What Chemicals Do You Need For A Hot Tub Startup?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

What Chemicals Do You Need for a Hot Tub Startup?


The installation of a new hot tub is without a doubt a very exciting day.  But even once you’ve lugged the hot tub into location, filled it with water and started the pumps, you’re still not ready to jump in and relax.  Treating a new hot tub (or reopening one after being dormant) requires a regime of chemicals to ensure a safe and clean experience.  In this article we’ll go over the types of chemicals needed for a hot tub start up.




You’ll need to wait until your hot tub reaches a temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 degrees Celsius before you add anything to the water.  You’ll need the water to reach this temperature to allow for the various powders to properly dissolve.  Get the heater running and keep an eye on the thermometer until it reaches this mark.


Total Alkalinity


The first chemical test on the list is measuring and adjusting the total alkalinity.  Ensuring the alkalinity of your water is at the ideal level will allow you to adjust the ph levels (see below) properly.  The ideal total alkalinity level is between 80 to 120 ppm.  Improper total alkalinity levels will make adjusting the pH difficult as well as leading to eye and skin irritation, corroded equipment, cloudy water or scale formation.  Follow the package instructions for testing and adjusting the total alkalinity.




pH is the scale that measures the relative acidity or basicity of the water.  Numbers lower than 7 on the pH scale represent an acidic solution while numbers higher than 7 represent a basic solution.  Ideally the pH of your hot tub water will be between 7.2 and 7.6 - slightly basic.  Take your water sample while the tub is not running from the middle of the water column.  If water is too acidic or basic, add the proper amount of pH Up or pH Down until the level is correct. Allow the water to filter for a half hour before testing again.  Improper pH levels can cause eye and skin irritation, damage your equipment and promote cloudy water or scale formation, so take this step seriously.


Cleaning Chemicals


You’ll also need to add a water clarifier to prevent scum build up caused by body oils, soap residue and cosmetics.  These are usually biodegradable, enzyme based products that clear the water, reduce odours and stop the filter from getting plugged up.   You’ll also want to add a stain and scale control product that will suspend and inactivate minerals in the water that cause scale and stain formation.  Follow the directions on the packages of these products when adding to the hot tub water.


Water Sanitizing


The main thing to remember when sanitizing the water is to never use bromine and chlorine solutions together.  Bromine sanitizing is available in a 2 step method or in a single step tablet system.  The chlorine method involves a granular powder that you add to the water.  Whatever method used, you should test the water frequently after application to ensure that the proper levels are maintained.  When first starting out it’s best to test the water daily until you begin getting consistently balanced readings.


To find out more about hot tub maintenance, download a hot tub buyer’s guide.

Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.