Do I Really Need to Use Hot Tub Chemicals?

Owning a hot tub means that you have built in self-care in the comfort of your own back yard. Hot tubs bring mental and physical health benefits. Just a 20-minute relaxing soak can bring life changing results in the areas of stress relief, pain management, increased circulation, improved muscle recovery, deeper and more restful sleep, and improved mental health.

Such great benefits are only attainable with the proper care of your hot tub. Whether using your hot tub for improved health or entertainment, you need to use hot tub chemicals to maintain the water. Regular maintenance will ensure that you can relax in a clean hot tub.

Let’s look at why, which, when, and how to use chemicals to treat the water of your hot tub so that you can keep your spa clean, clear, safe, and usable!

Why Should I Use Chemicals in My Hot Tub?

Bacteria love to grow in the temperature of a hot tub. The conditions are perfect to breed and multiply this unwanted lifeform, even when filtering the water. The dirt and particles from the air and your body get in the water and can grow into some serious problems if untreated. Using chemicals will bring benefits, such as:

  1. Prevention of disease and infection, including
  2. Coliforms- a disease that contaminates the hot tub when introduced to fecal matter from soil or feces.
  3. Pseudomonas aeruginosa- a disease that leads to folliculitis which is caused by infection of hair follicles and usually appears within two days after being in pool or hot tub water. This mostly affects children.
  4. Mycobacterium species- a respiratory disease that can be contracted when exposed to a poorly treated hot tub.
  5. Other infections, including amoeba, parasitic and other gastrointestinal infections.
  6. Chlorine chemicals prevent bad smells in your hot tub.
  7. Prevent cloudy hot tub water by using a balance of the proper chemicals in the right amounts.
  8. Prevent foamy hot tub water by using a balance of the proper chemicals
  9. Prevent milky water hot tub water by using a balance of the proper chemicals
  10. Improve the life of your filter by reducing the amount of germs and, thus, reducing the amount of work you are requiring the filter to do.
  11. Efficiency of your hot tub is achieved with proper use of chemicals by preventing dirt and debris from entering the hot tub which increases performance as well as extends the lifespan.
  12. Correct and proper use of chemicals allow the water to be clean and to circulate from the pump to the jet and back to the pump more smoothly.

Which Chemicals Should I Use in My Hot Tub?

Each hot tub requires a specific balance to guarantee that crystal clear water that brings peace and relaxation. Keeping balance requires testing the water to see the levels of:

  • pH
  • alkalinity
  • cholorine level
  • bromine level
  • calcium/ hardness level

The chemicals needed to help you keep the perfect balance in your spa include:

  • Sanitizer to kill germs that are introduced into the hot tub water through skin, air, insects, and animals. Sanitizing prevents infections, rashes, and diseases. Some sanitizers include chlorine sanitizer, bromine sanitizer, biguanide, minerals (like copper and silver), saltwater chlorinator
  • Shock is used in addition to sanitizer weekly to prevent the growth of algae. Shocking your water is the best way to kill the algae and keep water clear. Types of shock should be hot tub specific and include types such as chlorine, bromine, mineral, and biguanide.
  • Alkalinity levels should be adjusted before adjusting the pH levels. Low alkalinity can cause skin and eyes to become irritated, cloudy water, and decrease sanitizer efficiency. You can treat alkalinity with alkalinity increaser or alkalinity decrease.
  • pH Levels, when too high, can cause cloudy water and, when too low, they can cause damage, such as scaling, because of the acidity. pH levels can also be treated with a pH increaser or a pH decreaser, depending on the levels when tested.
  • Calcium hardness shows how hard the hot tub water is. You may notice calcium deposits on jets, for example, if your water has high calcium levels. It can also cause cloudy water and scaling. To treat low calcium levels you can use and increaser. However, if water is too hard, you may need to drain the water, scrub, and refill with treated water.
  • Enzymes are optional but break down organic contaminators, such as oil from skin, leaves, and other natural contaminants. When in the water for too long, these begin to create an unwanted, unsightly layer of scum.
  • Water clarifier is used as a maintenance to keep water clear but is not great for emergency situations. It is better for treating conditions but not curing the cause.

How to Test My Hot Tub Water

Water treatment is chemistry! Creating the perfect balance of chemicals to combat the presence of germs will help you guarantee that you can enjoy your hot tub at any time! To test the water, you will need to turn the hot tub off. You will be testing the pH, alkalinity, chlorine level, bromine level, calcium and hardness. There are three ways to test the water.

  1. Test strips can be used to find the pH, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and chlorine bromine levels. When using a test strip, you will need to:
    1. Bring a clean container.
    1. Dip water about a foot down and move from the center to the top to collect a sample.
    1. Dip one test strip into the water sample for about 10 seconds.
    1. Look at the sample strip and the colors that appear. The colors will correspond with a scale on the side of the bottle.
    1. Record the readings as the colors may change over time.
  2. Liquid test kits have two compartments, one for pH and one for chlorine. Phenol red will test the pH and OTO is used for chlorine. The procedure is as follows:
    1. Put the tester inside the hot tub, about one food down.
    1. Collect water from center of the hot tub towards the top.
    1. Put in four drops of phenol red for pH and four drops of OTO to the yellow side for chlorine.
    1. Cover both sides with their caps and shake for 30 seconds.
    1. Colors will change and correspond with a scale.
  3. Take a sample to a local pool supply business, such as Aaron Pools using a clean bottle. They can test the water and give you the proper treatment plan to find balance for your hot tub.

Aaron Pools and Spas

Using the right hot tub chemicals to prevent problems will save costs that come from emergencies. Testing water daily allows you to continue enjoying the benefits that your hot tub can provide. Call Aaron Pools and Spas for help in planning how to best care for your hot tub. Established in 1972, this family-owned-and-operated business has a dedicated, award-winning team with over 400 years of combined experience. We love to help improve the quality time that families spend together at home, and that’s why we’ve installed more than 2,000 swimming pools and hot tubs, from Cape Cod to Connecticut. For the best possible service, call 508.784.1160 or contact us today.

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