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Hot Tub Maintenance Tips for Earth Day

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earth day savings hot tub tipsWhen it comes to protecting our environment, the benefits are often two-fold. Not only do you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing your part to help conserve and protect our planet’s finite natural resources, but in the case of hot tubs, there are some financial savings to be had, as well! Here are three easy ways to make your hot tub more eco-friendly this Earth Day – April 22! Save energy with improved insulation, reduce chemical use by using alternative sanitizers, and conserve water by improving your spa filtration and maintenance practices. Let’s explore how to make your spa or hot tub more environmentally friendly.

Save Energy: Improve Insulation

Hot tubs and hot tub covers are made to withstand mild, moderate and/or severe winter climates. Hot tubs that are not as well insulated as they could be, particularly around the sides and on top, take more energy to maintain hot water temperatures and overcome radiant heat loss. This becomes more pronounced during very low temperatures and high wind conditions. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to add more R-value to a poorly insulated spa. Pink brand insulation (Owens Corning) has lots of boards and thin bats that can be retrofitted into a spa cabinet to increase spa insulation.

On the topside, look at our Ultra or Works spa covers, for the best thermal performance in a spa cover. Replacing a thin, ill-fitting or waterlogged cover with a heavier weight 1.5 lb. or 2 lb. foam, in a 6-4″ taper, will really improve your hot tub’s insulation and save you money on heat loss around the cover. For high winds, which can seep in under the cover and cool your hot tub, our high wind straps keep your spa from lifting up slightly during heavy winds. Finally, adding a floating spa blanket traps heat in the water where it belongs, and the added heat barrier helps reduce heat loss even further.

Reduce Chemical Use: Alternative Sanitizers

When you reduce your use of chlorine and bromine, the Earth wins, because when you reduce your demand for chlorine or bromine, the supply (and production, and transport) slows down to compensate, as supply always adjusts to meet demand. Adding alternative or secondary sanitizers to your spa can cut your usage of chlorine or bromine by as much as half. Adding minerals or ozone purifiers to your spa helps remove the majority of the contaminants in the water, which in turn allows you to use a much lower level of bromine or chlorine in the spa. Some people use minerals and ozone together in conjunction with regular applications of non-chlorine MPS shock. The result is a completely chlorine free hot tub.

Mineral sanitizers for spas are so easy to use! Just drop the Nature2 Spa Stick or other brand mineral stick into the hole in your filter cartridge. Water passing by is instantly purified as it picks up the minerals. There are also floating mineral systems that will automatically add a supplemental level of bromine or chlorine to the water for you.

Connecting a spa ozonator is a piece of cake on any ozone-ready spa or hot tub. For tubs without a Mazzei injector manifold or other port to connect the ozone hose, you can install your own Mazzei injector into 3/4″ or 1″ water hose leading to a low-water ozone jet. It’s best to push ozone out of a dedicated ozone jet near the floor of the tub, but ozone can also be introduced through certain low wall jets.

Conserve Water: Adjust Maintenance Routines

anti-microbial-filter-spasYour spa filter is the most important part of maintaining healthy water. In fact, a good spa filter can be the difference between changing the water every 3-4 months, or even waiting longer if you have a really good spa filter. You’ll also need fewer chemicals to maintain water quality. There are some simple things you can do to improve water filtration for longer lasting water.

First, many spa filter cartridges are available in the standard square footage size (25 sq. ft. for example), but you can often find the same size filter cartridge with more square footage (37.5 sq. ft. for example). It’s the same dimensional size spa filter cartridge, but it has more pleats for more square footage, which translates to a greater filter surface area. Second, many spa filter cartridges are also available as a blue Microban cartridge, which kills bacteria on contact. The Microban never wears off, although the cartridge itself will not last any longer than normal. Another thing you can do to really improve your spa filtration is to add a second spa filter. We have a blog about that process in more detail. Having two spa filters can drastically extend the time between water changes, and with a large spa filter, a spa could conceivably go an entire year between water changes! Finally, remember that filter cartridges should replaced every 12-24 months, depending on how big your filter is and how often the spa is used. Regularly replacing your filter cartridge is the first step to maintaining water quality and preventing excessive water changes.

When you do change the water, it doesn’t have to go to waste. There are many ways you can recycle the water and decrease your demand. You’ll want the chlorine or bromine level to be as low as possible when you drain the spa (around 1 ppm or less), so try to avoid adding sanitizer in the days leading up to draining. Balanced water with little to no sanitizer is safe to use for watering grass, trees, bushes or other plants around your property. Just move the end of the hose coming from your drain, siphon or pump around the yard every few minutes to prevent water pooling or runoff. You can also pump clean water into a nearby swimming pool (if you have one). If you live in dry or drought-stricken areas, another option is to water your home’s foundation or concrete walkways and driveways to prevent dry cracks. If you are using a small submersible pump to drain the spa, you can also use this water to wash your vehicle or other large equipment.

 

Happy Earth Day from your friends at Hot Tub Works!

Spa & Hot Tub Chemicals for Dummies

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spa-chemicals-for-dummies-book2In today’s post, we follow up on our popular Beginner’s Guide to Spa & Hot Tub Care, and get more granular with our newest installment: Spa Chemicals for Dummies.

The book pictured is not a real book – not one that you can purchase, anyway. And by no means am I calling our blog readers dummies; it’s just a fun title used for an in-depth informative guide on using hot tub chemicals. Because such a book does not exist, this post will explore some basic hot water chemistry topics that may confuse a novice hot tub owner.

Subjects like how to test water, what chemicals are needed for a hot tub, how to treat common water problems, as well as info about alternative sanitizers like ozone and minerals will all be included in this blog post.

So, without further ado, here’s our in-depth guide to hot tub chemistry. Or, as we like to call it, Spa Chemicals for Dummies!

 

Types of Spa Chemicals

We carry more than 100 different spa and hot tub chemicals in our online store. No wonder it can be so confusing for new hot tub owners! To help make it easier, we’ve broken this section down into six categories of chemicals, each with a short description of what they are, when they’re used and for what purpose.

Balancers: Spa chemistry is not overly complicated. When I speak about “water balance” and balancing chemicals, some people’s eyes glaze over, but it’s really quite simple! Balanced spa water is simply when your spa chemical readings are all within the proper ranges. Specifically, we want chemical ranges for pH at 7.4-7.6, total alkalinity at 80-120 ppm and calcium hardness at 150-250 ppm. When all three are within range, your water is balanced. If you really want to geek out and determine more accurate water balance, you can use a Saturation Index calculator. Of all spa balancing chemicals, pH reducer is probably the most commonly used. This is because pH and alkalinity tend to rise in spa water, and a pH decreaser effectively reduces both. If spa water is soft or you’re noticing low hardness levels, raise it with a calcium booster. For a low pH and/or alkalinity test, use a pH increaser and/or alkalinity increaser to raise the levels.

