In recent years consumer demand has brought about a significant increase in the number of holiday lets which now include hot tubs.
The running and use of a hot tub in guest accommodation can bring about some challenges and owners need to do their research and be fully aware of their responsibilities.
These resources have been developed by the Heart of the South West Better Business for All Partnership with help from the Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK and funded by the Office for Products Safety & Standards.
We have created five mini webinars and a toolkit to help accommodation providers to understand the steps required to ensure the hot tub environment is safe for guests and for owners, staff and contractors who maintain hot tubs.
We recommend all webinars are watched as a complete set by all accommodation providers so they are aware of what must be done to ensure the hot tub is compliant with the law and best practice regarding hot tub safety.
All five webinars are relatively short (under 10 minutes) and should take no longer than one hour to complete collectively. Closed Captions can be switched on in the video player if required.
Buying a Hot Tub what to consider?
What the law requires?
Operation and maintenance
Testing and managing water quality
Procedures and records
In addition to the five webinars, we have produced a toolkit that expands on topics covered in the webinars and provides you with a set of self-help forms. These can be downloaded in Word format for use locally.
- Health and Safety Executive – Control of legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems – HSG282.
- Hot Tubs for Business.
- Health and Safety Executive – Information about health and safety at work.
- If you operate a swimming pool as part of your business, see the Swimming pool safety webinar and Pool Safety Guide for pool operators.
Operating hot tubs frequently asked questions
I want to fit a hot tub in the garden of my holiday let, is there a special type I need to buy, is there a difference between a domestic and commercial model?
Buy the best you can afford, suitable for commercial (harder) use. In an ideal world there should be an automatic dosing system and a UV system fitted. As a minimum an inline disinfectant feeder should be fitted. Some of the cheap inflatable home-use hot tubs and Scandinavian tubs are not suitable for commercial/business use. Take advice from a reputable supplier.
What water testing records do I need to keep and how long do I need to keep them for?
Water test records should include (as per your risk assessment) testing as a minimum of twice daily for free chlorine and PH, Combined chlorine can be useful to test for but is not essential for businesses given the frequency of the hot tub water changes. Hot tubs treated with Bromine should be tested for Total Bromine and pH. Records should be kept for up to five years (see the example log sheet).
Is Covid-19 killed with UV?
UV disinfection that is installed internally within a hot tub will kill the majority of bacteria at the point of contact, however Free chlorine residuals still need to be maintained to ensure adequate disinfection within the pool water itself and the surrounds need to be adequately cleaned to limit Covid surviving on any contact surfaces.
If the hot tub is not being used for the winter, is it best to empty?
If a hot tub is to be left unused it should be shock dosed with Chlorine at 50mg/l for one hour at a PH of 7.0-7.4 before being emptied (you’ll need to dilute this concentration before sending it to drain).
Ensure the tub and pipework are drained fully so that where possible no water can stagnate in the system over the closed period. A full recommissioning process and microbiological sample should be carried out prior to using the hot tub again.
Where can I buy a photometer or comparator?
From any swimming pool supplier or reputable stores online, we recommend Palintest or Lovibond kits for their reliability and the availability of the correct suitably matched manufacturers reagents/testing tablets.
Should we over-dose with chlorine to control the risk from visitors?
No various factors may influence the maintenance of the disinfection levels such as bather load etc. However, the effectiveness of the disinfectant is directly related to the PH of the water. Hot tub water should be continuously dosed and be maintained with free chlorine residual kept between 3-5mg/l or Bromine between 4-6mg/l within a good PH remit.
Why shouldn’t I use a Scandinavian hot tub in my holiday let?
Scandinavian hot tubs are for a single use of water these tubs have no circulation or filtration system and no inline disinfection feeders. They also present a scalding risk as there is no automatic heating thermostat and they require manual water temperature/heater adjustment. Scandinavian hot tubs should not be left full of water to avoid the growth of unwanted bacteria. They should not be used for holiday lets unless they are drained and cleaned daily and should never be filled heated and used for longer than a day.
What safety information should I display on signage for bathers?
- No solo bathing.
- Don’t exceed 15 minutes immersion at a time.
- Use the toilet and shower before use.
- Don’t wear suntan lotions, spray tans or skin creams.
- Don’t exceed the maximum number of bathers specified for the hot tub (one per seat).
- Supervise all children in or around the tub at all times.
- Don’t take food or drink into the hot tub.
- Keep glass objects out of the hot tub.
- It’s recommended that hot tubs are not used after a heavy meal or while under the influence of alcohol or sedatives.
- Seek medical advice before using if you are pregnant or have health problems or are immunocompromised.
- Don’t allow children under four years or those who cannot keep their head out of the water when seated to use the tub.
- It’s not recommended for children under eight to use a hot tub.
Why should children under eight not use a hot tub?
Children do not have the developed thermoregulatory systems of adults. Children are not recommended to use hot tubs over their body temperature (37 degrees Celsius ) as this causes heat stress. Most hot tubs operate above this temperature.
What are the chemical parameters that I need to apply and what actions do I need to take if these are outside of remit?
Depending on the operating characteristics of your hot tub to ensure the chemical dosage and water quality are appropriate. Please refer to Table 1 on page 34 of HSG282 “operational actions and typical frequencies”, Table 3 “Chemical parameters and actions required” pages 45 and 46 of HSG282. Ensure that hot tubs are tested by a competent person. Training courses maybe available in your local area.
What other chemicals should I use to treat my hot tub?
There are a wide variety of chemicals that are available to treat the hot tub water. The choice of chemical will depend on your operating system and your source water and manufacturer’s instructions and if there is a particular issue you are seeking to address. More guidance can be found in HSG282 and Hot tubs for Business, Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group publication. We recommend further reading of these documents. You may also seek advice from your supplier. Information on the range of chemicals available is beyond the scope of this webinar but we recommend further reading and completing training. Ensure that you are competent to carry out the water treatment and testing or use a competent person who maybe a third party. Be clear about the responsibilities.
If you have any comments or queries about this guide please contact the Environmental Health team at your local council – for contact details visit GOV.UK – Find your local council.