Alkalinity, or pH, measures the water’s capacity to neutralize the acid. Hot tubs use water with a high alkalinity level as their filtration system. As a result, hot tubs often carry an alkaline level of 8.0 – 8.5 and require regular monitoring and care to keep within this range. Here we are going to discuss how to lower alkalinity in the hot tub.
What is Alkalinity in your hot tub?
The ability of water to neutralize acids is measured by alkalinity. The alkalinity level must be maintained in the range of 80-120 parts per million (PPM) for the water to be at its most comfortable pH level.
If your hot tub has an alkalinizing system, it will automatically keep the alkalinity levels in the proper range. If you don’t have an alkalinizing system, you’ll need to maintain the levels yourself with a chemical treatment.
Factors that can cause high Alkalinity in the hot tub
In a hot tub, the pH level is highly regulated. The pH must be between 7.2 and 7.6, which is a balance of acidic to alkaline. Many circumstances might cause this balance to shift, making it difficult to maintain.
Anything that adds mineral content to the water can increase the pH level. This includes:
- Saturated soil
- Polluted water
- Hard water
- Pool chemicals
- Soap residue from the body
- Pesticides from plants or vegetables used in the hot tub area
Specific acids can cause high Alkalinity in hot tubs. These include phosphoric acid, acetic acid, and nitric acid. Phosphoric acid is usually found in soda, which is a big culprit. Bacteria create acetic acid in the water. Nitric acid is usually caused by cleaners or sanitizers not being used properly.
How to Lower Alkalinity in hot tub
You may be experiencing a high pH level in your hot tub or spa. You can lower the pH level by adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the water. For every 10 gallons of water, add a teaspoon of baking soda. The baking soda will raise the pH level and eventually balance it out with time.
There are simple steps to follow to lower your hot tub’s Alkalinity:
- Add white vinegar or citric acid to your hot tub.
- Use a pH reducer or buffer to lower the pH level of your hot tub.
- Use a sequestering agent to lower the Alkalinity in your hot tub.
- Use a scale inhibitor to prevent calcium and other minerals from building up on your equipment.
- Treat your hot tub with a sanitizer to kill bacteria and viruses.
- Add chlorine or bromine to your hot tub water to keep it clean and prevent odors.
- Clean the filter cartridges in your hot tub regularly to remove any debris.
- Clean the walls of your hot tub regularly with a vinyl cleaner and any other equipment that you use in your hot tub.
Symptoms of High Alkalinity in a hot tub
A high pH level indicates Alkalinity, which means it may be time for some serious maintenance.
This is because high pH levels in a hot tub can cause significant skin irritation, eye irritation, and skin burns. Chlorine is used to address this problem, but those problems will persist if you don’t get the pH back down to normal levels.
Another sign is that the water will start to form bubbles on the surface. The acidity of the water is being neutralized by the Alkalinity, leading to a loss of carbon dioxide which leads to a buildup of CO 2 gas in the water.
How to Calculate Alkalinity in hot tub?
Alkalinity is a measure of the pH stabilizer in water. If the water is too acidic, it will corrode metal, and if the water is too alkaline, it can be corrosive to the skin. Alkalinity levels should be maintained around 7.2-7.6 on a pH scale.
To calculate Alkalinity, measure the total CO2 and CH3COONa (soda ash) concentrations in the water, subtracting their product from the measured total Alkalinity.
The result is the bicarbonate concentration after accounting for carbonate that has been converted to bicarbonate. If you want to know the carbonate concentration, subtract the bicarbonate concentration from the total Alkalinity.
Suppose your water contains dissolved CO2 and no other acids or bases. In that case, the Alkalinity will be zero (assuming that you have accounted for any acid or base consumed by reaction with silica). There is no CO2 leftover after reacting with all of the HCO3−. You can use this method to calculate the Alkalinity of natural waters if you have measured their CO2 content and HCO3− concentration.
What to do when your hot tub is too high in Alkalinity?