Clarifiers: If your spa water is cloudy and lacks clarity or sparkle, it may be time for a new spa filter cartridge. If the filter is fine, there may be issues with water sanitation. Clarifiers are polymers that have a positive charge and attach themselves to negatively charged water particles floating around the hot tub. What starts as a microscopic particle eventually ends up as a large clump of hundreds of particles, large enough to get trapped in the filter. That said, clarifier chemicals are used for spa filters that need a little help, or when water conditions turn poor. Be careful not to overdose with clarifier however, or it may have the opposite effect and gum up your spa filter. If your hot tub water is always clear and sparkling, you may have no need to use a clarifier chemical.

Cleaners: In this category of spa chemicals, we have cleaning chemicals for your spa filter cartridges, cleaner and conditioner for your spa cover, cleaning and polishing products for your spa shell, as well as Jet Clean to purge biofilm buildup from your plumbing lines. Generally speaking, you should NEVER use household chemicals to clean your spa or accessory items. The only exception to this rule is using a mild soap, but only if you rinse it thoroughly afterwards to prevent the spa from foaming. In my own spa, I use filter cleaner, spa cover conditioner (my tub gets a lot of direct sun), and I use Jet Clean once or twice per year to prevent buildup in the pipes.

Sanitizers: A sanitizer is the everyday chemical used to kill pathogens like bacteria, fungus, mold, viruses, etc. Most spa owners will use either bromine or chlorine as the main sanitizer. Granular chlorine is hand-fed when chlorine is preferred, or you can use bromine tablets, which is usually the easiest route. You can also use sodium bromide (a.k.a. bromine booster) and then a small amount of spa shock (either chlorine or MPS) to activate the bromide salts into bromine. Never use chlorine tablets in a spa, as they’re formulated for use in swimming pools and are often too strong for spas; doing so could damage spa surfaces and equipment. You must keep an active level of sanitizer at all times in spas and hot tubs – about 2-4 ppm bromine or 1-3 ppm chlorine. If the level drops below the recommended range or near zero, pathogens, algae and other contaminants will begin to grow and multiply quickly, even in hot water and even when covered tightly.

Shocks: Spa shock is also a type of sanitizer, but it’s used differently than normal spa sanitizers. Chlorine and non-chlorine (MPS) spa shocks are quick dissolving and fast acting. Shock is used to kill anything that your daily sanitizer has missed, or it can be used to supplement your daily sanitizer, such as after a four-person soak in the spa. Spa shocks are also used to activate bromide salts and convert them into bromine. If you use bromine tablets, this isn’t necessary. But shock is still useful for giving the spa a sanitizer boost after heavy use, or as a regular weekly or biweekly shock treatment just to be sure the water is sanitary. Another use of spa shocks is to kill algae, remove foul odors, correct water discoloration or poor clarity, or resolve a variety of water issues from many causes. For best results, always check water balance and adjust as necessary before shocking a spa. Follow label instructions for treatment info and dosage to match your spa size in gallons/liters.

Specialty: Specialty spa chemicals are chemicals that don’t fit neatly into the other categories. Chemicals like Foam Down or Foam Out (removes surface foam), Metal Gon/Defender (keeps metals and dissolved solids in solution), enzymes like Natural Clear (dissolves oils naturally), algaecides (prevents algae growth in hot water spas) or Leak Seal (seals up small leaks) all fit into this catch-all category. You may have some need for these chemicals at some point to resolve water-related issues in your spa. Then again, you may be lucky and only rarely need specialty chemicals. Some people also group aromatherapy products into the specialty chemicals category, but these are not for correcting a water balance or hot tub issue. Aromatherapy is for YOUR benefit, and can be used anytime you settle in for a soak. At least when you need specialty chemicals, you’ll know where to find them!

 

How To Test Spa Chemistry

There are two ways to test hot tub water – with test strips or with a test kit. Unless you fancy yourself a chemist and prefer to use a titration test each time, I usually recommend multi-purpose test strips, which test for all the important stuff in just one to two minutes. The secret to spa chemistry is not sold in a bottle, but it is pretty simple. Just test your spa water two or three times per week with regularity, and adjust in small increments as needed. You will begin to see patterns in the water’s chemical fluctuations, especially if you keep a test log book. Even if you don’t write down your readings or enter them into an app, over time you’ll come to know your own hot tub’s chemical personality.

 

How To Store Hot Tub Chemicals

  1. Keep out of reach of children.
  2. Store in cool, dry location at 50-80° F.
  3. Only open one container at a time.
  4. Tight lids keep out moisture, children and prevent spills.
  5. Protect chemicals from spills, mixing and contamination.

We’ve covered the topic before with some neat spa chemical storage ideas, but the general idea is to, number one, keep out of reach of children. Secondly, store spa chemicals in a cool, dry location, which usually means indoors. Temperatures of 50-75° F are best for prolonging chemical shelf life, helping to prevent gas formation or the hardening of granules. Always open, use, and tightly close only one chemical at a time. Tight lids keep out moisture and small children, and also prevents spills, accidental mixing or contamination. Very important tip: never allow spa chemicals to mix with each other or become contaminated with any substance (dirt, leaves, etc.). A fire or explosion could result. Also, don’t hang onto old spa chemicals; use them up or dispose of them. If you live in an earthquake zone, it’s recommended to keep chemicals close to the ground, and not high on a shelf where they may fall and spill their contents. Again, make sure children can’t access these chemicals.

 

What Chemicals Do I Need for a Spa or Hot Tub?

  1. Spa sanitizer – usually bromine or chlorine
  2. Spa pH increaser and decreaser
  3. Spa alkalinity increaser
  4. Spa calcium hardness increaser
  5. Spa shock – either chlorine or MPS

As a minimum, you’ll need most of these spa chemicals. You’ll likely use pH reducer more often than pH increaser, and probably adjusting the levels two or three times per month. Total alkalinity and calcium levels will usually hold steady for a month or more once it has been adjusted after a spa drain and refill. Spa shock will be needed for weekly use, in addition to a regular spa sanitizer for daily use. You may also have a need for other chemicals from time to time such as filter cleaners, metal removers or clarifiers. Many of our customers like the convenience of our Spa Care Kits, which are complete 6-month chemical packs for bromine, chlorine or Nature2 spas. These kits include a pre-filter for your water hose and up to a dozen other items.

