Maintaining the Health of Your Hot Tub’s Water

When owning a hot tub, it’s important to have specific chemicals regularly on hand and know when to use them. Below, we’ll provide a breakdown of which chemicals you should be using at what time to ensure your hot tub is in excellent working condition so you can make the most of it! Here’s what you should know. 

Hot Tub Water Chemistry

Although hot tubs are treated similarly to a pool, for example, the smaller volume and temperature of the water makes the process a bit different. This is why it’s important to be aware of the change in chemistry that may occur and how you can address it. When testing your hot tub’s water with testing strips or a kit, you will be provided with all the readings so you can add chemicals as required. Here’s a list of the components that make up the water’s chemistry so you can better understand what your test results might mean.

1. pH

When it comes to hot tubs, the “pH” represents whether or not your water is either too acidic or too alkaline. For hot tubs, the ideal pH is between 7.2 – 7.8, and anything outside this range indicates some sort of imbalance that needs to be addressed. This pH scale ranges from 0-14, with 7 being a neutral state, and anything below 7 is acidic, and anything over 7 is alkaline. But what do these terms mean? 

2. Total Alkalinity (TA)

The Total Alkalinity (TA) of a hot tub represents the dissolved alkaline in your water and anything outside the suggested range (80 – 120 ppm) will determine the hardness of your water. If your water alkalinity level is too low, you can use sodium bicarbonate to raise the level to where it should be. Alternatively, you will want to use a strong acid like sulfuric acid to lower the total alkalinity. 

3. Total Hardness (TH)

The Total Hardness (TH) of your hot tub’s water represents the levels of calcium salts present, which determine how corrosive or scaling the water might be. You will want your hot tub to fall within the range of 100 – 250 ppm. If your reading comes back as outside this range, you will likely have noticed cloudy water and/or some scaling around your hot tub’s shell.  

This has to do with the fact that if there is some sort of imbalance and there are not enough minerals present in the water for it to draw from, it will begin looking for parts of your hot tub to draw from. So whether it’s parts made of aluminum, iron, copper, etc., the water will begin damaging them if there is an imbalance. 

How Do You Shock Your Hot Tub If There’s an Imbalance?

Shocking is likely your best approach if you are trying to quickly deal with water issues due to an imbalance in your hot tub. Here are the top benefits of shocking your hot tub. 

  • Shocking your water actively clears out organic compounds after your hot tub has been used a lot. For instance, if you see cloudy water in your hot tub, it could be a result of sunscreen, creams, soaps, etc., that were on the people using it.
  • Shocking kills bacteria. Treating the water with a chlorine shock can actively kill any bacteria present by reactivating bromides.
  • Shocking your hot tub creates more “free” chlorine and bromine, allowing these sanitizers to eliminate any bacteria present. By performing a weekly shock of your hot tub, the chemicals will remove any unnecessary particles so that the filter can grab them more easily. 

The Chemicals You Should Have on Hand

Now that you’re aware of how shocking your hot tub works, here’s a list of chemicals you should have on hand to ensure your spa’s water is at a healthy reading.

  1. pH increaser. You will use this when your hot tub’s pH reading is too acidic.
  2. pH decreaser. You will use this when your hot tub’s pH reading is too alkaline.
  3. Hot tub sanitizer. This will kill the bacteria in your water (chlorine is the most popular sanitizer).
  4. Testing strips/kit. Actively using these will allow you to monitor where your hot tub’s water readings are so you can add in chemicals as needed.

Additionally, if your hot tub levels are constantly off and you’re having difficulty bringing them back to where they need to be, you can simply drain your hot tub and refill. One of the great things about hot tubs is their small body of water, which makes draining and refilling an easy task! If you have any questions about maintaining your hot tub’s health, you can contact your local spa dealer.

To learn about choosing the right hot tub for your home, download our free buyer’s guide today.


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