Those who own both a swimming pool and a hot tub may have seen the pile of chemicals they use for each and noticed that they’re essentially the same ingredients. You may have even asked yourself, “Can pool chemicals be used in my hot tub?”

While it seems like a reasonable question to ask, you should never mix your hot tub chemicals with those of your swimming pool. Even though they may look similar on the packaging, the concentration of these chemicals is greatly different.

The pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels in a hot tub can be significantly impacted by the addition of pool chemicals, making them unsuitable for soaking. If these levels get too out of balance, your hot tub is at risk for damage. So the next time you find yourself running low on an additive, resist the urge to mix and match! Learn more about the differences between hot tubs and swimming pools below.

It All Comes Down to Chemistry

The active ingredients in swimming pool chemicals and hot tub chemicals may look the same, but if you look closer, you’ll see that the concentrations are quite different. It all boils down to their chemistry, which we discussed previously in detail here. The bottom line is that switching between the pool and hot tub chemicals can affect the water’s chemistry in unexpected ways. In addition to seriously damaging your hot tub or swimming pool, the water could end up harbouring dangerous bacteria, ruining an otherwise fun evening with friends.

Size Matters!

For pool water to be effectively cleaned and treated, larger amounts of more concentrated chemicals are needed as the pool water has more volume and covers a larger surface area than a hot tub. Not only do hot tubs require fewer chemicals, their smaller size means the chemicals need to be more diluted to maintain their optimal pH.

Let’s Talk Temperature…

Swimming pools typically have a maximum temperature of 27°C. In contrast, hot tubs usually have a temperature between 37°–40°C. As the temperature increases, the reaction of chemicals becomes more erratic and unpredictable, which leads to pH imbalances if the proper chemistry is not maintained. In comparison to a swimming pool, water in a hot tub evaporates more quickly. The more water that evaporates, the less chemicals are needed.

Jets or No Jets?

Water circulation, such as from the jets in a hot tub, make it easier to disperse the chemicals, so you don’t need as much. In pools—which produce less turbulent water—the chemicals need to be more concentrated to achieve the right pH balance.

Room and Capacity

Hot tubs can accommodate between three to four people, while backyard pools can accommodate many more, depending on the size. The lower activity in the hot tub water means the pH may spike or drop sharply if the exact chemical measurements are not added or if the concentrations are a little off.

It is important to keep your hot tub, pool, or spa’s chemicals balanced, but it can also be complicated. Fortunately, Spa Tech is here to help! We offer a comprehensive Water Care Program for customers in Edmonton and the surrounding area.

We’ll help get your unit set up and perform regular check-ups so you can enjoy yours all year long. Visit our website or call 780-901-7872 to get started today!

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