Hot Tub Chemicals and the Important Role They Play
Hot tub chemicals are an absolute necessity that is required to keep the water in your hot tub clean and well maintained. Sometimes, dealing with the chemicals can be a bit confusing.
You don’t need an advanced degree in organic chemistry to be able to properly maintain the quality of your spa. I am going to discuss the various types of hot tub chemicals that are on the market today.
This will hopefully clarify things for you so that you can continue to enjoy your hot tub in a safe, healthy manner.
An Introduction to Sanitizers
Among the various hot tub chemicals that are currently on the market, sanitizers are the most important maintenance you can do for yourself! Why is this true? The answer is simple; sanitizers kill the bacteria that grow in warm water.
The following is a quick rundown on the different types of sanitizers:
You’re probably familiar with chlorine as the primary sanitizer used in pools. Chlorine can be used in a different concentration in hot tubs. There are chlorine tablets and chlorine granules created specifically for hot tub use.
Bromine can be added to a hot tub in the form of tablets, nuggets or granules. One form is sodium bromide, which needs to be activated with an oxidizer such as chlorine or Potassium Monopersulfate (non-Chlorine) shock. Another bromine product is BCDMH, which is a self-activating chlorine bromine combination.
Many people choose bromine over chlorine because bromine is an effective sanitizer in hot tubs as it doesn’t “gas off” at temperatures higher than 98 degrees and produces fewer odors than chlorine. Bromine works in a wide range of pH levels. Bromine is generally distributed through a floating feeder or cartridge system.
Biguanide sanitizers are non-chlorine, non-bromine product that kills bacteria by attacking the cell wall. The elimination of organics is accomplished with a hydrogen peroxide-based oxidizer used to “burn” off the organic matter and keep the water clear. This system produces fewer odors than chlorine or bromine and does not “gas off” at spa temperatures.
Ozone is an oxidizer and not a sanitizer, but it reduces the work of the sanitizers and lowers the level of sanitizers needed in the spa to keep it clean. The ozone process requires that your hot tub is equipped with a piece of equipment called an “ozonator.” Even if you have an ozonator, you will need to supplement your water with a low level of sanitizer like bromine or chlorine (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the idea that a hot tub can be thoroughly sanitized with ozone alone is a myth). Ozone is compatible with bromine, chlorine, biguanide and mineral systems.
Mineral Spa Care:
You can use mineral systems to assist, but not entirely replace, your sanitizers in keeping your hot tub clear of contamination. Mineral cartridges are typically placed inside your filter cartridge or are contained in a floating dispenser through which the sanitizing minerals are slowly released into the water over time. Many people prefer to use mineral sanitizers because of the lower levels of chlorine or bromine.
It is very important to test the current levels of your water before you add any hot tub chemicals such as sanitizing agents to your tub. Test strips are easy to use and are formulated to measure the levels of bromine, chlorine, biguanide, as well as mineral content in your hot tub water along with your pH levels and calcium levels. You should add sanitizing agents to your hot tub as indicated by the test strip. The instructions will be provided for you on the container that the sanitizer comes in.
Changing Your Water
In addition to any hot tub chemicals you may need, it is crucial that you change your water approximately every 3 months. This of course depends on how actively you use your hot tub. If the water in your hot tub is old and dirty, there is no amount of chemical additives that can completely protect you. Would you wash your dishes in year-old dishwater? Changing the water in your hot tub is a simple task and your family and guests will be very glad you did!
The following hot tub chemicals are also important to mention, just not as important as the role your sanitizer plays.
Shock oxidizers are a very useful product that oxidizes the water to help get rid of organic matter such as dead skin, skin oils, cosmetics and lotions. This sort of treatment can be done on a weekly basis. This method helps to starve bacteria and prevents cloudy water and a clogged system. Believe me, it’s a much better shock than the one you can get from the expense that comes with not using this method. In the long run, it can potentially create bigger maintenance issues for you.
I hope that after reading the above information that you have grasped a better understanding of how important hot tub chemicals are in maintaining your investment as well as ensuring that your tub has a long and gratifying lifespan.
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