What is the Proper pH for a Hot Tub?

Updated 4 years ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
What is the Proper pH for a Hot Tub?

The most important thing to know about your hot tub is that it is a lot more than just a mini-pool.

Because the water is often kept at much higher temperatures, water chemistry is extremely important and must be kept within the right levels for maximum enjoyment and to increase the life time of the equipment. As a hot tub owner you should be able to test and correct the levels of sanitizer, pH, total alkalinity, and calcium in your tub. Total Alkalinity PH balance is essential to proper water chemistry but before you attempt to adjust it, you will need to ensure that proper levels of alkalinity are met. Total alkalinity affects the pH balance of your water in much the same way that a thermostat controls the temperature in your home. If it is too high it will become very difficult to change the pH and you will see experience symptoms such as:

  • Cloudy water;
  • Eye and skin irritation; and
  • Poor sanitizer efficiency. However, if alkalinity levels are too low you will also experience negative effects such as:

  • Rapid changes in the pH level; and

  • Corrosion of pipes and equipment.

Once the alkalinity is properly balanced inside the acceptable range of about 80-120 PPM you can move on to the pH balance.


The pH level can affect all other aspects of your hot tub so getting it right is crucial in maintaining a properly balanced water. If your pH is too high or too low you may experience low sanitizer efficiency as well as cloudy water, shorter filter life, and skin or eye irritation. The ideal range of pH is between 7.2 and 7.8 PPM and there are a variety of specially created spa products and additives designed to easily raise or lower your pH levels.


Sanitizer prevents the growth of bacteria and viruses in the inviting warm waters of your hot tub. Without it your tub will quickly become invested with algae and other contaminants. There are two main types of sanitizer used: chlorine and bromine. If you are using chlorine readings should be kept between 1.5-3.0 parts per million or PPM. For bromine, levels must be kept higher and should be between 3.0-5.0 PPM.


The final consideration in maintaining ideal water chemistry is calcium levels. Unlike with showers and most indoor plumbing, hot tubs do not benefit from water softeners. In fact, it is quite the opposite: without enough minerals in the water your hot tub could suffer equipment corrosion. If calcium or magnesium levels become too high, you may notice scaling on the surfaces of your hot tub.

To get the most use out of your hot tub or spa, be sure to test the chemicals on a regular basis and quickly correct any problems. Don’t forget to frequently clean your tub and filters as well. Finally, invest in a really good spa cover to protect your hot tub from animals, children, and debris. There is nothing quite like the experience of finding a drowned animal when you were intending to have a nice soak so keep that tub covered when you’re not using it! This will also help maintain the temperature as well as the water chemistry.


Margaret Perron is an appliance repair do-it-yourselfer, home solutions enthusiast and a home maker. With over 10 years experience in the home improvement business of spa covers and other accessories she is well suited to advise you on the best solution for identifying and locating the best home services in your area.

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