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Hot Tub Chemicals 101

Info From Canada's Hot Tub Chemicals & Supplies Leader

Your hot tub is a source of relaxation and enjoyment practiced throughout the ages. To get the most satisfaction out of your hot tub, the water must look clear, enticing and be free of bacteria. Three important factors contributing to this are filtration, water balance and disinfection. A jetted hot tub creates a mild massage, relieves stress and tension, and improves overall circulation. Aches and pains disappear as the warm swirling water relaxes your muscles after a hard day. Each hot tub owner uses their spa for different reasons, some more frequently than others. This page is a guide to hot tub water care. You will personally get to know your hot tub and how water conditions can be controlled. Bookmark this page as a guide in case of trouble or if water imbalance should arise.

Disinfection
Disinfecting your hot tub water means killing the harmful bacteria and keeping the water clean. HotTubChemicals.ca offers several types of disinfectant systems to choose from: chlorine and bromine being the most common. Both have their advantages.

Chlorine:
There are different types of chlorine treatments available to the hot tub owner. We believe stabilized chlorine in tablet or granular form is best suited for outdoor spa use. Spa Tabs are 90% available chlorine and offer a continual slow release of disinfectant. Tabs require a feeder or skimmer basket to dissolve. Chlor-Aid granular chlorine dissolves completely and immediately for instant dissinfection and does not alter the pH.

Bromine:
There are two common types of bromine systems available. Organic bromine tablets and the two part liquid bromine program. Bromine tablets are convenient and require a skimmer basket or feeder to dispense the disinfectant. The two part bromine systems can be added directly and immediately to the spa. Make sure the bromine level is 3-5 p.p.m.

Shock Treatment:
After using your hot tub, body oils, perspiration, hair and dirt accumulate which can turn your spa water cloudy. Periodic shock treatments with Spa Shock will oxidize these organic contaminants. Spa Shock is compatible with both chlorine and bromine disinfectant systems.

Trichloro Tablets Dichloro Granular Lithium Hypochlorite Bromine Tablets Two Part Bromine
  • slow dissolving
  • continual release of disinfectant
  • 90% available chlorine
  • completely soluble
  • lowers pH
  • lowers total alkalinity
  • requires feeder or skimmer basket
  • disinfects immediately
  • completely soluble
  • 65% available chlorine
  • no scale build up
  • does not effect pH or total alkalinity of water
  • easy to measure and apply
  • disinfects immediately
  • completely soluble
  • 35% available chlorine
  • no scale build up
  • raises pH
  • easy to measure and apply
  • slow dissolving
  • continual release of disinfectant
  • completely soluble
  • no odour from water
  • lowers pH
  • lowers total alkalinity
  • requires feeder or skimmer basket
  • requires the addition of Bromaid and Energize to disinfect
  • disinfects immediately
  • completely soluble
  • no odour from water
  • does not effect pH or total alkalinity of water
  • easy to apply

 

Water Balance
Water balance is important to the overall performance of your spa. No spa's water conditions are exactly alike. The water source, location of the spa and frequency of use all effect the water balance. Unbalanced water can damage the equipment, make the water uncomfortable for the user, and decrease the effectiveness of the disinfectant. Total alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness must be within the correct ranges to balance the water.

pH:
Simply, pH is a scale indicating whether spa water is basic, neutral or acidic. Spa water should be slightly basic with a reading of 7.2 - 7.6 A low pH (below 7.2) leads to corrosion of spa equipment and will irritate the skin of the bathers. Also,the sanitizer will dissipate more rapidly. A low pH can be corrected by adding pH Booster. A high pH (above 7.6) promotes scaling on heat exchange tubes, creates cloudy water, calcium deposits and reduces the effectiveness of disinfecting agents. A high pH can be corrected by adding pH Reducer.

Alkalinity:
Total alkalinity is a measure of the alkalines in the water. They act as a pH buffer or a pH stabilizer preventing large changes in the pH. The total alkalinity should be between 80-150 p.p.m.; ideally 120 p.p.m. Tablet chlorines and bromine tend to gradually lower the alkalinity level. A low total alkalinity causes:

  • the pH to wander
  • corrosive water
  • disinfectants to be ineffective To raise the total alkalinity add Alka Rise.

A high total alkalinity causes:

  • cloudy water
  • scale formation

To lower the total alkalinity add pH Reducer.

 

Calcium Hardness:
Calcium hardness is the hardness present due to dissolved calcium. The desired range is 150 - 280 p.p.m. A low calcium hardness causes:

  • corrosive water
  • staining of surfaces

To raise calcium hardness add Cal Rise. A high calcium hardness causes:

  • scaling of heating pipes
  • cloudy water
  • staining of spa

To correct this problem add Prevent II. Do not fill the hot tub with soft water!

Learn more on our hot tubs maintenance page.