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Most spas today come "ozone" ready if they don't already have an ozonator installed. That means that in a few steps you can add an ozonator to your existing tub, even if it did not come with one when you purchased it. Even if your spa is not ozone ready, you can still add an ozonator, it just takes a few more steps. When ozonators first came into the marketplace, they all were based on UV technology that created the ozone gas with UV light inside the unit. Eventually, the UV light bulb needs to be replaced. Newer ozonators are chip-based, which means they are totally electronic and don't depend on a UV light bulb. There are several manufacturers who sell kits so you can add an ozonator of either type to your spa filtration system quickly and easily.
Some people simply don't like the smell of chlorine in their spa. Luckily, there's another product available to keep your spa clean and kill the bacteria that thrives in warm water environments. This hot tub chemical is bromine, and it comes in crystals or tablets, just like chlorine.
Some people prefer bromine tablets, which can be loaded into a floating dispenser that stays in your tub all the time. Other's load the tablets into the skimmer near the filter. (Not all tubs have this feature). Whatever chemical you choose, make sure to use it consistently. Not only do they keep the water clear and clean, they help maintain the proper balance between the water's alkalinity and pH, which is one of the most important parts of spa water maintenance.
If your spa looks dull and dingy, chances are a dirty filter is to blame. Your spa's filtration system is based on a removable filter that you can clean or replace as necessary. Cleaning the filter is easy, and you should do it every four to six weeks.
First, remove the filter and rinse it with a garden hose at high pressure. Then, soak the filter in a filter cleaner to remove the oils and chemicals rinsing doesn't remove. Some of these cleaners change color as the filter is cleaned. These cleaners should be available through your dealer. After soaking, thoroughly rinse the filter again until the water runs clear, and then replace it in the spa. Filters do wear out, so you'll need to replace the entire filter according to your specific spa's instructions.
Skimmers suck water into the filtration system for cleaning. Most spas have a skimmer located near the spa controls, with a basket that traps large material. To maintain the skimmers you simply clean out the basket periodically. Some spas, however, contain two skimmers, one at the top and one in the footwell of the spa. This adds another dimension to the filtering process. If you've ever owned a spa, you know that sand, dirt, and a host of particles can fall to the bottom, and the only way to get them out is to vacuum them. This two-level skimming system solves that problem and helps keep the spa cleaner longer.
Bromine or chlorine is at the heart of your hot tub chemical list, but there are several others you should have on hand for routine maintenance. When your water tests high or low for alkalinity or pH, there are chemicals for raising or lowering these levels. There are also chemical specifically for cleaning the hot tub filter, and for "shocking" the system if the water is cloudy or dirty. There are also chemicals that naturally purify the water, or flush the pipes and machinery when you drain the tub. Some chemicals help protect the filter and heater units from corrosion, and there are others that are just plain fun, like fragrances you can add to the water that won't harm the chemical make-up of the water. Your hot tub should come with instructions about what chemicals are necessary for short- and long-term maintenance.
If your hot tub has an ozonator, then it will probably also have a special jet called an ozone jet. While this may look like any other jet that simply circulates and spouts water, it really isn't. The ozone jet is actually part of the spa filtration system. This jet essentially adds the ozone created by the ozonator into the water which helps cleanse and disinfect the spa. The ozone just looks like a stream of small bubbles and functions during the heating and filtration cycles. An ozonator comes standard on many spas and is an extra feature on many others.
Keeping your hot tub's water crystal clear and healthy isn't hard, but it's different from maintaining the water in a swimming pool. For one thing, hot tub water is hotter, and there are usually more people using a hot tub in a smaller square area. In addition, people's bodies contain substances like deodorants, perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, and natural body oils and these also can contaminate the water. So, you need a variety of hot tub chemicals to maintain the quality and clarity of the water your tub. Your dealer should be able to suggest the right chemicals for your tub, and how much of them to use based on the gallons of water your tub holds. Hot tub chemicals are a necessity for all tubs, so don't think you can do without them.
Many of the chemicals you'll be using in your hot tub are simply dispensed right into the water as they are needed. However, chlorine or bromine need to be dispensed through a dispenser so they are continually added to the water without interruption. Many spa owners use bromine dispensers or "floaters" that float in the tub all the time and dispense the bromine tablets through adjustable holes in the dispenser. Open the holes for more bromine or close them for less. Some tubs also have dispensers built right into the tub near the filter. Whatever type of dispenser you choose, make sure to clean it often and check to see none of the holes are clogged.
You should test your hot tub water once or twice a week, adding chemicals as necessary. Test kits are available at most dealers that include test strips for testing the alkalinity, pH, and chlorine (or bromine) levels. Once you've tested the water, it's time to add the right hot tub chemicals if necessary. Your hot tub owner's manual should tell you how many gallons your tub holds, and adding chemicals is based on this measure. Your dealer probably carries a complete line of chemicals best suited to your tub, and if you have any questions, that's the place to start. You'll find chemicals for balancing the pH and alkalinity, along with some created for special water conditions, such as excess minerals, calcium, or super hard water, plus many others just for fun, like spa fragrances you can add to the water. Once you've tested the water and added the right hot tub chemicals, you can safely hop in.
Your spa's filtration system is one of the most crucial aspects of cleanliness and water balance. The filtration system removes oils, dirt, debris, particles, and hair from the water, and helps keep the water sparkling clean. Most spa manufacturers use different filtration methods, and some are more efficient than others. Before you buy a spa, it's a good idea to talk to other owners. Find out how the filtration system works for them, and how long it lasts. Find out how often they need to clean and/or replace their filters. Check on how expensive the replacement filters are, too. If your dealer won't share names of satisfied owners, try the manufacturer's Website, they often list references and satisfied owner's comments.
Many of today's spas come with an ozonator. This piece of the spa's filtration system does not do away with the need for chemicals, but with an ozonator you'll use a lot fewer chemicals and your water will stay cleaner longer. Essentially an ozonator creates ozone gas inside the unit, and then injects this gas into the water. The gas purifies the water and kills off much of the bacteria that's always present in spas. By using an ozonator, you can reduce the amount of chemicals in the water and reduce that chemical smell that's so common in many spas. You'll still need to test your water each week, but it should remain more stable and balanced with an ozonator, too.