The Truth About Calcium Hardness In a Hot TubClick here to get our FREE weekly hot tub maintenance newsletter!
Did you know that there is calcium in the water of your hot tub or spa? Heck, it is pretty much in every water supply you can think of. While you may not think you need to worry about it, the calcium levels in your hot us far more important than you think.
Calcium hardness is something that every hot tub owner should understand completely. In many ways, it is the most important measurement when you are balancing your water’s chemicals. Depending on where you live, the calcium levels present in your water supply will vary greatly. That means that you must test your water regularly and make sure the calcium is in the right range. If you don’t, your water quality could be adversely affected or you could even damage your hot tub.
Let’s take a look at calcium hardness so you can understand what it is and why it is so important for every hot tub owner. Then, let’s see what you can do to fix the calcium hardness levels in your hot tub so your spa always has the very best water quality.
Calcium Hardness Overview
First, let’s take a look at what calcium hardness actually is and what the right amount is for your hot tub. Understanding exactly what it is will help you know how to balance it correctly when you are working on the chemical balance of the water in your spa.
What Is Calcium Hardness?
Calcium Hardness, sometimes referred to as Total Hardness, is basically the measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water in your hot tub. These chemicals are found everywhere including our water supply, meaning that where there is water, there will be calcium. The key is exactly how much calcium is in your water.
Ideal Calcium Hardness Level
So what exactly is the normal range for calcium hardness in a hot tub? In general, the recommended range for calcium hardness is between 200 and 400 parts per million (PPM), with anything below 150 PPM being considered very low and anything above 1,000 PPM considered very high. This, of course, can vary depending on the type of hot tub you have and the chemicals you use in the water. I recommend that you check with your hot tub manufacturer to determine the ideal calcium levels for your specific hot tub.
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Testing Your Calcium Levels
If calcium levels are so important, there must be a test for it, right? Correct! Most general water testing kits will contain a test for calcium hardness, but if it is an ongoing problem for you, you can also buy specific test kits designed to test the calcium hardness levels. That way you don’t waste one of your test kits just to keep up with your calcium levels.
Industrial Test Systems WaterWorks 481108 Total Hardness Test Strip, 3 Second Test Time, 0-1000ppm Range (Pack of 30)
Most of these tests can be done in just a few minutes and will only require a small sample of the water to determine the hardness levels in your spa or hot tub. Now I recommend that you always test for calcium hardness when you are maintaining your water, but if you are dealing with high or low levels on a regular basis, you may want to consider testing the hardness levels a little more often so you can stay ahead of the problem.
What If Your Calcium Levels Are Too High?
Now that you have tested your water, you have found that your calcium levels are too high. What exactly does that mean?
If your calcium hardness levels are too high, your water may not be able to keep the different chemicals properly dissolved in the water. This can lead to scaling on the sides and on your plumbing and can even lead to cloudy water. So what do you do about it?
Unfortunately, when your calcium levels are too high it can be difficult to lower them. There are filters you can buy to filter out some of the calcium when you are filling your hot tub, meaning you will have to drain your hot tub, clean it and then refill it using one of the filters.
Hot Tub & Swimming Pool Pre-Filter (Turbo Ion Exchange Pre-Filter) 8,000 Gallons
If that isn’t a possibility, then there are products you can purchase that will prevent scale buildup and protect your hot tub. They will even help prevent cloudy water, although you may have to add a clarifier as well if the cloudiness is a big problem.
What if Your Calcium Levels Are Too Low?
Of course, instead of calcium levels that are too high, your water could have too little calcium present. When this occurs, the water can actually cause erosion and damage to your hot tub. Over time it will eat away at the plaster and it will even corrode your plumbing, jets, and pretty much every piece of equipment it comes in contact with. After a while, you will then begin to have problems with your hot tub and it could even end up costing you a bundle in repairs.
Spa Essentials 32534000 Calcium Hardness Increaser Granules for Spas and Hot Tubs, 12-Ounce
Fortunately, calcium levels that are too low are quite easy to remedy. All you have to do to raise the levels is, you guessed it, add calcium to the water. There are many calcium products available on the market that will raise the levels quickly so you don’t have to worry about your water damaging your favorite relaxation method.
Remember, your calcium hardness level is one of the most important measurements when you are balancing the chemicals in your water. Keeping your calcium levels in that ideal range will ensure that your hot tub is protected from damage while also making sure that the water stays clean and clear and ready for a good soak.
If calcium hardness is an issue in your area, make sure you take an extra few minutes to test your water and treat it to bring it into the ideal range. While this will take a little bit more work on your part, in the end, your hot tub will thank you for it, and your wallet will, too.
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 18th, 2016