How to Balance Hot Tub pH Levels

hot tub
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  • Beginner
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What You'll Need
pH tester
pH chemicals
Water thermometer
What You'll Need
pH tester
pH chemicals
Water thermometer

One of the things to look at in operating a hot tub is the pH level of the water. Many people find it difficult to keep the correct balance in their hot tub pH. This usually has something to do with the type of water you use, and if you change from town water to distilled water. While balancing hot tub pH does require a lot of work and some diligence, you can successfully regulate it. Here are some steps to take.

Step 1 - Take the Temperature of the Water

It is best to regulate the pH level in the hot tub when the unit is being heated. Take the temperature of the water so you will be able to check it against the reading you get from the pH level. Use a thermometer to check the temperature or keep a hot tub thermometer in the water at all times.

Step 2 - Test Total Alkalinity

Water test strip

In order to better regulate the pH level in your hot tub, you will need to know the total alkalinity of the water. Use the tester and follow the specific directions to the tester you are using. The level you are looking for is between 80 and 120 ppm.

Step 3 - Test the pH Level

Now use the pH tester. This will be a direct correlation to the total alkalinity in the water. As you get used to testing, you will be able to guess pretty closely the level the hot tub pH will be. You should see a hot tub pH level between 7.2 and 7.6. A reading that is too low means the acid level is too high and can lead to corrosion. A reading that is too high produces a film and scales on the sides of the hot tub.

Step 4 - Equalize the Water

Once the tests are completed, you will then have to add the necessary chemicals in order to equalize the water. If the total alkalinity is low, you will need to add some alkalinity increaser. When the pH is high, but the alkalinity is fine, use a pH decreaser. You can also increase or decrease each of the levels without affecting the other, to regulate the water.

Step 5 - Recheck the Water

After you have added the chemicals to the water, you will need to wait a day before you can check the levels again. The water needs time to equalize to the new levels of pH and alkalinity.

Step 6 - Maintain pH Levels

pH test next to water

Keep checking the water for both alkalinity and pH levels on a weekly basis. You can lock in the pH levels with a product called pH Proper. Most of the time, problems with the pH levels are addressed through the increase or decrease of the alkalinity levels. Keeping the water at the proper alkalinity will keep the pH levels in check.