How To Choose Hot Tub Chemicals?
Hot Tub chemicals can be confusing. You go to the store, look at everything, hot tub chemicals, and pool chemicals are side by side, it’s tough to know what you need to buy, and that’s a total waste of money.
What should you avoid, and what’s going to damage your hot tub? And which are the best chemicals for your hot tub?
What is a better Hot Tub Sanitizer? Chlorine or Bromine?
Everyone needs a sanitizer; you can use chlorine for your sanitizer or Bromine; I prefer Bromine.
Why? Because it can take the heat of the hot water a lot better than chlorine.
Chlorine breaks down quickly, and that’s why it’s a popular choice in swimming pools;
- the Bromine is a better choice for hot tubs, Bromine can be a little bit more expensive, but because you’re not going to be adding it as frequently as chlorine, you’ll save money in the long run.
- Using Bromine, you’re not going to get that chlorine smell, and the fumes in the eyes like you do when you use chlorine.
Hot Tub Oxidizer or in a different name it’s called Shock
After the sanitizer, you need a shock, Sometimes this is called an oxidizer and what this does is, reactivates the chlorine or the Bromine you used to sanitize your hot tub.
After a while, the chlorine converted into chloramines, and the Bromine converted to something called Bromamines.
When that happens, they cease to be very effective at keeping your hot tub water clean.
After a while, the chlorine converted into something called chloramines, and the RO means converting to something called to grow with me; when that happens, they cease to be very effective at keeping your hot tub water clean.
Adding Shock, maybe about once a week, reactivate that sanitizer and brings new life to it.
That doesn’t mean you never have to add new sanitizer, and I add sanitizer a few times throughout the week.
But the problem is when you have chloramines in your water or Bromamines, and you dip a test strip in, it’s going to think it still has a decent amount of sanitizer in there when it doesn’t.
So that’s why you add the Shock is to reactivate it and make sure that you’re when you do the test strip that it’s giving you an accurate reading and that you’re staying safe.
When it comes to hot tub shock, and again, that’s also referred to as oxidizer, sometimes you’ve got two choices.
You can go with a chlorine shock or a non-chlorine shock, and it’s okay to use a chlorine shock with Bromine as your sanitizer.
However, I want to caution you that I prefer chlorine shock with Bromine as my sanitizer;
the non-chlorine Shock, in my opinion, doesn’t do as good of a job of keeping that water perfectly clean.
You’re going to get more sterile water using a chlorine shock, but you do have the choice of a chlorine shock or non-chlorine Shock.
So now that we’ve talked about the two biggies, Shock and sanitizers, we have products that raise or lower the pH and the alkalinity.
pH and alkalinity can be very confusing. They are very similar, and they’re related, but they’re also very different.
So let me briefly explain that to you right now:
- pH measures the acidity of the water
- alkalinity measures the ability of the water to neutralize the acid because they are related products that do one or the other will often affect both.
So that’s why sometimes you see products like spa down or its counterpart spa up, but I also have products that raise or lower just the pH but know that anytime you adjust pH or alkalinity, you may need to also adapt to the other one.
Hot Tub Calcium Hardness
Talk about hardness, and when you see hardness, as it relates to water and hot tubs, know that they’re talking about calcium hardness.
Calcium is present in the water, but your house might have a water softener system to remove some of that; you’ll know if your water is hard when you see the scale.
What do I mean by scaling? When you shower, you see kind of white flaky stuff around the showerhead and rings around the tub and things like that.
If you do see those kinds of things, that means the water in your house has a lot of calcium in it; too much calcium can damage your hot tub.
But the flip side, if you have a water softener in your house and significantly if it impacted the garden hose wire. We use to fill up the hot tub.
Too soft water can corrode the pipes and the equipment, so you don’t want water that’s super soft or super hard. It is supposed somewhere in the middle.
If you don’t have hard water and you’re not using a water softener system that affects the water your garden hoses, you’re probably going to be just fine, and you can skip that.
If you see your showerhead or if you’re starting to see some of that in your hot tub, you’re going to want a product designed to reduce the water hardness.
Make sure you don’t reduce it too much because, as I said, soft water can corrode pipes.
Do you need Hot Tub Algae Chemical?
If you’re doing a good job sanitizing your water, oxidizing your water, and you’re balancing the pH, you’re never going to see algae in your water.
I’ve owned four different hot tubs, and I’ve never once ever seen algae in my water.
If you do, your best thing to do is drain your hot tub completely, refill it with fresh water, balance it, and keep it balanced and make sure you do an excellent job maintaining your filter cleanliness.
If you do those things, I don’t think you ever need algae chemicals to keep algae out of your hot tub.
Hot Tub Foam Away: Chemical to eliminate foaming in Hot Tub
The other thing you might see sometimes are products designed to eliminate foam in your hot tub. As with algae, I believe that if you’re balancing your water, you’re keeping the chemistry good, you’re adding your sanitizer in your Shock, keeping the pH levels where they need to be; you should never see foam in your hot tub. I’m not talking about the jets in the bubbles that come up.
