Hot Tub Water - Sanitization FAQ
Figuring out your water maintenance routine is arguably the most confusing part of owning a hot tub. Not only are there different sanitizers, but there are different ways to deliver those sanitizers, and there are combinations of sanitizers that go together to create the sanitation system that is best suited to your use pattern. Whether you have had a hot tub for years or you bought a house with a hot tub in it and you want to find out about how to take care of it, there are new developments in water care that you need to be aware of.
These FAQ are here to help give you a basic understanding of hot tub water sanitation.
We, at Chinook Hot Tubs & Saunas, want to make sure that you are getting the best water quality for the least amount of work. Please call us for an explaination of any maintenance topic that you would like help with. We can be reached at 613-729-1447.
Q: Which sanitation system is right for me?
It is important that you discuss your choice of sanitation system with your hot tub provider. You may start with one system and find that after you have had your hot tub for a while you may want to change the system you use to fit your usage pattern. In order to keep the water in your hot tub sparkling clean and sanitized you need to match your use pattern with the sanitation system. There are two parts to your system to choose from: the sanitizer, and the method of delivery. The table below summarizes these combinations. The next two FAQs also go over each part.
Q: But do I have to use Chlorine or Bromine?
There are many products on the internet that advertise that they allow you to have a hot tub that is 'free of chlorine or bromine' or 'no chemicals'. These products are on American websites. Some are EPA approved, lots are not.
However, IN CANADA, there is nothing that is allowed to replace chlorine or bromine completely. The alternative products are used with chlorine or bromine at a level of 3 to 5 parts per million (ppm).
The only product that allows you to have a lower chemical maintenance level in Canada is AquaFinesse. The company that produces AquaFinesse has gone through all the testing and certification through Health Canada to ensure that your hot tub water is safe, free of bacteria and other organics with a lower residual chlorine or bromine level, at 1- 3 ppm.
Q: Which sanitizer should I use; Chlorine or Bromine?
Chlorine and bromine are sanitizers that are used for hot tubs. Bromine was developed for hot tubs because it is more stable at high temperatures than chlorine and therefore does not evaporate as quickly. The odor of bromine is less intense than chlorine and some people feel that it is more gentle on the skin.
With either sanitizer, Health Canada requires that hot tubs are maintained with the same concentration of sanitizer.
Q: Which method of delivery should I use; Tablets, granules, salt system?
Tablets (or pucks) are right for you if you use your hot tub regularly, that is, the same way each week. For instance you may use it for 40 minutes each night or 3 nights each week. The tablets dissolve slowly and therefore are perfect for regular hot tub users.
Granules are suited to the intermittent hot tub user. Perhaps you use your hot tub only on the weekend, or two nights in a row then skip 4 nights and use it again. The granules are put into the tub when you finish your session. This way there is no build up of chemicals if you do not use your tub for several days.
For the least amount of work you can choose a salt sanitation system. This type of system delivers a maintenance level of sanitizer (Chlorine or Bromine) to the hot tub all the time and then you 'boost' or shock the hot tub after using it by pressing one button. With a salt system the maintenance of your hot tub becomes virtually automatic.
Q: What is AquaFinesse? What does it do?
AquaFinesse is a different kind of water treatment. Most sanitizers kill the bacteria after it is formed. The bacteria grows behind a layer of biofilm that coats the inside of the plumbing of your hot tub. AquaFinesse keeps the layer of biofilm from forming so that the bacteria has nowhere to grow. That is why AquaFinesse is the only product that Health Canada allows a residual sanitizer level of 1 to 3 ppm.
We switched our hot tub to AquaFinesse two years ago and are impressed with the results. The alkalinity and pH are not affected by AquaFinesse, and the water is always bright and sparkling. We use it with bromine tablets and love the fact that there is no smell and the water is soft and silky.
Q: What about Enzymes and Ozonators?
Enzyme-based water treatments or ozonators will work with either chlorine or bromine systems to enhance water quality. They are not sanitizers and should always be used in conjunction with Chlorine or Bromine. Ozonators will reduce the amount of chemicals you have to buy significantly. By oxidizing the organic material in the hot tub water, it frees up Chlorine and Bromine to sanitize more effectively.
Q: What about UV sanitation?
A UV sanitation system will pay for itself in 4 or 5 years. The UV light will cut the amount of chemicals you have to buy by up to 85%. You still must maintain a residual level of 3 to 5 ppm, but you need fewer chemicals to do it. The UV bulb must be changed every 2 to 3 years, but the savings are still substantial over the life of your hot tub.
Whatever your usage pattern, there is a system that will fit your lifestyle. Chinook will help you to find the right system for you.
Call us at 613-729-1447, or contact us with your question here:
We plan to update our website with more information about hot tub water maintenance.
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