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There are few things more relaxing that a nice quiet soak in a warm hot tub. Hot tubs can provide both private time and social activity, depending on one’s preference. However, the high temperature of the water in tubs and the amount of people using them quickly builds up a layer of grime and encourages the growth of bacteria and algae. To maintain a healthy and sparkling hot tub, certain steps need to be taken. Balancing the pH of the water, clearing the tub of debris and halting the growth of biological contaminants all help keep hot tubs hygienic and enjoyable.
It is vital to constantly test the pH of a hot tub. There are many electronic pH meters on the market for easy monitoring of pH levels. The warm water in a hot tub is soothing and soporific, but if the pH level is improperly balanced, a nice soak can damage delicate skin and burn eyes. The ideal pH for a hot tub ranges between 7.2 and 7.8. If the reading is too high, or alkaline, it encourages the growth of algae and microorganisms. If levels are too low, the water becomes excessively acidic, leading to increased causticity. Acidic waters diminish the efficacy of disinfectants and sanitizers. They also corrode pipes, pumps and other fittings. With constant pH testing, the correct amount of alkalinizing chemical, typically a carbonate, can be added. Or, if the water has a low pH, products containing acidic substances like sodium bisulfate will counteract the acidity. Checking pH levels can get a bit tricky, so it’s important you do it often and use high-quality spa chemicals to keep things regulated.
Clean Tub Of Debris And Dissolved Solids
Due to their relatively small size and high water temperature, hot tubs are particularly prone to the collection of debris and dissolved solids. Outdoor hot tubs should be monitored for debris even more closely than their indoor counterparts. For basic debris removal, a hot tub vacuum is quick and easy. They range in size from small hot tub wands that pick up dirt to large vacuums that suck up leaves and twigs. Nets can be used to remove surface debris from the hot tub. Most hot tubs maintain a temperature of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes increased evaporation. This means that the water evaporates quickly into the air, leaving invisible solids behind. These solids coat the interior shell of tubs and raise the pH of the water. While a descaling chemical can be used to clean the shell, extreme cases should be handled by slowly draining and refilling the hot tub with new water. When the tub is drained, it should be wiped with a shell cleaner and a soft cloth.
Algae And Bacteria
The warm waters of a hot tub are the perfect environment for biological organisms to flourish in. Greenish-blue and yellow algae discolor the waters of many improperly maintained hot tubs. Bromine-based preparations should be used to kill algae, as bromide is much more stable in hot water than chlorine. For severe cases, the hot tub should also be drained and washed with a pressure washer to remove stains from algae. Bromide also kills excess bacteria in hot tubs. Dangerous bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa flourish in incorrectly sanitized tubs. This pathogen is well known as the cause of the painful and itchy skin condition, hot tub folliculitis. Some hot tubs come with ozone generators that use ultraviolet light and electric charges to oxidize contaminants in the water. However, these methods do not remove dead bacteria, so they should be used in conjunction with a sanitizer.
Despite their small size, hot tubs should be strictly maintained. Debris buildup, improper pH and harmful microorganisms all contribute to an unsafe, irritating experience. Whether a hot tub is used every day or infrequently, it is vital to maintain a regular sanitation and cleansing schedule to preserve a hygienic bathing environment.