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Hot Tub Horror Story


Fred woke up this morning to his alarm, sighed heavily and hit snooze before rolling back over in bed. He had a long day yesterday potty training his 2 year old and is not ready to take on the day yet. What was supposed to be another 5 minutes somehow turned into an hour, and Fred is late for work for the third time this week. He hurriedly jumps out of bed, and lands right on a lego. As soon as he thinks this morning can’t get any worse, he is comforted by the soothing smell of fresh brewing coffee in the kitchen. His wife is already up for the day and surely will have a coffee waiting for him when he gets out of the shower. He hops in the shower, only to find that there is no hot water left. He takes a really fast, bone chillingly cold shower and gets dressed for work. When he gets to the kitchen to say good morning to his wife and warm up with coffee, he finds a note on the table. She left to go grocery shopping. He finds no coffee on the counter, but a coffee scented candle. Of course this would happen this morning, he thinks, but he’s looking forward to using his new hot tub after work.

After a long day of seemingly everything going wrong, Fred gets his towel, bluetooth speaker and flip flops and heads outside to his hot tub. After opening the cover, he finds a cloudy spa. And even scarier, Fred forgot to schedule his spa school and has no idea how to fix it.

Fred’s day may not be saveable, but the hot tub is. Once we determine the cause of the cloudy water, it is not difficult to fix.

Fred filled his hot tub last week. He followed all of the start-up steps to a T. He set the hot tub to the temperature he wanted and added Stain And Scale Control to protect the hot tub from any metals in the water. He waited 24 hours, added the initial dose of chlorine, and brought a water sample to his local BioGuard dealer. They tested his water and walked him through how to balance the water so that he and his family could start using it. Unfortunately, due to his potty training toddler at home, he has forgotten to add anything else to it since. We can then guess that the cloudiness is caused by chemical imbalance. Time to open the test strips that came with the spa. He tests the spa water and finds that the pH is very high, the Alkalinity seems to be in range, and the chlorine is very low. But what does that mean?

When pH is high, it can cause any minerals and impurities to become insoluble in the spa water. This is somewhat like sugar in iced tea. When you add sugar to cold iced tea, it takes a little bit of stirring for it to fully dissolve, and become soluble. Sometimes you’ll notice that the sugar has settled back down to the bottom of the cup. That sugar is INsoluble. When pH is too high, it causes minerals to become INsoluble, making them visible like the sugar, causing cloudy water. Adding the appropriate amount of pH decreaser and some water clarifier to speed the process along will fix this issue.

Unchlorinated hot water is the perfect breeding ground and very hospitable environment for bacteria. When the chlorine stays low for too long, bacteria can grow at a rapid rate causing the water to look dull or cloudy. In this case, adding a double dose of chlorine and/or shock will solve this issue. Shock is an oxidizer. It will kill whatever contaminants are in the water, freeing up the chlorine to sanitize and prevent more bacteria from growing. Some shocks have chlorine in them, and some do not. Be sure to not add too much chlorine without realizing so that you do not have to wait a long time for the chlorine to dissipate for bathing. You can also use water clarifier to help clear the water.

In both scenarios, it is a good idea to remove the filter and chemically clean it. This will clean the filter of any oils, cosmetics, or minerals that were in the water causing the clarity issue. If you have tried both of these solutions and still have cloudy water, bump up your filtration cycle. It may not be filtering long enough to keep up with the bather load.

When in doubt, bring us a sample of your spa water for a free analysis. We’re not scary (I promise).


Written by Advanced Spa And Pool