Spa Chemicals Guide – 10 Chemicals for Balanced Spa Water

The water in your hot tub comes in contact with various contaminants each time you enjoy a relaxing soak, from oils to debris blown in from the wind, your system is constantly battling to maintain your water’s clarity and overall health.

Your spa chemicals are your first line of defense, keeping your water crystal clear and safe to soak in!

Maintaining a well-rounded maintenance routine and using the right combination of spa chemicals is vital in keeping your water reliably clear.

Not sure where to begin? We’ll tell you all about it in this article.

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of all the best chemicals to include in your routine, how to add them to your water, and some easy-to-include steps to make your water care routine even simpler!

Keep reading to make your water care a breeze!

In This Article:

  • 10 Best Spa Chemicals
  • How to Add Chemicals to Your Spa
  • Tips to Keep Your Water Clean

10 Spa Chemicals To Maintain Crystal Clear Water

Not everybody’s water is the same, and your local water will play a significant role in the spa chemicals you’ll need to maintain crystal clear, well-balanced water.

While some of these chemicals are essential for all hot tub owners, not all of them are required and will depend on your local water quality and how often you use your hot tub.

1. Sanitizer

Your sanitizer is non-negotiable when it comes to your spa chemicals.

Sanitizers are responsible for keeping your water free from bacteria, ensuring it’s safe to be in for extended periods of time.

The two most common sanitizers are chlorine and bromine, with saltwater systems becoming more popular as well.

Chlorine is by far the most inexpensive and effective option, making it widely used by many hot tub and pool owners across the globe.

Bromine is less aggressive, providing a softer soaking experience, however, it degrades quickly when exposed to the UV rays from the sun, which can result in more frequent treatments.

Saltwater systems use salt cells to keep your water clean and offer one of the most smooth soaking experiences available.

While many believe this is a chlorine-free alternative to keeping their water clean, the salt does, in fact, break down into chlorine as the water passes through the cells. However, it produces far lower chlorine levels than a traditional chlorine system does.

When testing your water, you’ll want to ensure your sanitizer levels are as follows for your chosen chemical:

Chlorine: 1 to 3 ppm

Bromine: 3 to 5 ppm

For saltwater systems, you’ll want to keep your salinity levels between 2000 and 2500 ppm.

2. pH Increaser

The pH of your water simply refers to its acidity and should always be kept between 7.2 and 7.8.

With a pH that’s too low, your water could become corrosive, slowly deteriorating the metal throughout your system, such as your heating element.

Low pH levels also break down your sanitizer faster, leading to increased treatment needs to maintain the cleanliness of your water.

Maintaining proper pH levels is vital in not only keeping your system in good condition but also in ensuring your spa is safe to use.

The only way to maintain your pH levels day to day is by testing your water and using pH increasers and decreasers (as mentioned below) to keep it in range.

3. pH Decreaser

If your pH levels are too high, your water will begin depositing calcium and scale on your shell and throughout your system.

This lowers the effectiveness of your circulation system and increases the risk of clogs forming in your filters.

A high pH can also cause your water to become cloudy or result in your skin being dry and itchy after your soak

This is where a pH decreaser comes in.

If you’ve tested your water and your pH levels are above 7.8, you’ll need to add pH decreaser, as directed on the bottle, to reduce the levels and bring it back into a safe range.

If your spa water is unbalanced, whether your pH is too high or too low, your water is no longer safe to soak in, and should be treated right away to bring it back into a safe range before using it.

4. Total Alkalinity Increaser

Your alkalinity is closely linked with your water’s pH levels and greatly influences the fluctuation of your pH levels.

Alkalinity is simply your water’s ability to combat acidity and should remain between 80 and 120 ppm.

If your alkalinity is too low, your water is no longer able to combat it, leading to rapid fluctuations in your pH levels and increasing the risk of corrosion throughout your system.

While your alkalinity is out of balance, it’ll be difficult to bring your pH levels back into a safe range, so it’s essential to manage your alkaline levels before attempting to rebalance them.

Total alkalinity increaser will help you bring your alkaline level back into its proper range and make rebalancing your pH levels much easier.

5. Shock Treatment

While your sanitizer combats the bacteria in your water, it struggles to break down oils and organic matter that’s in your water, such as lotions, cosmetics, or deodorants.

Using a shock treatment can help with that, targeting those difficult-to-remove oils so your sanitizer can do its job more effectively, ensuring your water remains crystal clear and safe to use.

Shock treatments come in two main forms:

  • Chlorinated shock
  • Non-chlorinated shock

The most popular shock option is a non-chlorinated oxidizing shock treatment due to its ability to easily combat organic matter and break down the chloramines produced as your sanitizer kills the bacteria in your water.

Shock treatments are usually added weekly and are an effective way to maintain your water’s cleanliness long-term.

6. Calcium Hardness Increaser

Depending on where you live, you may have hard or soft water, which will change how you re-balance your spa after a refill.

