What’s The Best Hot Tub Water Care System?
When shopping for a hot tub, you will find that many hot tub manufacturers offer a variety of water care options so that you can choose the system that fits your routine and budget. If you don’t know much about hot tub water care, this aspect of hot tub ownership can start to feel overwhelming. It’s actually much simpler than you think. Let us break down the three main approaches to water care for you here.
Three Approaches to Hot Tub Water Care
Traditional Spa Water Care:
Traditional spa water care is the most manual approach, and also the least expensive.
Traditional care requires the spa owner to manually add an approved sanitizer to the spa once a week and before each use. We recommend purchasing these chemicals from an authorized hot tub dealer to ensure you are getting the highest quality products and are only using products that are approved for that spa. How much effort is required by the spa owner depends on how frequently the hot tub is used. With typical hot tub use, you should check the spa water with a test strip each time you use the spa. Your hot tub dealer can help you select the products you’ll need to keep your spa water clean.
With traditional spa water care you will typically use one of two sanitizers – Chlorine or Bromine. These are the primary actors for killing bacteria and viruses as well as preventing algae growth. Chlorine levels should stay between 3 and 5 parts per million. DO NOT use tri-chlor chlorine, any type of compressed bromine or chlorine, acid or any type of sanitizer which is not recommended specifically for your spa.
Ozone with MPS and Silver Ions:
Ozone with MPS and Silver Ions is slightly more expensive than traditional water care. While still a fairly manual process, it requires a little less interaction from the spa owner than traditional water care. The main benefit is crystal clear spa water with very little chlorine needed.
Once considered a significant innovation, this approach has since become the industry standard for hot tub water care. This system combines powerful oxidizers – ozone and MPS – with silver ions to decrease the need for chlorine. Some hot tubs come with an ozone unit as a standard feature, while others offer ozone as an upgrade. The ozone unit, once installed, continually releases tiny ozone bubbles into the water. The silver ion cartridge is then installed in the filter standpipe and automatically release silver ions into the water that inhibit the growth of bacteria. The spa owner is required to manually add MPS to the spa with each use, and a small amount of chlorine once a week. The silver ion cartridge should be replaced every three months, and the ozone unit will need to be replaced every 4-5 years.
Salt Water Systems:
Typically the most expensive option, salt water systems automatically generate the sanitizer needed, making water care much more hands-free. Depending on the type of salt system you choose, there are a number of other added benefits to consider – including better-feeling and longer-lasting spa water.
These systems have been an option for pool water care for decades, but salt systems for hot tubs have only become popular in recent years. In any salt system, an electrode cell transfers energy to the water to convert salt into a sanitizer. There are three different types of salt systems available: graphite electrode systems typically used to generate bromine sanitizer; a titanium electrode system, which is most commonly used in pools and is now an option for hot tubs as well; and the exclusive ACE® salt water system from Hot Spring® Spas that uses a patented diamond electrode.
When using a salt water system, the hot tub owner still needs to balance the spa water and dip a test strip to determine how often the system should run. The electrode cell will create the sanitizer automatically so the spa owner spends much less time manually dosing the spa. The cell will need to be replaced at regular intervals, which vary depending on the type of system you have.
ACE® salt water system is unique in that it cleans spa water differently than any other salt system– and as a result spa water feels softer, silkier and gentler on your skin. The ACE system’s patented diamond electrode results in the creation of a powerful cleaning agent – active oxygen – that no other spa water care system can produce. The active oxygen scrubs the water clean of impurities, and then combines with salt and water to create a low level of chlorine. With the ACE system you add fewer chemicals to the water, yet contaminants are broken down completely – which means the water not only looks great, it feels and smells great too. Because so few chemicals are added to the water, the spa needs to be drained and cleaned far less frequently and spa water lasts longer, up to 12 months with proper care.
Your local hot tub dealer should be an expert in spa water care; they can walk you through the process of starting up your spa and explain what you need to do to keep your spa water sparkling clean. As with most things in life, you can choose the tried and true traditional approach, or upgrade to a more advanced option designed to make your life a little bit easier and your spa experience a little bit better.