Every hot tub owner, no matter how diligently they maintain their hot tub, will ultimately experience foamy water at one point or another. Unfortunately, foamy water is one of the most difficult water quality issues to adequately treat and prevent.
In this post, we’ll look at the numerous reasons for foamy water and how to diagnose, treat, and prevent it from happening again. However, let’s first take a quick look at the reasons why water foams in the first place.
Why Does Water Foam?
When water, air, and surfactants — substances that lower surface tension between a liquid and a gas — clash, hot tub foam forms. The more surfactants and air in the hot tub, the more bubbles you’ll get and the longer they’ll last. Eventually, the bubbles will group together, resulting in foam accumulation.
Foam can take several distinct shapes. It might have a soapy appearance that covers the top of the water, or it can be foggy, rendering the water’s surface a murky white.
What Are The Common Causes Of Foamy Hot Tub Water?
The main reason foamy hot tub water is so difficult to fix is that no matter how hard you try, there will always be some amount of surfactants and oils in your hot tub’s water. The goal is to keep the amount of each below the level where it can cause foam formation.
Oils and surfactants can accumulate in hot tub water for a variety of reasons, each of which necessitates a particular treatment. The good news is that foamy hot tub water is easily treated if you know what’s causing it. The following are the most typical causes:
- Soaps and Detergents
- Oils, Deodorants, and Lotions
- Makeup and Beauty Products
- PoorWater Balance
- Food and Drinks
- Frequent Use
- Low Calcium Hardness
- Biofilm Build-Up
Soap residue in your swimsuit, as well as fabric softener, body lotion, hair products, skin oil, and cosmetics, can all contribute to foamy water.
Foamy water caused by soap residues and beauty products can be remedied by using a scum digester, such as the ecoTUB Scum Buster. Using an oxidizing shock after each usage and a floating oil absorber, such as a Zorbo, can also assist in avoiding foam in the hot tub.
Poor Water Balance
Imbalanced water can produce a variety of problems, ranging from green to stinky to foamy hot tub water.
You can avoid foaming caused by high pH by using a pH & Alkalinity Decreaser. To raise a low pH, use Alkalinity Up pH & TA Increaser. To keep your hot tub in good working order, test the water once a week.
Food and Drinks
Crumbs and spills will disrupt your water balance if you snack or drink while in the hot tub. To avoid unnecessary contamination, keep beverages and food away from your spa.
If you use your hot tub frequently, you may be causing the foam to form. When you soak in your hot tub, you expel dead skin cells and oil from your skin. Both can upset the water balance in your spa.
Low Calcium Hardness
Low calcium levels, in addition to being harmful to equipment, can reduce surface tension in the water and allow for excessive sudsing.
To avoid this problem, check and maintain the calcium hardness level in your hot tub once a week with hardness test strips. A calcium hardness booster should be used if the level is low.
Biofilm is described as any group of bacteria and other microorganisms that adhere to a surface in regular contact with water. If not treated, the biofilm will eventually adhere to the surfaces of the hot tub, most notably the plumbing. Then it will create a protective layer of slime and begin to grow.
This protective layer is extremely difficult to treat using sanitizers such as chlorine or bromine. As the biofilm grows, it consumes more and more of your sanitizer, leaving less and less to break down surfactants and other things that cause the water to foam.
Diagnose Foamy Hot Tub Water
With so many potential reasons for foamy hot tub water, treatment might be difficult. The key to effective treatment is determining the source of the foam. Start by having your water tested by a professional. If your water is out of balance, there is a significant likelihood that your problem is caused in part by poor water balance.
If your water balance is fine but your sanitizer levels are low, the problem could be related to biofilm formation. Add more sanitizer and retest your water the following day. If the sanitizer level drops again, the hot tub most likely has a biofilm buildup.
How To Eliminate The Foam
The answer is simple: hot tub chemicals. After testing your water to see what it is deficient in or overflowing with.
Occasionally, a little extra bromine or chlorine will do the work. If necessary, employ the required chemicals to raise or lower the pH of your spa. Always clean your hot tub filter to guarantee that all impurities are removed. Failure to do so may prevent the newly introduced compounds from performing their functions.
