What Hot Tub Chemicals Do I Need to Keep on Hand?

checking hot tub
Have you ever gone to use your hot tub and discovered the water to be cloudy, foamy, or otherwise not fit to soak in? Now, that is a disappointing situation for sure. It’s no fun to have to head out to your local pool and spa supply store for a remedy when all you want to do is take a nice, long soak. This situation could be avoided with some advance preparation. If you are wondering “what hot tub chemicals do I need to keep on hand?”, we have some suggestions for the basic supplies you may want to keep in your chemical storage area.

Test Strips

Your first order of business is to have a set of test strips or a test kit on hand. In order to know what chemicals to add to your hot tub, you need a chemical reading to see what may be out of balance. The results of your water testing will tell you what you need to add to the water to set things right. Ideally, you are in the habit of testing your water regularly to keep things from getting out of hand. Fronheiser Pools offers an online guide of recommended spa care parameters that you may find helpful.

Alkalinity and pH Balance

Getting the alkalinity and pH balance in your spa correct is a matter of tinkering. You may have to test, add what you think is right, then test again and make adjustments. At first, you may feel like you are in chemistry class again, but it gets easier over time. The alkaline level indicates the level of carbonates and bicarbonates in the water. If the alkaline level is out of whack, it will de-stabilize the pH. Make any alkalinity adjustments depending on your test results. If the alkalinity is too low, the water will become acidic. Keep an alkalinity increaser on hand always. If the alkalinity is too high, you will need to add a pH decreaser, which will lower both the pH and alkaline levels. pH measures how acidic (low) or basic (high) your water is. Too low and your sanitizer won’t work effectively. Too high and you will see cloudy water. Fortunately, there are products that are pH decreasers and pH increasers that can help you get things “just right,” as Goldilocks said. You would be wise to keep both of these products on hand as well.

Calcium Hardness

The level of calcium hardness in your spa water is important. If the water is too soft, it can break down your spa shell, pipes, and other equipment over time. Keeping a container of calcium hardness increaser on hand is a good idea.


Finally, we get to the big guns. Your spa sanitizer is the main product that keeps your hot tub water clean and free of bacteria. Whether your sanitizer of choice is chlorine, bromine, biguanide, or a salt system, this is a basic item you will have in good supply always. Know what the correct sanitizer level should be, and keep it there to prevent algae and bacteria.


Every now and then every hot tub needs a super dose of sanitizer, or “shock.” Many people do this on a weekly basis. If you see any sign of algae or cloudy water, give your hot tub a shock treatment. Keep a supply of this and use it regularly, especially after your spa has heavy use.


Occasionally a situation may arise that calls for a spa product that you don’t have on hand. There are additional supplies that you may want to consider adding to your arsenal. A de-foaming product, a spa filter cartridge cleaner, or an oxidizing agent may be recommended. Fronheiser Pools carries a great selection of Leisure Time spa products, which are known for their quality and effectiveness. Still wondering, “What hot tub chemicals do I need to keep on hand?” Our professional staff is available at our Sinking Spring and Bally locations to answer all your questions regarding spa maintenance products. We even do water testing! Stop in anytime to see how professional-grade chemicals make all the difference in your spa maintenance plan.
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Fronheiser Pools

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