Contrary to popular belief, caring for a hot tub is actually a bit different than normal pool maintenance. Hot tub water is a lot easier to balance and maintain than swimming pools, but hot tubs usually need chemicals applied more frequently.
The two main types of sanitation for hot tubs are CHLORINE and BROMINE. Chlorine is popular for hot tubs that have connected plumbing with a pool, but it does require more maintenance. Chlorine is consumed quickly by warm water, where bromine can last much longer in high temperatures. Bromine costs are similar to granular chlorine (BROMINETABS for 25lb bucket), but it requires less application and maintenance when in use.
We have put together some easy steps to keep your hot tub clean and clear all year round.
- To begin, we recommend creating a bromide reserve. This can be achieved by adding Sodium Bromide to your hot tub’s water. Make sure that your tub is running, but the air valves are turned off. To be effective, Bromine needs this reserve of Sodium Bromide plus an oxidizer such as Leisure Time LES-RENU2 Spa Treatment. We recommend using chlorine free shock to avoid mixing chlorine and bromine in your hot tub’s water.
- After creating a Bromide Reserve and shocking your hot tub, you will want to test the Bromine level. The AquaChek 7- Way Test Strips start as low as 551236 for 100 strips. These strips will also test for 6 other common chemical levels, including Chlorine and pH. Shocking your water once a week will help reactivate the bromides to properly clean the water.
- After reaching the proper Bromine levels, we recommend using either Leisure Time Bromine Tabs from a chemical dispenser, or adding bromine and an oxidizer in granular form. Either way, you will want to keep the bromine levels between 4-6 ppm.
- Even though you are using bromine, you will still need to shock your hot tub weekly to burn off any organic contaminants that accumulate each week. Wait until the bromine level drops below 10 ppm before entering the hot tub.
- Test the water again. Make sure to test the bromine and pH level before entering your hot tub each time. CYA does not affect the bromine system and does not need to be tested.
- First, you should shock the water with a Di-Chlor Shock to raise the Free Chlorine (FC) level, which will remove any bacteria and algae. Make sure that your tub is running, but the air valves are turned off. Always mix Di-Chlor Shock in a plastic bucket with water prior to addition to hot tub’s water, to avoid possible damage to or staining of hot tub surfaces.
- After the initial shock, you will want to keep your FC levels around 3-6 ppm regularly. Do this by adding Di-Chlor Shock accordingly. Some hot tub owners do this once a week when in heavy-use.
- Leave the tub running for about 15 minutes with the cover off to circulate the chemicals.
- Hot tub owners will want to test the FC level weekly. Once you have established the amount of Di-Chlor needed to stay within the 3-6 ppm range, you can adjust the dosage as needed.
- Take into account any heavy usage of your hot tub. If you have multiple people in the hot tub for an extended amount of time, we recommend shocking your hot tub to bring the FC level back up. If the FC level drops below 3, hot tubes can become breeding grounds for bacteria. This will not only cause problems, but will increase the amount of maintenance to keep your spa clean and clear.
Balance the Chemical Levels (for Chlorine and Bromine Spas)
- First, test for Calcium Hardness (CH) levels. A good CH level should be around 150 ppm. If your CH level is below 100 ppm, you will want to add a Calcium Increaser such as Natural Chemistry’s Calcium Hardness Increaser. Low CH can corrode your hot tub and equipment. if the CH is too high, it may create scale buildup.
- Next, test the Total Alkalinity (TA) level in your hot tub. A safe range for TA is between 80-120 ppm. If levels are too low, we recommend that you use Leisure Time Alkalinity Increaser. Keep in mind, the aeration of hot tub jets will naturally lower TA levels over time.
- Time to test the pH level. Similar to a swimming pool, your pH level should be between 7.2 – 7.8 ppm. If the level is too low, try adding Natural Chemistry pH Increaser. If the pH levels change frequently, and hard to maintain, consider using a product like Leisure Time pH Balance Plus to lock-in the proper pH level from refill to refill; even in hard water areas.
If you are searching for an alternative sanitizer, look no further! Many spa owners opt to use an Oxidizer + Aromatherapy like Nature2 Cense. This way you will get the oxidizing benefits, while enjoying the pleasant aromas of your choice.
Another option to greatly reduce the need for bromine or chlorine are Nature2 Spa Sticks. This product is activated with a very small amount of chlorine or bromine; just drop directly into your spa filter. The spa stick provides mineral based sanitizing for your spa, which is more natural to your skin. Spa sticks also void any discomfort from chlorine (itchiness, red eyes, etc.) and your hot tub won’t have that strong chlorine smell.