Monday, 1 July 2013

Cloudy, Milky & Foamy Hot Tub Water

Get your spa water sparkling like this!
It pretty much goes without saying that hot tub owners will experience cloudy, milky or foamy hot tub water at some point during the period that they own a hot tub. This is not something to worry about as such, as these problems can be easily overcome by using certain methods. This article will firstly describe the type of water problem, how it could have been caused and finally, ways to rectify the problem and make your spa water sparkling again!

Cloudy Spa Water

Caused by...

Cloudy hot tub water can be described as the point where the water seems to have small particles floating around in it, however these particles are not large enough to touch and seem like they could just be air particles. There is no one cause of this issue and you will see this to be recurring in the other types of water issues. The problem could be caused by suspended insoluble particles, dead algae, organic debris, poor filtration (dirty filters), heavy usage or poor water chemistry, but it is difficult to diagnose the reason exactly.  

Rectifying the issue...

  • Check your filter(s). This is your first point of call with any water quality problem, especially when clarity is an issue. If small particles are not able to be picked up by the filters, it is extremely difficult to solve the problem. Get your filters and rinse them thoroughly or soak them overnight in a filter cleaner. 
  • Check the water balance levels. Your second point of call is the water balance. Check the PH is correct and alter if need be. Check the sanitiser is at the correct level, not too high or too low (a common clarity problem can be caused by high sanitiser levels). 
  • Shock the spa. Using a non-clorine shock, you can usually clear the water fast! Working with your clean filter, the shock will clear the particles and in most cases will solve the issue.
  • Try a clarifier. A product such as Spa Sparkle is similar to a flocculent in that it clumps all the small particles together so that they can be filtered, this may allow for the water to clear.
  • Last resort, empty the spa. If you eventually decide that you have lost the battle, drain the hot tub and start again with fresh water. Sometimes this is the best way, especially after a period of heavy usage (e.g. a hot tub party!).
Milky Spa Water

Caused by...

Milky hot tub water can be described as the point where the water essentially looks like milk, adding a white tint to the water and making it difficult to see the bottom of the hot tub. Similar to cloudy hot tub water, there is no one cause of this issue. The problem could be caused by suspended insoluble particles, dead algae, organic debris, poor filtration (dirty filters), heavy usage or poor water chemistry, but again, it is difficult to diagnose the reason exactly. 

Rectifying the issue...

  • Check your filter(s). This is your first point of call with any water quality problem, especially when clarity is an issue. If small particles are not able to be picked up by the filters, it is extremely difficult to solve the problem. Get your filters and rinse them thoroughly or soak them overnight in a filter cleaner. You may find that rinsing the filters more frequently to recover milky water helps massively. 
  • Check the water balance levels. Your second point of call is the water balance. Check the PH is correct and alter if need be. Check the sanitiser is at the correct level, not too high or too low (a common clarity problem can be caused by high sanitiser levels, making the water look milky). 
  • Shock the spa. Using a non-clorine shock, you can usually clear the water fast! Working with your clean filter, the shock will clear the particles and in most cases will solve the issue.
  • Last resort, empty the spa. If you eventually decide that you have lost the battle, drain the hot tub and start again with fresh water. Sometimes this is the best way, especially after a period of heavy usage (e.g. a hot tub party!).

  • Foamy Spa Water

    Caused by...

    Foamy hot tub water is where a build up of foam is visible on the surface of the water and can sometimes lead to a film being left on the top of the water and around the waterline. For this problem, it is slightly easier to pin down the cause in comparison to cloudy or milky hot tub water. Foam build up is caused by a reaction between body and cosmetic oils and the alkalinity of the hot tub water. Body oils and cosmetics such as deodorant, makeup, and detergents on bathing costumes cause foaming.

    Rectifying the issue...

