Spa WAter Chemical Q & A


How often & why do I need to test my spa water?

Ideally, chlorinated or brominated spas & tubs need to be tested DAILY. Soft Soak or BaquaSpa (biguanide) spas can be tested weekly.  Regular, accurate testing of your pool water prevents water problems which lead to down time & unhappy spa users. It also prevents long-term problems such as corrosion of filters & metal pool accessories & parts. Prevention of scaling of a spa's heater is another long-term need.  We haven't even talked about odors, germs & such. 

What's so important about pH?

Your spa's pH is a critical factor in how well everything works. When the pH is high, the water becomes cloudy, the sanitizer works less efficiently, algae & bacteria grow more quickly, scale can begin forming on metal surfaces (especially heaters). Low pH causes very clear, but unhealthy water in that the sanitizer is used up quickly, the water becomes corrosive, eye & skin irritation are noticed. That's what's so important about pH!  

What is a Hot water cycle & Why do I have to change my spa water so often?

Hot water cycle is a fancy term for the length of time that water remains in a spa.  The cycle is purely dependent on 2 factors: the size or gallonage of the spa and how often it's used.  Normally a cycle lasts 2 to 4 months.

You know what a bathtub looks like after one person, right?  What if there were several people in their with you?  The big difference between a spa & a bathtub is that a spa has a built-in filter & it's being chemically treated. If it gets really foamy or cloudy, then Purge, Drain, Clean & Refill the spa. 

My water is cloudy, why and do I have to worry about algae?

Cloudy water is caused my many things & is an indicator of other water issues. If the water is "older"  than 3 months, change the water. 

 Normally No. Unless you decide to just Not Care about the spa, algae growth is rarely a problem in a properly treated spa.   

Why does my spa get a constant build-up of foam?

Foam is a normally a good indicator that the water needs to be changed.  A little bit of antifoam will treat "regular" foaming & adjusting the Calcium Hardness will help prevent it.  Thick "beer head" foam means CHANGE THE WATER.  Be sure to read our "Troubleshooting" section.

What's this rash that I get whenever I use my spa?

A rash can be caused my many factors.  When a new customer comes in with a "hot water rash" problem, they're usually NOT following a proper chemical routine. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a typical problem that is prevented by proper sanitizing.  A rash could also be dry, itchy skin because of a high pH problem or high sanitizer issue that can dry out the skin.  When in doubt, check with your doctor; then drain, clean & refill the spa.   Be sure to read our "Troubleshooting" section. 



Why does my spa get a constant build-up of "goo" at the waterline?

That "goo" or "bathtub ring" is normal. It's typically caused by an accumulation of body oils, lotions and dirt at the waterline.  Adding Natural Spa Enzyme will greatly prevent it. Having users shower first will prevent additional "stuff" from getting in the spa.  If using Soft Soak® or Baqua Spa®, excessive use of Sanitizer will cause a heavy waterline build-up; be sure to maintain your Soft Soak® or Baqua Spa® Sanitizer level at 30 ppm. 

Why does my spa smell stale?

When was the last time the spa was used?  Your spa needs to breath.  Especially if it's not being used a lot.  The cover traps all of those odors inside until the cover is removed.  Remove the cover & allow the jets to run on high with the bubbler (if equipped) for at least one hour weekly to allow the "stale impurities" to "gas-off".  Also, be sure to chemically clean the filter about every 6 to 8 weeks and change the water every 2 to 4 months.  Regular use of SpaGuard Natural Enzyme or ActivNzyme will greatly reduce those odors.

If the odors are really bad or irritating, you may have a condition called "hot tub lung". Click here for more information.

We use a biguanide (Soft Soak® or Baqua Spa®) sanitizing system in our spa & sometimes there is a very pungent odor.  Why?

This occurs every once in a while.  The short answer is we don't really know what causes this really pungent odor (neither do the manufacturers).  What we can tell you is that the odor situation is alleviated by:
1. the regular use of Waterline Control;
2. keep the sanitizer level at 30 -40 ppm.; 
3. be sure to allow the spa to "breath" for at least 30 minutes every week.  
Those steps relieve 90% of the odor problems.  Let us know. 

What is this bather load you keep talking about?

Bather load is "how many people are using the spa, how many times per week."  Here are the guidelines that we use:  In a 300 gallon spa -
Light usage - 1 to 3 people using the spa 3 or less times per week.
Heavy usage - 4 or more people using the spa 4 or more times per week.
Make your adjustments as needed. 

Why should I limit my time in the spa to only 15 to 20 minutes?

People on average sit in spas or hot tubs for about 20 minutes.  Much longer than that and your body (you) begins to feel feverish.  A study of women ages 18 to 38 published in the Canadian Journal of Medicine found that the core body temperature reaches 102°F after soaking for 40 minutes.  For many people, especially children or folks with circulatory conditions, that can be dangerous.  Limit your soak time to no more than 15 to 20 minutes. 

I overdosed my spa with Bromine or Chlorine, what do I do?

If you added too much Chlorine or Bromine to your spa, don't worry.  In order to bring the level down quickly, just add a couple of inches of fresh water.  That will dilute the sanitizer level to a more reasonable & comfortable range.  If your skin is sensitive, we would recommend not using the spa until the level comes down to 3.0 ppm Free Chlorine or 6.0 ppm Bromine.