 

What are Natural Spa Chemicals?

  1. Mineral sticks
  2. Ozone
  3. Enzymes

ozone-minerals-mpsFor those that want to avoid the smell of chlorine or the slightly softer scent of bromine on your skin, try approaching water sanitation from a different angle. Instead of using chlorine or bromine, you can use Spa Mineral Sticks, which use silver and/or copper ions to help purify the water. You can also use ozone, injected into the plumbing from an Ozonator. Both of these systems, coupled with regular use of MPS (a non-chlorine oxidizer), some extra filtering and careful attention to good water balance can allow you to operate most spas without the use of chlorine or bromine. Also in the natural chemical category are enzymes, which are natural scum eaters, helping to remove contaminants in the water by naturally digesting them. While not a 100% chlorine-free or bromine-free option, you can also reduce chemical use with a floating mineral system that uses supplemental bromine or chlorine cartridges.

 


 

dummies-guyIf you made it all the way to the end of this post, you are now a well-informed hot tub owner who knows how to properly balance and sanitize spa water! The great thing about maintaining spa chemistry is that if things go really bad, you can always replace the water and start fresh. Then again, you should be doing this every three or four months, anyway. Remember to re-balance your water’s chemistry, and rebuild the sanitizer levels or bromine bank after refilling.

 

Hot Tub Not Heating Enough? 10 Reasons Why

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hot tub heatIf the water temperature is warm, but not quite as hot as you like – you’ve come to the right place! Some hot tubs can heat up to 105°, although the recommended maximum temperature for healthy adults is 104°.

Let’s assume that there are no error codes on the display panel. Everything seems normal, but the water is not as hot as it normally is. At this point there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to identify and fix the problem(s) in your hot tub.

1. Thermometer is Incorrect

First off, thermometers are not usually “precision instruments” and can give an inaccurate reading. While they generally provide a close range for reference, they may not be perfectly calibrated. Even digital display readings on your spa’s control panel can be off by a few degrees (see #5 below).

2. Hot Tub Cover is Inefficient

bowed-spa-coverAn economy spa cover is not going to provide the same heat trapping efficiency of thicker and denser spa covers. The R-value of the best spa covers can be 3x the R-value of a basic spa cover.

Secondly, as spa covers age, they can start to take on water and sag in the middle. other covers begin to rip on the edges or along the fold. If you see any steam leaking out of the sides of your spa cover, this can be enough heat loss to reduce overall spa temperature.

Finally, you have to keep the hot tub cover on the tub while heating, or the spa will never heat up. For extra heat trapping, use a floating spa blanket.

3. Thermostat is Mis-Calibrated

mechanical-spa-thermostat-adjustmentOn older gas-fired spa heaters and old hot tubs with mechanical thermostats (without any digital panel display), the spa thermostat can be adjusted. These thermostats have a copper wire and capillary bulb used to sense the water temperature. On the end of the switch is a 1/8″ hex head adjustment screw. Turn it 1/4 turn clockwise, and give it a few hours to see how high the temperature rises.

Test water temperature before using and be careful not to raise the temperature above 104° – which is possible to do on some hot tubs. Adjusting the set point too high can be dangerous or unhealthy for spa users. It’s also possible that the thermostat is defective, they don’t normally just go out of adjustment by themselves.

4. Outside Temperature Too Low

cold weatherSome spas are just not able to overcome low outside temperatures. Especially for 110V plug-in portable spas, or spas built without a lot of insulation, a small 1-3 kw spa heater can not heat up fast enough to overcome heat loss.

Also true for spas and hot tubs that have small heater elements, under 4 Kw, or 4,000 watt. The fact is – less expensive spas will have more trouble keeping up with low outside temperatures.

Using a top quality spa cover, floating spa blanket and improving insulation underneath the spa, even wrapping the outside of a wood hot tub, can all help to compensate and correct for low air temperatures. Spa heaters can also be up-sized.

5. Bad Temperature Sensors

balboa-temp-sensorModern spas use electronic temperature sensors and high-limit switches to constantly check water temperature, inside and outside of the spa heater. These are connected by wires to a plug-in on the main control panel.

On digital spa packs, you will usually see an error code (Sn, Sn1, HL, Hot, OH), when a temp sensor is causing the heater to shut off, but if they are off a few degrees, a temperature sensor or thermostat can shut off the heater, thinking the spa is hotter than it is.

6. Using the Air Blower

Using a forced air blower or opening the air intake knobs will always cool the water, because the air temperature is much colder than the water temperature. If this is causing problems during cooler weather, you may want to turn the blower off.

7. Spa Heater Not Running Long Enough

Spas and hot tubs heat slowly – some as little as 1 degree per hour, although most can do 2-4 degrees per hour. If the timer is not set to run long enough each day, it can have trouble keeping up, especially with low outside temperatures.

To bring your hot tub up to speed, run the circulation pump and heater continuously. It can take up to 24 hours, depending on starting water temperature, outside air temperature, spa cover efficiency and, most importantly, the size of your spa heater.

8. Spa Filter is Dirty

Earlier in the article, we agreed to assume that there are no error codes. However, a dirty spa filter will usually produce an error code (FL, Flo, FL1) if the pressure switch is sensing low flow and keeping the heater off.

You can remove the spa filter (spa cartridge) to see if flow improves because of a dirty spa filter. You may need to hit the heater element Reset button in this case. Clean spa and hot tub filters every 3-4 months and replace every 12-24 months to keep the hot tub water flowing and filtering well.

9. Spa Was Just Drained and Refilled

For spas that have been drained and refilled, you may want to run the heater continuously for a day or two until the water gets hot again. Once heated, reset the time clock to run for 4-8 hours daily, or as much as it needs to maintain most of the heat.

Also, be sure that the spa circulation pump is fully primed, and not air locked or drawing in air. Both of these conditions will cause a heater to overheat and shut off. You may need to hit the heater element reset button in this case.

10. Spa Water Level is Low

spa-water-level-over-skimmerIf your spa skimmer begins to draw in a steady stream of air in a vortex inside the skimmer, or gulps down air because of a stuck skimmer door or thermometer, this will cause the heater to overheat and shut down. You may need to hit the heater element reset button if this happens.

Add water regularly to your spa to keep the level from dropping too low and drawing air into the suction intakes.

The Chlorine Free Spa – Is it Possible?

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chlorine free spa

It’s a common question that we get in our call center: “Can I run my spa (or hot tub) without chlorine?” The quick and smart answer is usually, “Sure, you can use bromine!” Then they say, “But isn’t that the same thing?” It’s not, really. Bromine has less of a smell, it’s not quite as harsh on skin and hair, and it has other advantages over chlorine.

