Water level balance is the science that all hot tub owners, scientifically oriented or not, must be familiar with. Not only is it good for you to learn about water maintenance and treatment, but it will also save you the cost of hiring a water expert to do that for you.
This blog helps you with the right knowledge of what you need to know about pH levels in hot tubs and how bad it can get if your pH level becomes too low. Stay with us as we provide you with the needed information.
Balancing your total alkalinity and pH level is vital to the safety of your hot tub. This can never be overemphasized. Remember that even though alkalinity and pH levels are totally different things, an adjustment to either of them also affects the other.
Now this is why you need to have your pH levels balanced all the time. High pH levels or an alkalinity level of 7.8 or above can cause scale buildup, foam, and cloudy water.
A low pH level below 7.2 indicates water that is too acidic and can cause itchiness and eye burn, as well as render your sanitizer less effective. High acidity can result in costly damage to the parts of your tub too.
What causes high pH in a hot tub?
In a hot tub, just like in other soaking and swimming facilities, the pH and total water balance are very important. The pH level is what will determine if the scale builds up or if the water is too acidic. A high pH level is a common problem among hot tub owners.
A high pH balance is likely to cause your hot tub equipment to go bad and also increase your cost on treatment chemicals. As we continue to move, we shall be helping you discover the reasons why your pH level gets high.
The basic reason for a high pH level and its ability to stay that way is a high alkalinity level. The total alkalinity is what helps to keep the pH in the right range. It becomes hard for the pH to be balanced if the total alkalinity is not in the right range.
Hot tubs are known to generate a lot of bubbles and have high temperatures. This combination develops a gas called carbon dioxide very quickly. Quickly, carbon dioxide immediately builds up and makes the pH level of the hot tub go up.
This is why it is extremely important for hot tub owners to test and treat their hot tub water consistently in order to properly balance it out. It is also known that hot tubers who use well water for their hot tub have an even harder time maintaining the pH level of their hot tub.
Let’s quickly look at the solutions to how you can lower the pH level of your hot tub.
After you have probably tested your hot tub water to confirm its level, it is necessary that you administer pH minus or reducer to take down the high pH level. A popular solution known to reduce pH is sodium bisulfate. Sodium bisulfate is a solid dry crystal acid. Acids are used to lower the pH level into the needed range for proper water safety, which is between 7.4 and 7.6.
When adding pH minus to hot tub owners, it is necessary that you do not add it all at once. Add the designated amount each day until your pH level reduces to the normal range. Take note that if you add more than the amount needed, the pH level will go too low and become acidic, which means you’ll have to add another solution to take it up.
What do you do to fix a high pH level?
Fixing a high pH level is quite complex because of the changing patterns of water chemistry arising from different factors like chemicals, rainfall, etc. As a measure of hydrogen ions present in the water, high pH can simply be reduced by adding an acid like muriatic acid, dry acid, or vinegar.
When your pH levels rise above 7.6, your spa water can then be described as basic. What this means is that your water is not safe or hygienic.
When your tub water is basic, it is likely to develop and build scaling on your hot tub surfaces. The scale comes up because of the high calcium hardness caused by the high pH. Another symptom of high pH water is cloudiness.
Now, in order to properly balance and maintain your pH level, the very first measure to take is to test your hot tub water. Test it to confirm how basic or acidic it is with test strips or a liquid test kit. After the test has been confirmed, you can go ahead and administer soda ash, also known as carbonate. Soda ash will help to increase your pH level to the needed range.
Also take note of total alkalinity. Total alkalinity helps your pH level stay stable while allowing you to adjust the TA without throwing off the rest of your water chemistry.
Total alkalinity is very important in balancing your water because you cannot really balance your pH level without first measuring and adjusting the TA before any other solutions. The recommended range for TA is 100 ppm to 150 ppm.
To adjust your alkalinity levels, add an alkalinity increaser, especially in small doses. Allow all the doses to circulate before having to test them again. Adjusting your TA is the pinnacle of getting your pH in the right range.
Can you go into a hot tub with high alkalinity?
Going into or using a hot tub with high alkalinity levels is not safe, so it’s not advisable to use it. A high alkalinity water hot tub renders all sanitizers useless, which in turn can cause your water to turn green and allow bacteria to grow, making the hot tub unsafe to use.
Again, a high alkalinity level can also cause scaling in your hot tub. All of these problems put hot tub users or soakers at risk of skin problems like hot tub folliculitis. It can also be highly costly, as you’ll have to spend a lot on chemicals for maintenance.
Use pH reducer or soda ash, also known as sodium bisulfate, to lower the alkalinity level of your hot tub.
Can a high pH level in a hot tub cause irritation?
There’s nothing like a warm, fresh soak after the day’s duties in your hot tub. It gives you that calm, cool, soothing feeling. Unfortunately, times will arise when that calm, cool feeling can become irritating and itchy. Then you might wonder what went wrong. It is normal that poorly treated water with no real balance is likely to cause all of these problems.
The issue now is finding out the actual cause of that irritating and itchy feeling in your hot tub. Exposure to high chlorine levels can cause irritation, and exposure to a tub with a high pH can cause rashes on your skin.
For safe water, ensure that your chlorine levels are between 2-4 ppm, while the pH levels should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.8.
Will shock lower pH in the hot tub?
No, shock will not reduce the pH level of your hot tub water. If anything, it will only spike the pH level because it breaks up combined chlorine while increasing free chlorine.
Follow these steps to lower the pH in your hot tub.
- Understand the relationship between pH and alkalinity: pH is the measure of acidity available in the water, while total alkalinity is the measure of the water’s ability to buffer and prevent changes to the pH. pH is more of a measure of hydrogen present in the water. While total alkalinity is the measure of the water’s buffering capacity, now, if the alkalinity of water becomes high and low, the pH will follow.
- Test the alkalinity and pH level: no matter how you conclude on the water level of your hot tub, it is still accurate that you go ahead and test them first.
- Pick a chemical for treatment to be administered into the hot tub: to bring down your water alkalinity and pH level, you have to add an acid. There’s muriatic acid and sodium bisulfate. These two are the most popular treatment solutions to lower pH and alkalinity levels.
- Determine the amounts of chemicals to administer into your spa water: Take note that the pH level drops faster than the alkalinity, so it’s necessary to fix the alkalinity first. When the alkalinity has been fixed, the pH will automatically adjust to it.
- Mix the chemical with the small amount of water: scoop your hot tub water into a plastic bucket and allow the container to be three-quarters full. Pour the full amount of pH decreaser into the bucket of water and allow it to dissolve. Note: Do not add the acid first to the bucket. Add water before adding the acid. Turn on your hot tub and ensure that the pump filters are running. Set the hot tub at its usual speed and temperature before proceeding.
- Add the diluted chemical into the hot tub: slowly and gradually pour the diluted chemical into the hot tub and ensure it does not pour on the sides of your hot tub.
- Allow the water to run and balance itself out for at least 6-7 hours after the decreaser has been added.
- Confirm the effectiveness of the process by testing the water again. Repeat the process again if the water isn’t balanced yet.