Worry free water care. That’s what every hot tub and spa owner wants these days. Nobody wants to hassle with routine chemicals and maintenance if they can avoid it but the problem is that untreated water can become cloudy and develop bacteria quickly if it isn’t maintained properly. Traditional water care chemicals like bromine, chlorine, or other halogens are reactive elements (acidic compounds) needed to sanitize hot tub water BUT they can cause irritation for many bathers. So then, how does one truly get a worry free water care experience? There are several alternative ways to achieve low maintenance and virtually harsh-chemical-free water care;
- Salt Water System – Some believe that a salt water system is the answer. There are several brands of salt water generators which are also referred to as bromine generators or chlorine generators. These systems use an electrode to essentially convert salt into bromine or chlorine at low levels to help effectively sanitize hot tub water. One of the longstanding issues with salt generators is that the electrodes get build up on them over time causing them to stop working or fail which can be frustrating for homeowners wanting an effective and easy solution to maintaining hot tub water. If the electrode cell get build up or fails then it need to be removed and cleaned (with acid) or replaced by a hot tub professional which can be time consuming and expensive. One manufacturer, HotSpring Spas (aka Watkins Wellness), in particular has really gotten behind the salt water trend. HotSpring Spas and it’s parent company, Watkins Wellness, has developed what they believe to be the best water care system on the market and they call it the Freshwater Salt System. The Freshwater Salt System is unique in that it directly addresses the known problem of electrode build up and so it comes with an easily replaceable titanium cartridge that can be replaced every four months. Essentially a 3 pack of FreshWater salt replacement cartridges will last a whole year providing all of the benefits of a salt water system but without the concerns of intermittent or total failure. Another benefit of the FreshWater Salt System is that it makes your hot tub water last longer between drain and refills (you can get up one year) which reduces maintenance time and conserves water. You can also add the FreshWater AG+ Continuous Ion Sanitizer (by Nature2) which uses silver ions to further kill bacteria in your hot tub, jacuzzi, or spa. As far as salt systems go it seems that HotSpring Spas offers one of the most effective and complete solutions on the market.
- Ozone Generator + Mineral Purifier – Coupling ozone and mineral purification together can get you very close to a chemical free hot tub experience. Ozone generators or ozone purifiers are devices that are plumbed into the filtration system of the hot tub and produce reactive ozone molecules (turns 02 into 03) that react with organic compounds in the water and effectively destroy bacteria. An ozone system can be coupled or supplemented with a mineral purifier which is a disposable (every 3-4 months) cylinder loaded with silver and copper ions that kill bacteria and algae. The combination of these two methods can cut chlorine or bromine levels down by 90% which makes for a more natural and effortless water care system.
- Enzymatic Water Treatments – another trend that’s gained a lot of steam in recent years are proteins or enzymes. They have been regarded as more natural water care treatments because they breakdown oils and organic waste (oils, sweat, dead skin, etc). which are then easily filtered out. They also remove biofilm which is the food for bacteria growth. It is important to note that enzymes do not kill bacteria all by themselves so they are more of a supplement used with bromine or chlorine. They do, however, make the chlorine or bromine more effective thereby reducing the amount required to keep the water sanitized. Enzymes also work well with mineral purifiers. Some of more well known brands of enzymatic treatments are Silk Balance or Spa Marvel. Silk Balance is unique because its formulation includes silver ions which helps sanitize the water as well as remove organic waste.