It’s worthy to note that water temperatures of hot tubs and spas are set at a level that is very friendly to bacteria and other contaminants. So it’s essential to sanitize and take good care of it on a regular basis. Again, if you don’t use the correct amount of chemicals, you could damage the structure of your tub. But that’s not all; you could also affect your skin and eyes in the process. Another thing to note is, while retailers sell chemicals that are geared towards sanitization, the level of effectiveness of their products may vary depending on the type of water in your tub.

Because of all these factors coming into play, this article will give you a comprehensive guide on how to keep your spa and hot tub water at the right balance so as to maintain safety as well as appearance.


When Testing Your Fill Water

Obviously, you’ll test the water in your hot tub to determine its pH and total alkalinity. But this also affects the performance of a particular sanitizer you are using. So you’ll need test strips to help you measure out the levels of water alkalinity.

Scale-forming water often has a high pH and TA, while corrosive water contains exactly the opposite. On the other hand, well water may have issues related to high iron levels and tannins. But this shouldn’t worry you because most city water is treated for the correct balance of pH and alkalinity–the ideal range is 7.2 to 7.8. For the TA, it’s between 80-140. Testing the water fill is not rocket science, once you understand the ideal levels for both pH and TA, you are good to go.

High levels of pH and TA will lead to scale forming on the heater element or the hot tub shell. While you can always get rid of this using muriatic acid, the problem will still persist if you continue to maintain high pH levels. On the other side, if your pH and alkalinity continue to remain too low, the acidity of the water therein will eat into anything metal or plaster. And the most damage will occur inside the heater elements where this water comes into contact with the essential electric components and causing them to short out.

High PH And TA

If both the pH and TA of your water is reading at higher levels (say 8+ for pH and 140+ for TA), then you need to add acid chemicals to lower them. White vinegar should be ideal for this purpose. But care should be taken while doing this exercise so that you don’t end up with the worst case of corrosiveness. Run your hot tub for a minimum of 6 hours after you adjust the chemical levels of the water. Then use your test strip to determine whether or not the new levels are within range.

Low PH And TA

Your safest bet would be sodium bicarbonate in this scenario. However, don’t use related chemicals such as sodium carbonate or soda ash as they can feed the total alkalinity of the water hence raising the pH further.

Iron And Tannin Issues

If you reside within the city, your water may contain incorrect levels of iron and tannin. It may affect water clarity, damage your skin or the structure of your tub. There are two approaches to such problems anyway. You can either use metal filters or a product specifically designed to surround the metals hence preventing them from sticking to the walls of the spa or hot tub. Remember to ask your retailer for the best advice on which product will suit your needs in this case. As for the tannin, these are organic materials that you can get rid of by using special bleaching agents.

How To Deal With Cloudy Water

You may notice that your water is looking murky. When this happens, perhaps it’s time you give it some chemical treatment because this spells out the presence of bacteria and other unwanted elements. You may apply Dichlor in heavy amounts, though it’s not a sanitizer. Alternatively, you can use bromine or chlorine to get rid of the bacteria once and for all.


This hot tub care guide teaches you how to effectively keep an eye on both the pH and TA levels of your hot tub water. As you can see, it’s clear that incorrect levels of water pH and TA may cause problems to your spa or hot water tub. You can also find a free spa maintenance eBook online. Don’t wait until last minute to fix the problem, it’s often said that prevention is better than cure.