    • Nip it in the bud! Solve the problem by tackling it at the start. It may be hassle to make people shower before using the hot tub but this is the key thing to prevent foam build-up. Washing your bathing costumes in detergent seems like a good idea but it is not wholly necessary, it is better for your hot tub if you rinse them under the tap then hang them up to dry, meaning that no detergent can sneak its way into your hot tub. 
    • Use enzyme technology to assist the water balance. Enzyme technology that is present in products such as "Spa Perfect" can help your spa water beat the causes of foam by preventing the reaction from occurring. 
    • Use anti-foam products. "No Foam" is a product that should be used sparingly, as it is more of a quick-fix product that does not prevent the problem from reoccurring. Using it in small amounts can quickly clear the foam from the waterline in the short-term and therefore helps the appearance of the spa but it is best not to rely on it. 
    • Drain down the hot tub and flush the system. A system flush using a product like Swirl Away will help flush the system through before draining. By draining the hot tub, you can remove any grease from the spa surface and tackle the foaming issue in this way. 
    I hope this post has shed some light on the issues around hot tub water clarity. If you have any further queries, feel free to pop me an e-mail (eddie@happyhottubs.co.uk). 

    22 comments:

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. We just drained the tub last weekend and got all the chemicals in ideal settings according to the test strip. We did not use the tub at all since refilling and took the cover off today (1 week later) and it is cloudy. We also changed the filter last weekend. The test strip now shows no chlorine (white) even though it showed purple (high chlorine) last weekend after refilling. Any insight?!

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      1. The chlorine will break down extremely fast. The chlorines soul purpose is to sanitize the water. Free chlorine readings don't matter because uv rays will break it down fast! Just be sure to add a teaspoon of granulated chlorine per person after getting out of the hot tub. Make sure there's an automatic filter cycle at least twice a day also. You can use non chlorinated shock once a week to help as well

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    4. We just drained the tub last weekend and got all the chemicals in ideal settings according to the test strip. We did not use the tub at all since refilling and took the cover off today (1 week later) and it is cloudy. We also changed the filter last weekend. The test strip now shows no chlorine (white) even though it showed purple (high chlorine) last weekend after refilling. Any insight?!

      ReplyDelete
    5. We just drained the tub last weekend and got all the chemicals in ideal settings according to the test strip. We did not use the tub at all since refilling and took the cover off today (1 week later) and it is cloudy. We also changed the filter last weekend. The test strip now shows no chlorine (white) even though it showed purple (high chlorine) last weekend after refilling. Any insight?!

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      Replies
      1. Hi, you need to add chlorine daily to the hot tub and more of it after you have used it to maintain the chlorine levels.

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    6. I had to switch to tablets and a dispenser. Never had cloudy issues since.

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    7. I had to switch to tablets and a dispenser. Never had cloudy issues since.

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    8. I drained the tub last weekend and after refilling, added the chemicals etc as usual. On getting in, there can only be described as a dusty film
      under the water on the seats, sides and jets. no longer shiny and smooth but does does go if rubbed... any ideas?

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    9. it is scale caused by hard water, i drained and scrubbed mine and added the right amount of mineral and scale control fluid and it is good to go .

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    10. I have added way to much de former the cap came off and about half a mug of its gone in the tub. What should I do and is it safe to use the tub

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      ReplyDelete
    12. Good Sunday morning! Your blog has been very helpful. I don't see anything that pertains specifically to our problem. There is a milky substance visible in the filter without even taking it out. What happens is we get an error message... rinse or replace filter and soon after get the error message again because of this build-up of milky substance in the filter. It can happen even the week after we replace the filter!?!
      At a loss...

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      Replies
      1. Could be a bio-film build up - you need to shock the tub to clear as much as possible, then empty and clean the tub, then re-fill.

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    13. Thank you for sharing information. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, waiting for a more new post. Keep Blogging!

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    15. My spa water was clear and I put some sparkle in to stabilize the ph. As soon as the sparkle went in, the spa clouded up and I can't get rid of it. Any suggestions?

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    16. Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting article with us.
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    18. mine little different from these. spa is clear test strips show right were need to be and filter clean. but when i turn pump 1 it slowly starts turning milky then when i turn 2nd pump on it completely becomes milky so you can’t see more than a couple inches into water. turn off let go threw normal filtration cycles and clears tell you turn off again. help please

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    19. Hi there. New to this hot tub business filled it Sat night. By Monday it was really cloudy we added chlorine granuals and spa fusion that clears the tub but not luck. The text strips say its OK but don't fancy getting g back in it. I think I should empty it and start again. We have a pool and use the chlorine dispenser maybe that would be best. Can you all tell me how you do urs and keep it clear. Thanks guys

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