White flakes can cause issues for you as a hot tub owner. They could be as a result of either excess calcium build up or white old build up. Neither of these mentioned are good indicators for your tub.
They are present as white suspended particles in your pool.
Follow me in this article as I go into detail about white flakes and how to deal with them.
How do you get rid of calcium flakes in a hot tub?
There are two causes of hot tub scale. One of the causes is as a result of calcium buildup. The other is as a result of biofilm buildup in water. However, the focus now is on the one caused by calcium.
First, it would be good to know how calcium flakes come about. The cause of calcium flakes is as a result of an overabundance of calcium buildup in your hot tub water. This could be for some reasons that I will list below:
- High pH in water: High pH in water is one of the contributing factors to calcium scale build up. High pH happens when the level of alkaline substances dissolved in the water continues to build up. In addition, when total dissolved solids(TDS) in your water begin to build up, you can also have an increase in pH. The TDS could involve organic matter, chemicals, and minerals.
- Hard water: Hard water is one that already has a lot of calcium and magnesium salts dissolved in it. This could be from the source that you are getting your hot tub water from. If your source is well water, the water could already have various minerals dissolved in it. Due to this, the concentration of calcium can go above 250 parts per million, and that’s when scale begins to form.
In addition, when you add excess calcium chloride in a bid to increase the calcium hardness of water, this could raise the calcium hardness levels above the recommended range of 175 to 250 parts per million. This would cause calcium scaling to occur.
- Contaminated water: When bathers enter the hot tub, they introduce a lot of foreign bodies. These contaminants include lotions, sweat, oils, shampoos, and so on. If you are not taking care of your tub’s sanitary levels, these contaminants can lead to calcium scaling.
Some of these foreign bodies contain phosphates. These phosphates combine with calcium ions to form calcium phosphate, which contributes to the scaling that you see.
Removing calcium flakes from your hot tub is quite doable. You can follow these steps below:
- Skim the pool: If the flakes are very visible on the waterline, use a net to remove the debris. Sometimes, if the calcium scale is not so serious, this can go a long way towards reducing it.
- Use a hot tub scale remover: A hot tub scale remover can be used to remove the scale if it is at a minimal level. Hot tub scale remover can soften hard water and reduce the mineral content of your tub. A popular one is “Whirlpool Rinse”. To use it, follow these steps.
- Warm up the water. This is because the scale remover is not effective in cold water.
- Remove your hot tub filters before adding Whirlpool Rinse, to prevent them from clogging.
- Turn off your air controls. Also, ensure that your diverter valves are in the middle. This will ensure that all your plumbing gets cleaned.
- Add ½ of the bottle (250ml) of the scale remover directly to the water. Now you can run your jet pumps for 2 hours.
- Afterward, drain the hot tub.
The filters should be cleaned with cartridge cleaner and washed effectively to remove any calcium debris or flakes. After draining the pool, you can refill it with fresh water. If at the end of this process there are still calcium flakes, then there might be a need to repeat the process.
- Scrubbing and cleaning the tub: If the calcium buildup is so great, it can begin to deposit on the surface of the hot tub. This will require you to get down on elbow grease and get rid of it. You have to target the affected areas and scrub them diligently to loosen them. When the calcium flakes come to the surface, you can easily use a skimming net to remove them.
How do I get rid of calcium deposits in my hot tub without draining it?
If you are faced with an issue of calcium flakes building up, the severity of the situation will determine if you will have to drain the pool or not. If it is a mild buildup, then you can get away without draining it.
For this, you can use a skimming basket to remove the flakes from the waterline. You can go further and use a scale remover. This will only reduce the water’s hardness and increase its softness. However, for serious calcium buildup, you must drain the pool to deal with the issue wholesomely.
What does biofilm look like in a hot tub?
Biofilms are colonies of microorganisms, especially bacteria, which build up in your pool. These bacteria, and other organic matter, are introduced into your hot tub when bathers dip in it. The different contaminants, such as oils, sweat, dead skin cells, lotions, etc., combine to form biofilms.
These biofilms, when they build up, can attach themselves to your tub surfaces, pipes, and plumbing. The main downside to these biofilms is that they produce a protective layer of slime that helps defend them against chemicals and sanitizers. One thing you don’t want in your hot tub is bacteria, and it’s hard to remove. This is why you can’t treat biofilm with levity.
Is hot tub biofilm harmful?
Biofilm, as already mentioned, is full of bacteria. Entering into a pool full of bacteria is never a good idea. You could be exposing yourself to harm. Bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are two bacteria that can cause skin issues. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is responsible for hot tub rash. It is characterized by an itchy, red, bumpy rash. Also, you could get blisters that are filled with pus around your hair follicles.
Staphylococcus aureus is also another agent that is responsible for another condition called folliculitis. It can be present in biofilms, and exposing yourself to them is harmful. Folliculitis is characterized by infection of the hair follicles and pus-filled bumps around them.
How do you get rid of biofilm in a hot tub without draining it?
If you don’t plan on draining your pool, you can make use of vinegar. Using vinegar is a good option as it is an acid and a very strong antimicrobial agent. Chlorine won’t be effective on this biofilm, as the biofilms create a protective layer of slime that makes them resistant to chlorine.
To use the vinegar, add 1 gallon of vinegar into the hot tub and allow the hot tub jets to circulate for two hours. Vinegar is a preferred method, as it doesn’t leave any harmful or toxic residue behind.
You can also make use of enzyme-based cleaners such as Spa Marvel Cleanser. They are made of enzymes that can break through the protective layer of slime around the biofilm.
How do you identify white water mold?
Water molds are usually precursors for biofilms; they are characterized by white flakes. To differentiate them from calcium flakes, you should carry out this simple test.
Put some of the water-containing flakes into a bowl. Add 15–20 drops of bleach or chlorine into the water. Allow it to sit for 15–30 minutes. If the flakes disappear, then it is most likely white water mold. If, on the other hand, it doesn’t disappear , then it is calcium flakes.
Can you use a hot tub with white mold?
Using a hot tub with white mold can be harmful to you and the tub. White water mold is the precursor to biofilm. If it is left untreated, this can lead to extreme contamination of your pool, possibly resulting in discoloration of your tub’s water along with the presence of disgusting white flakes.
What kills white water mold?
To deal with white water mold in your pool, you should super chlorinate your hot tub.
Follow these steps.
- You should use 75 grams(2.5 oz ) of chlorine for every 100 gallons of water.
- Distribute this chlorinated water throughout the hot tub system. So this is done by turning the diverter valve on. Also turn on the aerators, jets, and valves. Make sure they are open.
- Allow the water to circulate for 48 hours. During this period, keep testing to ensure that the level of chlorine does not drop off. If it dies, keep adding more chlorine.
How long can hot tub water go untreated?
Your hot tub water should not be left untreated for anything longer than two weeks. If it extends past this duration, you can begin to have issues with algae and bacteria build up.