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Hot Tub Water Care Tips & Treatment Options to Keep Your Hot Tub Clean & Safe

One of the most important responsibilities in hot tub ownership is to test the water on a semi-regular basis. This ensures the chemical balance is at its optimal point for your safety and to prevent damage to your hot tub.

To have a safe, relaxing hot tub experience, here are some tips for taking care of hot tubs in Ottawa, including how to test the water and what to look out for.

Reasons Why You Need to Test Hot Tub Water

To Ensure There Is Enough Sanitizer (To Reduce Harmful Bacteria)

Sanitizer prevents bacteria growth in your hot tub water. But if there isn’t enough sanitizer in the water, then you risk having harmful bacteria growing and making your hot tub unsafe to use.

To Ensure Water Is Comfortable to Swim in and Isn’t Harmful

Hot tubs are meant for relaxation. So when your hot tub water chemistry is balanced, the water is comfortable and harmless to swim in. On the other hand, unbalanced water chemistry can irritate your eyes and skin while drying out your hair, making for an unpleasant hot tub experience.

It’s important to keep your water balanced and comfortable so you don’t miss out on the many benefits of relaxing in a hot tub.

To Increase the Lifespan of the Hot Tub

Your hot tub is an investment, so you should it treat is as one. Hot tub water chemistry maintenance is worth the bit of time it takes to keep your hot tub in good shape for longer.

Unbalanced water can become corrosive, rusting metal components like pumps and heaters, and causing plastics and rubbers to degrade.

Unbalanced water can also develop a layer of scale (mineral buildup), which will force your hot tub heater and salt system to work harder, shortening their lifespan.

To Save You Money in The Long Run

By preventing damage to your hot tub and its equipment, you will save money in the long run that would otherwise be spent on hot tub repairs or replacement. You will also save money by keeping your hot tub clean instead of needing to fix problems like green or cloudy water.

And balanced water chemistry (pH) requires less sanitizer, so you won’t need to spend as much money on sanitizer if you keep your water balanced.

Always Test the Water, Even If It Looks Fine

Despite looking clean, clear water can still have problems. Clear hot tub water can be a sign that it’s acidic. It’s also important to note that you can’t tell if there is too much sanitizer in your hot tub just by looking at it.

Too much chlorine can damage pool equipment, as can too much acidity. So be sure to test the water regularly, even if it looks fine, to prevent damage and increase the lifespan of your hot tub.

How Often Does It Need to Be Tested?

You should test your hot tub water two to three times per week, and more often if you use your hot tub frequently. Pay close attention to the pH and sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) levels, adjusting as needed.

Also, consider bringing in your hot tub water for professional testing once a month, or as soon as you notice any issues—such as green or cloudy water, or consistently low pH.

Professional water testing gives you a complete in-depth analysis of the health of your hot tub water.

What to Consider When Testing Hot Tub Water

Testing the water is a crucial part of hot tub water chemistry maintenance. Here’s what to consider to ensure you’re testing accurately:

Bromine vs Chlorine Testing Strips

Some test strips will only test bromine or chlorine, while others might test both. So be sure to use the right test strips for your sanitizer.

Read Testing Instructions

Follow the instructions on the hot tub water test packaging. For example, you may need to test the water from the middle of the hot tub to get a more accurate reading compared to the water near the jets.

Use Fresh Strips

Only use test strips that haven’t expired. Test strips have a best before date, so be sure to check this date on the packaging when purchasing the test strips.

Use Dry Fingers

Make sure your fingers are dry before opening the test strip bottle and pulling out a strip. Otherwise, wet fingers can affect the test results.

Store Tested Products Properly

Do not leave the test strip bottle open, or you’ll risk contaminating the test strips. Also, avoid keeping your test strips in areas with high humidity or exposure to moisture, since moisture will activate the test strips.

Store your test strips inside in a dry area at room temperature. Do not store them outside where the temperature fluctuates and can cause condensation in the bottle.

Total Alkalinity

Total alkalinity is always tested and adjusted first since it stabilizes the pH levels and makes it easier to maintain balanced water. The ideal range is 40 – 120 ppm.

pH Balance

The ideal pH level is between 7.2 and 7.6. This level is slightly alkaline, but low enough to prevent scaling and high enough to prevent acid wear.

Calcium Hardness

The ideal range for calcium hardness is 50 to 150 ppm. Too little calcium can damage your hot tub, as can too much—which leads to scaling.


Sanitizers disinfect water, prevent bacteria and viruses, and keep the water smelling fresh. When testing for sanitizer levels, the chlorine reading should be 1.5 to 3.0 ppm. If using bromine instead, the bromine reading should be 3.0 to 5.0 ppm.

Another Option: Testing Kits

Testing kits consist of liquid-drop style testing and are considered one of the best ways to test your hot tub water. With these testing kits, you fill a test vial with a sample of hot tub water, and then add the reagent and wait 15 minutes to compare the colour of the water to the colours on the container.

With a titration testing kit, instead of waiting 15 minutes, you will then add an indicator solution, drop by drop, counting the drops as you go until you see a solid colour change—e.g., from red to blue. Then multiply the number of drops by 10 to get your calcium and alkalinity readings.

For the best Hot tub care, test and treat your hot tub water regularly. And speak with the Ottawa hot tubs experts about your hot tub water treatment options.

Clean, well-balanced hot tub water will make a difference in the quality of your hot tub and your time spent in your hot tub.