But seriously, the real answer is YES! You can run your spa without chlorine OR bromine, and still have a safe and sanitary spa. It requires using some modified methods to make sure that pathogens don’t thrive, but it can be successfully done. Here’s how.

 

Replace Your Filter Cartridge More Frequently

For most spas under halogen treatment (chlorine or bromine), I recommend that the spa filter cartridge be replaced every 12-24 months, depending on its size and how much the spa is used. For those who wish to go chlorine free in the spa or hot tub, I’d recommend that you double the frequency, and replace your spa filter every 6-12 months.

Some spa filters are available with more square footage. When you search for a replacement spa filter by dimensions, model number or cartridge number, you may see two spa filters listed. They both have the same dimensions, but one costs more. The more expensive spa cartridge will have more pleats and thus more surface area, which will do a better job of filtering.

Drain Your Spa or Hot Tub More Frequently

Draining the water out of your spa should be done every 4-6 months, depending on your rate of usage or if the water goes bad. For those using a non-chlorine method in the spa, increase the frequency to every 2-3 months, or at least every 4 months.

When draining a non-chlorine spa, be sure to use a purging product to remove any build up inside the pipes, hoses and jets of your spa. Without a halogen residual, biofilms can form faster and create a biohazard in your spa water. I use Jet Clean every other time I drain my spa to keep organics and oils from building up in hidden crevices.

Ozone + Minerals

DEL Ozone MCD-50

For a spa that doesn’t use chlorine or bromine, you need something to kill bather waste and bacteria. My recommendation is to use a spa ozonator and a mineral sanitizer, such as Nature2 or Spa Frog. The combination of these two – an ozone sanitizer and a mineral purifier – takes care of most disease-causing bacteria.

Check on your ozonator regularly to be sure that it’s on and operational, and replace the mineral cartridge as directed, to keep a proper amount of silver and copper ions working. These two treatments working together will do most of the job in keeping your spa water healthy.

Non-Chlorine Shock

Cense shock by Zodiac

Ozone + minerals can do most of the job. But to be sure, you need to oxidize the water, or shock the spa. Non-chlorine shock has no odor, and does not affect water chemistry. You can use the spa immediately after treating the water.

My recommendation is to use a few tablespoons of non-chlorine shock after every spa use, or at least weekly to control and destroy any pathogenic microbes that are able to get around the ozone and mineral treatment.  Also known as MPS, Zodiac Cense is a great product that will oxidize quickly and also adds a nice scent to the water.

Keep Your Spa Water Balanced

This is important no matter what your spa sanitation method may be. However, it’s especially important when you are operating a chlorine free spa or hot tub. Maintain your pH level at 7.2-7.5, your alkalinity at 80-120 ppm and your hardness at 180-220 ppm. Use fresh test strips or fresh reagents and test your spa water at least twice per week, adding water balance chemicals as needed.

Shower Before Using the Spa

shower before using hot tubI know some people (ok, I’ve done it too) who treat their hot tub like a big bathtub. After working in the yard all day or dancing all night, they jump in the spa to “clean off.” Well, when you bring perspiration, body oils, makeup, or if you’ve gone to the bathroom (#2), without washing yourself, this creates a large sanitizer demand in the water.

I’m not saying you must always shower before using the spa. But if you don’t, be sure to give it a good shocking afterwards with MPS.

It can be awkward to ask your friends to shower before coming over, so use an enzyme product to help break down oils and organics, and retain healthy spa water that all can enjoy.

And that’s it! You can successfully operate a healthy spa or hot tub without using chlorine and bromine if you follow these steps above.

Bromine vs. Chlorine for Spas & Hot Tubs

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chlorine vs. bromineFor the hot tub or spa owner, a thought might enter their head: “Hey, why not use pool chemicals for the hot tub? They’re a lot cheaper!”

So, why not just use 3″ chlorine tablets and powdered pool shock to sanitize your spa? Isn’t it the same thing?

Bromine vs. chlorine – two challengers will fight for the title of best spa and hot tub sanitizer.

ROUND ONE: COST

Trichlor chlorine tablets, the 1″ size, are about 20% cheaper than bromine tablets. The 3″ tablets are over 40% cheaper when you buy in bulk. Chlorine does have a shelf life, however, and after about a year, depending on the temperature it is stored at, the chlorine can lose half of its power. Cal-hypo or dichlor shock, two types of pool shocks, are also cheaper than non-chlorine shock.

Round one goes to chlorine – definitely a cheaper alternative!

ROUND TWO: CONVENIENCE

hot tub works bromine boosterBoth challengers are fairly convenient. Simply purchase a small quantity of 1″ tablets (3″ tablets are too slow dissolving for hot tubs), and put enough in a floating dispenser to give a good reading when the water is tested.

However, bromine requires a bank of built up bromides before you can register a reading with your test kit. Adding another small step in the process, you can shake a little Brom Booster into the tub after draining a spa, or you can use the 2 oz. sodium bromide packets.

Chlorine comes out slightly ahead in round two.

ROUND THREE: STAYING POWER

Bromine is not as easily protected from the sun as chlorine is from adding stabilizer or cyanuric acid. But then again, most hot tubs are covered and out of the sun. And although bromine lost the first round for being more expensive than chlorine, it has the curious property of reactivation.

Bromide salts can be reactivated into bromine by adding a small amount of chlorine shock or MPS shock. This allows you to reuse the bromide again and again, and you use less bromine tablets. With chlorine, however, once the killing work is done, the chlorine molecule becomes inert.

Bromine wins this round, with an amazing ability to regenerate.

ROUND FOUR: KILLING POWER

bromine-has-an-extra-layerWhich is stronger, chlorine or bromine? Chemically speaking, chlorine is a stronger halogen, with a quicker oxidation reaction. But bromine has a larger atomic size with an extra valence shell.

Bromine has a big advantage over chlorine in killing bacteria and viruses, whereas chlorine has an advantage in killing algae more rapidly. Bromamines continue to be an active sanitizer, in contrast with chloramines, as we will see in the next round.

Bromine wins round four; it’s stronger in more water conditions and molecular states.

ROUND FIVE: STABILITY

Bromine comes out swinging! At a high pH, say of 7.8, only about 25% of chlorine is active. Bromine is not affected by pH swings as much and continues to be effective, even when a full hot tub quickly raises pH levels.

Being stable at high temperatures is another characteristic of bromine. Chlorine becomes really active at high temperatures and tends to quickly gas off at temperatures around 100 degrees.

