What’s Involved in Keeping Your Hot Tub’s Water Clean and Healthy?

Maintaining the health of your hot tub’s water is key to enjoying a safe and relaxing experience every time you use it. But what exactly is involved in keeping your hot tub clean? Below, we’ll provide the basics of water chemistry and what you need to do to keep your hot tub’s water in great condition year-round!

What is Hot Tub Water Chemistry?

Simply put, water chemistry deals with how various chemicals interact with each other in the water. These chemicals all work together to keep the water in your hot tub clean and safe for use. You should always check if that balance is maintained, and you can do so by using a testing kit or testing strips. They show the components that make up the water’s chemistry and how much there is of each, so you’ll know whenever you need to add more. Here are the essential items included in water test readings:

1. pH

This indicates how acidic or alkaline the water is. The pH scale goes from 0-14, and 7 is the neutral state. The ideal levels fall between 7.2 – 7.8, and any reading outside of this range is a clear sign that there’s an imbalance. Below 7 is acidic, and anything over 7 is alkaline. Here’s what that means!

2. Total Alkalinity (TA)

This measures the water’s capacity to neutralize acids. The ideal TA level is between 80 – 120 ppm (parts per million). If it’s too low, that means the pH will be more prone to fluctuations. Too high, and you run the risk of calcium deposits forming in your hot tub. You can use sodium bicarbonate to raise low alkalinity levels. And when the TA is high, you can use sulfuric acid to bring it back down.

3. Total Hardness (TH)

This refers to how many dissolved calcium salts are in the water. The ideal level is between 125 – 250 ppm. Too much hardness can lead to cloudy water, and too little will make your hot tub’s surfaces more susceptible to damage from chemicals. You can use a calcium chloride solution to raise the TH levels.

The Importance of Shocking the Water to Restore Balance

The fastest way to address the imbalance in your hot tub’s water is by shocking it. This process involves using a high concentration of a sanitizer, such as chlorine or bromine to kill off any contaminants that might be present. Shocking should be done at least once a week and more often if the hot tub is used frequently. Check out the benefits of shocking the water:
  • Immediate bacteria and contaminant elimination
  • Clearing out organic compounds caused by leftover substances from swimmers, such as lotions, soaps, or sunscreens.
  • The creation of more “free” chlorine and bromine, which, in turn, activates the sanitizers.

These Chemicals Will Come In Handy

If you want to keep your hot tub’s water clean and healthy, you need to have the following chemicals on hand:
  • pH increaser: This is used to raise the pH levels if they fall below the ideal range (acidic).
  • pH reducer: This is used to lower the pH levels if they rise above the ideal range (alkaline).
  • Sanitizer: This is used to kill off bacteria and other contaminants. Chlorine and bromine are the most common sanitizers used in hot tubs.
  • Shocking Agent: This is used to shock the water and restore balance.

Testing the Water Regularly is Key

The only way to know if your hot tub’s water is in good condition is by testing it regularly. We recommend using a test kit or strips at least once a week. This will help you keep an eye on the pH levels, TA, and TH, and make adjustments as needed. It’s important to note though, that if the water levels are constantly off, it might be time just to drain the hot tub and refill it. You can ask your local hot tub dealer for more information about the basics of hot tub maintenance. With these basics in mind, you’re well on your way to keeping your hot tub’s water clean and healthy! Just remember to regularly test, shock when needed, and use the appropriate chemicals to maintain that perfect balance. Your hot tub and your guests will thank you for it!  Need help choosing the right hot tub for your home? Download our free buyer’s guide now!
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