Minerals are important to have in your water, and if you don’t have enough in your local supply, you may find you have soft water, which can be difficult to balance with your pH and alkalinity treatments.

Using a calcium hardness increaser will help add those necessary minerals into your water and make your pH and alkaline levels easier to manage afterward.

Something important to note is that it’s easy to go overboard with this spa chemical, making your water too hard, resulting in a complete drain and refill of your hot tub!

When adding calcium hardness increaser, add small amounts at a time, let it cycle through your water, then test it again before adding more.

7. Water Conditioner

Water conditioner helps to keep your spa water silky smooth, providing a luxurious soak that doesn’t leave your skin tight and dry afterward.

While that’s certainly appealing on its own, this spa chemical also helps to protect the metal surfaces in your hot tub, such as your jets and heating elements, as well as your shell, from any corrosion over time.

Additionally, it supports your other spa chemicals, ensuring they can effectively treat your water, making it easier to maintain your water’s chemistry and creating a safer soaking experience altogether.

8. Clarifier

This spa chemical isn’t going to be one you use regularly in your hot tub maintenance routine, and for good reason.

Clarifiers are a short-term solution to cloudy or foamy water when you need to fix the issue quickly, such as right before throwing a hot tub party.

This chemical does not treat the underlying cause of your dirty water. It simply clears it up for a short while, inevitably breaking down and revealing dirty water once again if the root cause is not diagnosed and managed.

9. Filter Cleaner

Cleaning your filters should be an essential step in your regular maintenance routine, and a filter cleaner should be included in this.

Over time, your hot tub filters will collect any debris that enters your water, keeping your spa clean.

If this debris builds up, your filters can’t effectively do their job, which can even result in that debris re-entering your water as it circulates through your system.

While rinsing your filters each week will help remove this debris, it won’t be able to get the more stubborn buildup.

Using filter cleaner helps break down the heavier buildup, ensuring your filters are completely clean and able to maintain your water’s clarity once again.

10. Line Flush Cleaner

Over time, your water may deposit debris and grim in your pipes as it circulates through your system.

This can lead to clogs if you don’t properly clean your pipes.

Using a line flush cleaner, you’ll be able to strip any of the debris out of your pipes and renew them to their original state, ensuring your water stays clean and your system can run as efficiently as possible.

How To Add Spa Chemicals to Your Hot Tub

Adding your spa chemicals to your water doesn’t have to be a challenge, and in just a few steps, you’ll be treating your water like a pro!

When adding your spa chemicals to your water, you’ll want to follow these six steps:

1. Test Your Water

Using your pH test strips, test your water to get an accurate reading of your pH, alkaline, and sanitizer levels. This will determine how much of your spa chemicals you’ll need to add.

2. Turn On Your Hot Tub Jets

This allows your water to circulate, ensuring your spa chemicals evenly mix into your water

3. Close Your Air Vents

Closing your air valves will minimize the amount of chemicals you lose after adding them to your water.

4. Measure Out Your Spa Chemicals (TWICE!)

Following the instructions on your bottle, measure out the amount needed to treat your water. Always measure twice to ensure you don’t accidentally add too much.

5. Let Your System Run for 30 Minutes

Allowing your spa to run for 30 minutes after adding your spa chemicals will ensure they properly mix into your water.

During this time, you’ll want to keep your cover off so your spa chemicals can properly off gas as they treat your water.

If you leave your cover on, you risk overtreating your water and having higher-than-expected levels when you retest it.

6. Retest Your Water

After your chemicals have had time to effectively treat your water, you’ll want to retest it to ensure they’re where they should be.

If they’re still too low, add the appropriate amount of chemicals again, following the same steps until they’re in their expected range.

Easy Ways to Keep Your Water Clean

While your spa chemicals will work to keep your hot tub clean, there are ways you can minimize the amount needed to maintain your water.

This all comes down to keeping your water as clean as possible during your regular spa sessions.

Here are some of the best ways you can minimize the amount of contaminants that enter your water:

Shower Before Your Soak

This will wash off any oils you could potentially bring into the hot tub, like perfumes, body lotions, and makeup.

Use Tennis Balls

Adding tennis balls or hot tub sponges to your water after each soak will help absorb any of the oils that are floating on the surface afterward.

Keeps Hats and Hair Ties Nearby

Hair product is filled with oils, which can easily be stripped off into your water as you enjoy your hydromassage.

Putting your hair up or tucking it under a hat can help keep it out of the water and keep your hot tub clean.

Stick to a Routine

Your maintenance routine is essential, and sticking to a well-planned process will make treating your water easier and ensure your system runs smoothly for years to come.

Buy Spa Chemicals in Millsboro

Delaware Hot Tub Company not only carries quality hot tubs but also stocks all your essential spa chemicals.

Visit us in-store to find yours, and one of our expert spa technicians will be happy to help you find the ones you need.

Have questions? Contact us today.

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