Are you experiencing incessant low pH in your hot tub? If yes, knowing the possible causes of the pH reduction is the right step to take. I believe that is why you are here today. Well, we have some answers that can help you tackle the issues.
There are several factors that could cause low pH in your spa. Most times we blame our pH Minus but that substance could be innocent sometimes. Other factors could be responsible for the abnormal pH level.
Let’s look at the potential causes of low pH in hot tubs;
- Excess pH minus
- Excess sanitizer
- Water source
- Dissolved substances
Excess pH Minus: This is one of the major causes of low pH is spas. If your hot tub pH becomes very low after lowering it from a high level, then know that the pH reducer you used is the cause.
If you read the two posts on high pH and how to lower it with muriatic acid or dry acid and how to lower pH naturally, you will understand that it is possible to make the pH go below the safe range.
That is why you need to be careful so your spa pH doesn’t go below 7.2. Since the hot tub pH range is 7.2-7.8, always do your best to maintain the levels between 7.4 and 7.6. That ideal range will help you to be in control of the situation.
So, if you notice low pH levels after adjusting the hot tub pH, the pH minus you used is the possible cause of the abnormal pH level. You probably used an excessive amount of it.
Excessive sanitizer: It’s true that your sanitizer does not alter the alkalinity and pH level of your spa. Its work in a hot tub is to keep it germ-free.
However, don’t forget that they produce acidic compounds when they react with water. Something like chlorine reacts with water to form hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid.
Though the acidic solutions are usually neutralized, they could affect the alkalinity of the water when they become excess in the tub. Once they alter the alkalinity level, the pH of the water goes down.
To prevent such an occurrence from happening, you need to follow the instructions on the package. Almost read the product manual to know the standard manufacturers’ recommendations. That will help you to know the best sanitizer product to use.
What works for Manufacturer A may not work for Manufacturer B. So, follow your manufacturer’s guidelines.
Water Source: Have you tested the water and confirmed that the pH is ok? Your local water supplier may be responsible for the low pH level you usually encounter.
If your pH is always going down, then the pH of the water you are using may be out of balance.
Dissolved substances: When you check the above three and they are not the cause, then know that this could be the cause. Some substances produce acidic byproducts when they react with water.
Some drinks and foods can produce acids when they react with water. The effect may seem intangible. But when the intangible effects accumulate for some time, they wreak havoc on your spa.
So, you need to be cautious with the things you bring to your hot tub. And if you bring any, ensure that some particles don’t fall into the tub.
More so, organic matter, such as body cream, sweat, insects, etc, can dissolve in your hot tub water and affect the pH level.
Shock: No matter the type of shock you used, shocking your hot tub will affect the pH level.
Hot tub shocks produce acidic compounds when they react with water. So, whenever you use them in your spa the pH level will go down.
What happens when pH is too low?
When your hot tub pH becomes low, the water can cause corrosion on your hot tub components and surfaces. If the issue is not corrected, the corrosion can lead to cloudy water.
Moreover, the acidic water can sting your eyes and dry your skin causing itchy dry skin. You will also feel a burning sensation in your nose. These experiences are not good for anyone, especially people with respiratory health challenges.
How do you fix low pH in a hot tub?
Low pH in a hot tub can be increased by adding soda ash, baking soda, or other pH Ups in your hot tub.
You can also raise the pH naturally by adding fresh water from your hose. The water usually has a higher pH level than your hot tub. So, adding it will increase pH a bit.
To use chemicals, the best pH Increaser is soda ash also known as sodium carbonate. It is more effective than baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).
It is recommended that you use 1 tablespoon of the soda ash for every 100 gallons of water. You can follow the steps below to raise the pH of your hot tub water.
How do I raise the pH in my hot tub?
- First test the pH and alkalinity level of your hot tub. This will help you to determine the pH.
- Once you have confirmed the pH, first adjust the alkalinity before increasing the pH. If alkalinity is off the range it will be difficult to fix the pH.
- To make it easier, don’t just dump the soda ash in your hot tub. Add about 1 tablespoon of the pH Up to every 100 gallons of water. You can add about 75% of the amount first and test before adding more.
- Also, dilute the chemical with water before adding it to your spa to aid easy circulation.
- Gradually add the diluted solution to your hot tub.
- Turn on the jet and allow it for about 2 hours.
- Retest the water to know the pH and alkalinity levels.
- If you need to add more, repeat the whole process until you get to the desired range.
Always ensure that the total alkalinity (TA) is within the required range before you balance the pH. If not, you will find it difficult to do because the pH fluctuates a lot if the alkalinity is not stable.
Is it safe to get in a hot tub with low pH?
No, it is not safe to get into your hot tub if the pH is low. Acidic water is not good for anyone. It will cause itchy dry skin and sting your eyes.
Moreover, low pH can make the sanitizer less effective, and thereby allowing disease-causing bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa to invade the spa. These bacteria can infect the skin with folliculitis and other forms of infection.
