Hot Tub Water Chemistry
Why is water chemistry important? Good water chemistry is the key to a healthy and happy hot tubing experience. Because hot tubs are not drained after each use like your bath tub is, there are certain things that need to be checked and maintained in order to keep your water in pristine bathing condition. Keeping your water chemistry in check will also extend the life of your equipment by fighting against stain and scale build up, preventing clogged filters, and preventing algae and bacteria.
Warm water in spas and hot tubs can make a great breeding ground for microorganisms and bacteria. Those can be transferred into the water by the bodies of the bathers, as well as airborne items such as viruses, spores, and algae. When left in the water untreated these organisms can lead to excessive skin irritation and even illness. Thank goodness for sanitizers, these will kill the bacteria that are in the water and leave it clean and healthy for you, your family, and friends to enjoy.
Sanitizers such as Bromine, Chlorine, Pristine Blue, and Spa Frog Mineral systems will keep your water clean as long as they are maintained at the appropriate levels. Whichever option you choose to use, you will want to be sure and test your water often to ensure levels are being maintained within the recommended ranges for that form of sanitizer.
These sanitizing systems will work great but you will want to be sure to also use a shock treatment with them. Shock Treatments like SpaPure Oxidizing Shock or ProTeam Multi Magic Shock will oxidizes or break-down the dead organic material left behind from your sanitizer system, as well as non-filterable material such as body oils, lotions, films, hair spray, dirt and perspiration. An occasional shock treatment is a must to maintain clean, clear water in you hot tub.
It is also very important to maintain control of the water’s pH level in your spa. The measure of acidity and basicity in the water is called pH. The pH scale ranges from 0-14. Levels of pH less than 7.0 are acidic while pH levels greater than 7.0 are basic. The proper pH range for a spa is 7.4-7.6. In order to maintain water comfortable for bathers these levels need to be maintained.
pH levels over 7.6 can cause scale build up, less effective sanitation, and a prematurely dirty filter. To bring pH levels down it can be done simply by adding the recommended dose product such as Spa Pure pH Down or ProTeam Spa Liquid pH Down.
Low levels of pH under 7.4, can cause bather discomfort, corrosion of equipment, and rapid depletion of sanitizer. If you need to increase your spas pH levels we recommend either ProTeam Spa Liquid pH Up or SpaPure pH Up.
Total Alkalinity is a measure of the amount of buffering capacity in the water. It acts as a shock absorber for the pH. If Total Alkalinity is too low, the water is acidic and can corrode equipment and hot tub surfaces. It also causes pH bounce. The pH will drift down and any adjustments made to it will bounce and be difficult to control. If Total Alkalinity is too high, the water is alkaline and scale buildup and cloudy water can result. The pH will tend to drift up and will be very difficult to adjust. For more detailed information on controlling your spas total alkalinity please refer to What is Alkalinity?
Calcium or Total Hardness refers to a measure of minerals in your water such as calcium and magnesium. It is important for your water to have some level of hardness, if it doesn’t it will begin to draw metal off of other sources—like your equipment and cause corrosion. If the water is too hard it can cause scale formation and cloudy water. If your tap water is very hard the use of a pre-fill filter can help in bringing down the hardness before putting the water into your spa. There is no chemical way to lower hardness levels but you can use SpaPure Stain and Scale Preventer to help avoid build up. Hardness levels should be maintained between 100- 250 PPM’s for acrylic finish, and 250-450 PPM’s for plaster finish. If you need to increase your levels it can easily be done using SpaPure Hardness Increaser or SpaPure Calcium Up.
Changing the Water
Water chemistry can be effected by a number of different elements, including chemicals, airborne contaminants, and the number of people using it and how often. To maintain good water chemistry we recommend a water change every 1-4 months depending on the use of the spa. To drain the spa you will want to turn off the electricity to the spa, locate the drain spout and attach a garden hose, this method can take a while so if you are looking for a quicker way of draining we recommend the Little Giant Pool Cover Pump, this will drastically increase the speed at which your draining takes place.
When refilling the use of a Pure Fill Spa Pre Filter, which hooks right to your garden hose, will make your initial water chemistry balancing much easier as it is like filling your spa with bottled water.