PH Good for your waters health

pH is the abbreviation for ‘power of hydrogen which is an essential factor in your hot tub’s water chemistry. pH measures how acidic to how alkaline your water is. 

The recommended range of pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. You should keep your pH between these values for the efficiency of chlorine and other sanitizers. For example, a pH level of 7.5 equals 45% useful chlorine, while a pH level of  8.0 equals 25% useable chlorine. Keeping your pH within the range maximizes your chlorine’s effectiveness and how well it does its job—saving you time and spending less on chlorine.

PH Good for your waters Health

Low pH can cause eye and skin irritation. Acidic water can sting your eyes and nasal passages and strip you of natural oils, making your hair brittle and leaving your skin dry and itchy. Low pH can also lead to corrosion of your equipment and shorten its life. Similarly, when the pH drifts too high, minerals will precipitate out of the water, which can cause scaling and murky water from the mineral deposits left in the water.

Keeping PH Stable

There often needs to be some clarification about pH and alkalinity regarding water chemistry. The misconception is that these are the same thing. Alkalinity measures calcium, magnesium, and other acid-moderating compounds acting as a buffer for pH change. It is essential to understand alkalinity because it helps stabilize the pH balance, preventing sudden pH changes in your water and thus keeping the pH within a normal range.

What Causes PH To Rise

Your water source may already be already be high in pH. All types of sanitizer can have an impact on the pH of your spa water. This will depend on the type of sanitizer you are using. Dichlor, as does bromine, has a relatively neutral pH, so its pH impact is minimal. Non-stabilized chlorines like calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine), and salt chlorine generators tend to raise the pH of the hot tub. Surprisingly, Algae can also raise pH by consuming carbon dioxide, which removes CO from the water.

What Causes PH To Lower

As with high pH, your water source may be low in pH. Rainwater can be acidic, and heavy downpours can reduce your hot tub if the cover is often left open. Organics like Leaves, bugs, grass cuttings, etc., will all contribute to lowering the pH. Our sweat leaves bodily oils, saliva, and other bodily fluids all combine to reduce the hot tub’s pH. Also, some chlorine tablets, such as Trichlor, not recommended for hot tubs, have a low pH of around 2.8. Similarly, shocking your water will lower its pH. That’s why it’s a good idea to check the pH after you’ve had a party.

water testing

How To Increase PH

You can use any number of chemicals to raise the pH of your hot tub. They usually have names like “increaser,” “up,” or “raise.” 

Whatever you use, these are all based on sodium carbonate commonly known as soda ash. Be aware that sodium carbonate isn’t the same thing as sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda. You would be more likely to use baking soda in a hot tub to raise pH and alkalinity at the same time. These chemicals can be broadcast over the water near any water return or jet.

How To Lower PH

There are two ways to lower the pH in hot tubs. One is Sodium bisulfate, which comes in a powder form. Avoid using it on a windy day to avoid blowback to your skin and clothes, as this is a type of acid. 

When adding this chemical, get as close to the water as possible to avoid the above-mentioned blowback. Wait at least six hours before retesting to ensure your level is correct.

Muriatic Acid can also be used. This acid is a powerful corrosive, so wear protective gear like gloves and goggles. Read the instructions and measure the amount accordingly. As before, retest the water after six hours.

ph far

PH Questions

PH Is Always High

The most common reason for a high pH level is the use of liquid chlorine or a saltwater system as your primary sanitizer. Both will raise pH levels.

PH Is Always Low

The most common cause of  low pH levels is by using chlorine tablets or stabilized  chlorine they have a pH level of around 3. Acidic rainfall, heavy leaf debris, and dirt/mulch can lower your pH levels.

PH Is Low, Alkalinity Is High

High Alkalinity over 120 ppm can cause resistance to pH change. Also, adding a pH Increaser can also raise Alkalinity, compounding the problem.

PH Is High, Alkalinity Is Low

Low Alkalinity under 80 ppm can cause pH to be unstable and erratic. To raise Alkalinity, add Alkalinity Increaser, which will slightly increase your hot tub pH level.

PH Will Not Increase Or Decrease

When Adding pH Increaser or Decreaser, it only lasts a day and may not completely take effect. 

Is It Safe To Soak In High/Low PH /Alkalinity?

Possibly, your water pH and alkalinity can affect disinfection by chlorine. Chlorine is very slow to react at high pH levels and can be over 50% inactive at a pH above 8.2. However, even with high pH, the water could still be sanitary with good levels of free chlorine and clear water from effective filtration.

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