If care and maintenance are the only things keeping you from enjoying a snowy mini-vacation in your hot tub, allow us to provide you with the play by play. You can just worry about the refreshments.
If your tub is already filled, but you’re unsure about what might be lurking in the water, the longest you can expect a total adjustment to take is a couple days. Let’s start with the basics – water chemistry, oxidization, and sanitation.
The general term water chemistry, in this case, refers to the levels of pH and alkalinity of your hot tub water. pH is a widely known measurement which tells us how acidic (low pH) or basic (high pH) water is. If your tub is freshly filled, water comes out of your tap at a fairly decent standard – around 7.3. The recommended pH range for pool and spa water is between 7.2 and 7.6, because within this range sanitation chemicals work to their full potential, and water feels best on your skin. Acidic water will leave you feeling itchy and prickly, while basic water will feel thick and residual after your hot tub session. Almost any test strip or kit will have a way to test alkalinity, pH’s lesser known relative. Alkalinity should be kept at a level of at least 80 parts per million (PPM), to stabilize the pH within its recommended range. A low alkalinity leaves the pH vulnerable to the environment, allowing for too much fluctuation and, in turn, poor water chemistry.
For those of you familiar with the concept of shock, the terms “shock” and “oxidizer” can be used interchangeably. The most common form of hot tub shock is potassium peroxymonosulfate at a concentration of about 32%. Our shock goes by the trade name “Energize” which will be used for the remainder of this section. Energize briefly exposes the water to a higher level of oxygen, neutralizing any residuals in the water left behind from bathing suits, skin and hair products. Left untreated, soaps, lotions and detergents can do a number on your water quality and appearance. The recommended dose of Energize is one tablespoon per person, per use. If the water looks anything besides crystal clear, Energize can be used in larger amounts at least twice a day to eliminate the issue. Energize only lasts in the water for about 15 minutes, and will not show up on most home testing kits. It will, however help with most any problem you are having with your water.
Plant growth in water is just as natural as in soil, but in a contained, heated environment the process can be sped up exponentially. Sanitizers such as chlorine or bromine will create an unsafe growing environment for plants that is not harmful to humans in monitored amounts. The most common form of sanitizer is chlorine, which should be kept at a level between one and three PPM. Bromine should remain a little higher at somewhere between three and five PPM. The difference between these two options are negligible as far as performance – bromine is simply an alternative for those who have an aversion or allergy to chlorine. Application can be a large dose once a week or in smaller doses about three times a week. A large dose of chlorine would be about an ounce and a small dose is around a teaspoon. For bromine, a small dose would measure 2 liquid ounces, a larger one around 6 oz. Keep in mind, this is subjective because all bodies of water will react to the chemicals a little differently. Check the label on your container of sanitizer for dosage amount for your size hot tub. Do NOT use the hot tub within 4 hours of applying sanitizer since contact with undissolved chemical can be irritating to the skin. Sanitizers should be constantly present within the recommended ranges. Test your water regularly to see how long your water will retain its level of sanitizer.
Keep track of these three main areas of concern and your water will never, yes, NEVER give you any unsuspected issues.
Please return to our blog for more information on new products, maintenance strategies and all things pool and spa!