You saw the advertisement and it certainly got you attention: self-cleaning hot tub! The major factor keeping you from finally making your hot tub purchase may be the maintenance that it will require of you. Something easier to take care of would be ideal.

But hold on! Don’t go making that purchase just yet. You probably should know a couple of things before you do.

For starters, the concept of a “self-cleaning hot tub” is nothing more than a marketing tactic. There is no hot tub available that cleans itself like a self-cleaning oven does – just flip a switch and it’s done. The concept is a play on truth to draw in the customers.

In reality, all hot tubs are self-cleaning to some degree; they all come with filtration systems that clean the water. About the only possible upgrade in a designated self-cleaning hot tub is that the water cycles through the filtration system faster, so it’s filtered more times in an hour than a hot tub without this designation.

Regardless of this faster turn-over rate, a self-cleaning hot tub still needs regular maintenance, including chemicals to balance the water, just like a Hot Spring Hot Tub or any other brand. A consistent maintenance schedule will be required to keep your hot tub water in tip-top, usable condition, regardless of the style, brand or features. You’ll need to add chemicals like chlorine, bromine, pH balancers and more, likely on a weekly basis. You’ll need to remove the filter and rinse it with the hose at least once a month.

Rather than being hooked by this sales gimmick, some due diligence will give you a decided advantage when approaching a dealer about your hot tub desires and needs. Look for hot tubs with a higher turn-over rate and a dedicated circulation pump to get the best use out of your water. Refrain from using your hot tub as a bath (make sure you’re already clean when you use it) and always have a clean but thoroughly rinsed bathing suit (soap residue means more maintenance).

If doing the maintenance yourself is still a concern, consider hiring a hot tub maintenance service to come in weekly or monthly (depending on the level of commitment you want) to help keep your spa running smoothly. But know that a maintenance-free hot tub simply doesn’t exist, at least not yet, anyway.