Maintaining your hot tub’s water is key to keeping it clean and running well so everyone can enjoy it safely. To do that, you need to understand a few basic details about hot tub chemistry, what chemicals you need on hand, and when to use them. Below, we will discuss the basics of hot tub water maintenance so you can keep your spa looking great all year long!
Understanding the Basics of Water Chemistry
Your hot tub’s water contains a delicate balance of chemicals that work together to keep it clean and safe for use. It’s similar to that of a swimming pool, except the volume is smaller, and the temperature is usually higher. The best way to keep track of that balance is by regularly testing the water with strips or a kit. The results will help guide you so you know when to add the necessary chemicals as required. To give you a better idea of what the results mean, here’s a breakdown of the components that make up the water’s chemistry in your hot tub:
1. pH Levels
pH indicates whether the water in your hot tub is too acidic or too alkaline. Between 7.2 – 7.8 is the recommended range, and anything beyond this means that there’s an imbalance. In this pH scale from 0-14, 7 is the neutral state, meaning anything below 7 is acidic, and anything over 7 is alkaline.
2. Total Alkalinity (TA)
The TA measures the amount of dissolved alkaline in your hot tub’s water. It stabilizes the pH levels, so they don’t fluctuate too much. For your hot tub’s pH levels to be stable, the TA should be between 80-120 ppm (parts per million). For low alkalinity levels, you can use sodium bicarbonate to bring it back to the recommended level. On the other hand, if the water alkalinity level is too high, you can use something stronger like sulfuric acid to lower the TA.
3. Total Hardness (TH)
The TH measures the amount of calcium salts dissolved in your water. This lets you know how corrosive or scaling the water might be. The ideal range is between 125-250 ppm. Once you notice that the water has turned cloudy, it means the reading is not within the ideal range. Whenever there aren’t enough minerals present in the water, it compensates by drawing those minerals from other parts of your hot tub. When the water finds parts made of aluminum, iron, copper, etc., those are the ones that will get damaged.
Why You Should Shock Your Hot Tub When There’s an Imbalance
Want to deal quickly with issues in water chemistry? Shocking might be the most ideal solution. Below are the benefits of regularly shocking your hot tub:
- It helps kill off any accumulated bacteria in the water.
- It works to oxidize organic compounds that can make your hot tub’s water cloudy.
- It creates more free chlorine and bromine, which are the sanitizers used to keep your water clean. The chemicals help remove unnecessary particles so that the filter can grab them more easily.
Which Chemicals Should You Have on Hand?
There are four main types of chemicals you should keep in stock when owning a hot tub:
- Sanitizers – These work to kill off bacteria and other organisms in the water. The most common sanitizers used for hot tubs are chlorine and bromine.
- pH increaser – You should add this to the water when the pH reading is too acidic.
- pH decreaser – You should add this to the water when the pH reading is too alkaline.
- Testing strips/ kit – Using these regularly will help you keep track of the water’s balance so you can add chemicals as needed.
An important thing to note is that if you find yourself adjusting the water balance too often, it might mean it’s time to drain the hot tub and refill the water. Doing this every few months will help to ensure that your hot tub’s water stays clean and bacteria-free. For more information about the basics of hot tub maintenance, you can reach out to your local spa dealer.
By regularly testing the water, adding the necessary chemicals, and shocking as needed, you’ll be on your way to keeping your hot tub’s water healthy and safe for use. To learn about which hot tub matches your needs and lifestyle, you can download our buyer’s guide for free.