Third, when bromine or chlorine combine with nitrogen or ammonia, they form bromamines or chloramines. In chlorine, the compound formed becomes an ineffective sanitizer, and is responsible for red eyes, itchy skin and that awful chlorine smell. Bromamines, on the other hand, continue to be active sanitizers without the smell or irritation.

Bromine wins round five!

ROUND SIX: OTHER

  • ODOR – Chlorine smells similar, but the bromine odor, both in the container and in the water, is softer.
  • IRRITATION – Skin irritation can occur with bromine or chlorine, but bromine is less irritating.
  • pH – Trichlor has a very low pH, bleach has a very high pH, and bromine has a pH level of 7.5. Perfect!
  • ADDITIVES – Cal-hypo adds calcium to a spa, and trichlor and dichlor will add cyanuric acid.

Bromine has chlorine against the ropes, and in the sixth round, has delivered a knockout blow!

 

bromine-winsIf you have a spa, bromine has a lot of advantages over using chlorine. It may cost a little bit more, but it lasts longer and does a much better job than chlorine at killing bacteria, especially at high temperatures and high pH levels.

So, which is better – bromine or chlorine? Bromine is best for spas, use chlorine for pools.

 

Shop For These Featured Products:

sodium bromide packets leisure time bromine tablets spa mps shockfloating bromine dispenser

 

10 Reasons Why Your Spa Water is Cloudy

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Cloudy Hot Tub WaterWhy is my spa water cloudy? If we’ve heard that question once, we’ve heard it a thousand times. It may be the number one spa water problem plaguing spa owners.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about cloudy spa water – such as, “Bromine will make your spa cloudy”, or “Metals in the water cause cloudy hot tub water”, or the constant sales pitch – that if you just had this super-special-magical spa water treatment, your spa water problems will disappear.

If your spa or hot tub water is cloudy, hazy, milky – turbid, as we sometimes call it, your problem will be one of these situations below, or a combination of more than one.

1. High Calcium Hardness or Total Alkalinity

Your spa water chemical balance may be to blame. Take an accurate reading of your calcium hardness, alkalinity and pH levels. In areas where hard water is common, calcium can easily come out of solution and cloud the spa water. If your calcium hardness levels are greater than 300 ppm, use a chemical balancer to lower your pH, calcium and alkalinity levels in your spa.  This will help to keep your spa water clear and help to prevent the scaling that causes cloudy hot tub water.

If your test for Total Alkalinity shows high levels, in excess of 150 ppm, excess carbonates can come out of solution, and make the spa cloudy. High TA levels will also make it hard to control your pH, or keep it in range. Use pH decreaser to lower TA to around 100 ppm. If your spa pH level is outside of the range of 7.2-7.6, adjust accordingly for easier control of cloudy water.

TDS, or total dissolved solids, is not usually a concern in spas and hot tubs – but, if you have not drained your spa in years, for whatever reason – you may have a very high level of dissolved solids in the water. When water reaches it’s saturation point, where it can absorb no more solids, frequent bouts of cloudy water are the result. Time to drain and refill the spa.

2. Low Spa Sanitizer Levels

Some people are sensitive to bromine or chlorine, and try to operate the spa with as little as possible. That may be OK, if you have other sanitizers working, such as an ozonator, or a mineral cartridge, and your water chemistry is balanced, especially your pH level.

Otherwise, spas should always have a level of 2-3 ppm of bromine, or slightly less if using chlorine. When sanitizer level drops below 1.0ppm, particles and contaminants in the water begin to run rampant or grow at a rate faster than they are being destroyed.

A proper sanitizer level should destroy the particles that induce cloudy water. To help it out, shock the spa water regularly, especially after a several people have used the spa, or if sanitizer levels have mistakenly dropped to very low levels. If a chlorinated spa shock is clouding your water, try using MPS shock instead.

3. Cloudy Fill Water

Maybe the problem is not with your spa, but in your fill water. Nonetheless, balanced and sanitized spa water with proper filtration should be able to self-correct, and clear the water within a day or so. A spa clarifier can help coagulate suspended particles for easier filtration. In most cases, it may be better to use a spa pre-filter, to remove particulates that cloud your spa water. Just attach it to your garden hose when adding water or refilling your spa or hot tub.

4. Air in the System

Small particles of air, tiny bubbles – can make the spa water appear cloudy. If your spa has bubbles coming into the returns, but your air blower and spa ozonator are turned off – you may have an air leak, on the suction side of the pump. The suction side is anything before the spa circulation pump. A loose union fitting before the pump, or a loose pump drain plug can pull air into the system.

Low water level in the spa can also bring air into the spa, and give the water the appearance of being cloudy or hazy. Inspection of the pipes and equipment before the spa pump can reveal the source of the air leak, which can then be sealed up with sealants or lubricants.

5. Spa Filter Problems

This is a common cause of cloudy spa water. A spa filter cartridge may be positioned incorrectly, allowing for water to bypass the filter cartridge. Make sure the cartridge is fully seated on both ends to force the water to go through the pleated spa filter material.

A spa filter cartridge won’t last forever, and each cleaning reduces it’s efficacy a little bit more. After about 15 cleanings, replace the spa filter and you’ll notice an immediate improvement in water clarity. Depending on how much the spa is used, and how much is asked of the filter, you should replace the spa filter every 12-24 months.

Spa filter cartridges can also become gummed up with oils or minerals, drastically reducing their filtration ability. These substances can be very difficult to remove with a garden hose alone. Spraying a cartridge in spa filter cleaner before cleaning will break down greasy or crystallized deposits, and restore full flow to your filter.

DE filters are more commonly used on inground spas, and if a DE filter grid develops a hole, it will allow DE filter powder to come into the spa. This will cloud the water, and leave deposits of a light brown powder on the seats and floors of the spa.

6. Spa Pump Problems

There are a number of pump problems that can lead to cloudy spa water, the first being the amount of time the spa filter is running each day. You may need to increase the amount of time that the spa pump operates, to increase your daily filtering time. Running a pump only on low speed can also contribute to ineffective filtration. Run it on high for at least 2 hours every day.

Another issue could be with the spa impeller. It could be clogged – full of pebbles, leaves, hair or any number of things. The vanes on a pump impeller are very small and can clog easily, which will reduce the flow volume considerably. Another possibility is that the impeller is broken – the pump turns on, but the impeller is not moving, which will reduce flow rates to zero.

