Can you go in hot tub if chlorine is too high? Having a hot tub can be an awesome thing. Soaking whenever you want, loosening up from the tough day behind you, or simply spending time with friends and family — a hot tub can do it all.
But there is more to it than simply going for a soak from time to time. You also have to keep your hot tub clean. When you don’t properly clean your hot tub, it can become contaminated with dirt and bacteria, making the water look cloudy and gross.
So, keeping it clean becomes one of the most important things that you can do for your hot tub. Most of the time, that means “shocking” the water with chlorine.
The chlorine works to kill all of the bacteria in the water, keeping it clean to use. But it is possible to use more chlorine than is recommended, which is not something that you want to do.
Is it Safe to Go in a Hot Tub with High Chlorine?
The short answer is “no.” When chlorine levels get to be above three parts per million on the test strip, there can be several negative consequences. Itchy skin, red skin and eyes, and even respiratory issues are all possible.
When levels get above the 5 ppm range, it can even lead to chlorine poisoning. Chlorine poisoning typically entails nausea, vomiting, and even difficulty breathing. That is why it is so important to keep your hot tub’s water balanced with the right chemistry.
Chlorine and bromine are the two chemicals most commonly used in keeping a hot tub clean. When they are used correctly, unwanted disease and bacteria that can fester in the water are cleaned away in short order.
But when those levels are too high, they can become physically hazardous for people and even cause damage to the hot tub itself. Do not get into a hot tub if you are uncertain about the level of chlorine within.
Make sure that you use a test strip to test out the levels of chlorine within the hot tub first. The test strips can give you a sure and effective way of determining the chemical balance within your hot tub’s water.
How to Use the Test Strips
To use one of these test strips, take a small sample of the hot tub water with a glass or plastic container. Try to get water from the center of the hot tub and get your sample at about elbow depth.
This ensures that you are not getting a greater level of contaminated water. The edges can be where bacteria can pool up. You don’t have to do this, of course. You can dip the test strip in the water if you want.
It should still give you an accurate idea about the chemical balance of the water. The test strip should have different colors for each of the categories.
It will also come with a guide that tells you what each category is and how contaminated the water is. Test strips generally check for basic things such as your bromine/chlorine levels, alkalinity, and pH levels.
Depending on the brand of test strip that you get, they may also test for things such as calcium levels, water hardness, and more.
Remember that going into a hot tub with excess chlorine or bromine can have serious negative impacts on your skin and eyes. Don’t just go in without knowing more about the water first.
A hot tub is essentially a chemical bath. You don’t want the chemicals to be at unhealthy levels when you could be relaxing instead.
The average hot tub chlorine level should be anywhere between one and three parts per million. For bromine, it can be a little higher than chlorine in the 2 to 6 ppm range.
Can Too Much Chlorine Damage Hot Tub?
It is bad enough that high levels of chlorine can impact our bodies. But did you know that they can have a negative impact on your hot tub as well?
It would be bad enough to get sick from the chlorine; you don’t want your hot tub getting damaged as well. Chlorine and bromine at an effective level can kill off bacteria.
But when those levels are too high, it can actually degrade the surfaces of the hot tub far more quickly. If that weren’t enough, filters, water pillows, and other surfaces can be negatively impacted by higher levels of chlorine within the water.
Both chlorine and bromine are strong chemical compounds. Chlorine tends to be a bit worse than its counterpart, though.
Additionally, the equipment within your hot tub can be damaged by prolonged exposure to high bromine or chlorine levels. The lining, pipes, and other pieces of equipment can become damaged and degraded over time.
How to Lower the Levels of Chlorine
So, let’s say that your chlorine or bromine levels are a bit too high for use. How do you get them back down to a safe level again? Well for starters, you will probably smell chlorine.
That will indicate that you have too much chlorine in the water to begin with. But the true way to know is to test it with a strip. There are times where you may not even smell an abundance of chlorine within the water, so don’t assume.
The test strip will tell you whether the levels are fine or they need to be reduced. Give your test strip about 30 minutes or so before getting in.
The bad part is that you can’t really do a lot to expedite the solution if you should have levels that are too high. The chlorine needs to dissipate to sufficient levels before you can use it again.
Turning the jets on helps to get the water circulating, better absorbing the chemical. You can also leave the cover off while in the sun.
Sunlight breaks down and destroys the chlorine quickly while having the lid off allows it to dissipate more quickly. But the quickest method for getting the chlorine levels reduced is to simply remove the water from the tub.
Replacing it with fresh water will almost certainly take the chlorine levels in the tub below the needed mark, meaning you can add in the proper amount soon thereafter.
Just be aware that high levels of chlorine can do damage to the dirt and grass. If you can route it through a hose and out to a safer area, that is recommended.
Then you can add in the recommended amount of chlorine or bromine and use your hot tub again in short order. Finally, you can dilute the water when there is too much bromine or chlorine.
Just grab a bucket and remove some of the water. A bucket or two might be enough to start. When you take out the old water, replace it with fresh water.
If you are trying to use your hot tub in short order, this may be the best method. Of course, you will have to test the water again, so maybe take out a little more before you test it.
If you don’t want to try this method, just wait a few hours and test it again. The levels may have come down enough that you can use it safely.
What Side Effects Are There From Too Much Chlorine?
When you get into a hot tub that has high chlorine levels, it is rarely a pleasant experience. For the most part, you are looking at red, irritated skin and eyes. In more exaggerated cases, you could be looking at respiratory issues.
That said, you should never ever get into a tub that has chlorine levels above 5 ppm. That is a dangerous level of chlorine.
If you get in and soak in a tub that has levels that high and don’t notice the side effects right away, you may develop what is known as chlorine poisoning. The symptoms are definitely not fun.
They include nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and even a burning sensation in your throat, eyes, and on the skin. Generally speaking, most of the symptoms will go away on their own after a day or two.
If you have an extreme form of chlorine poisoning, seeing a professional healthcare provider may be the best option. It is always better to skew on the side of safety when it comes to issues like this.
Hello, my name is David Zal and I’m a plumber with more than 20 years of experience based in Englewood (Florida). I like to teach normal people how to make easy fixes in their homes. I believe that a lot can be achieved just with DYI and that’s why I started this blog.