For the past week or so, I’ve been in a battle to the death.
Despite all our hot tub’s chemical being within normal levels, there was a moldy-gym-sock smell that hit me every time I lifted the lid. The previous week, the water had been a little green, so I zapped it with ‘Algae Kill’ and it cleared up in no time. But now, a week later, its a fight to keep it clear.
It took me a few weeks, in the summer, to learn how to keep everything balanced in the hot tub. Apparently, I need to re-learn those skill for the winter. What I understand had happened, was that although I’d killed the algae in the water, the steam carried a bit of that “infected” water up onto the lid, where the algae started re-growing. When the tub cooled, that water would drip back in, and re-infect the larger body of water all over again.
The other night I spent the better part of an hour (in the cold) gently, but firmly, scrubbing the lid, first with an eco-friendly general cleaner, then with some diluted Algae Kill. Everything smelled great when I closed the lid that night, but by the morning, the sock smell was back.
Finally I called in some help. We, fairly randomly, found the shop that sold the previous home owners the tub almost 5 years ago, and the lady who owns it is very knowledgeable. Apparently, in the winter, pH level is very important. And its better to keep the pH slightly lower than recommended. Although our pH had only just slipped into the “high” range — never a problem in the summer — we needed to have it a lot lower for the cold weather.
In the winter, its significantly harder to dump the water and start again from scratch (which I had to do once over the summer, while I was learning) — especially given that our hose is frozen solid. So I was eager to try the advice. Sure enough, bringing the pH down significantly had an immediate effect on the algae smell. There’s now something of a battle to keep the Alkalinity level in the norms, with the pH lower than usual, but I’m winning my chemical war now.
Between this, and a slight back injury recently, I haven’t been able to enjoy our hot tub much lately. But I’m hoping that within a day or two the water will be back up to its normal, sparkling clean, and I can hop in and relax again…
We’ve found that while some of our friends love hot tubbing, others are not big ‘tubbers. So maybe this information isn’t universally important, but for those that might need to know: keep your pH down in the winter!