Why is My Hot Tub Foaming?

A bathtub overflowing with foam and bubbles may be a fun and pleasant sensation for you and your kids.  However, the same amount of foam is not what you want for your hot tub!  Excess foam in a hot tub means your water chemistry is out of balance and needs to be remedied.  If you’re asking yourself the question why is my hot tub foaming, this article is for you.  We’ll go over the various reasons for hot tub foaming and give you some pointers to help solve the problem.

What Causes Foamy Hot Tub Water?

The main culprit when it comes to foamy hot tub water are the oils, greases and other residues that we track into the hot tub on our bodies.  These can be a result of our natural bodily functions such as sweating, but they’re more often caused by the things we apply to our bodies and bathing suits.  Things such as soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes, deodorants, lotions and the like.

Another reason why your hot tub water might be foamy could be that the calcium hardness levels are out of balance.  Low levels of calcium hardness cause the surface tension of the water to be reduced which allows bubbles to form much more easily.  Make sure to keep an eye on calcium hardness levels with regular water testing.

A third reason your hot tub water is foaming could be because your pH level is out of balance.  If the hot tub water becomes too alkaline or too acidic you may experience the formation of excess foam.  Again, test your water regularly and add the chemicals recommended by those test results to keep the water in balance.

How Do I Prevent Foamy Hot Tub Water?

Because the most common reason for foamy hot tub water is the introduction of soaps, oils and residues into the hot tub by the bathers themselves, the easiest way to prevent your hot tub water from foaming up is to insist that everyone takes a shower before getting into the water.  There’s a reason why public swimming pools insist people take a shower before getting into the pool.   And you should enforce this rule for your hot tub as well.

It’s been found that much of the soap residue that ends up in your hot tub actually comes from freshly laundered bathing suits.  If you insist on washing your bathing suit using laundry detergent, you should make sure to rinse it under fresh tap water before wearing it in the hot tub.

Of course, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all the residues on your body and swimsuit, so it’s important to shock your hot tub water on a weekly basis to help break down the organic residues that do get into the water.  If you can see a film or oil floating on the water surface, you might want to also consider adding a floating oil absorber to the water.

If your water tests are showing low readings for calcium hardness levels, you might want to test your water source.  If you live in an area that has soft water or have a water softener, this could be the reason your calcium hardness levels are low.  If you have one, turn off your water softener when filling up your hot tub.  If you’re dealing with naturally soft water, you’ll need to add calcium chloride to get the levels in order.

You’ll need to make similar adjustments if your pH balance is out of balance.  Take the steps recommended by the results of your water sample tests.  If the pH is high, you’ll need to add a pH decreaser.  If it’s low, you’ll need to add a pH increaser. 

It’s also important to let your hot tub water breathe.  Allowing sunlight and air to interact with the water surface gives it a chance to balance itself out naturally.  If you haven’t been using your hot tub very often, you should consider taking the cover off at least once a week and letting it air out.  This will help with the water chemistry balance.

If all these techniques fail and you still have foamy hot tub water, it’s probably best to drain the tub and start afresh.  Give the inner surfaces of the hot tub a good scrubbing with a recommended cleaning solution before refilling it with fresh water.  This will give you the chance to get the water chemistry back in balance and start over with clean water.

Now that you’ve learned how to combat foamy hot tub water, download a free buyer’s guide for more information.

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