If you own a spa, you know how important it is to keep the water chemistry balanced. One of the key factors that affect the quality and safety of your spa water is the pH level. The pH level measures how acidic or basic the water is, on a scale from 0 to 14. A neutral pH is 7, while anything below 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is basic.
The ideal pH range for your spa water is between 7.2 and 7.8. This range ensures that the water is comfortable for your skin and eyes and that the sanitizer (usually chlorine or bromine) can work effectively to kill bacteria and other contaminants. If the pH level is too low, the water becomes corrosive and can damage your spa equipment, as well as irritate your skin and eyes. Low pH can also reduce the effectiveness of your sanitizer, making your spa water unsafe.
What Causes Low pH in Your Spa?
There are several factors that can lower the pH level of your spa water, such as:
- The source water you use to fill your spa. If the water is naturally acidic, it will lower the pH of your spa water.
- The chemicals you add to your spa water. Some chemicals, such as chlorine and bromine, are acidic and can lower the pH when added in large amounts.
- The bather load in your spa. The more people use your spa, the more pollutants they introduce to the water, such as body oils, sweat, cosmetics, sunscreen, saliva, urine, etc. These pollutants can consume the sanitizer and lower the pH.
- The environmental factors around your spa. Rainwater, dust, leaves, grass, insects, and other debris can enter your spa water and lower the pH.
How to Test and Adjust the pH Level of Your Spa Water?
To test the pH level of your spa water, you will need a testing kit that can measure both pH and total alkalinity (TA). TA is a measure of how well the water can resist changes in pH. The ideal TA range for your spa water is between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million). If the TA is too low or too high, it can make it harder to adjust the pH level.
You should test your spa water at least twice a week, or more often if you use your spa frequently or have a high bather load. To test your spa water, follow these steps:
- Turn on the jets and let them run for a few minutes to circulate the water.
- Dip a test strip into the water and swirl it around for a few seconds.
- Remove the test strip and shake off the excess water.
- Compare the color of the test strip with the color chart on the bottle or package.
- Note down the readings for pH and TA.
If your pH level is below 7.2, you will need to raise it by adding a pH increaser product to your spa water. A common pH increaser product is sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which is safe and effective for raising pH. To raise the pH level of your spa water using baking soda, follow these steps:
- Turn off the jets and heater of your spa.
- Calculate how much baking soda you need to add to your spa water. A general rule of thumb is to add 1 tablespoon of baking soda per 100 gallons of water for every 0.1 increase in pH. For example, if you have a 500-gallon spa and you want to raise the pH from 6.8 to 7.2, you will need to add 5 tablespoons x 4 = 20 tablespoons of baking soda.
- Sprinkle the baking soda evenly over the surface of the water.
- Turn on the jets and let them run for at least 15 minutes to dissolve and distribute the baking soda.
- Test the pH level again using a test strip. If it is still below 7.2, repeat steps 2 to 5 until you reach the desired level.
How to Prevent Low pH in Your Spa?
To prevent low pH in your spa, you should follow these tips:
- Test and adjust your spa water regularly, at least twice a week.
- Use fresh and clean water to fill your spa. If possible, use a filter or a pre-treatment product to remove any impurities or minerals from the source water that can lower the pH.
- Use quality chemicals that are designed for spas. Follow the instructions on how much and how often to add them to your spa water.
- Rinse off before entering your spa. This will reduce the amount of pollutants that you bring into the water which can lower the pH.
- Use a spa cover when not using your spa. This will prevent rainwater, dust, leaves, and other debris from entering your spa water which can lower the pH.
Keeping your spa water balanced is essential for maintaining its quality and safety. By testing and adjusting the pH level of your spa water regularly, you can enjoy a relaxing and comfortable spa experience.