A friend in the neighborhood came to me one day and asked if it is safe to get in a hot tub with high pH. His hot tub pH was getting high and he felt he could use it like that without getting hurt.
That sounds true, especially at the initial stages when the pH is not too low, but it is not safe to get in a hot tub with high pH. It poses a significant risk to your health and that of the hot tub. Hot tub water with a high pH level can cause itchy skin and burn the eyes.
So, it’s not safe to enter your hot tub if the pH is high, above 7.8. 7.2 – 7.8 is the ideal hot tub pH range. If the pH gets below 7.2, it’s considered to be low, and if it goes higher than 7.8, it is high.
Knowing more about your hot tub pH is vital to help you manage it very well. In this post, you will understand why pH is a very vital factor in your hot tub water chemistry and maintenance.
What causes high pH in a spa?
The pH of your hot tub water can increase due to the presence of alkaline substances in the hot tub. The total alkalinity of the hot tub helps to buffer the pH in the hot tub. So, if the total alkalinity becomes too high it will affect the pH level in your hot tub.
Another factor that may be responsible for the increase in the pH level of your spa is the water source. If you are using the local water supply by the water board, try and test the pH level, it may be higher than the normal pH.
However, you may notice the abnormal level while trying to increase the pH level because it was previously low. If that is the case, then the increased pH level might be a result of the excess pH adjuster you used during the process.
These three factors are the major culprit why hot tub pH levels go high.
Is pH level important in a hot tub?
When it comes to water chemistry, the pH level of your hot tub is as important as any other factor you can mention.
PH is the most important factor you look out for when doing water chemistry balance. Its level affects how well your sanitizer performs.
If your pH is too high or too low, it will impact the performance of the sanitizer. If it’s too high, it will make the hot tub require more disinfectant to perform very well. That means that your hot tub consumes more disinfectant than usual when the pH level is high.
Moreover, high pH levels usually lead to calcium buildup in the water. Most of the time, it ends up forming scales on the water lines. So, pH level is very important in all aspects as it affects the state of the hot tub components.
If calcium builds up in the water, it can clog the filter and affect its efficiency. It can also damage the filters.
All these and the impact on your health means that pH is one of the most important factors to take very seriously when it comes to hot tub maintenance.
How do I check the pH level in my hot tub?
You need a test strip to check the pH level in your hot tub. Hot tub pH is a vital factor in your routine check. Make sure you check it regularly.
You will need to get a good test strip kit to help you get the accurate value of the pH reading. Another thing to have in mind is the total alkalinity (TA) of the hot tub.
The total alkalinity (TA) in your hot tub is used to maintain the pH levels of your hot tub. The normal range of TA for any hot tub is between 80ppm and 120ppm. If the total alkalinity is too high, the pH level will also be high.
If the total alkalinity is very low, the pH value will always be unstable. It could be high this minute, the next minute, it becomes high. This makes it difficult to balance.
So total alkalinity is highly important as it works in synergy with the pH. If the total alkalinity is within the recommended range, then you can go ahead and work on the pH.
Many test strips come as all-in-one test kits. You can use them to test both the alkalinity and pH levels and even the sanitizer level. So, get those and use them to test the pH and alkalinity level of your hot tub.
Usually, the test kits come with detailed instructions on how to use them. But below is the general guide on how to use test strips;
- Get a clean glass cup or beaker and take water from your hot tub.
- Remove the test strip from the container and dip it into the water for a few seconds.
- Remove the test strip from the water and shake off any excess water.
- Hold the strip horizontally with the color pad facing up.
- Place it again on the color chart on the test strip container and compare the pH levels.
- The pH level should match the 7.2-7.8 color range.
- Do the same for the alkalinity levels. You can take the reading while checking for pH levels.
- Close the test strip container immediately after you remove the strip you are using.
- Don’t handle it with a wet handle so you can get an accurate reading.
- Store the test strip container in a dry and cool place.
What pH level should my Lazy Spa be?
Just like every other spa, the pH level of your lazy spa should be between 7.2 and 7.8. However, we recommend you keep it between 7.2 and 7.6.
The alkalinity should also be maintained at the recommended range of 80-120ppm.
