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Spa Care Made Simple - A Guide For The Rest Of Us

Spa Care Made Simple

Find out how much water your Spa holds

Your Spa dealer can help you with this information or you can look in the manual.       One gallon is about four and half litres. The information will help you to maintain the correct level of chemicals for your spa.

Filling your spa

If you use a garden hose to fill your spa you should flush the hose first to get rid of any water that has been lying in the hose. Water varies from area to area so it's a good idea to ask your spa dealer what type of water you have or call your water authority. The information they will give you will let you know if you live in an area with hard or soft water. 

The pH and alkalinity of your tap water is important to know, use your test kit to find out the values you have. If the result shows a calcium hardness below 100 ppm then you need to use a hardness increaser every time you empty and refill your spa. A calcium hardness of 200ppm is ideal. 

If your test kit shows a calcium hardness level above 300 ppm then you will need to add a scale inhibitor treatment. Failure to add this treatment will result in the formation of scale on your spa heater, pipe work and spa surface which will reduce the life of the spa. 

The correct pH value needs to be between 7.4 and 7.8 (you can find this information on your test kit). If the pH value is below 7.4 then you will need to add a pH increaser and if the value if above 7.8 then you will need to add a pH decreaser. 

To find the correct amount of chemical to add you will need to know the amount of water your spa holds and the pH level. You will find the correct measurement for the chemical on the back of the container. 

You should empty and refill your spa at least every12 weeks (3 months) to maintain good quality water:

Refilling your spa

To keep your spa water in good condition you need to empty and clean your spa at least every 12 weeks. The 12 week period is for a spa that is used every day by 2 people. If your spa is used every day by 4 people a day then this will reduce the empty and clean period to 6 weeks.

When emptying your spa you will need to clean the filters in a cleaning solution to remove grease and oil deposits that build up over time. If your spa has had a period of heavy use then it is advisable to use a pipe cleaning liquid to remove Algae and grease deposits that have built up on the inside of the spa plumbing.

Test your spa water

For your comfort and enjoyment of your spa, it is important to into the routine of regularly testing your spa water for sanitizer levels and water balance, and making any necessary adjustments. Ideally, you should check your spa water daily for pH and sanitizer levels, and always before you intend to use it. If the sanitizer level is below the its recommended level you must not use the spa until it has been corrected. Total Alkalinity (TA) should be checked weekly and calcium hardness once every month. It is a good idea to keep a record of your test results.

Recommended Levels


Minimum Ideal Maximum
Free Chlorine 2 ppm 3 ppm 5 ppm
Combined Chlorine 0 ppm 0 ppm 1 ppm
Bromine 3 ppm 4 ppm 6 ppm
pH 7.2 7.4 7.6
Total Alkalinity 100 ppm 140 ppm 160 ppm
Calcium Hardness 100 ppm 200 ppm 400 ppm
Total Dissolved Solids 250 ppm 500 ppm
1000 ppm


Note that levels can be measured in PPM (parts per million) or milligrams per litre (m/ltr) - these measurements are the same e.g. 200 ppm is the same as 200mg/1. 

You can use either Chlorine or Bromine to sanitize your spa water.  

Note that Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) is not recommended for spas. 

The most common method of testing is to use a Test Strip. Test Strips are an easy way to test spa water. You simply take one strip from the pack and dip it in the spa water with a result in 15-30 seconds. Test Strip packs are available to test for Chlorine, pH and Total Alkalinity, or Bromine, pH and Alkalinity. Calcium Hardness and Chlorine Stabilizer test strips are also available.

There are also test kits available that use tablets and this is a very accurate method of testing.

Bromine or Chlorine, Which should I choose?

As mentioned above, you can use either Bromine or Chlorine in your spa and this is a personal choice. Whichever you choose, it is essential to maintain the correct levels of sanitizer, both for your comfort and health. 

Bromine is a stable sanitizer that is suitable for hot water and is effective at killing bacteria over a wide pH range. If you use the tablet form, they must be dosed via a floating dispenser (note they must not be placed in a spa skimmer). You should 'shock' your spa once per week with a Non-Chlorine Shock. 

Chlorine can be used in your spa in the form of Stabilized Chlorine Granules added directly to the spa water. Treat your spa once per week with Chlorine or Non-Chlorine Shock. 

Always take a shower before using your spa - by doing this you will reduce the amount of san­ itiser levels needed. 

If your spa has an ozone generator this will help to maintain good water quality, but ozone alone will not be a substitute for using a chemical sanitizer. Bromine or Chlorine must still be used.

Water Balance

The Level of pH and total alkalinity of your spa water changes constantly. (The alkalinity level will drop over the first few days after filling your spa). Maintaining a good water balance is essential. If the balance is left and not maintained then this will result in poor quality water conditions.

The best way to keep the balance correct is to add a water treatment product (i.e. pH plus I pH minus) little and often rather than shock dosing the spa. When adding the product make sure the pumps are on to enable the mixing of the water and product. To keep the water balanced you will need to control the following three chemical parameters.

Calcium Hardness

If you have soft water from the tap you will need to add a hardness increaser, the Calcium hardness needs to be around 200ppm. Not maintaining this level will result in costly damage to your spa and its equipment. The amount you will need to add will be shown on the back of the chemical container

Total Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity is a measurement of alkaline salts in your spa water. This level can change in hot and bubbling water within a couple of hours. A newly filled spa can drop by SOppm within a couple of days.By keeping the Total alkalinity level of your spa correct will stop your pH level from fluctuating. Always make sure the Alkalinity of your spa water is within the acceptable range before adjusting the pH.


The pH of your spa water is a measurement of how acid or alkaline the water is. pH is mea­ sured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral. A reading below 7.0 will indicate acid water and a level above 7.0 will indicate an increase in the amount of alkalinity. The ideal pH for Spa water is between 7.2 and 7.6. Maintaining a spa outside of this range will result in problems. If the pH is low then this will result in skin irritation and corrosion of the spa heater, A pH level above 7.6 will prevent the sanitiser form working effectively and cause the build up of scale on the spa heater and surface. You should check the pH level of your spa on a daily basis.


The temperature of your spa water needs to be comfortable for you. Try not to have the temper­ ature too high. A high temperature can cause water balance problems for your spa and dehy­ dration for you. A good temperature setting is 37c. never run the spa above 40c.

Spa water treatment products

The water treatment products are highly concentrated and SHOULD NEVER BE MIXED TOGETHER. Chemicals when mixed can cause a poisonous gas and an explosion. 

Before you add any spa treatment product to your spa always read the label and instructions on the back of the container. 

Stabilised chlorine granules can be added directly to the water with the pumps on. All other granular chemical products need to be dissolved in a plastic bucket of spa water before adding. 

You will have to make sure all the contents have dissolved before adding them to the spa water.

Never add more than one treatment product at the same time.

Always add the treatment products with the pumps on.



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