How To Balance Hot Tub pH
Advice - Hot Tub
pH is an extremely important chemical level to maintain in your spa's water chemistry. A high pH or a low pH will spell trouble for you and your spa. On the pH scale, a reading of 7.4-7.6 indicates perfectly balanced pH. Any number lower than 7.4 means that your water is now considered "acidic". Any number higher than 7.6 means that your water is now considered "basic" or "alkaline".
If your spa’s pH measures outside the 7 range, we highly recommend that you act quickly to correct your water chemistry; and follow this blog for help doing so! This blog will explain the dangers of unbalanced pH and will also teach you how to re-balance it.
The Dangers Of Low pH
A low pH measurement means that your spa water is acidic and considered un-balanced. Low pH poses risk to your spa and it's water because acidic water has the potential to hinder your sanitizer's ability to properly work. Meaning, your spa will become a breeding ground for contaminants. This is dangerous because high levels of contamination can pose health risks for hot tubbers.
In addition to contaminated water, acidic water can cause corrosion, which can be an expensive fix!
The Dangers Of High pH
A high pH measurement means that your spa water's pH is above a 7.6 and is now considered alkaline or basic. This means that your sanitizer will likely be ineffective in sanitizing and the risk for contamination presents itself. Poorly sanitized water is a big no-no. Imagine sitting in the same bath water for a month? That is essentially what unbalanced spa water becomes.
Alkaline, or basic, water also poses risk of scale build up on your spa's shell. Scale is caused by calcium hardness, which can really cake itself on your spa surfaces and equipment.
Cloudy water is a symptom of a high pH level in your spa. Your spa water should always be sparkling and clear. If it is not, please test as soon as possible and re-balance your water.
Before You Re-Balance Your pH
The rule of thumb for re-balancing your hot tub pH is that when you have acidic water, you need to add alkaline based chemicals and when you have alkaline/basic water, you'll need to add acid based chemicals to your water. Be weary, that you'll also have to re-test your total alkalinity after using pH increasers and decreasers.
Total alkalinity is important because it keeps the pH level stable in your hot tub. Total alkalinity is important to your spa water because it is often the first level that you adjust before you add your other chemicals. Think of total alkalinity as the "gate keeper" of hot tub water chemistry.
Your total alkalinity range will need to be between 125 parts per million and 150 parts per million. To adjust alkalinity levels, you'll need to add an alkalinity increaser or decreaser slowly to your water.
Pick The Proper Products
Always use professional products that were recommended to you by your in-store professional. Be cautious of products from big-box stores as their cheaper prices often mean diluted products. Diluted products often take longer to work, if they work at all, which will result in more time and money spent fixing your hot tub water. You'll want to stick to the "good stuff" when it comes to treating your spa water.
Lowering Your Hot Tub pH
If you have basic or alkaline water, you will need to lower your pH. Ask your pool store professional for a pH decreaser or a product with sodium bisulfate; which is the main ingredient used for lowering pH.
Pay attention to the instructions on your pH decreaser. Some products require you to dilute the product before adding it. You'll also need to circulate your spa water after adding in your decreaser to allow the product to infiltrate the body of water entirely. Be sure to also check your total alkalinity as a pH decreaser can influence your total alkalinity level.
Please make sure when you test your re-test your pH after treating your water, that you also test the total alkalinity level!
Raising Your Hot Tub pH
If you have acidic water, you will need to increase your pH. Ask your pool store professional for a pH increaser or a product with active sodium bicarbonate. No, we are not talking about baking soda! Although the names are similar, they are slightly different compounds so please do not start pouring baking soda into your hot tub! Trust the professional products with this one.
Please be mindful that your pH increaser will also raise the total alkalinity. Make sure that after adding and circulating the increaser, that you once again test for pH and total alkalinity.
Increaser products typically have an "ashy" compound and may cloud your hot tub water. For this, we recommend adding a clarifier to your spa water to bring your water back to that clear, shiny look.
If you find that you are growing frustrated and have been playing with your pH levels for quite a while, we recommend starting with a fresh slate. Drain and clean your hot tub, flush your hot tub lines and then proceed to re-fill your spa. Sometimes with a fresh start, it is a lot easier to re-balance your hot tub water.
If you require further instructions or advice, please do not hesitate to contact our service team for help.