What Chemicals Do You Need For a Hot Tub Startup?

What Chemicals Do You Need For a Hot Tub Startup?

The day your hot tub arrives is an exciting time with everyone in the family anxious to jump in for their first soak. But even once your hot tub has been installed, filled with water and the pumps started, there is still another important step to take before you can enjoy. Treating a new hot tub (or reopening one after being closed for an extended period of time) requires a combination of chemicals to ensure a safe and clean soaking experience. Keep reading below to find out what chemicals you need for a hot tub start up.


Before you begin, you need to wait until the temperature of your hot tub water reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit before adding any water chemicals. This is important because the warm water facilitates the powders to properly dissolve. Turn the heater on and keep your eye on the temperature.

Total Alkalinity

The first chemical test on your checklist is measuring and adjusting the total alkalinity. Ensuring the alkalinity of your water is at the ideal level will allow you to adjust the pH levels (see below) properly. Your hot tub alkalinity level should always be between 80 to 120 ppm. If your total alkalinity levels are not correct, it will make adjusting the pH difficult as well. This can lead to eye and skin irritation, corroded equipment, cloudy water or scale formation. Make sure that you read all of the instructions before you begin testing or adjusting the alkalinity.


The scale that measures the relative acidity or basicity of the water is referred to as pH. Any number lower than 7 on the pH scale represent an acidic solution while numbers higher than 7 represent a basic solution. You want the pH of your hot tub water to be between 7.2 and 7.6, which is considered slightly basic. The water sample should be taken while the tub is not running and from the middle of the water column. If water is too basic or acidic, add the proper amount of pH Up or pH Down until the correct level is reached. Let the water filter for 30 minutes before testing again. It is important to take your pH level seriously, as incorrect pH levels can cause eye and skin irritation, damage components and contribute to cloudy water or scale formation.

Water Sanitizing

The most important thing to remember when sanitizing your water is to never use bromine and chlorine solutions together. Bromine sanitizing is available in a 2 step method or in a single step tablet system. The chlorine method involves a granular powder that you add to the water. Whichever you decide, you need to test the water frequently after applying to make sure that the proper levels are maintained. As a new hot tub owner, it is best to test the water daily until you begin getting consistently balanced readings.

Cleaning Chemicals

Finally, you will need to add a water clarifier to prevent scum build up that is caused by body oils, soap residue and cosmetics. These are usually biodegradable, enzyme based products that clear the water, eliminate odours and keep the filter from becoming clogged. Also, you will want to add a stain and scale control product that will suspend and inactivate minerals in the water that cause scale and stain formation. As always, be sure to carefully follow the directions on the packages of these products before adding to the hot tub water.

To find out more about hot tub maintenance, download a hot tub buyer’s guide.

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