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Consistent maintenance is key to keeping a quality hot tub, and much of that stems from considering the total hardness of the water.
This all concerns the calcium levels in the water. If you don’t know, just understand that there will always be calcium in the water. The thing that matters is that it’s balanced.
Here comes the delicate part. It can’t be too high or too low. So how do you manage it?
Well, we created a simple guide to help you understand this better so that your hot tub remains in good condition.
A Guide to Water Hardness in Hot Tubs
You may be asking yourself: why do I have calcium in my water?
To put it simply: calcium is naturally occurring, so it’s bound to be in the water throughout your home. Too much of it can cause damage, but it is still important to hot tub chemistry as a whole.
The level of hardness the water normally has depends on your location as some areas have higher or lower amounts of minerals in the water.
For your hot tub, a good range to strike for is between 80ppm and 200ppm (parts per million). When it’s out of balance, it can cause several issues such as:
- Corrosion of the metal materials in the hot tub (e.g. plumbing)
- Irritation to the skin and eyes
- Scaling or build-up that can lead to damage and clogging
- Cloudy water that leaves residue behind
So let’s get into what you can do to maintain your hot tub so it always strikes somewhere within that stated range.
How to Test for Calcium in a Hot Tub
Before you do anything, you should first test to see the exact amount of calcium that is in the water.
You’re in luck here though. All you need is a hot tub water test kit.
In most cases, you’d find these labeled as pool and spa test kits. They are typically made in two forms: test strips and liquid tests.
Water Test Strip Kit
With a test strip kit, you’re opting for the most affordable and fastest route. Take care in using them, however, to ensure you get accurate results.
Although these are the easiest option since all you have to do is dip a strip in the water and compare the color shown to what’s in the kit’s color chart, there is room for inaccurate readings.
Be sure that nothing is damaged as it can change the readings. Also, it’s important to use them before their expiration date.
Water Liquid Test Kit
As for the liquid test, this involves a bit more effort on your end.
Rather than refer to a coloring-changing strip to the color chart, you have to mix various chemical reagents with the water yourself.
These are usually the type of kits that professionals utilize thanks to their high marks with accuracy.
This can take up more time, however, and you may wind up replacing specific chemical reagents in the kit since some will be used more than others.
Contact a Professional
In some cases, you may want to just contact a professional to test the water in your hot tub. Professionals may cost, but they are worth it considering they can test for everything.
This will leave you 100% certain about the levels and what needs fixing as there is no guesswork involved here.
So, consider reaching out online or finding your local pool and spa store to find out how you can get this done. Getting professionally tested at least a few times out of the year is a good rule to follow.
This should be done on top of your regular maintenance, of course, but having a professional, accurate test will make your job easier in the long run.
How to Lower Water Hardness in a Hot Tub
Now that we’re here and you’ve done the tests, if it is above 200ppm, then you want to look into how to soften hot tub water.
Sometimes, lowering calcium hardness can be a bit trickier than raising it, but it is still manageable.
What you need to do depends on how high the hardness is, but here are the methods you can use:
Method 1: Scale Control
To reduce pool water hardness, you can simply use a scale control product.
If the testing proved that levels are just a touch too high, then this can be quickly done by letting out a little bit of the hot tub water and refilling it with fresh water and a scale control product.
Anything too high such as well beyond 500ppm or even in the thousands, then it’s recommended to drain the entire hot tub.
This gives you room to give it a thorough cleaning and start new with completely freshwater throughout along with the scale control product.
Regardless of if you have to drain a little or all of the water, be sure to refer to the guidelines from the specific product you choose as they will tell you just how much or how little to add.
Method 2: Water Softener
If your home already has a water softener installed, then this is an ideal method to use. Simply use the water from your home to fill up the hot tub as you know that water is within an ideal calcium range.
Otherwise, you may opt for a portable water softener. This doesn’t require extensive installation as it can be set up and removed whenever needed.
How to Raise Calcium Hardness in a Hot Tub
Perhaps your hot tub chemical tester proved that calcium levels have drifted below the comfortable 80ppm mark?
Thankfully, raising water hardness is far easier than lowering it. This is because all you need to do is add more calcium to the water.
Simply search for a hot tub calcium hardness increaser. There are several products like this on the market, and they’re good to keep on hand in the event your levels ever become unbalanced.
Just follow the instructions on the product and you should be good to go.
Something to note: it’s helpful to go just a bit under the recommended amount. This is because the calcium may increase more afterward, and you don’t want to find yourself going out of range again anytime soon.
Now that you’ve gone through our guide, do you feel more comfortable about managing calcium hardness in your hot tub water?
A test kit, a calcium hardness decreaser like scale control, or a hardness increaser is all you need.
Proper upkeep is always important. You don’t want to cause any damage to the mechanisms or cause skin or eye irritation in you, your household, and any guests.
So, refer to our guide if you need any more assistance. We hope it helps you get back to enjoying your hot tub the way it should be appreciated.