If you have no flow from your pool pump, there could be an air lock, especially if you have just drained and refilled the spa. To fix an air lock, shut off the pump and loosen a union on the pump and allow air to escape, tightening it when water begins to leak. If the pump doesn’t turn on at all – well, there’s your cloudy spa water problem. There could be a tripped GFI button, loose wires, bad contactor or relay, or another control problem.

Air leaks before the pump, as discussed above, also makes the pump less efficient by reducing the overall water volume. Water leaks after the pump is also a problem, in that your water level will soon drop below the skimmer intake, begin to take on air, lose prime and stop pumping your water through the filter.

7. Biofilm Problems

Biofilm is a slimy bacteria that coats the inside of pipes and fittings. In extreme cases, it will cloud the water, and you may notice slimy flakes floating on the water, or have severe issues with spa foaming. Biofilm forms quickly in a spa that has sat empty and idle for some time. If you suspect a biofilm contamination, lower the pH to 7.2 and use spa shock to raise the chlorine level above 10 ppm. Follow this up with a treatment of Jet Clean, to remove biofilm deposits.

8. Salt System Problems

Salt systems are becoming more popular with spa owners, although they are much more prevalent on swimming pools. The issue with salt systems is that it is possible to place too much reliance on them, and never check your chlorine level. Spa salt cells also need occasional cleaning to maintain chlorine output.

Adding salt to your spa when needed may cloud your spa temporarily, until the salt becomes fully dissolved. When adding salt, be careful not to overdose, and run the jets on high for greater agitation of the water.

9. Biguanide Problems

If you use a non-chlorine, biguanide sanitizer in your spa, and have difficulty with cloudy spa water, you are not alone. This is the main complaint of using a PHMB sanitizer. You may find relief by draining and refilling the spa, and changing the spa filter, which is probably gummed up with residue. Using spa chemicals with any amount of chlorine, or using algaecides or any non-approved chemical will not only cloud the water in a biguanide treated spa, but can also create some wild colors, too!

10. Soaps, Lotions, Cosmetics and Hair Products

This problem is common to just about every spa, unless you shower well before using your spa. Everything we put on our body and in our hair can end up in the spa, and can bring oils, phosphates and detergents into the water, and a hundred other undesirable chemicals. These can consume sanitizer, clog spa filters and make the spa water cloudy and foamy. If your spa has a high bather load, or is used as a giant bath tub, you can expect issues with water clarity. Adding spa enzymes can help control greasy gunk, and reduce sanitizer demand and clogging of your spa filter.cloudy-spa-water

Cloudy spa water is not so difficult to find and fix – but remember that you may have more than one of these issues working against you. Consider each cause of cloudy spa water carefully – it’s likely one or more of these situations above. Draining the spa regularly is one more piece of advice to prevent cloudy water – depending on how much the spa is used, draining it every few months is a good preventative way to keep your spa water from becoming cloudy in the first place!

 

Hot Tub Covers: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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When shopping for new hot tub covers, you should know your options.

But I’m not talking about spa cover options like Foam Density or a Double Wrapped Core, but I’m talking today about the types of spa covers on the market.

There are 3 main types of spa covers – Soft Spa Covers, Hard Spa Covers and Aluminum Spa Covers.

 


Spa Soft Covers (aka soft spa covers), are a durable vinyl fabric that is stretched over the spa top and fastened to the spa cabinet with rubber straps. They are used with an air filled vinyl pillow floating underneath the soft cover, to reduce pooling of rain water.

The Good: Lightweight and much less cumbersome than traditional folding spa covers. Lowest cost for a spa cover, $150-$200.

The Bad: Not a thermal spa cover, very low R-value which makes it unsuitable for most heated hot tubs.

The Ugly: Even with the air pillow used underneath, heavy rain can cause water (and stains) to collect on the cover.

 


hard spa cover shownHard Spa Covers are the traditional vinyl wrapped foam cores with a center hinge for folding. The most popular type of spa cover, hard spa tops are made to fit the spa dimensions exactly, and are fastened to the spa cabinet with straps and clips.

The Good: Seals tightly to spa edges to perform at the highest possible R-value for heated spas. Affordably priced from $280-$500.

The Bad: Larger hot tub covers may require two persons to remove and replace the cover, unless a cover lifter is used.

The Ugly: The foam cores can break under a heavy load or horseplay, and can absorb water if the foam core seal is cut or punctured.

 


Aluminum Spa Covers are a close cousin to the Hard Spa Cover, and have been around for years. A Styrofoam core is sandwiched between two aluminum plates, and edged with a thick aluminum border. Can attach to spa cabinet with optional straps.

The Good: Lightweight and sturdy aluminum frame, Styrofoam cores that can’t absorb (much) water, many attractive colors.

The Bad: Lower R-value. No skirt over the edge of the spa, heat seal is made by a 1/2″ rubber gasket between spa lip and cover.

The Ugly: Hard to place without a spa cover lifter. Easily slips into the water, can scratch spa finishes. Highest cost of $1200-$1500.

 


 

So, when shopping for a new spa cover, take a lesson from the irony contained in Eastwood’s great western epic, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). Not everything good is all good, and not everything bad is all bad, and maybe ugly is just that, and nothing more.

I’ve seen a lot of new spa covers introduced over the years, including many that were supposed to ‘revolutionize’ hot tub covers – but here we are, decades later, with the same 3 main spa cover options.

For most spa owners, the Hard Spa Cover is the most suitable cover, in terms of cost, ease of use, and thermal efficiency. You decide what’s best for you.

 

– Jack

 

Winter-Proof Your Hot Tub

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spa-under-snowThere are two types of hot tubs, those built for hard winters, and those that are not. In fact, many hot tubs models sold in southern markets, such as here in southern California, are built a bit ‘thinner’ – not intended to handle sub-zero or high altitude climates.

A hot tub that works perfectly well in a Tampa or Los Angeles winter will have trouble holding hot temps in Chicago or Colorado. Snowbelt spas are built with better insulation, around the shell, cabinet and plumbing, larger heaters and heat recapture, and a spa cover with thicker and denser foam.

Occasionally I hear about the unfortunate who buys a sunbelt spa, and/or a very cheap model, and installs it at his mountain cabin, only to find out that it tops out around 90° F, spinning the electric meter non-stop just to keep the water warm.

There are ways, however – to improve on poor spa insulation, responsible for most heat loss in hot tubs. Even if your hot tub is a well-insulated model from a well-known brand, you can improve your energy efficiency and improve your R-value.

ADD INSULATION

The number one way, is to increase the insulation inside of the spa cabinet, unless you already have a ‘fully-foamed’ spa where the shell and pipes are buried in spray foam. Don’t block air flow, there needs to be some air intake, but you can line the insides of spa cabinets with pink insulation board or bats of attic foam, held in place with construction adhesive.

