Having trouble with a cloudy hot tub or spa water? Keep reading to know what it means and to find out how to deal with it.
Cloudy spa water simply put means dirty spa water that is unclear, unsafe, and unclean. Taking a dip in such water isn’t recommended. But, luckily we have an easy fix. Check it down below.
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Is Cloudy Hot Tub Water Safe?
Cloudy spa water is when the water in the hot tub has tiny particles that are floating inside and over the surface of the water in the spa. These tiny particles are usually too tiny to even touch and they make the water unclear. The tiny particles are formed as a result of different reasons ranging from poor water filtration to decaying organic debris in the water.
When you turn on the hot tub, all of these residues get heated together with the water and you start to notice these tiny particles floating in your water.
Most people think that cloudy hot tub water is safe, but it’s not. Cloudy hot tub water means that there’s a chemical imbalance or there’s bacterial growth happening. And, that’s not good for you or the hot tub.
What Causes Cloudy Spa Water?
Cloudy spa water has different causes all of which can be grouped under poor hot tub maintenance. Let’s face it, if you maintain a regular checkup and cleaning routine of your hot tub, then you wouldn’t need to worry about murky or cloudy water. Let’s check out some of the causes of cloudy spa water:
Natural matter refers to the tree pods, leaves, grass, pine needles, and other debris that nature throws into your hot tub. This debris and dirt can cause different problems to the hot tub. One of which is cloudy water.
Also, the oil, sweat, and body care product we leave in the water when soaking can cause hot tub cloudy water.
Hot Tub Shock
The hot tub shock can clear hot tub cloudy water, but it can also cause it. If you are using pool shock for a hot tub then most likely you will get cloudy water. That’s because the pool shock is loaded with calcium, and if you are using hard water then that can lead to cloudy water.
Using hot tub shock if your pH and alkalinity levels are high will cause cloudy spa water. The reason behind this is that when the water is unbalanced the shock will minimize the effect of carbonates and bicarbonates and that will lead to cloudy water.
Also, if a lot of people used your hot tub and you shock the hot tub, most likely the water will get cloudy. That’s because the body oil, deodorant, sweat, dirt of all people is still in the hot tub water, and hot tub shock has trouble breaking down oily gunk.
To clear the spa water using hot tub shock, you need to check the pH and alkalinity levels first. If they are balanced then you can add hot tub shock. If it’s a non-chlorine shock then you have to wait 15-20 minutes to see the effect. If it’s a chlorine shock then it takes up to 24 hours for the cloudy spa water to clean.
Too Much Chlorine
Yes, too much chlorine can cause cloudy spa water. But, only if the free chlorine is low. If the total chlorine is high and free chlorine is low then we have something called– chloramines. When this happens, chlorine won’t be able to protect your water and it can get cloudy very fast.
In this situation, the high level of chlorine isn’t causing the cloudy spa water, it’s the low levels of free chlorine that are doing it. You will have to shock the hot tub to get rid of the combined chlorine (chloramines) and fix cloudy spa water that is caused by high levels of chlorine.
If the total chlorine and free chlorine levels are both high, then add water clarifier and wait 24 hours to see if the cloudy water goes away.
High/Low pH Levels
Unbalanced water chemistry in your hot tub can cause cloudy spa water. If the pH levels are higher than 7.6 then it will make your hot tub sanitizers ineffective and also cause hot tub scale. Both of these things can cause cloudy spa water.
If the pH levels are lower than 7.2 then you have acidic water. A low level of pH also makes it difficult for total alkalinity to stay at a normal state. Having low levels or high levels of total alkalinity will make your hot tub water cloudy.
So, unbalanced pH levels can cause cloudy spa water indirectly. You have to keep pH levels at 7.2-7.5.
Related Read >>> Can You Use a Hot Tub if You Have Too Much pH?
Metal in the Water
No, we are not talking about hard metal or shiny steel. If you are the type that plugs a hose directly to a running tap or source of fresh water, then you are most likely adding a lot of metal to the hot tub. Metals like iron, copper, lead, and the likes are usually in the water that flows through the tap.
These metals react differently to the chemicals and sanitizers you add to the water in the spa. The combination of these metals and the chemicals cause reactions that can affect the water chemistry leading to cloudy water. You can use a hose filter to prevent the build-up of these metals in your spa water.
Damaged or Worn-out Filtration System
The spa filters help to trap the debris that enters the water. As the water circulates, the dirt and other debris in the water are trapped by the filters.
If the filters are damaged, worn-out, or too dirty, then the system can’t trap the dirt in the water. The dirt will just pass through and will be circulated with the water causing cloudy spa water.
Related Read >>> How to Keep Hot Tub Water Crystal Clear?
How to Fix Cloudy Spa Water (Made Easy)?
Getting rid of cloudy water from the spa isn’t difficult but you need to follow the steps below.
