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Why your pH levels of your hot tub water are important

Chances are, you bought a hot tub to kick back and relax, enjoy some family time or relieve the aches and pains of exercise or everyday life. You knew there would be some maintenance for you to do to make sure that your hot tub is in prime condition every time you need it. (see our maintenance guide here for a comprehensive breakdown of all the maintenance you need to do)

But you may have found yourself, like a mad scientist, dipping your testing strips in your water, searching for that perfect pH level. If that is the case, take off the lab coat, do something about your wild hair and read on to find out what the bejesus pH levels are and why they are so important.

What the pH!

I bet you thought you’d left pH back in secondary school science lessons – and now it’s back to haunt you. If only you’d be paying attention rather that daydreaming about which member or Take That or All Saints you were gonna date.

Don’t worry – here’s what you missed!

The pH of your water is just the measure of the acid or alkaline levels in your water. Pure water generally has a pH level of 7. If the pH of you water is too high, or too acidic, it may corrode your hot tub parts and compromise the lifespan of your tub. It can also make your water go all cloudy.

If your pH levels are too low, with too much alkaline, you could end with a stained tub from mineral scaling (just like a furry kettle). Either way, whether your pH level is too high or too low, it prevents your sanitiser from doing its job and keeping your water free from contaminants and other nasties.

A key point to realise is the way the pH scale works. 0-7 is alkaline and 8-14 is acidic. The scale goes from 0-14 but be aware that a pH level of 8 is 10 times more acidic than a pH level of 7.

More importantly, if your pH levels are not properly balanced, it can cause skin and eye irritations. Not ideal for a relaxing dip!

So what is the sweet spot for my pH level?

You want to get your pH level in between 7.2 and 7.8

What affects my pH level?

One thing you can’t control is the water that you put in your tub before you’ve even added any chemicals.  If you live in a hard or soft water area you will have to balance your water in different ways.

The sanitiser you use, whether you use chlorine or bromine, will have different pH levels so you need to take that into consideration. Chlorine, for example, has a much higher pH than bromine.

The amount you use your tub also affects your pH level. Skin cells, grime and oils make your chemicals work harder and can affect your pH level. If rainwater gets into your tub, your level will be affected as well, which is why we recommend checking your cover regularly, and replacing it if it is cracked or damaged.

But the only way you can work out what you need to do to bring your pH level back into balance is regular testing. Your testing strip is an essential tool in maintaining the healthy balance of your water. You just dip the testing strip in your water, much like the litmus paper you used in those dreaded school science lessons, wait a few seconds and use the chart provided to gauge your current pH level. Please make sure you read the instructions carefully for the first few times until it becomes a part of your maintenance routine.

How can I balance my pH levels?

So, you’ve used one of your trusty testing strips and your pH level is not in the sweet spot. What next? Don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to restore a healthy balance to your water.

If you have only just topped up your sanitiser and your pH level is out of whack, you can use a pH increaser or a pH decreaser. This simple solution can easily restore your pH level. But be warned, using a pH increaser or decreaser can affect the overall chemical balance of your water, so you need to make sure you test after using it to check that your sanitiser levels and top up if you need to.

When you use a pH increaser or decreaser, make sure you follow the instructions carefully, paying particular attention to the amount you need to add. Once added, you need to circulate it around your hot tub water. Do this by leaving your jets on for about 20 minutes and then testing your water again.

If you find that you are constantly chasing the pH sweet spot for your hot tub water, then it’s probably best to drain, clean and refill your tub. If you keep your filters clean, shower before going in your tub, keep your sanitiser levels balanced and your hot tub cover is in good condition, you shouldn’t need to adjust your pH levels too often.

If you are having problems with the chemical balance of your water and you need some advice, please get in touch with us at Hot Tubs Rock.