How to Raise Total Alkalinity in Hot Tub

While everyone enjoys relaxing in a hot tub, not too many people volunteer to help keep it clean. And even though this duty often falls to a single person, there’s no reason why any competent adult can’t maintain a hot tub’s water chemistry. Some people might be put off by the terminology regarding hot tub maintenance, but there’s no need to be afraid. You don’t require a university degree in chemistry to maintain a hot tub. Concepts such as total alkalinity and pH levels don’t require any special knowledge – just a simple understanding of how they work. If you’re willing to read this article about pH levels and how to raise total alkalinity in hot tub terms, much of the mystery regarding water chemistry will be lifted.

What Is Total Alkalinity in Hot Tub Terms?

When speaking about hot tubs, total alkalinity refers to the measurement of the alkaline substances in the water. This measurement, in parts per million (ppm,) describes the capacity of the water to buffer or neutralize acids. Adjusting the total alkalinity to fall within the ideal range of 80 to 120 ppm should be the first step in getting the hot tub’s overall water chemistry in balance. Trying to manage the water’s pH level without first balancing the total alkalinity can result in a lot of wasted time and chemicals. You should measure total alkalinity at least once a week – or more often if the hot tub is getting a lot of use.

The Problem with Low Total Alkalinity

If your total alkalinity levels are low, your pH levels will soon follow suit. This means that the hot tub water will become more acidic. This can result in physical reactions such as irritated eyes and skin. It can also cause problems with the hot tub itself. Metal components will start to rust, surfaces can become stained, etched or pitted, sanitizers will become less effective and you may begin to experience what’s known as pH bounce where the pH levels rapidly fluctuate.

How to Raise Total Alkalinity in Hot Tubs?

If your water tests show that your total alkalinity is low, you’ll need to add a total alkalinity increaser to get it back into the proper range. These alkalinity increasers are most commonly composed of sodium bicarbonate, the same ingredient used in baking soda. Add the appropriate amount of total alkalinity increaser according to the results of your water test and the volume of water in your hot tub.

The Problem with High Total Alkalinity

High total alkalinity levels may not be as immediately damaging as low total alkalinity levels, but they still need to be addressed before further problems arise. The most noticeable effect of high total alkalinity is that the hot tub water becomes murky or cloudy due to solid particles precipitating out. This can cause scaling and the buildup of deposits on the hot tub surfaces and in the plumbing. Clogging of the filters and pipes can result which may cause higher water pressure and excess strain on various components. High total alkalinity can also cause what’s known as pH lock, where the pH levels become resistant to changes. Elevated total alkalinity is usually caused by the introduction of body oils and beauty product residues into the water. Locales with naturally hard water sources can also cause total alkalinity levels to rise.

How to Lower Total Alkalinity in Hot Tubs?

As with how to raise total alkalinity in a hot tub, you reduce total alkalinity levels by adding a total alkalinity decreaser. These products are generally composed of muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate, also known as dry acid. After adding a total alkalinity decreaser it’s important to monitor the pH level as it will very likely drop as well.

Now that you’ve learned how to raise total alkalinity in hot tubs, download a free buyer’s guide for further information.

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