Spa care guide

Our simple 1, 2, 3 system makes do-it-yourself spa care simple and easy.
  • For help with a specific question, you can call our free helpline at 1-800-SOS-POOL (767-7665)

Step 1: Balance

You need to maintain your spa water pH levels and total alkalinity for the comfort and safety of users, and for the other spa products to work properly. You can use the  Three-Way Test Kit and Four-Way Test Strips to measure pH, or our Four-Way Test Strips or  Five-Way Test Kit to test both pH and total alkalinity. The ideal pH for spa water is between 7.2 and 7.6. Total alkalinity acts as a buffer to stabilize the water pH, so it is best to adjust total alkalinity after first adjusting pH. The ideal spa range for total alkalinity is 80-120 parts per million (ppm). The following products can help:
  • pH Plus to correct pH and/or below the ideal range
  • pH Minus to correct total alkalinity and/or pH above the ideal range
If the pH is lower than 7.2, the water could e your spa equipment and/or irritate your eyes and skin. Low pH needs to be raised immediately; be sure NOT TO USE the spa until this is corrected. A pH of more than 7.8 could result in deposits of calcium or scale on spa walls and should be reduced to help prevent buildups. You can continue to use your spa while the pH level is elevated. A TIP: pH reducers are most effective when you add them in small doses to prevent adjusting the pH below 7.

Step 2: Chlorinate

Sanitizing is a critical part of keeping your spa free from algae and bacterial growth. Sanitizer levels should be tested several times a week to maintain the proper range, even when the spa is not in use. The two best choices for spa sanitizing are chlorine granules and bromine tablets. Chlorine Chlorine is economical and fast acting, but is easily destroyed by heat and can produce chlorine odor when not used properly. Fast-dissolving All-in-One Chlorinating Granules are ideal for disinfecting your spa and is the recommended sanitizer for frequently used spas.  When first starting up your spa, use All-in-One Chlorinating Granules or Liquid Shock to shock the water to a level reading of 5 to 10 ppm. For regular spa use, add enough chlorine to get a 3 ppm reading, run the pump for five minutes and then test the water. Chlorine is not resistant to heat, so it is best to treat your spa water before and after each use. Note: Our 1-inch and 3-inch chlorinating tablets are NOT recommended for use in spas. Bromine Bromine is slow-released, but it is more resistant to heat and odor production than chlorine. Brominating Tablets are a convenient and effective source of disinfectant for your spa and recommended for spas that are used only 1-2 times a week. These slow-dissolving tablets are designed to be used in an erosion floater. The bromine residual should be maintained between 2 and 4 ppm at all times for optimum sanitation. Note: Bromine above the recommended range can interfere with pH testing and produce false high readings when using a testing kit. Testing right after a spa has been used is best because bromine levels are typically lower and this is the best time to be accurate with pH testing. Ozone generators Many spas include ozone generators, a newer technology in the industry, to help disinfect water. Although ozone can be an effective sanitizer, it is highly reactive and decomposes quickly. As a result, ozone alone cannot provide residual sanitation for your spa and most manufacturers recommend the use of a chemical sanitizer to provide a residual. For spas equipped with an ozone generator, the chlorine level should be .5 to 1.5 ppm or the bromine level should be 1 to 3 ppm. All Kem-Tek spa care products can be used in spas with ozonator equipment.

Step 3: Shock

To prevent organic waste or cloudy water build-up, you should shock your spa every 7 to 10 days depending on the level of use. Shocking also protects your spa from the growth of algae and bacteria. Shocking at the end of the day is best, right after spa use. As contaminants enter the water, they will react with the sanitizer to form chloramines or bromamines. To find the chloramines in your water, take the total chlorine level minus the free chlorine. Chloramines are the most common source of spa water problems such as eye and skin irritation or unpleasant odors. By using All-in-One Chlorinating Granules or Liquid Shock, you can eliminate chloramines (bromine sanitizers dissolve too slowly to perform this function). To properly shock the water, add enough product to raise the chlorine level to 5 to 10 ppm for each ppm of chloramine (total chlorine minus free chlorine equals chloramine). Note: Do not allow anyone into the spa after shocking until the chlorine level is below 3 ppm of chlorine or 5 ppm of bromine.

Spa care specialty products

Algae prevention and treatment Use a Kem-Tek algaecide in combination with bromine, chlorine and shock treatments to prevent algae and bacteria in your spa. Clarifying and cleaning Kem-Tek has specialized products such as Stain and Scale Inhibitor, Water Clarifier, and Foam Inhibitor to keep your spa water crystal clear and sparkling clean.