Why Should You Test Your Hot Tub Water?
There are several benefits to regular water testing, including:
- Keeping the water safe to use. First and foremost, regular water testing allows you to ensure that you retain the recommended level of sanitizer in your hot tub water. Without enough sanitizer, bacteria will begin to grow, making the water unsafe to use.
- Improving your bathing experience. Imbalanced hot tub water can lead to a host of comfort issues; from red, irritated eyes or dry, itchy skin.
- Regular water tests help you keep a better balance to your water. Balanced water is designed to be feel “softer” by matching your body’s natural pH level, leading to a better bathing experience.
- Increasing the lifespan of your hot tub. Along with improving your bathing experience, keeping your water balanced will also decrease the wear and tear on key components of the hot tub, especially the cover, heater, jets and pumps.
- Saving you money in the long term. Regular water testing will help save you money in two ways. Firstly, it extends the lifespan of your hot tub components. Secondly, maintaining a consistent level of sanitizer will reduce water quality issues, reducing the amount of chemicals that you will need to add to the water.
Hot Tub Water Testing Tips
Run Your Jets Before Taking Your Water Sample
Over time, still water will develop areas with slightly different water balances than others. Taking your test at the surface of the water, for example, might yield different results than if the sample were taken from water at the bottom of the hot tub. This is especially true of sanitizer levels. With the level of sanitizer being much higher near the dispenser. For this reason, we recommend that you run the hot tub’s jet pumps for a couple of minutes before testing.
Use Fresh Testing Kits
Both water testing strips and the reagents used in drop kits become less effective over time. For this reason you will want to periodically check the expiry date of your test strips or reagents. If you notice that they’re expired you should throw them out and purchase new ones. Expired testing equipment won’t fully change colour when exposed to water, which causes inaccurate or hard to read results.
Store Your Test Kits Properly
Water test strips are very sensitive to moisture. For this reason you’ll want to store them in a dry, room temperature environment with the lid closed. Test strips that are exposed to moisture simply don’t work properly and will return inaccurate results. Even if they’re not directly exposed to water, if test strips are left out in hot, humid weather, condensation can build up in the bottle; rendering the strips useless.
If you use drop kits to test your water storage is less crucial, though you will want to ensure that you bring in your test kit for the winter. Once they’ve frozen the reagents simply won’t work properly again.
Test Your Water Every 2-3 Days
We strongly recommend that you test your hot tub water at home every few days. This allows you to more accurately track the water balance of your hot tub and make small adjustments before any problems arise. When using home test kits you will want to pay close attention to your pH and chlorine/bromine levels as these tend to change the quickest.
To assist our clients, we at The Spa Shoppe are now offering a new feature. We have created an online water testing resource on our website. Test your water at home with your test strips and input your results in our water test system to know exactly how much of which chemicals to add. Just another great feature you can find at thespashoppe.ca!
Test Your Water Even If It Looks Clear
Most people look at crystal clear water and assume that their water balance must be perfect. Clear water doesn’t always mean well balanced water, however. In fact, water that looks crystal clear can sometimes have serious problems.
This is because clear water can be an indication that your water is acidic. Acidic water is able hold a lot of minerals in solution without the water turning cloudy. While this keeps your hot tub water looking good, it also reduces the lifespan of the equipment.
Without testing it, there is also no way to know if your hot tub has too much sanitizer. Maintaining a good sanitizer level keeps away algae and ensures that the water is safe to swim in. Too much chlorine, however, can cause a lot of wear and tear on the equipment (pump, heater, pool ladder etc.) hot tub.
Hot Tub Test Strip Tips
Test strips are by far the most common test kits used to test hot tub water. While they are convenient to use, they can also be temperamental. Here are a few tips to help you get the most accurate results possible from test strips.
Make Sure Your Hands Are Dry
When dipping the strip into your hot tub water, make sure not to get your hand wet. The reagents used in test strips are very sensitive and are easily affected by outside sources. Water droplets coming from your hand can easily throw off your test results, especially for the pH and alkalinity tests.
Wait 15 Seconds Before Taking Your Results
The reagents used in test strips also take a few seconds to fully react once exposed to water. To ensure the most accurate possible results, you’ll therefore want to wait around 15 seconds before taking your readings.
Hold Your Test Strip Horizontal When Reading Your Results
While waiting for your reagents to fully react, you’ll want to hold the strip horizontally. Holding the test strip vertically allows water from one test to bleed into another; causing unwanted colour changes in the test pads closer to the ground. By holding the strip horizontally, you allow excess water to drip off the strip without affecting the other tests.
There you have it, our 9 best hot tub water testing tips to help you get the most accurate results from your home tests. It is important to note though that you should still get your water professionally tested on a consistent basis.
If everything looks good on your home tests, we recommend getting your hot tub water professionally tested around once per month. If you encounter problems such as consistently low pH, cloudy water or green water, however, you should bring your water in to be professionally tested as soon as possible. Problems like these will only get worse with time and are much easier to treat if caught early.