Basic balancing for you & your body: When the pH & Total alkalinity are out of balance, the chlorine, bromine or other sanitizer in your spa don't work as efficiently as they should. When the sanitizer doesn't work efficiently, bacteria & other stuff you don't want in your spa start gaining control. You could easily end up with skin rashes and eye irritations at least.
Basic balancing for your spa: Without proper chemical maintenance, you get water line scum build-up, shortened heater life (the heater either corrodes away due to low pH & Total Alkalinity as seen in the http: parpools.com/ images /Spa/Scalebuildup.gif" width="150"/>picture to the right) or scale build-ups (high pH, high Total Alkalinity, high Total Hardness as shown below) prevent efficient heating (scaling of the thickness of just 1 sheet of paper can easily cause you to use at least 10% MORE electricity or gas), clogged filters and shortened filter life.
Left completely alone, we've even seen the spa cover become damaged because of it's constant contact with out-of-balance steam. Built-in pillows get cruddy faster. Lack of proper sanitizing causes icky scum or gusty foaming. You didn't buy your spa for that mess!
Adjusting pH: Adjusting the pH is one of the most essential elements to good spa & hot tub water maintenance. Almost more important than the chlorine, bromine or other sanitizer level. When the pH is correct, the sanitizer works the way it was meant to.
Use SpaGuard pH Increaser to increase the pH and SpaGuard pH Decreaser to lower the pH. Don't use baking soda (great for baking & cooking, lousy for spas & hot tubs) or any other household product that isn't made to treat spa & hot tub water. SpaGuard pH Decreaser is a dry acid & is much safer than muriatic acid or sulfuric acid to lower the pH.
Water balance means more than pH. Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness are also important factors. Take a look at the information from the PoolSpaGuru side regarding Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness here.
Wasting money: I think you get the idea from the above paragraphs. You'll be purchasing more chemicals when you don't need them. More frequent filter changes (proper cleaning of the filter cartridge should give a life of 2 to 3 years minimum). We want you to have fun. Proper water balancing, testing & care shouldn't take more than 15 to 20 minutes per week on average. hot tub chemicals spa water
The pH level in a spa or hot tub is really critical!
Remember that spas or hot tubs are NOT little swimming pools. Spas and hot tubs operate at much higher temperature than pools; as much as about 25 degrees to almost 30 degrees higher (pools about 80 degrees F vs 104 degrees F maximum in spas).
Because the bather load is also dramatically higher in spas as compared to pools, ONE person in an average 300 gallon spa can significantly affect the pH in a much shorter space of time than that same person in a 10,000 gallon swimming pool.
Improper pH can lead to itchy irritated eyes and skin. Not only is the water itself irritating, but when you're sitting in that fantastic, bubbling water, water effervesces can be irritating as well. And if your spa is indoors, well, you can just imagine!
A properly balanced spa or hot tub shouldn't smell. You also shouldn't rely on how the water looks. Test your spa water about 2 times each week with a proper test kit or strips. A two minute test can save hours of aggravation.
And just ONE more thing, a hint that will really help: NEVER test your spa or hot tub water after the high speed jets or air bubbles have run. Bubbles from high speed jets release carbon dioxide into the water causing a false HIGH pH. ALWAYS wait 2 to 3 hours after use or the jets have been turned off for accurate water balancing levels.
And you can also read about the importance of Total Dissolved Solids too below.
Yes, Total alkalinity (TA) and Calcium hardness (CH) are also important in spas and hot tubs as they are in pools.
Now to be perfectly honest, we don't get quite as bent out of shape if these levels go really awry, but, they are important to a well balanced spa. Why don't we get bent out of shape? Simply put, when a spa or hot tub's water balance and general water chemistry gets way out of line, oftentimes it's much simpler to just drain the spa and start over. Face it, 300 to 500 gallons in a spa is easier to drain and refill than 20,000 gallons in a swimming pool.
All of that said, we still need to maintain proper levels; Total Alkalinity especially. Again, TA serves as a buffer for the pH, so if the TA is high or low, the pH will be directly affected. And there are ways to "LOCK" the pH and TA in place for several months with certain products such as SpaGuard Spa Sentry. When using Spa Sentry, we "disregard" the CH because we're using a different buffering system and that buffering system actually knocks out much of the calcium.
The concern we have about Calcium hardness is too HIGH a level because that can lead to unwanted scaling of the spa surfaces.
So there you have the skinny of Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness!
You should care about Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in your spa or hot tub because that is an excellent measure of ALL of the stuff (good, bad, or otherwise) that is dissolved in the spa water.
Remember that we're talking about a relatively small body or vessel of water (way under 1,000 gallons) being used by a relatively large number of people (4 people in a 300 gallons spa would approximate to almost 300 people in a 20,000 gallon pool) never mind the added issues of injected air, higher temperatures, etc.
We also remember at these higher temperatures, people are actually sweating "profusely" (sorry to be graphic) into the surrounding water. Bathers' waste, make up, body lotions, fragrances, plus whatever sanitizers or treating systems are being used will have a DRAMATIC effect on the TDS of your water.
As you can see by the picture, the higher the TDS, the more "crowded" the water becomes and that can slow down the reaction time (and thus the effectiveness) of the sanitizer.
When the spa's TDS reaches about 1000 ppm OVER the starting or freshly filled TDS, that's typically a good sign that the water needs to be changed.
Unsaturated water (low TDS) to Saturated water (high TDS)