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High pH In Hot Tubs

High pH In Hot Tubs

  • by Don Carson

A hot tub can be a healthy and relaxing investment; there’s nothing quite like soaking and unwinding in warm water after a long day. The only issue is that balancing the number of chemicals can get tricky, especially for new hot tub owners. There’s a lot to consider, including whether the pH levels are too high. 

Why is pH level pivotal to your hot tub safety? A high pH could mean trouble, leading to itchy skin, burning eyes, and clogged pipes. If the total alkalinity is off, it can be extra tricky to balance your hot tub pH. The more you know about correct pH levels and water chemistry, the better your experience will be. 

Below,  we’ll review everything you need to know about getting the proper pH for your hot tub.

What Is a pH Level?

pH is the measurement of any water-based solution on a scale of how acidic it is. Pure water has a pH value of 7 on the scale and is considered neutral. Highly acidic water typically has a lower pH, while highly alkaline water has a raised value on the pH scale. 

Hot tub owners must measure both the pH and total alkalinity to ensure the water is safe enough to soak in. While pH and alkalinity are similar, they provide different effects on your hot tub water. Alkalinity measures the ability to neutralize acidity, and pH measures how acidic the water is. 

What if the pH Is too Low?

A low pH is not good for your hot tub or for your skin. A low pH measurement means that your spa water is unbalanced and acidic. When water is too acidic, it can produce potential risks to you and your hot tub. The acidic water can diminish the sanitizer’s ability to work in the water, which means that your hot tub water will become contaminated. High levels of contaminants can pose serious health risks to you and the rest of your family and friends using the tub. Furthermore, acidic water can cause corrosion to your unit, which can result in expensive repairs. 

What if the pH Is too High?

If the pH is too high at a measurement of 7.8 or higher, it’s considered too basic or alkaline. This also means that your sanitizer will be ineffective in preventing the water from contamination. The last thing you and your hot tub enthusiasts want is to be sitting in a tub full of dirty water. Alkaline water can also increase the risk of scale build-up on the surface of your hot tub. 

What Is Scale?

Scale occurs when there’s an overabundance of calcium and magnesium in the spa water, and the chemistry is unbalanced. The result is a chalky, calcium hardness around the surface of the tub. The texture often feels rough to the touch but can be scrubbed off easily. 

While scale build-up isn’t overtly harmful to those hot tubbing, it can cause considerable damage to your pump, filter, heater, and pipes. The telltale sign of a high pH in your hot tub is when you notice the water is cloudy. Spa water should always be clear, and if it isn’t, you should test the water as soon as possible to ensure it’s properly balanced.

How To Test Your pH

You should use dip test strips to determine the water’s pH level—just dip the test strip in the water, and it will indicate what measurement your water is sitting at. The ideal range is between 7.4 and 7.8. 

Before You Rebalance Your pH

When the total alkalinity of your hot tub is too high, you need to rebalance your pH by adding more acid-based chemicals to the water. Similarly, if your pH is too low, you would add alkaline-based chemicals.

You will still need to test the total alkalinity in the water after adding more chemicals. Remember, total alkalinity is integral as it keeps the pH stable. 

Lowering the pH 

Start by purchasing a pH decreaser with sodium bisulfate, the main ingredient used in lowering a high pH. Ensure you read the instructions before using, as some products require dilution before adding them to the water. 

Once you’ve added the decreaser to the tub, you’ll need to circulate the spa water so it can spread across the entire unit. Try not to lower the pH too far, as you don’t want to deal with acidic water. Test the water again before you decide to kick back and relax. If not, you may end up with hot tub folliculitis, also known as hot tub rash.  

If you find yourself struggling with the water chemistry of your hot tub in Winnipeg, contact the professionals at Krevco Lifestyles Inc. Our team is always happy to recommend useful hot tub products and tips to ensure your swim spa water is well-balanced and ready for use all year long.

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