Having a hot tub is not only about relaxing and healing time, but you also have to pay attention to the regular maintenance that it needs. Most of the regular maintenance of a hot tub is all about keeping the chemical of the water at an ideal level so you can soak comfortably in safe and clean water. As you may have known that the hot tub water contains some chemicals and one of them is alkaline.
In short, alkalinity is the term that we use to refer to the measurement of how much acidity that it can neutralize. Alkalinity works to keep the pH level of the water in the ideal range. When the alkalinity level itself is not balanced, it can lead to several problems that make your hot tub water becomes green since the sanitizer’s effectiveness is reduced.
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Although high alkalinity is not a common hot tub issue, there are some things that can cause high alkalinity in a hot tub and those are:
- Too many chemicals. This happens when you add too many chemicals to your hot tub that increases the total alkalinity. To prevent this issue from happening again, you can clean the hot tub every 3-4 months.
- Organic contaminants from the bodies. Your family, friends, and even yourself might bring those organic and inorganic contaminants like sweats, body lotions, sunblocks, perfumes, hair gel, etc. that can increase the pH level.
- Water source. Other than the internal matter that comes from your home, the cause can also come from external aspects like the water in your local area. Ask your township or local water district for a water reading.
- Accident. You accidentally add a heavy hand in adding alkalinity increaser or baking soda. Whoops!
HOW TO LOWER ALKALINITY IN HOT TUB
WATER ALKALINITY TEST
The ideal total of alkalinity of a hot tub should be between 80 to 120 parts per million (ppm), if it’s higher than 120 ppm then you need to lower it. To find out the level of alkalinity, please prepare this tool and follow the steps below:
What you need:
- Water testing kit with alkalinity reagents
The steps are:
- Identify the high level of alkalinity by some visible signs like the murky water, cloudiness, and calcium scaling that clogged the filter.
- If the cases happen, then you need to test the alkalinity by using the kit.
- Typically, you will need to add the water to the tube then add the reagents, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to check the alkalinity level.
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PREPARE THE ACID
To lower the alkalinity, you will need muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate (pH decreaser). It can harm your eyes and skin, so make sure to wear some safety gear.
What you need:
- Muriatic acid
- pH decreaser (sodium bisulfate)
- Eye goggles
- Rubber gloves
The steps are:
- Switch off the hot tub circulation pump.
- Wait for about an hour to ensure that the water has stopped moving and wear safety gear.
- Read the manufacturer’s direction to amount the muriatic acid that you need for your hot tub volume. The rule of thumb is 1 quart of muriatic acid is sufficient enough for 10’000 gallons of water.
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MIXING THE ACID
Once you have measured the acid, you need to dilute it with water instead of pouring directly into the hot tub. Keep wearing your gloves and goggles.
What you need:
- 1-gallon bucket
- Some kind of stick made of wood or plastic to stir the solution
The steps are:
- Add 1 gallon of water to the bucket first. If your hot tub has 1,000 gallons of water, use about 3 ounces (85 grams) to lower the alkalinity by 10 ppm.
- Add the acid to the water and dilute them completely.
- Remember to always add the acid into the water, not the other way around. It’s important for your safety.
- Pour the acid around the surface of the hot tub and let it sit for about an hour in the water.
- Turn on the circulation pump and wait at least 15 minutes. For a better result, wait until the next day to retest the water alkalinity level.
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RETEST THE WATER
The last step is to recheck the alkalinity level of the hot tub water. Though it’s the last step, you may need to keep rechecking and readjusting until you get the ideal range of alkalinity. Lowering the level of alkalinity is a slow process so you have to be extra patient.
- If you find that the level of alkalinity is still lower than the ideal range, you can add more acid, but you have to wait for 2 to 3 days before adding it.
- If the pH level is lower than 7 ppm, you need to give more aerators as an addition to the pump. The unstable alkalinity level also affects the pH level of the tub.
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Maintaining the alkalinity and pH of the hot tub water is really important for both your comfort and health because a high level of alkalinity can turn the water green. It means that the bacterias will grow faster and makes the water unsafe for everyone. Of course, it’s not only bad for your health but also your budget because the more you let the water green, the more it damages the hot tub itself.
The process can be quite tricky since you’re dealing with harmful chemicals and need extra patience and details but it definitely saves you more than hiring a pro. Please remember to change your hot tub water every 3 – 4 months and more often if you use it a lot. Also, checking the alkalinity and pH level of the water can be done weekly to make sure that it’s safe to use.