Ozone is used in spas and hot tubs for sanitation and disinfection purposes. It’s widely known to be the world’s most powerful sanitizer, and when combined with good filtration, can almost provide all of your spa sanitation needs.
But alas – ozone is not a stand-alone sanitizer. Many people with an aversion to chlorine or bromine supplement their spa ozonator with a mineral purifier and non-chlorine shocking. You can also use ozone with about half of the bromine or chlorine normally required.
Ozone systems are fairly simple devices, and thus can be simply understood by most people, which makes troubleshooting easier. This article is about the ozonator parts that may be needed in common spa ozone repairs.
There are two types of ozonators for spas – Ultraviolet systems (UV) and Corona Discharge (CD) systems. UV systems create ozone by using an ultraviolet light bulb, which converts oxygen molecules (O2) into ozone molecules (O3).
Corona discharge ozonators create ozone by using a small electric charge through the air, which also converts O2 into O3. CD systems can outperform UV systems in ozone output by a factor of four, and with far less energy consumption.
Is My Ozonator Working?
Fair enough question – ozonators work silently with the usual exception of a small stream of champagne bubbles coming from one of the spa returns. Your unit should have an indicator light, or you may be able to smell the ozone gas if you remove the discharge hose. There is a spa ozone test available that you can use if you want to check the spa for the presence of ozone. Ozonators don’t last very long however, most UV systems need a new bulb within 2 years, and for newer CD ozonators, it can be shorter and can require a new CD chip every 12-18 months.
Which Type of Ozonator Do I Have?
Most CD ozonators tend to be boxy units, with a hose than connects to an injection fitting, or a larger injection manifold. UV ozonators tend to be long and cylindrical, housing a long UV tube bulb. They will also have a hose to inject the ozone gas from the generator unit into the water stream. UV systems can also be identified by their strange blue glow.
To buy parts for an ozonator, you’ll need to know the brand, or more specifically – the make and model. The easiest way to ID your spa ozonator, is to look closely for the label that’s on the unit. A flashlight and maybe reading glasses will be necessary.
Repair or Replace?
It’s not uncommon, with the low price of spa ozonators nowadays, for spa owners to just replace an ozonator with new, for less than $100. So consider that an option, after obtaining your ozonator make and model. Every two years or less, order the exact replacement model. Switching to a different model could require plumbing in a new mixing chamber or injection manifold, which is usually not a big job, but may require draining of the spa.
Common Spa Ozone Parts
If you do want to make your own ozonator repairs, you can save a few dollars in the process. Spa ozone problems usually boil down to either ozone production or ozone delivery. Either not enough is being made, and you need a new UV bulb or CD chip – or the air pump, air hose, check valve, or injectors have clogged or failed.
The most common spa and hot tub ozone parts fall into one of these categories.
Ozone Injection Manifolds
If the ozone bubbles cease in your spa, but when you remove the hose from the injector fitting you can smell it, you have a clogged or failed injector or manifold. Or you may have a clogged or failed check valve within the ozone hose.
Most modern spas and hot tubs will use a 3/4 inch injector, threaded on both ends, which connects to a dedicated ozone line or to the heater pipe. The internal injector can become clogged. Replacing the cap will usually fix your ozone trouble, or you can replace the entire injector assembly.
Larger inground spas or pools will use a 1.5 or 2.0 inch manifold that plumbs into the return line or a dedicated ozone line. These allow excess water pressure to bypass the ozone mixing chamber. Repairs to these larger manifolds are usually limited to replacing the injection fitting.
A diffuser is device that diffuses the ozone gas, creating smaller bubbles which allows it to come into contact with a greater number of contaminants. It’s commonly attached to the end of the ozone hose, and is most common on older, over-the-wall hot tub ozonators. Prozone and Dimension One are two ozone systems that use a diffuser
Not so common on most modern spa ozonators, but a few dimension one ozone systems use a small air pump to inject the ozone gas into the pipe. These can be external mounts, or more commonly mount inside of the ozone unit. If your bubbles quit coming, check that manual air valves are closed, which could reduce suction. Replacing an inline check valve, the small one-way flow valve within the clear ozone hose is a very common spa ozone repair.
UV Lamps & CD Chips
As mentioned above, neither of these items last for long. When the bulb quits working that can be obvious, as you no longer see the strange blue light. Most UV bulbs will last for 2-3 years. For a CD system, each CD chip is rated for a certain number of hours, so you could do the math. Running a CD system daily will usually give it an average lifespan of about 2 years. Larger ozonators using a CD electrode can be in service longer, usually around 3-5 years.
Hose and Clamps
Ozone tubing or hose will eventually dry out and deteriorate from the ozone, becoming brittle and discolored. Generally speaking, it will need replacement every year or two. In a pinch, you can use hose from Home Depot, but it won’t last as long as the manufacturer ozone hose.
Replace your clamps every few years as well to prevent them from cracking and the hose slipping off of either end. Loop and hang the hose in such a way so that it won’t crimp or bend.
A renewal kit is an ozonator repair kit, made to fit Del ozonators. They typically include hose, fittings, check valve, CD chip and hose clamps. They come with full instructions and is a rapid renewal, only taking 15-20 minutes to replace these spa parts.
If you have any questions with troubleshooting your spa ozonator or finding the correct ozone parts, you can always call or email our spa tech supporters!
Happy Hot Tubbin’
Hot Tub Works