Is It Safe To Get In a Hot Tub With High pH?

The answer to this question is definitely no, one should never enter a hot tub if the pH balance is off, in this case higher than it‘s supposed to be. Doing so leads to itchiness of the skin and a burning sensation around the eyes.

In cases where the water with increased pH value is allowed to sit freely, it may build up a scale that clogs pipes and shortens the lifespan of the equipment in general.

The ideal amount of pH value inside the hot tub water should be 7.8 and anything above this value is considered water with increased pH and potentially hazardous to the hot tub user. Additionally, water with increased pH value may offset the alkalinity of the water, that will make it so much more difficult to correct the pH value later on and can cause further issues.

Higher pH value hot tub water actually means that the water is too acidic to use and, besides forming scales, it can also lead to increased consumption of the sanitizer in order to correct the offset balance, which is not always easy. High pH values are especially dangerous to kids and can cause issues with dry skin and irritation, even more so than in adults. Keeping track of the pH value factor is an important task for all hot tub owners.

What Causes High pH in Hot Tubs?

There are several reasons why the water inside the hot tub may have increased pH value.

One of the reasons can be a result of human error, simply by adding too much pH increase chemical, when noticed that pH values are low.

Also, local water sources that provide water to the hot tub may have a higher pH value, so it is worth keeping an eye on this as well.

Chemically speaking, the increase in pH value is caused by minerals in the water and sanitizers that are added to the hot tub water. This is not something that can be avoided quite easily, since it is an issue on molecular structure level, but it can be vigorously monitored, to keep the hot tub water safe to use and within the ideal ratio. Usual sanitizers such as chlorine are much less effective inside the hot tub water that has a higher pH value (anything above 8.2 of the pH value reduces the effects of chlorine to 15%). One of the best ways of identifying water with a high pH value is simply using your sense of smell. It is usually quite unpleasant and an indicator that something is not right. Water with pH over the normal limit can also damage the pipework or any other installation that frequently comes into contact with it.

How do I Balance the pH in my Hot Tub?

The most popular product used to lower the pH in the hot tub water is called  sodium bisulfate. If pH value does not lower after adding the recommended amount of pH minus chemicals (such as sodium bisulfate), hot tub owners can always add a liquid acid which can be more aggressive at bringing down a pH.

The chances are that the pH value is actually much higher than the actual reading on the test strip. One can purchase products from a pool supply store to regulate the pH value in the hot tub water, but if you do not have these chemicals on hand or if you prefer a more natural approach, there are other ways.

Adding vinegar to your hot tub water can safely lower the pH  to the hot tub water. This will decrease the pH value without the risk of introducing so many chemical products.

Additionally, baking soda can be quite helpful to homeowners who have hot tubs, as it can assist them in keeping the pH level of the water in the proper zone.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that shocking a hot tub in these conditions does not help with the reduction of pH value, and the chlorine used for this would be a waste of resources. The only end result one would get from shocking the hot tub water in such a state is that it would cause the water to be cloudy.

How do I Lower the pH and Alkalinity in my Hot Tub?

The easiest way to lower your pH value and alkalinity in the owner‘s hot tub water is by using the mentioned chemical – sodium bisulfate.

According to official instructions, in order to lower the alkalinity and pH value, the person managing the hot tub should follow these guidelines.

Start up the hot tubs pumps. If you need to lower the alkalinity, add pH decrease in the amounts shown on the back of the bottle. If you need to increase the alkalinity, add the total alkalinity increase in the amount shown on the back of the bottle. Let the water circulate with the pumps on for 5-10 minutes. The pH value used for decreasing it in the water is also known as Dry acid. There are other products on the market that perform more or less the same function, only not with such efficient results. Some of them include: Muriatic Acid, Acid Magic and No Mor Acid,

Keeping the pH of your hot tub at the appropriate level is a necessary part of spa maintenance

You can purchase all the products you need from a pool supply store to regulate the pH, but if you do not have these chemicals on hand or if you prefer a more natural approach, adding vinegar to your spa can safely lower the pH.

How Long does it Take to Lower pH in a Hot Tub?

How long it takes to lower a pH in your hot tub usually depends on the amount of water contained inside the hot tub, the proper maintenance of the hot tub before the issues with the pH increase arise. The pumping area of the system and the quantity of the pH increase in the water.

Lowering the hot tub water to the correct pH ratio also requires dutiful attention, so it is not to be taken lightly. Sometimes, it can take a bit longer than expected, but it does not have to be rushed in any other way. Correcting the acidity level in your hot tub can take some time, but with all the listed hazards to humans, their kids, and pets, it is worthwhile waiting for the process to be fully completed and the ideal pH value restored (somewhere near the recommended 7.8 pH value).

What do you do if your Spa pH is too High?

In case where the owner does encounter a problem with high pH, he may be able to use a pH downsizing product to get it back within the correct range. If your pH is too low, use a pH up-sizing product to raise the pH.

Another way, that has not been discussed here, is that, in order to raise your hot tub’s pH by adding new water. Water from your hose is typically slightly higher in alkalinity than your hot tub water should be, thus adding new water should bring up your hot tub’s pH level a bit.

However, the best approach regarding high pH values is to add a pH increase to raise both the TA and pH levels. Retesting the water to make sure both have been brought down into normal range. If both levels are too high, add a pH decrease to the water to bring both the levels down to an acceptable value.

Again, retesting the water to provide a definite test regarding the water and to make sure both the TA and pH are in normal range is extremely recommended. Spa water with too high pH units causes several health hazards, mostly skin related, and sometimes to your nose or other sense-related organs.

Does High pH Cause Hot Tub Foam?

Imbalanced water inside the hot tub – too low or too high pH value can cause an appearance of a foamy water, that indicates the water is not safe to use.

The are several steps to keep the foam out your hot tub, please find them below:

  1. Prevent foam by showering before soaking in the hot tub.
  2. Make sure bathing suits are cleaned and rinsed with fresh water before getting in the hot tub.
  3. Don’t go underwater.
  4. Don’t buy cheap chemicals.
  5. Don’t drink in the hot tub to avoid the risk of spilling it in the water.

In a hot tub, pH is a very important aspect of water balance. It determines whether hot tubs are too acidic or too scale forming.

When a pH inside the water is too high in a hot tub, the water becomes scale forming . High pH values can also cause premature equipment failure and increase the sanitizer consumption.

An extra dose of sanitizers, however, is necessary. Adding chlorine of bromine will ensure that any unwanted chemicals or bacteria are removed for the hot tub water.

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Emily Williams

Emily is a passionate Hot Tubs researcher who loves writing about all things Hot Tubs! She has years of experience and a knack for simplifying complex concepts, these articles are here to answer all your burning questions in a simple and easy to read style.
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