Any level above or below this range is highly unacceptable. Dealing with chemicals is not something to joke about. So, we advise that you take your hot tub water balance very seriously.
What happens if pH is too high in a hot tub?
High pH in a hot tub affects the hot tub in many ways. It causes cloudy hot tub water. High pH leads to the build-up of calcium deposits, which forms scales on the inner surface of the hot tub.
Moreover, your filter is not safe when calcium starts building up. It clogs the filter and lowers its performance. If not properly managed, it can go ahead to damage the filter.
Aside from the effects on your hot tub, high pH can also affect your health. It dries your skin and makes it itchy. More so, it irritates the eyes.
How do I bring the pH down in my hot tub?
You use liquid muriatic acid, dry sodium sulfate, or pH/alkalinity reducer chemicals to reduce the pH level in your hot tub.
Like we discussed in the section above, alkalinity is very vital when you are doing water balance. Alkalinity is the measure of your hot tub water resistance, the buffer strength of the water.
If the alkalinity is not balanced, the pH will be difficult to balance. So, it’s important that we balance the alkalinity first before we can balance the pH.
Don’t worry, we are still using the same chemicals. Either you are using muriatic acid, pH reducer chemical, or sodium sulfate. All you need to know is the right amount to use.
Though you will see a detailed guide on the pack of any product you are using, the general rule is that for every 10,000 gallons of water, you need 1.6 lbs of sodium bisulfate or 13 qt of muriatic acid to drop the total alkalinity by 10 ppm.
So, you must consider the volume of your hot tub before you start. First, work on the alkalinity if it’s not balanced.
Use a bucket to draw water from the hot tub. Measure out the chemical you are using and add it to the water in the bucket. Mix it well. Meanwhile, turn on the hot tub and make sure the filter and pump are running.
Then gradually add the chemical mix to the hot tub and allow it to run for about 3 – 6 hours to enhance proper circulation.
Test for the alkalinity level again. It must be balanced by this time. If not, repeat the process until it is balanced. The pH level changes faster than the alkalinity, so once the alkalinity is balanced, the pH should follow suit.
But if the pH is not balanced yet, you can add a pH reducer to adjust the pH level without affecting the alkalinity.
How quickly does the pH reducer work?
The pH reducer chemicals work very well. When you add it to your hot tub water, allow it for about 3 to 6 hours to circulate properly. But make sure that the pump and filter are running because they will help to circulate the chemical faster.
Does baking soda lower pH in Spa?
No, baking soda does not lower pH in a hot tub. It can only raise the pH if added to the hot tub, though it’s not the best chemical to use for raising pH. Learn more here
Baking soda has a pH value of around 8, so there is no way it will lower the pH of a spa when added to it. Spa owners mostly use it to raise the alkalinity of their hot tub.
But when it comes to raising the pH, it is not very effective. Soda ash or magnesium oxide performs better than baking soda.
How do I lower the pH in my spa naturally?
If the pH in your hot tub is too high and you want to reduce it naturally, you can drain off some water and add fresh water to the spa. This will help to lower the pH level in the hot tub.
Another safe method is to use natural compounds like lime juice and vinegar. Vinegar is mostly used to lower the pH of a hot tub naturally. Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are safe for the hot tub and your health.
Does vinegar raise or lower pH?
Vinegar is an acidic acid solution, which is safe for household use. Since it’s acidic it can lower the pH of hot tub water when it is high.
Though it may not be as effective as other compounds like muriatic acid and sodium sulfate, it’s one of the effective ways to lower pH naturally.
So can I use vinegar to lower the pH in my hot tub?
Like we mentioned above, vinegar can be safely used to lower pH in a hot tub. It is effective and safe, but it is not the best for reducing pH.
Now that some of the chemicals are expensive, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are good alternatives. So, if you can’t afford muriatic acid, sodium sulfate, or other pH reducers, you can easily use your vinegar in the house to maintain your hot tub.
But you must learn how to use it. The best way to use vinegar for your hot tub is to add 4 cups at a time. Then run the pump and filter to aid circulation. Wait for about 3-6 hours to retest the pH level.
If the pH is still high, add another 4 cups of vinegar and wait. Ensure the pumps and filter are running. Continue the process until it becomes balanced.