Balancing Hot Tub Water

Balancing your hot tub water is crucial for keeping your water clear and inviting.  When hot tub water is “balanced” it means that the total water chemistry is right where it should be.  Balanced hot tub water makes soaking more comfortable by preventing eye and skin irritation.  It also helps the chemicals work better to keep water clear.  Lastly, balanced water prevents corrosion to metal parts as well as scaling on hot tub surfaces.  Let’s look at four factors and how to adjust them to stay balanced.

pH is a measure of how acidic or how basic your water is.  Based on a scale of 0-14, the ideal pH range is between 7.2 and 7.8 pH is the most important factor in balancing your water.  If your pH is low, add pH Plus.  If your pH is high, add pH Minus.

Total Alkalinity (or TA)
Total alkalinity refers to the total concentration of several chemicals in your hot tub water. It is not the same as pH, but proper TA does help stabilize pH.  If your total alkalinity is too low, it will pull your pH lower.  Likewise, if your total alkalinity is too high, it will pull your pH higher.  Your total alkalinity should be between 80 and 120.

If it’s too low, add Resist.  If it is high, you will need to add pH Minus, but in a different manner.  If you add a lot oh pH Minus, your pH will drop a lot and your TA will drop a little.  So, to adjust your TA, you will need to add 1 Tsp pf pH Minus at a time and run the jets on high for 15 minutes.  Test the water after each addition until the TA level is between 80 and 120 ppm.  If, during this process, your pH drops below 6.5, stop adding pH Minus and wait until the next day to continue.

Calcium Hardness (or CH)
How “hard” water is has to do with the amounts of dissolved calcium in it.  Hot tub water needs a proper calcium hardness level to prevent damage or scaling to surfaces and equipment.  The desired range for water hardness is between 150 and 200 ppm.  If your calcium level is low, add Protect.  If your calcium level is high, dilute with source water lower in calcium hardness.  If your source water already has a high CH level, you can add Elimate Plusto prevent the calcium from scaling.

Sanitizer Level
There are many different sanitizer systems on the market.  The one that we recommend is a two-part system, which includes Chlor Blast and Nature 2 Mineral Purifier.  The Nature 2 cartridge rests inside the filter column and, once activated, works hands-off for 4 months.  It is a copper and silver alloy which kills bacteria on contact.  To activate it, raise the free chlorine level in the water to 5ppm (a capful of Chlor Blast should do).  After activating the Nature 2, you can safely keep the free chlorine level between 1 and 3 ppm.

Special Notes

Well Water
If you are filling your hot tub with well water, you will need to make sure that the minerals present in the water will not cause staining or damage to your hot tub.  Add Eliminate to the water to prevent this from happening.

It is also worth mentioning that Eliminate will cause the minerals in the Nature 2 cartridge to stop working.  So, if you are planning on using the Nature2 with well water, first add Eliminate and wait a full week before placing the Nature2 cartridge in the tub.  During this week, you can still use the hot tub as long as you maintain a free chlorine level between 3 and 5 ppm.  Once you start using the Nature2, you can safely drop down to 1-3 ppm of free chlorine.


Cloudy Water
Cloudy water can be caused by a variety of things in your hot tub, including fine particles, organic waste and a dirty filter.

Fine particles are the most common cause of cloudy water.  Basically, these are particles that are too small for your filter to catch.  To solve this problem, add Pure Blue.  Pure Blue is a product that acts like glue in your water, sticking the fine particles together so your filter can pick them up.

The next most common problem is a build-up of organic wastes in the hot tub.  To fix this, add Purezyme.  This is a natural enzyme that eats organics.  When you add Purezyme, make sure your free chlorine level is at or near 0, or the chlorine will destroy the enzyme.  You will also need to wait 6 hours after adding Purezyme before raising the chlorine level.

If neither of these is the problem, try cleaning your filter.  heavy use of the hot tub will cause your filter to get dirty which, in turn, will cause your water to get dirty.

Foaming is another common issue that most hot tubs owners deal with on a regular basis.  Foam is usually caused by soap carried into the water through bathing suits.  To keep foam from appearing, it is recommended that each family member keep a dedicated hot tub bathing suit, which is only rinsed out and hung up to dry.  The chlorine in the water will keep the suit clean, so simply wash and double rinse the suit every time you drain and refill the hot tub.

If foam does show up, use Foam Free to keep it down.  Only use a small amount – Foam Free is oil that will cover the surface of the water.  If you use too much, it will jam the filter (the filter is designed to catch body oils, after all) and cause cloudiness.