When most people think about hot tubs, they usually think about relaxing in the warm, massaging waters while allowing their cares to melt away. What most people don’t consider when thinking about hot tubs is what’s needed to keep the water clean, safe and healthy. Unbalanced water chemistry in a hot tub can cause a whole host of problems that can affect the hot tub components, the water, and the bathers. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to keep your water chemistry in balance. In this article, we’ll go over the concept of pH and the steps involved in how to raise hot tub pH.
pH is simply a measurement of how acidic or basic a solution is. The pH scale runs from the most acidic, with a measurement of 1, to the most basic, a measurement of 14. The ideal pH level in a hot tub is between 7.4 and 7.6 – a measurement that’s slightly basic.
Consequences of Low pH
If the pH level in your hot tub water is below 7.4 there may be consequences. Acidic water can cause a hot tub’s metal components to rust and corrode. If the pH level is too low sanitizers have a tough time remaining stable and tend to breakdown and disappear. This could cause your water to start harboring harmful bacteria and other contaminants. You might also find yourself using much more sanitizer than usual. When the water is acidic, bathers might find that their skin becomes irritated and they feel a burning sensation in their eyes and nose.
Total Alkalinity And pH
Total alkalinity is a measure of the buffering capacity of the water. This affects how easily acid is neutralized. And because pH measures the amount of acid in a solution, the total alkalinity affects how easily it is to adjust the pH level. If your total alkalinity level is outside of the range of 120 to 150 ppm, you’ll have a very tough time adjusting the pH level.
Taking Water Samples
To measure the levels of total alkalinity and pH you’ll need to take water samples and run a couple of tests. Before taking your water sample you should make sure the water pump of your hot tub has been running for at least 10 minutes. Take the water sample at a depth of about one foot. You can do this by covering the opening of the sample container with your thumb before dunking it into the water up to your elbow. Release your thumb, turn over the container and remove it from the water.
Testing for Total Alkalinity and pH
You can use water test strips, add chemical reagents to the sample or bring your water sample to your hot tub dealer for testing. If you’re doing the tests yourself, you would compare the color of the test strips or water sample with the chart included with the testing kit. This will let you know if any adjustments need to be made.
Raising the pH
If you find your pH level is below 7.4, you’ll need to bring it up into the proper range. Soda ash is used in hot tubs to raise the pH level. The directions on the soda ash container will tell you how much you need to add. Pour the soda ash into the deepest part of the tub, turn on the water pump and allow it to run for an hour before testing the water again.
If you’d like to learn more about hot tub water chemistry or hot tubs in general, feel free to download a free hot tub buyer’s guide today.