Does it seem like every time you try to enjoy your hot tub you end up with itchy skin and eyes? Have you ever noticed your water starting to smell a bit like a sweaty gym sock? You may be struggling with an alkalinity problem. Most hot tub owners are aware that alkalinity plays a role in maintaining healthy water, but what exactly is alkalinity, what does it do, and why is it so important to balance?

What is alkalinity? 

Alkalinity is the measure of your water’s ability to neutralize acid. It acts as a defense for your pH, the level of the acidity of your water, providing a buffer so that your water stays in the safe neutral zone. If alkalinity gets too low, there’s nothing to prevent the acidity of your water from rising. If alkalinity gets too high, it can lead to lower Chlorine effectiveness and scale buildup. Both low and high alkalinity can affect your hot tub’s appearance as well as your body, potentially causing itchy eyes and skin. Total alkalinity should be kept at 80–120 ppm. 

How does alkalinity become unbalanced? 

High alkalinity can be caused by a number of issues. Sweat, bacteria, and residue from lotions and body washes can build up over time and cause the alkalinity to rise. Adding too much chlorine or bromine can also cause alkalinity to quickly jump. In some cases, living in an area with hard water can cause persistent high alkalinity.

Low alkalinity is most commonly found in outdoor hot tubs after there has been rain. It can also be caused by adding chemicals that have a low pH, such as Chlorine tablets. 

What can I do if my alkalinity is unbalanced? 

To raise low alkalinity, use a product with the active ingredient sodium bicarbonate. To lower high alkalinity, you can use a pH reducer or muriatic acid.

Still struggling? Bring a pint of water to Leizure World, we will get your water balanced and beautiful!