If the water in your tub has not cleared within 24 hours, it is important to drain, clean, and rinse it. Using a hose filter when refilling your tub can help to eliminate water pollutants. Once the water has been replaced, test it, add the appropriate chemicals, and let it circulate for at least 24 hours before retesting. You can resume using your spa once you have received a positive test result.
A Word of Caution Regarding Low-Cost Chemicals
We all want to save money, but sometimes the savings aren’t worth it. This is especially true with low-cost hot tub chemicals. They may not be as effective or concentrated as more expensive solutions, requiring you to use more to keep your hot tub clean. That implies you’ll need to buy more. Then you use even more. It’s a never-ending circle.
Worse, such low-cost compounds may potentially promote surfactant buildup and a variety of other water chemistry issues. That means spending more money on remedial treatments, spending more time cleaning your hot tub, and spending less time enjoying it.
Good hot tub chemicals are an investment, not a splurge. Get the best you can afford and save yourself the trouble. After all, the purpose of a hot tub is to relax.
How To Drain, Clean, And Refill Your Hot Tub
The Basics Of Draining Your Hot Tub
Use a line flush product according to the package guidelines.
Take out the filters. You can either clean or replace them, depending on how unclean they are. If you’re unsure, it’s safest to just replace. Turn off your hot tub’s power, disconnect anything electrical, and trip the breaker. Use a sump pump or the drain plug to drain your hot tub.
Steps To Cleaning And Refilling Your Hot Tub
Once your hot tub has been completely drained, clean the interior with a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water. Or you can just use hot tub cleaner.
Wipe it all down and thoroughly rinse the inside of your hot tub.
Make sure that all traces of the cleaner are removed. Otherwise, you’ll have foamy water again. Now you can fill up your hot tub again. To prevent chemical impurities, we recommend using a hose filter fitted to your garden hose.
After draining, cleaning, and refilling your hot tub, test the water, add chemicals, and let it circulate for at least a day. After the water has been circulated, test it again to ensure it is ready for soaking.
How To Prevent Foamy Hot Tub Water
The simplest technique to keep your hot tub water from foaming is to decrease the amount of oils, lotions, and soaps you use in it. The simplest way to accomplish this is to take a quick shower before entering the hot tub to remove any skincare, makeup, deodorant, or other personal care products that you may have on your skin.
You may also significantly minimize the amount of laundry detergent and fabric softener introduced into the water by washing your bathing suits separately with less detergent and giving them an extra rinse cycle before drying.
If you already do these things, consider using an enzyme-based chemical. Enzymes naturally break down non-living organic contaminants such as body oils, cosmetics, and suntan lotions and are therefore another great way to reduce the buildup of oils and surfactants.
No matter how hard you try though, surfactants will slowly build up in the water. If your hot tub water is almost ready to change and starting to get a little foamy, regularly adding a small amount of anti-foaming chemicals to the water weekly can help eliminate the foam until it is time to refill the hot tub.
Opening the cover of your hot tub will also help prevent foamy water since it allows the water to breathe and introduces oxygen. Consider a swimming pool, in which the water is constantly exposed to fresh air and sunlight. This helps to maintain your swimming pool water clean and clear, and your hot tub will appreciate it as well.
Regularly draining and cleaning your hot tub will also help prevent foamy water. TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) accumulate in the water of your hot tub over time. To help preserve crystal clear hot tub water, change the water in your hot tub every 3-4 months.
Purchase a Hot Tub with a technologically advanced filtration system. When you are Hot Tub shopping, it is sometimes easy to get caught up with bells and whistles, things that look cool, but are not important in the day-to-day use of a hot tub. Just remember that the filtration system on a hot tub is one of the most important factors in preventing foamy hot tub water.
Waking up to a foamy spa may feel like a nightmare, but removing foam from a hot tub is a rather straightforward process. Preventing foam in the future will be simple if you have a clean hot tub and freshwater.
Just bear in mind to avoid adding anything that may cause your sanitizing chemicals to work overtime and to maintain a regular maintenance routine. These simple procedures will allow you to spend more time resting in your foam-free hot tub.