Is it important to check your pH?
PH level in a hot tub is more important than you might think. Many people don’t ever test their PH level. They believe that if the water is clear, that’s all that matters. They add chlorine or bromine weekly and as long as the water looks good they don’t test anything else. This is not a good practice.
pH is measured from 0-14. 0 is the low end of the scale and in water can be very corrosive. 14 is the high end of the scale and considered alkaline. 7 on this scale is considered neutral. The safest range to keep your hot tub water in would be from 7.4 to 7.8. If the water in your tub falls to the low end of this scale, the water will become acidic and corrosive. This is not good for your hot tub and you will feel this on your skin. When people talk about the water making them itch…..well think about it, acidic water will definitely make your skin feel uncomfortable. Acidic water will corrode or etch any metal it comes in contact with. The heater in a hot tub is made of metal and won’t take long to corrode and stop working in acidic water.
If the water in your hot tub is higher than 7.8 it will also cause several problems. Some of these will be scale and cloudy water. Scale in hot tubs can be caused by high pH which allows minerals in the water to fall out of suspension and attach to hot tub surfaces. This will leave behind a chalky or gritty residue on the tubs surface and inside the plumbing lines that will break down any plastic or rubber components in the hot tub. All of your gaskets are make of rubber. The other potential problem is cloudy water. When the minerals in the water fall out of suspension they “show themselves” in the water.
Several factors can cause pH to change in the water. The two most common reasons are source water (the water you use to fill hot tub) and the sanitizer being used. If you fill with hard water or well water, your pH may be higher than what you might find in municipal water however both need to be properly tested and managed. Also you have to add water to the hot tub periodically due to spill out and evaporation. This also dilutes the water and once again will need to be tested and balanced. The sanitizer used in the tub will also affect the pH level. If you are using dichlor (stabilized granular chlorine) it has a pH factor of 6-7. Bromine has a pH factor of 4-5. Bromine is far more popular in hot tubs than chlorine as a sanitizer.
Just because a hot tub looks clean and has clear water don’t assume everything in the water is fine. A hot tub with water in it that measures at a 6.0 pH level will be crystal clear. The reason being, nothing can grow in acid. The heater and other hot tub equipment will begin to corrode away and your eyes and skin will burn, but that water will look great. Do yourself a favor and test your spa water weekly for sanitizer and pH. It will save you time and money. Get your hot tub water tested by a professional regularly They will be able to tell you what is in your water and how to keep it in perfect balance.