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Simple Hot Tub Chemistry Checklist


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Simple Hot Tub Chemistry

  1. Hot Tub Chemistry Fundamentals

  2. Why you can't treat a portable hot tub like a Swimming Pool

  3. Total Alkalinity & pH

  4. Sanitize & Oxidize

  5. Step-by-Step Hot Tub Chemistry Checklist with dosage tables

  6. Simple Hot Tub Chemistry Selector

  7. Hot Tub Chemical Damage

Hot Tub Water Conservation


Hot Tub Electrical Safety

Get perfect hot tub chemistry in four easy steps:

  1. Test & Adjust Total Alkalinity
  2. Test & Adjust pH
  3. Sanitize & Oxidize as needed
  4. When in doubt; Drain it out

Important tips before you start:

  1. Remove hot tub cover and turn on all jet pumps and blower (if equipped) to ensure product is dissolved and mixed as quickly as possible.
  2. Read all instructions and precautions on every product label before opening the container.
  3. Disperse measured quantity of product evenly around the surface of the water.
  4. Leave cover off for at least 10 minutes to prevent buildup of chemical fumes which can bleach the bottom of the cover and damage headrests and fixtures above the waterline.

    *Many newer hot tubs will turn the jets and blower off automatically after 15 to 30 minutes of operation so you can leave them running after adding chemistry. In older tubs with manual controls, be sure to turn the pumps and blower off after 15 to 30 minutes.

1. Test & Adjust Total Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity stabilizes pH so it should always be tested and adjusted first. If Total Alkalinity is too low, pH will be unstable and difficult to control. If Total Alkalinity is too high, pH will be too stable and will be dificult to change.

Ideal hot tub Total Alkalinity:

80 - 120 ppm

Hot Tub Total Alkalinity Range
Minimum
Ideal*
Maximum
60 ppm
80 - 120 ppm
180 ppm

See Simple Hot Tub Chemistry - Alkalinity & pH for more detailed information.


Increase Total Alkalinity 10 ppm:

  • Turn on all jets
  • Add Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
  • Retest in 5 - 10 min

Increase
Total Alkalinity
Tablespoons of Baking Soda
Hot Tub Volume
30 ppm
40 ppm
50 ppm
100 ppm
100
1.5
2.0
2.5
5.5
150
2.0
3.0
4.0
8.0
200
3.0
4.0
5.5
10.5
250
4.0
5.0
7.0
13.0
300
4.5
6.5
8.0
16.0
400
6.5
8.5
10
21.5
500
8.0
10.5
13.0
26.5

*Estimates only. Actual dosage may vary based on starting pH, Total Alkalinity, etc


Decrease Total Alkalinity 10 ppm:

Decrease Total Alkalinity
Tablespoons of Sodium Bisulfate
Hot Tub Volume
30 ppm 40 ppm 50 ppm
100 ppm
100
1.2
1.6
2.0
4.0
150
1.8
2.4
3.0
6.0
200
2.3
3.0
4.0
8.0
250
3.0
4.0
5.0
10.0
300
5.6
7.0
8.4
14.0
400
6.0
8.0
9.5
15.5
500
8.0
10.0
12.0
20.0

*Estimates only. Actual dosage may vary based on starting pH, Total Alkalinity, etc.

2. Test & Adjust pH

Always test and adjust Total Alkalinity before testing or adjusting pH.

Ideal hot tub pH range:

7.4 - 7.6

Ideal Hot Tub pH Range
CAUTION
pH below 5.5 can cause unintended reactions wich produce noxious fumes!
Minimum
Ideal*
Maximum
CAUTION
pH above 8.0 reduces the effectiveness of sanitizer by as much as 75%!
7.2
7.4 - 7.6
7.8

See Simple Hot Tub Chemistry - Alkalinity & pH for more detailed information


Increase pH:

Raise pH: Add Sodium Carbonate*
Starting pH
200 gallons
300 gallons
400 gallons
500 gallons
600 gallons
6.4
3.0 Tbsp
5.0 Tbsp
6.5 Tbsp
8.0 Tbsp
9.5 Tbsp
6.6
2.5 Tbsp
4.0 Tbsp
5.0 Tbps
6.5 Tbsp
7.5 Tbsp
6.8
2.0 Tbsp
3.0 Tbsp
4.0 Tbsp
5.0 Tbsp
6.0 Tbsp
7.0
4.0 Tsp
2.0 Tbsp
2.5 Tbsp
3.0 Tbsp
4.0 Tbsp
7.2
2.0 Tsp
1.0 Tbsp
1.25 Tbsp
1.5 Tbsp
2.0 Tbsp

*Estimates only. Actual dosage may vary based on starting pH, Total Alkalinity, etc


Decrease pH:

Lower pH: Add Sodium Bisulfate*
Starting pH
200 gallons
300 gallons
400 gallons
500 gallons
600 gallons
8.6
3.0 Tbsp
4.5 Tbsp
6.0 Tbsp
7.5 Tbsp
9.0 Tbsp
8.4
2.5 Tbsp
3.5 Tbsp
5.0 Tbsp
6.0 Tbsp
7.0 Tbsp
8.2
2.0 Tbsp
2.5 Tbsp
3.5 Tbsp
4.5 Tbsp
5.0 Tbsp
8.0
1.0 Tbsp
2.0 Tbsp
2.5 Tbsp
3.0 Tbsp
3.5 Tbsp
7.8
0.5 Tbsp
1.0 Tbsp
1.5 Tbsp
1.75 Tbsp
2.0 Tbsp

*Estimates only. Actual dosage may vary based on starting pH, Total Alkalinity and other factors.

3. Sanitize/Oxidize

Most people think of sanitizers as keeping the water clean between soaks but the primary purpose of maintaining a sanitizer such as chlorine or bromine in your hot tub is to kill all the germs already on your body as quickly as possible each time you slide into the water.

Sanitize before each use to kill bacteria already on your body and prevent infection.

Oxidize after each use (but only as needed) to destroy organic waste such
as body oil, sweat and dead skin cells.

See: Simple Hot Tub Chemistry - Sanitize & Shock/Oxidize for more detailed information.

CAUTION! READ THE LABEL on the sanitizer you are using and see the appropriate section below for general guidance.Read and follow all instructions and precautions on the product label
before opening the container.


Check the label on your sanitizer/oxidizer.
Click a button below for detailed instructions.


Chlorine Sanitizer Instructions:




Bromine Sanitizer Instructions:



4. When in doubt: Drain it out

Just because you can solve a problem with chemistry doesn't mean you should. The small volume of water in a portable hot tub can build up chemical byproducts very quickly. This can lead to unintended chemical reactions that make managing water balance and quality almost impossible.

The more stuff you pour in; the sooner you'll have to dump it all out.

It only costs about $4.00 to refill the average portable hot tub
even here in San Diego

There is a chemical product to fix every water quality problem but nothing fixes all problems faster, cheaper or more effectively than dumping the whole mess out and starting over with a fresh batch of water.

If you drain and refill before chemical byproducts become a problem, you can safely recycle the old water one last time by dumping it on the lawn or non-edible landscaping.

See more information:


©Affordable Hot Tub Repair, 2014