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Hot Tubs In Alaska's Bed & Breakfast Establishments

Why Is My Hot Tub Regulated?

For many years, the Department of Environmental Conservation has regulated public pools and hot tubs to be sure they are safely designed and operated. Because hot tubs are operated at temperatures close to human body temperature, harmful bacteria can quickly reach unsafe levels in hot tubs. The high temperatures, water agitation, and the relatively small amount of water mean that disinfectant levels can quickly drop to unsafe levels during periods of use. If water quality is not properly maintained, serious health hazards may result.

The information presented here is intended for bed & breakfast facilities in Alaska that have five or fewer guest rooms. The department recognizes that because of their smaller size, these facilities will usually have fewer users. Because of this, the department is willing to consider waivers of some of the provisions of the pool and spa regulations to allow the use of residential hot tubs under certain alternative conditions as outlined below.

What If I Have More Than Five Guest Rooms?

Bed and breakfasts that have more than five guest rooms are considered public accommodations, may require food service permits, and must comply with additional fire and life safety requirements, as well as provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. These larger facilities must also comply with all of the provisions of the pool and spa regulations.

What If My Hot Tub is In a Guest Room and Guests Use It Like a Bathtub?

If you have a water-jet style bath tub which is drained after every use, it is not regulated. Follow the same sanitation practices you would for cleaning toilets, sinks, and tubs.

Requirement Alternative
30-minute turnover rate
18 AAC 30.580(a)
1-hour turnover rate - calculated by dividing the volume of water in your hot tub by the gallons per minute that your pump is pumping. You may have to contact the manufacturer of your spa to find out the pump capacity. This information is not always included in the literature that comes with the spa.
24 hour a day, continuous circulation
18 AAC 30.580(a)
Operate the circulation system during all hours the hot tub is available for use by your guests, up to a maximum of eight hours, plus a minimum of two turnovers before opening and two turnovers after closing.
Frequency of changing water
18 AAC 30.580(l)
The hot tub must be drained and refilled once a week for hot tubs with a volume of 250 gallons or less, or every two weeks for hot tubs with a volume greater than 250 gallons. This is because most residential hot tubs do not provide 100% filtration. (some water bypasses the filters)
Filter cleaning
18 AAC 30.580(a)
Clean the filters every time the hot tub water is drained. Residential hot tubs do not have the pressure gauges that indicate the filter is dirty. This will allow the filters to function as effectively as possible.
Disinfecteant level must be maintained between 2.0ppm - 10ppm
18 AAC 30.580(e)
Maintain disinfectant levels of 6-10 ppm free chlorine or bromine. Higher disinfectant levels help to compensate for incomplete filtration.
Automatic sensor control for disinfectant and pH
18 AAC 30.580(c)
Disinfectant level of 6-10 ppm free chlorine or bromine must be maintained, as well as limiting operation to no more than 8 consecutive hours per day, (e.g., 4 pm to midnight). (Note the testing requirement.) Because it is difficult to maintain constant disinfectant levels manually, automatic sensor control is recommended.
Continuous disinfection
18 AAC 30.580(b)
May not be waived. Disinfectant must be mechanically dispensed to a hot tub by a continuous disinfection system, consisting of a chemical tank, chemical feeder, and device to regulate the flow of disinfectant into a hot tub water return line.
Erosion feeders are prohibited
18 AAC 30.580(h)(3)
May not be waived. Dispensers that float in the skimmer or on the surface of the hot tub water are not acceptable. Feeding equipment is required and it must be capable of providing the required quantity of disinfecting agent into the hot tub water.
Hot tubs with wood interiors are prohibited
18 AAC 30.580(k)
May not be waived. These tubs provide a breeding environment for bacteria and algae.

Maintenance Schedule

Every other hour spa is open

Maintenance Element Range
pH (to nearest 0.2 units) 7.2-7.6
FAC (to the nearest 0.2 mg/l)
Note: FAC must be > 1/2 TAC for proper disinfection
6.0-10.0 mg/l
FAB (to the nearest 0.2 mg/l) 6.0-10.0 mg/l
Number of users Based on spa volume
Water temperature ≤104°F


Maintenance Element Range
TAC (to nearest 0.2 mg/l) 6.0-10.0 mg/l
TAC (to nearest 0.2 mg/l) 6.0-10.0 mg/l
Flow rate;
pressure/vacuum readings;
hours pumps/filters in operation

Weekly (depending on whether or not chemicals are routinely added to maintain water quality)

Maintenance Element Range
Alkalinity (to nearest 5 mg/l) 100-140 mg/l
Calcium Hardness 150-500 mg/l
Langlier or Saturation Index ±0.5


Maintenance Element Range
Submit water sample for bacterial analysis to lab  

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