How to Test Hot Tub Water and Why it’s Important
So you finally managed to get that hot tub you’ve been dreaming about, huh? Well, don’t start relaxing just yet, because it’s fundamental that you understand the importance of testing the water in your hot tub.
Have you noticed any problems with your hot tub such as: excessive foam, cloudy/foul-smelling water, or irritated skin after use? These are all symptoms of an imbalanced hot tub that can be solved through regular testing of the water. These tests will not only increase your enjoyment of your hot tub, but will increase the lifespan of your hot tub as well. For example, if your hot tub has a high pH level it may cause your hot tub’s water to become cloudy while also causing irritated skin and burning eyes. On the other hand, low pH levels can cause some of the metal parts of your hot tub to corrode. It can also break down swimwear and causes your sanitizer (chlorine/bromine) to dissipate more quickly. Low sanitizer levels can lead to an increase in bacteria which tends to make hot tubs unsafe and much less relaxing, while high sanitizer levels can lead to more irritated skin and the degradation of some of your hot tub’s surfaces.
Now that we’ve established the importance of maintaining the water in your hot tub, let’s go over how to actually test it.
There are actually a few different ways for this to be done. If you’re like most people and want to go for the simplest and most cost-effective method, you’re going to want to purchase “Spa Test Strips” which will allow you to test your hot tub water for various things by submerging a single strip briefly in your hot tub and then matching colors on the strip to corresponding colors on the test strip bottle. Once that is done, the “test” will reveal what adjustments need to be made to your hot tub water. The most basic strips will test for: chlorine/bromine, pH, and alkalinity. Here’s a quick breakdown on what those things mean and how they relate to your hot tub:
- Chlorine/Bromine: These are what you will use to keep your hot tub sanitized. The test strips will inform you of how much of these sanitizers are in your water and in turn, whether or not you need to raise/lower this level.
- pH: This is the measure of how acidic or basic your water is. If your water is cloudy, it may be a sign that your water has a high pH level. On the other hand, skin irritations can be a symptom of a low pH level. The pH level can be adjusted with products specifically designed to raise/lower pH levels in water.
- Alkalinity: You can’t expect to get an accurate reading on your pH level unless you have your alkalinity balanced. If this reading is too high, it will be difficult to adjust your tub’s pH level and vice versa. Once this level is within a proper range relative to your hot tub, you will be able to adjust your pH level as well. There are specific products created for the purpose of raising/lowering pH and alkalinity levels.
If you’ve made it this far, you must be pretty interested in making sure that your hot tub is performing to the best of its ability. In that case, there is an even more precise solution to testing your hot tub water. It’s identical to the previous test strip method except instead of comparing the strip to colors on the bottle you simply insert the strip into a digital reader and it does the work for you. This will obviously cost more than just the test strips alone, but it’s by far the more accurate method for the hot tub connoisseur.
Still not good enough? There’s one more way you can test your hot tub water to get the most accurate levels, but naturally, it will require more time and more money. Still reading? Great. Here’s how you can test your water with something called a titration test kit. After purchasing one of these kits, you will need to fill a vial with water from your hot tub and add a reagent to it. (This will come with the kit.) Once that is done, you drop in another solution to the mixture and record how many drops it takes it change color. From there you can plug that number into a simple equation and it reveals the level that is accurate to within 5 ppm (parts per million).
As you can see, there are multiple ways for you to test the water within your hot tub depending on what’s most important to you. If you want this to be something done easily and often, look to the basic test strips. If you want the most accurate reading and test-time doesn’t matter to you, get a titration kit. A digital strip reader is the way to go if you desire something in the middle, and if none of those options are attractive, there’s always the option of hiring a professional to test your water for you.