Managing a hot tub is quite a delicate issue. The pH levels are important to maintain, or else you could end up damaging some of your equipment.
It is important to know when your pH levels are low and what you can do to increase them.
In the course of this article, I will be discussing ways to increase the pH of your hot tub using soda ash and baking soda.
How do I raise the pH in my hot tub?
If you want to raise the pH of a pool, your go-to should be either soda ash or baking soda. These are the quickest ways to raise the pH of your pool.
The first option is soda ash. Soda ash, as it is commonly called, is basically sodium carbonate. It is a very effective pH increaser. It has a pH of 11.4, so it can cause a considerable increase in pH in a short time. Soda ash also increases the total alkalinity of a pool or hot tub. But care should be taken when adding it.
Ensure to always test the water’s total alkalinity levels before proceeding. Total alkalinity refers to the ability of your hot tub water to resist changes in pH. It helps to keep the pH in a certain range. It acts as a buffer, preventing external materials that have been added to the water from affecting the pH. It prevents chemicals added from causing severe changes to the water balance.
The total alkalinity of your pool must be tested first before adding soda ash. High total alkalinity can actually dampen the efficacy of chlorine. The levels that you should be aiming for are concentrations between 80 and 120 parts per million. At this level, total alkalinity can stabilize pH effectively but still give chlorine the room to do its work efficiently.
The second option is baking soda. The main component of baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. You might be led to think “oh this sounds like sodium carbonate!” And yeah, you are right. They are very closely related. If you are familiar with baking, then you must have come across this white powder.
It is a leavening or raising agent used when baking pastries. But that isn’t the only use it is limited to, fortunately. Pool owners can find benefits in using this versatile white substance.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate can also be used to raise the pH of pool water. It can be an alternative to soda ash if you don’t happen to have access to it. Though it is not as effective as soda ash in raising the pH, it can still do a pretty decent job.
The reason for this is due to the fact that baking soda itself has a pH of 8.3 as opposed to the 11.4 pH possessed by soda ash. It is clear to see why it won’t raise your tub’s pH by that much. But the advantage is that it can increase the pH without significantly increasing the total alkalinity of your tub.
How much soda ash does it take to raise pH?
As said above, soda ash is a very effective way of increasing pH. When you intend to make use of soda ash, this is what you do.
- Use a testing kit to test the water. You can make use of a liquid test kit, test strips, or a testing meter. These all give you pH and total alkalinity levels. Ensure you note the water pH.
- Mix between 1 and 2 pounds of soda ash per 10,000 gallons of water. Or you can just follow this general rule of adding 1 tablespoon of soda ash to every 100 gallons of water.
- You can decide to pre-dissolve the soda ash in a bucket, swirl it around well, and pour it inside the tub. Another option is pouring the powdered soda ash directly into your tub. Just note that the first option of pre-dissolving the soda ash will cause it to disperse properly. If you are deciding to add the powdered soda ash directly, just ensure that it is mixed perfectly in the tub. This is so that it doesn’t stick to the sides of your tub.
- Turn on your jets and leave them running for an hour or two.
- Now you can test the tub water to ascertain its pH by checking its total alkalinity levels.
What happens if you put too much soda ash in the pool?
Excess soda ash can cause two major things:
- Increase total alkalinity beyond normal levels: The normal levels expected for total alkalinity are between 80 and 120 parts per million. Adding excess soda ash can cause an upsurge in the total alkalinity concentration and this can lead to some issues. When the total alkalinity is way above normal, it can prevent chlorine from sanitizing efficiently.
- It can cause cloudiness. This cloudiness is caused when excess soda ash violates LSI. The Langelier Saturation Index is abbreviated as LSI. The LSI is an index that measures water balance. Dr. Wilfred Langelier developed his index to know when water will become either corrosive or begin to form scales. In summary, the LSI tells us how saturated our water is with calcium carbonate.
A perfect level of saturation is 0.00 LSI and the acceptable range is between -0.31 and +0.31. Any level below that is undersaturated. While any level above that is over saturated. When the water is oversaturated, calcium carbonate begins to precipitate out. This is responsible for the cloudiness.
Adding excess soda ash to a pool that already has high calcium levels can cause the LSI to go above +0.31. This will cause calcium carbonate to precipitate out into the water. This causes cloudiness.
Is pH up the same as soda ash?
pH up is the commercial name given to soda ash. It is also given some other names, like pH increase or pH rise. It mainly comes in two forms: a granular form or a liquid form.
The way the granular form is used is this. It is first dissolved in a chemical-safe container and then poured along the tub’s perimeter. This is done while the jets are running. This ensures that the mixture disperses well into every area of the tub.
In the liquid form, which is most preferred in spas, it is poured into the perimeter while the water is still circulating. This is then allowed for 30–60 minutes. It mixed well as a result.
What is a pH increaser made of?
The active component of the pH increaser is sodium carbonate. Soda ash is the major component of most pH increasers. That is why it is also regarded as a pH increaser.
Is soda ash the same as baking soda?
Soda ash and baking soda are quite different chemicals, though similar. Soda ash has the chemical formula of Na2 CO3. It is an important substance in the glass making industry. It also finds importance in pool management.
On the other hand, baking soda is a chemical used as a leavening and raising agent and has a chemical formula of NaHCO3. The two should not be confused, though they sound similar and can both be used to raise the pH of your tub water.
Can you use baking soda to raise the pH in a hot tub?
Yes, you can.
Baking soda might not be the most pH-increasing substance out there, but it still does a job. Sodium bicarbonate, as it is also called, can increase pH. Just add a tablespoonful of baking soda to every 100 gallons of water, and you are good to go.
How do I raise the pH in my hot tub without raising alkalinity?
The most effective way to do this is by aerating the hot tub. Aerating the pool simply involves the infusion of the tub water with oxygen. The way this is done is this:
- You add muriatic acid to the water. Acid dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, a very weak and unstable acid. The carbonic acid, due to its instability, easily breaks down into carbon dioxide. It must be noted that the addition of acid also causes a reduction in the tub water.
- You introduce oxygen. The oxygen you introduce into the water by aeration causes an effect. It causes the carbon dioxide that has been formed to be outgassed faster.
- As this carbon dioxide outgasses, the pH of the tub water rises subsequently.
How can I raise my pH without chemicals?
The best way to do this is aeration. As stated above, this is the introduction of air into the water by means of aerators. The air that is introduced causes outgassing of carbon dioxide and hence raises the pH as a result.
How soon can you use a hot tub after adding pH Plus?
After adding pH plus, the recommended time is 20 minutes. This is not because pH+ is harmful, but because enough time needs to be given to ensure the pH has risen considerably.