Water Chemistry – Understanding your water

Customers from All Over- including Durham Region-Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Toronto and GTA, Peterborough and Kawartha Area struggle from lack of understanding their spa water.


We purchase hot tubs to relax and enjoy life with loved ones. All is well, we use, we enjoy. One day you open the cover to discover your water is cloudy and smelly and ask yourself… How did this happen? Is my filter working properly? I added all the chemicals… You test your water add this and that and it doesn’t seem to help. You bring your water in to get tested we tell you what needs to be done you do it, and then it all seems well and… low and behold your there again!?

The first thing you need to understand that your spa is not a small pool. Spa water treatment and care is much different than a pool. It is most often set at temperatures between 102-104 degrees Fahrenheit while a pool is maybe 82 degrees. There is far more opportunity for bacteria growth in a spa then a pool. Hot water opens pores, allowing toxins from our skin to be released into the water and allowing bacteria to be secreted into our skin possibly causing infection. Thus being very important to care for your water properly. It can also cause cloudy water and damage our equipment.

This is not intended to scare you but you must be aware how important it is to maintain clean water, test regularly and if unsure ask us for help.

The most popular sanitizers are chlorine and bromine. They are used to effectively disinfect and kill bacteria in water and keep spa smelling fresh. Depending on the system you are using in conjunction with your sanitizer you are required to maintain a reading of 0.5 PPM – 3 PPM of chlorine or 1 PPM – 5 PPM of bromine.

Spa Shock Treatments

Using Chlorine/Bromine
If irritating chloramines are present in your hot tub water, shocking them converts them back into active ( free) chlorine.

Shocking a hot tub is where you would us an ample dose of Boost sanitizer (chlorine) peak boost (bromine) for the purpose of breaking down waste contaminants which cause odor and cloudy water. After such treatment water is usually restored.

Non Chlorine shock treatments such as our Arctic Pure Refresh eliminate odors and reduce irritating contaminants for fresh clear water. Because of high temperatures and bathe loads in order to effectively eliminate bather waste, this is used to maintain clear water and oxidize sanitizer. Recommended after each use.

*Tip: Pre-dissolving Chlorinating or brominating granuals such as Arctic Pure Boost and Peak boost will help protect your acrylic shell.

PH and Alkalinity
One of the most common problems we see in water from Whitby-Oshawa and surrounding areas in Durham Region Ontario at the store is PH and Alkalinity problems. I will talk about these 2 things together as they are the most important part of water maintenance. When you first fill your spa you will add your sanitizer, then before you do any adjustments in your spa you will need to test the PH and Alkalinity, the first adjustment that must be addressed – if needed is the alkalinity, 2nd PH!

PH measures how acidic or basic your water is. If it is not kept in check you run the risk of damaging your equipment. The ideal PH range is 7.2-7.6. Any reading below 7.2 means your water is acidic. To correct this you use Adjust up. If your water reads higher then 7.6, it means you water is too alkaline. Bring your PH down using Adjust down. Another product called Perfect Balance is great for mild to moderate adjustments needed. Ensure that your sanitizer is at correct level before you test PH and Alkalinity.

So back to Alkalinity… The most important part of maintaining water chemistry.
The total alkalinity is the buffer for PH. If not balanced correctly then PH will not be a correct reading. Total Alkalinity is the ability to control PH.

Understand the difference between PH and Alkalinity.

Think of PH as a thermometer of your furnaces thermostat. The thermostat measures the exact temperature. If it’s a little cooler then you like, you turn the thermostat up. You have just displays the ability to control temperature. Total alkalinity is like the thermostat, it gives you the ability to control PH. This is why you test and adjust the total Alkalinity before you even touch you PH testing and adjusting.

Your goal is to keep total Alkalinity readings between 80- 120 PPM. If you suspect PH levels are a little high then try for a higher reading of alkalinity such as 150 PPM when testing alkalinity. Why would you do this? Once you lower your PH with Adjust down you will lower the alkalinity as well. If your total Alkalinity is reading 80 PPM you will use Perfect Balance to raise alkalinity and then after retesting you will use Adjust down to reduce your PH and also adjusting your alkalinity to a lower, more ideal reading.


High PH Readings

  • Poor sanitizer efficiency
  • Cloudy water
  • Scale formation
  • Shorter Filter runs
  • Skin and eye irritations

Low PH Readings

  • Poor sanitizer efficiency
  • Corroded Metals/ Equipment
  • Skin and eye irritations
  • Etched or stained plaster
  • Destruction of total Alkalinity


High Total Alkalinity

  • Hard to change PH
  • Scale formation
  • Cloudy water
  • Skin and eye irritations
  • Poor sanitizer efficiency

Low Total Alkalinity

  • Rapid changes in PH
  • Corroded Metals/Equipment
  • Skin and eye irritations

Calcium Hardness

Sometimes known as total hardness, it is the measurement of minerals in your spa water. ) Calcium and magnesium). You do want to have some level of hardness in your water. If it doesn’t not have enough calcium your water will draw minerals from other things such as your equipment for other minerals such as copper, aluminum and iron. This will result in equipment corrosion. If there is too much calcium in your spa water it will cause scale formation and cloudiness. Because of this it is recommended that if possible, fill your spa with soft water and then add Arctic Pure Cal-Rise or try one of our pre filters, It is much easier to add hardness then take it away!


Did you know that our bodies work very much like a spa? Strange eh? Well, out bodies are made up of an average of 65-85% water and we have a temperature of average 98.6 degrees right? Let me tell you how we are similar and maybe this will help you improve your overall health.

Our bodies ideal PH is 7.4. If you are way below then your body is too acidic and you can experience things such as indigestion, pain in chest, nausea and gas. You will need to increase your alkalinity by eating lots of greens and alkaline rich foods. You can even buy test strips made for our body! Also… If there is not enough calcium intake our bodies will draw from things that hold minerals in our bodies such as bones and teeth nails and hair. Causing a wide array of problems (corrosion or known as decalcification) or- if we have too much calcium we can have deposits on our skin that can be rather unsightly and irritating. Keep your body healthy too!