If you’re one of the lucky owners of both a hot tub and swimming pool, a quick glance at the labels on your chemicals may have you asking yourself why you can’t use them interchangeably. After all, the contents of each are almost identical. If you find yourself in a pinch, and need to treat your spa, but only have pool chemicals on hand, what can it hurt? Are chemicals for pools and hot tubs the same? The answer to this question, for several reasons which we’ll explain, is no. While it may be tempting to just give it a try, trust us on this. The effects this will have on bathers and equipment is not worth the seemingly quick fix. Here are some reasons that these chemicals should be used for what they are intended.

 

3 vs. 300 – Size Does Matter

An average hot tub holds 3 people, while a swimming pool can hold 300 bathers. The difference in the amount of water each holds translates into the difference of chemical dilution each requires. While the components of the chemicals are very similar, if you take a closer look at the ingredient list, you’ll quickly notice the concentrations are very different. Because of this, if you try to add your pool chemicals to your hot tub, your water chemistry levels will become completely erratic. On the other hand, you could add every drop of your hot tub chemicals to your swimming pool, and your pH levels may not change a bit. 

Hot vs. Cold – Temperature Changes the Game

Recommended temperatures for a swimming pool max out at 85 degrees, while hot tubs range anywhere from 90 to 104 degrees. Because of the water temperature difference, pools and hot tubs face different challenges that chemicals must address. A hot tub’s steamy water is a perfect place for bacteria to grow, which makes sanitizer one of the key components of the chemical makeup needed for a hot tub. The higher temperatures also cause chemical reactions to happen much more quickly and vigorously. That’s why adding heavily concentrated swimming pool chemicals to your small hot tub is dangerous for the bathers, as well as your hot tub. 

Turbulent vs. Still Waters – Stirring Up Commotion

While pools and hot tubs both have jets that create circulation, hot tubs have more jets per square foot. Part of the hot tub experience is the jets’ constant circulation of water, bubbling with steam and delivering relaxing massages. Pool jets also provide circulation, ensuring the water isn’t completely stagnant, but they are not something you even notice are running unless you’re right beside them. The way hot tubs stir up water means it also stirs up chemicals rapidly. Adding heavily concentrated pool chemicals to a hot tub will quickly cause a dangerous imbalance. The constant water motion in hot tubs also increases evaporation. As the spa loses water, the chemical reactions increase vigorously.

 

As you can see, the differences in hot tubs and swimming pools require a difference in chemical treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about treating your pool or spa, we are here to walk you through the process. In fact, you can take that chore off your list, and allow us to do your weekly or monthly maintenance. Our custom pool design for all budgets often includes built-in spas or hot tubs, and we know our way around treatment options. At Pool Stop, we are here for any pool needs you have!