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Hot Tub Care 101: An Expanded Look and Chemistry and Other Aspects of Your Hot Tub Care

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Added by shubnigg in Outdoors equipments


Even though a Hot Tub is a small body of water it can be challenging to keep it clear and safe if you don’t know the right way to check and balance it every week. Fortunately balancing your Hot Tub is actually very easy and anyone can do it.

The first and main difference is the small body of water that you are dealing with. A typical backyard pool has 15,000 gallons and a Hot Tub usually has 250-400 gallons of water in it. The chemistry adjustments therefore need to be done in small doses, measured in teaspoons vs gallons or pounds. So a little really goes a long way in a Hot Tub. For example if a 300 gallon Hot Tub has a zero chlorine reading you would just need 6 teaspoons of 12.5% liquid chlorine to raise to raise it to 3 ppm.

Since they are often heated to 100 degrees all of the time be aware that the chemicals in the spa will burn off much faster than they would in a conventional inground pool. Since they are covered and out of the sun there is also no need for Conditioner (cyanuric acid) to protect the chlorine from the Sun’s UV Rays. Also, if you are using bromine Conditioner is not compatible with it anyway so there is no need to add it to your Hot Tub.

You need to have some idea of how much water is in your Hot Tub. The easy way to do this is to find your manufacturer brand and model number and then go to their website or call them and ask how many gallons are in that particular model. Typically a Hot Tub will be 250 to 400 gallons so yours will be in that range.

You also need a way to calculate the dosage to add to balance your Hot Tub water. The easiest way to do this is to use a Chem Dosage App like
These apps will give you the exact amount of chemicals to add to achieve your desired levels based on your Hot Tub size in gallons.

Here are the Ideal Levels for your Hot Tub:
Free Chlorine or Bromine ppm: Min 1.0 (Ideal 2.0-4.0) Max 5.0
pH: Min 7.2 (Ideal 7.4-7.6) Max 7.8
Total Alkalinity ppm: Min 80 (Ideal 80-120) Max 120
Calcium Hardness ppm: min 150 (Ideal 150-250) Max 250

Chlorine and Bromine are the primary sanitizers that you will use in your Hot Tub. You would use either of these two exclusively and not combine them in your Hot Tub. If you are using Bromine Tablets you would therefore not use liquid chlorine. I prefer using chlorine since it is easy to add and measure and it is highly effective. Bromine is also a good choice and having tablets available is convenient in helping you maintain your Hot Tub sanitizer level all week long. You just want to make sure you don’t over do it since it is a very small body of water and a little really goes a long way.

Low pH or low Alkalinity - Sodium Bicarbonate:
If the pH or Alkalinity fall below the ideal levels you can easily raise both with sodium bicarbonate. The most familiar product on the market and one you can readily use is Baking Soda. Sodium bicarbonate is also sold under the label as Spa pH Up, Spa Alkalinity Up, pH Increaser and any common name that indicates the product raises the pH and Alkalinity. So look for a product with the active ingredient of sodium bicarbonate or just purchase a bag of Baking Soda and use that to raise the pH and Alkalinity in your Hot Tub.

High pH or high Alkalinity - Sodium Bisulfate:
If the pH or Alkalinity gets above the ideal levels, you can easily lower it with dry acid or sodium bisulfate. It is sold under the label of, Spa pH down, pH down, pH Decreaser, Dry Acid or anything with the active ingredient of sodium bisulfate. Remember a little goes a long way so do not over do it or you will soon be adding sodium bicarbonate to bring the level back up.

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