Spray Foam is taking it a step further, you can thick layers of spray foam on the back side of the spa shell, the PVC pipes can be sprayed, you can even bury the spa jets in foam. Regular construction foam like Great Stuff can be used on small areas, or to encase 3/4 of a spa in foam, look at Dow Froth 200, fills 16 cubic feet of area with foam! Foam can be cut-out in the future if access to a jet is needed. Just be sure not to encase anything electric, or anything that moves or spins!

FLOATING BLANKET

floating-foam-insulating-blanketA floating spa blanket is an easier economical step to make, but no less as effective! Floating spa blankets are quite effective at reducing heat loss through spas and hot tubs. Especially if your spa cover doesn’t fit quite right, or is put on just slightly ajar – a floating blankets stops the bleeding, or most of it.

There are 3 types of floating spa blankets, which is a perfect example of a good, better and best product line. Our Good PE spa blanket has air-filled pockets on a 12 mil thick polyethylene backing. For better heat retention, our closed cell Foam spa blanket does a much better job, but the best spa blanket is the foam and aluminum, Radiant spa blanket.

NEW SPA COVER

For spas and hot tubs in the very coldest of temperatures, nothing is more important than “The Works” spa cover, made with 2 lb Foam weight, in a 6″ to 4″ taper for the ultimate in heat retention. New spa covers that come with a spa are more often than not the “Economy” spa cover, made with 1 lb Foam and a thinner profile.

When a spa cover foam panels absorb water, the heat retention of the foam is reduced, and the sagging raises the cover from the spa, allowing more heat to escape. A new spa cover is the number one way to increase your efficiency.

SPA COVER CAP

And to protect the important investment that is your spa cover, the Spa Cover Cap is a cover for your cover! Stretches over your spa cover like a fitted sheet. Shields your hot tub cover from harsh UV sun, rain and snow, birds and squirrels and more. 2 sizes are available to fit most spas, 7’square and 8′ square.

Spa Cover Caps are made in silver reflective woven polyethylene to last for many winters to come. Might add a small amount of R-value to your spa, but not much.

PROTECTA-SPA COVER

The Protecta Spa Cover is a cover for an entire spa or hot tub, available in 3 sizes. Rugged protective cover encloses your entire spa to keep wind, rain, dirt, snow, and harmful UV rays from direct contact with your spa cover and cabinet. Protecta-Spa features a Velcro closure for a snug fit, a vented area for the equipment. Like the Spa Cover Cap, Protecta Spa Cover is not marketed as a thermal cover, but every little bit helps!

SPA COVER WIND STRAPS

For spas that are in high wind areas, perched out on a high deck or cliff overlooking a fabulous view, wind can be a large heat thief from your spa. Strong winds at the right angle can work their way under the spa cover skirt and blow across the surface of your hot tub water! Adjust your spa cover clips, so that it is necessary to push down slightly on the cover to latch them. For strong wind areas, our ‘Hurricane’ spa cover straps are over-the-top straps to lock your cover down tight in strong winds of any type. Wind blocks are another good idea, privacy walls or hedges to block wind around the spa.

 

So – if your spa is struggling to heat up fully, or stay warm overnight, improve your insulation to raise your hot tub R-value. And if your spa has trouble maintaining temps when you are using the spa, or when the blower is running, you may want to look into our larger spa heaters.

 

– Jack

 

 

10 Ways to Destroy your Hot Tub

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Taking care of a hot tub nowadays is not too difficult, but if you’re not careful, small slips can cause big problems. Most of these won’t DESTROY your hot tub, that’s just my attention grabbing headline, but any of these will cause minor to major problems, which are best avoided.

We take phone calls (and emails) all day from customers who have found themselves in a bit of hot water (or cold water), due to some small oversight on their part. Learn from their mistakes, and from mine too!

drain the spa and leave it empty

If you want to destroy the hot tub, this can be the number one way. One or two days won’t cause much problem, but beyond that, the water and moisture remaining in the pipes and equipment will begin to ‘funkify’, and grow into a bacteria biofilm, which can be hard to eradicate completely, once large colonies are established. Secondly, without water in the tub, seals and gaskets can more easily become dry and begin to leak, and dried out cartridges require new spa filters.

use your hot tub as a bath tub

This won’t destroy your hot tub, but jumping in the hot tub after a workout, or a day of digging in the garden causes poor water conditions, overwhelmed filter cartridges, and could be unhealthy, as it pummels the pH and sanitizer. Not like you have to shower every time before using the spa, but if you are in a practice of bathing in your spa, or inviting the team over for a soak after your winning game, your spa water and spa filters can be compromised.

add bubble bath

Well, this is an obvious one, and really just to put a funny image in your mind. Imagine adding just a few ounces of soap to your spa and turning on the jets. It would be like that Brady Bunch episode when Bobby added a whole box of detergent to the washing machine. In fact, wearing bathing suits that have been washed with soap, is a no-no in your spa. Even with a dual rinse cycle, enough soap remains to give you a hot tub foam problem.

use pool chemicals

spa chemicalsSpa chemicals are specially formulated to work in hot water, and with hot tub surfaces. More importantly, spa chemicals are labeled for use in a spa or hot tub, with dosage and application information for very small bodies of water. For spa shock treatments, do not use pool shock, as the granules do not dissolve quickly enough, and more importantly, a 1 lb. bag of shock cannot be resealed safely, being designed for one-time use.

use a pressure washer

Even a small pressure washer is too much pressure for cleaning cartridges, forcing dirt, oil and scale deeper into the fabric, and will separate the fibers at the same time, bunching up fibers and essentially ruining or severely damaging your spa filter. What about cleaning your spa filter in the dishwasher? Also not a good idea, which could ruin not only the cartridge, but the dishwasher too! Use a regular garden hose with spray nozzle, and be sure to use a spa filter cleaner 1-2x per year, to gently loosen dirt, oil and scale.

shut off power to the spa

Keep the spa running, and check on it often, to be sure it is still running. If you leave town for a few weeks, or otherwise unable to use the spa for extended periods, you must keep it running, with at least a few hours of high speed circulation daily, and low-speed circulation for most other times. Spa pumps don’t need to run 24/7 to keep a covered spa clean, but you do need Daily circulation, filtering and sanitation, or larger spa water problems are sure to arise.

