Why Your Hot Tub Water Is Cloudy (And How To Fix It)

The last thing you want when you go out to enjoy your relaxing hot tub is cloudy, gross water. Not only will this ruin your immediate hot tub plans, but it can also lead to damage and even health problems down the line. Luckily cloudy water is generally a pretty easy fix. We’ll talk about 3 common issues and the best ways to troubleshoot them, so you can get back to your rest.

Cause: Hot Tub Alkalinity and pH

The pH of a hot tub is the measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH below 7 indicates an acid and a pH above 7 indicates an alkali.

Hot tubs are usually maintained at a neutral pH level of 7.2 to 7.6, but this can vary depending on the type of water used in the hot tub and other factors such as bather load and frequency of use.

A hot tub’s alkalinity is measured by its ability to resist changes in pH when acids are added to it. Alkalinity is measured in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). The ideal alkalinity level for a spa is between 80-120 ppm. Too high and carbonates fall out of your hot tub’s chemical solutions and cause cloudy water. 

Solution: Balance Hot Tub Alkalinity and pH

The easiest way to resolve this issue and prevent it from happening in the future is to test your water and keep your hot tub balanced. Take the guesswork out of this process by using test strips. 

Add an alkalinity increase to raise both the alkalinity and pH levels of the water. A pH reducer will bring down both alkalinity and pH levels.

Balance your hot tub’s alkalinity and pH before adding any sanitizers or non-chlorine shock. Remember to add the chemicals with the hot tub on and the air valves and hot tub cover off.

Cause: Contaminants in Hot Tub Water

This is one of the biggest culprits of cloudy hot tub water. Every time you get into the hot tub, you’re bringing oils, hair products, soaps, lotions, and even dirt in the water with you. This becomes a bigger issue the more people you have using your hot tub. 

All of this can build up in the jet lines, clog the filter, and cause the hot tub sanitizer to run out faster. Add this together and you get a great recipe for cloudy hot tub water.

Solution: Shock your Hot Tub

There are two different types of shocks; chlorine and non-chlorine. Chlorine shock is a great way to sanitize the hot tub when problems arise, Non-chlorine shock doesn’t sanitize but is a good weekly treatment to oxidize, remove contaminants, and prevent cloudy water. Shock your hot tub once a week, or more if there is an increase in use, which will help kill bacteria.

Most products will use 17 grams of non-chlorine shock per 1500 liters of water or 35 grams of chlorine shock per 1500 liters. When you use chlorine shock, make sure you read the instructions on how long to wait before using your hot tub again. The time ranges from 20 minutes to 24 hours. To be extra safe, use a test strip to check the chlorine levels. 

Cause: Hot Tub Filtration Issues

Your hot tub filter is a major player in keeping your hot tub water clean and ready to use. Its job is to catch any foreign particles and debris floating through the water. Because this is a dirty job you may end up with a dirty or clogged hot tub filter. 

Your hot tub may try to let you know this is the problem with error messages like “Open Flow Switch” or “FLO.” These indicate your hot tub isn’t filtering or heating. 

Solutions: Clean or Replace your Spa Filter

There are a few ways to clean your hot tub’s filter. You’ll want to give your filter a quick rinse every week. To do this, remove the filter from your hot tub, grab a garden hose, and spray away. Ensure you’re spreading every pleat apart and getting in there to remove any dirt or debris. Allow the filter to dry and replace it in the hot tub.

Once a month you should give your hot spa filter a chemical rinse. Spray the filter generously with a filter cleaner and let it rest for 15 minutes. Grab that hose again and give it a really good rinse. Double-check that your filter cleaner doesn’t need to be diluted before use. Follow the directions on the packaging.

Every 3-4 months put your filter into a chemical soak. It’s a great idea to do this when you change your hot tub water every quarter. Dilute the filter soak chemical according to directions in a clean bucket. There should be enough room to submerge the hot tub filter entirely. Let the filter rest overnight at least, but ideally for 24 hours. After, rinse the filter well, let it dry, and place it back in the hot tub. 

If you don’t rinse off these chemicals well, you’ll cause another issue; hot tub foam. If that happens you’ll need to drain the spa and start all over.

Replace the filter after about a year or if the Media is ripped, bent, or imploded, or the end caps are brittly cracked or discolored.

Keeping up with Hot Tub Maintenance

The best way to prevent cloudy hot tub water and most other issues is to keep your hot tub regularly maintained. Without regular upkeep, your backyard getaway will be something you want to get away from instead of getting away to. Starting with a high-quality American-made hot tub will ensure your hot tub is made to last. Take good care of your hot tub and you’ll be able to prolong its lifespan and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer you. Check out ModTubs in Houston,  Fort Worth, and online for a 100% American-made hot tub of your own.

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