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Heating Up The Hot Tub: Calcium

Aquachek Silver 7-in-1 Test StripsPractically everyone has heard of calcium, the chemical element that's the fifth-most-abundant element in the Earth's crust. This alkaline earth metal is also quite abundant in seawater, and is essential for most life, being found in animal teeth, bones and shells.

In animals, absorbing too much or too little calcium can be harmful. Your body needs the perfect amount. Calcium in hot tub water works the same way. If there's too much calcium in the spa, scaling and calcium build up will occur, and the water will become cloudy. If too little calcium is present in the water, the water itself can start to become corrosive, damaging pipes, etching plaster and fading surfaces while causing the water itself to foam.

While too much or too little calcium in spa or hot tub water is a rare problem, it can happen. How do you determine what is the calcium level in your hot tub water? For most spa or hot tub owners they find out when they start having problems. Both scaling and flaking of calcium occurs due to hard water, or surfaces start to fade as the calcium corrodes the metal.

If you wish to test your water for the level of calcium (sometimes called the level of "total hardness"), try the Aquacheck Silver 7 in 1 Test Strip Kit, which also tests for chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity and cyanuric acid. The Aquachek Silver 7 in 1 Test Strips are pictured above right as an example; view the Aquachek Silver 7 in 1 Test Strips here.

Calcium BoosterAccording to these test strips, the proper "total hardness" is between 250 and 500 ppm (parts per million). Like we mentioned above, an abnormal calcium level is quite rare, so chances are you will never have to deal with this problem. But what do you do if you test your hot tub or spa water and your calcium levels are too high or too low? Well Family Leisure offers two products to help with calcium: Calcium Booster and Defender.

Calcium Booster by Leisure Time

The first product is Calcium Booster from Leisure Time which, like the name implies, will boost your calcium levels if they are too low. A bottle of Calcium Booster by Leisure Time is pictured left as an example; view Calcium Booster by Leisure Time here.

Each bottle contains one quart (32 ounces) of concentrated calcium boosting power. One ounce of Calcium Booster will raise the calcium hardness seven ppm (parts per million) in every 500 gallons of water.

If you discover the calcium levels are too low in your water, either through a spa tech, personal observation or by using the above mentioned test strips, you can use Calcium Booster to fix the problem. First, use a Test Strip to gauge the exact calcium level and total water hardness. Hach indicates that the ideal hardness level (or calcium level) for spas and hot tubs is 250 and 500 ppm.

Measure out the amount of Calcium Booster that will be needed to bring the calcium level back up to the range mentioned above. Remember that one ounce of calcium booster will raise the calcium hardness seven ppm for every 500 gallons of water.

After you have measured the appropriate amount of Calcium Booster, turn on the hot tub jets and let them run for a minute or two. Now pour the measured amount of Calcium Booster into the water, and let the filter run for two hours. Retest the water; if the calcium is not at the appropriate levels, repeat the process until you have achieved success. And just in case you were worried, Calcium Booster will work with standard spa chemicals such as chlorine, bromine and more.

Spa Defender by Leisure TimeSpa Defender by Leisure Time

If you have too much calcium in your hot tub water, eventually you will notice. Scaling and flaking with occur on surfaces, very similar to the problems created by hard water issues in your home's sinks, showers and tubs. If you are familiar with this problem, you know the scales of calcium are not fun to remove, typically requiring the help of strong calcium cleaners such as CLR and a lot of elbow grease.

Spa Defender from Leisure Time (pictured right; view Spa Defender from Leisure Time here) will help you decrease the problem of too much calcium in your water. But typically this problem isn't a filter issue or overall hot tub issue. It typically indicates there is a problem with the water source, such as your well water or city pipes.

Spa Defender comes in a 32 ounce bottle and is several organic polymers blended together to fight calcium and prevent scale build up. This product will not foam, and is designed to be used with other spa chemicals, such as chlorine.

But remember that Spa Defender does not remove calcium from your water; it only neutralizes it, making it impossible for the calcium to scale and stick to surfaces. In order to address the larger issue of hard water, typically you will have to address the water source, either through filtering the water before you place it in the pool, or changing the water source all together.

Application of this product is quite easy and simple. To use Spa Defender, apply two ounces for any spa or hot tub that holds 800 gallons of water. For hot tub or spas with more than 800 gallons, add four ounces. Let the spa run for one hour or so. This will neutralize the calcium, making the water more inviting (if it's cloudy) and preventing scale build up.

Remember that Spa Defender only neutralizes the calcium; you will still have to address the source of the extra calcium. And remember that Family Leisure offers all of the Spa and Hot Tub Supplies you will need to maintain your hydrotherapy water source at the very best prices with Free Nationwide Shipping; view All Family Leisure Spa and Hot Tub Supplies here.

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