The Importance of pH and Alkalinity
Keeping your hot tub, pool or swim spa water chemically balanced is important! Believe it or not, pH and alkalinity are big players in pool and spa water and if you're out of balance, your water can have a host of problems. These problems include foam, slime, scaling, skin and eye irritation, corrosion on your spa equipment and your sanitizer not working to its fullest potential.
Best Practices for Using Test Strips
When testing your pool, spa or swim spa water always make sure your test strips are still good and not expired. They may not show an accurate reading if they're past the expiration date.
Make sure to use dry hands when handling the test strips so you don't ruin the remaining strips in the bottle or skew the reading on the strip you're about to use.
Next, dip the test strip one time about 6 -12 inches straight down into the water for a bout 3 seconds. Pull the test strip from the water and read it immediately. The color will start to change very quickly after it's exposed to air. It's safe to say that the test strip reading will no longer be accurate more than a few seconds after dipping it into the water.
Negative Effects of Unbalanced pH
pH and alkalinity can have drastic effects on your spa and on your skin. If unbalanced water is left unchecked you'll most certainly have problems.
Elevated pH Levels
Elevated pH levels can cause calcium to build on spa surfaces beneath the water line. This feels like sandpaper and is extremely difficult to remove.
To fix this simply push your water levels to the low side of normal and keep it there until the chemical balance loosens the calcium buildup and you're able to scrub it off of the sides and bottom of your spa or pool.
Furthermore, alkalinity that's too high or too low can make it hard to balance and maintain a stable pH level.
Symptoms and Causes of Low pH
Foaming and a slimy feeling on the surface of your spa beneath the water line are symptoms of low pH levels. It can cause foaming and if you're struggling with a foam problem we suggest you make sure it's not related to residual laundry detergent in your swim suits.
At Waters Choice we strongly suggest washing your swim suits in hot water and a little bit of vinegar. Then make sure to rinse them well and hang them to dry after each use. Additionally, make sure water's pH is between 7.2 and 7.8. If you have low pH levels and foam, try raising your pH to the higher side of normal which would be around 7.8.
By any chance did you recently use a filter cleaner to clean your spa filter? Our suggestions for filter cleaning is to soak them for one hour in 1 cup of bleach or vinegar per filter along with enough water to cover them. After that, since them well and replace back where they came from. If you did use a filter cleaner simply remove them, hose them off really well or soak them in a bucket of water and vinegar, then rinse and replace as mentioned before.
If none of the above are the issue, then check your calcium hardness levels with your testing strip. If water's calcium hardness is too low, your water will be soft and will cause foaming. Run over to your local pool and spa store and purchasing a calcium hardness increaser to bring that level up between 150 and 250 for spas and between 200 and 400 for pools should be helpful.
How to Get Rid of the Foam?
In our opinion the best way of ridding your hot tub or swim spa of existing foam is to literally scoop it up and over the sides.
This will decrease the existence of any detergent that might be causing the pesky foam.
Using a de-foaming product is a temporary solution and doesn't actually address the "why" of the problem of foam in your spa.
The Importance of Testing for Chlorine
Testing chlorine levels is also very important. Although, when using Waters Choice Pure Enzymes you'll need very little chlorine and absolutely no shock products.
However, if you're using a chlorine approach you'll need to check water levels daily and maintain 1-3 ppm in your pool or spa.
In addition, you'll need to shock weekly in order to remove chloramines. Chloramines are the buildup from using a lot of chlorine.
Still yet, you'll need a stain and scale preventer in addition to a metal remove to counteract the effects of chlorine in your water.
One of the greatest benefits to using Waters Choice Pure Enzyme water treatment is that you'll only need a pH balancing product and a very small amount of sanitizer to keep your water safe, healthy and sparkling clean.
As a reminder, don't forget that when pH is out of balance, it can cause your chlorine effectiveness to suffer.
Make sure to keep your water balanced.
If you have questions about cutting back on your chemical load in your pool and/or spa please reach out to us by email, phone or test message us directly from our website.
We're happy to help you find a better solution for your health and the environment.
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