Has your hot tub water turned a strange and eerie color and you arent sure what happened? From time to time it can happen, due to the hardness of the water that you are using, due to a chemical reaction or bacteria forming. Below is a quick list of some common water color changing problems that you might encounter and what causes them!
Clear or Cloudy Green
Green water is normally caused by one of three things such as not enough sanitizer, too much sanitizer or metals that are present in the water. If the chlorine level is not registering and the water is cloudy, it is more than likely a bacteria issue. In order to get rid of the bacteria in the water, you will need to put additional chlorine in the hot tub (sometimes up to 3-4 oz at a time) to kill everything off before the water will clear up. If the chlorine level is high, the water will usually be clear with a slight green tint. This green tint would indicate that there are metals present in the water.
In the Midwest, especially Council Bluffs, Omaha and surrounding towns, there are a lot of metals present in our water system. A lot of homeowners are also on well water, which has an even high metal content than city water does. It is recommended to always add a metal control to the water at the beginning of each new tub fill to prevent the discoloration in the water and to prevent build up that may occur if left untreated. If there has not been enough of this product added to the water this could be the cause of the discoloration in the hot tub. It is recommended in the Omaha area that you use between 16-32 oz of metal control initially once the spa has been refilled. This is the first product that goes into the water after refilling and then you will wait 24 hrs to add any additional chemicals. This allows the protectant enough time to coat the metals that are in the water, to prevent any further issues.
Orange or Brown
This will only occur in the presents of a large amount of metals such as rust, copper and iron. If the water is discolored straight out of the hose or if you know your water source has extremely high metal content, it is recommended to use a pre-filter that hooks onto the end of your garden hose when filling. This will collect a lot of the metals in the pre-filter prior to them entering the hot tub. This can eliminate a lot of the color turning issues.
If the water was clear to start with and only turned orange or brown after adding chemicals, this indicates that there is not enough metal protectant present in the water. This reaction only occurs when the metals mix with the sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) and oxidizes the metals in the water, which causes them to fall out of suspension and into their normal color and environment. To fix this problem once it has already occurred, you will need to allow the filters to pull out the metals in the water. Add additional metal control to compensate for the additional metals that are present. It’s also important to add a water clarifier to aid the filter to be able to pull out the fine particles in the water more efficiently. It may take a few days to get the water to turn around and you may need to rinse the filter (and or replace after it’s all out), but the water can usually be recovered. It’s important to not add any additional sanitizer or shocking agents until the water is back clear, to prevent any further oxidizing of the water until the metals are under control.
If the water is cloudy it is always an indication that you have a bacteria issue going on. Refrain from soaking the hot tub until the water has become crystal clear again, with no haze or fogginess to it and once a good chlorine and pH level have been re-established. Keep in mind that the water should never go cloudy if you are staying on top of things!