You should never see actual foam like in a bubble bath if that is in your hot tub. If you do;
- chances are your filters are dirty.
- You’re not doing well maintaining your water chemistry.
- Or maybe you’ve let your water go too long.
- It would be best if you were draining and refilling it every three or four months or so.
So I believe that you should never have to buy a product to eliminate foam in your hot tub if all of those other things do well.
Which one is better? Powder, tablet, or a liquid hot tub chemical?
So I want to touch briefly on your sanitizer, which I said can be chlorine or Bromine, and then your Shock, because these things can come as a powder, a tablet, or a liquid, and it can be very confusing what to know to buy.
I wouldn’t say I like tablets chemicals?. Why do I not like them?
I don’t want them because you have to use a floater, you have to put them in a device that floats around in your hot tub, and a hot tub, unlike a pool, is pretty tiny.
I don’t want that thing bumping into me every time I turn on the Jets it’s; it’s annoying. It’s a personal preference.
The plus of a floater is that it dispenses the chemical as needed throughout for a few weeks, it’s great if you don’t want to worry about it, but I find it annoying bumping into me every time.
So I prefer either a powder or liquid. I use bromine liquid and chlorine shock powder, but you can use whatever you like.
What is a biofilm problem in Hot tubs?
Now and then, you’ll run into a situation where you find yourself adding sanitizer, like way often almost every day, and you’re shocking it a few times a week, and then yet every time you dip a new test strip in, it just seems like that chlorine is gone.
And when that happens, you probably have a biofilm problem, and specifically, you have biofilm buildup, and it’s usually inside the plumbing of your hot tub.
It’s not something you’re going to see. It’s in the pipes, it might be in the Jets, could be in the heater assembly, it’s inside of there, and the only way to get it out is yet another chemical.
I will show you a chemical that eliminates biofilm buildup; that chemical is called Oh Yuk!
I added to my hot tub; every time I changed the water:
- It’s about every three or four months; I pour it in.
- I turn off the jets for about an hour, and I leave it. T
- Then I drained my hot tub, as usual.
- Rinse it out, fill it back up again, and it will get rid of the biofilm.
When you don’t have biofilm living in your plumbing, your sanitizer and your oxidizer are going to work a whole lot better and last a whole lot longer, which means you have to use less of those things, and you’ll save money.
My favorite chemicals for my sanitizer
What is my favorite chemical for my hot tub sanitizer? Is it chlorine or Bromine?
- I prefer Bromine, as I mentioned, and I also use a liquid. I like this one from Leisure Time. It’s called reserve.
- It’s sodium bromide which is Bromine. that’s what I use for my sanitizer
- I probably add three or four times a week, depending upon how frequently using the hot tub.
My favorite Shock or hot Tub oxidizer
For my Shock, as I mentioned, I like a chlorine shock.
I precisely like this one from Spa guard. It’s called Enhanced Shock, and it’s this kind of Shock dissipates quickly in about 15 minutes.
There are several different types of chlorine shock. But I like this one because it dissipates quickly; it’s a little bit safer to use, and it’s a little bit lower of a chlorine amount, but it still does a great job of reactivating my sanitizer.
There are things to raise or lower pH and alkalinity, and I like to be able as much as possible to raise and lower those things independent of one another.
- Pool Time is pH up or pH down
- Leisure Time for my sanitizer makes products called spa up or spa down. But spa up and spa down affect both alkalinity and pH; You may need to adjust one or the other.
If you have a water hardness problem:
- I like a product from Leisure Time called Defender, and this hot tub chemical is specifically designed to reduce the scale and lower the hardness of your water.
If you have an algae problem:
This product is from Oasis, but I don’t think you need it again. I’ve never actually bought an Algae product in my life, but I would probably get that one if you need one.
But again, if you’re doing a great job of everything else in terms of hot tub maintenance, you’re never going to need an algae product.
Balance the chemicals in your hot tub every time you get out of the hot tub
- Check it before you get in to make sure nothing is way off.
- When you get out and dry off from your hot tub, did a test strip, and see where it’s coming out at.
- And then add slight adjustments of any of the chemicals needed
- That way, it’s ready to go, the next time you are ready to soak.
If you do have to add a bunch of chemicals when you’re ready to soak, you’re going to want to wait at least 30 minutes in most cases, maybe longer.
Before you get in to make sure that those chemicals have had enough time to dissipate safely in that water, that’s especially true if you’re adding chlorine shock or using chlorine for your sanitizer.
Keep Your Hot Tub Lid Closed
The last tip I want to give you is to keep the lid securely on your hot tub; when you’re not using it, the sunlight destroys all of these chemicals that cost you money.
Anytime your hot tub lid is off, they’re starting to break down, and the more your hot tub lid is off, the faster they break down, the more frequently you have to add them.
So when you’re not using your hot tub, keep your lid closed; that way, your chemicals will do their job, and the sunlight won’t be robbing you of your hard-earned money.