So, if your hot tub pH is low, do your best to address the issue immediately for your own safety.
Nevertheless, if allowed for a longer period, it can cause corrosion to the hot tub surfaces and components. It can also cause wear and tear on your swimsuit. All these are not the experiences you want to have with your hot tub.
Does low pH in a hot tub cause foamy/cloudy water?
If the corrosion continues for long, the particles will start dissolving in the water, leaving debris and dissolved substance. Once the particles accumulate the water will become cloudy.
Does chlorine increase pH?
PH scale ranks from 0-14, with 7 as the neutral point. From 7 to 14 shows an increasing value of alkalinity while from 7 to 0 shows an increasing value of acidity.
This means that an acidic compound can only decrease alkalinity (lowers pH) while alkaline compounds can only increase alkalinity (increases pH).
Chlorine cannot increase pH in a hot tub because it produces hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid when it reacts with water.
An acidic compound can only lower the pH of water. So, it is not possible for chlorine to increase the pH of hot tub water.
Will baking soda raise the pH in a hot tub?
As we discussed above, baking soda is an alkaline compound, so it can raise the pH in a hot tub. Nevertheless, the best substance you can use to raise pH is soda ash because it is more effective than baking soda.
But baking soda is more effective for lowering alkalinity. The effect baking soda has on the pH of hot tub water is small compared to what you will get when you use soda ash.
Is alkalinity the same as pH?
Alkalinity and pH are completely different terms, but most times, we believe that they are the same thing.
pH is the scale we use to measure the level of acidity or alkalinity of a compound. It runs from 0 to 14. It measures the potential hydrogen ion (H+) in a compound.
But alkalinity measures the capacity of a compound to neutralize the acid. That is the buffer effect of a compound.
Does alkalinity increase pH?
Alkalinity and pH are closely related because their increasing strength goes in the same direction while acidity goes in the opposite direction.
This means that when the alkalinity of a compound increases the pH will also increase. When it decreases the pH will also decrease. It is almost impossible to alter one without affecting the value of the other.
So, yes, increasing the alkalinity of water will also increase the pH.
How do I raise the pH and alkalinity in my hot tub?
The alkalinity and pH of a hot tub can be raised using pH Up or Alkalinity Up. Alkalinity Up products are made with baking soda while pH Ups are made with soda ash. You can also use baking soda or soda ash.
It all depends on the aim of the process. Baking soda increases the alkalinity of hot tub water but has little effect on the pH. So, if the aim is to increase alkalinity, you can use baking soda or Alkalinity Up.
If the aim is to increase pH, then you need to use baking soda or pH Up. Unlike baking soda, soda ash is also effective on the alkalinity of spa water.
How do I raise the pH in my hot tub without raising alkalinity?
Using soda ash to raise the pH in your hot tub will also raise the alkalinity because you are literally adding alkaline compounds to the pool. So, it is almost impossible to achieve like that.
But if you can maintain the level of alkaline compounds in the spa and reduce acidity, the pH will be able to increase while the effect on alkalinity will be insignificant.
How can we achieve this? By aerating the water we can make carbon dioxide to escape the water. This will cause the acidic level to drop leading to an increase in the pH of the water.
Do you adjust pH or alkalinity first?
As we discussed earlier, alkalinity is the ability of a compound to buffer the effect of acid on it. That is, its capacity to neutralize the effect of acid.
But pH is the measure of hydrogen ion (H+) concentration in a compound.
With the above explanation, we can summarize that if the alkalinity is not stable the pH levels of a compound will fluctuate a lot. So, to get things right, it is better to adjust alkalinity first before pH.
Without adjusting the alkalinity, it will be very difficult to adjust the pH because the values will be fluctuating randomly.
What is a pH increaser?
pH Increaser also known as pH Up is a product made with soda ash for increasing the pH levels in a hot tub or pool water. The soda ash is also regarded as a pH Increaser, and it is the most used pH Increaser.
How can I raise my pH naturally?
If the pH is a little bit high, you can increase the hot tub pH by adding more fresh water to the spa. This will help to raise the pH of the water in the hot tub.
Nevertheless, this does not always work, especially when you need to adjust the alkalinity too. More so, it could affect the balance of the water chemistry.
So, the best way to raise pH is to use pH Up or soda ash.
Is baking soda the same as alkalinity increaser?
Yes, alkalinity increasers are made with mostly baking soda. Baking soda is also referred to as alkalinity increaser or alkalinity up.
How much baking soda does it take to raise pH?
You need about 1.5lb of baking soda to raise the alkalinity of 10,000 gallons of water by 10ppm. As we started earlier, baking soda is best when used to raise the alkalinity of your hot tub.
Using soda ash to raise the pH of a hot tub is better than using baking soda. For baking soda, you need 6 ounces to raise the pH of 10,000 gallons of water by 0.2 points.
With this data, you can calculate the right quantity that will be suitable for your spa volume.