Trouble balancing hot tub water, specifically pH

Brandon LaSota
August 8, 2019

I was able to simplify balancing my water on my initial startup after purchasing my hot tub without adding all the junk and had a successful 2 months of running without issue and water perfectly balanced.

Just recently, I drained and cleaned the tub, refilled, and am attempting to get the spa back into balance from this latest fill and for whatever reason, I can't get it right. Below are my steps, then the issue.

1. Refill water to 1" below seat pads.
2. Re-install filter
3. Purge pumps.
4. Let warm up to 90 Degrees
5. Adjust PH and Alk as necessary. I use PH + and PH- by Pro Team Spa to set these values.
6. Check hardness(I use an RV filter to fill the spa, so my hardness is usually on point the last 2 fills).
7. Super Chlorinate with 1.38 TBSP of Dichlor by Pro Team Spa
8. Once my FC has dropped back down between 1 and 3, I'll insert my Frog Mineral and Chlorine cartridges on their proper settings.

I"m using pro-team spa products except for the Frog filter unit that's built into the spa.

If that looks good, onto Issue.

I set the hardness and alkalinity and can normally get those in check. Ph is another story. Upon initial check, pH strip shows it's way over 8, so I use pH- to bring it down. I've gotten it down to around 7.2 and let sit overnight, and it acts as though the pH rises over a 24 hour period. On one occasion, I got the pH down to 7.2 then introduced my chlorine and within 12 hours, my total chlorine reads 5-6, my free chlorine reads 0, and my pH appears to be skyrocketted again over 8.

I've tried multiple brands of strips to make sure one wasn't bad. Last week over the course of a few days, it looked like my pH was set and would stay around 7.2, so I introduced a superchlorinate and then the Frog system and let sit for a couple days. Checked the water and again, the TC was around 5-6 and the FC was 0, and the pH was around 8.0+.

I took a water sample to my local spa shop and they basically said, Yup, your PH is high, try this, and offered me a pH- bottle which I politely declined since that's basically what I've been using to try and get my pH in check. Like I said, I've used color strips, the Aquachek digital scale, and even the frog color scale that came with my frog cartridges. The Aquachek gives me a digital value of 8.4 and says hi, Chlorine 0, and Alk is around 120.

The kid at the spa shop did not seem interested in helping me so I don't plan to go back. What am I missing, doing wrong, or both?


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