1. Check the Filtration System
Cloudy spa water is primarily caused by a damaged or worn-out filtration system. If the filters are working well, then there wouldn’t be particles floating in the water because the filter would trap them and stop them from circulating in the water.
So first of all, check the filters to ensure they aren’t damaged. Then wash them. If the filters aren’t damaged, then they might be too dirty or just clogged up by dirt that they can’t trap any other particles.
2. Test the Water Chemistry
The next thing to do is to test the water chemistry in your spa. There are different spa testing kits that you can use for this. You can buy any of them or take some water out of the spa and have it tested.
Chances are the water chemistry would be off. It might be too acidic or too alkaline. If there is a need to alter the water chemistry, you can use a ph decreaser or a ph increaser to fix the water balance.
3. Use Water Clarifier
If the water chemistry is balanced, you can add a water clarifier to the water. A water clarifier will help to clog the particles in the water together so it’s easier to pick or scoop them out with a net.
The water clarifier should also be added correctly and with caution so you don’t alter the water chemistry.
4. Use Baking Soda
Yes, baking soda can clear up cloudy spa water, but only if the total alkalinity levels and pH levels are low. If the alkalinity and pH levels are already high, then adding baking soda to a hot tub will make things worse. Always test the water chemistry levels before adding baking soda.
As we said before, un-balanced water chemistry will cause cloudy spa water. If the pH levels are lower than 7.2 and total alkalinity levels are lower than 80-120 ppm then you have un-balanced water chemistry. A quick way to raise total alkalinity and pH levels is to use baking soda. As a rule of thumb use 1 tablespoon of baking soda per 100 gallons of water.
So, if your hot tub has 700 gallons of water you need to add 7 tablespoons of baking soda. Add the required baking soda in your hot tub, turn the jets on and wait 6 hours.
After 6 hours, use a test strip and measure the total alkalinity, if it’s still low then add more baking soda, if it’s high then add total alkalinity decreaser. Don’t worry about the pH levels, once the total alkalinity levels are at a normal state, the pH levels will go to a normal state.
Once everything goes to a normal state, then the cloudy spa water will be gone. This is how to get rid of cloudy spa water using baking soda.
How Long Does It Take for Cloudy Hot Tub Water to Clear?
We all want to have a clean hot tub as fast as possible. But, sometimes that takes time. It takes up to 24 hours for cloudy hot tub water to clear. Depending on the method you are using and how large the problem is, it can take more or less than 24 hours.
If you want a faster solution, then draining, cleaning, and re-filling the hot tub should be your go-to method. But, this would just be a temporary fix, and it takes a lot of time and effort. You need to fix the core of the problem so it doesn’t happen again.
Using a hot tub clarifier or shocking the hot tub will make your hot tub water clear within 24 hours. So, always go with that.
Can a Hot Tub Get Cloudy If The Water Chemistry is Normal?
Yes, if you just checked the water chemistry and everything is normal and you also cleaned the hot tub filters and still have cloudy water. Then, the cloudy spa water is caused by high usage.
To fix this you just have to use chlorine or bromine. Add the right dose of chlorine or bromine, turn the jets on and wait a few hours for the sanitizers to do their job. That should do the job.
If that doesn’t work, then you have to drain, clean, and re-fill the hot tub.
How to Prevent Cloudy Spa Water?
The prevention of cloudy spa water takes dedication, a proper cleaning routine, and a few other steps.
Check and Clean the Filters Regularly
When the spa’s filtration system is clogged, damaged, or worn out, the debris and dirt that enters the hot tub would be circulated with the water. So a way to prevent cloudy spa water is to regularly check the filtration system of your spa.
If you notice the filters are damaged, you should replace them with new ones. You should also maintain a proper cleaning schedule for the filters. A good idea is to clean the filters once a month.
Apply the Sanitizers Correctly
The chemicals and sanitizers used to clean the water in the spa should be added in the right amount. Using too much or too little chemicals and sanitizers will disrupt the water chemistry of the spa and this can lead to cloudy spa water.
You should check the guidelines regarding how to add these chemicals to your spa. You can also contact professional help if you aren’t too sure about how to go about it.
Maintain a Shower First Principle
Always ensure to take a shower first before you get in the spa. This will reduce the likelihood of having bodily residue and body care products floating inside the water.
Drain and Refill the Hot Tub
Always drain the spa as at when due. If the spa is used heavily, probably daily, and by many bathers too, then you should drain the spa at least once in two weeks.
If the spa isn’t heavily used or you are the only one using it, then you can leave it for a month or two before draining it. After draining the spa, you should use the opportunity to clean the walls of the spa, the filters, and other working parts of the spa before refilling it again.
Use Hose Filters
Always use hose filters when refilling the spa. The hose filter will reduce the number of metals and solids that go through the hose into the spa.
All of these methods will help you prevent cloudy water in your spa and fix it if you already have it. So there you have it. I’m sure you now know how to fix cloudy spa water and prevent it.