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Myths about Spa & Hot Tub Chemistry

July 21st, 2014 by

5 myths-about-hot-tub-chemistryWhen you advance beyond your basic pH and bromine levels to more advanced hot tub chemistry, you become aware of certain tenets or principle beliefs of managing a hot tub.

Many are useful, such as adding only one chemical at a time, or maintaining good alkalinity to control pH bounce when several users get in the spa.

But some of the things I’ve heard, are either incorrect, or need some further explanation. Let’s take a look at some of the common misconceptions in treating hot tub water.

 

MYTH #1: Pools and Spas are the Same – or – a Spa is Just a Small Pool

A spa is a small pool, true, but that’s where the similarities ends, especially when regards to water chemistry. Precisely because it is such a small pool of water, hot tub water chemistry drastically changes when several users jump in the tub. pH can rise quickly to over 8.0 and render your sanitizer much less effective.

The temperature also has an effect upon how solids behave in the water. Bicarbonates, minerals and metals all respond a little differently, activated by temperatures over 100 ° towards greater scaling potential.

MYTH #2: Shocking is Needed Every 5-7 Days

Perhaps, if you are using it regularly. Shocking, or oxidizing your spa water, is done by adding a granular oxidizer (not pool shock), to break apart oils, dirt and any living algae, bacteria, viruses or mold that could be in the water. Shock the spa after you use it, following label directions.

If you have not used the spa all week, it’s not necessary to shock the water. But, if you haven’t used it in several weeks, it would be good to shock several hours before you use the spa, and then again afterwards, always testing the pH and alkalinity first, and adjusting if necessary.

Remember to leave the spa cover open for awhile after shocking with chlorine, to allow it time to gas off.

MYTH #3: Ozone (or UV) & Minerals are the only Sanitizer Needed

Perhaps, if you rarely use the spa, and you always shower beforehand, and you replace your spa filter every 12 months. Ozone is a very powerful sanitizer, as is UV (Ultra Violet) light, but they have some trouble with reaching every H2O molecule, and they only work when the spa pump is operating. Minerals are effective at controlling algae and some bacteria, but fall short of full sanitation.

For a sanitary spa, disinfecting the water with a regular sanitizer like bromine tablets, and regular shocking with MPS or Non-Chlorine spa shock is indicated.

MYTH #4: You Don’t Need to Check Calcium Hardness in a Spa

Having soft water (below 150ppm) in a spa leads to a corrosive water environment and having hard water (above 250 ppm), leads to scaling conditions. The higher temperature factor used in the Langelier Saturation Index, makes an acceptable calcium hardness level much more restrictive in spas and hot tubs.

For balanced spa water, check the calcium hardness level of your fill water each time you fill. Add calcium increaser if below 150, and run a higher Alkalinity level of 100-120. If you have hard water above 250, adjust your other chemical levels for balanced water, to use a lower alkalinity, in the range of 70-90.

MYTH #5: My Spa Filter Still Looks New, so it Must be Good!

You could say the same about a Nature2 spa stick, looks good on the outside, but inside it’s minerals are depleted. Over time, spa filter cartridges lose their ability to trap particles and harmful bacteria that can end up forming biofilm in the deep recesses of your spa plumbing.

Even though it may look new, each time a spa cartridge is cleaned, the fibers invisibly separate a little more, and the cartridge passes through a little more dirt. After 12-15 cleanings – a spa filter may be only doing half the job that it did when new.

Replace your spa filter cartridges every 24 months, or every 12 cleanings, whichever comes first.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

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