MAINTAINING YOUR SPA WATER
Tap water that is safe to drink is not always safe for a spa. Normal tap water is usually filled with minerals and micro contaminants that are not visible to the naked eye. Properly testing and treating your spa water is essential for the health of the spa as well as the people using it. Proper chemical maintenance will help control and prevent the following:
• Bacteria, algae, and fungi, which can spread disease and infection to humans
• Staining and scale build-up on the spa shell, equipment, and piping
• Clogged filters
CAUTION: Important Instructions. Always:
• Follow chemical manufacturers’ instructions
• Use an accurate test kit to perform all chemical tests
• Never mix chemicals
• Add chemicals directly to the spa, evenly spreading the chemicals over the surface of the water or use an appropriate feeding or metering device
• Run the filter pump on high speed for at least 15-30 minutes after applying chemicals
• Check chemical levels often
• Note that names of spa chemicals will vary from one manufacturer to another so always read the label before use.
Overview of Water Chemistry
Below is a guide to assisting you in maintaining your spa water correctly. It must be read in conjunction with the manufacturers guidelines on each chemical and is offered as a guide only.
Water Quality Maintenance
Maintaining the quality of the spa water within specified limits will enhance your enjoyment of the spa and prolong the life of its equipment. It is a fairly simple task, but it requires regular maintaining because the water chemistry involved is a balance of several factors. There is no simple formula and there is no avoiding it. A careless attitude regarding water maintenance will result in poor and potentially unhealthy conditions for bathing and possible damage to your spa.
Sanitizers kill bacteria and viruses and keep the water clean. A low sanitizer level will allow bacteria and viruses to grow quickly in the spa water. To raise the sanitizer level, simply add an approved sanitizer of your choice. A high sanitizer level can cause discomfort to eyes, lungs and skin. To lower the sanitizer level, simply wait – the sanitizer level will naturally drop over time. Effective and safe sanitizers include Granular Chlorine and Granular Bromine.
NOTE: Increased/heavy use of the spa (or in the number of users of the spa) will result in the need to increase the amount of sanitizer required to maintain the recommended sanitizer level.
CAUTION: Never use ozone as a single-source sanitizer, water clarifier, stain & scale inhibitor or foam inhibitor.
WARNING: Chlorine tablets should never be used directly in an Insignia Spa unless in a feeding dispenser. Dissolve rate, potency and the extreme low pH of this chemical can cause severe damage to the spa surface, components and can discolour the spa lining. Use of Chlorine tablets will void the warranty.
IMPORTANT: Always allow the chlorine level to fall below 5.0 PPM (11.0 with Bromine) before entering the spa water. Never add chemicals and enter the spa immediately as this may lead to skin irritation or possible burning. If adding a heavy dosage of sanitizer, it’s recommended you leave the spa lid off for a short time to allow the sanitizer to burn off.
Proper pH balance is extremely important in providing water that is comfortable to the user, and preventing damage to the spa and equipment. The measure of acidity and basicity in the water is called pH. The pH scale ranges from 0-14. Levels of pH less than 7.0 are acidic while pH levels greater than 7.0 are basic. The proper pH range for a spa is 7.4-7.6.
High pH levels (greater than 7.6) can cause scale build-up on the spa and its equipment, cloudy water, a prematurely dirty filter, and less effective sanitation. To correct high pH levels, add a pH decreaser.
Low pH levels (less than 7.4): can cause discomfort to the spa users, rapid dissipation of sanitizer, and corrosion to the spa equipment. To increase pH levels, add a pH increaser.
Total Alkalinity (TA)
TA is the quantitative measurement of alkaline components (carbonates and bicarbonates) present in water, which if properly adjusted, act as a buffer against rapid pH changes. Proper total alkalinity levels are important to ensure optimal chemical balance in spas. Low TA can cause the pH to be unstable causing the water to be corrosive or scale forming to the spa and its equipment. To correct low TA, add a Total Alkalinity Increaser.
High TA can cause scale build-up, cloudy water, as well as other pH problems. Use PH decreased to help drop the levels.
Calcium Hardness (CH)
CH is the measure of dissolved calcium in the water. Low CH (soft water) can stain the spa surface as well as cause corrosion to the spa and its equipment. To correct low CH, add a CH Increaser. High CH (hard water) can cause cloudy water as well as rough scale build-up on the spa surface and equipment. If the spa water has high CH, it is preferable to either dilute the water’s hardness by blending the water with water from a water softener, or by the addition of a special water softening chemical .
IMPORTANT: Never fill the entire spa with soft water unless an appropriate mineral supplement is immediately added
Stain and Scale Control
Stain and scale problems are common in hot water environments. To help prevent and control staining and scaling, add a Stain and Scale Inhibitor.
Spa water that is polluted with body oils and lotions, combined with high water temperatures, can cause excessive surface foaming. For a temporary fix, add a Foam Remover.
Cloudy Water Prevention and Control
There are two basic reasons that spa water becomes cloudy. Non-filterable liquid waste (e.g. perspiration) have contaminated the water. To remove these substances, use a spa clarity cleaner.
- IMPORTANT: After adding chemicals, allow your water to equilibrate before retesting, especially if you have been having problems with balance. This means letting the water circulate for a couple of hours, or retesting the next day for accurate readings.
- Total Alkalinity should be kept between 80-120 ppm (30-90 ppm if using Cleanwater Blue system).
- pH range is ideal between 7.2 and 7.6. Too low is acidic and will cause corrosion. Too high can result in scale formation.
- Remove a sample of the spa water into a clean plastic cup and test it after it has cooled a few minutes, for best results.
- Never mix different chemicals together prior to addition to the spa water. Add them one at a time. Pre-dissolving granules in a plastic bucket of water is best.
- Make sure your water hardness is not too low. Adjust it prior to making final pH and TA adjustments. A good range for calcium hardness is 150-300 ppm.
- Check Total Alkalinity (TA) first, then adjust for proper pH range. Proper TA will buffer pH, that is, it will help to prevent pH fluctuations.
- Use fresh, high quality test strips and always check the use by date.
- Excessively high bromine or chlorine levels can result in false readings, meaning you are adding to much sanitizer. The reason being is if the levels are far beyond the test strip capability’s you actually bleach the test strip, which in turn makes you think your readings are too low. If this is the case just leave the spa for a few days to settle and burn of the excess sanitizer. A good tip here is if you can smell the sanitizer – It exists!
- Change your spa water at least every 3 to 4 months, depending on bather load and usage.
Happy Hot Tubbing