When your hot tub is too high in Alkalinity, it’s time to use a spa care product such as bromine or chlorine. One of the reasons for a high alkalinity level could be the type of water used in the tub. If you’re using well water, it may be rich in limestone and other minerals that can cause an increase in Alkalinity.
The first thing to do when you believe your tub is too high in Alkalinity is to call a professional. They’ll arrive at your home and do a water analysis to pinpoint the problem. When this is done, they’ll be able to recommend the correct type of spa care product for your hot tub.
When it comes to using bromine or chlorine, you’ll need to decide which one is best for your situation. If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, bromine is the way to go. Bromine has a low initial cost and can last up to 3 months in your hot tub water.
You can add it daily or once every other day, depending on the size of your hot tub. Bromine has a strong smell, so it’s not the best option for families with small children or anyone sensitive to odors.
On the other hand, chlorine doesn’t have an odor and can be added daily. The initial cost of chlorine is higher than bromine, but it will last up to 6 months in your hot tub water. However, you should only use chlorine if you have a salt system installed in your hot tub.
Pros and Cons of Chlorine vs. Bromine for Hot Tub Water
Pros Cons Chlorine is a much cheaper option to use than bromine. It doesn’t have an odor, so you won’t have to deal with bromine’s unpleasant smell. It has a shorter lifespan than bromine and must be replaced every few months.
Chlorine is also more challenging to add in large quantities because it will burn your skin if you are not careful. It is also harder to get a good mix of chlorine when adding it to the water.
If not handled appropriately, it can be harmful, so you must ensure that you have all of the proper safety equipment on hand. It’s also hazardous if swallowed, so make sure that children know not to drink it. Chlorine will give your pool a cloudy appearance and cause your hair and skin to dry out after being in the water for too long.
How can I reduce the alkalinity in my hot tub?
Some hot tubs have a built-in pH controller that automatically adjusts the water to maintain a neutral pH. These controllers, however, can be expensive. If your hot tub doesn’t have one, you can try to add a few gallons of distilled water, which will lower the pH.
It is possible to lower your hot tub’s pH by following these steps:
- Replace some of your hot tub’s sanitizer with vinegar.
- Run your hot tub for 24 hours at the highest setting and circulate the water frequently to maximize the amount of contact between the hot tub’s water and the vinegar.
- If you are still not satisfied with your hot tub’s pH level, repeat steps 1 and 2 until you reach a satisfactory level.
When the pH is not balanced, it can cause all sorts of problems, such as corrosion and scaling. If you want to lower the alkalinity of your hot tub, you need to use a pool acid.
A pool acid will add acidity to your water, which will make it more acidic. You can buy pool acids at any home improvement store or order them online. They come in liquid, powder, and tablet form.
What Is the Difference Between Alkalinity And pH?
Alkalinity and pH are both water quality measures, but they are very different measurements.
Alkalinity measures the concentration of the carbonate and bicarbonate ions in the water. Alkalinity is often used to select pool chemicals like chlorine and pH stabilizers because it is more stable than pH.
pH measures a liquid’s acidity or Alkalinity (also called “hardness”). The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with seven being neutral. Values below 7 indicate an acidic substance, while values above 7 indicate a primary (or alkaline) substance. Soap has a pH of 9 or 10, which is on the alkaline side of the scale.
How to bring your Alkalinity back up in the hot tub?
The first step to restoring your hot tub’s Alkalinity is assessing the current level. You can do this by using a test kit, which can be bought from any local pool supply store.
Once you’ve determined whether you need to raise your alkalinity levels, you’ll need to know how long it will take for your water to reach the desired pH level. It depends on how low the pH is currently and how much Epsom salt or sodium carbonate is needed to raise the pH.
If you want a quick fix, use a buffering product like Easy-Up to raise the pH quickly. However, this will only be a temporary solution, and it is essential to continue to monitor your pH levels until they are at an acceptable level.