overfill your hot tub

Orbit Hose Spigot Timer at DripDepot.comIt’s happened to most spa owners, you’re adding water to fill the spa or top off the hot tub, when the phone or doorbell rings. Overflowing spas usually don’t cause problems, but depending on your spa make and model, some components can become water damaged if a spa overflows. After overflowing my own spa twice, I bought a plastic timer that screws onto my hose spigot. It can be set for up to 2 hours, before it shuts off the water flow. Also, don’t under-fill the spa, or air can be sucked into the pump – keep it full.

overtreat with chemicals

Spas and hot tubs are small bodies of water, and most chemical adjustments require just a few ounces of liquid or powder. Overdosing your spa with hot tub shock, or over-adjusting the pH or Alkalinity can create a see-saw effect that costs money and time. Make small adjustments, read the label and add doses appropriate for your spa size, in gallons. You can also use Spacalculator.com to compute exact amounts of spa chemicals to add, for a desired result.

run the spa without the filter

There are situations when you want to briefly test the system without the spa filter cartridge in place, to see if the heater will come on with the filter removed, for example. But running the pump for long periods of time without the filter could lead to clogged pump impellers, and rapid water quality problems. However, if your spa filter is cracked or broken, or if your dog carried off and buried your filter – it’s better to leave the pump running on low speed, than to shut down the spa completely.

leave your spa uncovered

Besides getting dirty, wasting water and chemicals, and causing your spa heater to work overtime, leaving a spa uncovered and unattended is unsafe for children, animals and some adults. On the other hand, covering it too tightly, with plastic wrap or tarps tightly sealed can also cause a problem for electronics and cabinet trim, when moisture is under pressure. Be sure to keep your spa cover on the spa when un-used, clipped snugly in place.

 

– Jack

 

Installing a Hot Tub Ozonator

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Ozone is a powerful natural sanitizer that requires only annual attention (or less), and can handle the bulk of your water sanitation. And now, new models of Del spa ozonators now have 5 year lifespan on the CD ozone generator.

Installing a spa ozonator is nearly just as easy. Many spas already come with ozone, or are ‘ozone ready’, with an injection manifold already plumbed in place. Even if your spa has never had an ozonator, installing ozone on a hot tub can be an easy job.

With basic hand tools, and the manufacturer owner’s manual or installation instructions, you are ready to install an ozonator in 3 steps.

  1. Mount the Ozonator Unit inside the Cabinet
  2. Connecting the Ozone Hose to the Injection Manifold
  3. Connecting the Ozonator Unit to Power

 

Mounting the Ozonator

Many hot tub ozone installation manuals will advise to install the ozonator above water level, even though check valves and a ‘Hartford Loop’ in the Ozone Hose or vinyl tubing will protect the unit from water, described below. For most portable aboveground hot tubs, the ozonator is placed under the cabinet, high up on the wall, in an accessible area with good air circulation. For inground spas or for tubs with equipment sheds, if you can mount the ozonator above the water level easily, by all means do, but it is not a strict requirement.

Use all screws to firmly attach the ozonator unit to the wall or stud, high up on the inside wall. A secondary piece of plywood can be used for added strength, and to prevent drilling through the spa cabinet from the inside. Mount in a location that indicator or status lights can easily be seen and future maintenance or replacement can be easily accomplished.

Connecting the Ozone Hose to the Injection Manifold

Ozone Ready Spas: An ozone ready spa will already have an Ozone Injector plumbed in place, or may utilize an Ozone Jet Fitting to draw the ozone into the spa. Or you may just need to add an Ozone Injector to the pipe already designated for ozone, both described below, but – check your owner’s manual for ozone details.

For spas and hot tubs that have not had an ozonator before, and are not ‘ozone-ready’, there are 3 ways to introduce the ozone gas into the water line.

  1. ozone-injectorPlumb an Ozone Injector into a 3/4″ Water Hose: For this method, locate the 3/4″ diameter water hose that leads to one of your spa jets. Choose a jet on the ‘end of the line’, or by itself, and preferably near the bottom of the tub if possible, to give the ozone another second or two to work as it bubbles up to the surface. Coordinate the ozonator installation with a drain & refill of the tub, unless you have a valve or other means to stop water flow while the injector is quickly inserted. Cut the hose with a razor knife or shears, and push the hose over the Ozone Injector and clamp firmly in place. The injection fitting, where the Ozone hose connects, should be facing up, and the indicator arrows should point in the direction of water flow. If there are no arrows, the end that you cannot blow air into, is the exit for the water.
  2. Attach Ozone Hose to a Spa Jet Air Intake: Most spa jets are combination Air and Water jets, mixing at the jet for increased force. Some spa jets receive air from an Air Manifold, and on other spas using ‘Stacked Jets‘, the air line runs in/out of each jet, and to the next. If you have a single hose and a single air port on your spa jets, cut the hose at the manifold and at the jet, and plug the manifold end. For a stacked jet configuration, remove one jet from the air loop, bypassing that valve, and use adapters and plugs to connect your Ozone Hose.
  3. Plumb an Ozone Injector Manifold: This method uses a large PVC manifold to connect to your 1.5″ or 2″ PVC plumbing – after the pump and heater. You will need about 24″ of clear space to install the large manifold, or with several 90° fittings, you can create the space. Glue the manifold in place, and you are ready to connect your Ozone hose.

Hartford Loop & Check Valve: In addition to the connection point for the Ozone Hose, you also need to run the hose in a loop above water level, and install a check valve, to prevent water from backing up into the ozonator, which could easily damage or destroy the unit.

A Hartford Loop is simply running the hose above the water level with a 6-8″ wide loop, in between the ozonator and the injector. An ozone check valve is then placed in the ozone hose, between the loop and the injector, as redundant protection against water damage.

All Ozone check valves will fail eventually, and should be replaced every 12-18 months, as a preventative measure. Ozone Hose also becomes brittle in a few years, and should also be on a replacement schedule.

Connecting the Ozonator Unit to Power

Most hot tub ozonators are equipped with either a J&J mini plug or AMP plug, to connect directly to your spa controller circuit board, and as such, is controlled by your system to only operate when the pump low speed is operating, instead of running 24 hours per day. If your ozonator comes with an AMP plug, but you have J&J plugs, short ozone adapter cords are used to connect to your spa pack.

For hot tubs without a spa pack controller, or old systems without an ozone connection port, the power wires can be hard-wired directly to the spa pump time clock, to operate only when the pump is operating, preferably only on low speed. You can also connect your ozone hose into the plumbing of a 24 hour circulation pump.

Finally, if your spa has a GFCI outlet powered by the pump or controller, you can power the ozonator directly into the 115V outlet with a regular 3-Prong grounded plug.

 

 

– Jack