It’s the middle of winter and there is 6” of snow on the ground. You have had a long day at work and need to relax. Out to the hot tub you go! You peel back the cover only to find cloudy water!
It is a situation we have all been in, but it can be fixed.
First you need to identify why the water is cloudy, then you can address the problem.
Low sanitizer level
The most likely cause for your cloudy water is either due to high usage, an inadequate amount sanitizer, or both. Luckily, the fix is simple. Whether you use bromine or chlorine, add the recommended dosage and allow it to filter.
Total Alkalinity or High Calcium Hardness
The ideal alkalinity level for a spa is between 80-120ppm. When the total alkalinity is too high it can cause carbonates to fall out of solution resulting in cloudy water. When the alkalinity is too low it causes the pH to fluctuate. Water that is too alkali or acidic can be harmful to you and your equipment. To remedy this, simply add alkalinity increaser to raise both the total alkalinity level and the pH level of the water. If the pH is too high simply add pH decreaser. The other possibility is that the calcium hardness is off. This issue most likely started with your source water containing a high calcium hardness level. When the calcium level is too high it will fall out of solution, resulting in the cloudy water. To lower your calcium level simply add a calcium hardness decreaser. This will cause the calcium to bind together, not letting it fall out of solution and cloudy your water.
Lotions, soaps, or hair products
Unless you are diligent about showering prior to entering the spa, you are introducing oils, phosphates, and detergents into your water. Everything from sweat, dirt, and even your hand soaps contribute to this. These will use up your sanitizer, build up in the jet lines, and clog up your filter causing the cloudy water. Heavy usage of the spa will further contribute to this problem. One solution to this problem is to shock the water allowing it to break down the particles. Another solution is to add an enzyme to the water allowing it to essentially “eat” anything that is floating in the water.
The foreign particles that you introduce into your spa are the most likely cause of this. The filter’s job is to catch all of the “gunk” floating in the water and remove it. While it is doing that, the particles build up on the filter, causing the water to not filter as well as it does with a clean filter. The solution to this is easy! Take the filter out once a month and clean it with filter cleaner, unless you notice an abnormal amount of build-up on the filter, then clean it as often as needed. Once a year the filter needs to be replaced entirely.
Cloudy water can seem like a huge problem, but most of the time its really not. Think carefully about which one of these may be the culprit, but keep in mind that it may be multiple problems combined. If you have checked all of the above problems and cannot seem to fix the problem, you always have the option of using a clarifier. If that does not work, simply drain and refill your spa and start with fresh, clean water.