“We frequently get calls from hot tub owners saying that the sanitizer level in their spa is ‘high but it’s still not getting the spa water clean,’” says “Bill Renter. “In these instances, what has happened is other levels in the water are too low and the sanitizer has lost its effectiveness.”
Because maintaining proper water balance can seem confusing at times, causing spa owners frustration, we thought we’d address today how all the hot tub chemicals work together.
First. Check the TA (Total Alkalinity)
Before checking the pH in your hot tub water, check the alkalinity levels first. Spa test strips are coded to register a color which will show the alkalinity of the water.
Alkalinity should be maintained at 80–120 ppm. Experts at Swim University explain that TA (Total Alkalinity) indicates the “ability of a solution to neutralize acids — or buffer them.”
“Measuring your TA is the first thing our Best Hot Tubs’ technicians do when servicing hot tubs,” says Bill. “We do this before adding any other chemicals. That’s because proper TA acts as a buffer for the pH, and keeps it stable. Otherwise the pH bounces back and forth making control hard to achieve. By addressing the TA first and thereby stabilizing the process, getting the pH in proper balance is much easier.”
What is pH?
The next step is to check the pH balance of your spa’s water. The pH of any solution is measured by how much free hydrogen (+acid) there is; higher amounts and the solution is acidic. Lower amounts and the solution is alkaline.
Measured on a scale of 0-14, if your water’s overall pH is in the very low range (say 0-to-six) your water is basically acid, and corrosive.
The problems created by extremes in pH are (a) the low or acidic end makes it hard for any sanitizer to work in the hot tub. And makes exposure to bacteria far more possible. And (b) on the high end (often called basic level) you find some of the same bacteria risks as well as the development of scales and cloudy water.
Remember your spa water is pushed through the components of your hot tub regularly, so the pH balance affects not just how the water affects you but it also affects its mechanical operations.
“We find that the best, and safest, pH level for hot tubs ranges around 7.2 and 7.8,” says Bill. “At this level, your sanitizers work effectively, bacteria is under control, your water is pristine clear and your hot tub experience is just as you would want.”
Sanitizers & Shock Treatments
Using the same test strips you used to test the TA and pH, you can determine how much bromine or chlorine your hot tub needs. Proper sanitization ensures the bacteria level is minimal and the water is healthy. In addition, once a week, use a non-chlorine shock treatment to help keep the water balanced.
Hot tub water is affected by a great deal, even by the humans who use it. Keeping your spa water at proper levels is essential to long-term hot tub enjoyment.
“While some recommend checking your balance twice a week, we find that in our one-a-week hot tub service to clients, this is sufficient to maintain clean and healthy water. Of course, should any problems arise outside of this weekly service schedule, we will go right away and take are of it, free of charge for our clients.”
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