Hot Tub Total Alkalinity and PH: Why Both are Important to Water Care

Water balance is the most important aspect of maintaining your hot tub water. You want to reach the best levels for your family’s enjoyment and safety and keep them there. Water balance helps you do just that.


pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of the water. Neutral is a pH of 7 and hot tubs feel the best to human skin at 7.2 – 7.8. Above or below those numbers, and you’ll start to experience irritation from your hot tub water. The human body registers a pH of 7.3 – 7.5, so you can see the correlation.


Total Alkalinity (TA) is the saturation of chemicals in your hot tub in units of Parts Per Million (ppm) which slows down changes to pH. Quick changes (known as pH bounce) could damage your hot tub before you have time to notice what’s happening, so it’s important that your water be in an equilibrium that resists change. Your TA is the key to water balance. When balancing your water, adjust the TA first and you’ll have fewer challenges with keeping your pH at proper levels.

Proper Total Alkalinity levels depend on your sanitizer of choice. Here is a quick reference guide:

When using

  1. Acid sanitizers (Gas chlorine, bromine, or trichlor): 120 – 140 ppm
  2. Alkali sanitizers (Liquid chlorine, lithium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite): 80 – 100 ppm
  3. Neutral sanitizers (Sodium dichlor, 2-part bromine or a mixture of acid and alkali): 100 – 120 ppm

To sum it up:

  • Your choice sanitizer determines your best TA and pH levels
  • Maintaining a proper pH determines the effectiveness of your sanitizer
  • TA levels affect your pH and help you maintain the optimum pH

These 3 factors affect how your hot tub looks and feels, as well as preserving the structure of your hot tub so you can enjoy it for decades to come.

Plan a visit to our showroom soon. Our experts are always here to help.

For more information, visit or call us at (302) 325-8800.


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