hot tub 101 clear hot tub water

Hot Tubs 101 – Troubleshooting Water Problems

Although your chemicals and filtration system do an excellent job at keeping your water safe and clean; there may be times when your water needs some extra attention.

Most hot tub water problems can be prevented by regularly testing your chemicals, keeping the filters clean, and draining the water 3-4 times a year. However, there are some times when your water contains metals, minerals, or other debris that causes your chemistry to get thrown off balance.

Thankfully, ThermoSpas carries a wide range of hot tub chemicals that can treat just about any hot tub water issue.

If your water is… 

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Possible causes: 

High copper or iron content.

Chlorine mixed with metals and minerals can cause the process of oxidation, which will stain the surface of your spa and cause colored or cloudy water.

Solution: Add ThermoSpas Protection Plus to deal with problems caused by high amounts of metals, such as copper and iron.

Algae growth.

You are likely to develop algae in your hot tub if you have a chemical imbalance, insufficient sanitizer, improper filtration, or you have not drained your hot tub at the correct time.

Algae is easy to prevent when you follow the suggested hot tub maintenance procedures.

Solution: Shock the spa.

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Possible causes:

High alkalinity level.

The correct alkalinity level for your hot tub water is between 80-150 ppm (parts per million). If your alkalinity levels are imbalanced, then your pH levels will be off as well since the pH level is affected by the alkalinity of your water. Before you try to fix the imbalanced pH levels (that can cause skin and eye irritation) you need to balance the alkalinity level.

Solution: Adjust your alkalinity levels using both the ThermoSpas Test Strips for sanitizer chemicals (measures both will measure both pH and Alkalinity) and the ThermoSpas pH/Alkalinity Up and pH/Alkalinity Down chemical mixtures.

Low sanitizer level.

Solution: Shock treat. Test and adjust sanitizer levels following the procedure for high alkalinity.

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Possible causes:

High mineral count.

Brown water can be a sign that your water is high in  iron or manganese. This can cause colored water and scale buildup on your hot tub.

Solution: Adjust your alkalinity levels using both the ThermoSpas Test Strips for sanitizer chemicals (measures both will measure both pH and Alkalinity) and the ThermoSpas pH/Alkalinity Up and pH/Alkalinity Down chemical mixtures.

Low alkalinity levels or low sanitizer levels.

Solution: Shock treat. Test and adjust sanitizer levels following the procedure for high alkalinity.

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By far the most common spa water issue, cloudy water can be caused by many factors from a dirty filter to a high calcium content.

Possible causes:

Dirty filter.

Solution: Follow ThermoSpas’ recommended filter cleaning procedure.

Imbalance of pH or alkalinity levels.

Solution: Test levels and adjust as needed following the procedure for green & cloudy water with high alkalinity levels.

High calcium count.

Calcium levels above 400 ppm are too high and can cause cloudy water. Low calcium levels (soft water) can result in foaming water. Hard water (high calcium levels) will cause oxidizing, scaling, cloudy water, and possibly the appearance of white specks. You will also have difficulty balancing your alkalinity and pH levels.

Solution: Drain spa halfway and refill with softer or distilled water. Test and balance chemicals.

Chemical solids dissolved in water aka high TDS (Total Dissolved Solids):

The more you use your spa, the more chemicals you will need to keep the spa water clean and clear. Further, the more chemicals you use; the higher your TDS levels become.

Having high TDS levels in your water can render your chemicals ineffective. Using test strips, you can easily determine when it’s time to change your water because of a high TDS count.

Solution: Drain, clean shell, and refill spa with fresh water.

High bacteria level.

Solution: Shock and adjust sanitizer levels. 

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If you have clear blue water, congratulations! Your water is safe and clean. All you need to do is continue to follow the your routine maintenance schedule.

To have consistently clean and clear water, follow ThermoSpas’ recommended chemical maintenance schedule:

Daily

  • Check for leaks by walking around the spa and looking at the base of the cabinet for signs of water.
  • Be sure the spa cover is in place and tied down to the spa.
  • Check spa temperature
  • Look for any signs of external damage to the spa and spa cover
  • Remove any foreign objects or debris that may have fallen into the spa

Weekly

  • Add metal sequestering chemicals
  • Add Enzymes
  • Shock Spa
  • Clean the shell above the water line with ThermoSpas All Purpose Cleaner once a week.

2 -3 times a week

  • Check sanitizer level and adjust as necessary
  • Clean the spa filter(s) at least every 1-3 weeks depending upon usage.

Yearly Scheduled Maintenance

  • Drain and refill the spa every 3 to 4 months

For additional questions or to order chemicals, visit our online store or call us at (800) 876-0158 (Option 2 and then Option 2).

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