When you become an owner of a hot tub, you inherit the responsibility of maintaining the water in the tub. This is a critical responsibility because failing to do so could result in skin irritations, diseases and potential system problems. So, where do you start?
Keeping the pH of the water within a few tenths of 7.5 is very important. If the pH starts drifting more than a few tenths from 7.5 in either direction, skin and eye irritations will start occurring. The farther the drift from 7.5, the more severe the irritations. The life of the pipes, tub, pump, heater and filter will also be shortened if the pH of the water is not kept around 7.5.
Keeping the water bacteria and algae free is also a high priority. Hot tub water is warm enough to create a very friendly environment for unwanted bacteria and algae. If left untreated, the population of these organisms can explode and possibly create skin irritations or sicknesses. If untreated for long periods of time, they can migrate and reside in hard to reach areas of the hot tub piping, re-contaminating the water after the hot tub is drained and cleaned.
Oils and soaps will be transferred from people in the hot tub to the water. These can create films on the water surface and along the sides of the hot tub. There are also several minerals that can be present in the water used to fill the hot tub. Depending on the soaps, oils and water hardness, various treatments are available.
Generally, there are two paths to take to maintain hot tub water: chemicals and ozone. Chemicals are more work because all of the above items have to be monitored and treated and are interdependent. For example, the pH level affects the ability of chlorine to sanitize. Hard water affects both the pH and chlorine effectiveness, and so on. In addition, chemicals have a defined shelf life and some require specific storage environments to be effective.
Ozone, on the other hand, eliminates bacteria, algae, oils, soaps and minerals in one treatment. A small supplemental amount of chlorine may be needed to sanitize the water if someone other than the tub owner uses the water. Ozone is pH neutral, so no additives are required balance the pH. Hot tub water also has to be changed less frequently. In short, using ozone as your primary hot tub water treatment saves you time so you can enjoy your hot tub more.