket. Place the cup or bucket on the equipment compartment floor.
  • Remove the neoprene tubing from the bottom of the ozonator. If a liquid substance is present, carefully remove the neoprene tubing making sure not to come in contact with the liquid. WARNING: This liquid could be NITRIC ACID.
  • Place the end of the neoprene tubing in the cup or bucket of vinegar. Be certain that the end of the tubing sits at the bottom of the cup or bucket of vinegar.
  • Reconnect power to the spa.
  • Run spa until all 16 oz. of white vinegar has been run through the injector.
  • Disconnect power to the spa.
  • Remove the now empty cup or bucket and reinstall the neoprene tubing into the bottom of the ozonator.
  • Reinstall the equipment compartment door.
  • Reconnect power to the spa and check for ozone bubble flow.


Spa tips from Montana Hot Spring SpasShort Time Periods (3 – 5 Days):

Adjust the alkalinity and pH by following the instructions outlined in the Water Quality and Maintenance section (see owner’s manual)
Sanitize the water by following the shock procedures also listed in the Water Quality section.
Lock your cover in place using the tiedowns.
Upon Your Return: Sanitize the water by following the shock procedure.

Long Time Periods (6 – 14 Days):

At least one day before you leave, set the temperature to its lowest level. IMPORTANT NOTE: Spa water oxidizers such as chlorine maintain their level of effectiveness substantially longer in warm water (80 degrees) than in hot water (101 + degrees).

Adjust the alkalinity & pH as required. Sanitize the water by following the shock procedures.

Upon Your Return: Sanitize the water by following the shock procedure.

NOTE: If you will be gone for longer than 14 days, please call for direction.

Owner’s Manuals

Hot Spring Spas Owner’s Manuals
Caldera Spas Owner’s Manuals
FreeFlow Spas Owner’s Manuals

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