What Causes High pH In Hot Tubs?

What Causes High pH In Hot Tubs?

You may have heard that adding excess pH Plus is usually the cause of high pH in a hot tub. But that is not always true because there is more to learn about pH and how it can be altered.

Do you know that not keeping your pool clean enough can lead to high pH? How about the water source, and algae blooms? Different factors can lead to high pH in your hot tub. Some of the common causes of high pH in hot tubs include;

  • Excess pH Increaser
  • Presence of algae
  • Water source
  • Debris and alkaline substances

Excess pH Increaser: The high pH you are experiencing in your spa may be caused by too much pH Plus. If it has not been long when you last adjusted the pH, then there is a higher probability that the pH Increaser you used is the cause of the high pH.

We have had a lot of cases similar to this, and we always tell our clients to test the water before they can use it. When adjusting the pH of our hot tub, we need to be patient with the process.

It takes time for the substance to mix completely with the water. At least allow it for 3-4 hours to mix and settle before you can test the water. If you rush the process, you may not be able to know the exact pH value.

Algae Bloom: You may be wondering what algae have to do with pH. The carbon dioxide in your spa helps to maintain the pH level. If the carbon dioxide gets depleted, the pH levels will increase.

This is one of the reasons why you don’t need algae in your hot tub. The algae in your hot tub consume carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. As the carbon dioxide in your spa decreases, the pH levels increase.

Water Source: Your local water source could also be responsible for the increase in pH levels of your hot tub. Testing your water before use can help to avoid the issue.

Debris and Alkaline Substances: Though this may not have a direct impact on the pH of your spa, having debris and organic matter in your hot tub could easily breed algae.

As we discussed already, algae make your spa pH increase when they consume the carbon dioxide present. So leaving your spa open can introduce debris and organic matters which help algae to bloom.

More so, having many dissolved alkaline substances can affect the total alkalinity (TA) of the hot tub water. Once the TA is altered, the pH of the water can no longer be stable.

Is pH in a hot tub important?

pH, if not the most important, is one of the most important factors in your spa water chemistry. The pH can determine the amount of money you spend on maintenance, the durability of your hot tub, and the health impact of your hot tub.

When the pH of your hot tub is too high, it can make you spend beyond your budget.. Moreover, using such a hot tub is not safe for your health.

Is high pH in Spa bad? Yes, it is very bad because it affects the balance of the water chemistry. High pH can cause itchy skin and burning eyes.

Before you use your spa make sure that the pH level is okay. The normal pH range is between 7.2-7.8. Don’t let it go beyond the range. Even when it is lower than the range, it is still not safe.

So, if you are wondering if it is ok to go in a hot tub with high pH, the answer is ‘No’. It is not ok to use it when the pH is high or low.

What happens if the hot tub pH is too high?

Having high pH in your spa water can cause a lot of damage to the hot tub components and your health as well.

First, high pH makes the hot tub water consume the sanitizer very fast. This will make your hot tub exposed to disease-causing organisms.

And when these microbes invade the hot tub, you can get infected if the water is not treated. And if you decide to replace the sanitizer without correcting the situation, you will end up spending more than you budgeted for the spa.

Another thing is that high pH can damage your hot tub equipment. When the pH of the spa becomes high, scales can easily form on the hot tub components.

The scales can clog the walls of the hot tub filters, pipes, plugs, and jets. When they get accumulated, it can lead to the build-up of pressure on the spa components.

If the situation is not properly handled, it can cause a lot of damage to the hot tub parts. And if that happens, you would spend a lot to replace or repair the parts.

What should hot tub pH be?

We have mentioned this previously and it is important that we make emphasis on it. The recommended pH range for every hot tub is 7.2-7.8.

However, always try your best to keep it between 7.4 and 7.6. That is the ideal range and it will help you to be in control of the whole situation.

Does high pH cause hot tub foam?

Most of the time, a foamy or cloudy hot tub is caused by not sanitizing it. If you fail to sanitize your spa for weeks or after heavy use, maybe after a party, your hot tub will get foamy.

All the residues like hair cream, body cream, sweat, hair particles, etc are capable of causing cloudy or foamy hot tubs. We must take care of these things by sanitizing the spa immediately.

However, high pH in your hot tub can also cause foam because it weakens and depletes the sanitizer faster. Without a proper sanitizer level in your spa, it can easily get foamy or cloudy.

How do you fix a high pH in a hot tub?

Reducing the pH level in your hot tub is not that difficult. You only need to know the right chemicals to use and the amount needed for your spa.

It is important to note this:

  • When the pH of your hot tub is high, you can only lower it with an acidic compound. When the pH is low, you will need an alkaline compound to increase it.
  • The best acidic compounds to lower the pH of your hot tub are muriatic acid and dry acid (sodium bisulfate).
  • The normal pH range of hot tub is 7.2-7.8
  • The total alkalinity level should be between 80ppm and 120ppm.
  • Balance the alkalinity level first before balancing the pH level.
  • To reduce the total alkalinity by 10ppm you need 1.3qt of muriatic acid for every 10,000 gallons of water. If you are using dry acid you would need 1.6lb for every 10,000 gallons of water.

Warning: Never add water to acid. Always add acid to water. Acid is highly reactive to water and can splash when it is in higher concentration. If it touches your body it can cause acid burn on your skin. 

Before you start you would need the following;

  • Test strips or kits.
  • pH reducer (muriatic acid or dry acid)
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Bucket (for diluting the acid)

Once you are ready, follow the instructions below to balance the water chemistry;

Test the water pH level: Before you can start adding the chemicals you need to determine the pH and alkalinity level first. That will help you to know the amount of chemicals to add.

Moreover, you need to know if the total alkalinity is balanced. Without balancing the total alkalinity it will be very difficult to balance the pH. If the total alkalinity is not balanced you need to balance it first before balancing the pH level.

You can achieve that by adding the right quantity of the acidic compound. Once you achieve that, balancing the pH will not be a big task. Sometimes, it adjusts itself to the desired level without much effort.

Measure out the acid to use: Now that you have known the pH and total alkalinity level, the next thing is to determine the right quantity to use.

Measure our small amount of water (about 8 gallons) in a bucket and pour in the acid. Mix thoroughly until it is well diluted before you can pour the mixture into the hot tub.

Turn on the hot tub: Before you add the diluted acid make sure the filter and pump are running as usual. Also, ensure that there is nobody in the hot tub.

Add the pH reducer: Once everything is set, you can add the chemical. You need to add the chemical at the middle of the tub to aid in easy circulation.

Also, ensure that you don’t dump the whole chemical at once. Doing so can cause damage to the hot tub components. You need to add it gradually. It will also help to ensure that you don’t end up adding an excessive amount of the acid.

Retest the pH level: After adding the chemical, allow the chemical to circulate properly. You can wait for about 2 hours to ensure proper circulation.

When testing, you need to test different parts of the hot tub to ensure that the circulation is consistent. If not, give it more time for complete circulation.

Then test the alkalinity and pH level. The alkalinity should be balanced by now. Wait for the pH to balance too. If they are not balanced, you can repeat the whole process with a little amount of the acid until they are all balanced.

How do I lower the pH in my spa naturally?

To lower the pH of your hot tub water naturally, you can use natural compounds like vinegar. However, we don’t recommend using vinegar for pH reduction because it is not as active as muriatic acid. More so, to keep the product warranty valid, you need to adhere to the manufacturers recommendations.

However, vinegar is still one of the best natural method to lower your hot tub water pH. To learn how to use it, check How To Lower pH In A Hot Tub Naturally.

You can also achieve this without adding anything but water. The pH of water ranges between 6.5 and 8.5. So you can reduce pH naturally is by draining some water out of the hot tub and refilling it with fresh water of lower pH. With this method, you may not need to add any chemicals.

However, it may be more difficult to get the right pH by that method. You may consider draining the hot tub completely and refilling it with fresh water.

Does baking soda lower pH in a hot tub?

No, baking soda does not lower pH in hot tubs. It is an alkaline compound and can only increase the pH of water.

You can only use baking soda to alter pH when the pH level is too low. Then, an alkaline compound would be needed to increase the pH. But if the pH is high, you only need acidic compounds like muriatic acid, sodium bisulfate, vinegar, etc.

Does chlorine raise pH in hot tubs?

Chlorine cannot raise the pH of a hot tub because it forms an acidic compound when it reacts with water. So, it is not possible for it to increase pH. It can only lower the pH of water.

However, you should not use chlorine to alter pH levels for any reason. Doing so could damage your hot tub because you would need an excessive amount of chlorine to achieve that. And such amounts may not be safe for your hot tub, and even for your health.

You can only use chlorine as a sanitizer. It is one of the most effective hot tub sanitizers.

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